From giant crushing robots to Zombie Nerd-plunk, there was a lot of talk on this week’s King of the Nerds about death, destruction or the potential for critical mistakes. It got me thinking a lot about whether or not this week would prove to be a make-or-break point for each of the nerds’ end games – and how many of them might soon be regretting the choices they’ve been making. So continuing with the five-point model, let’s break down the latest episode by counting down its five POISON NUMBERS (ask Zack to explain what these are):
5 Titans Strong
Well, kind of. In a blind draw, Katie was forced to move from Team Titans of Rigel to Team Midas Touch Attack in order to balance the teams four to four (she was the very first to draw too, putting her luck on par with when Fabrizio won those tickets for the Titanic’s maiden voyage). But with the help of some pretty stupid moves from the gold team (we’ll get to those later), all of the Titans made it through this week un-stomped on by Nerdbot.
That being said, I don’t want to take any credit away from the Titans’ strong showing in the Nerd War. Turns out putting an iota of creativity and personality into a project will make it interesting and appealing, a lesson that Jack probably could have benefited from before he built his water softener robot. Nerdbot himself had very few qualms about their performance – he only criticized Brian’s taste in authors, and actually might have tried to seduce Chris’ robot. I hope if/when the teams write nerd anthems again, Nerdbot and Repairbot 747 will do a duet of Macklemore’s “Same Love” as the opening act.
4 Nerds Nobody’s Worried About – But Should Be
Something kind of interesting happened in the editing this week: Xander really emerged as the episode’s primary narrator. As my good pal @DawnsNerdyBread noted, this is probably because it appears as if Xander recently graduated magna cum laude from the Dan Gheesling School of Reality Show Confessionals. But Xander narrating this week’s action is the first real deviation I can think of, in either season, from the show’s typical M.O. of letting confessionals supplement the story rather than explicitly telling you that story.
It got me thinking that a few of these nerds are actually flying under the radar pretty well – not in terms of editing, but with how little they’re being targeted. Zack staying in Nerdvana is great for the show’s entertainment value, but the plight of Team Midas Touch Attack and the Titan vote-ins of weaker players for him to knock out in Nerd Offs shows a lot of the stronger players who excel socially are not being thought about right now.
The obvious next targets seem to be Zack in perpetuity, while Kayla is likely seen as the weak link on Team Titans of Rigel. But if anyone on that team has a brain (and I strongly suspect they do), they will pick off Xander, Brian, or Chris when the time comes to lose a Titan. And with a solid opportunity to try to get rid of Katie wasted, it’s likely she leaves before anyone gives any serious thought to Jack, a.k.a the nicest guy in human history.
3 Ghoulish Cameos
This one actually has nothing to do with the game, but it felt on theme with the idea of the past coming back to haunt you. If you kept a sharp eye during this week’s Nerd-Off, you might have noticed three familiar zombie faces among the undead that were devouring the Nerd-plunk game’s falling body parts. In fact, here they are getting their own confessional:
Yes, that’s Josh, Genevieve, and Ivan from “King of the Nerds” season 1 (What, was Hendrik too busy? I will continue to demand, nay, insist on more Hendrik until I’m blue in the face and become a zombie myself). Josh and particularly Ivan were both big into zombies so it was a nice touch to bring them back. It also pleases me whenever a reality show embraces its past, especially in this winking way, rather than try to run away from it whenever they feel it’s convenient. Seriously though, folks – let’s mobilize to get Hendrik his own TBS show.
2 Mi-STAKE Votes (Get it? I’m an English major so I like wordplay, I find it amusing and, okay, yeah)
Seeing Nerdbot crush Nicole on her way out of Nerdvana felt pretty good, considering I was hoping he would make a triumphant return during the end credits to berate her and Jack for not voting against Katie. I’m not going to try to argue that Zack isn’t worthless to Team Midas Touch Attack in Nerd Wars, but the decimation of that team means that far more than last season, the color of your cape is probably going to matter a good deal in the coming weeks. I know I said in the last blog that Zack is going to stumble eventually. But at this point in time, it would be my personal preference not to go up against the hot streak Zack is currently riding. Hey, speaking of that extremely loveable nerd…
1 More Glorious Week of Zack!
When I wrote last week’s blog about why Zack is such a great reality TV villain, I of course ran the risk of him being eliminated in this week’s episode and having to push back against people saying, “How can he be so great, he was only on four episodes?” But oh, praise the nerd gods, Zack doubled down on his lunacy this week. As an entertainment-seeking viewer, I don’t know how I could have lucked out more than Zack personally blowing the Nerd War for the gold team and the meltdown that followed. But then we got to the Nerd-Off, where his extreme mood swings actually made me, safely protected behind the glass of my television, finally fear for my own personal safety. He somehow managed, in one fell swoop, to become the biggest sore winner and loser this show has ever seen.
And if I could add a sixth reason to the list in my previous post of why he’s a great villain, it would be that we’ve now reached the point where Zack can’t even compliment people without making sure to add that they still fall short of his greatness. If I ever get roped into some team-building exercise where I’m asked to give someone a compliment, “you have more general skills than anyone basically except me here” is going to be my go-to line. In fact, I think it’s time I started modeling my entire life on the teachings of the prophet Storch. “Oh Zack, mighty god of alienation and cringe, give me the strength today to overcome any challenges I may face through a good, clean game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’”.
Sad to see Nicole go? Are the Titans of Rigel unstoppable? Are you still loving/hating Zack, or has your opinion changed? Let’s have nerd words in the comments.