Study Guide

Sixteen Candles The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall)

The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall)

Geeks, Nerds, Dorks and Dweebs

"Geeks, Nerds, Dorks and Dweebs" isn't an unreleased Cher song to the tune of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," as catchy as that would be. (You can thank us later for that idea, Cher. We know you're reading.)

These four words are variety of categories describing a person, and it's hard to tell what, exactly, each one means.

The blogger Derek Wong describes these categories as follows:

  • Nerd - intelligent, industrious, understands things.
  • Geek - interested in things that others are not interested in, know a lot about their interests, but usually do not understand underlying principles.
  • Dork - foolish, stupid, clumsy.

And dweebs don't even get a mention, which pretty much defines dweeb as "a person not even worth a mention." Sorry, dweebs.

These definitions are either wrong, or they were different in the 1980's, because the character of The Geek doesn't fit that description. The Geek's interested in only one thing: sex. Considering everyone, especially hormonal teenagers, is interested in sex, he is definitely not "interested in things that others are not interested in."

Being a virgin, the Geek knows nothing about his interest (sex, in case you forgot), so the second part is ruled out too.

Finally, we have "usually do not understand underlying principles." Surprisingly, the Geek does understand the underlying principles of hooking up. Or at least he's mature enough to acknowledge that Sam would rather be with Jake, so he puts aside his own rampant horniness to help these two crazy love birds get together.

A Geek By Any Other Name…

We'll go into that more below, but first, we need to figure out why the Geek is called the Geek. He actually has a name, and that name is Ted, but if you coughed during the one scene at the gym where they reveal his name, you'd have missed it.

He's known only as the Geek because he's so annoying that no one wants anything to do with him. Most of his obnoxious behavior is a disingenuous persona, like a peacock puffing up his feathers to find a mate. The Geek explains it like this:

THE GEEK: I mean, I know I kinda came on like a poozer on the bus tonight and everything, but that's just so my friends won't think I'm a jerk. […] The thing is I'm kinda like the leader. Kind of like the King of the Dips***s.

As "King of the Dips***s," the Geek comes on too strong, he is completely unaware of social cues, and he's a terrible dancer. These qualities make him more of a dork or a dweeb (or a "poozer," whatever that means), but the more popular kids don't feel the need to make a distinction.

In high school, what you really are doesn't matter. Only your image counts. But hey, at least he's actually trying. Unlike the other "dips***s" (his word, not ours!) who just hang out along the walls, the Geek at least gets out on the dance floor.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

On the surface, the Geek's annoying, obnoxious, and sleazy. But as we established, that's all an act. And the act isn't working, kid, so drop it. Underneath all the dorky bluster, the Geek is somewhat of a nice guy, and he reveals his true self in the auto shop with Sam. He's the first person to wish her happy birthday, in his own weird way, which is singing.

Badly.

THE GEEK: You say it's your birthday…bah nah nah… it's my birthday too…

What's really important is that one he learns that Sam likes Jake and that Jake likes Sam, he puts aside his horndog nature and helps get the two of them together. To do this, he coaches Sam to be more like him: she should put herself out there, the way he does, even if it means dancing like a spaz in front of the entire school.

THE GEEK: I'm a gambling man by nature, and, uh I'd go for it.

The gamble doesn't pay off for the Geek, at least not with Sam. But he's a big enough guy to put Sam's wants before his own. He later gives Jake the same advice, with a warning attached:

THE GEEK: I feel compelled to mention to you, Jake, that if all you want off the girl is a piece of ass, I mean, I'll either do it myself, or get someone bigger than me to kick your ass. I mean, not many girls in contemporary American society today would give their underwear to help a geek like me.

That's pretty noble that he's actually looking out for Sam. Not everyone in the 80's is as selfish as Michael Douglas in Wall Street would lead you believe. Maybe we all need to be a little bit Geek-y sometimes.

The Geek eventually gets his reward in the form of Caroline, but that's so problematic, we need an entirely new page to talk about it, so click over to her profile when you're ready.

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