Being The Gatekeeper To Sci-Fi For Your Non-Nerdy Significant Other

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So, you’ve been lucky enough to find a significant other, someone who finds your unique blend of personality, looks, and geeky interests appealing. Congrats, I was rooting for you. I’m sure you two will be very happy together — What’s that? Your new partner isn’t really a nerd? That’s great, you’ll learn a lot about their own interests that are different from yours. You’ll have access to new experiences that you wouldn’t… what do you meant that they really aren’t into Science Fiction? Well, that’s ok, it will just give you a chance to introduce them to a show or movie you love.

What?

They haven’t even seen Star Wars?

Ok, this is one of the most shocking statements a person can make nowadays, but don’t fret. I’m here to help. Here are some guidelines to help share your passion for Science Fiction that won’t leave your partner feeling alienated or lost in a world of prosthetics, green aliens and technobabble.

Start it with Star Wars.

Lucky for you, you get to be the first introduction that your partner has to the Space Opera that is Star Wars. Do it right. Don’t bother with the prequels, just go straight to the originals. The character-based stories are very relatable to newcomers, which is part of the reason why A New Hope became such a huge hit in 1977. The use of practical effects and puppetry also don’t age as harshly as computer generated effects from more recent movies, given the advancements every few years in that field, so the movie won’t feel as dated.

If your partner really wants to watch the prequels, make it a bad movie date with them. Get a bottle (or two) of wine and make fun of the movie together. Your mutual hatred of them will bring you two closer together. Also avoid void using pickup lines from the prequels on your lover. “Wishing you could wish away your feelings” for them or comparing their skin to the sands of Tatooine is never a good idea.

After that, switch it up and watch Fanboys. If you are a die hard Star Wars fan you should relate to the character’s lifestyles and your partner might understand you a bit better.

Aim to Misbehave.

I suggest moving on to Firefly next, now that your partner has been given the first tantalizing taste of Sci-Fi. Character based and created by Joss Whedon, your significant other might already like his works from Buffy or Avengers. The series is also just one season long, which gives you more of an experience without being tedious. Bring your partner strawberries during the episode Shindig, because how could you not want one after Kaylee eats one? Don’t spoil a thing and be there for your partner when they witness the shocking event in Serenity, Be there for them when they cry their eyes out after they realize there is no more after that, and Joss Whedon is a cruel mistress.

A Few Movies to Discuss and Make Sure Your Partner Isn’t An Asshole.

Children of Men, Gattaca, District 9 , or Back to The Future are good movies on their own that will be interesting to the non Science Fiction fan. Get the popcorn and cuddle on the couch. Watching District 9? Discuss Apartheid racism and discover how your significant other would react to worker class insect aliens if they landed on Earth and if they think they would be better than them or any other socioeconomic human people. If watching Gattaca, ask questions about their opinion on Genetic Modification and Eugenics. Children of Men? The perfect icebreaker to learn if your lover is pro-choice or pro-life. Do you suspect they might be into amorous family matters? Avoid Back to the Future then.

Doctor Who or Cylons?

Knowing your partner, you can decide which path to take next. Do they like less serious, more campy fun or are they more of a Soap Opera fan? If they like the camp, The Doctor is next. Start with a really good episode, and don’t worry about going in order at first. I suggest the Eleventh Doctor Van Gogh episode or The Tenth’s Shakespeare episode. If they like those, start with the beginning of the new series and work your way through. Doctor Who is like Wishbone for adults, so it should be an easy, noncommittal sell.

If they want drama, bring on Battlestar Galactica. The first episode of the miniseries is tough to get through due to it’s pacing, but the intensity increases with every one after it. Ask your partner to guess who is a Cylon throughout the show and see if their instincts and observations are correct and then spend the weeks watching the entire series questioning if your love is actually a machine bent on destroying humanity for their monotheistic God.

Make It Equal.

At this point, you and your partner should have some shared Science Fiction that you both love, but remember. You have to equalize the effort they have put in. Are they into Antiques Roadshow or Top Chef? It is only fair that you try to watch the shows and movies they love too. Healthy relationships are about equality, communication, and compromise. Don’t worry, some of those shows aren’t that bad. You can do it.

After you and your partner have a solid foundation of Science Fiction movies and television shows, you can branch out to the more difficult sells of “Star Trek: The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine Only” vs “Trek Movies Only”, but only if you put forth as much effort as they did to learn about your love of Science Fiction.

Stephen Carpenter About Stephen Carpenter

Stephen is a freelance writer and professional Dracula. Stephen regularly devours novels, comics, and science fiction like it's clearance candy after Halloween.

Comments

  1. I admit it: I had a weakness for Top Chef when it first came out. I think I watched the first 6 or 7 competition seasons without fail. I even bought Season 1 on iTunes.

    I also don’t think I can recommend Free Enterprise enough. It combines what some people like in romantic comedies (a genre I’m not a fan of), and what a lot of people like about the fun and obsessiveness that one can find in their collections or favorite entertainment niches (geeky or not).

    Plus, Shatner rapping Shakespeare… ’nuff said.

  2. Don’t forget this film gem — when your significant other is warmed up to the idea that Science Fiction isn’t just for nerds who want to play dress-up, introduce them to Blade Runner, one of the best sci-fi films of all time — and if you think they’re still skeptical, tell them that it stars Harrison Ford! That should cement their “education”.

  3. After Star Wars, watch Firefly? … Seriously? So non-geeks would like that more than Superman: The Movie, E.T., X-Files, Ghostbusters, Terminator, Aliens, The Matrix, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Avatar, Hunger Games, etc, etc?

    In general, you gotta pick hits that had the most mainstream success and appeal before going on to difficult or little-known material.

    And how is Star Trek: TNG a hard sell? That show was a TV landmark, with practically everyone knowing who Captain Picard, Mr. Data and Worf are.

    • Landmark characters do not always make good story or drama. In the case of someone who isn’t a geek and doesn’t see spaceships and aliens as appealing, introducing them to a series that had poor or half-ass story telling and zero character development for the first several seasons is not a way to hook them :) Hell, I am a geek, and you can’t sell me on Star Trek anything anymore!

      Which is why Firefly is the perfect vehicle — you have strong characters, compelling story and drama mixed with action, all packed into just 13 episodes and a movie. It’s powerful storytelling packed into something you literally could start and finish over a weekend, cuddled up with your SO near the TV and a fireplace on cold winter nights.

      No way anyone could do that with X-Files, and then you’d have to explain why you don’t really want to subject yourself to X-Files after season 4 except in small chunks here and there… it’s just complicated when you’re trying to explain that to someone who never had an interest in speculative fiction topics.

      I’ll give you The Matrix and Terminator, but seriously? You did NOT just put Star Trek: Save the Whales in there as an example…

  4. MY wife is a writer, so she appreciates the writing in a show more than i do sometimes ( she is a HUGE Walking Dead fan). She actually watched a couple of OLD Dr Who episodes with me ( the first Dr and and the fourth dr.). We even rented Pacific Rim the other night and she liked it! So, if i have to sit through The Devil Wears Prada and in Her Shoes..its worth it.

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