My favorite TV characters' nerdiest moments
As our beloved Ben Wyatt would say, nerd culture has gone mainstream. From comic books to fashion shows, what was once considered culturally uncool is certainly all the rage now. I can’t pinpoint where the phenomenon started, but it definitely gained momentum when James Franco (as Daniel Desario) played Dungeons and Dragons with the nerds in one of the last episodes of Freaks and Geeks (a show that openly embraced obsessive, fanboy misfits in its very title). Now, nearly every young adult on the planet can name a video game they love; movies like Lord of the Rings and Star Trek draw enormous crowds; and it seems like every show on television has at least one or two characters who represent the consummate geek in all us. So, in honor of Geek Pride Day, I thought I’d compile a list of some of my most favorite nerd moments in which a TV character became my fictional soul mate.
1. Emma Swan claims the best princess name ever.
In the season three finale of Once Upon A Time, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her hunky companion Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) accidentally travel back in time to the Enchanted Forest through a magic portal (if you are a fan of the show, you know this is business as usual). In a pretty obvious nod to Back to the Future, Emma and Hook must complete their mission and find their way home without irreversibly changing the future. This brings our heroes to an elaborate ball and when asked by a suspicious guard to identify themselves, Emma chose Princess Leia. The Star Wars fans among us swooned! Now, her unusual alias is probably related to the fact that she’s already met every traditional fairy-tale princess out there, but I like to think Emma also took the opportunity to live out a childhood fantasy of being one of the fiercest sci-fi heroines ever (well, until Return of the Jedi, but don’t even get me started). And if you’re looking for more overlap with George Lucas’ classic trilogy (let’s forget the prequels), Ginnifer Goodwin, who stars as Snow White, recently confessed to Seth Meyers that she is slowly forcing her Star Wars obsession onto her baby boy. Ladies of Storybrooke, you get us!
2. Sherlock Holmes says what we’ve all been thinking.
OK, there are simply not enough words to describe the love the whole world has for Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, our favorite high-functioning sociopath. There’s a Sherlock quote for every possible life scenario, but the one that sums up everything that is remarkable and fresh about the BBC’s interpretation of old Holmes was directed at Irene Adler, aka The Woman (played by the lovely Lara Pulver), who was the first to stump our beloved consulting detective. In this bold adaptation, Adler is inquisitive and formidable, completely comfortable with her sexuality and intellect. Throughout her first episode on the series, Adler spends her time studying Sherlock’s methods as he tries simply to figure her out, and as a result, a brilliant scene takes us into Adler’s mind palace, where Holmes essentially coaches her through an unusual mystery. An impassioned Holmes appeals to Irene, demanding that she look deeper with this infinitely beguiling words: “Stop boring me and think! It’s the new sexy.” Classic Sherlock! I’d like to think this is a mantra we should all adopt. Anyway, I could write about Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch all day, but we have other brilliant moments to get through, so we must move on.
3. Mindy Lahiri + Draco Malfoy = Perfection
Naturally it was hard to choose just one Mindy Lahiri moment from The Mindy Project, but when the good doctor decided to find herself a booty call, she tickled every Harry Potter fan with glee. Mindy asks her colleague Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) for advice about finding the ideal guy for such a fling and he responds, “The key, Mindy, is to find a man that you’re attracted to, but that you don’t respect, and you can’t see a future with.” Without missing a beat, Mindy blurts, “Draco Malfoy.” Although Jeremy is completely puzzled, I think I speak for us all when I say, we have your back, Mindy. We understand your forbidden lust for Draco, the Slytherin wizard of the Harry Potter universe (played by the adorable Tom Felton).
4. Ben introduces Leslie to Cones of Dunshire.
Have you ever discovered something so awesome that you just can’t wait to introduce it to your significant other? Has your partner ever met that enthusiasm with underwhelming complacency? This has happened to me probably more times than I can count, most recently when I tried to force my husband to watch Sherlock (but enough already about Sherlock!). Anyway, sometimes our partners just don’t understand. In season six of Parks and Recreation, the aforementioned Ben Wyatt has spent so much time creating what he believes is the best new tabletop adventure game since Settlers of Catan (which is saying a lot, because Settlers of Catan rocks). When he surprises his awesome wife, Leslie Knope, with his masterpiece, she is speechless and then shortly annoyed as he explains the extensive rules. In a series-wrap interview with Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler said, “We spent like six or seven hours shooting one scene about Cones of Dunshire!” And when we watch Adam Scott (Ben) list off all the cumbersome parameters and intricacies of the game, we understand how it could take that long. Every nerd knows that some of the best games have a lot of rules. One single D&D battle can take all night! And, evidently, I’m not the only one who thinks Cones sounded awesome—it even had a Kickstarter campaign behind it. Unfortunately, the campaign has since been cancelled (sad face), but you can still check out the goofy video its developers made here.
5. Dwight has a Battlestar Galactica-fueled mini meltdown.
In an episode of The Office entitled “Business Ethics,” Dwight (Rainn Wilson) proudly announces that he never wastes company time, and so of course our friend Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) accepts this as a challenge. A stopwatch in hand, Jim neglects his own work to observe an unrelenting Dwight, who spends the entire day absorbed in his job. Knowing what a fan of Battlestar Galactica Dwight is, Jim decides to initiate a conversation with Andy about the series, taking extra care to get every single plot point mixed up with other science fiction and fantasy-based movies, including Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. Poor Dwight has no choice but to endure this conversation, but the final jab lands when Andy asks if the new Battlestar Galactica is anything like the original series, and Jim replies, “It’s practically a shot-for-shot remake.” LOL! At this point, Dwight has the most composed self-destruction ever, exhaling deeply and crumpling papers—a meltdown of suppressed fanboy rage. We totally feel your pain, Dwight. (The Galactica remake has very little in common with the original series, one of the most notable differences being our favorite female fighter pilot, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. In the original series, Starbuck is played by a dude.) That’s a low blow, Jim. Low. Blow.