‘King of the Nerds’ exclusive: Thomas Vollum on riddles, Tara Strong, and the Secret Six

Thomas -Thomas Vollum was an easy guy to root for on “King of the Nerds” this season. He came across as fairly shy, and in between this, his TV narrative, and his status as an underdog on the outside of a huge six-person alliance, it was easy to send positive vibes his way.

Unfortunately, the show’s beloved “brony” was sent home in an epic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” inspired Nerd-Off against Kaitlin on this past episode, and it really came down to the wire. Anytime you go home like that, it has to stay with you a little bit … right? This is one of the questions we asked Thomas in an email Q&A this week, along with his thoughts on the cosplay battle, and what he took away from his time on the show.

CarterMatt – Are you haunted by that final Nerd-Off, and being so close to staying in the game?

Thomas Vollum – First off I want to say that I had an amazing time at Nerdvana, and I like to look back at all the fun I had at this place. Answering the question I do sometimes think how things could have been different if i was able to win, but Kaitlin is just one really smart person who kicked my butt and 100% deserves to be on this show. These riddles were very hard and in my mind it is that your brain does the work for riddles it either clicks or it does not, and we were answering those riddles in no time at all it was her or me right after the question was asked. I feel I probably would still be in the game if I was up against anyone else minus Ben because he is super smart also from my team. NO REGRETS!

Let’s go back to when you were voted in. Did you appreciate that you were told in advance, and did you try anything to change their minds? What was the real reason that they gave you?

Being told I was going to be voted into the nerd off was I guess a good thing and a bad thing. I appreciate the honesty of these guys, and I did try to talk with some of them to maybe reconsider like anyone in my situation would, but I was the first on the chopping block from the secret six. Also, cosplay is not my best field so I let Lily and Raychelle take the leads and offered my help anywhere I could, but most the team was set in what they were doing so I could not pitch in as much. This resulted in myself not being able to contribute as much as the others. I might not been most competitive person but I was their to help my team anyway I could.

Is it surprising sitting down and watching the show, learning about all of this strategy talk that you were not privy to?

I never even knew of the alliance until the show was all over. No one told me anything. I was out of the loop! It makes sense as to why I was voted into the nerdoff I was the first victim of the secret six. I am glad I never joined any alliances because that is not my nature I do not plot against my friends, and I am an honest honorable guy. I went to Nerdvana to have fun and make friends and step out my comfort zone and playing people against each other was never my goal.

Did you feel during the Nerd War fairly confident that your team had won?

We had the better Cosplay hands down and this was after all a Cosplay challenge, so I felt like we did a great job in that department. Team SMASH’s skit was a lot longer then what was showed on TV so I felt that they went over the time limit and gave us better odds. Our team’s story was about understanding and acceptance in face of prejudice, which is very relatable to nerdy people who have been bullied and unaccepted for what they enjoy, so I believed we had a strong message. Team SMASH had the classic story killer robot gains emotions and chooses love which is a great story, but not very original so again I thought we had a point in this department. I have to give props though to SMASH’s acting skills and humor which they had over us. But overall great costumes did not win this challenge.

Did you get ANY chance to nerd out about Tara Strong being there? Being a massive fan of Harley Quinn, it’s easy to sympathize with how excited you were.

Tara Strong showing up was awesome! We did have a brief moment where the judges came up to inspect our costumes, and I got a tentacle brohoof from Tara Strong and some autographed swag was sent my way by her…also which was an amazing gift!

Since you’ve attested to being such a big “My Little Pony” fan, it only seems appropriate to close with this: Have you formed some magical friendships as a result of this show? What have you really taken away from the experience?

I am still friends with everyone who was on this season and made friends with many nerds of seasons past, and I enjoy every on of their company whenever I can. From this experience I was able to go out of bubble and try a new experience as you saw I am a shy guy and this helped me become less shy and more outgoing. I love everything this show is about from celebrating nerd culture to testing ones skills. My only hope is that the viewers enjoyed my time here and saw me grow as a person. Thank you all so much for this amazing experience!

If you missed it, yesterday we had the most epic of conversations with Zack Storch, which we personally consider to be one of our greatest podcasts to date. Listen to that over here, and sign up now to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: TBS.)

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