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Mean Nerds vs. Deep Pretty Girls

Like Obama, I’ve been a bit despondent since Battlestar Galactica wrapped up. The bad thing about watching TV shows as they air, as opposed to on dvd or on the computer, is that you don’t get to decide how fast it goes by. They do. So with BSG taken from me before I was ready, I’ve been listlessly, aimlessly watching whatever. In desperation, I even watched an episode of the Tudors the other night, and let me just say, that show is not good.

But, after some hesitancy (scared to get attached, then abandoned?), I watched the first few episodes of Dollhouse this week.  It’s the new Joss Whedon show, starring Faith of BtVS and Helo of BSG. I’d heard mixed things, but I liked it right away. It’s like Buffy with a budget. And though the show has nothing to do with high school (not yet, at least), Whedon seems to have returned to some of his favorite adolescent reality tropes: (1) Pretty girls are more complicated than they might seem at first glance, and being pretty can make you lonesome and (2) From nerds come the cruelest cuts. I can’t offer much insight on the first trope, but as for the second, my junior high years in particular bore out the truth that nerds may seem meek, but they are mean. Especially rampant is nerd-on-nerd violence. Nerds establish and defend nerd hierarchies, and to be at the bottom is to experience all the pent-up wrath of people who are picked on by everyone but you. In my junior high, the hierarchy was something like: regular nerds with more or less normal bodies on top, followed by D&D nerds, followed by really smart kids with funny bodies. At the bottom were the outcast nerds who were so smart they didn’t even do well in school, because they were too bored to bother, so even the teachers didn’t like them. When the teachers turn on you, you know you are in trouble. Anyway, I feel like the guy in Dollhouse who’s in charge of the computer that wipes your memory away probably fell somewhere in that bottom strata, and this fact helps explain what seems like his complete disinterest in human relations. From the bottom of the nerd heap, can you blame him?

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