We have now had a chance to speak via email with every person in the “King of the Nerds” final four, and as a whole you really get a sense of gratitude among all of them. As we sort of wax poetic and start to wind down about this season, one of the things that we’ve always appreciated about it is that you do get a sense of closeness and camaraderie from those who took part. For example, placing second can sometimes be a very difficult pill to swallow, but for Ben Tully many months after the fact, he seems to be taking everything in stride.
Below, you can see what the marine biologist, and purveyor of our favorite Twitter handle of the season, had to say about his overall experience and some of what got him to the final two.
CarterMatt – Congrats on second place! It’s quite an accomplishment. Is it still difficult coming so close and not winning, or are you able to look back at it now with pride?
Ben Tully – Initially, the loss was quite devastating, as I had plenty of opinions and thoughts and mental do-overs about the games played during our best-of-7 match. But definitely now, looking back 7 months, there is nothing I would have done differently during my time at Nerdvana. The experience was amazing and everything that has resulted from that experience has only been an addition to my life.
Is there any one part of the finale that you were really frustrated about not winning?
Yes. But as I am contractually obligated not to discuss some of those aspects, I’ll just have to leave it at that.
One of the reasons why your game was so strong is that you never put yourself in any real danger of going into a Nerd-Off. How were you able to be so effective with that?
The real key to be success at the overall game is not avoiding Nerd Offs, it is winning Nerd Wars. The edit of the show is great at showing the most relevant aspects of each episode, but by the time the contestants on Team SMASH were aware how much of a threat I was, it was too late for them. They never won a Nerd War from that point onwards. Though I can’t guarantee it, I’d have to guess that if we lost Nerdy Game Night and the Secret Six was put to the test, there would have been a good chance of me being sent to Nerd Offs from that point onward.
Were you more bummed out about not having anyone stand behind you in the finale than it showed? You really seemed to handle it rather well.
I was bummed. It felt like a vote of no confidence. That somehow everyone else felt that I wasn’t worthy of winning the game. I’ve said elsewhere, that for every minute of me acting calm and collected, there is footage showing me freaking out to myself. But at that point in the game, I reoriented my mindset and told myself that even if the consensus was against me in Nerdvana, I had friends and family at home rooting for me. That helped. Plus, I honestly think my greatest supporters were still in the game. Kaitlin was really shocked and horrified that no one supported me.
Let’s close here with something fun. As a marine biologist, what would be your dream Nerd War / Nerd-Off to take part in?
I would love a mix of the Josh v. Zach Nerd Off from Season 2 – identifying alien body parts – and the Nerdgatta from this season. So something that involved diving to the bottom of a pool to identify alien life and retrieve it to the surface. That would be my ideal Nerd Off.
Obviously the whole “contractually obligated” part of this only makes us even more curious (we would be putting on a total front if we acted otherwise), sometimes that’s just the way it goes on reality TV. We said preseason that Ben was one of our favorites, and regardless of how he finished, we were going to be glad that he was on the season.
If you want to see our other recent exit interviews with Kaitlin, Jonathan, and Lily, head over to this link! Also, sign up to score some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: TBS.)