For the past ten weeks, us commanders of the Nerd Army (under the leadership of reigning king Kayla LaFrance) and with the help of those amazing nerds who volunteered have worked incredibly hard to convince TBS to renew King of the Nerds for a third season.
With the 1-2-3 Punch created by Kayla and our own Minister of Propaganda Melissa Corley, endless tweets and memes were sent out like beacons in hopes that TBS would see them and renew the show. At times things seemed bleak. There were moments where maintaining hope was hard. But guys all that paid off because THE. SHOW. WAS. RENEWED!!!
That’s right. TBS has renewed King of the Nerds for a third season. Filming will commence this summer and the show will air in January of next year. Nerdvana’s doors will open once again. Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine will be back in amazing cosplay guiding nerds through competitions that will test them deeply. And we’ll even get to see how the throne will become empty.
Now some of you out there may be asking, “Why make such a big deal out of this? It’s just another reality show”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. KOTN is much more than just another reality show and this fact rings true for not only me, but also many many nerds alike.
King of the Nerds has provided images and examples of nerds to look up to that television has not had before. It has helped nerds become more comfortable in who they are. King of the Nerds has even opened doors to a community where nerds can feel safe and be in solidarity with other people like them.
Through Curtis Armstrong’s (Papa Nerd as many affectionately refer to him) efforts, something that changes and moves people was created. We couldn’t just let another season go by without KOTN on television. Other nerds who haven’t found the comfort and inspiration that we found in the show need to see a season. And it is also because of this that we can rejoice in the news of its renewal.
With that said, the battle isn’t over just yet. Per Kayla’s orders, we still need to get nerds over to @KOTNCasting. If you know anyone that is interested tell them to email casting at KingOfTheNerdsCasting@gmail.com. Also, and this is a big also, PLEASE send a ton of thanks in the direction of @tbsveryfunny.
I watch a lot a ton of television, and I can list a myriad of shows that I love. Over the last two seasons shows have come and gone–as they typically do–but there has been that has been a mainstay in my Thursday night routine. Not only has it been a joy to watch, the show has been incredibly important to me.
To the casual television viewer, King of the Nerds may seem like any other competition show. There are just nerds instead of bachelors or bachelorettes or singers or so on. For me and many other nerds, though, the show has been much more than just entertaining competition [and it was extremely entertaining]. Many like me have for many years been ostracized and taught not to appreciate ourselves simply because being nerdy wasn’t cool.
Things have certainly begun to change with the upward trend of popularity nerdy-ness has been on as of late, but King of the Nerds has done even more to help. The show presents nerdy-ness in all of its greatness and argues that one should not be ashamed of being a nerd. KOTN teaches nerds to love and appreciate who they are simply because they are unique; one’s self is all that is needed to validate how awesome one is.
KOTN premiered at the time I was learning this myself. To see people like me come to that same conclusion while on camera was inspirational. So, when the cast members agreed to do a Q&A with me, I was absolutely over the moon.
Let me tell you guys… these are some AMAZING people. They are kind, funny, considerate, sweet people. And I learned a lot about what went on in the house, from dramatic renditions of David Bowie’s “Major Tom” to epic games of Dominion to even learning that one of the cast members is the fount from which all sweet potato knowledge flows. There is so much more so I won’t spoil it for you. For your enjoyment, the first will be my interview with Kelsey Syers.
For those that maybe missed the first few episodes or did not watch the show, here is a refresher on who Kelsey is:
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
Jarrod: Growing up, who were your major influences? Were they in the field you are pursuing now?
Kelsey: Although many people influenced me, my Grandmothers served as wonderful examples of educated, yet compassionate ladies. My Dad’s Mom taught in California public schools for 42 years and she earned her Master’s Degree when it was not very common for women. My other Grandmother became a widow with two young children at a young age and today is a successful real estate broker in Nashville. She also volunteers her time at the Hope Center; an addiction recovery program for women in need. Historically, women such as Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc are role models for me.
Jarrod: Did you have anyone in your life that helped you believe in who you were as a person? Friends? Family?
Kelsey: First of all, my parents have always believed in me. They encouraged me to follow my passions and stick to my convictions. In addition, during my undergraduate degree I had a wonderful Spanish professor named Dr. Viviana Baxter. She gave me my first love of languages that continues to this day.
Jarrod: What originally drew you to the Japanese culture? Anime? A class?
Kelsey: I had a strong interest in art when I was a tween. The art of anime greatly attracted me to the medium. I admired anime art in my favorite magazine Nintendo Power and tried to mimic it in my sketchbooks. I later picked up a Newtype and I was all but sold after that!
Jarrod: It has been noted that you are a fan of Super Sentai. Do you prefer Super Sentai over Saban’s Power Rangers? Or do you enjoy both?
Kelsey:Considering that my friends have more or less “forced” me to watch most of the Super Sentai series (via nonstop Facebook posts), I will have to go with Super Sentai. It has quite the universe!
Jarrod: How did you decide to audition for the show? Was it on a whim? Or did someone encourage you?
Kelsey: My family really enjoyed Season 1. King of the Nerds quickly became part of our Thursday night routine. When the audition announcement for Season 2 was released my Mom encouraged me to try out. It seems like only yesterday we were sitting on the couch filling out that initial application. I figured I had nothing to lose and I believe that attitude really helped me in the selection process.
Jarrod: What was the audition process like?
Kelsey: First of all, I filled out a questionnaire that was about 8 pages and attached a photo. Along with that, KOTN instructs you to submit an “unlisted” video on Youtube. The video was supposed to be about 10 minutes. I had no idea how to post a video on Youtube. Initially I only submitted the application. Within a matter of days I received a phone call asking for more information. This was a long process and there were periods when I did not hear from KOTN for weeks at a time. There were also hectic periods when information was needed within 24 hours. Flexibility was the key to this process! After a couple of medical professional assessments arranged by KOTN, I was flown out to California for my final audition. I went into this step with a lot of confidence because I had plenty of interviewing experience.
Jarrod: We got a good idea of everyone’s areas of study or their profession. Was there anything in particular any of you were doing or working on prior to being on the show?
Kelsey: Prior to KOTN, I was finishing up my first year of graduate school. I was also tutoring elementary school students and college athletes through my university. In addition, I had to make a major decision and decline a teaching position at an International School in order to participate in KOTN. Life is about choices, and I have not looked back.
Jarrod: What were your initial feelings when you first arrived at Nerdvana (best reality show campus name ever, by the way)?
Kelsey: It was overwhelming. I was nervous yet excited. I just wanted to enjoy my co- contestants and all that Nerdvana had to offer.
Jarrod: Other than what was shown on camera and in the show, what was Nerdvana like? Did the viewers receive a pretty good illustration of what the house was like?
Kelsey: The best way to describe Nerdvana is the “Akihabara” of the United States. It is truly its own little world with everything a nerd could desire within its walls. Overall, the viewers saw most of what Nerdvana had to offer, but it would be great if Curtis and Bobby could offer personal tours in the future.
Jarrod: The viewers didn’t get to see much of the good-byes other than the player being eliminated and then leaving Nerdvana. Was there more to the good-byes than what was shown on camera?
Kelsey: My on camera good-bye was the shortest because I was the first contestant to exit. Off camera I still felt a sense of appreciation from many of my co-contestants. I went into Nerdvana with the knowledge that it was only a game. The fact that other people played it better did not offend me. In addition, the wonderful staff members whisked me away for an afternoon of LA fun before I boarded a plane home.
Jarrod: What is the story behind Bacon, the Nerdvana house friend?
Kelsey: Believe or not, there were a couple of Bacons. Like a Magical Mascot character, Bacon just appeared. He was basically a freeloader who did not participate in any of the Nerd- offs. Today he has a Twitter account where he keeps his words to a minimum.
Jarrod: How did you guys pass your time between Nerd Wars, etc.? Anything you can share that we may not have seen on camera?
Kelsey: Katie would sometimes put on little puppet shows to entertain us while we were waiting for Nerd Wars. Many of them were pretty funny. Unfortunately, due to the limited time of the show, much material was cut, especially where nerdy dialogues were concerned. Scenes of us talking about our fave nerd properties (anime, sci-fi, tabletop gaming, Pokemon) had to be cut. I missed those scenes!
Jarrod: What was your favorite part of your experience at Nerdvana?
Kelsey: Think Nichijou or Lucky Star and that was our lives at Nerdvana. We were in this magical world of nonstop nerdy fun with the most awesomesauce nerdy people.
Jarrod: Does anyone have hidden talents we didn’t get to see?
Kelsey: Absolutely! One hour a week is not enough time to see the vast talents of my co- contestants. Chris, for example did a great job mobilizing all us after taping in order to promote KOTN. If you check out “Talking Nerd” on Facebook [and YouTube] you will see the results of his hard work. In addition, Xander and Kayla arranged the entire Premiere Party in LA. You can see the outcome of that on Youtube. MK and Xander hosted a weekly program during the Season entitled “Whisky Wednesdays.” Nicole created some amazing trading cards and “Game Over” images. That is just the tip of the iceberg!
Jarrod: Throughout the season, and especially during the finale, we had the pleasure of experiencing Xander’s musical stylings. Was this a regular thing? Did he put on shows off camera?
Kelsey: Xander is quite the talented, spontaneous musician. I wish I could have seen more of his keyboard musings!
Jarrod: Other than George Takei, Bill Nye, and other nerd deities you have had the chance to meet on the show, have you had the chance to meet any amazing nerds?
Kelsey: The truly amazing nerds I have met are my friends IRL [In Real Life]. They are creating their own incredible nerdy futures. For example my friend Carl is a major organizer in one of our local Cons. My friend Victoria is writing the next great fantasy novel. Another friend, Taylor, combines cosplay and volunteering at a local children’s hospital.
Jarrod: How has your life changed since the show?
Kelsey: Well I am still in graduate school; which I will finish in May. I am also student teaching ESOL at a local High School. It has been great seeing the expressions on my students’ faces when they realize I was on a television show. Overall, my daily life has not changed that much but KOTN has decidedly changed my future and who will be in it.
Jarrod: Most importantly, whether you guys realize it or not, you have become heroes and inspirations to nerds alike. You have become examples of accepting one’s self for who one is, and to never deny the greatness of who you are. How do you feel about fans looking to you in that way?
Kelsey: It is a great honor and responsibility. As a future educator, I went into Nerdvana knowing that my every action could be examined by my future students. Therefore, I tried to be a good example; especially to young ladies.
Jarrod: What has it been like living in a male-dominated nerd world? Have you been faced with trouble or ridicule because female nerds aren’t the “right kind of nerdy” or because females don’t belong? Is this a reality you have dealt with?
Kelsey: I have been fortunate to not experience any discrimination in the nerd world. Females have always been present and welcomed in my nerdy college circles. The only time I experienced a sense of exclusion was during my High School years. I was more interested in Honors Anatomy than boys and fashion.
Jarrod: Do you have anything to say to perhaps young people who may think girls shouldn’t be nerdy? Or maybe to young females who love science or other subjects, but are discouraged from pursuing because of their gender?
Kelsey: I believe that each person is a unique creation and they should be allowed to express themselves. It would be a boring world if everyone was exactly the same. I want to encourage young ladies and men to reach whatever potential they possess. Do not allow anyone to discourage you from pursuing any goal or following your passions even if they seem odd to others.
Well guys that’s it for interview with Kelsey. Thank you Kelsey for participating in the Q&A. As I’ve already told you, it means a lot to me.
The next interview, which I will try to post within the next day or two, will be with Zack Storch.
By the way, if you are a fan of the show and what to see a third season [yes! TBS is still on the fence about renewing!] you have a couple of options.
Either click this link and take the survey, or bug TBS on Twitter (@tbsveryfunny) and attach #nerdsrule to your tweets.
Writer | Gamer | Movie Freak | Foodie Extraordinaire | Major Nerd