A Comprehensive Timeline of the Nerdification of My Girlfriend

The road from “girl I just met” to “fiancee” is a rather long one. It’s taken me two and a half years to make the journey, and there have been many transformations along the way. You take on certain characteristics of the person you’re dating after that long of a time. For example, I now go to the gym and don’t eat macaroni and cheese every day. Her? She watches a lot more TV and plays a lot more video games.

But before you think I’m a bad influence, I’m proud of the way I’ve molded my girlfriend into someone who appreciates good pop culture, as it’s a rather integral part of my life and job. Before, her favorite shows were Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. I mean, they still are, but at least I’ve gotten her to broaden her horizons.

This timeline shows the gradual process in which I tried to “nerdify” my girlfriend, where “nerd” is not an insult, but rather someone who has knowledge of and good taste in media. We’ve come a long way, and if I can do it, anyone can. You don’t need to have identical interests to someone you’re dating at the start, you can grow them over time. See how below:

May 2010 – True Blood

True Blood served as kind of a kicking off point for us. My girlfriend is indeed something of a  Twilight fan, though thankfully not a crazy one. So another vampire series seemed logical, and it would help introduce her to the overly sexy and bloody HBO so that perhaps she might get into an actually good show someday like…Game of Thrones.

True Blood actually starts out pretty strong, but once they start introducing absolutely insane amounts of creatures from Werepanthers to Faeries, things kind of go off the deep end, and we fled the series before season five as it was just too wacky.

September 2010 – Arrested Development

I had to get this one in early, because if she didn’t like Arrested Development, this thing we had wasn’t going to last. I was worried it wasn’t going to be her type of humor based on her usual affinity for chick flicks, but I was wrong. She loved every episode, and passed the baseline test of media sanity.

It was kind of funny to see her go through the process that we all did when we first watched the show. “This was cancelled? W-why? It’s so good! How could anyone ever cancel it?” “And that’s why we never trust Fox sweetie.”

January 2011 – Dexter

I wasn’t sure if she’d get into Dexter, but it’s a very addicting show no matter what kinds of things you’re normally a fan of. You think you couldn’t relate to a serial killer, but you’re wrong, and he’s just a dynamic character all around and the show is addicting.

She watched every single season until she caught up to when it was actually airing each week. We’re both looking forward to when it comes back next fall, though Showtime might not exactly be in the budget by then.

June 2011 – Friday Night Lights

While I was unsure about many of these selections, I knew that without a doubt she would love Friday Night Lights. If you strap someone to a chair and make them watching three episodes of this show, they will like it, guaranteed. If not, they may be a sociopath.

Even watching through all five seasons a second time was fun for me, as I forgot just how damn GOOD this show is. She didn’t appreciate my love for Tim Riggins, and now she jokes that I have a man crush on Taylor Kitsch. Which is probably true.

August 2011 – Call of Duty/Portal

My girlfriend used to be an avid gamer back in the day, but her favorite titles are Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot, and she hasn’t played much since. She did like Doom however, and was curious to try the most popular FPS series around these days, Call of Duty.

I hooked her up with some Black Ops bots and soon she was blasting them away while laughing maniacally and cursing. It was a proud moment. I cautioned her against trying to play against real people online, and needless to say, going 2-16 every game as opposed to 20-1 against bots is far less fun.

She really did like Portal for a while as well, but I wasn’t able to get her all the way through to the end. I wasn’t exactly helping matters by squirming in my seat every time she couldn’t figure out how to solve a puzzle. It’s a really hard game to watch someone else play if you’ve already beaten it yourself. When I took the controller from her to get her past a level, I realized I made a huge mistake, and she didn’t really care to play much after that. But maybe someday we’ll return to it. Portal 2 co-op?

December 2011 – Firefly

This one was going to be a reach, as even as an admitted sci-fi fan it took me probably six episodes to really start to like the show. We spaced out an episode probably once every week, and slowly but surely she began to like it.

It’s a testament to the power of Whedon that even someone who couldn’t normally give two shits about sci-fi can make someone like such a show just through the power of the characters and storytelling. Strangely, she didn’t care much for Serenity, the movie. I suppose it was kind of a different tone, and she, like everyone, didn’t understand the need for Wash to die in such a cavalier way. Damn you Joss!

February 2012 – Heavy Rain

Now this is an interesting one. Soon after I got my PS3, I was blazing through all the different games I’d missed over the years. She didn’t even blink as I went through Uncharted, God of War and Infamous, but Heavy Rain? “That looks cool,” she said.

And it was. So much so that she started her own playthrough. It’s not so much a game as it is a 12 hour interactive cutscene, but she got so into it, she was even playing it without me around. Unfortunately, if you DO manage to mess up the quick time events during the important segments, you don’t lose, it just takes your story in very, very dark directions. She managed to kill all the main characters and let the killer go free, and reported back how much she hated the ending. I had to load up my game to show her the “good” ending, which made her feel a bit better about the way things turned out.

April 2012 – Game of Thrones

I did it. I told you, I’ve been planting the seeds. She’d seen the show before, and turned up her nose at the beheadings and whores fisting each other on camera, but once I forced her to sit down and watch it from the beginning, she couldn’t deny it was good.

She’s currently three episodes into season two, but has seen the last three or so with me when I watched them live. It’s tough for me to watch them again if I’ve just seen them a week or two ago, but I have to find a way to get her to fill in the blanks before I lose HBO. Which is quite soon.

June 2012 – Dollhouse

Now the conversion is complete. Without any provocation, while surfing through Netflix she found Dollhouse. It stars Eliza Dushku, who she likes, and she recognized Joss Whedon’s name from The Avengers and Firefly. She started watching it without even consulting me, and was raving about it after the first episode. It is a touch disconcerting she keeps saying she wants to be a doll though. “It would be so cool!”

She’s finished season one in three days, and I couldn’t be more proud. It’s cool if you’re dating a girl who likes all these things to begin with, and I’m sure you had plenty to talk about on your first few dates, but the accomplishment of getting a Pretty Little Liars/Gossip Girl/Twilight fan into Firefly, Game of Thrones and Dollhouse is something to relish.

What’s next for us? Well, I’m apparently going to start jogging, and she is going to watch Battlestar Galactica, she just doesn’t know it yet. I’m also taking recommendations if you have any.

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  1. Dunno if you’ve looked into it, but Supernatural is a great show, at least IMHO. The first season starts out kind of rough, but the show gets interesting after that.

  2. RE GoT: “She’s currently three episodes into season three”

    i take it she brought back season 3 with her from the future… I would very much like to borrow it when you two are done with it

  3. I think you mean she’s 3 episodes into Season 2 of Game of Thrones….unless you’ve found some secret way into getting Season 3 already =)

    I hope she got you to watch Gossip Girl, the first 2 seasons at least. It’s gone to crap and will be ending next year with a short season but the early stuff is A+!

  4. I second third and fourth Supernatural. I started watching it on my own and then had to restart halfway through season 1, when my girlfriend watched an episode, so that she could watch the show with me. That was in February. We managed to make it through 7 seasons and watch the current season’s (7) finale within a week of its original air date. I can not wait until the fall.

  5. Ladies LOVE the Dr. Who. Supernatural is basically “X-Files for Bros” but it’s super fun and has a ton of recognizable “that guy/girl” crossover actors.

  6. Have not played games, seen only Dollhouse. But probably I will watch all of this in a year or something. Recently played Fahrenheit and Omikron: The Nomad Soul. After watching trailer for Two Souls fucking want that PS3 shitbox

  7. Rome and The Wire are another couple of HBO programmes. Rome’s probably easier to get into, but The Wire’s just about the best TV series I’ve seen

  8. I have to say my wife wanted nothing to do with Battlestar, but after showing her the “pilot” episodes she was hooked and we enjoyed the entire season last summer. (thanks to Netflix)

    She also enjoyed LOST and watches Game of Thrones with me. (this is the same girl that religiously watches all those crappy Housewife of OC/New York/New Jersey etc. shows … bleh!)

    I’ve heard that the Fringe is a good show to get girls to watch … I’ve yet to watch it myself though.

  9. Get her up on the British shows – Spaced, Dr. Who, Life on Mars (UK version, not US). Then, have her go back and learn her Whedon roots with Buffy. Also, get her playing some Mass Effect (that was my husband’s game until I stole it).

  10. Studio Ghibli films, man.

    I just started my girlfriend on these, for the future of our relationship. She seemed to think they were just “japanese weird cartoons”, so we’ll see how it goes. She liked “Totoro” so far, and I’m even letting us go dubbed (thanks to the quality) to ease her in.

    If she passes, then “Death Note” may be a possibility. Speaking of, have your gif watch “Sherlock”, because it’s amazing.

  11. My recommendations, all of which are on Instant Netflix and have been used successfully by me on my fiancée.

    1. Buffy (Whedon’s finest work)

    2. Dr. Who (once you get last the first season it’s pretty great)

    3. Better Off Ted (incredibly underrated comedy with a couple Arrested Dev vets)

    In terms of video games I would go with Mass Effect, Half-Life 1 & 2, Bioshock and the Assassin’s Creed games.

  12. I can’t believe no one has mentioned classics like Star Wars or Star Trek yet.
    What about Monty Python or Red Dwarf? Heroes was good too, in my opinion.
    As far as Anime goes there’s Appleseed, Tank Police (love!), Hellsing, Samurai Jack… I could go on.

  13. hey, Paul..why don’t you try something new yourself along with your girlfriend.

    be it videogame/book/tv show/movie, we’ll get your diary/opinion/review(s) and your GF’s POV at the end to see how she’s getting into it

  14. Go SyFy


    Also get her to watch Fringe because that is INSANELY addictive and she might get into it ready for the final season. Also, convince her to watch Revolution and Arrow next year. I got to see the new pilots in advance and they are definitely worth a watch.

  15. Paul,

    I’m doing the same process with my wife with almost your exact steps.

    The big win for games has been Mass Effect. I turned the diff down to casual (hacked it for unlimited resources) and gave her a sniper rifle and she loves it. I sit there and offer advice when she asks (ie. where to go, or to change her loadout when I know a tough bit is coming up) but I never touch the controls.

    It’s like watching a movie starring your favorite person in the world.

    She’s almost finished the second one now and we’re both enjoying ourselves heaps.

  16. Supernatural
    Avatar: The Last Airbender
    Avatar: The Legend of Korra

    I’ve gotten my wife to watch a few of those with me and she doesn’t complain about them the whole time. That’s as far as I can go with nerdifying her.

  17. I recommend Doctor Who. The best way to start is to have her watch the episode titled Blink in season 3 first. It has no spoilers, and the Doctor is only a side character, so it doesn’t ruin anything. But it helps show her how good the show can be before she gets a big dose of cheesiness from the first few episodes.

  18. It happens slow at first, but once it does, stand back. I pulled my lady in with the Katamari games and a DS, and from there, she was done. She can practically speak Dothraki now. Great article, bossman!

  19. Love the article! Got my wife (then girlfriend) into nerd-dom 12 years ago with Final fantasy 7 and Robotech. Recent likes from her over the years include Lost, Spartacus, Buffy, Fringe, GoT, Dexter.

    On the games check out Tales of Vesperia and Dragon Age Origins (although one of the contributors on Unreality hated it).

  20. Am currently a few episodes into the second season of Game of Thrones. Way to plant a spoiler in the heading of your inane article with the Khaleesi sat on the Iron Chair. Pathetically hilarious (or hilariously pathetic) that you didn’t love your partner enough for who she originally was, so had to alter her to make her your ‘perfect’ woman. Awesome way to find a soulmate there bro XD

  21. Must say that both Fringe and Supernatural are grat shows that I enjoy preety much!! As far as Anime is concerned I would def second what Mr. DocDoom said and recommend DeathNote, they also made a Live action movie, which is not that good, but it summs up the basics!
    The games i used to play with my GF were only Guitar Hero, but my friend’s GF plays Diablo 3 and Never Winter Nights, so i’m not giving up hope yet!

  22. Man, play some co-op games with her!
    My wife played WoW with me a bit, and now we do spend a lot of time in Dungeon Defenders, Diablo 3 and Terraria.
    Just make sure she doesnt die to often 😛 Or, if she is about to die, die with her o/

  23. Since you’ve already planned on BSG, sell her on Buffy and Dr. Who, the other two greatest sci-fi shows of all time. Also try to get her to go for Futurama and Stargate.

  24. Gotta love Stargate SG-1, and if she gets into that, then you got Atlantis and Universe after, totaling 17 seasons and a few movies.

    Other than that:

    Buffy – Good show, good music, good times

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 – Not too many of the good ones on Netflix streaming, but “The Touch of Satan” is on there, and it’s hilarious.

    Better off Ted – Didn’t expect much when I started watching this but boy is it funny.

    Supernatural – Another really great show. Everyone I’ve shown this too gets hooked instantly, and there’s even a few episodes with “Buffy” vets like Tara, Spike, and Cordelia, and “Angels” Fred. Lorne from Stargate SG-1/Atlantis is in one too.

    Breaking Bad – A little rough to get into but worth it.

    The Walking Dead – Might not get everyone to agree with me but I love this show.

    And finally if you want a little humor in your dork, there’s always The Whitest Kids You Know, Parks and Recreation, Workaholics, The League, Raising Hope, or Archer. Best part is that all of these are streaming to some degree on Netflix.

    And if you get her into video games, definitely play Mass Effect. It’s like controlling your own dramatic space opera.

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