Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why I think Captain Kirk is cute:

You can stop making those faces (Adrienne!) because I don't mean I think he's cute in the paste-his-face-inside-my-locker sense. It's a different kind of cute, almost the diminutive sense of the word.

I was thinking about this a couple days ago (when I was avoiding homework, which is also what I'm doing right now, by the way). I am often quite embarassed to admit how much I enjoy watching Classic Trek. I can't even stand to have other people in the room while I watch because it's so very ridiculous and full of cheese. I mean even if Kirk didn't tromp around with his gut sucked in, populating his lines with those famously erratic pauses as he alternates between looking bemused, attractive/ed, and heroically angry, there are still the outrageously costumed aliens (shiny fabric+tons of eyeshadow=alien, with the optional misshapen head every now and then-just to spice things up), the ship that sounds like the inside of an old fashioned submarine and looks like someone had a wild night with a bedazzler, and all those poor women officers who stoicly carry on doing whatever it is they do do even though starfleet cruelly refuses to issue them anything in the way of pants. These things are ridiculous and wrong and laughably crude...and I am 99% sure that this is why I like the show so very much.

It's probably the artist in me, gleefully lording it over the disciples of Science that their first majorly popular (at least in America--sorry Dr. Who) science fiction show should be so very silly. I mean, if the modern scientist of the '60s' conception of the greater universe is one in which all the really smart aliens sit around all day waiting for unsuspecting humanoids to wander by and get pulled into some character-testing experiment or other (only to be outwitted/won over by Kirk's raw manliness and cunning), then maybe the scientists of today are not the "god-like smarty-pants"* everyone seems to think they are. (OK- I don't mean to sound harsh or anything, but does anyone else get the feeling that we're all just hoping that unspecified amounts of science will eventually provide the answers to all our problems?)

Also, I think, from a more philosophical standpoint, I am intrigued by the show as a representative of what people in the past imagined the future to be. Like in the 1960 version of "the Time Machine," when the guy made a stop in the 1980s and everyone was walking around in orange jumpsuits and hardhats. It's interesting how, no matter how hard you try, you can never really get a handle on how things are going to turn out. Clearly, the writers of Classic Star Trek figured we'd be zipping around the galaxy before we ever developed a communicator smaller than a credit card, or information storage devices the size of our thumbs.

And then there's the characters and the plot. They're all so simple and broad-stroked and so unashamedly earnest. I can't help liking them. I get the same feeling when a first grader solemnly informs me that if he had two wishes, he would ask for a motorcycle and one hundred cats. In some ways, you can see what's coming a mile away (and feel smart) and then you suddenly get broadsided by some totally outlandish development (and are entertained). Other attempts have been made to expand the Start Trek universe, as it were, but something of that initial ridiculous "naked and unashamed" innocence is lost.

And that is why, no matter how authoritatively Captain Picard commands his Number One to "Make it so," I will always prefer the company of Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the gang.

Well, now I'd better get back to some more serious thinking.

happy Thursday, everyone!

*What movie is that line from?