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January 25, 2013 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-25

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6 - Friday, January 25, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com.

6 - Friday, January 25, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Irritating cast
holds back 'Nerds'


New TBS reality
program zooms in
on nerd culture
For the Daily
Our society ' seems to be
saturated with an obsession of
so-called "nerd culture." After
ing great suc-
cess with its
popular sitcom, King of the
"The Big Bang Nerds
Theory," TBS
green-lighted Pilot
the creation
of its newest Thursdays at
series, "King of 10:00 p.m.
the Nerds." TBS
The show
is the station's
first unscripted competition pro-
gram in seven years. Beginning
with 11 cast members, the contes-
tants compete in weekly challeng-
es that eliminate a contestant each
episode. The ultimate goal is to be
crowned "King of the Nerds," sit
on "the Throne of Games" and
win the $100,000 grand prize. A
clever pun on "Game of Thrones,"
the physical throne represents the
fantasy show's Iron Throne com-
posed of Nerf weapons and game
pieces. In the first few episodes,
the contestants will compete on
teams before splitting into an
"every man for himself" setup.
"King of the Nerds" is the work
of the same people who produced
"The Amazing Race," "Survivor"
and "Mythbusters," so if this show
is to become as successful as these
three, it certainly has the team to
accomplish it. The producers pos-
sess an ideal mix of backgrounds
with competition and science
shows, and their previous work
has proven to be both interesting
and entertaining.
The show tries to celebrate
their intellect and geekiness, but
it seems to fall short. While some
contestants are feasibly real peo-

Babushkas are so 2012.
Powerhouse cast can't
fix drab 'Broken City'

"It's wizard's chess!"
ple, others seem to act like exag-
gerated stereotypes.
Danielle, for instance, not only
sports a head full of neon-pink
hair, but calls herself the "Queen
of WoW" ("World of Warcraft,"
a popular massively multiplayer
online role-playing game). She
also claims to have played over
6,500 games of "Halo" ... which
begs the question: Howis she get-
ting in her "WoW" time if all she
is doing is playing "Halo"?
Then there is Jon, with his styl-"
ish ombre-red hair, who claims
(somewhat unconvincingly) to
love math and theoretical phys-
ics. Hendrik, meanwhile, tries
to speak raven (yes, he wishes to
learn to speak with birds) in one
of the interviews.
The first episode has the 11
contestants split into two teams
to compete in a "Nerd War." This
results in a hilarious scene of the
nerds competitively nerd-offing.
The contestants are constantly
trying to one-up each other with
their talents. Danielle is in awe of
Celeste, who is a pro gamer who
can also solve Rubik's Cubes in
record time. Brandon, a neuro-
scientist, tries towinthe affection
of the team captains by dancing
enthusiastically (well, spastically)
to the popular video game "Just
Picking their teams, the nerds

had to pour paint on their choic-
es. Between each pick, the cam-
era cuts to the contestants and
reveals them bragging about their
respective skills. In no way are
the interviews endearing; the
contestants actually seem less
likeable than high-school seniors
bragging about their ACT and AP
scores. When neither team choos-
es Alana, she pathetically whines
about being a nerd until she finds
that she has been granted all of the
power. The editing does not paint
flattering portraits of the contes-
tants, and it certainly doesn't cre-
ate any emotional attachments
with the viewers.
To create a successful real-
ity show, you need to either build
strong connections with the con-
testants or showcase challenges
so exciting or ridiculous that it
draws viewers back each week.
The characters in "King of the
Nerds" are not strange enough
to be entertaining and cross the
line into being irritating.
With more episodes, we will
see if TBS's plunge into this par-
ticular brand of reality-based
competition series was a wise
decision by the studio's execu-
tives. If they wish to last more
than one season, the producers
need to rethink their approach
on both how they present their
contestants and their challenges.

Daily Arts Writer
Some things are simply essen-
tial: A cheeseburger needs the
cheese, or it's just a plain old burg-
er; a pop song
needs a catchy s
hook, or it cer-
tainly won't be Broken City
very popular; a
thriller needs At Qualityl6
anticipation, and Rave
suspense, unex- 20th Century Fox
pected events
and, well, thrill.
But in "Broken City," the twists
- a staple of this genre - are wide
and meandering jaunts, rather
than the sharp, abrupt and shock-
ing turns that set a memorable
crime drama apart from the gar-
bage bin of forgettable attempts.
It's a slow, predictable ride that
never picks up, so it might be bet-
ter to just not get into the car in

the first place.
Mark Wahlberg ("Ted") stars
as Billy Taggart, a cop-turned-
private investigator, who's hired
by Nicholas Hostetler (Russell
Crowe, "Les Miserables"), the,
New York City mayor currently
seeking re-election, to investi-
gate hiswife, Cathleen (Catherine
Zeta-Jones, "Playing For Keeps"),
who he suspects is having an
As Billy tails Cathleen, he dis-
covers her frequent companion is
none other than opposing cam-
paign manager, Paul Andrews
(Kyle Chandler, "Zero Dark
Thirty"). But as Taggart dives
deeper into the case, he unveils
more "cheating" than he initially
expected, and it's a far cry from
just the bedroom.
Unfortunately, writer Brian
Tucker - in his first attempt to
pen a major feature film - misses
the target entirely. The backbone

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

RELEASE DATE- Friday, January 25, 2013
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 4 Casbah 36 Beloved 52 Trig function
1 Fair share, headgear 38 Uffizi hangings 53 XXX, at times
maybe 5 Had a little 39 Hubbub 54 Three-handed
5 Polite denial something 42 Pays to play game
11 Pro-.. 6 Frere de la mere 43 Into a state of 57 Singer
14 Arch type 7 Dent, say decline DiFranco
15 Commensurate 8 Big lug 45 Ocean borders 58 Bookmarked
(with) 9 Travel org. since 46 Patch plant item nowadays
16 Soaked ' 1902 47 Rock'so- Boingo 59 "Gloria in
17 Cryfrom a 10 "Captain -Sar tE ,,elsis
duped investor? Kangaroo"
19 Brother character who 49 One may follow 60 British rule in
20 "l" strain? told knock-knock a casing colonial India
21 Where to find jokes ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
Ducks and 11 Really bad
Penguins: Abbr. 12 Haggard of M A 0 R I W H I G H A S P
22 Eyes country music EXXON W I P E EWE R
24 Cryjust before 13 Flight part R E Y 0 F L I G H T Y O G I
dozing off? 18 Ocean-bay N A C H 0 0 F L A c
28 Eschewed the connector A ENA HOG FL X
backup group 23 Someone to T R E Y T A B L E A V A S T
31 Mra. IGorbachev admire
32 Influence 24 Grouch T A M S W E E C L E N C H
33Took in 25Sung approval? I M U P AL OH A R A R A
37 Lab medium 26 Prison area C A R R E Y NOR A C A T
38Thinking out 27 Bring on board A S S E T B E Y 0 F P I G S
loud, in a way 28 Injury reminder Y A L E A L F 0 N S O
40 Farm father 29'70s Olympics J U S T A H S E A T
41 Anthem name O P I E D E Y T R I P P E R
fortifications 30Good earth D O L L L A N A R I C C 1
43 Cupid's boss 34 Pixie dust
44 Free leaver, to Peter I N TL EDEN SE T UP
45 Dog named for 35 Deco designer xwordeditor@aol.com 01/251t3
the bird it 1 2 3 4 a s 7 9 10 11 12 13
amiliarly a45
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50 Hose 20 21 22 23
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52 John, Paul and 2a 25 2627
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55 Electees 32 33 34 35 36
56 Crytfrom a
Jeddah native? 37 3s 3s 40
61 Iron..
62 Troubied state 41 42 43
63 Vronsky's lover, 44 45
in Tolstoy
64 "Balderdash!" 4a47 as 49
e5 Some aces
DOWN 55 505 58 59 60
1 Clinton's 61 6263
2 Bug-yed n4 4 6566
3 Jay related to a
peacock? -yKutKnwus r01/25/13
(c)2013 Tribune MediService,In.112 3

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of any enticing crime drama is a
story with depth and creativity
- a plot that moves at a "one step
ahead" kind of pace - but here,
the writing is seriously predict-
able, vapid and not very inventive.
Looks like it's
time to bring.
back Marky
The dialogue feels like it's dia-
logue - like it's a bunch of lines
written on a page to be recited by
actors rather than actual jargon
usedbypeople ofthe "realworld*'
It's a manufactured microcosm
that even a talented cast of sea-
soned professionals can't authen-
ticate. But crappy script aside,
this promising lineup of actors,
an aggregation of heavy hitters
boasting a catalogue of critically
acclaimed performances, fails to
impress as awhole.
Wahlberg dons his usual attire
as the brutish, curt, irreverent
leading man who hits people
really hard, but unlike the arche-
typal "troubled" protagonist
who undergoes the maturation
process to become a "good guy,"
Wahlberg's character is as flat as
a pancake. It's almost impossible
to conjure an iota of sympathy for
Billy because he brings all of his
troubles upon himself: He loses
his girlfriend (an aspiring actress)
after punching out her co-star at a
movie premiere, he goes to prison .
for shooting a delinquent in cold
blood and, when he relapses after
seven years of sobriety, he only
has himself to blame.
Zeta-Jones's on-screen pres-
ence is severely muted and
rather nonexistent despite the
integral nature of her role. She's
a powerhouse performer, who
is idiotically and entirely unde-
rutilized - as is Chandler, who
brings a vivid, albeit brief, por-
trayal of a passionate political
The saving grace is Crowe,
who effortlessly embodies an
arrogant, ruthless, win-at-all-
costs scoundrel on a power trip,
and it's a pleasure to loathe him
as he weaves a web of economic
corruption. His scenes are rays
of sunshine among a dim and
drab storyline that would oth-
erwise be nearly fully devoid of
any brightness.
A more experienced writer
(just one previous screenplay
under his belt would've been
encouraging), a less brood-
ing, bumbling Wahlberg and a
way more electric Zeta-Jones
and charming Chandler might
have been enough to repair
this flawed film. But, while the
trusty politicians of New York
- and the rest of the country -
will always have the chance to
make improvements to society,
it's too late now to fix "Broken

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