Back in the day, just about every popular television show boasted the trademark geeky character. From braniacs to suspender wearing dimwits, these old school nerds made their mark in television history. Here is the ultimate Geek Squad– the most memorable old school television nerds and geeks:
Screech Powers (Saved By the Bell). Dustin Diamond played this nerd to perfection- from the telltale mop of curly hair to that awful screechy voice. Screech is one of the most recognizable TV geeks of all time. A stark contrast to the buff, beautiful people on Saved By the Bell, Screech was the comic relief, the fall guy.
Where is Dustin Diamond now? Now in his 30’s, in recent years Diamond has appeared on reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club and Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. He also wrote a tell-all book about his Saved By the Bell days (not to the amusement of his co-stars). And then there was that sex tape….
Buddy Lembeck (Charles in Charge). Hard to believe actor Willie Aames once played the confident, hunky teen son, Tommy Bradford, on Eight Is Enough. His stint on Charles In Charge had him pegged as a total geek (later Aames would even don a suit and become Christian video superhero, Bible Man). Of course, next to teen heart throb Scott Baio any guy would look uncool, but Buddy Lembeck wasn’t just uncool -he was incredibly annoying. From his goofy voice to his wacky 80’s outfits, Buddy was a bud that only Charles could love.
Where is Willie Aames now? Drug and alcohol abuse- as well as serious financial problems- plagued the star, and he filed for bankruptcy in 2008. That same year he attempted suicide. He later sold all of his belongings in a highly publicized garage sale and has since gotten back on his feet, recently taking an entertainment staff job with a cruise line (no Love Boat jokes, please). Glad to hear Willie is doing well now!
Monroe Ficus (Too Close for Comfort) Jim J. Bullock played the goofy, dimwitted neighbor on this 1980’s show. If you could get past his dumbed down voice, it was hard to miss the high-waisted pants and striped shirts. Forget how geeky Monroe was? YouTube clips abound.
Where is Jim J. Bullock now? Bullock has worked steadily as an actor since his Too Close for Comfort days. His more notable acting gigs include a recurring role on the late 1980’s series, ALF and stints on Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide and the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful. In 1985 Bullock was diagnosed as HIV-positive, although it was more than a decade before he went public about it.
Steve Urkel (Family Matters). Oh that voice! Oh those floods! Steve Urkel was the quintessential nerd, the geek by which all other geeks should be measured. His tagline was “Did I do that?” Actor Jaleel White, who in real life is not a nerd, had his work cut out for him with this role on the long running ABC “TGIF” sitcom.
Where is Jaleel White now? Still acting and producing. His latest project is a web series for Hulu, Fake It Til You Make It. White wrote, stars and directs the series.
Paul Pfeiffer (The Wonder Years). 1960’s geek Paul Pfeifer (played buy Josh Saviano) was the kind of pal you wanted to have in your corner. 1. Because you’re always going to be the better looking guy and 2. This kid was so smart he could get you out of any jam. Imagine what a whiz kid The Fife would have been if he had grown up in the computer age!
Where is Josh Saviano now? No, he is not Marilyn Manson! Just as smart in real life as the kid he played on TV, this Yale alum and law school grad is a New York lawyer.
Pee Wee Herman (The Pee Wee Herman Show, Pee Wee’s Playhouse). Okay, this guy was weird but he was funny! Comedian Paul Reubens explored new territory when he came out as a geeky man-child in the original 1981 HBO special, ThePee Wee Herman Show. His faux kiddie show was completely inappropriate for kids- until he came out with a real Saturday morning kiddie show in the mid-80’s
Where is Paul Reubens now? Still playing Pee Wee. After a break from the early 1990’s until 2007 ( in case you hadn’t heard about it, he had a little legal trouble during that time) Reubens has resurrected Pee Wee and is heading to Broadway for a Pee Wee Herman stage show.
Skippy Handleman (Family Ties). This guy was like a loyal puppy dog and Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) knew it. Yes, as geeky and clutzy as he was, Skippy was a devoted pal who was actually lovable and funny.
Where is Marc Price now? His acting career didn’t quite take off after his success on Family Ties, so Price went on the road as a stand up comedian. He also had a stint as the host of Teen Win Lose or Draw. In 2006 he appeared on the show The Last Comic Standing but didn’t make it far. These days Price is a co-executive producer and creator of Showtime’s Green Collar Comedy.
Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). This geeky computer nerd (played by Alyson Hannigan) impresses because she blossomed into a very powerful witch. Cripes, she even saved the world. Should I call her geek or super hero?
Where is Alyson Hannigan now? After Buffy wrapped in 2003, Hannigan landed another long term role on the CBS series, How I Met Your Mother. In 2009 she gave birth to her first child, daughter Satyana.
Lisa Loopner (Saturday Night Live). No geek list would be complete without Gilda Radner’s classic Saturday Night Live character, Lisa Loopner. Her nasally voice and her crazy outfits and taglines (“That was so funny I forgot to laugh”) made Loopner one of the most beloved TV nerds of all times. Sadly, comedian Gilda Radner died in 1989 after battling ovarian cancer.
Boner Stabone (Growing Pains). The character of Boner (played by Andrew Koenig) wasn’t as much a nerd as he was just a dimwit. He was even kinda cute, but compared to the ultra cool Mike Seaver (Kirk Cameron) Boner was the geeky wingman. In real life, actor Andrew Koenig battled clinical depression. Sadly, Koening took his own life in 2010.