As kids watching Scooby Doo and his mystery-solving cartoon entourage, we could never imagine a live-action rendition, but it happened. Velma Dinkley was always a quintessential nerd ever since she appeared in the animated version. But Linda Cardellini honored that nerdiness perfectly.
And Cardellini, who was one of the lead actresses in “Freaks and Geeks” as well, is good at playing one, but wow, she sure does not look like a nerd! In 2009, she got an Icon Award from TV Land, and we all know you don’t get that unless you’re uber-cool. She has even had a minor role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Zach Braff – Scrubs
J.D.’s quirk as a medical doctor is an epileptic fit of daydreaming. The complicated mind of Dr. J.D. Dorian is revealed to us through a voice-over stream of consciousness which also serves as the narrator of "Scrubs." His bromance with Donald Faison's character is a quintessential nerdism that has stood the test of time.
In real life, the actor has a pilot license and a Porsche and has even been in a live-in relationship with Florence Pugh. Bonafide cool. He has also written movies such as "Garden State" and "A Good Person." This guy really is a jack of all trades, at least in the film industry.
Danielle Fishel – Boy Meets World
Topanga Lawrence was that weird outcast kid who was into environmentalism and only ate organic vegan foods. Okay, so that’s normal now. But, decidedly, when "Boy Meets World" first aired in 1993, she did not sit at the table with the cool kids.
In real life, "Seventeen" magazine featured the beautiful actress and "Teen People" named Danielle Fishel one of its 21 Hottest Stars Under 21. Add her good looks with her brains as a math tutor, and you got yourself a pretty cool kid. She even reprised her role of Topanga in the more recent Disney series "Girl Meets World."
Jasika Nicole – Fringe
Another natural-born geek actress is Jasika Nicole. In "Fringe" as agent Astrid Farnsworth, she majored in music and linguistics, minored in computer science, and was fluent in five languages. But when you're going up against the likes of Anna Torv, Lance Reddick, and Joshua Jackson, you're never going to look as cool.
In "The Good Doctor," she was the head of pathology. With those nerd credentials, you’d think she’d be one in real life, but she is as cool as it gets. She even designs and makes all of her own clothes! She even showed up in the revival of the '80s series "Punky Brewster."
Danica McKellar – The Wonder Years
Nothing was more adorable than Kevin Arnold’s crush on Winnie Cooper. The super-smart sweetie and Kev seemed like a perfect match. But did life imitate art? Or did art imitate life? Because in real life Danica McKellar became a superstar math whiz. There was no denying that her nerdy role as Winnie was completely unforgettable.
Not only has she penned a shelf load of math books for teens, but she also co-published a unique math theorem at UCLA where the actress graduated summa cum laude. Or should we say, summa *cool* laude? Sorry for the dad-joke. We'll see ourselves out.