15 Most Stereotypical Depictions of Nerds



First off: Topless Robot readers are all sophisticated, cosmopolitan people. They are all brilliant, classy, attractive, well-adjusted social members of society. Topless Robot readers are the Cristal of internet readers.
And you are nerds.

That’s fine. Being a nerd no longer means that you carry a pocket protectors and have taped glasses and no social skills; unfortunately, no one has seemed to alert mainstream pop culture of this. It’s still portraying nerds in movies and TV shows as the old stereotypes still hold true. Admittedly, some nerd portrayals are more accurate than others, but none of them are doing real, regular nerds that can actually function in society and maintain eye contact with the opposite sex any favors. In no particular order, here’s 15 of the worst offenders.

15) Napoleon Dynamite

Sure, his star has faded after the billionth “Vote for Pedro” shirt and bobblehead, but his combination of fashion, interest in the Loch Ness Monster, 4-H, and enthusiasm for nunchucks actually made the world love nerds a little more. John Heder’s been trying to shake that image for years now. Just make a damn sequel already, gosh!

14) Mort Goldman

Now, as we all know, not every nerd is a hypochondriac. But when you spend a lifetime surfing the internet (or in Mort’s case, as a pharmacist), you can imagine that you’re catching every disease known to man. Not only is he a hypochondriac, but he’s whiny, bespectacled, and has awful red hair, which adds up to one of the biggest nerd stereotypes in history. AND HE REPRODUCED.

13) Wesley Crusher

When you’re writing a character in science fiction that you want to be a stand-in for your dorky self, it’s called a “Mary Sue.” Wesley was the writers’ Mary Sue, simultaneously doing all the awesome sci-fi stuff that fans wished they themselves could do, while being an out-of-it virgin who everyone picked on. Celebrities of the future! They’re just like us!

12) Comic Book Guy

Funny story: I was at a restaurant a few years back and sitting at the table behind me was Comic Book Guy. It was like he stepped out of Springfiel; he was wearing the shorts, the ponytail (bald on top, so it was technically a “skullet”), the awful beard, and the t-shirt. And he was fat. Now, people like this do exist, as every body type does somewhere in the world. What really set him apart from those guys? I overheard him bitching to his friend about Magneto.

11) Samuel “Screech” Powers

Life off-screen mirrors life on. Screech was the lovable nerd in Saved By the Bell and all its early and later incarnations. In 2001, after the show ended, he made a video that taught people how to play chess better. Then he made a sex tape that made everyone hate him. Still, Screech was a pretty successful nerd, going to college and working at the beach and all. He even dated Tori Spelling’s character. What’s Dustin up to now? Wikipedia has him cast in a 2011 “Untitled Tetherball Comedy.”

10) Morgan Grimes

Buy More employee Morgan Grimes embodies the nerd qualities of “unhealthy obsession with girls” and “would rather play video games than interact with those girls.” People like to say that Chuck is about a nerd who gets secret agent knowledge, but compared to Morgan, Chuck is the Fonz. Hell, he’s the Fonz plus Marlon Brando in The Wild One.

9) Seymour Krelborn

Rick Moranis, part 1. Seymour gets the hot girl at the end, but that’s mostly because everyone else in the city is eaten by a plant. The rest of the time, he’s living in a basement apartment, reading books about plants. For some reason, he’s followed by a female doo-wop group, while he shops for plants. Little Shop of Horrors is the classic “nerd makes good” story, and he’s a rare breed of nerd — the herbology nerd.


8) Louis Tully

Rick Moranis, part 2. For many of, Rick Moranis’s acting career was a gateway to nerd-dom. If you weren’t a theater fan and saw Little Shop, you may have seen him act nerdy in Spaceballs, My Blue Heaven, or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, where he shrinks kids. My money is on you seeing Ghostbusters, where he plays the most stereotypical nerd accountant ever. His character gets to bone Sigourney Weaver (and later, Annie Potts), so don’t feel too bad for him.

7) George McFly

Thanks to the wonderful film Back to the Future, we saw the entire process of nerdy George McFly falling in love and becoming a man by punching out Biff. See? In the real world that is Hill Valley, nerds can totally win. Thanks to a little confidence, and the phrase, “Hey you, get your damn hands off of her,” George McFly’s future completely changed and he became less of a nerd. In an alternate future, of course.

6) Sheldon Cooper

Big Bang Theory‘s Sheldon Cooper is the classic definition of “sperging out of control.” While non-nerd fans of the show might think Sheldon is “quirky” and “funny,” the rest of know at least one person exactly like him who pops up at the videogame store to complain about level design to a poor clerk, or shows up every Wednesday at the comic store to bitch about lack of Deadpool books this month. And yes, I’ve seen both.

5) Data

Remember the ’80s? Ronald Reagan? E.T.? The fact that Asians were buying up America and doing better on standardized tests? That last one was reflected well in the film The Goonies, where Data was the smart, diminutive Asian kid who didn’t speak English well (thus combining a ton of the best stereotypes of the decade). He made gadgets, which shows off a combination of interest in engineering and a tendency for introversion. NERDS!

4) Everyone in Lambda Lambda Lambda

ALL of them. The whole fraternity in Revenge of the Nerds. The dancers, the musicians, the Asian genius (’80s stereotypes again!), the computer dorks, the snorting OH GOD THE SNORTING. But in the end, they all kicked ass. Turns out everyone is a nerd in some way. In the later films, even the big jocks became nerds. While America cheered for the Tri-Lambs, America also didn’t want them to date their daughters.

3) Stuart Minkus

Quick story: when I first watched Boy Meets World, the one character that stood out to me was the nerdy Minkus. He was a fine antagonist for Cory Matthews, but he vanished after only 24 episodes. He was a damn fine TV nerd. Later, when Danielle Fishel got boobs, she became the focus of the show, but I always wondered what became of Minkus. He probably ended up killing someone on the show and went to jail. Another episode of nerd rage.

2) Eugene Felnic


Bully bait! Eugene Felnic from Grease was Plato’s ideal of “nerd.” Hell, if this list was “every nerdy character that Eddie Deezen played,” I’d still be working on it well into my retirement. It was Eddie’s first role, so watching Grease is like watching Hendrix at Monterey Pop. LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE. Eugene was a bowtie-wearing spaz who got hell from both the T-birds and the Pink Ladies and…wait, I’m talking about details of Grease. Um. Sorry.

1) Steve Urkel

Nerd #1! The ’90s court of nerd was ruled by Steve Urkel. By my estimation, none of the other nerds on this list had their own cereal or talking doll. While Eddie Deezen may have shown up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in the episode Laserblast), Urkel had MST3K host segments written about him. Urkel was the nerdiest of the nerd, a fact only weakened by the stupid episodes where he pulled a Nutty Professor and became cool. Those episodes ruined everything, Urkel, and you fucking know it.