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Evolution of the Nerd Stereotpe

Uploaded by SomeGuyinATL on Apr 24, 2002

For the longest time, images in the media have depicted nerds the same way. They are portrayed as intelligent yet socially inept, unaware of popular trends, and devoid of any sort of personality. Repeatedly they are made out to be shy and lacking in confidence, which makes them into victims of the “cool” people. These characters are rarely taken seriously in TV or movies, and are present mostly for comic relief or to provide some sort of sidekick for the hipper main character. Although it has historically been an undesirable label, I believe in recent times there has been a major shift in the perception and classifying of so-called “nerds”. In many circles nowadays, to be called or call oneself a nerd has little derogatory meaning, but rather has become acceptable nomenclature used to identify a person with certain interests, attitudes and ideals.

In television, the classic examples of nerds are countless. “Family Matters”, a show that ran for several years on ABC, featured Steve Urkel as the hapless teenage neighbor, complete with high pants, thick glasses, and notable fondness for cheese. Another popular Saturday morning TV show “Saved by the Bell” was a situation comedy that took place in a typical suburban high school, its plotlines revolving around six teenagers. Among them was Screech, who sported numerous eccentricities, such as brightly colored, unfashionable clothing, and a high-pitched voice for which he got earned his nickname. Milhouse on the ever-popular show “The Simpsons” is another nerdy sidekick, whose emotional immaturity is so highly pronounced that it is comical. These three are textbook examples of nerds, and typically experience the same plight. They are routinely made the butt of jokes made by anyone and everyone, including their friends. The considerable majority of the time they are shown to be one-dimensional characters, and only on the rarest occasions are they given basic human qualities and emotions seen in other characters.

In our culture, we put enormous value on being the “winners”. We are all subliminally taught by these and other sitcoms that it is in our best interest to all strive to be the one who comes out on top, the likeable protagonist that breezes through life, always saying and doing the right things at just the right times, so that when the half-hour draws to a close and the credits start to roll, all is well with our world. They make it...

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Uploaded by:   SomeGuyinATL

Date:   04/24/2002

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   4 pages (961 words)

Views:   1359

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