'Buffy' star loves playing geeks
September 16th, 2011
03:26 PM ET

'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.)

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Filed under: Dragon*Con • Fandom
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Leo

    I got to meet him at Dragon*Con. He was sitting at his Walk of Fame table, and there was nobody in line to see him! So I walked up and said hi, and we chatted for a couple of minutes. Great guy. Just friendly and genuine by all appearances. And seriously, all the actors I met at D*Con were awesome. They attend D*Con because they love the fans. Great folks, all of them. Great to meet them.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Melissa

      I haven't met him yet, but I have to agree. All the actors at DC are just incredibly cool and nice. Lets see, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes... I'm missing one somewhere. I just heard that Leonard Nimoy is retiring from the cons. I should have gone to meet him last year like I had planned. Had badly wanted to get Carrie Fishers autograph and meet her but she was never there when I went into the walk of fame.

      I did meet Billy Dee Williams at NOLA Con but that was just odd. Not sure how to explain it, but it was just strange.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  2. Anon

    Xander was never the "geek" on Buffy. Willow was the geek. Xander was the dorky loser. Nonathletic, not all that bright, socially awkward. Yup.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Xander was the Geek, Willow was the Nerd. Did you watch the series?

      October 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
      • Chartreuxe

        Forgot to ask, have you forgotten him in his Speedo? Ha! Nonathletic indeed.

        October 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Ibtisama

      I found the issue hard to follow; I had to read it twice to fguire out what was going on. The fights were too chaotic, it was all too unstated in all the places it needed to be clear.I actually thought Joss successfully justified bringing Warren back. Warren did disappear in a poof of flashpaper just after he was flayed, and that was never explained.After Part III, I sat down and re-read all three. There were lots of small things that bothered me. What did they eat down there? We think other survivors. Oh pleeeze. If a buried Sunnydale supported survivors, it also supported buried canned goods.It was an unsatisfying issue, but I'm still buying the next one.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  3. KajinPL

    Good ol' Xander. Hasn't changed one bit.

    September 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm |