Last week, Emily, Art, and I were out at the Herkimer having a few adult beverages. Of course, as the evening progressed we fell into conversations about our blog endeavors, and started giving Art grief over his lack of posting. After a bit of prodding, we finally convinced Art to finish writing his Nerdscale post, which had been promised weeks ago. I went home with no expectations of seeing such a post, but lo and behold, the next day Emily send me a tweet informing me that Art had indeed published his Nerdscale.
I had warned Art I would likely be posting a rebuttal, and this is it. First, there are some very good points to the Nerdscale. Art has come up with the ingenious idea of a common unit of Nerdiness. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with Spaceballs as the unit of measure. Here are my reasons.
- Spaceballs can be viewed as a stand alone movie, but to truly appreciate it's humor, you should watch Star Wars.
- To relegate a Mel Brooks movie to a score of one is insulting.
Instead of using any individual movie as a measuring stick will not work. Instead, you need a set or elements that earn a movie 1N. 1N is a movie that is so not nerdy it would be scoffed at, yet without the single element of nerdiness its plot would be undone. Adding additional elements increases the nerdscore and therefore the nerdiness of the movie or television show.
Is there an single element of Science Fiction or Fantasy in the movie? Using this criteria, Big is a 1N movie.
- Are there spaceships? This actually puts Apollo 13 as a 1N movie.
- Do the spaceships go faster than the speed of light?
- Do the spaceships appear to hold more than 30 people?
- Do the ships have any of the following, lasers, photon beams, photon torpedoes, ion cannons, force fields, or cloaking mechanisms?
- Are there any of the following species in the movie, gnomes, trolls, elves, dwarves, orcs, or other such creatures?
- Two or more?
- Five or more?
- Fifteen or more?
- Was the home world of any main characters destroyed in nuclear holocaust?
- Are they still living there?
- Are there cyborgs/cylons?
- Can any of the characters do magic/move things with their mind?
- Do any characters come back to life after a deadly battle/crash/mugging?
- If a character loses a limb is it replaced with a fully functional prosthetics?
- Does the prosthetic look exactly like the characters original limb?
- Does the prosthetic have more functions than the original limb?
- Are there Aliens?
- Do any other the characters possess unexplained superhuman strength/endurance. (Jason Vorhees is a perfect example)
- Does anyone hack into a large government computer installation?
- Are there robots?
- Do the robots speak a human language?
- If the robots speaks in a series of beeps, can non-robots understand them?
- Do any inanimate objects come to life?
This is only a partial list, I’m still working out the details, but you can see how this works. Each item on the list is worth 1N. Sub items only occur if the main item occurs but are worth 1N as well. So let’s start out with the two shows that started this debate. Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica (BSG).
Star Wars scores under 1, 2, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 6, 8, 8-1, 9, 12, 12-1, and 12-2 for a total score of 12N. BSG scores under 1, 2, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 for a total score of 9N.
As suspected, Star Wars is nerdier than BSG. As I stated above the list of scoring opportunities is a work in progress and I hope to have a complete list in a few weeks. I would love to here your comments, and especially additions to the list. As with Art’s list, I write this with the full expectation that things need some tweaking. The goal is to get it out there and see what develops.