Revenge of the Nerds

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Revenge of the Nerds. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

Lewis sticks to his original path of actively pursuing a great time in college.  He faces the idea that he is a nerd, but he doesn’t let it dissuade him from any goals he has set for himself.  Lewis emerges from the story with the same motivations with which he entered.

Main Character Growth

Lewis holds fast against the onslaught of the Alpha-Betas and the Pi Deltas who persecute him for being a nerd.  They are pressuring him, with the help of the Greek Council and the football coach, to give up trying to amount to anything at Adams, and Lewis remains steadfast until they stop.

Main Character Approach

Lewis’s first response to a problem is to do something about it.  He immediately starts looking for a house for the nerds, he finds the house, he asks Betty out the first time he talks to her, he invents a robot to clean up for him, etc.  He actively tries to change his situation to one that suits him.

Main Character Mental Sex

Lewis’s first way of understanding anything is structural and he is able to objectify any problem or idea.  He sees getting a house as a set of steps which he tackles one at a time.  When he seduces Betty by pretending to be her boyfriend in a mask, he sees it as an act of obtaining her, rather than a process of deceiving her.

Story Driver

In this story, actions lead to decisions.  The Alpha-Beta house burns down, so they have to determine where to stay; the football team throws the freshmen out of their dorm, so the nerds have to decide where to live.  It is also the action of the Alpha Betas trashing the nerds’ house which forces Lewis to face his moment of truth and decide to remain steadfast and show up at the rally to support Gilbert.

Story Limit

It is when the objective characters run out of options that the story is forced to a climax.  The nerds have done everything it seems they can to redeem themselves in the face of the school, yet when the Alpha Betas trash their house, the nerds find out they are still nerds.  It is then, with the pep rally focusing on the Alpha Betas, that Lewis and Gilbert acknowledge their problems and decide to face their nemesis one last time.

Story Outcome

The nerds establish a fraternity, get control of the Greek Council, inspire the Dean to act in their support, shame the Alpha Betas, find women to date, and win respect for themselves as nerds.

Story Judgment

Lewis’s decision to remain steadfast is seen ultimately to be good.  He succeeds in changing the way nerds are treated at Adams and resolves the conflicts between his environment and the way he is.

Overall Story Throughline

""Geeks to Greeks""

Overall Story Throughline

The (nerds) Tri-Lamdas and the Alpha-Betas are caught up in a situation—a power struggle in the Greek system at Adams.

Overall Story Concern

The purpose of the characters’ actions lie in trying to obtain a future state, from heading up the Greek Council, to graduating from college.

Overall Story Issue

The theme explores characters who are unwilling to re-evaluate their preconceived notions, specifically their prejudice against the nerds.

Overall Story Counterpoint

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Preconception vs.Openness

Overall Story Problem

The nerds do not have any control over living without interference from the Alpha-Betas, and the Alpha-Betas want to, but cannot, control the nerds either.

Overall Story Solution

To preserve their own way of life, the Tri-Lamdas and the Alpha-Betas seek control of the Greek Council.

Overall Story Symptom

The characters believe their problems to come from their hindrance of one another.  The Alpha-Betas hinder the nerd’s lifestyle by sending pigs into their party and putting a flaming nerd sign in front of their house.  The nerds retaliate by hindering the Alpha-Betas’ rule over the school.

Overall Story Response

The characters try to solve their problems through help.  The nerds get help from U.N. Jefferson, who sponsors their fraternity.  The Alpha-Betas get help from an unwilling Dean Ulich to kick out freshmen from their own dorm, and from Coach Harris who influences the school.

Overall Story Catalyst

The willingness to re-evaluate moves the story along.  After bad times in high school, Lewis and Gilbert are open to overcoming their social difficulties in college.  Their openness capitulates them into conflict with the Alpha-Betas and Pi Deltas.  U.N. Jefferson decides to help the nerds after an initial bad impression which allows them to resist the other Greeks.

Overall Story Inhibitor

Self-interest slows down the story.  The characters do not attend to their objective goal when they pursue their self-interests—dealing with their conflict with the jocks.  For example, both Lewis and Gilbert go off and pursue Judy and Betty.

Overall Story Benchmark

The nerds utilize Gilbert’s earlier idea of winning the homecoming carnival to beat the jocks.

Additional Overall Story Information →

Main Character Throughline

Lewis — Head Nerd

Main Character Throughline

The general area in which Lewis operates is activity.  Lewis is constantly working on improving his place at Adams, whether by decorating his original dorm room and setting up a robot to do the cleaning, or establishing a new fraternity on campus for nerds.  Generally, whenever we see Lewis, he is doing something related to making a better place for him and his friends at Adams.

Main Character Concern

As Lewis is constantly engaged in activity, it is directed toward creating an atmosphere of kindness for him and his friends at Adams.  Obtaining Betty for a girlfriend would also be nice.

Main Character Issue

Lewis’s efforts are characterized by his attitude.  He is very confident about getting whatever he thinks people ought to be able to get in college, from the pretty girl on campus to brotherhood in the most exclusive fraternity.  This attitude is contrary to his handicap of being an obvious nerd, yet Lewis holds to it to the point of being tarred and feathered.  His thematic focus might be described as the attitude that you have means more than how people perceive you.

Main Character Counterpoint

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Attitude vs.Approach

Main Character Problem

Lewis’s problem, and the source of his drive, is his opposition to the way he is treated as a nerd which has the potential of holding him back from fulfilling all his dreams of college life.  He is even opposed to the idea that he is a nerd, or that any such label should mean anything in terms of what he can and cannot expect to do.  He opposes the Alpha-Betas and the Pi Deltas and eventually the whole anti-nerd establishment in his final speech.

Main Character Solution

What would satisfy Lewis’ drive and end his problem with the way he and his friends are treated is to find support for nerds.  Ultimately, he finds support from his friends, from Betty, and from the homecoming crowd.

Main Character Symptom

Lewis believes his problem is in all the hindering applied to his attempts to live out his college dreams.  He does not really see his nerdiness as a limitation like others—the Alpha-Betas, the Pi Deltas, Coach Harris, and even Gilbert—do.  Their hindrance is what Lewis sees as preventing his happiness.

Main Character Response

Lewis applies himself to helping his friends find a place to stay, setting up a fraternity, retaliating against the other Greeks, and winning the homecoming game.  He helps Gilbert become head of the Greek Council and helps Gilbert face his own problems of feeling powerless.

Main Character Unique Ability

Lewis’s methodology of attacking problems without doubt or hesitation makes him uniquely qualified to lead the nerds to establish their own place at Adams.  Lewis’s call for support from the parents and alumni during the climactic pep-rally is a success.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Lewis’s efforts are undermined by a quality of delay.  He is generally very quick to apply himself to any problem and is usually successful, but he delays looking at his own nerdiness and at what the effects of being a nerd can have on other students.  This leads him to the Alpha-Beta house where he is tarred and feathered.

Main Character Benchmark

Lewis tries to face his problem by understanding what it means to be a nerd, when he finally admits he is one.  His increasing comprehension that he and his friends are nerds, and that this is why they are hindered, reflects the degree to which his stand against the Alpha-Betas is holding out.  When he fully appreciates what is going on, it is the greatest test to his resolve, but it leads to his greatest moment.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Lewis is an unselfconscious nerd who expects to enjoy all the mythic fun involved in going to college.

Influence Character Throughline

Gilbert — Co-Head Nerd

Influence Character Throughline

The general area where Gilbert operates is in a way of thinking.  He has an attitude that he doesn’t deserve all the great things Lewis believes is a part of college life, like having girls in their dorm room or joining a fraternity, because he is a nerd.  Gilbert’s attitude changes as Lewis is able to help him achieve what he originally wouldn’t allow himself to have.

Influence Character Concern

Gilbert’s area of concern has to do with changing his nature, whether by surprising himself in getting a girlfriend or gathering the nerve to stand up to the people who make him feel that being a nerd is bad.  He is concerned with the changes he senses and with what he’s becoming as a result of his and Lewis’s success in banding together.

Influence Character Issue

Gilbert accepts the obligation of helping the nerds win the homecoming carnival with the benefit of becoming head of the Greek Council.  Fulfilling this obligation helps overcome his rationalization for not stepping out of his nerd role.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Obligation vs.Rationalization

Influence Character Problem

Gilbert finds his life to be uncontrolled as a nerd since others pick on him at their discretion.

Influence Character Solution

Gilbert must make others respect nerds in order to take control of his life.

Influence Character Symptom

Gilbert is tempted to be wilder like the other nerds, but is inhibited by his belief that being a nerd, something rotten will come of it.

Influence Character Response

Initially, Gilbert follows his conscience of not confronting others in order to limit the potential repercussions of his nerdiness.

Influence Character Unique Ability
Influence Character Critical Flaw
Influence Character Benchmark
More Influence Character Information →

Relationship Story Throughline

""Are We Not Nerds?""

Relationship Story Throughline

The area where Lewis and Gilbert diverge is in their state of mind.  Lewis is confident about their success in college and ignorant of his nerdiness, while Gilbert is anxious and accepting of his nerdiness.

Relationship Story Concern

Lewis and Gilbert are concerned about the basic drives that make them nerds.  Gilbert tries to make Lewis aware of it, but Lewis finds it unimportant.

Relationship Story Issue

Gilbert makes Lewis face his denial of being a nerd.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Denial vs.Closure

Relationship Story Problem

Lewis always attempts to embrace immediate benefits despite the possible consequences.  For example, courting Betty leads to earning the wrath of the jocks; trying to join Alpha Beta gets him and Gilbert tarred and feathered.  In the meantime, Gilbert tries to dissuade him from indulgence because he believes, as nerds, they cannot succeed.

Relationship Story Solution

Gilbert points Lewis toward foregoing immediate benefits to consider the consequences, but Lewis does not listen and they end up in conflict with the Alpha-Betas.

Relationship Story Symptom

Gilbert tries hindering Lewis by expressing his doubts about trying to join a fraternity.

Relationship Story Response

Lewis tries to help Gilbert understand that they can have fun regardless of what Gilbert thinks of their image, but with each attack by the Alpha-Betas, Lewis comes to see that it does matter.  Gilbert eventually understands Lewis’s point of view and helps him to not give up.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Trying to bring their troubles to an end by gaining respect for the nerds is what moves along the interaction between Lewis and Gilbert.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Progress is slowed when Lewis makes commitments regardless of the consequences, for example, pursuing Betty despite Gilbert’s warnings.

Relationship Story Benchmark

Lewis and Gilbert’s situation can be measured in relation to their memories of similar experiences in high school.  Gilbert is more conscious of it than Lewis.

Additional Relationship Story Information →

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

All of the characters are trying to achieve a future state—to head the Greek Council.  If the nerds achieve this goal, their protection is ensured.  If the Alpha-Betas achieve this goal, they can continue oppressing the nerds.

Overall Story Consequence

Failure to capture the Greek Council seat will lead to negative consequences in fulfilling the characters’ basic drives and desires.  The nerds’ social needs will continue to be oppressed if they fail.

Overall Story Cost

The nerds fail to transform themselves into “beautiful people.”

Overall Story Dividend

On their way to the goal, the nerds obtain victory at the homecoming carnival, obtain the opportunity to observe the Pi sorority undressed, obtain retaliation against the jocks by putting liquid heat in their jock straps.

Overall Story Requirements
Overall Story Prerequisites
Overall Story Preconditions

In order to fulfill the requirement, the nerds must figure out how to implement a successful party, a condition imposed upon them by U.N. Jefferson and the Lamda organization.

Overall Story Forewarnings

As the nerds come to understand that retaliations against the Alpha-Betas is insufficient to protect themselves from them—particularly after their house gets trashed even though they win the carnival—the nerds worry more about how far they have come.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

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Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1
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Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1
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Influence Character Signpost 3
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Relationship Story

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Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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