Upper West Side, New York City, 1974
About a year and a half ago, I wrote this about my personal experiences around fandom. It’s all come back up again with the release of that new film everyone is talking about.
I’ve seen it and it’s a big ole summer special effects film, carefully composed of the two things that adolescents seem most attuned to: taking righteous revenge, and things exploding.
In the midst of all that there were times when I once again felt the warmth and excitement of spending time with these characters. Something I haven’t experienced in most of the recent iterations of the ST universe. I wanted to see what they were going to do next, how they were going to react to each other.
Trek has worked for so long because so many people have found so many different things in it. And the new film served for me not as a reboot or a reinvention but simply as a reintroduction to characters I’ve cared about at various times in my life. The Kirk/Spock/McCoy triad was one of the Sixties’ great groups, a band like the Beatles. Other members of the crew orbit them and may receive a certain amount of attention from time to time, but those three are the engine that drove the show. TNG tried to re engineer that into the dyad of Picard and Riker, with limited success. The new film returns them to center stage, and there is something relieving in seeing the characters divorced from the icons that the actors who have portrayed them have become. Yes, Kirk is a jerk regardless of whether Shatner is a jerk or not. And Spock is an adolescent egghead, faced with the constant dilemma of what emotions mean and how to manage them. And they need each other, and they need McCoy to remind them of that.
That was an uncomfortable idea for a young queer alien identified egghead to come to terms with: that there were certain times when I actually needed the cocky golden boy jerks I spent so much time despising and fearing. But I’m happy to have been reminded of it.
Note: There was a a lot of interesting commentary on my original post that didn’t make it to wordpress. It can be found here.