Give Geeks a Chance

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Geek 1015.jpg

Kim: You're weird.
Ron: Ah! K.P.!
Kim: Shhh. I like weird.


A trope common in Romantic Comedies and Teen Comedies, in which a dorky (not necessarily ugly, just... geeky) guy ends up with the totally hot babe. Generally, at the beginning of the story, the geek begins the story as an outcast whom the beautiful girl would never be attracted to. He may be a band geek, or a scientist with all the social graces of a tube worm, or a D&D player who still lives in his mom's basement. And through the course of the story, she begins to see through his spaz-like exterior to the decent, love-worthy man within.

Often, the guy will be smitten with the girl the first time he sees her. She, on the other hand, won't be attracted at first, and will often fight the attraction later on in the story. Eventually, despite whatever Three's Company-style misunderstanding crops up (and it will; you can count on it) she comes to realize that there is more to the geek than his pocket protector and love will bloom. It is never Love At First Sight for the babe, in any case.

Related to Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, and subject to the same Double Standard, since gender inversions are practically non-existent; there may be more to the male geek than his pocket protector, but for women, looks are all that should matter. If a Hollywood Homely geek girl (or Hollywood Homely non-geek girl, for that matter) sets her sights on a hot guy, she might be able to make a few slight alterations, but it's more likely she'll just be the Abhorrent Admirer who makes him run away in terror. Also extremely rare is the male geek that actually considers a similarly geeky girl. This holds even for works aimed at a female audience, and therefore any nerdy girl will eventually be revealed to be Beautiful All Along.

Compare Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl and Nerd Nanny. See Nerds Are Sexy and Geeky Turn On for when the attraction isn't despite nerdiness, but because of it. Contrasts with All Girls Want Bad Boys. Often overlaps with Just Friends.

Examples of Give Geeks a Chance include:

Anime and Manga

  • The ending of Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt has "Geek Boy" Brief finally having sex with Panty. It helps that he turns out to be Beautiful All Along. However, after the final battle, their relationship seems to be the same (IE he's still the "No Respect" Guy), though at least Panty starts using his name.
  • In Bamboo Blade, the character Miyako Miyazaki dates and is VERY in love with Dan-kun. He has a head like an acorn, she sparkles.
  • What the Wife did in Spotted Flower and likes to make the Husband remember that so he can be more confident in himself, despite being a hardore oraku, he got a girlfriend, had sex with her, they married, and now she's is expecting their child.

Comic Books

  • Peter Parker. By all accounts an average-looking guy who is incredibly nerdy, he still managed to date three bombshells before marrying a supermodel.
    • This hasn't gone uncommented—Pete's friend Johnny Storm (otherwise known as The Human Torch) has pointed out the sheer number of gorgeous women that Spidey has dated, including Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, and the Black Cat (although Black Cat is more about Spidey than Peter).
    • He's also recently caught the attention of Ms. Marvel.
    • His cause is helped by the fact that most artists post-Steve Ditko have given him a significant amount of male polish.
    • Also lampshaded in the Ultimate Universe. When Johnny Storm tells Peter that he met a hot girl from the world of Spider-Man, Peter starts listing off every super powered female he'd ever run into. Much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy and the envy of Johnny and Bobby.
  • Amadeus Cho, the 7th smartest person on Earth (as verified by a soap company - oh, and Reed Richards). Managed to win the heart of a Perky Goth Amazon Gorgon girl.
    • It must be noted that the looks are inverted, as the aforementioned Amazon Gorgon got her looks from Medusa, while Cho is always drawn quite handsomely.
  • Dr. Victor Fries was quite the shy, timid, and introverted scientist, but that didn't stop him from marrying the late Nora, a smoking hot blonde. And they lived happily ever after.
  • Runaways provides a rare Gender Flip: short, chubby, average-looking nerd Gert ends up with tall, blond athlete Chase.

Film -- Animated

  • Milo and Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
  • Played very straight with Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon. He's smitten with Astrid first thing, but she hates him until she finds out his mindblowingly cool secret and, more importantly, how brave and principled a warrior he actually is.
  • Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia in Treasure Planet.

Film -- Live Action


Betty: Are all nerds as good as you?
Louis: Yes.
Betty: How come?
Louis: 'cause all jocks think about is sports. All we ever think about is sex.

    • To be fair, she falls for him as a consequence of him giving her really good sex, so it may be a subversion.
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: The geeky, unmacho Nick gets the girl, naturally. (Inverted in the book, where she is somewhat dowdy while he is compared to a gay porn star.)
  • In the American Pie films, Jim Levenstein and Michelle Flaherty fit this trope. While it's true that Michelle is also a geek (specifically, a band geek), she's a sexed-out band geek played by Alyson Hannigan.
    • Partially subverted in-universe though- Jim initially dismissed Michelle for her dorkiness. whereas she seems to have chosen him at least partly by physical attraction.
  • Complete geeks Evan and Seth end up with hotties Becca and Jules in Superbad.
  • In Can't Buy Me Love, nerd Ronald Miller ends up with cheerleader Cindy Mancini.
  • Weird Science : Gary and Wyatt get the girls with the help of Lisa, their artificial woman.
  • In his movies, Woody Allen has dated or been married to Téa Leoni, Goldie Hawn, Helena Bonham Carter, Elizabeth Shue, Julia Roberts and Mira Sorvino, among others. Of course, given his string of real-life wives, this could also be a case of fiction imitating reality.
  • Has there ever been a film starring Adam Sandler or Jack Black where this trope didn't apply?
  • The 2008 Get Smart movie has Maxwell Smart (played by professional nerd Steve Carell) and gorgeous bombshell Agent 99 (played by authentic hotness Anne Hathaway) hook up.
  • 2009's I Love You, Beth Cooper. High school valedictorian stalker nerd with enormous nose meets up with Hayden Panettiere as Beth Cooper. Nuff said!
  • Sideways. Lampshaded by Paul Giamatti's long monologue comparing different types of wines.
  • Subverted in A Cinderella Story in that by the end, the Alpha Bitch is willing to give the geek a chance - but he chooses the weird, purple-haired announcer girl.
    • Not to mention the real reason why she wanted to get with him was after he starred in that commercial and became popular. Earlier, after they had kissed during the ball and when she found out she had actually kissed him, she promptly expressed her disgust.
  • In Where the Heart Is, Natalie Portman's character falls for the "library guy".
  • Hilariously subverted in National Lampoon's Stoned Age, when the nerd is, and is called a complete moron by everyone, watches his dream girl marry his jock older brother, and when the girl is kidnapped by a rival tribe and his own tribe runs away, the nerd goes through the trouble of trying to rescue his beloved, only to find out that she's staying with the rival chief, because he's manlier than her brother, and provided her with furs, jewelry and food.
    • Also, he has guaranteed sex with a tribe of hot amazons, but naturally, he fucks it up. In the end though, the nerd doesn't die a virgin, because he had sex with a monkey,
  • Applied with irony in Ghostbusters. Geeky accountant Louis Tully is often hitting on pretty cellist Dana Barrett, despite Dana's constant hints that she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. However, once they're both possessed, they merge the key and the gate.
    • In the sequel Louis and the Ghostbusters' Sassy Secretary Janine Melnitz end up babysitting Oscar and, after some wine and pizza, start making out on the couch.
  • In Back to The Future, sci-fi-writing and socially inept George McFly gets the girl, though with a bit of help from his time-traveling son.
    • Although, he still managed to get together with Lorraine originally even without the help of his future son. The difference being, due to Marty's involvement, was how they got together, ultimately ending up improving their lives drastically, which Marty discovered upon returning to 1985.
  • Cruelly, cruelly subverted in Wet Hot American Summer with Katie and Coop. Though she seems to warm up to him and even confesses her love for him, at the very end of the movie she rejects him for the hot Jerkass Andy, telling Coop that she really likes him, but she just wants to have sex with a hot guy and she doesn't care if he treats her like crap.
  • Neurotic, geeky Columbus and hot "bad girl"-type Wichita in Zombieland are a pretty textbook example, although it probably helps that he may be the only guy her age left after the zombie apocalypse.
  • In The New Guy the geeky and socially awkward Dizzy ends up with head cheerleader Danielle.
  • She's Out of My League has this as central plot driver.
  • In the Disney Channel movie Geek Charming, Josh Rosen, a high school film geek, decides to make a domcumentary about high school popularity and chooses Dylan Schoenfield, the most popular girl in school, as his subject. Over the course of making the film he discovers the real Dylan and she begins to see that Josh is the one for her.
  • In 10 Things I Hate About You, the beautiful and popular (for her age, at least) Bianca eventually chooses the fairly-geeky Cameron over the super-popular Joey when she realizes he's a legitimately nice guy.


  • In The Hunt for Red October, it is stated that Jones, the sonar technician of the USS Dallas, because of his nerdy looks and knowledge, gets enough action on the beach to "wear down a squad of marines".
    • Oliver Tyler, a former nuclear submarine officer (retired after losing most of his left leg) and computer nerd, though also a former American football player, has "five and two-thirds" children with his wife, "making up" for lost time while a submariner.
    • The latter bit about a male geek never pursuing a female geek is subverted in the later book, The Cardinal of the Kremlin. Major Gregory, a huge geek and the head of the book's US SDI program is in a relationship with another, female geek, who specializes in mirrors, which Major Gregory uses in his laser defense system. A match made in Heaven. If the universe, a certain jealous lesbian, and the Russians didn't conspire against them, that is. It all turns out fine in the end, though.
  • In Paper Towns, Ben and Lacey, and Quentin and Margo to a lesser extent.
  • Reversed with Ron and Hermione. By Prince, Ron's technically a jock, and Hermione's still a geek.
    • Played straight in The Film of the Book, if only because Hermione's actress matured a little.
    • Not to mention Cormac, who is also a good-looking Quidditch player (though it's subverted in that Hermione thinks he's an idiot and only dates him once, to annoy Ron). Before that there was also Goblet of Fire, when the popular and athletic Viktor Krum is smitten with Hermione.
  • Another gender-inverted example is good-looking, popular athlete Calvin and bookish, frumpy Meg from Madeline L'Engle's Time Quartet who eventually get married. (Although A Swiftly Tilting Planet implies that Meg, like her Hot Scientist mother, grew up quite nicely from her 'awkward geek' teenage years.)

Live Action TV

  • In One Tree Hill the character of Mouth who used to be geeky comic relief involved into a full-fledged character. Mouth throughout the years has not not only became one of the more popular kids but is also given plenty of hot girlfriends, one being an office affair with his boss.The writer admits that he feels a lot of sympathy towards kids like Mouth and even claimed the character resembles himself in some ways.
    • And now Mouth is in a relationship with Millicent (who's somewhat geeky herself)
  • In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Billy got more romantic subplots than any other ranger.
    • Also, the final pairings of Power Rangers Jungle Fury (Theo/Lily and Dominic/Fran) went along these lines as well, both of the alternative options (Casey and Maryl respectively) being more conventionally "normal" compared to their rivals.
  • Hot bimbo Leeta and total dork/technical genius Rom in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even other characters don´t understand.
  • The Drew Carey Show, with Drew and just about every woman he dates, with a few exceptions like Wanda Sykes, and the much-older Shirley Jones. See also the page quote, from one of his standup routines.
  • Jerry Seinfeld regularly brought home supermodels on Seinfeld.
    • One could at least argue a funnyman with a reasonably successful career could do well. George Costanza on the other hand...?
    • When asked how George could get so many attractive women, Jason Alexander put it down to persistence (indeed in one episode, George's persistence makes one woman who previously wasn't interested at all want to date him).
    • And of course there's Kramer, an unemployed, slightly shady Cloudcuckoolander who woos women (including nuns and lesbians) into his embrace with the power of Kavorka.
  • Fargo the ubergeek in Eureka hooks up with two geeky girls. The first is Claudia. He impressed her by turning one of their artefacts into a lightsaber. The second is Holly, a fellow computer geek at Global Dynamics.
  • The entire premise of the live-action Japanese series Densha Otoko which chronicles the attempts of a weakling, nerdy, geeky, otaku-type guy who is trying to date a beautiful woman with the assistance of a messaging board on the internet, after he saved her from a drunk guy on a train. Based on a real story.
    • Also available in manga form as train_man.
  • Married... with Children originally had Marcy and Steve Rhoades. She was hot, he was a nerd.
    • Later reversed when Marcy married the amazingly hot Jefferson Darcy
  • This was, in fact, the central gimmick of the 1992 FOX series Flying Blind, in which Neil, a shy, repressed nebbish played by Corey Parker, somehow fell into a mutually fulfilling relationship with Alicia, an incredibly hot bohemian woman played by Tea Leoni. The series slightly bucked the trope by keeping the couple unmarried, which allowed the constant implicit tension of the possibility that Alicia would come to her senses and leave him.
  • On Stargate SG-1, Daniel Jackson has the best romantic record in the group. He picked up a wife in the original film, and also spent over 50 years with Vala in the finale.
  • Rodney and Jennifer Keller in Stargate Atlantis. When he takes Keller to a science presentation on Earth, his colleagues initially think she's his (also attractive) sister.
    • On the flight back, she is the one who suggests they join the Mile-High Club, although it could've just been to shut him up.
  • Both The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart paired Bob's character with an improbably attractive wife.
  • That '70s Show. Eric: thin, geeky-looking teenage boy. Donna: tall, thin, gorgeous redhead (with beautiful skin, too).
  • Chandler and Monica on Friends. What makes this interesting is that Phoebe and Rachael act as if Chandler is far beneath Monica, casually mentioning that Monica "could do better" or even at one point trying to set her up with other men. Note that they are both supposedly Chandler's friends too.
    • Given Chandler's self-esteem record, he'd probably agree with them. At one point, they had to talk him into approaching a beautiful woman:

Phoebe: Y'know, you always see these really beautiful women with these really nothing guys? You could be one of those guys!

      • Which is odd, considering Chandler is considered, in universe, the funniest of the friends, is the most successful, and is hardly unattractive. He's the catch of the entire cast by any standard.
  • Smallville has a rare male-hottie/female geek version of this trope with Chloe Sullivan and her crush on Clark.
    • And then they bring it back to make geek/female hottie with her relationship with Jimmy Olsen.
  • Charlie and Amita on Numb3rs. It's true she's a computer geek, but she's a smoking hot computer geek.
  • Chuck and Sarah (and Jill) on Chuck. Granted, he's Hollywood Homely / a Hollywood Nerd, but still he's an ubergeek with a dead-end job at a big-box electronics retailer...
    • Although Jill is also really geeky.
  • Arguably inverted in Sabrina the Teenage Witch with Sabrina and Harvey. It's true that the pretty, blonde, funny, Sabrina is practically the poster girl for Cool Loser but she does have a lot of dorky interests (science, maths, high school journalism...). Harvey on the other is a popular jock (though not a jerk).
    • This is reversed in the animated series, where Harvey is a nerdy weirdo... who has girls fighting over him anyway.
  • In CSI New York it's a partial inversion as female geek hottie Lindsay ends up with male hottie Danny.
  • The Reality Show Beauty and the Geek reinforced why this could be Truth in Television. By the end of the show first season, many of the Beauties were gushing about how their Geek was one of the best guys they'd ever met, when only one or two of said Geeks were conventionally good looking (though, admittedly, none of them were particularly gruesome either). One "beauty" and one "geek" had a brief romance during their season.
  • The Big Bang Theory
    • Leonard and Penny. However, in earlier seasons, Leonard was paired with the equally geeky Leslie Winkle, but it's Penny he's fixated on. They're currently in full-on Will They or Won't They? mode.
    • Averted with Howard Wolowitz, the show's resident Casanova Wannabe who regularly strikes out with most of the hot babes he tries to pick up, before hooking up with the utterly adorkable Bernadette.
  • In 3rd Rock from the Sun, Officer Don Orville (A really big dork of a small town police officer) ends up with Sally Solomon, who is supermodel beautiful. Ironically, she loves him because she thinks he's everything he says he is, despite the fact that as a professional soldier, she should be able to tell he's not. Or perhaps it's just the fact that whenever the two are alone, the tone of the show switches to Film Noir.
    • Plus they figured out that he has to always be in uniform too.
  • In Freaks and Geeks, Sam Weir is finally able to start dating his dream girl, cheerleader Cindy Sanders. Unfortunately, she turns out to be somewhat of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Seth and Summer in The OC.
  • Fresh and original MTV's new show The Hard Times of RJ Berger seems to have this premise.
  • Primeval has Connor and Abby. N erdy, awkward Connor Temple and hot, ass-kicking Abby Maitland.
  • Averted in No Ordinary Family. Bailey is genuinely interested in JJ, but he only wants fellow geek Natalie.
  • On Fifteen Love Rick was socially inept Butt Monkey. Cassidy was a very attractive British tennis star. To be fair, Rick was at least physically attractive and her interest in him was a combination of this and Geeky Turn On.
  • Sav Bandhari on Degrassi tends to be a bit socially awkward, but ends up having a rather storied love life.
    • Liberty and Toby were both this trope in the earlier seasons too, although Toby was gradually Demoted to Extra.
    • Glee had this with Brittany and Artie.
  • Subverted in 90210. Beautiful Lovable Alpha Bitch Naomi falls for Hollywood Nerd Max but (to her amazement) he's initially disinterested because he views her as a shallow airhead. She has to work hard to get him to realise she has Hidden Depths and the show makes it clear that Max has had a healthy romantic life before they even met.
  • Saved by the Bell : The ultimate geek, right down to his nickname, Samuel "Screech" Powers had several one-episode love interests, often played by extremely beautiful actresses (Hillary Danner, Emma Caulfield, Christina Moore, Marnette Patterson). In one story arc, Screech had a recurring girlfriend named Alison, played by the lovely Clare Salstrom. Even his "nerdy" girlfriend, Violet, was played by Tori Spelling, although she wore thick glasses and a dorky hairstyle and clothes for the role.


Video Games

Web Original

  • In Thalia's Musings, Hephaestus tries to invoke this in his marriage to Aphrodite. It doesn't work. After his divorce, he inverts the trope by falling for Aglaea, a science-obsessed demigoddess who's had a crush on him for awhile.
  • In the Whateley Universe story "The Big Idea", Reach is enamored with cute scientist Spark who is European and doesn't see him. (He has a bad Kentucky accent and wants to join the Intelligence Cadet Corps.) He eventually gets the girl, but by then they have both been transmogrified so they're both much better looking.

Western Animation

  • Action Girl Kim Possible and her geek-love Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible. The trope is named for the quote in an interview by the creators of the show, when they were asked why they were pairing up Kim and Ron.
  • Stacy and Spud in American Dragon: Jake Long.
  • Jérémie and Aelita in Code Lyoko. It helps that Aelita is also a geek.
  • Sheen and Libby in Jimmy Neutron.
  • Gerald and Phoebe from Hey Arnold! is one of those rare moments that the girl is the "geek" in question here.
  • Occasionally played around with for Velma from Scooby Doo such as later on in Scooby Doo on Zombie Island.
  • While the writers of the Rugrats All Grown Up! series tried to avoid flat out confirming certain pairings (most likely trying to avert a Broken Base) but Ship Tease did happen nevertheless. One example of a pairing that got Ship Tease that fits with this trope is Chuckie and Angelica. (In which of course has received even more attention from fans in fan work.)
  • Dr. Walter Hartford of Galaxy Rangers fits a lot of the usual definitions for a geek; highly educated, computer hacker, fast mouth, and fond of pop culture references. Princess Maya didn't think much of him at first, and was more attracted to Gooseman. Then, Doc turned on the charm...made contact with an alien computer that was protecting the planet, and handed a Crown Empire spy his ass in a swordfight. Maya never mentioned Goose again!
  • Notably played with and then averted in WITCH between Irma and Martin. Early on it seems to be setting up to invoke this trope, as Martin is smitten and Irma rebukes him at every turn. She eventually (and reluctantly, as it was neccesary for a distraction) goes on one date with him and is miserable the whole way through. Later though she is visibly jealous when he is interested in someone else. By the end of the series, she's the only main character not in a relationship and her and Martin have settled into a mutual quasi love/hate friendship.
  • Octus and Kimmy from Sym-Bionic Titan, where the redheaded cheerleader falls for the nerd who is actually a robot.
  • Doug: Athletic Patti and the clumsy, shy, Adorkable title character.
  • Subverted in Daria. In the tv movie Is It Fall Yet?, Quinn, Daria's beautiful and popular sister, falls for her nerdy tutor. She asks him out, believing that she is playing straight this trope, but he tells her that he's not interested in her because she's shallow. It is implied that this is the first time a guy ever turned her down.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh Two has been shown to be a bit of a Casanova Wannabe when it comes to girls, yet he still manages to attract his cool and snarky teammate Numbuh Five, whom he ends up marrying as adults.

Real Life

  • Netscape founder Jim Clark is married to a supermodel.
  • Filmmaker and self-professed comic book/sci fi geek Kevin Smith and his wife Jennifer, who is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, Smith wrote in his book that he fervently hopes their daughter Harley grows to be as tall and shapely as her mother, thus sparing her from what he goes through with his weight.
    • Smith also theorized that geeky and/or chubby men are better catches, as they're much more willing to go the extra mile for a woman.
  • Batman:The Animated Series writer Paul Dini is married to a very lovely magician named Misty Lee whose resemblance to Zatanna is downright uncanny.
  • This T-shirt.
  • Mistress Matisse's column in the Seattle Stranger mentions that geeks and nerds make up a frighteningly large percentage of the kink community, and advises those looking to mingle among them brush up on their Robert Heinlein and watch some of Joss Whedon's work.
  • James Madison and Dolley Madison.