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October 2, 2014

The Five: Most accurate TV geeks

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 18th 2005 9:37AM
The Geeks from Freaks and GeeksLast week, I listed the five nerdiest characters in TV history, and a lot of you responded with your favorites. But some of you made a point: TV nerds tend to be written in an over-the-top manner, with higher pants, more tape on the glasses, and louder snorts than the nerds we ecounter every day (or the nerds that we are currently).

As if on cue, Slashdot.org has put up a poll asking its users, all experts in the world of geekdom, who the most accurate TV geek is. Some of the choices, like Urkel, correspond to our previous list, but others are more surprising. I won't tell you folks how I voted, but if I were making that list, here are my five -- well, actually, eight --  most accurate geeks, in no particular order:

  1. Bill Haverchuck, Sam Weir, Neal Schweiber - I put the three geeks from Freaks and Geeks in the same item, because they all complement each other and kind of combine into one uber-geek. Neal is short, wears plaid shirts, acts like an arrogant jerk at times, and thinks William Shatner is a fantastic thespian. Bill has the big glasses, the overbite, the post-nasal voice, and the breathing problem. He just kind of hovers over everything. Finally, Sam is the quiet geek who gets picked on and takes it, is a little small and skinny for his age, but is really just shy. They all love science fiction and they all lust after the cheerleaders. But they never get anywhere (except Sam... a little). Now, who didn't know at least one person who was like each of these three guys?
  2. Willow Rosenberg - She was one of the "Scooby gang" on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "the only Jewish member", BuffyGuide.com points out in their bio of Willow. She was good with computers, had a secret crush on her childhood friend Xander, and she was able to put her flute in her.... oh, wait, that was Band Camp Girl from American Pie. Oops. I wonder why I confused the two? Anyway, Willow was an adorable little geek... until she became a witch. Then she became a lesbian. By that time, her geekdom was long, long gone...
  3. Felix Unger - Of course the "better half" of The Odd Couple was a geek: he had a less-than-manly job (although he worked with models... not bad). He was obsessively neat. He had sinus problems that made him honk like a goose. He overthought and overexplained his way through every situation to the point where anyone around him -- and Oscar, of course -- wanted to throttle him. Oh, and he hated any sport that wasn't tennis. If some fictional doctors gave Frasier and Niles Crane DNA testx, the brothers might have discovered that Felix was their real father.
  4. Fox Mulder - As handsome as Agent Mulder was, he was as geeky as geeky could be. The hero of The X-Files was obsessed with aliens and with the government conspiracies that surrounded them, to the point where nothing else in his life mattered. True, he felt that these aliens abducted his sister when he was a kid, but Mulder got to the point where, if he wasn't in the FBI, people would have thought he was crazy. Heck, he had the lovely and single Scully at his side for nine freakin' years and couldn't pull the trigger (well, they kissed a little.  That's it). Now that's a world-class geek.
  5. Paul Pfeiffer - Kevin Arnold's best buddy on The Wonder Years, Paul was your average run-of-the-mill geek. Big clunky glasses. Bad teeth. Big nose. About as coordinated as a giraffe on stilts. Unlucky with the girls. But he was also a loyal friend, a nice guy, and a smart kid. And, at some point, he discovered contact lenses, and as happens with most geeks, shed his nerdliness and got himself a woman. And, no, the actor who played Paul, Josh Saviano, did not grow up to become Marilyn Manson, so stop asking.
Who is your favorite but real geek? Let us know in the comments.

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Andrei Freeman

You should all be ashamed. Dr. Samuel Becket, who founded and still is trapped in project Quantum Leap. I mean, how many doctorates did the man have :?)

November 20 2005 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lis

I'm surprised nobody's bothered to mention the math prof in Numb3rs...

November 19 2005 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lis

I'm surprised nobody's bothered to mention the math prof in Numb3rs...

November 19 2005 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Haunt

Umm... why isn't Seth Cohen from "The OC" on here? The show itself is... not terrible. But the character of Seth is spot-on perfect geek material. In fact the only POSSIBLE better #1 choice is the geek trio from "Freaks & Geeks" (so good on ya for that), but he should be on your list somewhere, certainly above Felix Unger. Oh, and speaking of geek trio's, the Troika (Warren, Andrew and Jonathan) from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" deserve a place on this list too.

November 19 2005 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Tsk. Jerry from Parker Lewis Can't Lose should be making these nerd and geek lists.

November 19 2005 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

my favorite moment of Mulders porn obsession is when he switched bodies with the guy from Laverne and Shirley. The first morning in the switched body when he sleeps on the chair watching porn. Classic.

November 18 2005 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

Actually, Mulder and Scully had the baby the old fashioned way...sex! And yes, he had an obsession with porn.

November 18 2005 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evadne

I could be wrong, but I think the artificial insemination didn't take, and they hint that Scully eventually got pregnant the old fashioned way. But I think this storyline was a muddled casualty of the suckiness of the final seasons of the show.

November 18 2005 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Go back in time for the original geeks. Ralph and Potsie from Happy Days were geeky way before geeks ruled the airwaves. The jury is still out on whether Richie was a geek. He had the geek characteristics, but he dated many different women, and joined the army, so I don't think he qualifies.

November 18 2005 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mattjh

Personally I don't believe Mulder to be a true geek. Geeks might take an interest in the topics he was obsessed with, but his obsession, spawned as it was by his own sister's abduction, was a personal crusade for the truth. That persuit of the truth meant that he wasn't really in control of what issues he took an interest in.

November 18 2005 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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