Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hollywood Is Going To The Geeks

There was once a time when the nerds were the ultimate losers: fashionably-challenged weirdoes with bad acne infested complexions, terrible eyesight, teeth with braces and zero testosterone who normally got their heads flushed in the toilet by the school jock.

The nerds lived with their parents, drove uncool cars, had terrible taste in music and they never, ever got the girl. Mainly because they very much preferred to indulge in some light reading with the Biology textbook or arranging their exercise books according to subject and difficulty and collecting stamps instead of engaging with girls.

However for a brief moment in 1984, nerds got their chance to get even in the popular sitcom Revenge of the Nerds. But pretty soon, they were back at the bottom rung of society, to be laughed at and ridiculed for our viewing pleasure. Until now....

It's official! Geek is the new cool. Well at least on the screen. It seems the nerds and geeks are enjoying some sort of a renaissance in mainstream Hollywood be it cartoon shows, TV sitcoms or summer blockbusters. The nerds are taking the entertainment world by storm and people are loving it.
Don't believe me? Take a look at the popular Harry Potter trilogy based on J.K Rowling's novels which centers around Daniel Radcliffe playing the geeky boy wizard Harry Potter.
Featuring an adorable looking nerd as their front man, the trilogy alone is fetching a huge paycheck eclipsing the success of the Star Wars trilogy and the Bond trilogy. Not to mention making the girls going all weak in the knees.
Potter is not the only one enjoying the break, the nerds have moved on to conquering the blockbuster spectacle. First we had Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 1,2 and 3 where Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker is quite possibly the coolest nerd in film, a hapless, science-infatuated no-hoper who becomes an all-action, charismatic guardian of all things good in a super-cool costume
Then there was Bryan Singer's Superman Return featuring Brandon Routh who plays Clark Kent as nerdy to a T just as the character should be. Both movies as we all know received thumbs up from the critics and the box office
In the CGI-laden summer blockbuster Transformers, Shia LaBeouf’s wisecracking Sam Witwicky is a smart teenager and eBay nerd who can’t get dates and never gets invited to the cool parties but ends up saving the world and going out with the hottest girl in town
In Superbad, which is about two college-bound kids with the grand plan to get booze for a party in order to score with the girls of their dreams, Hill lights up the movie with his mischievous personality and crazy, hedonistic tendencies
Heder’s show-stealing performance in Jared Hess’ 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite as a listless and alienated teenager who helps his new friend Pedro Sanchez (Efren Ramirez) win the class presidency in their high school made him a star overnight – despite the fact that Hess had him wearing thick glasses, naff clothes and a horrible curly wig
In the hit Knocked Up directed by Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen is hilarious as the lead character Ben Stone. A of lead character slacker who is bent on cracking up get-rich-quick Internet schemes with his not so cool housemates, who ends up with the beautiful Katherine Heigl
From the silver screen to the TV screen, hit shows like Heroes has it's fair share of geeks like Japanese Masi Oka who plays the lovable Hiro Nakamura, the chubby time-traveling office boy who reads comic books and dreams of saving the world all day long. Oka's performance in Heroes had earn him a Golden Globe nomination in 2006.
Remember this dude?
Who could forget Jaleel White's portrayal of super geek Steve Urkel in the 90's indie sitcom, Family Matters. White's character spawn a business empire from clothing lines to doll collections all under Urkel's name. The show itself fetched a Daytime Emmy nomination.
Cartoons are also beginning to open up to the nerds. Shows like the Fairly Odd Parents have geeky Timmy Turner as the loser in society but has a set of fairy god parents to turn his luck around. The show won an Emmy in 2006.
Lisa Simpson in cartoons reigning heavyweight, The Simpsons is the intellectual, fast talking, eco-friendly daughter of America's most dysfunctional family. The show has lasted 19 seasons long and counting and has won 92 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe nominated movie under it's belt.
Lastly who could forget Spongebob Squarepants. The naive, slightly retarded sponge in an underwater city leads the 5 time Emmy winning show with a TV rating overshadowing established series like CSI and Desperate Housewives.

Well, there you have it. The geeks of showbiz. So why are geeks and nerds so popular at the moment when they are traditionally objects of scorn in movies? Well, with their intelligence and wit, it’s hard not to be seduced by their charms. And their rise to prominence can also be attributed to the audiences’ increasing apathy with the macho self-aggrandizement of the classic ladies’ man type. As trends go now, funny and clever – never mind weird – gets the attention. And the girl.

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