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NYCC 2014: King of the Nerds

Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

TBS’s King of the Nerds panel began with a bang (or a glitter fit, if you prefer), as finalist from last year’s competition, Xander Jeanneret introduced our panelists: hosts and executive producers Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong; season 2 winner Kayla LaFrance; and cosplay guru Yaya Han.

Armstrong matched the crowd’s energy, thanking us for being as excited about coming to the panel as they were for the new season. He explained that they were finally cutting and piecing the show together, that the first episode is done, and that it’s all awesome.

“We stand or we fall by our nerds,” he told us, recounting how they were able to know whether or not a season was going to rock. He went on to say that there are three PhD-holding contestants this season, along with some brilliant academics, gamers, and cosplayers.

While he was reluctant to give very much information about guest stars or challenges from the new season, Armstrong did reveal that Nerdy Tales, cosplay, and fan favorite Nerd Anthem would each definitely be making an appearance.

In true nerd fashion, Armstrong and Carradine then excitedly showed us their own Nerd Anthem, which serves as a trailer/TV spot for the upcoming season.

Next, the hosts talked about what they look for while they cast their nerds. They agreed that it was all about originality, finding that authentic unique person who absolutely has to be on the show. In addition to that special something, the execs also look for people from across the board. Whether they be brainy or gamey, the nerds have to come from different walks of life so there can be a very specific and interesting chemistry in Nerdvana, each new season. Carradine reminded us, however, that first and foremost, it was important to make sure the nerds were not just of high-caliber, but were the real deal. He explained that they wouldn’t want someone getting on the show who actually didn’t know what they were talking about.

Season 2 winner, Kayla LaFrance, spoke about her life after the show and shouts, “Hire me!” at the mention of her next steps.

“King of the Nerds was probably one of the most stressful but fun things I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. LaFrance then went on to suggest that it “might beat out the time [she] spent at NASA,” even though she is still currently looking for a job in aerospace.

Cosplay connoisseur Yaya Han was excited to talk about her involvement with the past and present seasons of King of the Nerds. She commented on how hard-working the cast and crew were and how it was “astonishing to come back for 3 seasons and it’s still the same crew.”

She admitted that her favorite moment on the show was getting to meet George Takei. Han has been touring and making “ridiculous amounts of costumes.” She also talked about how there is a comic book based on her life in the works.

“I never thought I’d cross over from being a fan to having an actual book, a proper book!” Han confessed, explaining that her cosplay to the panel was actually the book-Yaya’s outfit.

Getting into fan questions, Han explained that her start in cosplay manifested itself because of loving anime, manga, and comic books and just wanting to participate. Armstrong said he couldn’t choose a favorite role that he’s played, though Booger (from Revenge of the Nerds) will always hold a special place in his heart as his breakout role, and he enjoys playing Metatron on Supernatural.

Speaking more (or more specifically, not) on Supernatural, Armstrong admitted that while “[he doesn’t] know how much [he] can say about it, [he] will be back this year… [He’s] not done yet!”

Carradine and Armstrong agreed that no nerd has an advantage coming into the competition. They come from such different backgrounds, and “it’s more instinctive than anything.” Both a gamer and a rocket scientist have won the competition!

A fan asked about their transformations into the nerdy people we saw today, and Armstrong willingly offered, “I’m a book nerd, a serious book nerd, and have been since I was a child… I’m a music nerd to some degree.” Carradine, though unwilling to own up to being a nerd, was shamed into admitting that he spent the entirety of the downtime they had while filming season 3 building and flying a remote control airplane.

Finally, when asked how best to get your children into nerd culture, Armstrong suggested, “Just share what you love. That’s what I did with my daughter.”

Season 3 of King of the Nerds is going to be huge and nerdier than ever! Tune in January 23rd, 2015 at 9 pm on TBS to watch all the nerditude reach its height at Nerdvana!

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