"Nerd. One whose unbridled passion for something, or things, defines who they are as a person without fear of other people's judgement."- Zachary Levi- Actor, Director, SInger
"Geeks are people who love something so much all the details matter." Marissa Mayer- CEO, President and Director, Yahoo! Inc
Over the years, I have been noticing a shift in society. Many of my interests deemed me a nerd and geek in my childhood, like my love for Marvel superheroes, video games, and Dungeons and Dragons. All of these things now seen to have been deemed cool and popular. In fact, it seems that being a nerd or a geek is actually becoming a ticket to popularity, and many corporations are even now catering to the geek and nerd culture. This recent movement invites the question, when did nerd and geek culture become cool? The recent movement of nerds and geek culture becoming cool can be boiled down to these four possible factors: the internet, the evolution of the different mediums of geek culture, famous celebrities that are not afraid to show their nerdy side, and finally our society has become a more accepting of people's differences.
When the internet was first created it was considered geeky and nerdy. Then the internet evolved into a massive presence which many people cannot live without. Well, since the internet was created by nerd and geeks it makes sense that the internet helped make nerds and geeks popular. The internet is a place where people can share their interest and ideas, but it allowed people to get easy access to buying collectibles and memorabilia to satisfy the guilty pleasures of their inner geek or nerd. Another example of how the internet has made geek and culture popular is with let's plays. Let's plays encourages nerd and geek culture because it allows the audience to watch their favorite Youtubers play video games which can result in some hilarious commentary and reactions, depending on the game. The internet also helps geek and nerd culture by informing fandoms of the latest news about their favorite franchise. Finally, there are many online services that cater to geeks and nerds. One of the most popular services are Loot Crate, which provides monthly boxes of geek and gaming related merchandise, and Crunchyroll, American distributor, publisher, licensing company and international online community focused on video streaming East Asia media including anime, manga, drama, music, electronic entertainment, and content.
Geek and nerd cultures have gone through an evolution over the years, and while the internet helped with the evolution it was not the sole driving factor that helped nerd and geeks culture become cool. Nerd and geek cultures have changed from something only a select few people could enjoy to a form where anyone is welcome. Some of the evolutions include revolutionizing an area, creating content that hides it nerdiness with humor, creating amazing stories and lore, action pack adventures, and keeping audiences on their toes with mystery.
An area in geek and nerd culture that was revolutionized was Broadway musicals. Lin-Manuel Miranda revolutionized Broadway musicals with his smash hit Hamilton. Hamilton incorporated hip-hop, rap, and R &B into musicals which helped introduce a younger generation to the wonders of Broadway. However, it also appeals to an older generation as well allowing them to learn something new about one of the lesser-known Founding Fathers. Another area that was revolutionized was mobile gaming when Pokémon Go came out on July 6, 2016. Pokémon Go introduced new fans to the Pokémon franchise while also bringing back some past fans to play this phenomenon. To add, it encouraged people to go outside and explore the world around them. Many animated shows have also revolutionized the industry like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, which either tackles some controversial subjects or shows that an animated show made for kids can also be enjoyed by adults. Finally, the web show Critical Role has helped to make D&D not only relevant again, but also cool. The show consists of voice actors voicing their characters as they play D&D and it feels like your actually watching their adventure unfold instead of watching people at a table talking and rolling dice. These are just a couple of examples of geek and nerd culture has bee revolutionized.
The next method that nerd and geek culture used to evolve was through hiding nerdiness or geekiness with humor. Many shows learned that by adding humor to a show that touches on many aspects of nerd and geek culture you could pull a huge audience. The show that mastered this technique is Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network's late night programming block Adult Swim. The series follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick and his fretful, easily influenced grandson Morty, who split their time between domestic family life and interdimensional adventures. The show covers scientific theories like the Multiverse Theory and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal, but it presents it in a matter that is hilarious to watch. With this balance of humor and science, it is not hard to believe why many geeks and nerds love this show and why it is gaining a cult following.
Nerd and geek culture is known for having franchises with some amazing stories and lore which help the culture evolve. From Lord of the Rings to Star Wars, these franchises captivate the audience as they get immersed in the world. These amazing worlds and their mythos keep audiences wanting more. However, it is not just books, movies, and television shows that have immersive lore and stories but video games are following the same path. One just game would have to be the indie game Five Night at Freddy's. While the gameplay of the series is mostly jump scares galore, the lore and story within the game's universe is what has everyone invested in this horror game series. A great story and world helps make the characters most life like especially if the characters has a convincing story arc.
The next way geek and nerd culture are evolving and bringing in a bigger audience is with action pack adventures. The Marvel Cinamatic Universe, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad are just a few examples of how action pack a nerdy show can actually be. With intense action sequences, it helps bring in people who would not necessarily call themselves nerds or geeks and opens the medium to more people.
The final aspect that helped geek and nerd culture evolve is keeping audiences on their toes with suspense and mystery. Game of Thrones is the best example of how to keep audiences on their toes because fans never know which character will die next. Another show that had the audience on their toes was the mystery filled series of Gravity Falls. Gravity Falls was a Disney show where trying to solve the show's mystery was half the fun of watching the series. Keeping an audience in constant suspense and wanting more is another way geek and nerd culture expanded its audience. All the show has to do is get them to watch one episode and leave the audience with more questions that way they have to watch the next episode to see if any of their questions get answered.
Nerd and geek culture is embedded in pop culture, but as more celebrities reveal their geeky sides it makes the general audience more than happy to join the geek side. While researching this aspect of my article I was actually surprised to see certain celebrities that consider themselves geeks and nerds. Some examples of celebrities who love geeky or nerdy things include Leonardo DiCapio, Vin Diesel, Robin Williams, Angelia Jolie, Megan Fox and Mila Kunis. As more celebrities come out as being geeks or nerds it also encourages their fans to try watching movies or playing video games that were considered to be too geeky or nerdy at the time.
The final reason nerd and geek culture is becoming cool is due to the fact that our society is becoming more accepting in the differences of people. I will admit our society still has some way to go, and some nerds and geeks still get teased. However, since more and more of nerd and geek culture is being engrained into popular culture it eliminates some of the material that people use to tease so-called nerd and geeks. To add, as I said society as a whole is becoming more accepting of people's differences and are finding more similarities than differences. All types of people are always excited to see the next Marvel movie, playing their favorite video game, or seeing who will be the next one to die on Game of Thrones.
As more of geek and nerd culture is being integrated into popular culture nerd and geeks are becoming cooler each day, many factors helped geek and nerd culture become cool from the internet to the evolution of geek and nerd culture. As it was stated "Nerds and geeks will one day inherit the Earth." It seems that day is closer than we realize.