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King of the Nerds

Fairly clean-cut geek-fest competition, with a few curses.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.

Not applicable

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.


Some cursing: "Girls are nerds too, bitches!" Also bleeped cursing: "Oh, f--k!"


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?"

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Premiere date:January 17, 2013
Cast:Curtis Armstrong, Robert Carradine
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-14

This review of King of the Nerds was written by

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Parent of a 2 year old Written byNK17 February 8, 2013


OMG, i watched this in January and intended to hate it but it was very funny and it's true, nerd is the new cool, i luv Virgil, Ivan, Moogega and Genevive, there my fav's words like "b---h" "s--t" "a--hole" and "f--k" are used; there is some innuendo, it is rated TV-14 few episodes are TV-PG there are some females that are very attractive on this show and my GF says there are some attractive guise and some are very athletic and funny, people treat nerd like its a bad thing though... GEEZ
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byJimmy Jimmy March 20, 2013


Well this is a game so. People cheat each other and lie. To win of course so no role model. But still a funny show
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byhklover14 March 10, 2013

king of the nerds

They curse and violence with others
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing