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Get a Life?

Recently I posted an essay about the appeal of Star Trek. I’m glad it was generally well received.

At the time, I got a question—how exciting! J. Daniel Flatball asked, re: “Failure to Launch”:

If Star Trek is for children, does that explain the at-least-perceived-to-be-strong correlation between Star Trek fans and the “Living in the parents’ basement” phenomenon? some extent, sure.

Above is a link (via DailyMotion, not YouTube, so I hope it works) to the famous William Shatner “Get a life!” sketch on Saturday Night Live.

I time-taped this and watched it when it aired in 1986. I loved it! I thought it was in good fun, and I appreciated that they got most of the specific Trek references right. (Kids: Ask your parents to explain what “time-taping” was.)

Yes, I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lot of “arrested development” in the world of fandom, overall.

But I don’t see much to gain in harping on it.

A lot of the “content” is for young audiences, and it’s natural to fall in love with it as a young age. Then, as you get older, it’s a complicated relationship of still being attached to the stuff that was meaningful when you were young.

And, hopefully, growing up to appreciate more adult-themed content!

I never really understood the Kevin Smith kind of “fanboy” mentality. I don’t begrudge his enthusiasm, or anybody who enjoys it.

I was bullied as a kid, so anytime there is a “herd mentality” popping up, even when it’s well-intentioned and benign, it raises my hackles. But that’s just me.

I was always attracted to Star Trek for the ideas and the storytelling. I saw this exchange from “Bread and Circuses” when I was maybe ten years old—and I was like, WHOAAAAHHHHHH.

I thought it was just the most interesting: that Spock might be unafraid to die because he was more afraid of living, and possibly slipping up and showing emotion.

The fact that these two characters could have this intense argument, and then still be loyal comrades and friends—that’s what made me fall in love with Star Trek.

So as much as I love the ships, the designs, the music, the action, the props, the costumes—the entire world that Roddenberry and his (fairly large) team created—it really comes down to the storytelling. The feelings.

And I was always a little heartbroken when I went to the conventions, expecting to meet people who shared my passion, and instead they mostly seemed obsessed with surface-level details—trivia and collecting.

Talk about the loneliness of crowds. I always felt like Charlie Brown, complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. And I pretty much stopped going to conventions for that reason.

I always liked films and TV shows that were a little smarter than I was. As a grown-up, I’m into The Sopranos and Better Call Saul. I watch some of the newer genre shows, and they’re very well made, but I often find myself checking the clock.

But I still can connect to the little boy that had his mind blown by Spock and Bones arguing in the jail cell.

Anyway, I do appreciate the question, and it is a large and complicated subject.

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Scott McIntyre
Scott McIntyre
Aug 24, 2022

I kind of agree. Star Trek is for children in as much as ALL sci-fi is for children. In that children, the young, are more open to initially seeking out speculative tales and fantasy. I can't think of anyone in my life who, after 40 years of sports, comedies and dramas, suddenly tried SF and said "holy crap where has this been all my life!" I think you'll find the great majority of SF fans found it at an early age and remained fans. I don't consider Star Trek in any live action incarnation "made for kids." Lost in Space? Sure, most Irwin Allen and Star Wars films were made for the young, but Star Trek was aimed at an…

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