PartnersOctober 5, 2015

Television: Group Think – Remembering Steve Jobs With Our Favourite Television Nerds


We got the think tank together to list our favourite television geeks from LAN party monsters to virtual reality pioneers. 

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Apple Founder Steve Jobs, a man who has done as much for modern computer technology as he has for the black turtleneck. In his honour, we got The Spinoff noobs together to list some of our favourite television nerds from World of Warcraft overlords to disillusioned computer hackers. In Jobs we trust.

Harris from Freaks & Geeks


Freaks & Geeks, as its title suggests, was home to some great TV geeks. But there was none greater than the show’s Geek King Harris Trinsky. Slightly older and much, much wiser than his counterparts, wispy-moustached D&D guru Harris viewed the world with a sort of zen-like clarity, offering sage advice to those most in need of guidance. / Calum Henderson

Elliot from Mr. Robot


Not only has he been the first influential figure to suggest that The Hunger Games might not actually be as good as everyone thinks it is, Elliot is also the first computer nerd to bring real-life representations of hacking onto our screens. With his nimble fingers, gecko eyes and jumpy disposition, Elliot is the modern day vigilante superhero, making it seem like anything is possible if you just start whacking a few characters into a keyboard. Newsflash: this doesn’t always work . / Alex Casey

Screenshot 2015-10-05 at 12.46.15 PM

Willow Rosenberg from Buffy


Let’s take a moment to salute TV’s finest library nerd: Willow Rosenberg. I think there’s a case to be made for repositioning Willow as the 2IC of the Scooby gang. At the very least she was in charge of the research wing of the outfit. Nearly every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer had the gang settle down to a good old dusty tome session, from which the evil plan and method of defeat of that week’s adversary could be divined. If weren’t for Willow, where would they be?


Her earliest memory was of seeing Peanuts On Ice and throwing up on Woodstock. Fittingly Willow became a witch. Living alone and poring over books, witches are the nerds of the fairytale world. At the time she was also probably the most well-rounded depiction of a high school girl in love with other girls. The character was one half of the first lesbian sex scene ever on primetime television. Willow’s arc was a fully realised one moving from self-discovery to tragedy to acceptance and happiness. She was a nerdlinger, for sure, but she was a three dimensional one. / José Barbosa

Dobby from Peep Show

The Dobster is a massive role-playing, LAN-partying geek, and yet probably Peep Show‘s most normal and well-adjusted character. As the acceptable face of geekery she is the object of Mark Corrigan’s intense affections – but although fond of him, she deftly manages to avoid ever being completely sucked into his bleak, neurotic world. Good old Dobby. / CH

Elroy Patashnik from Community


The pioneer of virtual reality technology in the mid-90s fell on hard times after the novelty of his mostly-useless invention wore off. Lo and behold, Elroy finds himself living in an RV next to Greendale, the only college on Earth that would considering forking out exorbitant cash for some decade-old robotics. Using his IT knowledge to defeat dangerous hackers, construct robot prisoner students, and create CGI Minotaur Men, Elroy reminds us that you’re never too old to be a geek. He also has no time for people who don’t watch TV, which I always like.

The Griefer from South Park 

Sometimes to vanquish evil, you must become that which you despise, even if that evil is 300 pounds of neck-bearded griefer. More powerful than a server admin, The Griefer is the mightiest figure in World of Warcraft and a grotesque stereotype of the caliber only South Park manage to depict consistently. Short-sighted, mute and with a serious case of carpal tunnel, he lives in a narcotic haze of Rockstar energy drinks and the tears of his fourteen year-old opponents. The Griefer is an anti-hero in the sense that he’s adored for being what we’re not – no matter how bad it gets, no matter how beardy our necks, at least we’re not that guy. In the end, his reign of terror inevitably comes to a halt when Cartman proclaims he’s about to get ‘pwnd’. / Don Rowe


Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation


Sure Lesley Knope had a binder obsession and a strong infatuation with Joe Biden, but in terms of pure dorkalitis her eventual husband, Ben Wyatt, is Parks And Recreation’s true nerd. Let’s examine the facts:

  • Firstly the man is a local government auditor and actually seems to like his job. He’s either a geek or insane.
  • He hosted his own college radio show, which is pretty cool, but called it Zoot Suit Wyatt. Not so cool.
  • His idea of treating himself is to rent a full body, rubber Batman suit and wear it around town.


He’s inordinately interested in the Italian calzone which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a kind of man made culinary deformity. Let them live open and free as pizzas, you monsters. In season four Wyatt pitches a chain of family restaurants called the Low-Cal Calzone Zone. / JB


Click here to watch some of these geeks in action in Parks and Recreation, Peep Show, South Park, Community, Buffy and Mr. Robot on Lightbox today.

This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought you thanks to the excellent folk people at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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