‘King of the Nerds’ season 3 spotlight: Will Amanda Liston’s tale be an epic one?

Amanda -Over the past nine or so months since the end of season 2, we have hibernated. We’ve been regenerating our HP. We’ve been building up our gauge and we’re about to Limit Break all over this sh… Okay, you know where we’re going with this. “King of the Nerds” is coming back!

We make our love this show no secret. How can we? It’s basically one of the few shows that we can reference both RPGs and comic books and the majority of the reading audience will understand what we’re talking about. The cast for season 3 feels like it was announced forever ago, but we had to keep our distance. Why? If we started to dive into this too early, it would be akin to one of those racing games where you use up all of your speed boosts on the first lap, and then you are left sputtering about, hoping that you can make it to the finish line while your friends laugh in your face.

Until the show returns on Friday, January 23, we are going to present to you daily coverage, much in the same vein as last year. Expect daily spotlight articles until we get to know everyone in the cast on some level, and then a preview podcast somewhere in there, as well. The quantitative part of this (i.e. the Nerd Scale) has been buried out in the same desert as all of those old “ET” Atari games, mostly because it got in the way of what was the real goal of these: That it’s a slice of silly fun designed to give you an early strategic read on each contestant. What’s nerdier than awkwardly judging someone on the internet using limited information? Nothing, we say!

We’re going here based on alphabetical order on first names, mostly for the sake of having some order before descending into chaos. We’re trying to use the TBS website as the primary source of information, which isn’t great this year given that most of the longer bios from last year are gone. In its place, we have some sort of horrifying rap motif in most of the cast videos. We say this as someone who took part in a geek-rapping challenge on TV back in 2008, and the joke was stale then.

Now, we turn to our first CarterMatt spotlight subject: Amanda Liston!

Name – Amanda Liston

Age – 24

Location – Gilbert, Arizona

Specialty – “Bookworm.” That’s what TBS labels her, which is somewhat weird since the cast video basically tells us a few times over that she really likes Catwoman and cosplay, and that’s mostly it. Then again, as a poetry lover and English major, we get it: Writing’s not flashy. Also, most people just find Walden boring, and not particularly nerdy.

Nerd cred – She seems to be the Xander of the season in that she says that she has her hand in a lot of different nerdy pots, from sci-fi to cosplay to conventions to comic books. She comes across as fairly creative, and it never hurts to have a few idea people on your team! Also, she’s probably a performer. That’ll be useful in some challenges.

Weak points – Notice how we say that it never hurts to have a few people? What happens if everyone is? Given how many cosplay people are on this season, we wonder if we could have too many cooks, and not the fun kind that continues for over ten minutes in some sort of acid-infused postmodern frenzy. We almost wish that there were only one or two cosplayers this season, since there’s something fun that comes from seeing people who aren’t into cosplay being forced to give it a shot.

Here’s the controversial question: Can you have too much social confidence? She comes across in her video more confident than almost any nerd we’ve ever met … though to be fair, we wondered the same thing about Kayla.

End assessment – Amanda could go fairly far, since being somewhat-good at many things keeps you from typically being terrible at any one thing in the early going. With that being said, we can’t see her winning. Maybe it’s the glut of similar contestants, or maybe it’s just that there is so much cat conversation in her video (almost as much as an actual cat video on YouTube), we can’t really read her as a contestant. The completely arbitrary part of this is that we tend to favor contestants we relate to, and other than the appreciation for books, what else is there?

This closes this chapter (yes, a book pun; amazingly clever, we know), but another will open tomorrow where we figure out whether marine biologist Ben Tully will sink or swim. Okay, we’ll stop with the puns … for now.

The best resource for you to follow along all season is our tag page, since that’s where every “King of the Nerds” article will be posted. Also, sign up today to snag some other TV updates on everything we cover on the site via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Eddy Chen / TBS.)

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