Welcome to 'Geek Therapy'
January 23rd, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Welcome to 'Geek Therapy'

It's not unusual for a therapist to quiz their patients in order to find out more about them. But this isn't your average therapy session.

The therapist is a geek therapist, and she wants to measure her patient's GQ, or Geek Quotient. Once the patient answers a question about the "Transformers" character Unicron by saying, "There were no unicorns in 'Transformers," things start to look bleak for her GQ score.

Actress/comedian America Young, of Comediva.com, has played the Geek Therapist in three episodes of "Geek Therapy," posted to YouTube. She has taken a wannabe geek as a patient and discussed the difference between geeks and nerds with a married couple.

CNN Geek Out spoke with Young about the new Web series.

CNN Geek Out: Where did the idea for "Geek Therapy" come from?

Young: One week a month, Comediva.com has a theme week (unicorn week, zombie week and so on). I pitched to them that we do a "Geek Week" for the week of Comic-Con. They got super excited about it. They're such a cool group of girls, each geeky about their own thing. Erika Cervantes, the founder of Comediva, is amazing about encouraging people to create things that they are excited about. Emily McGregor, the director of "Geek Therapy," and I had a brainstorming session for videos that we could make for it. We started talking about how geek is "in" now. Everyone, all of a sudden, was proudly waving their geek flag. How cool is it that traditional high school status had been turned on its head? I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if non-geeks were feeling left out and went to find a place to learn how to be a geek and deal with their feelings of uncoolness?" Emily and I took that idea and ran with it: The jock that always got laid but doesn't know how to talk to girls anymore, the hot girl who was being overlooked for geek girls and so on. From there, Emily and I came up with our anti-bullying PSA called "Words Hurt," pleading with the geeks to take it easy on the poor obsolete "cool" kids and not make fun of them.

CNN Geek Out: Are any of these based on encounters you have had in real life?

Young: Yes. I've been on both sides. There are geek topics that I know very well. And there are ones that I know every little about. I've schooled and been schooled. It's all part of the process. I've had friends who were not geeks but recently have discovered things in the geek world that they are excited about, and I've encouraged it. Why not? It can literally be a whole new world to explore for some people. How exciting and awesome is that?

CNN Geek Out: What is your personal definition of a geek? (And a nerd?) Do you count yourself as one or the other?

Young: I think, in a general sense, being a geek is liking something so much, being so excited about it, that you don't care what others think about you liking that thing. In the past, it meant liking something to that extent but something that the general public didn't understand or consider cool. The general public didn't get comic books or "Star Wars" or "Doctor Who." Now they do, more than ever. But also, people seem to actually respect people are get excited about something, more and more. Being a geek now doesn't just mean liking comic books, it means being passionate about something, and now everyone seems to think that is cool. "I'm geeking out" is something I hear a lot now. I'm a mixture of both nerd and geek: a Type A personality with a penchant for comics and sci-fi. I'm not a expert on as many things as my character is in the show, but I will say that one of my dear friends, Eric Campbell, writes a lot of the stuff that I like and know into the script. The majority of what I have made has been geek-related.

CNN Geek Out: What kind of response have you received to the videos?

Young: Mostly, people have loved them and been super supportive about the show. There are people who call me out if I mispronounce something, which I get. They were geeks before it was "cool." They suffered the bullying from those who didn't get it. And now they have all these people in their world who get to be part of it when it's fun and not a stigma. To me, that means they have a badge of honor for liking something before it was cool. So they get to call me out on my mispronunciations and mistakes. I am not an all-knowing geek. I'm working on it but not there yet. There was one comment of "why would you want to be a geek?" I feel sorry for that poor soul. There is another sect of people who scolded us for leaving certain types of geeks out. We agree! We do not want to generalize all groups in one "geek" character. But we only had time to shoot four episodes.

CNN Geek Out: Can you tell us anything about the upcoming videos?

Young: Yes! Well, sort of. I can tell you that we explore other types of geeks and geek situations. We try to keep them short, funny, but also have some heart. We also have some amazing guest stars on the show!

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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. adam levine

    excellent submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this. You should proceed your writing. I'm confident, you've a huge readers' base already!

    February 28, 2012 at 4:39 am |
  2. Larry

    Idiot. A show about Geeks by someone who has no clue what a Geek is. Clue #1: It is not just being a trivia expert in some esoteric field...or dressing weird. You actually have to have deep knowledge about something. So, it will never be a mass culture thing because it takes actual intelligence and hard work.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • OG (original geek)

      Unless the term geek gets redifned to remove the need for intelligence so it can fit more people in pop culture.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • EMP

        Not to imply that geeks were ever dumb, but general intelligence was never a part of being a geek. Knowing everything there is to know about whatever topic you may pick doesn't make you intelligent, it just makes you intelligent on a particular topic. General intelligence was a nerd trait first and foremost, thank you very much.

        Now, many (possibly most) nerds were ALSO geeks because they tended to be social outcasts, had few or no friends, and spent most of their free time delving deeply into their own quirky interests. This is, of course, predating Larry and the OG as I'm assuming neither of you are out of your 20's yet. In the pre-Internet, pre-Con world, the only other geeks you met were at an academic summer camp or in various advanced school courses or clubs. Geeks learned everything there was to know about the subject of their geekdom for themselves, not to flaunt in anyone else's face – except, perhaps, for the random other geek-of-a-feather they may happen to meet.

        In the end, while most nerds wind up being geeks, not all geeks are necessarily nerds. The jock who loves baseball deeply and can cite a vast array of stats off the top of his or her head about the sport may or may not be particularly "intelligent" when compared to a 4.0 honors student. Totally not a nerd, but it doesn't make them any less of a geek.

        February 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • Lama

        I'd like to see a day when gender otiumpssans about interests, professions, intelligence, etc., disappear. We're not there yet. When little girls are made to feel abnormal or told that they can't like Star Wars, because it's a boy thing, and New York Times reviewers insist women couldn't possibly be interested in Game of Thrones or The Hobbit, we're not there yet. When the, Pandering, as a broad brush-stroke argument, is applied to women, but not men, we're not there yet. I think there are a lot of guys for whom the gender disparity isn't a thing, because that's not how they think. Which is awesome. That the media and some men and women still do, is the issue. Every time anyone questions whether women are really geeks, it's erasing to us. It's saying that all the social struggles we went through as kids, and in high school, etc., don't exist. Leaving out the geek-related job fields, and potential gender disparity there, when it comes to being seen as a demographic, just as a consumer class we're still lobbying for t-shirts. We're still lobbying to be served without being patronized or ignored at comic shops. We're still lobbying for a female superhero movie or show. We're still lobbying to be taken seriously in sciences and tech. There's a curve of acceptance, and we're still working on not being looked at strangely when we talk about comics, let alone physics. It's gonna take time for gender to become a non-issue. And this isn't even the last shakeup geek culture is going to go through. Issues of color and LGBT inclusion will be the next wave. I'll say again: microcosm and macrocosm. Subcultures are still composed of we, the global society. Are we a little more open? Yeah. That'll make it easier, but we're going to have growing pains.

        March 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  3. Louie

    So geek is in now, eh? Guess what, we don't like posers.

    January 24, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • OG (original geek)

      Yeah it's a disturbing trend that has led to redefining the word Geek so it applies to more people.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • Anar

        I was totally ieatfuatnd with Freaks & Geeks when it came on! I would hang with the geeks like that episode with new girl Maureen. Hilarious! The actress that played Maureen is currently on the Vampire Diaries. It's nice to see her back on TV. Plus, Rashida Jones was on Freaks & Geeks! She was Karen, the mean chick who wrote on Sam's locker. And who can forget Shia LaBeouf as the battered mascot. Genius!

        March 7, 2012 at 12:05 am |
      • Charlenne

        On the sixth day of nerd-masMy server sent to me:Six down aterls5 network pings4 URLs3 crashing websites2 gig of pronAnd a special address of IP.

        March 7, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Leo

      Hear, Hear! Being a geek is a life's passion and in-depth knowledge. And yes, it's an art of focus and dedication, REGARDLESS of whether the object of the passion is cool or not.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  4. America Young

    Thank you so much Henry!!! Love it!! New episodes out this week on Comediva!!

    January 24, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  5. Erika

    Thanks, Henry, for the great interview and great article! Love to see Geek Therapy finding its fans more and more😉

    January 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm |