Perhaps I spoke too soon.
There was one key point I wanted to get across in last week’s comedy-sketch-disguised-as- blog: Katie going home ultimately meant nothing in terms of predicting the end of the season. Team Midas Touch Attack still lost that Nerd War, and managed to get rid of the only person who was responsible for them getting any points in the debate. That left Jack and Zack, the two least successful players in Nerd Wars this entire season, going up against the unstoppable Titans of Rigel – or as I like to think of them, the “King of the Nerds” equivalent of the 2014 Canadian Olympic women’s curling team.
Usually it’s annoying to be wrong all the time, but the switch finally flipped for me and oh, what an enjoyable victory that was for Midas Touch Attack. Like a live-action and slightly less sociopathic version of Cartman and Butters from “South Park,” Zack and Jack proved to be a halfway decent partnership, if only because Jack is a good yes-man. Oh, and they can thank a number of colossal blunders on the purple team for helping propel them to victory as well.
And so like the laser maze that trapped George Takei in this episode, I’m going to be handing out some penalties to the Titans of Rigel. Now believe me, I’m not intending to sound like I could have played this out better – I love this show but legitimately believe I would do terribly on it (The five-digit solution to the math problem that unlocked the cell? Yeah, I got “40.”) It’s just that watching that team, particularly Chris (rest in nerd peace), blunder what should have been a cakewalk was really something to see. Aren’t you guys supposed to be a lot smarter than this?
To the penalties!
INFRACTION: Instigating (poorly)
I had some conflicting opinions about Chris’ “mind games” this week, but I think the grade I’m settling on is “B- for idea, F for execution.” He went about it all wrong– both Zack and Jack were left far more confused than intimidated by what basically amounted to nothing but a half-hearted guilt trip. Where were the passion, the energy, and the heart, Chris? You’re not going to be the next McConaughey unless Curtis ever gets around to opening his nerd acting school. But his critical mistake was really this: yes, rattling Zack is easier than getting Bacon to say his own name; but when has Zack ever let that affect his performance in a challenge?
WHO BENEFITS: Team Midas Touch Attack, of course. Chris said it even better than I could have: turns out all those mind games had the opposite of the intended effect, only pushing Zack and Jack closer together as the scrappy underdogs. And unlike the last time when I ridiculed Zack for embracing that role, this time I think he’s probably entitled to it.
PENALTY: Chris will be forced to learn how to actually mess with someone’s head by watching the big fight between Hurricane Howie and April “Busto” (who, ironically, was part of the “Nerd Herd”) from “Big Brother 6.” Normally this would be a reward more prized than a Pizza!Pizza! Party, but the version Chris will get will repeat the clips of April crying on a one-hour loop at the end. At a volume that’s just a little bit too loud.
INFRACTION: Delay of game
Sure, as kids we all learned from “The Tortoise and the Hare” that slow and steady wins the race. But you crank that dial a little further to the left and “slow and steady” becomes “overcautious and frozen.” Jack took some big gambles going through the maze that Brian never came close to attempting. I don’t have access to the rules the contestants had, but I feel like even if you took a big jump and broke the path of a laser, the time penalty you would incur would mostly be offset by the ground you covered.
WHO BENEFITS: Us as viewers, because the more time George Takei gets to be on screen, the better. You have to give the guy credit, he’s game for pretty much anything. The downside of such a trait, though, is that he’s become involved with some pretty embarrassing projects (who could forget the Emmy Award-eligible reality series “Secret Talents of the Stars,” cancelled by CBS after one episode?). So I understand why not everyone is banging down his door offering employment, but they should be! All we have to do is find him the perfect partner for #TrueDetectiveSeason2.
PENALTY: Brian will be forced to complete a task that takes about as long as it would have taken for him to complete the maze – watching the entirety of CBS’s “Secret Talents of the Stars” on YouTube. Whoa, is that Danny Bonaduce on a unicycle? No, it’s Ben Stein dancing the jitterbug! (Bonaduce comes later.)
Kayla and Xander
INFRACTION: Illegal formation
So put yourself in Brian’s shoes: you’ve been tasked with maneuvering your way through a laser maze, wearing goggles that make it impossible to see any of those lasers. Only one teammate can guide you through the maze. And you find yourself being directed by…the softest, slowest, and most monotone speaker on your team. Obviously Chris was yelling to try and direct Brian. Chris was trying his best. But Chris on his most ebullient day is still probably less than half of the energy we would have seen had Kayla or Xander been at the wheel. As a hypothetical purple player, I’d have been 100% on board with Brian as the right Titan to navigate the maze. I would have also worried that, with Chris at the helm of communication, we were about to be sunk.
WHO BENEFITS: Kayla’s vocal chords, I assume. For some reason I just can’t imagine her not screaming directions at Brian. If it had required her bullying him into not just standing still, that’s what it would have taken to win.
PENALTY: Kayla and Xander will be sent to Times Square, where they will direct traffic during a blackout. They had their chance to make this easy.
INFRACTION: Face mask
Yeah, they tried to make it look like it was the early morning and everyone was just waking up. But the real reason Brian wasn’t wearing his glasses was because that over-aggressive Bacon had just pulled them off his face. Not cool, Bacon.
WHO BENEFITS: I don’t have anything even remotely real to put here, so let me just take a minute to praise the editors of “King of the Nerds”. Even in what should just be throwaway shots, they throw in all these audio and visual Easter eggs for the viewers, and this week they really outdid themselves: the dogs howling at Xander singing, Kayla’s list of Star Trek idols, the Titans’ fake news broadcast, or the way the score boxes in the Nerd-Off used the Blue Screen of Death to create suspense (go back and read the text in those, by the way – it’s pretty funny). There’s a Primetime Emmy category for picture editing in a reality show, and man, these guys deserve a nomination at the very least.
PENALTY: Bacon will be cut up into small pieces and sprinkled on top of the Wednesday lunch special at your local Little Caesar’s. Bite bite, sip sip!
And with that, no more teams! Excited about our final five? Who do you want to win? Talk nerdy to me in the comments!