Socially off the ball, yet game to have a go
Nerds FC 7.30pm, SBS As a real- world primer for people learning to coach this is hard to beat
IT is hard not to like Nerds FC. In this second series the characters are engaging, their values are appealing and their experiences will resonate with everybody who loves a sport they are not very good at. No wonder it is what passes for a hit on SBS.
The nerds of the title are young men whose intellectual ability is far greater than their physical fitness and whose other interests are more abstruse than sport.
They are drilled in soccer skills and taught teamwork. And on the basis of this episode it obviously works. While they are truly terrible footballers they are game to have a go on the field. And the bonding session, where they go white water rafting, demonstrates a willingness to try new things that some of them find disconcerting.
Nerds is not a show for people who think sport, like life, is a war where winning is all that matters. Anybody who thinks the purpose of sport is to allow stars to show off will not enjoy it all. But it is the show’s sheer ordinariness that makes it a success.
Unlike most so- called reality television, Nerds is really, well, real. If this episode was in any way crafted or contrived it does not show. With Nerds FC what you see is what you get. These blokes are absolutely free of guile or pretension. And, despite being labelled nerds, with all the shyness and social dysfunction the term implies, they seem comfortable in their own skins. Comfortable enough to present themselves as they are on national TV.
It is all uplifting, in a way the fat freak shows, where Americans bare their psyches as well as their bellies, in the competition to lose weight, can never be.
Ours is not a culture that values intellectual ability or interests in the same way it does sport. But in this episode at least you would never know if members of the team were embarrassed by their ineptitude. They just get on with the job. As a realworld primer for people learning to coach sports squads or motivate groups Nerds FC is hard to beat.
And while there is nothing surprising in this episode, it is engaging entertainment, of a YouTube kind. While the show is professionally packaged there is nothing in the Nerds format that would be beyond a dedicated supporter of a community football club who has video skills.
And yet it must be said, this is TV to take up time that could be better spent getting outside your own comfort zone, rather than watching these amiable young men venturing outside theirs.
Taught teamwork: The Nerds FC football team, which uplifts viewers in a way the fat freak shows can’t