A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that King of the Nerds is a fairly clean-cut reality competition in which self-proclaimed nerds battle it out for $100,000 and bragging rights. Expect some cursing ("bitches") as well as bleeped F-words. Contestants engage in battles of wit, and praise each other for knowing about mathematics and physics. They also treat each other respectfully for the most part; as one competitor tells the one he's vanquished, "You were a worthy opponent." Parents will appreciate this, and the fact that almost half the competitors are female and not downgraded because of it. Nonetheless, there are some sexist messages, such as when a scantily dressed woman in a pink wig moves chess pieces in a "nerd-off" as the camera lingers on her behind.
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What's the story?
Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong, the instantly recognizable stars of '80s cult hit Revenge of the Nerds, are the hosts of KING OF THE NERDS, a reality competition to crown the biggest geek. Eleven contestants skilled in gaming, physics, geology, and the like come together in "Nerdvana," a house equipped with everything a nerd could need, and engage in "nerd-off" competitions to send home competitors until only one is left. That nerd will win $100,000, sit on the Throne of Games, and be crowned the biggest nerd of all.
Is it any good?
It's hard not to like a group of people who get excited over white boards: "You could use a piece of paper, but it's not optimal!" enthuses the thrilled-to-be-here Brandon, just one of 11 mostly charming contestants who get that the show's a goof and are just here to meet some interesting new friends and maybe win that $100K. Hosts Carradine and Armstrong look great and have retained their old charm; they keep things moving along nicely.
A large part of the thrill of King of the Nerds is watching smarty pants trying to impress each other. Most people don't consider your computer gaming ability or in-depth knowledge of Batman villains to be a threat, but here, it is. A meaner-spirited show would invite the viewer to laugh at these oddballs; instead, King of the Nerds shows how confident the contestants are in their abilities and that same oddness. This turns what could be one-note obnoxious and grating into something rather endearing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the word "nerd" means. Is it a nice thing to call someone? Why or why not? Are there other words that mean roughly the same thing? How are these words different from the word "nerd"?
Why do you suppose all the competitors on King of the Nerds are so young? Why would a show choose to focus only on young people?
Do you think the audience is supposed to like all the contestants? What about the way they're presented brings you to this conclusion?
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