For the last two months, geeky blogs and skeptical nerds have been talking about this new show on TLC called “Geek Love.” It's a reality show that follows participants of a speed dating event from New York Comic Con who are ready to find nonjudgmental, superfan partners. It debuts Sunday night.
Ryan Glitch is the self-confessed Geek who runs Sci-Fi Speed Dating Service and the creator of this show. “I’m a huge 'Star Wars' fan and I’m a huge 'Terminator' fan and I love comics and I love the Ninja Turtles,” Glitch said, which is actually the reason he started running the dating service.
“This isn’t just for people who are socially inept or whatever you want to call it,” said 25-year-old Glitch. “This is for hard-core fans, geeks and nerds that really want to meet somebody.”
Glitch, who also works for a nationwide discount chain in New York, began Sci-Fi Speed Dating in August 2010. He now runs the dating service at 10 Geek-centric events.
Giltch recognizes that some viewers will see this show as a way to mock a subculture they don’t like or understand. “The nerd world is becoming more mainstream because it’s more accessible," he said. "So I’m sure that there is a small percentage of people out there that just want to pick on nerds and those are the same bullies in high school that didn’t matter then and don’t matter now. I just want people to know that we are all geeks. Everybody is a geek and everybody is a fan in one way or another in something.”
If everyone is a fan of something in one way or another, what makes the geeky dating scene different from any other? Said Glitch, “Extreme fans, the fanboys, the fangirls, God love them, but the bar scene doesn’t work for them!”
One of the dating hopefuls on the show, 23-year-old Kelly Geus, agrees with Glitch.
“(A bar) is not necessarily a place that a geek would do well because we are kind of awkward and we are not necessarily the person that is going to stand out from the other side of the bar. But at a convention (like Comic Con) we are all sort of in our element. So we are a little less awkward because we are amongst our brethren. ”
Geus is from New Hyde Park, New York, and the objects of her fandom are the "Doctor Who" and "Harry Potter" franchises. She proudly named her dog Bellatrix, after the infamous Death Eater witch. She is painfully aware of long-held stereotypes about nerds and geeks.
“We’re people. We are not really different from anyone else. We are not those people sitting by their computers living in their parents' basement when they’re 17 years old," she said. "You kind of assume that we are like weirdos or something and you know what a little bit of weird is good for you! If you are too normal, you are boring. There is a lot more to geeks than the stereotypes would have you believe!”
Glitch knows just how much geeks have to offer. If "Geek Love" is successful, he's already got his sights set on offering more insight into the secret world of nerd culture.
“As far as doing other TV shows, you know, if my producers are game for it then I guess I would be game on! I would try my best to make sure that the (new show) came across with an equally positive message,” he said.