Not too long ago, the term nerd was a weapon for bullies. Sports fanatics (or jocks) once reigned supreme. Back in the 1980’s, nerds were teased and pushed around for dominating every algebra exam. Their poorly-matched clothes and thick glasses were deemed awkward. Their love of all things science-fiction, comic books, and fantasy were all considered dull and unappealing.
Oh, how things have changed today. Hollywood and social media embraced the nerd or geek, and the world listened. Nerds and jocks now live in peace. The lines have blurred. Nerds can love beer and sports, and jocks can love Game of Thrones and cosplay.
The term nerd now has a positive connotation. Nerds hold a soft spot in our hearts, with a nostalgic appeal that is very interesting. The female nerds of pop culture seem even better than the smoke-show dimes. Here, we’ve assembled a comprehensive list of the best nerds ever. You know you’ve dreamed about them. There is no doubt about it. Don't lie. We all have.
15 Velma Dinkley
Oh, yes, Velma Dinkley definitely makes the list of most appealing nerd characters. Even in animated form, most dudes are secretly wishing that Shaggy would buck up and take Velma for a bumpy ride in the Mystery Machine. Velma has been played live by a handful of talented actresses, but our personal favorite would have to be Linda Cardellini. Linda played Velma in two films, Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. She also voiced the television series for a while. Another actress, Hayley Kiyoko, also did a great job portraying the ghost detective. She stole every scene in the TV movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. We love how Velma always wears her trademark orange sweater. But then, there’s always a part where she gets “disguised” and wears something that is somehow way more attractive. Why doesn’t she always wear the hotter outfit? Poor fashion sense. Well, after all, she’s a nerd, remember?
14 Alex Dunphy
Alex Dunphy is totally the nerd of the family on the hit television series Modern Family. She takes after her nerdy dad, Phil, who has had some of the funniest one-liners in the critically acclaimed show’s history. Played by Ariel Winter, her promiscuous off-the-set outfits have given old Alex a bit of attention. Ariel wears some ridiculously revealing outfits on Instagram, and in response, her character on the show has become more active with the boys. But for many guys, the ship has already sailed on Winter. Maybe the overexposure has gotten to the point of boredom. Ariel is an intelligent young woman, but engages in a style of show-off-ness that makes us question which direction her career will take. She could go the way of Drew Barrymore, another young star who went rogue and then rebounded. Or she could go the way of Lindsay Lohan, who fell hard and still hasn’t recovered.
13 Bernadette Rostenkowski
The Big Bang Theory just won’t let up. It’s been a fan favorite for years and the actors have now all become millionaires. Played by Melissa Rauch, the buxom blonde Bernadette, has gotten more and more screen time over the years. Fans soon realized how appealing her brand of nerdiness could get, and they wanted more. Bernadette comes from the high-pitched voice phylum of nerd, doesn’t she? Geeks like Steve Urkel have dominated this voice for years. Fran Drescher, when she played the somewhat nerdy Nanny, also used the higher octave with expert precision. Of course, in real life, Rauch’s voice is not nearly as grating, but the pitch gives the character a depth of nerdiness required for the role. That way, she’s a great contrast to the cool-girl blonde hottie Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco.
12 Jessica Day
Many of you watched New Girl on TV and were slowly drawn into the nerd trap that is Jessica Day. At first, she doesn’t seem so appealing. She’s rather boring and plain, and then she grows on you...quickly. Played by Zooey Deschanel, Jessica has a subtle style of nerdiness that is so attractive. She almost seems normal and somehow available, like you might actually have a chance with her, if you both met in the real world. Of course, that would never happen, but most dudes like to dream. That’s what television and movies are all about. The stories and situations are not even close to your personal reality, but if you dream and commit to the show, it’s way more fun to watch. Zooey is also a musician and has multiple food allergies. Two more nerdy qualities we love.
11 Michelle Flaherty
Do you remember, “this one time at band camp?” Of course we do! As soon as Alyson Hannigan spoke those nerdy lines, she instantly made it into the Geek Hall Of Fame. Yes, band members are nerds, and we love them all. Michelle was such a nerd in American Pie that Jim (Jason Biggs) wanted nothing to do with her for like ninety percent of the film. She was only the fallback plan after he totally blew it, literally, with the buxom foreign exchange student, Nadia, played by Shannon Elizabeth. Jim and Michelle ended up getting married and were the subject of the hilarious sequels. Hannigan may have had the most successful career of all the Pie alums. She has also starred as Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is another very nerdy character we dreamed about.
10 Kimmy Schmidt
Maybe this nerd isn’t for everybody, but Kimmy Schmidt certainly has a following. She is so innocent and so damn cute that many dudes can’t stop thinking about her. She also has a hard edge to her, a hidden dark side that other guys like. Kimmy is played by Ellie Kemper, another actress with that subtle attractiveness that works so well with a nerdy character. It seems like all she would have to do is change into a suggestive outfit and quadruple her sensuality at any moment. Another character of the same ilk who deserves a mention here is Liz Lemon. Liz Lemon was played by Tina Fey, who created the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Fey is a pro at writing an enduring female character that can be so dreamed about without ever being promiscuous.
9 Abby Sciuto
How many forms of NCIS are there anyway? It’s so popular. It seems like you can turn the TV on at any hour of any day, and if it’s the top of the hour, somebody attractive will be killed. Then, a smartly-dressed police detective with great hair arrives at the scene. Pretty soon, there is a brightly-lit lab with scientists who wear no lab gloves or safety goggles and toss around evidence like the concepts of “hazardous” or “contamination” do not exist. Then, there’s the nerd on the computer who instantly discovers some crazy information with their tracking technology, DNA data, and facial recognition that is unbelievably advanced. That’s where Abby comes in, played by Pauley Perrette. The slightly-goth, don’t-cross-me attitude appeals to so many dudes and makes this nerd one of the most popular in television history.
8 Pam Beesly
Or should we say Pam Beesly-Halpert? The forever pining-for-each-other couple on The Office did eventually tie the knot and start a family, after years and years of adorable flirting. And while most people were hoping that Jim and Pam would hook up, most dudes were dreaming that they could have Pam all to themselves. There’s a pattern here in the nerdy appeal department. These women all have that subtle vibe locked down. They don’t show much skin. And even if they did, such a sudden reveal might blow everybody’s mind. Pam, played by Jenna Fischer, is always wearing that dull cardigan sweater, but she is still attractive as hell. Once, Fischer did appear onscreen in a teddy. There was a film called Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. It was a crazy parody of Walk The Line, the Johnny Cash bio-epic. Fischer played the Cash character’s wife and is briefly seen scantily clad.
7 Veronica Mars
Here’s a nerd that has one of the biggest cult followings ever. The show even inspired a film of the same name, Veronica Mars, which was famously funded by a social media jump starter. The film took place nine years after the TV show, which was cancelled after three short seasons. Many fans still wanted closure and thought the show never stood a chance, getting scheduled against American Idol in its prime. Of course, Kristen Bell played the lead, Veronica, who was young and super smart, so she had to be a nerd. After voicing Princess Anna in Frozen, Bell watched her stock skyrocket. Frozen was a huge film and made more cash than any other animated film ever. Outside the animated category, it ranked in as the ninth highest-grossing film ever. And just when you thought you’d seen the last Frozen kid’s backpack, Frozen 2 is due out in November of 2019.
6 Topanga Lawrence
Topanga, Topanga, Topanga. First of all, the name is very nerdy. Who has a name like Topanga and isn’t considered a nerd at some point in their lives? The name was actually just a bit of chance. As the story goes, Michael Jacobs, the show’s creator, needed a stronger female character added to the male-centric script of Boy Meets World. He was asked for a character’s name just as he was driving by Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County, California. Two exits later and she may have been named Calabasas. Many of us grew up watching Topanga and dreamed about her nerdy ways. Originally, Topanga was written as a renegade, but then she got nerdier as time went on. Danielle Fishel played the adorable student and later reprised her role in Disney’s Girl Meets World. As the character arcs continued, Topanga used her nerdy brain to become a lawyer, while Cory followed his hero’s footsteps and became a cheesy teacher.
5 Winnie Cooper
Depending on your age, this character may not pertain to you, but for other dudes, she is spot on. Many boys grew up dreaming about Winnie. She was the quiet, shy nerd who didn’t say much but every word counted. Plus, Winnie had that by-gone era appeal. While watching The Wonder Years in the late eighties, we wished things were still as cool as the sixties. Winnie Cooper also became the precursor to Topanga. The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage totally paved the way for Boy Meets World’s Ben Savage. The lessons were more poignant, less cheesy, and the music was way better. Who can remember The Wonder Years and not hear Joe Cocker rasping away on that Beatles cover? Winnie was a true fantasy long before any type of s*xual corruption took over our minds.
4 Lizzie McGuire
Lizzie McGuire was a total nerd. Or was she a geek? What is the difference? Well, according to Google, a geek is “an unfashionable or socially inept person.” And a nerd is “a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.” Interesting. And while we’re comparing, a dork is “a dull, slow-witted, or socially inept person. Definition 2: vulgar slang for the p*nis.” Wow, didn’t realize that last one. So they’re all pretty similar here and comparing definitions in itself is nerdy, so we get bonus points for that. Overall, we’re going to say that Lizzie was more of a geek since she was always wearing brightly-colored clothes and getting into annoying social conflicts. However, that was long ago. Now, Hilary Duff is looking fantastic and seems to be wearing bikinis on every beach on earth.
3 Rachel Berry
Sometimes, nostalgia can be found in characters that we remember from when we were younger. Other times, characters offer nostalgia because they remind us of people from days passed. Rachel Berry is an example of the latter. She was that nerdy overachiever that we all remembered from high school. She wasn’t the hottest thing on earth, but it didn’t matter. She had the stars in her eyes and a voice like an angel. In real life, Lea Michele is as hot as they come. And she is no nerd. In fact, her expert fashion sense is about as far away from nerdy as it gets. She is currently starring in the new show The Mayor. The show involves a dude who is accidentally elected and doesn’t know the first thing about politics. Fair to say that the plot was based on Trump. The show actually seems to be doing well, though, and may be one of the few new sitcoms this year to last longer than one season.
2 Jessie Spano
Jessie was the most underrated Saved By The Bell character ever. She was a total nerd, always concerned about her grades, and getting into a good college. Then again, who can compete with Kelly Kapowski? Man, that girl was the hottest. And the preppy lead, Zack Morris, had all the cool lines. Slater had all the funny insults. Lisa was kind of boring, and then Screech was a mess. Did you hear what happened to him in real life? Dustin Diamond went to jail for cutting a dude in a knife brawl in Wisconsin. How in the world did that happen? Who gets in a knife fight? And why does the Wisconsin part make it even weirder? Well, old Jessie wasn’t too successful post-Bell either. Instead of pulling out a knife, she pulled out every body part and dance move she had for Showgirls, which was a total flop. We love gratuitous n*dity like the next guy, but we like nerdy stuff even better. Really? Wait a minute. That’s a tough call...
1 Wonder Woman
We were kind of on a throwback kick before this one came along. But you have to admit, Wonder Woman has recently taken the world by storm. And how can she not be considered a nerd? She’s a comic book character for crying out loud. That’s as nerdy as it gets. And if you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, then be prepared to be wowed. Gal Gadot is beyond beautiful, and she does it all. She can play the kicking-butt scenes just as well as the straight scenes and the comic relief. The woman is stunning, and there’s plenty more of her to come. As most of you know, there is a comic book battle going on. Not between good and evil, but between DC and Marvel. Each universe is spitting out sequels like it’s going out of style. Is it going out of style? Maybe. But, let’s at least get a couple more Wonder Woman flicks in first.
Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Ranker