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The Farmer Ted Effect: '80s geeks gone good



Geeks gone good

With the Super Bowl over (but the Gasparilla Pirate Fest coming this weekend in Tampa), Steve is still out of commission, so we go to the bullpen for another guest entry. Today's guest-blogger is Sherrie Williams of Largo, who worships Meatloaf (the singer) as much as Spears worships meatloaf (the food).

The Farmer Ted Effect, named after Anthony Michael Hall's geek who somehow gets the girl in Sixteen Candles, is demonstrated in a handful of '80s actors who portrayed nerds only to become far more successful and/or attractive outside our beloved decade. 

A couple of actors just missed the cut: Jon Cryer and Neil Patrick Harris, while they were consummate geeks back in the day, still retain their geek groove today, and we love them for it.  Here are a few who have broken the surly bonds of geekdom:

JOHN CUSACK: His second film role was as "Bryce," one of Farmer Ted’s geek best friends. He is geekdom perfection in this film, but has moved on to star in a sometimes spotty, but occasionally brilliant series of films. He is the shining star of former '80s geeks in today's movies. Sadly, the same can't be said for his sister Joan Cusack who may still be considered part of the geek clique even as she enters the far side of her 40s. [Say Anything scene]

Sarah Jessica Parker SARAH JESSICA PARKER: It's hard to believe that super nerd "Patty Greene" on Square Pegs and cosmopolitan "Carrie Bradshaw" in Sex and the City are played by the same person. Parker has had a transformation topped perhaps only by Anthony Michael Hall, but I'll always remember her best as she made her way through high school with Johnny Slash. [Square Pegs scene]

ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL: He played the King of the Geeks in Sixteen Candles, and went on to essentially play that character in several films in and out of the '80s.  We had some glimpse of his geek-less future in the horrid Johnny Be Good, but the full transformation took place when he took the role of Johnny Smith in The Dead Zone TV series. Somehow, Brian from The Breakfast Club has become downright handsome. [Dead Zone scene]

Patrick Dempsey PATRICK DEMPSEY: Maybe this phenomenon should be called the "Ronald Miller Effect" because Dempsey perfected it twice, going from "geek to chic" in 1987's Can't Buy Me Love and pizzaman-turned-manwhore in 1989's Loverboy. Nowadays, people forget about the humble roots of Dr. McDreamy in TV's Grey's Anatomy.

Are there some reformed geeks left off the list, or do you disagree that these three have shed their socially awkward past? Leave a comment and we can talk about these transformed '80s geeks.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:43pm]


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