I feel like I should write a disclaimer before I give you an essay to read:
I hate Reality TV.
I hate everything there is about it. I hate how little creativity there is because of Reality TV, where television shows like ‘Happy Town’ get cancelled before 3 episodes get aired because ‘Wipeout’ is favored. I don’t use the word hate unless I actually mean it, and in this case, I actually mean it.
These are purely my opinions. I’m not asking you to share my opinions, and this isn’t an attack on anyone. I was asked to watch Geek Love and review it after my previous essay about it, when it was just a commercial and nothing had aired otherwise yet. I’m going to ask that you keep comments tasteful, and I will do the same in return.
With all of this being said, the following is my opinion of ‘Geek Love’:
I didn’t walk into it with any hopes…in fact, I was already hating it before watching it. I tried to keep an open mind, but in the end I felt what I thought I would, which is insulted. Dating is hard, whether you’re a Geek or a Jock or a Princess…dating is hard. Period. But I felt insulted, because I’m one of those geeks. Not one that is actually on the show, but I’m a 26 year old woman who is obsessive with her comic books, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’. I’m single, and have been for about 2 years.
One of the first things said in the show is how much being single sucks, and right there I disagree. I enjoy being single. We live in a society where we put so much emphasis on being in a relationship that it becomes obsessive, where everyone feels this need to be in a relationship or you’ll be lonely forever. I find this hard to believe. It’s exploitative of something that we’re genetically designed to have, which is safety in numbers. That traces back to being an ape. I despise that the show’s catchphrase is “Let your geek flag fly” because why should we be hiding it in the first place? I don’t. I proudly wear my geek shirts and glasses, I’m not afraid to carry around textbooks when I haven’t been in college for years, I just read them because I can. I listen to bad pop music, I study martial arts and I care too much about people. Be who you are. Don’t let society dictate who you should be.
I feel that this show, along with most reality TV shows, take the few extreme cases and exploits them. I felt bad for “Chewie” because he is that awkward nerd. He wants to find someone to love, and you know what that is great for him. I know, he has to sign the release that says that he can put himself on TV with his story and what happened during the event. But we come to the same basic issue that comes with any reality show; how much is real. How much of it was editing? How much of it made him look more awkward than what he actually is?
Maybe if the show felt sincere, or felt like it was real…maybe I would feel different about it. But those little pop ups about “nerd culture” and how we talk felt weird and insulting to me. It felt very much like we aren’t like normal people, in reality we are. There was over 100,000 people at New York Comic Con. Obviously, we are some sort of cultural norm. I feel like if the show actually wanted to get to know the “geeks” and wanted to understand the fandom, they would have. But it was basically just a lot of “I collect toys, so girls think I’m weird and they don’t date me.” They touched, barely, on the Star Wars fandom that a few of the daters they followed had. I felt that if they really wanted to get into it, they really should delve into what makes us so different from the “normal” people. Go into why we cosplay. Follow up on the stories and if their romance and fandom became something more. It just felt so plastic, so very “hey, look at these weirdos”, which just makes me sad for the nerd culture all around.
Here’s the thing though. I think Ryan Glitch has a great idea with Sci-Fi Speed Dating. I think that Speed Dating is a great concept actually, because whether we like it or not we are a society that is based on first impressions. I wish it wasn’t on TV. I think by putting it on TV we run the risk of the people wanting their 15 minutes, so now we are wondering if people are coming to our little conventions because they want to be famous or because they are actually genuinely like us and want to find other nerds out there.
I’ve gotten a lot of emails (yes, already) about how it was cute, or I’m just not geeky enough to understand, or I obviously don’t know what its like to be out there dating. I’m sure if you like reality TV, it was probably a nice break from TLC’s normal ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ and the like. I’m extremely geeky, which is where my rage comes from. Also, trust me when I say that I’ve had some of the worst dates yet. No one has topped my “bad first date” stories yet. I know the dating world. I know the nerd world. I don’t understand reality TV culture.
Will this turn into a series? Probably. There is nothing I can do about that, besides beg my bosses here to not make me watch it every week. If you are considering signing up for this show, which I already know people who are, realize that you’ll be exploited, you will be mocked more than likely…shows like The Soup and Saturday Night Live couldn’t survive without mocking what is on TV. I’ll be sad for you. I’m sad for the people that are on these shows, even if they do sign the paper that allows them to be on it. I hope you find love out there. I truly hope it is real, and not another 15 minutes of fame issue.
This is where I open things for discussion. Do you agree with me on Geek Love, or do you disagree? What do you think of Sci-Fi Speed Dating? What is your take on reality TV?