A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Intelligence and craftiness is everything on King of the Nerds, a show where knowing how to recite many digits of pi is prized above looks and glamour. The contestants mostly treat each other respectfully, saying things like "You were a worthy opponent." Still, the show sends some sexist messages too, with women alternately praised and criticized for their looks.
Positive Role Models
Contestants are, to a one, proud of their intelligence and skills, but some are underhanded in the way they approach competition.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
This is a game show so the flirting and innuendo is kept at a minimum, but King of the Nerds does trot out a sexy game helper dressed as a "stripper cat girl" who bends over provocatively to move chess pieces as the camera lingers on her exposed underwear. The cat girl has a shirtless male counterpart, but he's not made as much of.
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Some cursing: "Girls are nerds too, bitches!" Also bleeped cursing: "Oh, f--k!"
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Products & Purchases
There's a lot of talk about computer games, like Halo, and comic books, like Batman. The show's hosts use iPads to transmit information to contestants.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the contestants smokes and is shown smoking; another contestant insults his intelligence because "how intelligent is that, to endanger your health?"
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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.
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.
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