Regulars

by Sam Pratt

I loathe Star Trek in every one of its pathetic manifestations, and I'm not willing to lift a finger to convince you that my opinion is either judicious or well-informed. From reruns to conventions to action figures to movie sequels, Trek is an across-the-board scourge. It's the "Dark Side of the Moon" of television, reselling the same juvenile pap every year to the latest crop of adolescents and post-adolescents who never outgrew their "Beam Me Up Scotty, There's No Intelligent Life Down Here" t-shirts. A local cable provider recently offered up a 17-hour Trek marathon, offering this screenwriter the perfect opportunity to bone up on salient details for his rant. No fee and no quantity of artificial stimulants could induce me to keep awake through such a tedious exercise.

Of course, I have seen many episodes of Star Trek, and The Next Generation, and several of the movies. Too many. And who hasn't? It's precisely the ubiquitousness of Gene Roddenberry's demon spawn that inspires disgust, rather than mere distaste. Trekkies have monopolized dorm rec room TVs from coast-to-coast—and on the rare nights that they did not get their way, the Trekkies would argue that the Special Report on the incoming tornado or re-commencement of ground war in Iraq is "boring." A few people take Trek way too seriously—just run a Lycos search on the terms "Spock" and "philosophy," and you'll see what I mean. But the majority resort to camp to justify their embarrassing fixation. What's unfathomable is that anyone still finds anything even remotely funny in shopworn jokes about Kirk's libido, Scotty's dilithium crystals, or McCoy's arched eyebrow. Anyone, that is, who doesn't also think that Elvis impersonators and RuPaul are somehow novel and naughty. Add to that list Beavis, Butthead, and the phrase "fifteen minutes of fame," and you've got a good start on a catalogue of tired pop-cultural touchstones I hope never to reference again.

But don't take this abuse from me; take it from one of your own. Doug Burger is the hardest-core Trekkie I've ever known, and yet respected, perhaps precisely because he's kept a healthy distance from his obsession with memorizing old episode numbers: "Star Trek was originally great as a show with novel and forward-thinking ideas. The more it became an institution, the less original the writing became, until the spin-offs reached their current miserable status: poorly-written space soap operas. Nothing is more painful for a fan of the original series than watching an episode of Voyager or Deep Space Nine."

Don't get sucked into the gravity well of Trekdom. As some poor wounded ensign was always saying to the rest of the advance team, "Save yourselves. It's too late for me now...."   </end>

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