Spoilers think we’re going to open a can of worms here.
Full disclaimer. There’s this one particular network sitcom, much beloved by many, that I’ve never liked. Geek culture, however you want to define it, goes a little beyond the t-shirts and the comic books. Using it simply as a theme but still relying on stale humour and surface-level references to IP properties, is something unrealistic but tolerable. But then you add stuff else that doesn’t need to be there and I have issues.
The problem is media often tarnishes all geek and nerd characters with misogynistic, racist and patronizing personality aspects. I find this hard to digest. I’m not saying fans of all things geek and nerdy are above mediocrity. I’m saying to portray characters smart enough to gain employment and excel in academia you shouldn’t omit the fact that some of their personality aspects should have matured beyond a high school level. Yes, a lot of young people often exhibit toxic traits when they’re growing up. Immaturity is often celebrated. Still…
When I see writing that still adds these traits to grown people I can’t help but think you are writing them from outside looking in so you haven’t figured out a) that these people do have jobs, responsibilities and pay taxes, or b) want to add all these negative traits to them to feel better about yourself. Now to be fair, I have seen shows take a few leaps to mature these characters and even add female representation (although still introduced as love interests initially, but still counts as a win). I guess some writers do grow up enough to consider this.
The reason why I am strongly critical of characters that still portray the awkwardness of younger years is that they ignore a lot of things they are secretly good at. They’re willing to fight for the little guy. They feel empathetic for the downtrodden. They are more willing to forgive. More than a few are great parents. They are generous with their time. I’m not denying there are bad apples. There’s some that can act like elitistic unofficial fandom gatekeepers such as the bullies of their youths. But when media creators, directors and writers accumulate all the bad traits and none of the good ones, that makes me think you’re writing against your own creation. Hopefully the trend, and its creators, are growing up. Then again, it’s just a theory.
That will do for now.