GeekOut

'Buffy' star loves playing geeks

When Nicholas Brendon walked into the room for our interview, he did not look like a nerd. He was wearing sunglasses, a fashionable shirt and a fedora. Not the nerd uniform one would expect - not even a nerdy Tshirt. And yet, Brendon has made a name for himself in Hollywood by playing a geek.

For seven seasons on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Brendon provided many of the funniest one-liners (courtesy show creator Joss Whedon, of course) that fans still quote to this day.

"It seems to be more popular now than when we were doing it," Brendon said about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

At every fan convention he attends, Brendon said, someone tells him a personal story of how the show helped them get through an illness or personal tragedy.

It speaks to the genius of Joss Whedon that the show continues to endure nine years after it ended, Brendon said, not to mention that it's still tremendously entertaining.

"People really relate to it. It takes people away. It's like the 'Calgon' of shows."

But Xander was also a geek that other geeks could identify with.

"Xander is effectively a stand-in for the kind of high schooler Joss Whedon self-identified with– nerdy, smart-alecky and not particularly sure of himself - who comes to find the inner strength to overcome his limitations," said Simon Fleischmann of Whedonverse.net.

"The audience connects with him, because unlike eventually all the other members of the Scooby Gang, Xander doesn't have any particular super-power, but he has a certain ability to see things as they are."

Now that Brendon plays "techie" Kevin Lynch on "Criminal Minds," he finds himself as a geek once more, something he personally prefers.

One of the most memorable moments for the socially awkward, wildly dressed Kevin may be when he took part in a hacker battle with the team's technical analyst Penelope Garcia. Once the two of them met, they were inseparable, and their nerdy romance is a favorite among "Criminal Minds" fans.

"I played baseball in college but I didn't identify with the jocks, I was in my own little world," he said. "As an actor, it's more interesting to play a nerd than anything else. It's a lot more fun - you don't worry about 'what's my hair like?' in the morning or 'which is my great angle?'"

(Click here for Brendon's personal definition of geeks versus nerds.)