• Reviews 

    Five Thoughts on King of the Nerds: “To LARP or Not to LARP” [Review]

    By | February 13th, 2014
    Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

    Welcome back to our weekly coverage of the second season of TBS’s King of the Nerds! This week: Hope dies and empires fall as this show proves itself to be the one of the weirdest reality shows out there.

    1.) The Mad King Zack

    If King of the Nerds is gonna be anything like the fantasy series they’re trying so hard to emulate, they’re going to need a Joffery and Zack, still covered in fresh blood from last week’s victory against Pokemon Master Josh is now more than willing to take on that role. Immediately after beheading Josh (or something like that. It’s been a foggy week.), Zack strolls into the kitchen while everyone’s in mourning and loudly demands cookies and bananas while swinging a sword at all the other morose contestants. Though they may not be excited, Zack is stoked because he proved himself worthy by… stuffing Bobby Carradine full of alien organs? Yeah whatever, I’ve been prouder over weirder things. Anyway, similar to Alana from Season 1, the show finally has its enemy and though I’m not sure if the quality is better, King of the Nerds is always fun to watch when there’s one POS everyone groans about.

    2.) Live Action Role Competing

    Eventually, Armstrong and Carradine reveal this week’s theme: LARPing which is a word I don’t think I’ve heard since 2010 and which Xander explains to the audience, ending in the line “It’s LARPing even if you do it in the bedroom! It counts!” which honestly just makes me disgusted. I don’t need to have my intimate times sullied by thinking about LARP. My furry diaper dungeon has more integrity than that. Also, Armstrong’s wearing a dress complete with a blonde wig and make-up, the lipstick complimenting his rough facial hair, which Jack calls “cute.” Honestly? Armstrong rocks it. Not even going to fight that one. Live it up, Curtis. Live it up.

    Radioshack has apparently been murdered by BuyCostumes.com as the contestants pile into the BuyCostumes.com Costume Department to make four costumes for four archetypes: Monk, Spellsinger, Warrior, and something not as crazy as Spellsinger, which Jack refuses to be because quoth the man, “I can only sing if it’s “It’s Getting Hot In Here.'” Then he and Zack talk about how they’d both like to be the Warrior and imply they’d love to murder each other. It’s a shame he can’t sing “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” too.

    3.) Render Unto Caesar

    In what has got to be the most shameless scene on television outside of Showtime, Armstrong looks in on Blue Team while they’re making their costumes and says he’s got “steaming hot Little Caesar’s” for them. Then, Blue Team actually cheers out loud. Said cheer looked like it took more rehearsal time than the Sochi opening ceremony. While Blue Team is eating their pizza, rapture on their faces, the camera then cuts to the Gold Team who just sit around silently, reluctantly eating their pizza which, to be fair, is a far more accurate commercial for Little Caesar’s.

    At the Nerd War, each team goes on with their well-made fantasy costumes and spouts out some generic mythology that sounds like the plot of an impromptu D&D game for the panel of judges: professional cosplayer Yaya Han, Hercules‘s Kevin Sorbo, and Napoleon Dyanmite himself, Jon Heder. Blue Team has a ton of fun, even having Katie make a crow marionette that gets his own confessional. Xander’s dressed amazingly as Lord of the Rings Bilbo and screams at Jon Heder, scaring him and making Yaya Han quietly say “Wow he’s intense.” Katie’s a forest nymph who they kill before Brian does a weird drum solo to celebrate her murder. Chris, meanwhile, wins  They’re great, but they don’t exactly go hardcore.

    Gold Team goes hardcore. More specifically, Jack goes fucking hardcore, shaving all his hair off in order to play a monk. Which, as Chris points out, is a little superfluous since the judges have never met him before and can always assumed he never had hair. Oops. Zack (in penny loafers) becomes the warrior, bragging about how his blade will taste flesh. Then Jack talks about how his blade hungers for blood and really couldn’t someone get these swords some steaming hot Little Caesar’s? Also, Nicole takes out an ocarina and kind of plays it in the corner because goddammit Nicole.

    Continued below

    Blue Team wins,  because they actually had fun with their cosplay. Telling them of their reward, Curtis says “YOU WILL GO BACK IN TIME, FIGHT A SEA MONSTER, AND DRINK WITH A BUNCH OF PIRATES!” Instead, they go to a pirate version of Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament and get some stage sword-fighting lessons. Delightful!

    4.) The Kingslayer

    If only the rest of the contestants could feel delight, as Gold Team proceeds to spend the next twenty minutes passively aggressively talking about how they’re going to kick Zack off in the Nerd-Off. Brian makes a graph about how much he sucks, they all talk about him until he walks into the kitchen at which point they begin talking about potatoes, and, in a shocking twist, even Zack votes for himself because he wants to go into The Nerd-Off every week to destroy any and all challengers who come this way. Robert Carradine is so confused by this, it’s scary. Like something in the system of King of the Nerds broke, and it’s now becoming self-aware.

    Mary Kate also gets voted into The Nerd-Off by Blue Team and has a bout with Zack when he claims she doesn’t know how gravity works because she just doesn’t want to talk to him. The game’s revealed to be “Battlehammer” which is Battleship but with little people running around with hammers and destroying statues. Pretty damn awesome. Each contestant is allowed an advisor so Mary Kate goes with Jack because he’s not crazy. Zack, meanwhile, has no one who wants to even look at him so he cries at everyone which results in Nicole’s Line of the Week “Do you want the World of Warcraft players to be represented by someone like you?” “Heck yes” Zack presumably thought. Chris becomes Zack’s advisor out of pity and, during the game, Zack doesn’t even ask him for anything, just mumbling to himself the entire time. I was not kidding about the Joffrey resemblance earlier. 

    I also mentioned Alana from season one who also had the position of being the one nobody liked only to somehow survive the Nerd-Off each week through strokes of luck that were definitely not fixed. The same thing occurs with Zack here as he’s initially losing so bad to Mary Kate, only to end up making an insane comeback and beating her, adding her head to his collection with Josh and Ned Stark’s.

    5.) MVP/LVP

    LVP: Zack, no questions asked.

    MVP: Jack! Guy sang “It’s Getting Hot In Here”, shaved his head for cosplay, seems to be one of the nicest people there. At this point, he’s in a tie with Katie as to who should be crowned King.

    King of the Nerds airs every Thursday on TBS and we’ll be covering it each week so feel free to follow along and discuss in the comments!


    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.