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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 05/28/2010

Friday List: Hot geeks

By Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
Friday List

The Memorial Day weekend naturally brings it with a tendency to focus on babes, bikinis and beach bodies. But here at Celebritology, we're starting the summer with our minds on guys that, during a time before nerdiness became all the rage, might have gotten sand kicked in their faces.

You know the type: The ones who keep their smoldering sexuality hidden behind a pair of black-framed glasses or a pocket protector, who shelter their Superman tendencies beneath a staid, Clark Kent exterior, who totally outshine the hunky quarterback despite their bookish qualities. We're talking hot geeks -- the celebrities or movie/TV characters who, despite projecting a rather goofy (and sometimes carefully cultivated) persona, are nonetheless irresistibly "adorkable."

Jen and I have listed our geek crushes below. But the list won't be complete until you add your nominees to the comments section below. And guys, feel free to weigh in on geek girls, although we covered that ground pretty well last year.

Liz's picks...

Daniel Faraday: It probably won't come as a surprise to regular readers of the blog that I'd start out my list with a "Lost" character. But the Oxford physicist -- played by Jeremy Davies -- totally moved my island with his soft-spoken assuredness in all things physics-related, alt nutty professor vibe and ease in handling a nuclear warhead.

I'm not alone in my Faraday adoration. Here's a fan tribute vid found on YouTube...

Lewis Skolnick: In case you're not familiar with the "Revenge of the Nerds" oeuvre, Skolnick is, like, only the king of the nerds who leads a rag-tag band of uber outcasts from the brink of social scene disaster to the center of campus life. Why the attraction? I'm not sure. I guess there's just something about the way the guy wears his highwaters. And that whole thing about standing up for himself and his fellow nerds is kind of inspiring.

You can see Robert Carradine, and his winning Skolnick laugh, here at second 0:33...

Zach Galifianakis: Some may disagree with me on this one, but the guy is a cutie. He may be pleasingly plump, utterly awkward and guilty of building a career on playing the -- umm -- plump, utterly awkward pal in movies like "The Hangover" and HBO's "Bored to Death" series, but even the beard and pot belly can't hide Galifianakis's unmistakable eye twinkle and winning grin.

Watch Galifianakis's "SNL" monologue from earlier this year. I defy you to not be charmed by this guy...


Jen's picks...

Zachary Levi: Despite his one-time status as a member of the Nerd Herd at the fictional Buy More superstore, TV's "Chuck" has turned into a super-spy and an undeniable stallion. In real-life, Levi fits right in among the Comic-Con set, a fact that Liz and I discovered when we were in San Diego a couple of years ago and prompted Levi to talk about sci-fi and "Lost," and to shout at Amber Heard: "Look at that geek. Hey, your abacus is showing!" Suffice it to say, we were both a little smitten. Here he is, explaining how to do an Australian accent. Adorkable, indeed.

Anthony Michael Hall: I know he's Farmer Ted. I know he's Brian Johnson, member of both the math club and the physics club. But there's something about Hall -- who morphed into a pretty handsome dude as he got older -- that's always been kind of winning, even when he was at his scrawniest. Perhaps it was his confidence. Like that scene in "16 Candles," when he, as Ted, mixes a martini and schools Jake Ryan, hottest teen boy alive, in how to handle women. Amazing. Unfortunately that exceptional scene is not on YouTube, but here he is doing his massively awkward cover of "Birthday" by the Beatles:

Wes Anderson: Maybe I've just seen "The Royal Tenenbaums" a few too many times, but there's something about Anderson's commitment to his creative vision -- even when he winds up directing a less-than-satisfying film like "The Darjeeling Limited" -- that is kinda sexy. Ridiculously obsessive about details and possessed of a fashion sense that cannot be described without using the word "dandy," this filmmaker represents indie-geekhood at its most appealing. And his American Express commercial -- which also features one of his frequent hot-geek collaborators, Jason Schwartzman -- never ceases to knock me out in its tracking shot brilliance:

By Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly  | May 28, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  | Tags:  Friday List  
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Next: 'Lost': Getting its props in a New York exhibit


yellojkt et al., Did you see the "Big Bang Theory" epi (this Monday, I think) where Penny's dating a gorgeous hunk who's also dumb as dirt. Eventually she realizes he's so stupid that even she finds him less interesting than nerdy but brilliant Leonard?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The original nerd: the professor from Gilligan's Island!

Posted by: cjbriggs | May 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Also, James Spader. Played a geek in the original Stargate movie. Was also kind of geeky in Sex, Lies and Videotape. Yummy!

Posted by: cjbriggs | May 28, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The "World's Most Interesting Man" in the beer commercials?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

No mention of Spencer Reid, played by Matthew Gray Gubler, on Criminal Minds? Or Daniel Jackson of Stargate (I prefer the Michael Shanks/TV version, but I'll accept either).

And on the Distaff side, there's Samantha Carter from Stargate, Sarah Jane Smith from Doctor Who and at least a few others.

Posted by: Fabrisse | May 28, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Sheila James Kuehl, who played Zelda Gilroy on the "Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" 60s TV show. Gilda Radner. Janeeane Garofalo. Arguably Sarah Silverman (and I already know how some of you feel about her).

Posted by: reddragon1 | May 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Some of the "squints" on crime procedurals, including Hudgins on "Bones," Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David MacCallum, erstwhile heartthrob on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) on "NCIS," as well as several on the CSI series.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 28, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes! for Zachary Levi! I am very jealous as I read about your encounter. Oh well, not sure he likes cougars anyway....

Guess I will settle for the Noah Bennett, Mr. Horned-rimmed glasses from Heroes.

Posted by: hodie2 | May 28, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I used to LURVE Radar O'Reilly from M*A*S*H. More recently, Doc from the Love Boat, The Brain (from Pinky and the), Seth Green and Pete Hornberger (30 Rock).

Posted by: Puddin34 | May 28, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I used to LURVE Radar O'Reilly from M*A*S*H. More recently, Doc from the Love Boat, The Brain (from Pinky and the), Seth Green and Pete Hornberger (30 Rock).

Posted by: Puddin34 | May 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

cjbriggs, good call on the Professor. Yes I had a crush on him when I was a girl.

Posted by: hodie2 | May 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I had a totally inexplicable thing for Rob Morrow as the crabby nerdy Dr. Fleischman on Northern Exposure. Really. I can't explain it. Then when he went all hard-core world-weary cop on Numbers, I was over it.

Posted by: WDC2 | May 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly a geek, but Vincent D'Onofrio as Det. Goren on L&O: CI. Smart smart smart and tall, dark and handsome to boot. Yum!

Puddin34, I'm with you re: Seth Green - he's a cutie.

And then there are the hotties who are hiding their brains: Ashton Kutcher (chemical engineering major) and Josh Duhamel (pre-dental). If your dentist looked like Josh Duhamel, the visits would just *have* to suck less, wouldn't they?

Posted by: northgs | May 28, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Nosy, the Most Interesting Man in the World would not be afraid to show his Inner Geek....if he had one.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | May 28, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Sas, I just wish there were a counterpart ad for the Most Interesting Woman in the World, for a woman "of a certain age." Any candidates?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 28, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Second the Daniel Faraday nod. I'd add John Crichton from Farscape; Hodgins from Bones; Archie from CSI; and Simon on Firefly.

Posted by: afar2988 | May 28, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes Bones. It's full of geeks. And what about the girl geek on NCIS? Don't remember the name or the actress I think she got some votes when we were doing hotties. So to speak.

And Chloe on 24. I lurved the episode a couple of years ago when she got to use a machine gun.

Posted by: reddragon2 | May 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Bones is full of geeks. Chloe on 24. I loved the episode a couple years ago when she got to use a machine gun.

And what about the geek lady on NCIS? Don't remember her name. But she got some votes when we were doing hotties. So to speak.

Posted by: reddragon2 | May 28, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

sorry about the double posts. I get a msg that one isn't going thru, I refresh, don't see it, and then when I post again it's double.

Posted by: reddragon2 | May 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

NCIS Geek girl is Abby played by Pauley Perrette. And how could I have forgotten Garcia on Criminal Minds -- top flight hacker recruited to the FBI and flirtatious plus-size who actually has a love life on network TV. FTW!

Posted by: Fabrisse | May 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Fabrisse, Kirsten Vangsness (ya think she changed her name?) is such a cool role model!!!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 28, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Nosy. Dos Equis should follow up their current campaign with one featuring The Most Interesting Woman in the World as she bench presses chairs in which Chippendale dancers are seated.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | May 28, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm so geeky that I was featured in this extra-geeky comic some years ago -- -- surrounded by the infamous Tech-Talking Babes. And while I am no movie star (I tend to stay behind the camera - ), My wife Debbie is a certifiable HOT BABE -- with brains.

"With brains" is your key takeaway here. Cutie-pie honey is okay for a night or a weekend, but for the long run, us geek guys need to see some light behind those pretty eyes. :)

Posted by: roblimo | May 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Second the emotion re. Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr. Spencer Reid and D'onofrio as Goren.

Honorable Mention: Jon Stewart, Rahm Emanuel, Sam Winchester on Supernatural, and the Brother Epps on Numb3rs and their ultra-nerdy white food eating doctor friend Larry.

Posted by: Kimberly2601 | May 29, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the actual geeks who just happen to be hot, many celebrities. To normal people "playing nerds in entertainment roles".


Kristen Bell
Gamer, porn star Asia Carrera
Sarah Silverman
Senator Russ Feingold

Of course, some geeks and high intelligence sorts show who they are outside their public personas and reveal their inner nerdish selves. Sharon Stone and Gene Simmons.

News shows us some real-life heroic hot nerds - Pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger.

And reality TV sometimes uncovers a hypertalented, even if a little irritating, hot, hot nerd or two. This seasons American Idol gave us two serious nerd stars. 3 if you count Paula Abdul. The Winner - former humble paint shop worker Lee Dewyze - now a lady's hearthrob. And irritating semi-nerd Crystal Bowersox fans to no end. Still humble and super nice and nerd to the core as winner.
And of course, the smoking hottest nerd a reality show ever found - Siobhan Magnus. Beautiful, irritating while captivating, super nice, very smart and humorous with an amazing personality, exuding the presence of a star being born, and absolutely gifted in several performing arts. But bringing some serious strange with her. "Women are from Venus, men are from Mars - except Siobhan Magnus...who is clearly part Martian".

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | May 29, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The Doctor, from Doctor Who - particularly the Tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant. Dark-rimmed glasses never looked so sexy.

Posted by: jaradel | May 29, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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