In a reality television world populated with stereotypes, Chuck Lines comes to his legitimately.
The DuBois, Clearfield County, native taught himself to speak Elvish. He dabbled as a magician. He was once on a Native American dance and drum team, does Russian acrobatics and is skilled at stage combat. He also loves special-effects makeup and has attended any number of sci-fi "cons" over the years.
So when the USA Network was searching for a "nerd" to compete in its new series, "Summer Camp," Mr. Lines, 25, knew he'd be in the running.
"I like to think I'm pretty unique in terms of the things that I do. If it's eclectic and it's different out there, I'll do it," he said.
"Summer Camp" premieres Thursday, and it promises to embrace all the things you loved and hated about the American tradition. Two teams of young adults -- mostly pretty, some brainy, others likely to be insufferably arrogant and one even labeled "a tease" -- will compete in "Color Wars." These are grown-up versions of the kinds of silly games we all played at Camp Run-a-muck.
"One of the reasons I did the show, probably the biggest reason, was to prove to the nerds of the world that we are capable of anything, to show the bullies that the people they are picking on are not inferior in any way, that we are just as capable."
Mr. Lines, a graduate of DuBois Area High School and Ithaca College, is also an Eagle Scout. So the shoot at a camp in California was just like coming home.
"There was a big nostalgia factor," he said, mentioning cold showers and the politics of dorm living. "It was definitely like Scout camp, growing up. In terms of the games, [however], they were pretty out there."
Each week, the losing team must send a member home, but of course, it's the gameplay and interpersonal relationships that make for good television.
"You can exercise and make sure you're healthy and make sure you're on your mental A game, but nothing can really prepare you," said Mr. Lines, who lives in Burbank, Calif.
Mr. Lines said he has attended camps all of his life, including Camp Mountain Run and Mahaffey Family Camp, both in Pennsylvania. In fact, right now he's at a young actors camp in California, where he returned Wednesday to work as a counselor.
"Summer Camp" will run for eight episodes.
Don't tell the bride
A new reality show is casting for "dynamic couples who are currently engaged but lack the funds to have a dream wedding. Each episode focuses on one couple's big day and what it took to make the wedding happen. The bride and groom agree to avoid all communication with each other for two weeks before the ceremony. In exchange, the groom is given $20,000 to plan the entire wedding without the bride's input. Have no fear; each groom ultimately creates a unique wedding to celebrate his true love!"
Requirements are that the parties involved must be over 18, engaged, willing and able to get legally married between September and December of this year, have a few in the wedding party with "big" personalities and be willing to be married within driving distance of their residences.
Interested couples should email firstname.lastname@example.org their names, phone numbers, email addresses, resident cities, a clear current photo of themselves together, an indication of how far along they are in the planning process and a few sentences about themselves and why they'd be ideal for the show. Deadline is Monday.
Maria Sciullo: email@example.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.