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"What Montgomery said next was unimportant. She could have called him a "tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood!" She could have gone with the classic "scruffy-looking nerf-herder!" She might have chosen, appropriate to the situation, "gods-cursed TOASTER frakker!"
—Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, "One of Us"
This trope defines a character who is interested in fantasy, sci-fi, computer stuff, or other manner of geeky pastimes. The difference between this character and a proud geek is their total lack of embracing their geeky nature. To a vast majority of the population, they appear normal but a certain group of friends is privy to their true nature.
Reasons for covering up their geekiness may stem from a perceived image of themselves they desire to maintain or running with a group of friends who aren't normally interested in that kind of stuff. Expect Freudian Slips when their topics of interest are discussed, and cries of Or So I Heard in a vain attempt to cover it up.
Anime & Manga
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu has Nogizaka Haruka.
- Yukari in Ai Kora.
- Closet Otaku Kanji in Genshiken.
- Ogiue takes this to rabid levels, telling everyone how she HATES otakus. Strangly enough, it's completely justfied, complete with probably the most disturbingly realistic Freudian Excuse I have ever seen in manga.
- Sana in Myself Yourself. He has an entire box of full of anime stuff (including an AIR artbook) which he hides from his friends. He also plays visual novels on his laptop in his spare time.
- Yua in Chaos;Head. Whilst appearing to be a normal honor student, she keeps up with the latest anime and starts to buy the collectible figures, whilst maintaining her flawless image. However, her geek side may be a ploy to earn Takumi's trust.
- Kiryuu-sensei in Kiss X Sis
- And most recently, Kirino Kosaka from Oreimo. She's the person you would expect the least to have anime - and much less, eroge.
- Izumi Wakase, one of the more recent characters from Lucky Star.
- Ben Clouseau of Full Metal Panic is a secret anime nerd, as we find out in the OVA. He tries to keep his DVD stash a secret, but Kurtz finds them and sows havoc (read: extensively taunting him then corrupting the videos).
- In Its Not My Fault I'm Not Popular Tomoko's middle school friend Yuu became one of these to fit in after entering high school.
- Sam the weather girl in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is obsessed with meteorology, and becomes the weather girl to make it seem perfectly natural.
- In the movie Airheads, the LAPD digs up dirt on would-be rock star Chazz Darvey, who has taken a radio station hostage. SWAT team leader Carl Mace reveals to the crowd (that has come to cheer Chazz and his band on) that Chazz is actually Chester Oglivue. Chazz admits that he was a nerd in high school, and tells his girlfriend that he understands if she doesn't love him anymore. But members of the crowd start shouting that they were nerds in high school, too, and the FBI's gambit fails. To make things more funnier, one of those said people is Lemmy from Motorhead.
- Kirsty from the Johnny Maxwell series.
Live Action TV
- On Thirty Rock Jack had a cookie jar collection, which he forced himself to get rid of in order to be able to climb the corporate ladder.
- Colin Fisher, one of the rotating set of interns on Bones, actually admitted to being a closet sci-fi geek.
- Given their line of work, however, did this really come as a shock to anyone?
- Freaks and Geeks has Alan, a bully who picks on Sam, Neil, and Bill; after hospitalizing Bill in a prank gone awry, he reveals that the reason he picks on them is because he secretly likes science-fiction and comic books. Bill even invites him to an upcoming convention, but Alan chooses not to go.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s character on Psych, who, after being a not-so-closet geek in high school, has grown up to be, well, Freddie Prinze, Jr., but still has a secret room (even from his wife) of nerd paraphernalia. Naturally, they had to make a "closet nerd" joke when the room was first revealed. Also naturally, his wife turned out to be a closet geek as well.
- Jack O'Neill from Stargate SG-1 obfuscates stupidity about science, but he's an amateur astronomer; he denies liking "that sci fi stuff" and claims to have never seen Star Wars. Yet it's him who suggests the name Enterprise for their first big ship, and on a mission in the X302s he wants his code name to be Red Leader.
- Also, from Season 6's Episode "Redemption", while going through an X302 Pre-Flight Checklist:
- Faith Lehane. You heard, Faith Lehane. She references songs, discusses Dr. Seuss, suggests Angel claim someone was cosplaying as him, wore a Batman t shirt when working with Giles, and compares herself to Yoda. Faith Lehane.
- Ace Attorney: Edgeworth is a Steel Samurai closet fan.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations, he actually meets him, but he's actually Larry
- Fuuka Yamagishi from Persona 3 is initially one of these, before the protagonist helps her accept this.
- In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, Legion is revealed to be a gamer on its own time, having quite an extensive record of achievements.
- Joe from Its Walky. He acts like a macho man but hides an inner brainiac. His profile even calls him a closet nerd.
- Sean McNinja from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
- In The Wotch, one of the Jerk Jocks that Anne transforms into the Cheer! Squad turns out to have been a closet geek, playing D&D with the local nerd-squad... who were sworn to secrecy on penalty of severe beatings. His new female form, Lita Harper, is somewhat more open and outgoing about her geeky interests, which includes both D&D and WoW.
- Shanna from Fans spends much of the early part of the series denying her geek-ness. Justified in this case because obsessive fangirl behavior was one of the early symptoms of her mother's mental breakdown; Shanna's afraid that her own fangirl tendencies are signs that she's going insane, too.
- Maggie from Geeks Next Door.
- Mark of Weregeek. He knows about his nerdiness, but hides it from his co-workers and girlfriend for fear of being laughed at.
- Cecilia from PHD, when she was an undergraduate.
- According to Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, all the references to They Live and Alien made by Duke Nukem were not coincidental.
- Amal from The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal. Here he is with his Starfleet uniform.
- Badass Colonel Maxima shamefully admits to having been a gamer in Grrl Power.
- Even though the mask slips ridiculously often, The Nostalgia Chick will never embrace the nerdy fangirl within.
- Ask That Guy With The Glasses makes constant references to geeky stuff, has written fanfiction and prefers instead to mock the living hell out of nerds.
- Sierra, the Alpha Bitch on The Replacements, has a secret love of a Star Trek expy.
- In 6Teen Chrissy is a big Star Wars geek but hides it from her popular friends, "The Clones", who are three Alpha Bitches who act and dress exactly the same. She'd always been the most independent of them.
- On Phineas and Ferb, Candace attends a sci-fi/fantasy convention to get merchandise from her favorite childhood cartoon, but is terrified of having anybody know about it.
- Trixie Tang from The Fairly Odd Parents loves comic books, but hides it because the other popular kids would probably reject her if they knew.
- John Stewart's Justice League cartoon incarnation. As an adult, he's a no-nonsense ex-marine, but as a kid he was an avid comic book reader. When a dimension-hop allows him to meet his childhood heroes, he admits to a bemused Flash that if he hadn't had those stories as a kid he might not have ended up wearing the Green Lantern Ring.
- Football jock Kevin Thompson is revealed to be a big fan of both The X-Files and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode, "Read It and Weep," the ever athletic Rainbow Dash discovers she enjoys reading and both ashamed to admit it and ridiculously determined to secretly finish her first book by any means necessary.