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March 19 2008

"Joss Whedon is a geek, J.J. Abrams is a nerd". McG explains the difference at the Chuck panel at PaleyFest '08.

And McG is a...?
... n abbreviation for McGinty ?

(that showed pretty remarkable restraint - think i've grown ;)
It doesn't say what the difference is!!!

Here's my way of explaining it.
Joss is a geek means he sort of ended up where he is because he just loves doing what he does.
J.J. is a nerd means he's "stuck up" and thinks he's really amazing and relies on other people to get him to the top.
Saje - don't go picking on our Big Jim! :-)
Believe it or not, there IS television besides the shows of the Whedonverse! ;-) McG is the Executive Producer (I believe) of the wonderful and hilarious "Chuck" (starring, among others, our own Adam Baldwin), and was the Exec. Producer of the much-missed "O.C."
I'll xerox xerox (yes pun intended) explanation for it.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2008-03-19 12:19 ]
Producer of the much-missed "O.C."

Yeah, but on the other hand, he produced 'The O.C.' ;-). And created/produced 'Fastlane'. And produced 'Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll'. And directed "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle". Let me know when you think his 'Chuck' involvement balances those out OzLady (i'd say around season 12 ;).

(and i've total respect for that McGinty catalyst2, especially his work in "ensuring regional Western Australia receives its fair share", sterling effort ;)
He also produces "Supernatural" - which is one of the best genre shows on television. Okay, McG doesn't have a big hand in that, but this is just an excuse to point out what incredible work Eric Kripke and the cast have been doing on the show this year and with their mythology. It's not all that far away from the complex/complicated mythology of the Buffyverse.
Supernatural is the one of the most improved shows of maybe ever. But it started out pretty lame, and I think that may have been because the original concept was "two hot guys in a muscle car on Route 66. With, y'know, weird stuff." My impression, which could certainly be wrong, is that that was McG's contribution. And I still can't think of a label for him.

catalyst2, I think your political websites may be importing content from the U.S., or vice versa. Or may it just, like, grows or builds up as deposits?
McG is currently trying to make an American version of Spaced. Against the expressed wishes of the original creators. What does that make him?
In addition to being an executive producer on 'Chuck' and 'Supernatural', McG is also down to be the director of the fourth 'Terminator' film.

He used to be a music producer - at least, he produced an album, 'Lemonade and Brownies' by Sugar Ray.
As far as the geek / nerd distinction goes...

In high school, Willow was a nerd. Xander was a geek.
beergood, I'd heard about the treatment of Simon and Jessica before but it still pisses me off. Without knowing exactly what went down I'd be more inclined to blame the British studio selling the show to the US rather than the US director involved.
But, like many cases of writers being excluded from projects, it confuses me (as well as pissing me off).
If you see a great house and you want one just like it, but bigger, wouldn't the most obvious person to involve be the original architect? If they did such a great job that you want something just like it then why get a completley different architect who's never seen the house you want and spend time and money trying to get him to understand what you're after? Why not just at least consult the original guy?

And having Simon Pegg on board, as well as reassuring fans of the original, would also help the marketing, what with him starring in the new ST movie and all.

/Rant over.
McG is currently trying to make an American version of Spaced. Against the expressed wishes of the original creators. What does that make him?

It gets better - Simon Pegg (the co-creator, writer and actor in Spaced) has talked before about the difference between a geek and a nerd, which McG is quotin' here.

Quotuth:

“We have always been aware of our geekdom and have learned to embrace it”, says Pegg. “The whole of Spaced (the brilliant Channel 4 sitcom that was their first collaboration) is basically saying, ‘don’t worry about being geeky, it’s fine’. Being a geek is just about being enthusiastic and having a more developed sense of attention to detail.” The merest hint of a tone has wandered into Pegg’s voice, so I assure him that I wasn’t passing judgement. “The geek community know what they love and they really, really love it”, says Frost. “We went to the comic conventions for Shaun and for Hot Fuzz and say what you want about them, but they’re a great audience”.
I'd never heard of McG until I started watching Supernatural. Then, whenever I meandered over to the IMDb or TV.com forums for the show I'd come across all this apparent hatred for him. And now I notice it all the time. I know next to nothing about the person, and I'm genuinely curious as to why he seems to be singled out for so much contempt and ire. It's not like he's the only producer who makes crappy shows or films. There's a whole bunch of those guys. So, what did this guy do to inspire so much ill-feeling?
I wonder how much McG really is involved by the label of Executive Producer in those shows.
His music video background is obvious in Fastlane, which is not as apparent at all in the other shows he currently produces.

It bothers me a lot when people credit JJ Abrams too much over for Lost, when clearly Cuse and Lindelof do most, if not all, the exec producing work in there.

I have issues with Supernatural. I remember back when it debuted, that they'd avoid mythology, and now is such a show that needs it. But despite those development, I still don't care enough about the characters, I feel them to be so disconnected.
zz9: Oh, they're still using them in the marketing; Simon and Edgar's names were all over the original press release for the American Spaced (or McSpaced, as Edgar calls it). They didn't actually know about it until they read it in the paper, and they weren't even contacted afterwards, but still. AFAIK Jessica has never been mentioned by FOX or McG, though, since she didn't have much to do with Shaun of the Dead and so the US public doesn't know who she is.

But yeah, to some extent they have to blame themselves for signing over the rights to the British studio when they made the original series. They're not the first in the business to be young and naive...

[ edited by beergood on 2008-03-19 14:01 ]
Simon and Edgar's names were all over the original press release for the American Spaced ...

From what I gather that's what bothers them - not that the remake is happening, more that their names were used without them being involved in any way. Edgar Wright has said he thinks it's a bad idea because 'Spaced' was always more about the people than the concept but i've never really got the impression that he's against a remake per se.

So, what did this guy do to inspire so much ill-feeling?

Oh i've no ill feeling towards him personally (never met him) but I think in some ways he singled himself out by creating a sort of "McG brand" (which other producers usually don't).

(he's not alone either, among film fans Michael Bay is probably viewed similarly and some people see Joel Silver and Jerry Bruckheimer in the same way. It's not so much that they produce pop-culture - personally, I love pop-culture - it's more that they seem single minded in their pursuit of the very lowest possible common denominator ;)
I personally dislike "bandwagons", and the persistent vociferous loathing for McG ( and Bay, Silver and Bruckheimer) [not here particulary, just everywhere in general] smacks too strongly of just that. It's pretty cool and hip to assume that those people are incapable of doing anything right and pretending that you've despised every single frame any of them have committed to film.

I've just never been that cool OR hip. ;)

[ edited by Haunt on 2008-03-19 15:28 ]
According to the comic strip "Graffitti," geeks are nerds with "attitudes."
I don't understand the basis for this distinction. But I don't know much about J.J. Abrams.
Heh, the backlash against the backlash ;). Think i'll wait for the anti-anti-bandwagon bandwagon to swing back around.

Course, tastes vary, obviously but if more people dislike the body of McG's work than like it maybe that's a bandwagon or maybe it's just that lots of people dislike his work ? Nobody (AFAIK) claims that those that like e.g. Scorsese's films are just jumping on a bandwagon though so why is there an asymmetry with dislike - do we not use the same criteria for judging both ?

FWIW, I quite liked the first "Charlie's Angels" film (yep, bum wiggling scene included ;) and enjoy 'Chuck' so if we're blaming him for the other stuff we have to credit him for those.

(and I agree that sometimes there's an annoying element of snobbery to it, like nothing that the masses like can possibly be any good)
I happen to have loved "The O.C" AND the entire "Charlie's Angel" franchise without apology so there. :-) I think McG does a wonderful job and truly has a golden touch.

Also, JJ Abrams is an *incredibly* kind, generous person so regardless of what you may think of his work or his involvement in whatever entertainment-related project, please know that he is philanthropic beyond many of his equally well-positioned peers (the peerless Joss excluded, of course).
McG's not another cousin is he OzLady ?

(totally kidding ;-)
Actually Saje I DO consider many "love" fandoms just as bandwagony as the "hate" fandoms, so no asymmetry from me on that score. I think large groups of fans can just as easily become annoyingly sycophantic as can swing the other way and form mindless mobs with Internet pitchforks and torches.

Mob mentality is annoying no matter which way it swings.
Yeah, i'll give you that Haunt, liking or disliking something for no good reason is pretty daft, more people should try to cultivate a neutral position IMO.

I just think that sometimes anti-bandwagoneers (not you as far as I can tell ;) do the same thing i.e. they sort of "buy cool" just by going against the perceived flow. Mobs are always dangerous and unthinking but they're NOT always wrong, y'know ? Basically, there are all kinds of bandwagons - some of them pride themselves on only having one rider (even if they're part of a huge fleet of bandwagons, all going in the same direction ;).
Ooops, it actually said geeks are dweebs with "attitudes." Sorry for the irrrrelevancy.
Basically, there are all kinds of bandwagons - some of them pride themselves on only having one rider (even if they're part of a huge fleet of bandwagons, all going in the same direction ;).

That is very true, and also funny.
I have never been a McG fan, but I was at the panel last night and he came off as extremely competent, articulate, intelligent, funny and kind. He was the go to guy for answers and Damon Lindelof, Chris Fedak, and Josh Schwartz all seemed to hold him in high regard. I may have changed my mind about him. Now that I, you know, actually have something to base an opinion on.
Yeah, it's nice when folk are nice. Bugger all to do with the quality of his films/TV shows of course (unfortunately, by the sounds of things - imagine if nice, kind people were always rewarded with talent and success, can't help but feel the world would be a better place ;).
I like to try to remember McG only as the director of Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" video.
He is the director, yes? Not so much the writer. And he earns another pass with Supernatural. Supernatural karma wipes out bad Fastlane karma.
Saje- ROFL! Yes, McG is from the Scottish side of Clan Lang/Roth/Lieb (what? Don't we *sound* Scottish?!? ;-)

What can I say? I have a wee soft spot for nice guys, regardless of their talent...and I'd certainly NOT include my actual cousin in that first category, but family is family, right?
Ah, of the Ayrshire Liebs ? ;-)

He is the director, yes? Not so much the writer. And he earns another pass with Supernatural. Supernatural karma wipes out bad Fastlane karma.

Err, huh ? You've achieved the imposs ... well, very easy and totally lost me TamaraC ;). He didn't write or direct 'Supernatural' (admittedly according to bastion of reliable information, IMDB ;). Is that bad info ?
Yes, Saje...we're famous for our haggis ball soup! ;-)
People, it's obvious. McG is saying Abrams smart and Joss bites the heads off live chickens. We all know that already.
Saje, McG has been an executive producer of Supernatural for the entire run.
Yes. What pollaxt said. It is important to note the historical etymology of 'geek.' And you know, chickens!
Wait, so what does that make Ozzy Osbourne? *crickets* Oh, right, that's bats.
Not really sure of the distinction myself, I think it all has to do with connotation. My siblings call me both geeky and nerdy for my obsession of all things Whedon.
...What do they call followers of geeks?
I do not like McG.

That is all.
He had lovely things to say about you, UnpluggedCrazy! ;-)
WHEDONesque has discussed the differences between geek, nerd, dweeb, etc. ad infinitum if not ad nauseum; here is one of my favorites.

Random Jossiness on geekdweebnerdom:

"...maybe I'm a nerd, but being compared to a Trekker (or even a TrekkIE) doesn't offend me a bit." - Joss, in a CHUD forum no longer online, but referred to in a whedonesque thread...

"Everybody who labels themselves a nerd isn't some giant person locked in a cubbyhole who's never seen the opposite sex. Especially with the way the Internet is now, I think that definition is getting a little more diffuse." - Joss, TIME: Interview: Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon - September, 2005

"I'm a science fiction geek from birth -- that's just who I am." - Joss, 60 Second Interview by Andrew Williams - March 2, 2006

And Saje - this thread has re-affirmed my growing belief that I need to start collecting and compiling The WHEDONesque Sampler #10: The Wit and Wisdom of Saje:

"Mobs are always dangerous and unthinking but they're NOT always wrong, y'know ? Basically, there are all kinds of bandwagons - some of them pride themselves on only having one rider (even if they're part of a huge fleet of bandwagons, all going in the same direction ;)."

"...it's more that they seem single minded in their pursuit of the very lowest possible common denominator ;)"


Hear, hear!
Without having time to read all the other comments right now, I just feel a little bit disturbed by the geek and nerd moniker. What we really all are, are fan boys and girls (even if some of us are middle-aged). Nerds and Geeks are traditionally people who hide themselves away doing tech or math stuff and have no idea how to have a proper social life. I just don't think that happens to be true for these two guys, or for most of us. (edited because I was having a senile moment)

They're both cool, is what they is.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-03-19 20:24 ]
Nerd is an interesting word. Probably comes from the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran The Zoo (1950). Nerds were little, dirty, angry, big-headed creatures in the book. Geek though dates back to at least Shakespeare.

As for McG, his directing credentials are bad, and the O.C. should have been way better than it was, but, meh, blaming him doesn't feel right. He's probably competent and nice to work with... I mean otherwise he wouldn't be getting all these gigs, would he?
Geez, you're all treating McG like he's Brett Ratner or something!
QuoterGal thanks for linking that old thread. That was priceless. And let me know when you do that Saje sampler. I'd buy one of those.
Tonya J; true for some of us tho, at least the second half of your definition.
Shh, everyone hush up about nerdery/geekiness- I'm trying to watch the D11 satellite launch and you're all distracting me!
Oh, I KNEW I forgot something in that other post:

Hath not a Nerd/Geek eyes? Hath not a Nerd/Geek hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a really cool dude/dudette is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
(Well obviously, as evidenced by Revenge of the Nerds, 1984)

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-03-20 03:52 ]
Okay, color us totally self-involved?
"Shylock is all, whine, whine, whine, like the whole world is about him. He acts like it's justice, him getting a pound of Antonio's flesh. It's not justice, it's yicky" ~Cordy, 1.11
I took the nerd quiz; I'm not too bad, except for comics/scifi and history/literature.
on the other hand, when I saw the Shylock quote, the first thing I thought about was Buffy, not Shakespeare. Oops.
Hee ;). What a piece of work is a geek, how knobbly in knees 'n', how infinite in trivia, in nitpicking and pedantry how dull, err, admirable, in action figures how like an anorak, in apprehension how like a god[damned freak 'o' nature].

I'm trying to watch the D11 satellite launch and you're all distracting me!

You already have its number zeitgeist, what more do you need to see ? ;-)

The Wit and Wisdom of Saje

Well, it'd be thin at least and therefore kind to the environment ;). And back atcha BTW ;).

Fanboy and fangirl also have negative connotations (at least as I know the words) and I think nowadays 'nerd' and 'geek' are being rejuvenated. Basically, it's OK if you self-identify as one but, depending on context, it might still be a bit dodgy to be called it by someone else. In fact, it's for just those occurrences that I carry my lightsabre with me everywhere. Sure, I know exactly what you're thinking, "Saje, what about a distance weapon, maybe a blaster or even a chakrum ?" but I find they ruin the lines of my Starfleet uniform.

Saje, McG has been an executive producer of Supernatural for the entire run.

Yep, saw that TamaraC but there's the Executive Producer credit as basically showrunner with daily, hands-on involvement and a key role in the character and story development and then there are Executive Producers that are credited for years and years on a show or two without actually having to do anything.
Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, were also credited as executive producers throughout Angel,[19] but were not involved in any writing or production for the show. Jeffrey Bell mentions in his DVD commentary during the closing credits of the Angel series finale "Not Fade Away" that two people were credited and paid for Angel without needing to ever step on the set.[20] Angel crew member Dan Kerns also revealed in an essay, that two executive producers "received credit and sizeable checks for the duration of Buffy and Angel for doing absolutely nothing".[21] Their credit, rights and royalties over the whole Buffy franchise which includes spin-off Angel relate to their funding, producing and directing of the original movie version of Buffy.[22]

And obviously a whole load in-between those extremes. Do we know whereabouts on the scale McG falls ? Of the stuff i've seen of his that I know he had an active role in, he's still in the red in my book. YMMV, course ;).
I don't know enough about his role in Supernatural to know if he is a Kuzui or not. Seems like his role in Chuck might be a bit more extensive.

And since you mention Jeff Bell, can anyone tell me if our Jeff Bell is the same Jeff Bell in the trades today reported as being the writer for Geena Davis' new show (pilot) for CBS?
If anyone wants to see the Geek/Nerd discussion, it happens to be in the "Chuck" clip on the Paley Center website: http://www.paleycenter.org/festivals/paleyfest2008/videos.htm.
BandofBuggered, "We few, we happy few, we band of buggered," is one of my favorite Buffy lines, probably top 10. I don't laugh like a Nerd when I hear it, but I do laugh like a drain (no, it's not like a Nerd snortlaugh!) :>)
Here's a somewhat detailed play-by-play from The Futon Critic.
*grins widely* It's all about the distorting the Bard, baby!
As for nerdy laughs, I squeak like a guinea pig when I laugh, so don't feel bad. Sometimes, I can't breathe and I just turn purple.

As for top 10 Buffy lines, I don't think I could ever, ever pick just 10. Or just 100. Although one that always comes to mind is "the boy with his finger in the duck" exchange with Angel in "Gingerbread." That, and the "no fruit for Buffy" in the same ep.
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Geek.
What's Geek? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a melvin
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So a Nerd would, were he not a Nerd call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Nerd, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Oh, QuoterGal, I adore you.
If this thread is populated by nerds and/or geeks, then we surely should rule the world ;-)

among film fans Michael Bay is probably viewed similarly and some people see Joel Silver and Jerry Bruckheimer in the same way. It's not so much that they produce pop-culture - personally, I love pop-culture - it's more that they seem single minded in their pursuit of the very lowest possible common denominator ;)
Saje | March 19, 14:08 CET


C'm on Saje, how can anyone honestly not love Armageddon? ;-)
And Bruckheimer has produced some very good U.S. TV shows, although I don't know how involved he's been in the creative process.

As for McG, (whom I'd never heard of before) based on his body of
work, I couldn't even give it "guilty pleasure" status.

But J.J. Abrams gets a pass on most anything in my book, just on the basis of the first season of Alias. (Seriously need more kick-ass women staring in TV series but they need to be good shows and good actors.) Alias and Jennifer Garner definitely qualify, in my book.
Not a Lost fan, so no points there, from me.
For the Bruckheimer argument, I only have two words. Coyote Ugly.
Ultimate guilty pleasure for folding laundry, housecleaning, homework, etc. Oh, and apparently Bruckheimer is going to start producing video games. That's ultimate nerd cred.

[ edited by BandofBuggered on 2008-03-20 05:11 ]
Seriously? The Bruckheimer argument gets a Coyote Ugly but no Pirates?!? Man, what sort of alternate universe have I stumbled into... and why the hell are there so many *&%#^& shrimp everywhere?
Oh, for me it's perpetual Wednesday. Aahh! Classes all day!
Pirates is great; I like it a lot. But nothing compares to Coyote Ugly for sheer guilty pleasure. Pirates is legitimate entertainment. (Kind of the difference between BtVS the show for legit and BtVS the movie with a lot of liquor for a guilty pleasure.)
Here's video of the quote in question.

As far as McG, I didn't like Charlie's Angels, but I *loved* Fastlane. The cast was good, funny and had great chemistry, but mostly it looked soooo slick. Not a guilty pleasure, I loved that show (still looking for it to come out on DVD). In a world where not every show should be like Joss's shows (i.e. this world), it was great at what it did.
C'm on Saje, how can anyone honestly not love Armageddon? ;-)

'Armageddon' is a great example of a Michael Bay film IMO (and I mean that in both ways ;), as is 'The Rock'. My issue with his stuff is (as with 'The Island' and even 'Transformers') there's a real feeling (for me) that it could have been truly great (and even clever with it) until it was "Bay-ed". In other words, what I like about his films is usually all in the script and when they work it's often despite the bombastic look and feel.

Don't really have much against Bruckheimer or Silver myself - they have their style and some folk love it. Joel Silver in particular has produced some great films, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" to name a recent example and I also like a lot of the buddy cop movies he's been involved with e.g. 'The Last Boy Scout' not to mention 'Die Hard' which in its own way reinvented the action picture.

(also love the first and third Pirates films and don't feel a bit guilty. They were what summer movies used to be like, before "soulless" also apparently became part of the aim)
Pirates 1 and 3 were quite fun. Summer blockbusters with good dialogue and moral ambiguity, plus a heroine who's fully in the mix. And swordfights! Sure, they had their weaknesses. But so fun.

I guess I'm a pirate geek.

ETA: Armageddon I never really got.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-03-20 15:24 ]
See how you all feel about Michael Bay after he remakes Rosemary's Baby. No, not a joke.
Of course Rosemary's Baby is being re-made. After all it was not a black-and-white movie nor was it a complete box-office failure or badly made the first time. So, the three best reasons for doing a remake do not apply, so a remake is inevitable.
"He also produces "Supernatural" - which is one of the best genre shows on television. Okay, McG doesn't have a big hand in that, but this is just an excuse to point out what incredible work Eric Kripke and the cast have been doing on the show this year and with their mythology. It's not all that far away from the complex/complicated mythology of the Buffyverse."

Very much agreed.

"I have issues with Supernatural. I remember back when it debuted, that they'd avoid mythology, and now is such a show that needs it. But despite those development, I still don't care enough about the characters, I feel them to be so disconnected."

I have to say that I'm surprised by that opinion because it's the characters that make the show for me. I love the supernatural concepts used and the ever increasing mythology the show is creating for itself but what really stands out when I watch is the relationship and interaction of the Winchesters. The writers and, of course, Jensen and Jared have made this show something very special, even without the fantasy elements. Season three has absolutely blown me away, so far.
Well, I didn't like Rosemary's Baby the first time around, so I suspect I'll like it even less once Michael Bay gets his hands on it.

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