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Series / King of the Nerds

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A Reality Show that debuted on TBS in 2013. The show is centered around a group of contestants, each an archetypal example of a Nerd or Geek, competing in a weekly series of challenges related to nerd/geek culture, with the ultimate goal of winning $100,000 and becoming the titular King of the Nerds. Hosted by Robert Carradine Curtis Armstrong.

The contestants all live together in a small mansion called Nerdvana. At the beginning of the season, they are divided into two teams, Orange and Blue. Each episode, the teams compete in a challenge called a Nerd War. The losers must then send two of their own into another challenge, known as a Nerd-Off — one participant is selected by the losing team, and the other by the winners. The loser of the Nerd-Off is then sent home. Once the competition is whittled down to five finalists, the teams are dissolved, and it's every man for himself. In the end, only one of them may sit upon the Throne of Games, and be crowned King of the Nerds.

The show was cancelled after completing its third season.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Actor Allusion: In some episodes, Curtis would wear the Jerk Shirt from Dan Vs., which he voiced the eponymous character.

  • The Cameo: The contestants from season one briefly return for a season 2 challenge as zombies. The hosts even deliberately note that they "look familiar".
    • Contestants from both seasons one and two appear in the premiere of season 3's intro, showing them hiding the Throne of Games away.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Them specifically showing the scene of Zach teaching Jack to spell Kashyyyk in preparation for the nerd war. Guess what word he spells to eliminate Katie.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Brandon vs. Danielle in episode 3 of season 1.
    • Genevieve vs. Alana in episode 4 of season 1.
    • Ori vs. Jacob in episode 1 of season 3.
    • Kaitlin vs. Todd in episode 3 of season 3.
  • Elimination Statement: As they are sent off, Curtis will give them a small speech praising their talents, and bidding them to use their skills "back in the real world".
  • Every Episode Ending: Each episode concludes with the eliminated contestant marching out of the mansion, as they narrate their last goodbyes and wistful music plays . . . until one of the hosts taps an iPad, obliterates them the moment before they set foot off the property, and makes a cheesy pun about it.
  • Fun with Subtitles: A conversation between Jack and Kelsey in Mandarin is subtitled as "Something in Chinese. I don't know, I'm just the editor".
  • Game Over: The Every Episode Ending concludes with a shot of the screen in Nerdvana with the losing player's cartoon portrait. It fades to greyscale, overlaid by this message in the style of The 8-bit Era of Console Video Games.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: In the season finale of season 1, the eliminated nerds got to come back and vote on which of the two finalists will ascend to the Throne. This was... controversial among the fandom, as many felt it was a "popularity" contest. The producers agreed and decided to change it for season 2.
  • Large Ham: Both teams indulge in this for the volcano presentation in Season 2, although the Titans of Rigel are especially hammy
  • Manipulative Editing: A staple on reality shows, but the contestants have spoken about some circumstances in this show: for example, Danielle from the first season said that they showed the worst parts of her and made her come across as far worse than she actually is, and Nicole in the second season pointed out that, for the nerd-off votes in the episode where she was eliminated, it was edited to imply that she betrayed Zack and voted for him, even though she did not.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Nerd-Offs occasionally have attractive shirtless men helping with the challenge; for instance, the minotaur in season 3 episode 2 is particularly commented on by the contestants.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Played straight in the Nerd Anthem contest in Season 1. Averted when a drunken Moogega and Danielle are obviously horny but neither of the guys are going for it.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the semifinal season 2 episode, Xander decides to try and stay safe by coming to Kayla and Brian due to the former having immunity and voting power, telling them that he has set up "Xander Bombs" - as in, if he gets voted for, he will make something bad happen for whoever votes for him. Kayla has an Oh, Crap! moment when he mentions this...and then turns it around on him by pointing out that, by coming to her with a rather threatening "proposal", he made her even more likely to pick him when she wasn't going to before.
  • Picked Last:
    • Invoked in the very first episode, when the teams are chosen — there are only eleven contestants at the start, meaning that the last one is singled out, suffering every nerd's worst nightmare. However, it's subverted when it turns out that "there is nothing nerdier than being picked last", and the "loser" is given protection from elimination and the power to choose the team that wins the Nerd War.
    • A twist occurred in season 2: They had the singled-out person vote on whose place they wanted to take, and that person would be sent home.... but wait! The only thing nerdier than not being picked, is to be rejected by the person who wasn't on a team to begin with! So that person got to choose which team won the Nerd War.
  • Product Displacement:
    • Apparently they weren't allowed to call their soda "Mountain Dew" in season 2, so, according to two of the girls, they personally called it "green caffeine" and "green coffee". The soda bottle also noticeably has the label torn off.
    • Some challenges are essentially real games (Kerplunk, Stratego) that are given their own names and Nerd-ified; one of the nerds even pointed out in season 3 that it looked like they were trying to avoid breaking copyright with the Stratego-like challenge, "Pocket Nerds".
    • For some reason in the first official upload of "Talk Nerdy To Me", they censored out the "Star Wars" mention.
  • Product Placement: You know, while we're deciding who we should vote into the Nerd-Off, why don't we eat some delicious Little Caesarâ„¢ pizza? And then work on stuff in the RadioShack room!
  • Scenery Porn: Totally. Every inch of Nerdvana is some sort of nerdy reference, and/or just an awesome place to hang out (candy wall, for instance.)
  • She Is the King: Even female winners are referred to as "King". Both the winners of season 1 and 2 were female.
    • This is even mentioned in the first episode of season 3, when the girl contestants decide to form an allegiance and keep all winners female. It doesn't work, in the end.
  • Shout-Out: Happens all the time, naturally, since this is a show that revolves around nerd culture.
    • The Throne of Games, a reversal of Game of Thrones, is itself visually reminiscent of the show's Iron Throne.
    • The "gladiator" from the first episode (played by the son of Lou Ferrigno) is dressed in a fashion nearly identical to the Spartans of 300.
    • Special mention goes to the Nerd Anthem competition, where they were supposed to write a song that celebrated nerddom including plenty of shout-outs. The end result: "Talk Nerdy To Me" and "Nerds are King".
    • The RadioShack room in season 2 is inside the TARDIS.
  • Special Guest: Judges have included Biochemist/actress Mayim Bialik, Jon Heder, Bill Nye "The Science Guy", Kevin Smith, and "Oh My" it's George Takei.
  • Steampunk: Was supposedly Team Blextrophy's theme for the cosplay competition. Opinions vary on how successful they were.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: It gets noted in Season 3 that whenever a contestant is confident enough for the Nerd-Off that they don't bother preparing for it, they usually end up losing.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: In season 1, Danielle wins a challenge with physics information from 9/11 conspiracy blogs.
  • There Can Only Be One: There is only one King of the Nerds!
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The end of SFO's "Nerds Are King" song is the line, "This is Fortune 500, bitch - now I'm your boss!"
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Said word-for-word by Ori during a challenge where they had to reach into a container of live snakes to retrieve an item. It makes him hesitate long enough to lose some ground.
    • Justified because it was an Indiana Jones-themed challenge (the two competitors were even dressed in trenchcoats and fedoras for it).