Gratuitous display of characters in skimpy clothing, or none at all, under the assumption that it will attract or “reward” viewers. The character is usually female, though fanservice of male characters is far from uncommon.
Season 3 episode 1.
Eliot: *beats someone up*
Nate: that was a little sloppy.
Eliot: new glasses.
This makes me happy.
I have been thinking about Hardison and Duberman since the first time I saw the Reunion Job. I have read some really good stuff about how Hardison is the opposite of the “black man” in most tv shows. He’s also, in a lot of ways, the opposite of the tv geek, and it’s the Reunion Job that really shows it.
The geek/nerd was a staple of 80s/90s tv, especially tv for teens, so I grew up with it. The geek is a weedy white boy (always a boy), often with glasses, typically with some kind of nickname (Sponge from Salute Your Shorts, Screech from Saved by the Bell). He was really smart but socially awkward, his interests - science, video games, computers - were always the butt of jokes. He often had a crush on one of the pretty girls, but never got her. He was always just cool enough to spend time with the main characters one way or another (Screech was Zack’s childhood friend, Sponge was in the same cabin at camp as the other characters). And there were always nerdier nerds to compare him to - the ones with braces and bad haircuts, who always wore plaid button down shirts and pocket protectors and we captain of the chess team.
Now Hardison is unapologetically and proudly a geek. Star Wars, Star Trek, zombie movies, sci fi, Lord of the Rings. He’s all about computers and tech and is generally well read about science. He’s acknowledged to be the smartest of them.
He is physically the largest of the crew. He is the most emotionally stable (honestly, I think he’s the least likely to get emotionally involved in a job, but that’s something to talk about another time), and has the easiest time socializing and just making friends with people - yes, better than Sophie.
Hardison has friends outside the team - friends who share his interests. For all of Eliot’s teasing, Hardison is a well respected and beloved part of the group and they acknowledge that he has pulled their asses out of the fire multiple times.
And I really didn’t notice much of any of this the first time around until watching the Reunion Job. Why? Because Duberman is the classic tv nerd. What separates him from Hardison? Easy. The Internet.
Hardison repeatedly says it’s the Age of the Geek, and he means the Internet. All kinds of oppressed groups have flocked to the Internet to reach out and find others like them. You don’t have to feel like you’re alone and there’s something wrong with you because you can have regular interactions with people halfway around the world - people you will never meet in person but who share interests with you.
Hardison never was the tv geek, no matter how he dressed in high school (we all dressed like that in high school…). He didn’t have to try and earn crumbs of respect from the Popular People. He had all of the Internet to provide positive feedback for him. there was nothing the local jock could say to get him down because there were people all over the country he could connect with on his own level.