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Lovable Nerd

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My poor insane son.

Somewhere at the three-way intersection of the nerd, the Dogged Nice Guy and The Woobie, there is a character who is, quite frankly, a huge dork. He is socially awkward, not conventionally attractive, and a failure at his attempts to win the pretty girl (if he can even get a complete sentence out in her presence). And we root for him, because he's just so humble and adorable in between his flashes of brilliance. He might be capable of heroics if pushed, but he is generally not the Badass Bookworm (at least, not yet). He's smart but generally only in the hard sciences or obscure topics, giving him a possible foot in the door as a tutor to The Heart or an assistant to The Hero. Will almost always be The Smart Guy in any team he's a part of, if not The Lancer. Often subject to geeky turnons.

For a lustable nerd, see Nerds Are Sexy. Has a high chance of being Endearingly Dorky. Often overlaps with Nerds Are Naïve, Science Hero, sometimes with Playful Hacker and Loon with a Heart of Gold. May be at odds with a Nerdy Bully.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Jou from Digimon Adventure is a definite qualifier. His special traits are "diligence" and "reliability", which don't much endear him to the cast(he has the only monster partner to routinely sass him) but make him one of the most popular human characters for trying his best to lead and protect the group in spite of their lack of deference to him. And he wants to become a doctor so he can help even more people.
  • Haruyuki "Haru" Arita from Accel World is short, fat, socially awkward, and gets beaten up by bullies regularly. Once he gains some self-esteem, however, he quickly reveals himself as a Determinator.
  • Pokémon the Series: XY: Clemont differs from Ash's other male companions by being an adorable, geeky inventor who is proud of his scientific ingenuity but incredibly humble and shy when it comes to his battling skills despite also being a Gym Leader. Not surprisingly, he sees Ash as a role model and is completely embarrassed whenever his younger sister, Bonnie, tries to get girls and women to marry him.
  • Sousuke Sagara of Full Metal Panic! develops something of a reputation as this at school (which is largely oblivious to his true nature as an elite mercenary and mecha pilot). Everyone agrees he's an embarrassingly awkward, hopelessly Chuunibyou military Otaku who doesn't have even the slightest chance of fitting in. Nonetheless, a most of those students are also not only surprisingly comfortable hanging out with him (even in light of the often disastrous consequences), but also get invested enough in his love life with Kaname Chidori that their First Kiss together has the entire student body as its audience. A number of factors seem to be responsible—his antics are generally seen as quite amusing to those not at the center of the chaos he causes; his closeness to the most popular but intimidating girl in school puts him in the same social circles without giving him too much jealous competition; and despite his overwhelming nerdiness, he's just as easy on the eyes as the School Idol his fellow students ship him with.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Flynn Carsen, the title character in The Librarian series of movies. His nerdiness is a big selling point... considering he's an action hero. Who has 22 college degrees. And who's also the biggest nerd in the world. And, oh yeah... he has an adventuring partner.
  • Dave Stuttler in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He can barely talk to the girl of his dreams, but HE MAKES MUSICAL LIGHTNING! (Sometimes he even uses a Tesla coil, too.)
  • Randy Meeks from Scream. Incredibly nerdy about films (especially horror films), but is overall a kind person and a loyal friend.

  • Waldo Butters of The Dresden Files. It's hard not to like the little guy, what with his cheery demeanor, polka obsession, and occasional flashes of pure awesome.
  • Sim from The Kingkiller Chronicle is a dorky cute bookworm and very probably the nicest character in the entire story.
  • Macdonald Hall: Elmer is the nerdiest student at Macdonald Hall, but while he avoids breaking the rules without a good reason, when he does see a good reason, he is also quick to volunteer to help out his friends with their mischief.
  • The Pure Mathematicians from the Murderous Maths books, a troupe of cheerfully eccentric, absent-minded researchers of the spectacles-and-woolly-jumpers variety.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The eponymous character in Chuck — at least before he starting Taking Levels In Badass. For example, the pilot quickly establishes that he hasn't been in a relationship in a while, partly due to his conversational awkwardness driving women away. Soon after, a gorgeous woman flirtily approaches him at his job in the "Nerd Herd" (the electronics support team of a big-box retailer) right before a desperate father seeks his help because he "recorded" his daughter's dance recital footage with no tape in the camera. Chuck promptly puts the beautiful woman on hold to save the dad's bacon by setting up a spot for the little girl to re-perform and re-film her ballet routine right there in the store. Fortunately for him, the beautiful woman thinks it's lovable, too.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Kato in Growing Up may start out stoic and difficult to talk to, but he turns out to be a charming nerd who's happy to share his interests in online games and tabletop RPGs if the protagonist befriends/dates him.
  • Otacon in Metal Gear. When Snake first meets him, he is a computer hacker and an otaku, and so terrified by recent events (particularly an encounter with Grey Fox in which Snake intervenes) that he has wet himself. And he is definitely Captain Awkward with Naomi Hunter in MGS4.
  • Miles "Tails" Prower from the Sonic the Hedgehog games. Child Prodigy, Nice Guy and Ridiculously Cute Critter all rolled into one.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Philly Phil from Class of 3000. Easily the nerdiest of the main characters, and also a total Nice Guy, to the point that even his attempt at impersonating Tamika is too awkward.
  • Edd (Double D) from Ed, Edd n Eddy. He's the smartest of the Eds, always polite and speaks in an intellectual manner. Not to mention, he can't talk to girls without stuttering. Even when Eddy's rudeness and Ed's lack of intellect sometimes annoy him to no end, Double D always comes through for them, even if it ends up being a recipe for disaster.
  • Dib Membrane from Invader Zim. He's a hyperactive nerd obsessed with the paranormal who is constantly bullied by his classmates and sister, is tragically misunderstood by his dad due to not sharing his dedication to "real science", and is perpetually at odds with Zim due to the whole "trying to take over Earth" thing. He is also easily one of the smartest and morally upright characters in the shownote , and despite his Blood Knight levels of obsession with taking Zim down, he genuinely has the best interests of Earth and its people at heart, even tanking a massive blow to his pride just to save his classmates from one of Zim's schemes.
  • Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She's a Badass Bookworm who starts the series as an Ineffectual Loner. Even after she learns to socialize she's still depicted as being organized almost to a fault and as a compulsive studier whose joy for learning is absolutely adorable. In one episode, she hosts a sleepover by reading a guidebook to slumber parties with (somewhat) successful results, in another she dresses up for Nightmare Night as an obscure historical character that no one recognizes (And is surprised by this), and in another she's so scared of bruising her study grades that she actually kicks off a moderately large crisis in her town.
  • Shani from Polly Pocket is a bit nerdy and socially awkward, yet she's also very lovable and is such a geek for science fiction.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sean is a Nervous Wreck with high intellect and hidden talents, yet he's also sweet and endearing, especially to Jet.