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

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Stephen Matchett

Taught team­work: The Nerds FC foot­ball team, which up­lifts view­ers in a way the fat freak shows can’t

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