Zachary Levi of "Chuck" -- Too Good-Looking to play a Nerd?

I overheard an interesting conversation at lunch today. A “twenty-something” couple were talking about the TV series “Chuck”. The guy loved the show (as do I), but the girl said that she was annoyed by the fact that Zachary Levi played such a nerdy guy. She said that he “was far too handsome to be convincing as a nerd”.

I must admit that I never really thought of nerdiness always equating with unattractiveness. Nerds have to be ordinary-looking or ugly?

(I think that Mr. Levi does a great job as the lead character, by the way.)

What do you guys think?

I find him too nerdy to play a lead. He is better looking than the average nerd, I guess. I think he looks like he could be John Krasinski’s brother.

Actually, after Googling images of Levi, I see that with a different hairstyle he’s a whole lot better.

Levi’s a hottie, but he’s also a pretty good actor.

At the birthday party arranged by his sister, a cute young woman tried to chat him up. But he went on & on about the ex-girlfriend who broke his heart–driving her away. Not especially a nerdlike action, but not attractive to most women.

Meeting Chuck earlier in his evolution, a woman might think that he & Morgan were always together. Being extreme nerds. This would also drive away most non-nerd women.

Finally, the Nerd Herd uniform–with the short sleeve dress shirt worn outside the wash & wear black slacks–is absolutely hideous.

In the fantasy world of Chuck, I could just about imagine him as Not A Hottie.

ETA: Yes, a bad hairstyle increases The Nerd Factor.

Eh, he’s not really unattractive, but not anywhere what I picture when I think of the stereotypical hot guy. It’s not like he looks like the actor who plays his brother-in-law. Now that would be silly.

No you can google images for him and see lots of photos where he looke nerdy.

What you need is someone like Tobey McGuire or Topher Grace (aren’t they the same person), who can be both nerdy and handsome all at once, depending on the camera angle :slight_smile:

I’ve known plenty of good looking nerds. I think he’s perfect for the part.

He’s the perfect combination of good looking but insecure, smart yet goofy and not muscled out enough to be leading man material by Hollywood standards.

I think so, yes. I think nerdiness is a state of being withdrawn into a non-social world, where you obsess about minutia and live in a sort of fantasy world because people don’t want to interact with you. The longer it goes on, the nerdier you become. As a rule attractive people are never socially outcast for long enough to build up that initial nerdy outer shell, and so in turn they never have a chance to metamorphasize into a full-blown nerd. (After which social interaction no longer has the ability to de-nerdify you.)

Nerds can be handsome. It’s either what you wear or what you say (or how you behave) that makes other people label you as a nerd. When you see someone ugly wearing a t-shirt and jeans, you don’t say “what a nerd!”. But meet someone wearing glasses only your grandpa would wear and that nerd herd uniform, you would say “what a nerd!”. Or when you meet a model wearing an armani and he keeps talking on and on and on about his nerdish hobby (whatever hobby that you consider nerdish and bores you with a capital Yawn), then you would think “what a nerd!”.

He had to be a nerd who could convincingly go undercover as a spy, should it be called for… which it was. So a Michael Cera type would be inappropriate.

I don’t think it’s being a social outcast that makes one a nerd. Being a non-social does not also equate nerdiness. People who actively engage in live-action role playing (like Mintz-Plasse’s character in the movie Role Models) are not social outcasts and they do socialize with other people.

We don’t call anti-social loners nerds. We call them them weird goth kids. :smiley: (My apologies to goth fans for the bad joke.) Seriously, though, I have seen several nerds who are good-looking.

I disagree. It’s possible for a group of social outcasts to come together, and that is not the same as being socialized. What ends up happening there is usually a reinforcement of socially awkward behavior. That’s what it boils down to, IMO. Nerds are those who don’t get socialized properly, and when someone is socially awkward but attractive, many people will try to socialize them. (Women just love to fix guys.) The unattractive ones get left to their own devices, where they congregate together and never learn the broader do’s and don’t’s of social discourse.

That’s just it, though. That cute model will have been given countless social clues throughout their life that droning on about a boring topic is socially unacceptable. It would take a monumental social retardation to miss all the social clues a lifetime of being attractive will draw. Ugly nerds may be easily socialized but never given a chance because who wants to hang with the ugly kids with bad personalities?

Related to this topic, IFC has just started airing Freaks & Geeks, which has a great case in point. The cool kids are going out of their way to socialize the uber-geeky (mathlete!) yet hot Lyndsay. Her former best friend is basically the same person but not as hot, and nobody is going out of their way to socialize her.

Which proves my point: a hottie like Lyndsay is labeled a geek not because of her looks but because she’s a mathlete.

No, it actually proves my point. By the end of the 18 episodes she’s reformed and become a socialized person, fully shedding the geek status and breaking the mathlete shackles. All because of the socializing influence she’s offered, which is given time and again to her but not her less hot friend. Her less hot friend is still a geek at the end.

See? She stopped being a mathlete and she’s no longer a geek. :smiley: It’s what you do that makes other people call you a geek.

Yes, of course it’s what you do that makes you a geek. Are you not reading my posts? Two people do the same geeky things, one hot, the other not. The hot one will get much more socializing pressure to stop doing the geeky things simply because they’re hot. Provided they aren’t completely socially retarded, they get socialized and stop being geeks. Because they’re hot and therefore other people thought they were worth the effort.

Conversely, people don’t try to help the ugly geek because an unattractive person with a bad personality isn’t worth the bother.

I’m having trouble thinking of a simpler, more direct way to explain this.

I think you’re stating what you would do rather than what most people would do. Most people I know would not discourage someone to be a mathlete whether they’re hot or not. Anyway, I’m sure in real life people who try to “socialize” their friend geeks will do so whether they’re hot or not. They’ll do it because they’re friends. :slight_smile:

Bolding mine. Several? That many? I think you’ve just proved Ellis Dee’s point.

Do you live in a world where several is a small number? Or, as she puts it, 0?

I honestly have no idea why she thinks true nerds would want to be socialized. Most nerds are that way by choice, choosing to value what they do over socialization. The rest seem to be just biologically predisposed to it. Most nerds are offered the chance at being resocialized. Some don’t take it, and some don’t get it. I’ve never heard of it being just a lack of opportunity.

And it feels really weird talking about nerds as if they were some oddballs out there. Most of the people here are nerds, at least at a low level. They aren’t some weird lower class people.

I know loads (there - is that better than several?) of really good-looking nerds. Just because someone’s handsome or pretty doesn’t mean that everyone around them will instantly ‘teach’ them to be socialised, or that the nerd will learn.