How Nerds Took Over Media

Nerd (n):

  1. A person considered to be socially awkward, boring, unstylish, etc.
  2. An intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.

I know, clichéd to start with a dictionary definition (courtesy of, but it gets a point across. As a society it has been engrained into our minds that “nerds” are the weirdos who don’t have many friends and play Dungeons & Dragons on the weekends. We don’t like to label ourselves as nerds, as this stigma attaches to us and will automatically be demoted on the social ladder. Yet we surround ourselves with nerd culture everyday through TV shows and movies.

After reading “Why the Geek Community Hates ‘The Big Bang Theory” it got me thinking about nerd culture and how the media has shaped it. The article suggests that this specific phenomenon is only for a select group of people: nerds. The Big Bang Theory doesn’t portray authentic nerd culture. It makes nerds the butt of their jokes and caters the show to the mainstream, so much to the point where the characters have to explain their jokes in order for the general audience to get them.


via “Why the Geek Community Hates ‘The Big Bang Theory”

But it seems like over the past few years the general audience has welcomed nerd culture with open arms. I argue that there has been a shift of nerd culture, from a more negative stance to a more positive, upsurge.

Urkel and suspenders and Firefly, oh my!

When you hear the word nerd, you automatically think of an image of a skinny, socially awkward kid who seems extremely intelligent. Society has created this binary of smart or dumb, nerd or jock. You can’t be both. The media—more specifically studio executives—have created these images and mannerisms of what a nerd should be. This idea of culturalism has long shaped our ideas of the “nerd.”

According to blogger Christine Quail, “The nerd is culturally placed in contrast with a more athletic, socially skilled, sexually aware individual—the cool kid or jock, who demonstrates a hegemonic heterosexual masculinity.” I feel like this negative representation really took off during the 80s and 90s. For example, the 90s sitcom Family Matters is probably best known for the nerdy character of Steve Urkel.


Image via

He is the epitome of nerd. He’s the annoying neighbor who can never get the pretty girl (Laura) and is socially awkward. He’s mainly there as a character for comedic relief.

In the case of the television show Firefly, it was canceled after one season. The reason: ratings. But the 2002 show was pitted to be a failure before it actually aired thanks to its TV network Fox. According to the show’s producer Chris Buchanan, “Instead of advertising “Firefly” as a space western or a gritty sci-fi show, the promotional campaign suggested that it was a wacky genre comedy— “the most twisted new show on television.” Fox didn’t take the show seriously, which could have reflected the feeling towards nerd culture of the time. Science fiction and nerd culture wasn’t seen to be something of the mainstream. Considering the cult following and multiple TV shows references after its cancellation, it seems like audiences agree that the show was cut too short and if given the chance, it would have become successful.

The rise of the nerd.

I don’t know what changed, but it seems like in today’s society being nerdy is considered cool. Everyone and their mother wishes that they could go to Comic-con or you can’t have a conversation without someone mentioning Netflix’s summer success, Stranger Things (I know I’m guilty of doing that). Nerd culture has become mainstream.


Shows like Community, Futurama, and Jessica Jones are challenging the ways in which we look at science fiction and nerd culture. Out with the Urkel looking characters and in with the more good-looking, yet still socially inept characters. Let’s look at the show Community (which seems to rivals against The Big Bang Theory in terms of fans siding on which show better depicts nerd culture). Many bloggers and Reddit users have argued that The Big Bang Theory is a show that centers its jokes about nerds. And although it continues to profit greatly, many people don’t like the show (i.e. the overuse of laugh track and subtle rape jokes). Community on the other hand (a personal favorite of mine, #sixseasonsandamovie) bases its jokes for nerds. Some jokes will go over the audience’s heads if they don’t know the original context to which the joke is being referenced to. Community is also special in the sense that it’s meta. The show spoofs different aspects of pop culture and TV (also known as pastiche).


And it’s not just TV shows. Movies based off of comic books are very popular in today’s society. Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and since then has released Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 (which became the highest grossing film in North America, raking in $764.4 million) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set to be released this December. And don’t get me started with Marvel Studios. They just released Doctor Stranger and are set to produce Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Captain Marvel (just to name a few) within the next 4 years. Nerd culture is finding a permanent home on the silver screen and TV screen.

Nerds rule and jocks drool?

It seems that contrary to what “Why the Geek Community Hates ‘The Big Bang Theory” is trying to argue, nerd culture isn’t just for a select community. And yes, I would agree that The Big Bang Theory isn’t funny and treats nerd culture poorly, but there are a plethora of other TV shows and films that are positively placing nerds in the spotlight. I don’t think it would be right for me to say that as a culture we’re slowly moving from the traditional stereotype of nerds that was created by a bunch of old, white studio. I do think that we are becoming more accepting of nerd culture and that’s pretty rad. Power to the nerds!


*If you didn’t catch it, the featured image is of Nerds candy….punny eh!



9 Ways Firefly Has Infiltrated Pop Culture [List]. (2012). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

CNN. (2014). The geek revolution has begun. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Gilos, R. K. (2016). Marvel Studio Releases List of Upcoming Movies; ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy 2’, ‘Spiderman’, ‘Thor’, & ‘Infinity War’ On The List. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

Krantz, M., Snider, M., Della Cava, M., & Alexander, B. (2012). Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion. USA Today. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

Lubin, G. (2014). It’s Amazing How Badly Fox Screwed Up Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly.’ Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

McClintock, P. (2016). Box Office: ‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ Tops ‘Avatar’ to Become No. 1 Film of All Time in North America. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

Nerd. In Retrieved from

Overview of Postmodern Television. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

PBS Idea Channel. (2013). Is Community A Postmodern Masterpiece? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Quail, C. (2009). Hip to be Square: Nerds in Media Culture. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from

The Big Bang Theory is a show about smart people for dumb people; Community is a show about dumb people for smart people. (2015). Retrieved November 12, 2016 from

Woo, M. (2016). Why the Geek Community Hates “The Big Bang Theory” [Web log post]. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from




XV. Update: I’m no longer in LA

If you’re reading this, it’s Sunday afternoon and I just got done packing my car. Oh yeah, I made it back to SoDak. My Aussie/Cali adventures have come to an end 😥 but tomorrow a new journey starts: senior year of college….

I’m sure you’re all wondering what my schedule is like and whatnot, so here it is:

  • Media, Culture, Power
  • Gender and Sports
  • Film Art and History
  • Relaxation
  • Guitar lessons

Next time you see me, I’ll be able to shred it to “Cliffs of Dover” on an actual guitar instead of my guitar hero guitar….

Update no. 2: I FINALLY got to see US Bank Stadium!!!!!!! And please don’t bring up Bridgewater….I don’t want to be reminded…. 😥

Well, just wanted to inform you all that I made it back. Only 3 weeks at home, but hey…it was better than the original plan of 1 week (my mom was very happy for me to be home)!

Over and out.

P.S. Watch Stranger Things.

XIV.So what did you buy as a souvenir at Disneyland? Uh…bread…

What do having a one person sit-in protest, hitting my head (hard) on a concrete shelf, and saying hi and waving at John Stamos have in common? They all happened when my fabulous roommate Britta came to visit me last weekend!

Since I don’t want to bore you with every little detail that went down, I’ll give you the highlights:

  • Friday
    • Finally reuniting after 8 months in the hotel lobby at 12:30am
  • Saturday
    • Only getting 3 hours of sleep when we were going to Disneyland the next day, because there was some serious catching up to do!
    • Getting blurry Donald Duck photos (never ask a 14 year old to take your picture for you)
    • Squealing with joy when we met Chewbacca
    • Blaming each other when Kylo Ren asked who was stowing a fugitive droid with them
    • Going on Tower of Terror…twice
      • Also accidentally telling B-Ritz that the photo happens a the very last drop…
      • Having a one person sit-in protest outside of the ride because TOWER OF TERROR WILL SOON BE TORN DOWN TO MAKE WAY FOR A GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY RIDE
        • As you can see, I’m a bit upset…
      • Going through the sourdough bread factory twice, because who doesn’t love free samples?
      • Buying a loaf of said sourdough bread
        • Such a typical Britta/Aud move buying bread
      • Sunday
        • Reuniting with my beloved PLL set
          • I’ve got some major catching up to do
        • Getting to go on the Ellen stage and stand on her star marker for where she stands when giving her monologue
        • Seeing the sound stage for The Big Bang Theory
        • Tour guide driving by the sound stage where Friends shot seasons 2-10 (and now is called the Friends stage) then continues to say that Full House shot there before Friends and out of no where John Stamos stops right outside the door and agrees with the guide.
          • Britta and I were in bit of some shock that neither of us got a picture of him, but did wave and say hi when he asked how we all were doing (Fuller House was shooting that day)
        • Getting to ride the Batpod
        • Sitting on the Central Perk couch
        • Meeting up with our good friend Nolan who also going to GAC to see Suicide Squad and then have a nice dinner.
          • Britta and I went into the movie with our expectations low, like buried 6ft under. So practically our expectations were dead. It wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews, but it was a movie.
            • Monday
              • Once again when a friend and I go to Hollywood Blvd to check out the Walk of Fame, a movie premiere is being set up/going on.
                • When my best friend Lizzy and I were there the end of our senior year, the Monsters University movie premiere was going on. We saw some cool celebs.
                • This time when Britta and I were down there, they were setting up for the Pete’s Dragon premiere which happened later in the day
              • Taking the roomie to her very first Thai restaurant (which so happened to be rock-n-roll themed)
                • My cousin took me there a few weeks ago
              • Going into Amoeba Music and being in awe of all of the music they had.
                • Also where I hit my head hard on the bottom part of a concrete shelf
                • Britta pointed out that from the music/movie lunchboxes that were being sold, the High School Musical one was only $8 while the one next to it was being sold for $400.


Overall it was a very successful weekend, full of more material that Britta can use as blackmail against me and new mems all around.


XIII. This is a story about Airbnb

Last blog post I had mentioned that there was a little bug problem and now I am ready to let the world know…know that my cute little treehouse has been occupied by fleas. I now know the pain that animals go through when these tiny creatures bite. Not to gross anyone out, but I have flea bites all over my feet, legs, back of my thighs, stomach, chest, back, and arms. NOT. FUN. My little exterminator stint was a fail. I:

  • bombed the place multiple times
  • got flea/bed bug spray (and before any of you doubt me, yes I did in fact see these little buggers [pun intended]. And yes, they are fleas. Bed bugs don’t jump, these guys do)
  • put deet-free repellent on me every night
  • wore long socks, sweatpants, t-shirt, and hoodie to bed

These little guys are persistant! And with a heavy heart, I had to hang up my exterminator cap and throw in the towel.

Now comes the fun/frustrating/crazy story that happened to me last night.

“Hold onto your butts.”-Ray Arnold, Jurassic Park (1993)

My mom and I were looking for a new place for me to stay for the rest of my time here. We were looking at hotels and other Airbnbs* and she found this Airbnb that I liked. I booked the place and it was confirmed. Yesterday, I stopped by the new place to grab the key and get a tour of the place. When asked why I wasn’t still at my current Airbnb, I said that there were a few problems and then further asked what kind of problems. Being honest and sincere person that I am, I couldn’t lie to her so I told her that my place has fleas. Instantly she started asking me questions about it and questioned me that they weren’t bed bugs (See above comment in the previous section about the little guys. She also told me that fleas don’t bite…) Anyways, once I got into my cousin’s car, she called me and said that she talked to her dad, who is a doctor, and he said that fleas don’t bite humans (untrue) and that was bed bugs. And once you get even one bed bug, it’s hard to get rid of them. Long story short, she asked me if I could find a new place to stay.

Don’t worry, I got a full refund back even though her cancellation policy is strict. Although it involved being on hold with Airbnb** for quite some time to explain the situation and then they had to call her to confirm that she would give me the full refund. At the same time, my cousin was working to find a new place for me to stay. After about an hour of trying to find a place, he hit the jackpot! I am now staying in a hotel in downtown Burbank, with kitchenette included!

Last night was the first in a loooooong time where I didn’t wake up with new bug bites! *does weird, groovy, celebratory dance*

Now I anxiously await my guest that is B-Ritz! Also, today was my last day of my 4 week digital editing class. When we got our temporary diplomas, it said 4 week filmmaking workshop instead of 4 week digital editing workshop. Silly NYFA!


*Let’s keep a tally on how many times I typed the word Airbnb in this story.

** Final tally: 4

XII. 120 Hours (yes, I meant to type hours, no, this isn’t about the MTV show 120 Minutes)

120. That is how many hours my 4 week program is (including open lab time). That’s how many times I am stuck in the basement of Burbank Studios. But I love it! Learning Avid is pretty cool. Aside from the little textbook exercises, so far we’ve been given raw footage from a scene from the movie Gladiator and had to edit it in any way we wanted to. It was interesting to see how everyone in the class edited it, and then to compare our edits to the final edit in the film was pretty rad! Currently, we’re working on cutting a movie trailer for some film that a NYFA student made. One day in class we analyzed different movie trailers and were taught the basic structure of every movie trailer ever. Now, whenever I see a trailer on Youtube or anywhere else, I look for the key components! We’ve also learned how to cut fight scenes and car chases!

Aside from learning all of these cool editing techniques and programs, I’ve had quite the adventure in the tree house. It seems like I have a little bug infestation (in my mind’s imagination, hehe… tøp reference: check) but have no fear, Aud wears multiple caps and is currently wearing her bug-exterminator hat. I’ve been working on getting the nasty little critters out of my tree house!

The time is coming in my class where we have to take the Avid Media Composer tests in order to become Avid certified. There are two test: one about the editing essentials and the other on effects used in the software. In order to become certified, we have to get 80% or higher on both tests. On the first day of class one of our instructors told us that 90% of students fail the first time, so expect to fail. Thankfully, we get two tries and on the second try about 80-90% of students pass! I’ve been studying like crazy these past few days, trying to remember all of the keyboard shortcuts, the difference between AMA linking and importing, consolidating and transcoding, etc.

But don’t fret, I haven’t been stuck in my tree house every night… Last weekend I traveled to the Forum to see my beloved Twenty One Pilots for their sold out Emotional Roadshow show! It only took me 2 hours to get there by public transport! Woo hoo! It was amazing! And it made me stoked to see them again in January/February!


I’ve also been getting to see my cousin Andrew on the weekends, which is nice because usually I only get to see him at Christmas. Two weekends ago, I stayed overnight at his place and we saw a movie and ate Thai food. The next day we went to church and hiked up the hill at his alma mater California Lutheran University. Currently, CLU is the temporary home for the LA Rams training camp, so there was some construction going on/on the path that he used to take to get to the hill. We had a mini adventure just trying to get to the start of the hill path: We hopped/squeezed through two fences, that were surrounding the Rams training fields, as they were still doing some work on it)! Today/31.7.16 (depending on when you read this) we’re going to The Broad, which is a popular contemporary art museum in downtown LA. I also discovered this amazing ice cream shop on Ventura Blvd, so I have to take him there as well!


Who knew Ekans liked Thai food?!!?


ALSO… BRITTA IS COMING IN T MINUS FIVE DAYS!!!!!!! Guys, I haven’t seen my college roommate since I packed up all of my things to leave Gustavus forever (ok, I’m being my overly dramatic self)! I can’t wait until she comes. We’ve been texting everyday about what we’re going to do and see and how much money she owes me… haha. She’s never been to California before, so obviously we’re going to take public transportation/Uber to do all of that touristy stuff. Because I know all of you really care about what we’re going to be doing, our agenda will look a little something like….

  • Friday night- B-Ritz will hop off the plane at LAX with her dreams and her cardigan (and take an Uber to the tree house)
  • Saturday- wake up bright and early (and take another Uber) to Anaheim where we’ll be wearing Mickey ears and riding all of the Disneyland rides!
  • Sunday- Public transportation for the win!
    • The WB Studio Tour is a must (last time I went with Lizzy, we had such a great time and I will forever remember that day when the Sorting Hat placed Lizzy in Gryffindor and I in Slytherin….It’s funny because Lizzy and I are complete opposites….mini tangent over), so we’ll be boppin around the backlot ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the PLL set, the cool museums and props we’ll get to see, and maybe see a star or too, who knows, lately the PLL cast have been on the lot shooting episodes….
    • After the lovely tour, we will move our tushies to the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd
    • Once we get our daily intake of stars, people dressed in costumes, and looking at the Chinese Theater, we will be moving on back to Universal City, more specifically the Universal CityWalk where we’ll meet up with our good friend Nolan (he goes to Gustavus as well, but his hometown is near Pasadena)
      • From there we will take a stroll through the shops and restaurants until we find our way to the cinema (which has really nice reclining seats) and watch Suicide Squad.
      • After oogling over Margot Robbie and Will Smith, we’ll end the day catching up on each other’s lives and what I’ve missed while I was abroad and whatnot over dinner.
  • Monday- The roomie leaves later in the day, and as of now the day is open

I’m sure you didn’t need to know every little detail, but I’m on a roll, typing my little heart out. I also want to personally congratulate you on getting this far through this post. Perseverance at its finest! As your reward, you get the sweet, sweet satisfaction on knowing every little detail of my upcoming agenda! Give yourself a nice pat on the back! Who knows what the next post might be: one word, five words, 10 paragraphs? You’ll just have to come back and find out!


Peace out girl scouts!

XI.BMWs, Porsches, and Teslas, oh my!

My first week of my digital editing class is officially done (as of 16.7.16 at 3:45pm)! When they said it was an intensive workshop, they weren’t kidding! Most days I have class from 9:15am to 7pm, learning about 3 lessons a day. What a time to be alive! The majority of the focus is learning Avid Media Composer, which is the dominant editing software in the film and tv industry. Everyone in my class is really nice and there are a lot of international students. There are people from Switzerland, India, China, and Nigeria! And it’s really cool because my class is at Burbank Studios, which used to be NBC Studios! So shows like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saved By the Bell, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and with Johnny Carson used to air here. Everyday when I go to lunch, I pass Studio 1 (that’s where The Tonight Show aired). Days of Our Lives still shoot there, as well. The main building for the New York Film Academy is across the street from Warner Bros. Studios and various record labels (Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records, just to name a few). It’s great!

My place is a cute little tree house! And it’s in a quiet neighborhood, which is a plus! Downside, there are never any Pokemon on the street that I live on.

X. Next stop….Studio City, CA?

*Due to the snail speed of the wifi at my hotel, I could not upload a featured image. One will be up when I get back to that lightning speed American wifi.*

Finals are over. My semester abroad in Australia is over. Practically all of my international friends are already back in the States. So why don’t I want to leave?

Throughout this semester I have made so many unforgettable memories with such wonderful people. Not only have I been able to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity, I think that I have started to “find” myself, who I want to become and what dreams/goals I want to achieve in the future.

Now comes the sappy, sentimental part (I know, so unlike me)

To my friends:

First off, I have to thank you for actually befriending me. Thank you all for having the patience to tolerate my goofy/annoying/sarcastic/giggly self*. All of you have made my study abroad experience so much better than it would have been. You all have supported me in everything that I did. You never discouraged or put down my ideas and dreams. Because of that, you have made me a stronger, more confident individual. I now know that I have you all to turn to in times of sadness/anxiousness/happiness, etc. It’s comforting to know that you’re just a phone call/text/Facebook message/snap away. Thank you for everything.


To my mom:

Thank you for letting me go on this journey, knowing that you wouldn’t be able to see your baby for 4.5 months. Thank you for trusting me not to do stupid stuff or get in trouble with the police (not that I ever would) while in Australia or in New Zealand. Thank you for dealing with my consistent emails ranging from serious matters to if it was alright if I could purchase a Cavs championship tshirt. I love you!


To my grandma and grandpa:

Without you, none of this would have been made possible. Thank you for starting that trust fund before I was born. Thank you for been such influential people in my life (even though I never met my grandpa). Thank you.


Ok, sappy part over!

So you’re probably wondering why I’m not back in the States already. Well…my mom and some of my friends and family from my adoption group came to visit me and make sure that I board that plane back! We’ve traveled in and around Sydney and Hamilton Island for the past 10 days! It’s definitely been an interesting experience going from being very independent for awhile, to being in a group setting, but it’s been fun!

During their visit I was able to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, cuddle a koala, and shop ’til I dropped (no literally, earlier today my friends and I got back to our hotel room from a day of shopping and I literally fell on the floor and took a nap…) I’m glad that I got to show them and especially my mom around the country I’ve called home for the past few months. It was cool to show them around Wollongong and my uni and dorm. If only my mom was on board with both of us living here….

So now what’s next? What’s this about Studio City, CA?

Once my little feet touch down on American soil, I will be living out in Studio City, CA for the rest of the summer. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snag an internship or job out there, but I am excited to say that I will be taking a 4 week digital editing intensive workshop through the New York Film Academy! I’m really looking forward to taking this course to sharpen my editing skills and to learn some new tricks! I know, poor mom! I probably won’t be going home home to Sioux Falls until the end of August/beginning of September. But don’t fret! I won’t be alone in Cali the whole time. My mom’s staying with me until I get settled in and my college roommate at Gustavus is going to come visit me!

Goodbyes are always hard (trust me, I’ve had to do too many this semester), but clichéd as it sounds, this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning of the journey. Where my Australia adventure ends (tomorrow morning I board my plane), my California adventure begins!




*I want to apologize for the unnecessary gifs/pusheen stickers that had been sent (but not really, who doesn’t want Pusheen or a gif of spiderman swinging around a lamppost in the rain in their lives?)