When the newly re-branded TLC (not that there’s anything we can possibly learn from that channel any more, full to the brim with shite as it is now) played the two half-hour episodes which explored the obviously ridiculous notion of geeks finding love with each other, I admit I had to record it; mainly so I could skip all the ads for Mob Wives and Honey Boo Boo (both of which I’ve heard all about from listening to the TESD podcast and do not wish to pursue further).
Now, as a fellow geek reading this, you know as well as I do that the producers had their Venn diagrams all out of whack, don’t you? These poor people with their awkward social skills and pretty shoddy costumes, wide-eyed and nervously sweating their way through these speed dates; they’re a sub-section of a sub-section. I feel they should’ve run a disclaimer before running each episode – WARNING: The following nerds do not necessarily represent the mannerisms and actions of Geekdom as a whole.
Of course, it just wouldn’t be as interesting for viewers if you didn’t have those oddballs. The Wookie fan, for example; if he didn’t spend his time practicing Chewie’s mating call then yes, it’s one less interesting thing about him. But because us geeks are considerate people who don’t dismiss others with one glance, we’re not about to write off the people in this programme because we’ve been there ourselves – maybe not all the way out there, but we can at least see the path they continued down from where we stand. I felt especially sorry for the girl whose mother was present for the initial meet-up with the Kevin Smith lookalike who was six years older; first dates can be awkward at the best of times but when you’re as shy and geeky as they were, why have your mother of all people there to ask weird questions while you walk around the convention floor?
The concept of speed dating is no doubt very daunting to geeks but, for these brave souls, dressing to show off their interests and displaying their geek credentials so proudly is exactly how half of them managed to pull in the first place. The two Mandalorians for example – that’s a progression point right there. “We are both dressed as the exact same race from the exact same fandom – let’s skip the life stories and save ourselves a minute.” It’s that level of sophistication which we can appreciate with fellow geeks – sliding a funny reference to a Simpsons episode into conversation will save me some time in establishing that you’re ‘cool’. But that kind of shorthand is incomprehensible to non-geeks. If you need a “Geek Speak” onscreen caption to know that ‘con’ is short for ‘convention’ then no, I don’t expect you’ll understand the more subtle nuances of geekdom any time soon.
Before the concept of Geekdom can be understood, it must be embraced wholeheartedly – not peered at through the safety of your screen in a lazy reality TV format. And certainly not by the people who brought you fucking Toddlers and Tiaras.