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Hollywood Nerd

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"Don't let her complete and total hotness fool you! She would much rather be reading than go to some party!"

Take your average attractive actor or actress and stick on Nerd Glasses, a lab coat, and some Messy Hair and clothes, to make them Hollywood Homely. Their character is probably also Hollywood Dateless and supposedly prone to social ineptitude that may actually only be an Informed Flaw. They may even shoot straight into Hot Scientist or Hot Librarian (or even Omnidisciplinary Scientist) territory without help from their smarts to pull it off. They may also be involved in an Ugly Duckling Beautiful All Along story if they do get paired off with someone. And there you have them; the Hollywood Nerd.

The Hollywood Nerd will have an interest in some “geeky” subject such as comic books, science fiction, or baseball, helping identify them as a loser, especially if they still live in their parent's basement. However, this will rarely be shown with sufficient detail to make it realistic to someone actually in the know, or it will be a mismatch of fandoms. In Hollywood, there is a very set list of things you can be a “geek” about.


See also Geek, Nerd. Compare Hollywood Homely, Geek Physiques, Cool Loser, Give Geeks a Chance. The Meganekko is a common anime equivalent. See also Nerds Are Sexy, in which the nerdiness is what makes someone attractive, and Endearingly Dorky (or the YMMV Adorkable, which is when the nerdiness makes someone cute.)


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  • The "Geeks" in Best Buy's Geek Squad ads for its IT services look like they walked across the stage from a Calvin Klein ad. Either that, or they walked to the Calvin Klein ad afterwards.

    Another ad actually lampshades this. It's for a laptop, and the many options for the product are symbolized by an array of "nerds" in action figure casing in the wall of the store. A teenage boy and his mom go into the store, and while his mom is interested in a sensible one, who does the boy go for? The super hot nerd girl. "I'll take this one."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ami/Sailor Mercury, to some extent Setsuna/Sailor Pluto, and Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask (Kamen) from Sailor Moon are all nerds, but not one of them is unattractive.
  • Yui and Chiriko from Fushigi Yuugi are both bigtime bookworms. But they're both adorable-looking (... poor Chiriko). Yui even had long hair once upon a time, but cut it short because the boys just kept coming her way.
  • Bleach: Uryuu is the top academic performer in his year group, the joint best sewer (with Orihime) in the Handicraft's Club, and also very much the class loner. Until he develops an incurable case of Fire-Forged Friends with Ichigo, whereupon he attempts to nurture an Aloof Ally image that utterly fails since everyone knows he and Ichigo are really Vitriolic Best Buds. This is completely averted with his father, Ryuuken, however, who is not only intelligent enough to keep up with the story's acknowledged genius, Urahara, but was also the school heartthrob when he was a teenager.
  • Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate. Highly talented researcher who invented the time travel theory before she was even an adult, known to be on 2chan and can keep with Okabe and Daru with ease. Also, a complete knockout.
  • Hakkai from Saiyuki, and Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden who was actually reincarnated as Hakkai.
  • Fujioka Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club in the first episode/chapter. Without the clunky glasses it's found she's quite cute.
  • Tiger & Bunny:
    • Tomoe Amamiya (eventually Tomoe Kaburagi) was an unrepentant nerd in every sense of the word (a studious Class Representative who spent her free time fangirling superheroes) who just happened to be rather attractive on top of it. Kotetsu claims in the Hero Gossip Book that he fell for her hard and fast.
    • The trope is played with in the case of Barnaby. Word of God has it that he shows several tendencies leaning towards nerdiness — which his eccentric behaviour, and the facts that he wears glasses, usually prefers to be alone, and was top student at his school seem to attest to. In-series he has a huge number of fangirls, but Nerds Are Sexy is averted because they're only interested in his good looks and charming facade.
  • Ginta Toramizu in MÄR is a pretty big geek in the real world, but from the beginning he looks like a typical shonen hero with Opaque Nerd Glasses on.
  • Keima of The World God Only Knows is a nerd genius who avoids relationships and spends all his free time playing Dating Sims. But, when he's forced to, he can win the hearts of real girls with minimal effort. He thinks he's simply playing the real world like a video game, but his conspicuous handsomeness and confidence are big assets, too.
  • Despite being a computer-addicted Non-Action Guy, Kill la Kill's Houka Inumuta manages to have a six pack (after Episode 18 that is). Then again, it is a World of Badass...
  • Satsuki Shishio, the protagonist's teacher in Daytime Shooting Star, a history geek and a fan of shoujo manga who is also incredibly handsome.
  • With her braided hair, her Opaque Nerd Glasses and her conservative style to wear her uniform, Osaragi from Kaguya-sama: Love is War comes off to the reader as this, but in-universe, she is seen as a very attractive woman who has lots of boys fawning over her. Onodera is surprised to see that despite her looks, Osaragi is actually very nerdy.

  • Lampshaded by one female comedian, who explained that when women say they're "into nerdy guys," what they mean is they're "into male models who wear glasses and don't have nerdy interests."

    Comic Books 
  • Kitty Pryde of the X-Men used to be one. She was a skinny little computer nerd who was jealous of the older X-Women's looks and even needed glasses at one point, though she still had her share of admirers. The trope applied more in real life than within the comics, in fact: so many of today's comic book creators grew up with a huge crush on Kitty that nowadays she's generally just accepted to be an extremely attractive woman who's also really smart. However, as her attractiveness increased, references to her brains shrank in number; back in the 80s it was hinted that she'd grow up to be another Reed Richards. She's 20-something in comics these days, and her genius-level computer skills can't even hack The Beast's computers. Not to mention, very few modern day adaptations even make reference to her geniusness. The X-Men films didn't even refer to it, and X-Men: Evolution it was only hinted at, in a manner that when it did crop up, some viewers were confused as to how she was suddenly so smart. This got to the point that the recent A+X team-up book's story with her and Tony Stark lampshaded it, with Tony trying to convince her to come work for them so she can actually use her supposed smarts.
  • Kyle Rayner of the Green Lantern. Self-professed manga-nut who looks like a movie-star, and it shows in his constructs.
  • Captain America is an Ascended Fanboy who loved comics and art when he was younger, and prior to the war he worked as a Promoted Fanboy, drawing and writing comics for a living. He also tends to play Mr. Fanservice at times, being that he's, you know, Captain America. Though this case is justified in that he underwent a scientific procedure that transformed him into an Adonis.
  • Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and Henry Pym, and many other Science Hero types. While Tony is an intentional case; he's a guy who grew up to make millions off of his genius and has been a major celebrity since he was a child, but Peter and Henry Pym, they're more unintentional. As almost everyone in comics tend to be pretty, especially with modern day art styles, Peter and Hank once upon a time did look like more stereotypical geeks, only to evolve into being...not.
    • Peter especially is now often referred to as handsome and boyish. That’s averted though, oddly enough, in the Steve Ditko original, where Peter looked more like a stereotypical nerd. John Romita, the artist who came after Ditko and the man responsible for the way Spider-Man comics looked from the mid-60's until Todd McFarlane's time, even said that one of the problems with his own rendition was that Peter Parker was far too traditionally attractive. He started as a romance artist for DC, so he was adept at drawing good looking people — just look at Mary Jane. Ironically, this is one of the few instances where it could be completely justified. When Peter Parker was first shown, he was a mid-to-late teenager in high school, getting ready to step up to college soon. Later on when he was looking better, he was already in or graduated from college. So perhaps he's just a late bloomer, and puberty hit hard after that radioactive-spider-bite. The other reason is that Peter Parker was originally sort of conceived as a Self-Insert Fic for Steve Ditko.
  • Bobbi Morse alias Mockingbird tends to avoid this, as like Kitty Pryde, her status as a science major is almost never brought up, more focus is put on the fact she's a Badass Normal and Deadpan Snarker. Some writers, especially ones who're fans of her, such as Jim McCann and Nick Spencer, do remember this, and like to bring it up.
  • Superman. Clark Kent is seen as the naive rube in the big city who Lois Lane wouldn't give the time of day. However, the moment he's out of his suit and glasses he's suddenly a 6'4", 225 lb, chiseled, prime specimen of masculinity. This does lead to the logical problem that, however nervous and clumsy Clark acts, he's still a 6'4" hunk.
    • While Clark's nerdiness was emphasised through The Golden Age of Comic Books and The Silver Age of Comic Books, this has been alternately averted, subverted, and lampshaded in more modern comics, where Clark Kent is much less "bumbler" and more "former high school football star who actually stayed in shape", and also manages to portray a less milquetoast personality to boot.
    • However, he's still considered nerdy, but nerdiness just isn't seen as negatively today as it once was. Also justified in that Clark Kent, who is Superman's natural persona, actually is a nerd... just a really buff one.
    • On the other hand, part of his act isn't so much the classic weedy nerd as it is that he's playing up that he's an awkward Smallville bumpkin who isn't all that comfortable in the big city. Being big and muscular fits his persona as a naive farmer's son. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely paint a rather nice picture of Clark Kent as a huge, clumsy, hunched-over farmboy that even Lex Luthor speaks positively of.
    • The trope is averted, albeit slightly, by Christopher Reeves' portrayal. The bulky glasses and unflattering hairstyle (in addition to drawing attention away from his facial features), make the otherwise-handsome Reeve look fairly ordinary and dorky. This coupled with Reeves' stammering, milquetoast attitude do a decent job of making Clark Kent into an easily-forgettable, unattractive wuss. It's joked that to make the Clark Kent disguise work, Superman must be at least as good an actor as Christopher Reeve.
  • Kate Kane, the second Batwoman, is a lifelong fan of horror movies.
  • This trope is Lampshaded in a Spider-Man issue where Black Cat mugs a Horizon Labs employee for her outfit. Electro scoffs at the disguise and asks how anyone is supposed to buy someone as hot as Black Cat as a "nerd-girl."
    Black Cat: Easy. One, I've got the smarty glasses.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): George is a rather attractive gal despite her usually intentionally baggy clothes and androgynous look, which is even more evident when she cosplays. She's also Black and Nerdy and of course wears glasses.

    Films — Animation 
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast is viewed as "odd" by the other townspeople because she's a woman who likes to read. That doesn't stop her from being the most beautiful girl in her village.
  • Tadashi Hamada from Big Hero 6. While he looks like a male model (and he can be described as every girl's wet dream), he's a huge dork who's skilled with robotics.
    • Honey is a chemist, GoGo studies mechanical engineering, and Wasabi studies physics. All three of them go to school at a highly prestigious science academy and all three are very conventionally attractive.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A majority of the cast of 21. 21 himself also provides a counterpoint in his old friends, who really ARE nerdy-looking, making the fact that the film expects us to believe this of the protagonists even more ridiculous.
  • Every character in Antitrust, with the possible exception of the very cute Rachael Leigh Cook who is The Mole and presumably deliberately chosen as someone the hero would fall for.
  • Hackers stars Angelina Jolie, for crying out loud. (Although her makeup is awful.) And super-hot Jonny Lee Miller!
  • The Harry Potter film series:
    • Emma Watson plays Hermione Granger. Okay, she was cast when young, but she was always a cute kid.
    • The part of Severus Snape, played by Alan Rickman, also provides an example. In the books, Snape is supposed to be a greasy, unpleasant, hook-nosed recluse who spends most of his time in a lightless dungeon. He is often compared (unfavorably) to a bat, and it is revealed that his unwashed hair and ugliness was an issue that his enemies never had in bringing up. Alan Rickman couldn't help being gorgeous. This is only slightly helped by the fact that Snape is supposed to be in his late thirties and Alan Rickman is well over 60. But JKR herself chose Alan Rickman for the role. Also this was after first choice Tim Roth turned it down.
  • Fantastic Beasts wherein Newt Scamander, which is eccentric (messy hair, walking with a particular gait...) socially awkward (does not look anybody in the eyes, sometimes stutters and has difficulties to bond with his human (magic) counterparts) and crazy about studying and caring magical creatures, is played by the very handsome Eddie Redmayne.
  • In the "Pottersville" sequence of It's a Wonderful Life, Mary Hatch is shown to be a "mousy" spinster librarian in glasses and dowdy clothing. Still, she's played by Donna Reed.
  • Sky High (2005). Sue Tenny/Gwen Grayson in her first childhood.
  • Evie, at least in The Mummy (1999), is a bumbling, awkward, accident-prone librarian/archaeology geek played by the fantastically gorgeous Rachel Weisz. The bumbling, though, could be considered an informed disability; she's shown being clumsy early on, then never again.
  • Henry Higgins, as played by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, may qualify. He's a phonologist/linguist/dialectician with few social graces — a nerd even for his time — but he's not unattractive for a fella his age. He even gets away with attending that royal ball he's testing Eliza Doolittle with, and while he might not have been super-refined, he wasn't kicked out early, either. Again, this likely has to do with the casting of Rex "Sexy Rexy" Harrison, who was married six times.
  • Sandra Bullock's character in The Net.
  • Swordfish features Hugh Jackman as a top computer programmer. The guy he's replacing isn't bad either.
  • Sandra Bullock as Diane Farrow in the 1992 film Love Potion No. 9 actually succeeds at a more extreme version of the trope, probably because she undergoes a Beautiful All Along transformation in the later half of the film, and the creators made an effort to contrast the two looks. It also helped that she got real work done; her teeth were awful and hair horribly bushy. It took a lot of money for her to become Sandra Bullock.
  • This was sent-up in Not Another Teen Movie in which the jocks discuss who the target of the makeover should be. After highlighting some obvious freaks, they come upon the heroine. The lead jock expresses his disgust by pointing out the girl's ponytail and glasses! And she had paint on her jeans! Not even jeans! Overalls!
  • The Pygmalion / My Fair Lady remake known as She's All That, in which the unpopular bookworm is played by Rachael Leigh Cook.
  • Dr. Emma Russell (Elisabeth Shue!) in The Saint (1997). She starts out with glasses and needs medication for a heart defect. She becomes less nerdy though, to the point of no longer needing her pills, the longer she spends in the presence of Simon (Val Kilmer), the titular character. Don't think about that too much.

    She also comes off as incredibly awkward and nervous, with idiosyncratic behavior and a geeky sense of romanticism, as well as an odd (but highly enthusiastic) way of describing her work. In particular when Simon is pretending to be a poet to seduce her, she's so nervous that she makes FreudianSlips ("Take off your pants...[embarrassed] I mean your sweater!") and keeps gushing over how he would notice someone like her and privately (and excitedly) stating that she can't believe that it's happening. Its pretty adorable.
  • In the original Stephen King novel The Stand, the character of Harold started out as a fat, pathetic nerd. When made into a TV miniseries, he was played by Corin Nemec. It would have been averted, considering that by the time the group reached Boulder Harold was described as having become rather attractive because his skin cleared up and he lost weight, if they would have done more to hide Nemec's looks than just give him a bad hairdo and ugly clothes.
  • The humans in TRON.
  • Gabriella, Taylor and, to a lesser extent, Martha and Kelsi in High School Musical.
  • Denise Richards tried to play the trope twice: as math nerd/pilot Carmen Ibanez in Starship Troopers and as nuclear physicist Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough. It’s questionable if she tried anything like hard enough.
  • Please Teach Me English — a little known (at least in the US) Korean film about a woman, nicknamed "Candy" in English, trying to speak the English language. She looks absolutely gorgeous whenever she takes off her thick-rimmed glasses. The actress is a model in South Korea, oddly enough.
  • Needy in Jennifer's Body may have giant nerd glasses and unflattering clothes but she is still played by the beautiful Amanda Seyfried. In fairness, the film does note that Needy is plenty attractive but dresses down to not upstage her best friend and she has little trouble with boys, having a steady boyfriend (Johnny Simmons) and another male character (Kyle Gallner) with an obvious crush on her.
  • In Rising Sun, Tia Carrere plays a video footage analyst who helps Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes' cop characters analyze doctored surveillance footage. They just have a pair of glasses slapped onto her, her hair done up and some techno-babble dialogue to help make her seem nerdy. However, part of the characterization also relies on her having a physical deformity that makes her an outcast. She's still Tia, mind.
  • Both the protagonist and villains, plus numerous background characters are type 2 in Max Knight: Ultra Spy — the film depicts the nerd culture crossing over with rave on many occasions, the protagonist takes the Fish out of Water love interest to a dance club that requires you to show off your Geek Cred to get in (say something smart and scientific) and Seth Green plays the Big Bad. On the other hand, the start features a very classic type 1 who invites the love interest out for lunch (and she just gives him a patronising "you can't be serious" look, like it's so natural she'd reject him) while her genius sister straddles the line and gets a glasses-removal makeover by the Big Bad.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Averted by Dr. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who is stunningly attractive... and is aware of it. In fact, in his first scene as a grown man, he is seen using nerd-talk to pick up coeds at an Oxford pub.
      • Played straight with Dr. Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), who is like an introverted version of Charles. All the brilliance, all the attractiveness, but none of his telepathic gift with people.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: In his human form, McCoy is quite the Pretty Boy after he loses his Nerd Glasses near the end of the film. This is further accentuated in The Rogue Cut when Raven removes Hank's eyewear in order to see his face more clearly, and she kisses him shortly afterwards.
  • Russell Crowe as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, especially near the end of the film as he ages and starts to wear glasses.
  • Kate Winslet as Hester Wallace in Enigma.
  • Even Jessica Alba - JESSICA ALBA - qualifies as mousy, troubled teacher Mona in An Invisible Sign. However deglamourised she is, she still looks (at worst) like the more attractive sister of Cece from New Girl.
  • Tara Reid played a scientist in the critically savaged adaptation of the game Alone in the Dark (2005).
  • Jake Gyllenhaal's character in Zodiac is too good looking for a real nerd.
  • The title character in Tamara, before she drops it and becomes a Femme Fatale after coming Back from the Dead. It is very difficult to make Jenna Dewan look unattractive.
  • In Never Been Kissed, we're really supposed to believe that the description given in the title applies to Drew Barrymore.
  • Breaker from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, played by Linda Cardellini, combined with an obvious Adaptational Attractiveness compared to her animated counterpart. Played with in the second film when Daphne pushes her to wear a latex suit to seduce her crush, an attire that left men in total awe.
  • In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Clary's best friend Simon is a shy, awkward, D&D-loving nerd who can't get her to notice that he's in love with her (and is eventually rejected in favor of the dashing hero Jace). He is played by the gorgeous Robert Sheehan.
  • We're the Millers: Take the gorgeous Molly Quinn, put her in a "What Would Frodo Do?" T-shirt, and presto! Instant love interest for Kenny. This is Truth in Television in this case: Quinn really is a huge geek. It’s also lampshaded at the end of the film when David walks in on Rose wearing glasses and using a laptop computer. He says "Look at this sexy nerd."
  • Averted with the main character (Sam Eidson) in Zero Charisma, who is overweight and scruffy-looking with No Social Skills to boot. The antagonist, a skinny and charismatic hipster (Garrett Graham) fits the trope fairly well, though.
  • In Skyfall, Q is re-introduced as a good-looking young guy with glasses (Ben Whishaw). Suffice to say, the reiteration of this character has his fair share of fangirls.
  • Other Halves is about a team of computer programmers, but every one of the cast members could be models.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Before his transformation, the film does its best to make Jamie Foxx (Max Dillon / Electro) look like an unattractive nerd by giving him a combover, glasses and fake bad teeth. It's been humorously observed that the character actually becomes more subtle after turning into a glowing supervillain who flies and shoots lightning.
  • All of Robert Redford's crew in Sneakers except Sidney Poitier and including Redford.
  • An interesting case in The Fly (1986): Doomed Protagonist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is quite muscular for a scientist who doesn't get out much. Not that any of the female viewers are complaining, or anything! (The shooting script did have him as out-of-shape prior to the teleportation altering his body into something initially more attractive, a detail that may have been dropped because the film was Christmas Rushed.) But as William Beard's commentary on the 2019 Blu-ray points out, typically the audience doesn't notice how shapely Seth is until he teleports himself because his concealing Limited Wardrobe, expressive face, Gibbering Genius speak personality are holding their attention.
  • Wonder Woman 1984 has Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva, who is clumsy (she can't handle high heels), dorky (she wears glasses) and is apparently so unmemorable people can forget she exists even after talking to her at length. Then she makes a wish, and suddenly turns into... Kristen Wiig in a slightly different outfit! And the same haircut. The world's her oyster! Then she starts turning properly evil, and along comes the Evil Costume Switch.


    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 tends to have a 50/50 split between realistic nerds (fat Edgar Styles, frumpy Chloe O'Brian) and conventionally attractive ones, such as Morris O'Brian, a brilliant hacker and womanizing, alcoholic ladies' shoe salesman. As Chloe has become more popular with fans, her character has received far more makeup and hairstyling, which (atypically) brings with it an increased amount of attention from the opposite sex.
    • Perhaps pulled off successfully with Chloe, as while she's rather frumpy on the show, her actress, Mary Lynn Rajskub, is very attractive after being dolled up.
    • Chloe still got noticeably more attractive as the show went on. Compare her hair, outfits, etc. in a season 3 episode with her appearance in a season 8 episode and it's pretty obvious.
  • It could be argued that 30 Rock's Liz Lemon is an example. However, this is somewhat excusable given that the character is essentially a fictionalized version of Tina Fey, who also plays her. Fey says that "I'm really not that attractive. Until I met my husband, I could not get a date. I promise you it's true." This is lampshaded during the first season. When Liz leaves New York to visit Cleveland, suddenly people can't stop complimenting her looks.
    Jenna: "We're all models west of the Allegheny."
  • Downplayed but definitely present in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (particularly the first season), with resident science team Fitz and Simmons. While their occasionally naïve behaviour is generally put down to their sheltered lives before joining the team (they often act more like geeky teens/undergrads than highly capable military scientists in their mid-late twenties), it's also made clear that they're classic Hollywood nerds too: both are huge Doctor Who fans, for example. Fitz in particular has zero romantic experience or ability; and while in a deleted scene Simmons surprises Skye with the fact that she actually had quite a few boyfriends at the academy, she's just as dumbstruck and prone to awkward overcompensation around guys she likes as Fitz is around girls. (There's also the fact that they're obviously in love with one another, but don't even start to realise it for literal years.) This despite being played by undeniably gorgeous actors Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, who both easily attracted as many fan crushes as any other members of the cast, even when they were usually dressed in (actually quite flattering) sweater vests and the like.
  • Felicity Smoak in Arrow, played by Emily Bett Rickards, is pretty much the embodiment of this. Even her Nerd Glasses and persona hardly do anything in the way of covering it up, and the show doesn't even bother to pretend she's not stunning.
  • Austin & Ally: Ally Dawson, portrayed by Laura Marano. Especially during the second season.
  • Janine Kishi, as depicted especially by Aya Furukawa in The Baby-Sitters Club (2020) along with the 1990 series, was adapted from her nerdy and seemingly plain-looking counterpart in the original book series but in both tv series she is depicted as a pretty teenage girl with eye glasses and a rather simple fashion sense.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, the majority of the cast may be nerds, but they sure are attractive.
    • Leonard Hofstadter is short, bespectacled, and asthmatic, and has attracted more than 10 women in the series.
    • Sheldon, despite his plain clothing style and zany personality, is still considered handsome (especially when his hair is styled) and has had a fair amount of women (and a man) take interest in him, even though Leonard has attracted more women than him.
    • Howard's fiancee/wife Bernadette, who earns a Ph.D. in Microbiology. He is at first afraid to get into a serious relationship with her because she was "not Megan Fox in Transformers". Take a look at Melissa Rauch out of costume and these objections fly straight out the window.
  • Bones:
    • The show at least has the good grace to lampshade Brennan's looks.
    • Sweets? Yes please.
    • Squintern Wendell Bray is an absolute babe.
    • Just about all members of the Jeffersonian fall under this trope, with the notable exception of Angela, who inverts it. She's an emotionally intuitive, sexually liberated party girl Visual Arts major who often acts as The Heart of the team and is acknowledged as gorgeous by men and women alike, yet is also a top notch forensic reconstructor using software she made herself. (She minored in Comp Sci.)
    • It's telling that Carla Gallo, who plays the geeky, socially awkward Daisy, previously played a stripper in Carnivàle.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Most of the core cast of the show were supposed to be nerds and outcasts, but they were all sexy - most notably Willow, who was played by nerd goddess Alyson Hannigan (and her whippet-thin body) for the series. When Jonathan, a more "normal"-looking nerd, was introduced, he was rejected for friendship by Buffy for being too short. Thus, he never made it into the core cast.
    • In fact, they had a lot more unattractive Willow in the original pilot.
    • A special emphasis should be placed on Xander, the "unattractive" nerd played by the thoroughly Hollywood-looking Nicholas Brendon. Stick him side by side with David Boreanaz, the hunk playing Angel, and the two could easily be mistaken for each other. Joss Whedon mentions this in the DVD commentaries, stating that he knows that Nick is way too good-looking to be a social outcast, "but this is Hollywood, so get over it."
    • Another nerd outside the core cast, Wesley, fit the nerd stereotype increasingly less after he jumped to Angel. By the end of that series, after many rough experiences, he had changed dramatically. And he was a fine-looking man from the get-go, glasses or not.
  • CSI Verse:
    • The cast of CSI are supposed to be the police equivalents of the spods at the front of the chemistry class, but they're all good looking - one of them is even supposed to be an ex-stripper! Lampshaded in one episode where a television producer is walking through the lab and looks at the people working there.
      Producer: Beautiful people doing high-tech police work. There might be a series in this.
    • CSI: NY has Anna Belknap's Lindsay Monroe. Who herself was a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Vanessa Ferlito as Aiden Burn. (At least until the character of Jessica Angell was an even more Suspiciously Similar Substitute.) They also have Hill Harper's Dr. Sheldon Hawkes and A.J. Buckley's Adam Ross, both handsome guys with advanced degrees...just in different fields.
    • A rare In-Universe Lampshade Hanging occurs on an episode of CSI: Miami when the killer of the week, a cast member of a Jersey Shore Expy (and repeatedly mentioned to be incredibly hot), is discovered to have a Masters in Engineering from M.I.T., and is not the only genius of the group. Turns out that she got so mad with the rush of popularity that came with being a cast member (which she apparently had to sacrifice to get her Masters in record time) that she killed another cast member that was going to blow the Flock of Wolves secret wide open (because she was sick of having to pretend being a debauched bimbo, ratings be damned).
  • The title character from Chuck qualifies as one of the cutest of the Nerd Herd at Buy More. Aside from Chuck, and Anna Wu, the rest of the Nerd Herders generally live up to their name (especially Jeff). Lester. This is Truth in Television, Chuck and Morgan are played by actual nerds.
    • Averted with Bryce. When he was in college, he bonded with Chuck over text based computer games, and years after that, he could still speak Klingon, but he's also played by Matt Bomer and is very aware of his attractiveness.
  • Annie in Community.
    • Troy and Abed, too—while Donald Glover is undeniably hunky, Danny Pudi definitely isn't homely, either.
    • Justified with Troy, former Jerk Jock turned open Closet Geek.
  • Criminal Minds
    • Dr. Spencer Reid. The show tries hard to nerd him up with bad hair and clothes, but Matthew Gray Gubler is still sex on a stick. And to the show's credit, they never try to pass him off as unattractive (just overwhelmingly awkward); he has, after all, had two girlfriends during the show's run, and that's not even mentioning Ethan. Then there's Morgan's nickname for him.
    • Kevin Lynch, one of the shows main technical analysts could also qualify for this trope. The show's casting department seems to think a little pudge and bad clothing sense helps avert this trope. Kevin Lynch is played by Nicholas Brendan (aka Xander Harris, again in a "too hot for this role" paradigm.
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Dead", UNIT scientist Malcolm Taylor is a classic, with Nerd Glasses, a nasal voice, a shy personality and a passionate love for his gadgets.
  • Fargo's current (the only one for all we know) girlfriend Julia Golden on Eureka. She's a Hot Scientist (or research assistant?), but fits this trope better, because during one episode she kept yammering about how invisible she is and that she wants to be like Deputy Lupo. Not just living her exciting life, no, be as beautiful as her. Boo hoo!
  • Oliver in Faking It could pose for the page pic. He's a socially awkward good looking guy with glasses.
  • Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties probably counts, though his character breaks the stereotype in that he was never intended to be a 'nerd,' per se. He's a hypercompetitive, straight-A Young Republican who was also constantly chasing after girls (at least in the earlier seasons). Skippy on the other hand...
  • John Crichton in Farscape. Though it's justified since, being an astronaut at first and a refugee constantly getting into fist- and gunfights after the show begins, he would have to be in excellent physical condition.
    • Astronauts aren't necessarily nerds, though. As stated above, scientists aren't nerds and today not all astronauts are scientists. While shuttle pilots and other astronauts throughout the beginning of the space program typically had advanced degrees in engineering or hard-science fields they tend to fall into a usually non-nerdy class of folk: fighter pilots.
    • Crichton, however, was flying the test flight of his module because he designed it. This is why he's even able to deal with all that wormhole knowledge in the first place, he was a trained physicist from day one. He would still need to be in pretty good physical shape, though. Young Crichton in the Halloween 1986 episode seems to fit the bill a little better, even still.
    • Also, given the sheer amount of pop culture references Crichton drops, he is most definitely a nerd.
  • Dr Harrison Wells in The Flash (2014), as played by Tom Cavanagh, is an extremely handsome man even with Nerd Glasses and all-black clothes that hide his athlete's physique. However, he goes the entire first season with his looks never once being acknowledged by any of the other characters due to a combination of being confined to a wheelchair, being the resident genius science nerd, a complete lack of a social life outside of STAR Labs, and fulfilling the Parental Substitute role to most of the main cast.
  • Spinelli from General Hospital appears to be a type 1, though anyone who's seen Bradford Anderson outside the show will probably put him into type 2 range. Ditto for his short-lived Distaff Counterpart Winnifred.
  • Glee has a few examples of this, notably Rachel Berry, who although being a music 'geek' and a member of a host of nerdy clubs, is rather attractive. In-Universe, the reason for Rachel being considered uncool is her thoroughly objectionable personality. A more traditional example would be Artie, portrayed by former Boy Band member Kevin McHale, though it's less noticeable in later seasons. On the other hand, the trope is thoroughly averted with Jacob Ben Israel.
  • Good Omens: Newton "Newt" Pulsifer is a classic. He has nerd glasses, messy hair, is quite socially inept, and remains a virgin in his 20s (he'd never even kissed anyone prior to meeting Anathema).
  • Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar) on Greek straddles the types. His roommate Dale is a type 1, with a dash of southern hick. Meanwhile, his TA Max is a Type 2. He has good nerd-ish qualities, but he's played by Michael Rady. And he scores with Rusty's sister, who is a sorority chick. How many nerds (who aren't frat boys themselves) get to say that? Meanwhile, the Psi Phi Pi is a fraternity of Type 1's, which sort of begs the question of why Rusty didn't pledge to them.
  • On Heroes, Gabriel Gray was a withdrawn and lonely watchmaker who kept an eerily neat apartment stacked with books about anything and everything. Then he discovered Evil Tastes Good and Evil Is Sexy, and ditched the glasses and tweed.
  • iCarly played with this when Freddie brought over a fellow AV club member who the girls found so attractive that the whole episode was about their fighting over him. Freddie himself is also an example, especially in the later seasons.
  • Averted in The IT Crowd, where Moss and Roy generally show a mix of realistic nerd tropes.
  • The titular character in Jake 2.0, played by Christopher Gorham, is yet another TV geek who is 18 varieties of hot by any real-world standard. One can argue that the Nanomachines in his bloodstream are what give him a physique that could cut glass, but still ...
  • Luke Girardi in Joan of Arcadia although it may be more a case of personality than looks. He does get himself a girlfriend but it's another outcast. His friend Friedman is a more realistic portrayal physically and far more obnoxious.
  • Phillip from Kamen Rider Double is effectively a walking computer with very poor interpersonal and social skills, since he spent most of his youth in a lab. Most of his "nerdiness" seems to come from the unusual and somewhat effeminate clothing he wears, though that could be seen as an endearing quirk by some, and it certainly doesn't stop one of his partner's high school-age informants from developing a huge crush on him. He's also played by newcomer actor Masaki Suda, who looks like this.
  • Subverted somewhat in Leverage; while Hardison is a card-carrying, computer-hacking, WoW-playing geek, he's also a charming and outgoing conman, and he looks fine in a suit.
  • Averted in Lost Girl by Lauren, a smart blonde scientist who wears no glasses, and is socially accepted (though a member of a slave race).
  • Simon from Misfits is a geeky, friendless, sci-fi loving virgin who has zero luck with the ladies and gets bullied and ignored by everyone (particularly during season 1). And who do they get to play him? Iwan Rheon. Admittedly the show makes a valiant attempt to play down the actor's obvious attractiveness - he's constantly made up to look deathly pale and is forced to sport a horrendously unflattering hairstyle for the full duration. But still.
    • Oddly enough, it seems that Simon's geek stylings (such as they were) actually did fool a fair amount of viewers into believing he was unattractive. In the second season the character appears as a future incarnation of himself with tousled hair and no shirt on - cue a huge portion of the fanbase suddenly noticing the Mr. Fanservice. A few fans even asked who this new actor was, despite the fact that he was very, very clearly the same person with a slightly different hair-do. This may have been partly due to Iwan Rheon's impressive performance - he actually did manage to convey both "versions" of the character very cleverly, but looks-wise, very little had changed.
  • Modern Family: Alex Dunphy. It's a little difficult to believe any of Haley's comments about her having issues with boys when she's played by Ariel Winter.note 
    • Played with in one episode where Haley is shocked to discover that Alex has just as many boys after her, they're just not the same boys. They're the nerds.
    • This is only half the reason Ariel Winter had her breast reduction surgery in 2015.
  • Zigzagged with Mr. Robot's protagonist Eliot Alderson. He's successful with women, and people seem to like him, but he rarely trusts anyone enough to form a serious bond.
  • Parodied in NTSF:SD:SUV::. All the characters refer to the "nerds" as unattractive, despite being played by models wearing lab-coats and glasses.
  • Charlie Eppes (and thus the man who plays him, David Krumholtz) on NUMB3RS. And his improbably-good-looking computer/math/physics geek girlfriend, Amita.
  • Devi, her friends Eleanor and Fabiola, and rival Ben on Never Have I Ever are supposedly "unfuckable nerds" and an underdeveloped wimp who has yet to see body hair. All expectations go out the window once you see them.
  • Jess from New Girl. No one pretends she isn't pretty, but she still acts ridiculously awkward.
  • The New Normal: David is shown as having been a textbook example of this when he first graduated from med school and met Bryan. Played by handsome, well-built actor Justin Bartha, David was literally given nerd glasses, unfashionable clothes and frizzy hair in order to create the nerd look. Bryan is immediately smitten when David removes his nerd glasses, allowing an unobstructed view of his startlingly blue eyes.
  • Seth from The O.C.. He is supposed to be an unattractive nerd due to his social awkwardness and huge interest in comic books and science fiction. This doesn't really work since he's also sweet, funny, and played by the attractive Adam Brody.
  • The Outpost: Janzo is portrayed by a handsome actor, but frequently wears large spectacles, has messy hair, and is usually hunched over. Initially, he's also a virgin who has no relationships due to his poor social skills (but later this changes). Added to that, he seems possibly autistic and is highly knowledgeable of science.
  • Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation probably counts—he corrects people on their sci-fi references and even gleefully embraces his love of nerd culture (usually to deflect Tom's jabs at them), wears skinny ties and color-clashing plaid shirts with horrifying frequency, occasionally lapses into awkwardness, and one of his in-series nicknames is "Nerd". But most state auditors/city managers probably don't look like a guy who can model raincoats for GQ, and a number of female characters (Leslie, Leslie's mother Marlene, Shawna Mulwae-Tweep, and Mona-Lisa Saperstein, among a few others) have commented on him being "cute".
  • Portlandia deconstructed this trope in a sketch. It begins with an attractive woman in a bar, wearing glasses, talking herself up as though she were a geek. This is then interrupted by a real geek who proceeds to give a PSA about how real nerds aren't proud to be called nerds, and are hurt by people pretending to be nerds because they think it's cool.
  • Every season of Power Rangers with a geek for a Ranger (except a Cousin Oliver in season 5) suffers horribly from this, generally shifting between Calvin Klein-worthy Blue Rangers who just speak a lot of technobabble, to stunningly beautiful Pink Rangers who overwork themselves while on the job. Insert dorky glasses where necessary, on either gender.
    • The original series had both, only with the Yellow Ranger instead of Pink.
    • Amusingly, of the original MMPR cast, David Yost (the Blue Ranger) was built like a brick shithouse in spite of being cast as the "weak nerd" character. The costuming department tried very hard to disguise this fact, with varying levels of success.
  • Connor, the irritating Plucky Comic Relief in British scientists-vs-dinosaurs show Primeval, often makes cack-handed 'geek' references and is shown to be clueless around women. However, he looks like a cross between Johnny Depp and a young Rob Newman. His two best friends are more conventionally unattractive nerds.
  • Psych featured a character in one episode who was both. As a kid, he was a fat, UFO-obsessed geek who wore a wizard cape. As an adult, he'd dropped the pounds and hidden his geekiness from his hot wife, who he thought would disapprove of it, becoming a literal closet geek. As it turns out, his wife is also a geek.
    • Even better is the fact that he is played by Freddie Prinze Jr. who was the popular male lead in She's All That.
  • Sanctuary's Will Zimmerman is supposed to be a somewhat reclusive nerdy scientist. Robin Dunne, who plays him, is ridiculously attractive. There was a certain scene the first season finale that, while incredibly hot, strained the bounds of credulity: Will strips to his boxers to make the Invisible Girl, who has to get naked for her power to be effective, less self-conscious. Cue biceps and abs that VERY few real-life scientists have.
    • Henry's not half bad either, and the nipple/belly button piercings aren't exactly conventionally nerdy in any case.
  • In Shadowhunters, Simon Lewis is hiding a ripped body underneath his Jewish and Nerdy exterior. Also, in an Alternate Reality Episode the spectacularly attractive Isabelle Lightwood and Magnus Bane take on this trope in their parallel universe incarnations.
  • Rocky Blue in Shake it Up played by Zendaya Coleman
  • For a forensic pathologist, Emilia Fox's Nikki Alexander from Silent Witness is seriously attractive.
  • Loisand Clark Teri Hatcher's Lois Lane is occasionally socially blustery and overly focused on her job
  • Librarians Rebecca Romaijn's character is portrayed as having no life and being socially awkward
  • Smallville:
    • Clark Kent, the future Superman, and of course, the nerdy everyman who kept his virginity until he was out of high school, and folded into an awkward mess when a hot cheerleader was throwing herself at him. And he's played by an underwear model. Yeah... It's not so much that Clark's a nerd per se, in fact he's shown to be baffled by real-nerd behavior, he's just socially awkward due to having to keep the secret that he's got super powers and is an alien.
    • Chloe, who while for the first four seasons she's constantly playing the part of the nerdy sidekick and best friend, she ends up being a massive subversion. In the first few seasons, she has no trouble getting male attention, with two different Meteor Freaks, Pete Ross, and Jimmy Olsen all finding her attractive, but her main problem is that her attitude is rather off-putting to those who don't know her well. The Prom episode, however, reveals that most of the student body actually rather like Chloe, but a resident, though not-previously seen, Alpha Bitch (Smallville High has a lot of them, they all jut seem to be off-camera for most of it then end up dying or turning evil) picked up a strong dislike of Chloe and uses her rumor mill to keep people from befriending her, which also explains why her friends are stuck as outcasts too. Clark himself lampshades this by telling Chloe that "For years we've all been fighting to break out of the stereotypical roles that we've been forced into...and you're the battle cry."
      • "Allison (the actress for Chloe) was listed #22 among the 50 Sexiest Women in the Femme Fatales magazine in its January–February 2005 edition." Does any more need to be said?
  • The absolutely gorgeous engineer Trip on Star Trek: Enterprise, though his case is also justified by the nature of his job; being the Chief Engineer of a starship owned and operated by a paramilitary organisation whose role is somewhat analogous to the US Coast Guard presumably involves some minimum physical-fitness standards. Hoshi Sato counts as well, perhaps even more so as her specialisation is Xeno-Linguistics.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Samantha Carter is assumed to be one of the most intelligent people on the planet. She's also an attractive blonde. (Both of these were intentional on the part of the writers). Ah well, at least she dresses like you would expect from a military officer. Daniel Jackson fits the trope as well.
    • The show later subverted this in a Lower-Deck Episode which featured geeky scientists who followed every stereotype, down to the action-figures collection. The show also subverts this every single time it shows Dr. Lee.
  • Jennifer Keller (played by Jewel Staite) from Stargate Atlantis. Plus Carson Beckett, Radek Zelenka, Elizabeth Weir... Rodney McKay is somewhat less attractive, but he has his fans too.
  • Brian from Still Standing is both this and Camp Straight, which tends to turn most girls away from him.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Cody Martin. He may be geeky and school-obsessed, but he's definitely not bad looking, despite what other characters in the show (especially Zack) may say. In the sequel series, Bailey Pickett also fits this trope. She is rather nerdy and awkward, and she may have (according to London, anyway) poor fashion sense, but she's very attractive regardless.
  • Supernatural:
  • Teen Wolf has Stiles Stilinski, an awkward, spastic nerd who can't get a date for the first three seasons despite the fact that he looks like Dylan O'Brien.
  • Eric Forman on That '70s Show, though he's not a total nerd (it's referenced several times he's an average joe with rather pitiful grades), but he does have quite the obsession over Star Wars and is a square compared to his friends.
  • Cute, goofy computer geek and budding hacker Mac of Veronica Mars is a Hollywood Nerd in the grand tradition, and particularly owes much to ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Willow. Mac is not a stick figure and has the shape of someone healthy but who could perhaps benefit from more exercise and less sitting in front of the computer.
    • Ironically, played by the same actress as one of the nerds from Napoleon Dynamite, which is listed as an aversion above. Also, Mac is far from even chubby, never mind overweight - she's just standing next to the 5'1" stick-thin Kristen Bell most of the time. In the Josie and the Pussycats movie, Rosario Dawson looked like an elephant next to Rachael Leigh Cook and Tara Reid - just look at her in Sin City to see how not true that is.
  • Justin in Wizards of Waverly Place is a nerdy sci-fi geek who is absolutely attractive. During the big crossover he's dressed solely in trunks at one point showing that he has got absurdly well defined pecs and abs.
    • It would be interesting to point out that despite his nerdiness Justin has no problems with finding a girlfriend. Even the main character's best friend has a huge crush on him.
      Justin: "Why does everyone think I don't date? Remember the centaur, the werewolf and the goth girl?"
  • The X-Files:
    • Fox Mulder. His private life is nonexistent, he has a vast collection of porn, he sleeps on the sofa since his bedroom is filled ceiling-high with cardboard boxes, he throws pencils at the ceiling in his office to see if they stick, he spends his free time hunting aliens, and he likes theorizing about aliens or monsters from folklore in front of complete strangers. And yet Mulder is tall, fit and attractive, to the extent that in the episode "Humbug" one of the circus "geeks" sarcastically remarked how one day all the freaks like him would be done away with by science and society and everyone would be "perfect" and boring like Mulder. Being an active FBI agent, he would be required to occasionally pass some physical fitness tests. Mulder is one of the few TV characters shown practicing the kind of physical training which might lead to having a physique like the actor's; he is seen swimming laps in a pool, jogging and playing basketball in the gym. It may be speculated that the main issue with his social life is being a Conspiracy Theorist. Before Scully, he still had some relationships though-a female FBI agent is shown as being a former flame of his, along with an English policewoman. He also hooks up with a female vampire in one episode (or at least it's strongly implied that they slept together).
    • Mulder's trio of sidekicks, a team of tech-geeks and conspiracy theorists calling themselves the Lone Gunmen, are far less attractive and very bad with women. They have their short-lived spin-off The Lone Gunmen.
  • Quinn in Zoey 101. She gets a makeover later on in the show.
  • Played with with Ted on Schitt's Creek. He is the awkward, Kindly Vet that is portrayed as too nice for Alexis Rose but played by the incredibly handsome Dustin Milligan. Ted is not unattractive, but early on he's played as far less attractive than sexy, brooding Mutt. In later episodes, Ted's attractiveness is played up and Played for Laughs as nearly everyone notices he is incredibly hot, despite being incredibly nice.

  • Adam Ant in the early days of the Ants, when he wore glasses. [1]
  • Andy "Fletch" Fletcher from Depeche Mode
  • Fall Out Boy, especially in the video for "Dance, Dance". Nobody is going to believe these guys couldn't get dates.
  • John Lennon
  • Katy Perry in her video for the song "Last Friday Night". The makeup people did a pretty impressive job of making the extremely beautiful (and almost 30 year-old) Perry into a nerdy teenage girl complete with huge glasses and an elaborate set of braces/retainer. During the video she gets an extreme makeover that leaves her with a distinct resemblance to Kelly LeBrock.
  • Taylor Swift wore glasses for her music video "You Belong With Me". They utterly failed to make her look ugly; if anything, she looked even cuter.
    • For extra Fail Polish, the super-hot cheerleader she can't compete against? Her. Taylor Swift in a brown wig, with exactly the same eye shadow.
  • In the Tears for Fears "Head over Heels" music video, Nerd Glasses were put on Curt Smith and Canadian model Joan Densmore in an attempt to make them appear as a dorky library custodian and a nerdy librarian, respectively. However, Smith's prettiness is still very apparent (in fact, he liked the look enough that he kept the fake glasses on during a CBC interview), and Densmore's character is a Hot Librarian.
  • Rivers Cuomo from Weezer.


  • Elphaba in the stage versions of Wicked. Being dressed in a gray schoolmarm outfit with glasses, frumpy hair, and green skin to boot, does nothing to detract from the stunning beauty of Idina Menzel, or any of her successors.
    • Still, she's not ugly because she's a nerd, she's ugly because she's green. And though she has a beautiful face (and stunning body), she still has an unnatural color, and that's mainly why people are scared of her.

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger's Lucca is practically the poster girl for this in the world of gaming.
  • Metal Gear's Otacon was initially intended to be a skinny, perpetually nervous-looking geek. As time went on, though, he became more and more attractive, and as of the fourth installment he looks positively beautiful and easily the best-looking male in the cast (ironic as originally he had grey hair and was about the same age as Snake. With each installment Snake gets older and uglier, and Otacon gets younger and more attractive).
    • Otacon's sister E.E. in Metal Gear Solid 2. Portrayed as somewhat socially crippled due to her dysfunctional family and as a ridiculously brilliant hacker and scientist, and very cute too.
    • Paramedic is actually really cute too, and she's DEFINITELY a nerd (specifically, she's a movie geek).
      • She boasts of her looks in one conversation where she mentioned that men want her as she's intelligent and good looking to boot.
    • Lampshaded in the original Metal Gear Solid: Snake points out that he didn't expect Mei Ling, designer of his communications Codec and the Soliton Radar, to be cute.
    • Also, Naomi Hunter and Nastasha Romenenko certainly didn't look too bad either.
  • Ema Skye from the first and fourth Ace Attorney games as well as the Gaiden Game, Investigations. During the 10-year gap between her main series appearances she never loses her passion for forensic science. In her first appearance she was cute as a button, and as an adult in Apollo Justice she's still attractive.
  • Half-Life: Gordon Freeman. MIT grad? Check. Doctoral thesis with a hideously-long title about a topic that would bore Muggles to tears? Check. Theoretical physicist? Check. Nerd Glasses? Check. No apparent social skills? Check. Hot? Check.
    • Additionally, it is mentioned in passing that Black Mesa has a fitness program, apparently expecting its faculty to be in reasonably good shape, not just the security personnel. After Black Mesa gets cratered, the good Dr. Freeman is battling for the fate of all humanity alongside other refugees. Survival situations = fit scientists.
  • Shad from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Dresses like a dork (argyle socks? bow tie wider than a mile? implausibly high collar? and don't ask about the creepy buttons) and spends most of his free time studying an ancient race of bird-people, yet has a very large fangirl following thanks to his curly auburn hair, huge blue eyes, smooth skin and decently muscled physique. His participation in the Resistance movement puts him just this side of Badass Bookworm.
  • Tails from the Sonic the Hedgehog series fits this trope quite well. His mechanical expertise rivals Dr Robotnik's, and his cuteness is legendary.
    • In Sonic Chronicles, Rouge refers to Tails and Eggman's conversation as 'Nerd Speak'.
  • Zip and Alister in Tomb Raider: Legend. Even wimpy Alister has HUGE pecs. Lara even lampshades this when she asks Zip when he has time to work out. "I never see you leave this room!"
    • Lara herself qualifies, but especially in 2013's Tomb Raider. She's only a college graduate, but displays remarkable knowledge of the various artifacts she discovers during the game, wears an artifact she found on one of her father's digs (her own first find) as a necklace, and has an adorable enthusiasm. Information you learn later in the game reveals Sam needed to practically drag her away from her books to get her to go out, and that "adventures" to Europe's hot spots had Lara more interested by libraries and historical sites than the clubs, bars and parties. However even before Taking Levels In Badass Lara is an athletic and quite beautiful young woman, who showed no problems meeting guys whenever Sam could get her nose out of her books.
  • Backyard Sports: Reese is a nerd. And he's cute, too.
  • Rick Taylor from Splatterhouse. He has the look down, being The Smart Guy, into things like Mayans and heavy metal music. Others have even told him that he was dating a girlfriend that was out of his league, but they have a good relationship. Though once Rick dons the Terror Mask, his nerdy appearance is taken to a large and muscular one. He still has the whiny voice, though.
  • It's easy to forget that Resident Evil's handsome, confident, sexy-voiced Magnificent Bastard Albert Wesker is a brilliant scientist who actually created (or helped create) many of the viruses found in the series.
  • King's Quest's Prince Alexander is a straight-up Tall, Dark, and Handsome Prince Charming who tends to attract every single woman who catches sight of him. He also is a Sesquipedalian Loquacious nerdy magician who teaches University classes, writes textbooks and essays, does research, and has his nose in a book when not doing any of the above.
  • Landon from Chrono Days Sim Date actually used to be fat and unattractive when he was young, but has slimmed down, gotten contacts, and grown up into a Hot Scientist since then while keeping his shy and awkward personality. The game even lampshades this trope with a cheat code obtained from his best ending reading (sans spaces) "nerds irl dont look this handsome".
  • The ObsCure series, as a Genre Throwback to '90s teen horror, naturally has quite a few of these. The first game has Shannon, the Girl Next Door and A+ student who's good at first aid and solving puzzles and also wears a tiny and very flattering miniskirt, and Josh, a rather handsome and well-dressed teenage boy and School Newspaper Newshound who only looks dweebish when placed next to the muscular jock Kenny. The second game has Jun, a Gamer Chick who is portrayed as less outgoing than her sister Mei but is still plenty attractive. Mei herself isn't quite an example; despite being the hacker of the group, she's also the hot chick and Corey's girlfriend.

  • Doug from Fletcher Apts is rather scrawny but makes up for it with Puppy-Dog Eyes and Cute Little Fangs.
  • Gary in Ménage à 3 is probably more geek than nerd, but still illustrates this trope. He can pass as Nightwing on stage with no problems aside from his glasses, and even Zii, who regards him as a total geek and has him firmly friend-zoned, admits that he's attractive. One of his coworkers says of various female characters who he thinks are attracted to Gary, "Punk rocker chick. Big breasted amazon who gives assplay. Nympho Japanese girl. Gary is the luckiest guy on the face of the Earth." The funny thing is, those characters aren't interested in Gary at that point, but all eventually develop at least twinges of interest, as do others — and this has to be credited to his looks, because his social skills are geekily negligible.
  • Prettily thoroughly averted in Narbonic. Dave and Helen may be cute, but they're by no means conventionally attractive. Although Dave does become slightly more so as the story progresses, partly from Art Evolution but also in-universe as he matures and gains some self-confidence as he settles into his new job, and starts taking care of his appearance a bit better as a result.
  • Emily the witch in Our Little Adventure is dorky and somewhat awkward, but doesn't look half bad in her little magic school uniform here.
  • Most of the cast of Sodium Eyes are beautiful girls with very geeky hobbies.
  • Ruby of Sticky Dilly Buns is a slightly unusual nerd. She initially lacks any geeky features, until she develops an interest in manga and anime (specifically Yaoi), at which point she shows a talent for detailed study of technicalities. However, she’s still essentially a nerd; she privileges mental over physical or social skills, and she has no great interest in being sexually appealing. And yet, she's slim, with a good figure, and is described as a graceful mover; amongst other things, when she puts on a pair of designer jeans, she automatically attracts the attention of every passing straight man.
  • Billy Thatcher from morphE. A chess grandmaster who stars on his own reality television show. His looks are enough to woo the villain and make him a favorite captive from their first meeting.
  • Subverted in Freakwatch — while not necessarily unattractive, Jessica and Warren are hardly supermodels.
  • Bailey from Avialae wears Nerd Glasses, is socially awkward (especially around people he has a crush on), has next to no sexual experience, and enthusiastically rambles on about bird anatomy whenever given a chance. He's also quite attractive even with the Nerd Glasses on and has a ripped body underneath his clothes from being on the track team; even at the start of the webcomic when Gannet wants nothing to do with him, he can't help but admire his ass.

    Web Original 
  • This article is a highly critical look at the trope (specifically, it asks why Hollywood Nerds never end up paired with each other rather than the jock/popular girl of the day.
  • In the Whateley Universe, this is written as a partially Justified Trope: a relatively common superpower makes people really attractive, however the geeks without this power tend to look like believable geeks, and those who have it don't always have fashion sense.
    • So there are some; Bugs, Widget, Delta Spike, who are all abnormally attractive and some realistic ones; Mega-Death, Knick-Knack, Kew, etc. but mostly they're pretty bad like Make and Overclock, or worse.
    • There's also Spark, who started out "The Big Idea" as a Type 1 or someone normal, and ended the story a full-blown Type 2 due to some Applied Phlebotinum she built.
  • One of the things Cracked points out in "5 Things TV Writers Apparently Believe About Smart People" is how this perception, along with that of related tropes such as Hospital Hottie and Hot Scientist, has become ingrained in the public due to how Hollywood misrepresents what intelligence and study is like. That is, there's nothing inherently preventing an intelligent person from being physically attractive and it's a matter of course that people in fiction are more attractive than their real life counterparts in general, but TV writers top this by making most of their nerds complete masterminds in their late 20s or early 30s to make them appealing to the core viewer demographic (in other words, every smart adult person is a Teen Genius slightly aged up) and often making them multidisciplinary experts. The problem is that actual mastery of an academic discipline to an expert level takes years if not decades of work, with most not becoming leading authorities in their fields until much later in life. It implies that the Hollywood geniuses simply studied one field after another while maintaining enough time to maintain their appearance and get out of school young enough to be a hot Genius Bruiser. Very few works would actually consider the realistic ramifications of a youth spent only studying.
  • Anon: Chelsea is considered by herself to be and is portrayed as an awkward, unattractive, loner. In reality, Chelsea's actually very pretty, if not at least average but nowhere near ugly. To defy this further, Chelsea has at least THREE different guys chasing after her in the first two seasons alone.

    Web Videos 
  • James Rolfe, The Angry Video Game Nerd. When not in his stereotypical nerd getup, he actually looks quite robust.
  • The Nostalgia Chick. Team Nostalgia Chick member Elisa so qualifies.
  • How many guy-nerds do you know in real life can pull off wearing eyeliner (smudged or slatherings of it) like The Nostalgia Critic? Prominent in his review of Scooby Doo, with his younger self supposed to be looking dorky with spots, but is tanned, has a full head of hair and a tight shirt showing off Doug's muscles.
  • She very well might disagree, but MarzGurl definitely qualifies, as do her fellow TGWTG compatriots Allison Pregler and JesuOtaku. Also JO's fellow DesuDesBrigade member Vixen, and (for the ladies) Arkada.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Noah Antwiler. A nerd? Most definitely. Attractive? Yes.
  • That Dude in the Suede is a very attractive, well-spoken anime fan.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
    • Dr. Horrible is a nerdy mad - well, he's just a little miffed - scientist played by Neil Patrick Harris. Billy actually is considered attractive and likable in-universe (at least to Penny); it's instead his extreme shyness and insecurity that's the real problem. Apparently all of Billy's clothes were purposefully too big so that no one would notice that the nerdy loner is quite buff. It helps that he was contrasted with the taller and more muscular Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). That Billy wore a loose lab coat much of the time and Hammer wore a muscle shirt didn't hurt.
    • Penny. Captain Hammer says she has a nerdy thing going on and she's played by the real life gorgeous nerd Felicia Day.
  • Most of the characters in lonelygirl15 fall into this, especially Bree and Spencer.
  • In The Guild Codex (played by the aforementioned Felicia Day) and Tinkerballa are both quite hot. Zabuu and Bladezz are good looking as well. Vork and Clara on the other hand look the part of the nerd/geek stereotype.
  • This guy. Wait until he takes off the mask — he's pretty scrawny but his face is to die for. And yes, he plays the sinister nerd perfectly — especially watch his "lecture" and "analysis" videos.
  • The Naked Nerd. Granted, she works for "Naked News," which intentionally employs very sexually attractive women, but she could easily make most supermodels seem homely in comparison. Supposedly she wasn't always that hot, however, and if you see even one of her videos or read her blog, she more than proves her nerd cred. Also, if you read her blog, she mentions a few times that she has a fairly strict exercise and diet regimen that she follows.
  • Kelsey from The Secret Life of a Mermaid is The Smart One and Only Sane Man Deadpan Snarker and still manages to be an absolute gorgeous thirteen year old.
  • Linda Le, aka Vampy. Probably one of the most gorgeous geek girls you'll ever see.
  • Cookie Tuesday, the Only Sane Employee on Learning Town.
  • From the Honest Trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man: "Peter Parker was just an attractive, intelligent, likable, athletic, well-dressed teenage loser."

    Western Animation 
  • Tech E Coyote from Loonatics Unleashed is type 2. By Furry Fandom standards, he is very hot.
  • Velma from Scooby-Doo franchise. In the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Velma was decidedly plain — there was nothing particularly interesting about her face, her hairstyle was at best unflattering, and her sweater made her look approximately like a barrel on legs. Then, in What's New, Scooby-Doo? she was redesigned — her hairstyle and face were subtly changed, and her waist was pinched in, giving her an actual figure. Now she's kind of cute. From aversion to straight as an arrow in one shot.
  • The Simpsons parodied this in one episode where Schwarzenegger parody Ranier Wolfcastle stars in a movie called "Undercover Nerd". Worth seeing for one of the funniest Bond One Liners ever:
    "The geek shall inherit the earth!"
  • Peter Parker in every animated incarnation of Spider Man.
    • Gwen Stacey in The Spectacular Spider-Man definitely fits this trope. Huge glasses, grade-A student and REALLY cute to boot. (but that is until she became just like her comic book counterpart.)
  • Alphonso and Ferguson's D&D group from Star vs. the Forces of Evil are all stylishly dressed and attractive. With Alphonso saying to Marco that being a nerd isn't the stigma it used to be since he'd left for Mewni. This is Truth in Television since the game 'has' had a massive boost in popularity among 'normal' people in recent years and isn't such a niche hobby anymore.
  • Sam from Totally Spies! She's a bookish and studious girl, but also gorgeous and popular.
  • What About Mimi? has Herbert Finkle, a gangly, bespectacled, buck-toothed kid.

Alternative Title(s): Hollywood Geek


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