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Picking our fave television 'Nerds'

Jaleel White as Steve Urkel in

Jaleel White as Steve Urkel in "Family Matters" Credit: Jaleel White as Steve Urkel in "Family Matters"

Dating back as far as "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth," nerds have been a major topic of discussion, both positive and negative.

These days, the perennial underdogs are on the up and up, with traditional nerd culture such as comic books and video games merging with broader pop culture.

TBS is cashing in on the current zeitgeist with its new reality competition series "King of the Nerds," which premieres tonight and is hosted by two folks famous for playing nerds on screen in the "Revenge of the Nerds" films: Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong.

In the show, 11 skilled contestants face off against each other in various nerdly battles.

With these new nerds landing on television, we thought that we'd look at a few of our favorites from the past:

Bill Haverchuck
'Freaks and Geeks'

Of the three title geeks on the cult series, Martin Starr's lanky, bespectacled Bill was the nerdiest, with his intense love of "Dallas" and even more intense allergy to peanuts. He's also a pretty amazing dancer.

John "J.D." Dorian

As played by Zach Braff, J.D. was a lovable doof palling around with fellow doctor and best friend Christopher Turk (Donald Faison). And he was even accused of having nerdy sex by his mentor Dr. Cox.

Paul Pfeiffer
'The Wonder Years'

With glasses that were six sizes too big for his face, Josh Saviano's Paul was the nerdy best friend every child of the 1980s wanted. Kevin Arnold never realized how lucky he was.

Steve Urkel
'Family Matters'

When people think of geeks, there's a very good chance that the image that comes to mind is Jaleel White's Urkel and his nasal catchphrase, "Did I do that?" He always did "that," and thus a phenomenon was born.

Brick Heck
'The Middle'

Now in his fourth season, Atticus Shafer's diminutive Brick is a voracious reader (some might say he's an obsessive reader) with a seriously nerdy tick of always repeating the last few words of his sentences in a whisper. In a whisper.

Claudia Donovan
'Warehouse 13'

Allison Scagliotti's tech-savvy Claudia is a very modern nerd, having hacked her way into the computer system of Warehouse 13. Plus she's a classic example of nerd chic.

Alton Brown
'Good Eats,' 'Iron Chef America'

Our favorite Food Network chef is one of the smartest - and nerdiest - foodie folks around. Just watch "Good Eats" and you'll learn a ton from the eccentric master, who combines elements such as puppetry, pop culture spoofs and elaborate skits with inventive cooking techniques.

On TV: "King of the Nerds" premieres Thursday night at 10 p.m. on TBS.


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