Pen holders, thick rimmed glasses, suspenders, being part of the A/V club in high school — all characteristics of the stereotypical geek. Many people did not want to associate with people thought of as a “geek” or nerd”
But with recent shows like The Big Bang Theory has made the geek hilarious and awesome.
There haves been geeks throughout the history of television that who haves served as comedic relief to shows from Richie Cunningham in Happy Days....
....To The Brady Bunch minus Marcia and Greg (because they were popular)
To Anthony Michael Hall known as The Geek in 16 Candles (and many other 1980s movies)
to Steve Urkel from Family Matters
These geeks has transformed over time to give us many laughs at the expense of the person. Urkel broke the mold first when he tried to transform into Stefan, which did not prove to be the greatest outcome.
Shows like Freaks and Geeks in the late 90s started to show nerds and geeks in a more positive light. Many stars like James Franco and Seth Rogan began their careers on that show.
Fast forward 10 or so years and you have many awesome geeks who are catching attention of mainstream culture. These shows, like The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Bones, Dr. Who, and many others have successfully integrated nerds into "normal" culture. It has also demonstrated how differences should not be made fun of, but celebrated.
How else can a show like The Big Bang Theory be so successful? The show has reached 20 million viewers. Of the geeks, executive producer, Steve Molaro, says, "Their social skills are always changing. Back in season one, Howard was completely incapable of a relationship with anyone. Now he’s married." This shows captures the awkwardness that some people experience and gives hope to many people who feel as social pariahs. The show lets viewers know that there are people willing to except you for who you are no matter how odd you are. That is what makes the show relatable and so great.
I think the popularity and the acceptance of nerds should show you how people who are different are not so different from yourselves.