Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boldly Going...Out of My Damned Mind

I'm at the end of my rope with school. Really!


K, gonna try to breathe now.

A reader suggested I blog about my rekindled Star Trek obsession (I've seen the new movie twice already and I'm not ruling out a third viewing). So here goes.

I remember when I first encountered the character of Spock (like Prince and Madonna, he needs only one name). I was about 9 or 10, and growing up in suburban New Jersey. My dad was an avid watcher of Star Trek (TOS or The Original Series in the Trek-verse). He watched the syndicated reruns every Saturday afternoon. We had one TV - a Zenith 19-inch color - which was tuned to Channel 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. every Saturday evening for the airing of back-to-back episodes. And you could hardly pry the man away from the TV during a New Year's Day marathon of the show.

Oh how my sister and I hated it. The aliens were creepy-looking (probably because the actors' makeup was always in danger of falling off). Plus the guy with the funky ears and permanently raised eyebrows seriously weirded me out. My dad, however, took joy in teasing us with shouts of "Hey girls! Star Trek's on!"

But something happened (maybe it was the year I turned 12 and my sister turned 10). Star Trek grew on us until we loved it as much as dad did. After all, the characters went on all these cool adventures and there was always a mystery to solve. Kirk was kind of cute. So, I came to love Star Trek.

I still hated Spock, though. He never smiled. He threw cold water on almost everything Kirk and the rest of the crew did. And he always came across as superior and snotty, like that kid at school who always has the right answers and raises his hand every. damned. time. Spock was the definition of the word pill.

Then I watched the episode "Amok Time," in which Spock has his careful emotional control swamped by the vagaries of the pon farr (the Vulcan mating ritual). Our Spock was basically in heat. Seeing him vulnerable to emotion was a revelation for this budding Trekker, a potent reminder that Spock was still half human. I finally saw the supreme effort of will it took for him to maintain that emotionless veneer.

From then on, Spock became my favorite Star Trek character (yes, he even ranks above the yummy and equally conflicted Capt. Picard.) This means I was a happy little Trek nerd when I went to see the new Star Trek film. You see, the story of the film is the story of Spock: his struggle to reconcile his human and Vulcan sides and his attempts to come to terms with various tragedies. Director JJ Abrams and his team of writers have created a film that has a soul and kicks ass. The cast of largely unfamiliar actors easily inhabit the iconic roles, but special kudos to Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Chris Pine (Kirk). ZQ deftly embodies Scock and all his struggles - and he's sexy to boot. Chris Pine channels the Kirk I grew up with, but still makes the character his own. And yes, it helps that he's pretty.

When I heard about this franchise reboot, I was skeptical. At best, I had middling expectations when I walked into the theater. Before it started, I remembered the words of my sister (as harsh a movie critic as any I know). She'd seen the movie before I did, and gave it a 10 out of 10 based on nostalgia alone. As I watched, I was taken back to those Saturday afternoons in the living room, watching with dad and sis as Kirk, Spock and Bones narrowly escaped alien possession or some other worse fate. Sitting in the theater, the same heady feeling of limitless possibility filled me and I was happy to go back in time and be 12 again.


  1. Now I really must see this movie! ("...yummy Capt. Picard"?!)

  2. LOL. Re: Capt. Picard, I fell for the accent :-)