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BEHIND THE SCENES: Geek Outlaw Moseys onto the TBS King of the Nerds set for a Semi-Exclusive Season 3 Preview

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“Lights, camera, geek out!”

 

When Geek Outlaw received a press invitation for a special on-set behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming third season of TBS’s popular reality series King of the Nerds, two things immediately crossed my mind. Either someone in the TBS publicity department had been drinking heavily when the emails were sent out or my blog had been mistaken for a more noteworthy online pop culture website such as Entertainment Weekly or Octomom.com.

Upon my arrival on the set, I quickly learned – to my utter surprise – my summons was actually a deliberate one. The show’s producers and publicity team decided to reach out to the bloggers and smaller geek entertainment sites in an attempt to tap their desired nerd demographic through a true grass roots internet effort. By extending an invitation to Geek Outlaw, the payoff could be quite handsome… assuming all three of my followers decide to tune in this season.

 

KOTN Invite

I usually don’t accept invitations from strangers, but they were offering free candy, shaved ice and dinner.

 

Seeing as I wanted to fit the theme of the show I was going to cover, I attended the event in my full Outlaw regalia. As it turns out, I blended in like a wooly mammoth wearing a fluorescent-green jumpsuit at a funeral service. In fact, a few members of the production crew thought I was there to audition as a season four contestant. That said, I received the most flattering compliment from show co-host and belching Revenge of the Nerds alumni, Curtis Armstrong (aka Booger). I’m fairly certain his words were along the lines of, “I love the getup man. That is great! You’d fit in well here.” I’m fairly certain if I keep telling myself it was a compliment, then it truly was.

All joking aside, for feces and giggles I actually did throw my name into the hat last year to try out for the soon-to-air third season of the show. Interestingly enough, casting did reach out to me soon after to enter a video submission, but in the end I decided against the endeavor. Having viewed the first two seasons, I realized that unless the show’s challenges consisted of reciting Ghostbusters from beginning to end or transforming my Dinobot collection in record time, I wouldn’t make it past the season premiere’s opening credits. I would have been severely out-classed and more importantly, out-nerded. But I digress…

 

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“Howdy PartNerD.”

 

One of the most interesting tidbits of information I absorbed from King of the Nerds was something I learned before ever stepping foot on the set: per the invite, one quickly ascertains that the nerdtastic reality show isn’t primarily filmed on any fancy studio lot, but rather the hallowed halls of Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California. Based on the key intellect required to compete on the show, the atmosphere makes for a perfect fit.

Also according to the invite pictured above, everyone was made aware that both Revenge of the Nerds alum Robert Carradine (Lewis) and Armstrong (Booger) were going to allow for a Q&A session. However, what came as a pleasant heart-stopping surprise was the additional nugget of joy that both gentlemen were in fact going to be leading the tour as well. Getting a chance to walk side-by-side and casually converse with such revered nerd icons from pop-culture (and my own nerd-endowed youth) was an experience of biblical proportions.

 

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What do you call a geek sandwiched between two nerds? Who cares, because this photo is officially priceless.

 

The dynamic duo started off the journey by leading the press through most of the sets which will be seen in this season’s nerdathalon. The first stop took us to the main dining room where the legendary nerds were joined by Xander Jeanneret (season 2 finalist) and Genevieve Pearson (season 1 finalist). Both contestants have been hired on by the show’s producers in various capacities and provided additional commentary for the duration of the tour.

 

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From Left to right: Xander Jeanneret (season 2), Genevieve Pearson, (season 1), Chris Armstrong, and Robert Carradine.

 

Interestingly enough, I met and became friendly with Xavier during the Long Beach Comic Expo back in March of 2014. At that time I also befriended another contestant from the first season, Ivan Van Norman, who coincidentally was also on set that day for a special reunion episode of sorts. He even made an appearance as the first ever guest on the ‘grinks with deeks’ podcast I co-host, Podthingy (Podthingy.com). (While he loved being on the show, his liver has never fully forgiven us.)

 

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I’ve been made! (Ivan Van Norman having flashbacks to Podthingy.)

 

After a formal introduction in the main room, the tour moved through the narrow submarine-like hallways of the TV set to the sleeping corridors. Here we learned the names of this season’s teams (S.M.A.S.H. and House Hooloovoo) in addition to learning that both hosts are not the cosplaying type (see video below).

 

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You don’t want to see their flag when it’s angry…

 

The rather quaint sleeping quarters were quite ‘cozy’ if you enjoy sleeping with 8 other individuals in an 8’ by 8’ cubicle, and I couldn’t help but recall the infamous scene of Chris Farley calling “top bunk” from the movie Black Sheep.

 

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I’m pretty sure I’ve seen airplane overhead storage bins with more cubic space.

 

From there, the group was taken to the game room, where I personally would have slept and spent 99% of my time while filming the show. To say the room was a Nerd’s wet dream might be a little bit too graphic for some, but those were the first words that just popped in there. (And by “in there” I mean my mind, whose primary residence is the gutter.)

 

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Is that a Baterang in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

 

After the game room, the press was ushered through to the war room, which is the rather small workshop area that might make Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor do a double-take with envy. The tiny workspace houses tools and materials of all types which are utilized by the teams when having to create projects throughout the course of the competition. Oh, and did I mention its demur size? I’m sure it will be made to look more spacious when aired, but it’s starting to become clear that TV cameras don’t just add 10 pounds, they add 10 cubic feet as well.

 

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“Ah ah ah, more nerd power!”

 

On the topic of creativity, the final interior stop of the tour actually had nothing to do with a set itself. As an additional behind-the-scenes sneak peak, we were given access to view the wardrobe room used mainly by the hosts of the show. For those who haven’t watched yet, at some point during almost each episode, Armstrong and Carradine will dress to fit the theme of a certain challenge taking place that week. For my money, it’s actually one of the funniest bits of the series. What’s more, the nerdish interactions between the two hosts are some of the most humorous parts of the series.

Last but not least, our final destination involved a visit to the exterior of Nerdvana itself, which is none other than Occidental College’s very own Thorne Hall. The building definitely maintains the grandiose stature that is portrayed on TV, but the most intriguing part of the building is that it’s only used for the exterior shots of Nerdvana. Oh, should I have said “SPOILER ALERT”? While it’s more a spoiler of Hollywood’s smoke and mirrors, I’m hoping the show’s publicists don’t hang me from Nerd-created gallows by sharing the fact that the interior sets are not located inside the building that is oft shown during outdoor activities. Hopefully you will all consider this more of a fun fact than a spoiler, but if not, please send your complaints to TBS at…

 

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Have I said too much? It wouldn’t be the first time…

 

Once we finished our grand tour, the press settled back into the “Throne Room” – which of course houses the aptly named “Throne of Games” – to participate in a Q&A session with Carradine, and Armstrong, along with show producers Craig Armstrong and Rick Greenback. Everyone was given ample opportunity to ask the panel questions on anything their heart desired… assuming that ‘anything’ didn’t include what had happened during taping up to that point. I won’t delve too much into that Q&A since I have most of the session available for your viewing pleasure via the link located at the bottom of the page. Like any good hard-hitting geek blogger, I was able to sneak in a few questions of my own which can be heard at the 2:35 and 11:35 mark of the Q&A video.

 

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‘Revenge’ is best served atop a director’s chair.

 

As an additional treat, the press in the room did get a sneak peak of the contestants who will be geeking it out for this year’s honor of sitting on the vaguely familiar throne. Judging on the submission tapes of this round of contestants, the group looks to be more heavily geared towards the pop-culture areas of expertise than the scientific ones. More importantly, there are some very “entertaining” personalities this season that could make Shia Labeouf look like a proverbial wallflower.

The day ended with some photo ops on the Throne, followed by an excellent buffet-style dinner supplied by the on-set catering crew. It was another chance to sit with Armstrong and Carradine in a casual, no-pressure environment.

 

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I was forced to stand as they didn’t want any of my toys getting stuck in the “Throne of Games”.  [Xander Jeanneret (top), Robert Carradine (left), Curtis Armstrong (center), yours truly (right)]

 

If TBS’s exceptional commitment to King of the Nerds, including its improved production values, surprise special guests, and outreach to the geek culture community are any indication, it’s proof the nerds of the world are continuing to exact their revenge on the rest of pop culture.

 

[Season 3 of King of the Nerds premieres FRIDAY, January 23 at 9/8c on TBS]

 

TOUR VIDEOS

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Curtis Armstrong & Robert Carradine Q&A

(Hear the Outlaw @ 2:35 & 11:35!)

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Nerdvana – Exterior Set

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Nerdvana’s Dining Room

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Robert & Curtis – Cosplay Talk

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Nerdvana’s Sleeping Quarters

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Nerdvana’s Game Room

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Nerdvana’s War Room

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Nerdvana’s Wardrobe Closet

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  1. Pingback: EVENT: King of the Nerds Season 3 Premiere Bash is Evidence the Entire Nerd Community is a Family… that Knows how to Party | Geek Outlaw

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