Last night’s episode began with the female nerds drinking and declaring their gender preferences, none of which seem to be 100% skewing male. Fortunately the action moved on to the challenge, creating the greatest sci-fi cosplay masterpiece ever told. The cosplay will be judged on their creativity, costumes, and the moral of the story. Curiously, the blue team (House Hooloovoo) thinks they have advantage because they have cosplayers, underestimating that LARPers actually tell stories in costume. Ori, a LARPer, might just be the green team’s (Team SMASH) secret weapon.
There’s some disconcerting signs that King of the Nerds isn’t doing well. The official web site has almost no information about any of the contestants. When one of the contestants claims his only cosplay experience was as a weighted companion cube with his head sitting atop a box on screen titled “not a companion cube,” there’s a disclaimer at the lower-thirds:
This is not a companion cube. We would like to show you a companion cube, as a companion cube is most excellent. However, we contacted the owners of the companion cube and they declined our request to show you how fabulous a companion cube is. We will keep trying in this endeavor to show you this amazing companion cube. Hopefully by season four we will have completed our negotiations with the owners of the companion cube and be able to show you just how amazing it really is. Thank you.
When you can’t get Valve (the developer and publisher of Portal, which features the weighted companion cube) to give you a five second endorsement, your show is in trouble.
The special guest judges include: Tara Strong, voice actress of Twilight Sparkle in “My Little Pony”; Yaya Han, professional cosplayer; and actor Billy Boyd, from “Lord of the Rings” (slow day I guess). Curiously, while there are references to “My Little Pony” and Ori claims he is also a brony, when Tara is asked to do Twilight Sparkle’s voice it’s some other character entirely. Or to put it another way, King of the Nerds didn’t even get the rights to “My Little Pony”!
Blue team’s story features aliens aboard a ship punishing a human but who also unknowingly have a human in disguise on board. In the end the prisoner human saves the day and everyone learns you shouldn’t judge people by the color of their skin. Or something.
The green team’s cosplay is about a robot gone awry who eventually finds redemption. Tara votes for blue, Billy votes for green, leaving it to Yaya to break the tie (inconceivable!): green. Team SMASH wins! The winners each get $250 gift cards at BuyCostume.com, which is still better than a gift card from Radio Shack.
This challenge brought into stark relief the difference between cosplay vs. LARPing. The cosplayer-led team focused on their costumes, the LARP-led team focused on their story. Both groups dress up and role-play, but cosplayers tend to focus more on costuming and less on role-play, and LARPers tend to focus more on role-play and less on costuming. Kudos to Yaya for recognizing the LARPers for their efforts to craft a fun story.
Thomas is selected for the nerd off. Ever the Boy Scout, he espouses the Boy Scout values: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Kaitlin is chosen to oppose Thomas.
In the nerd off the contestants descend into a land of legends and heroic knights where they are riddled by riddlemasters. For preparation, the contestants get to review sample riddles to hone their lateral thinking skills. And the riddles are:
- We show you a picture and point out the way We dance in the night, but flee in the day. What are we? Answer: Stars (Thomas).
- The face on my head is long since dead, slain by a rebel scorned. I can buy you a fish, or grant you a wish, or tell you the year I was born. What am I? Answer: A penny (Kaitlin)
- I am made of nothing, though I am golden. Through empty space I spread, say my name and I am destroyed. I am my strongest when I am dead. What am I? Answer: Silence (Kaitlin)
- All alone I’m 24th. I’m 20 when I’m doubled. Two of me makes you a she, but 3 gets you in trouble. What am I? Answer: The letter X (Thomas)
- Thin I am fast, fat I am slow. I live by being devoured. The wind I hate, yoru breath is my foe. What am I? Answer: Candle (Kaitlin)
Kaitlin wins. Somewhere along the line, the women decided that self-proclaimed Brony Thomas needed a girlfriend and even created a web site for him. That’s apparently his consolation prize for losing King of the Nerds.