Thursday, June 21, 2012

Star Trek

Every now and then, someone tells me to watch Star Trek.  It's never a casual suggestion like, "I think you'd enjoy Star Trek; you might want to check it out."  No, it's always a direct order like, "If you don't watch Star Trek now, I will kidnap your first-born daughter and force her to weave straw into gold."

It's...I'm not sure how to explain it.  It's like people think lesser of you, if you've never seen Star Trek.  And really, there are at least a dozen other TV shows which get the same reaction.

A lot of people make Star Trek jokes, where the punchline is "Ha ha, I'm saying something which relates to Star Trek."  The jokes aren't funny in themselves, and someone like me who hasn't seen Star Trek won't laugh.  It bugs me.  Stop making Star Trek references and pretending that they count as actual jokes!

I think I've heard so many Star Trek jokes over my life that I don't even need to watch the show anymore.  I'm pretty sure I know everything that happens on the show.

  • Captain Kirk...talks with...lots of...pauses
  • People in red shirts get killed
  • There is someone called Mr. Spock who never shows emotions. And he reads minds.
  • Klingons think today is a good day to die

There's more I can say, like about the Borg or Scotty, but I'll stop there.  I'm just making the point that there is a TV show from 50 years ago, which I have never seen, but which I can describe in moderate detail.  I dunno, I just think our culture's obsession with Star Trek is a little odd, that's all.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree, and the funny part is, it's not just Star Treck! Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight, etc., it never ends, and if you don't know anything about them, you are treated like you are the worst human being ever born and lectured about the greatness of it. You would think it would just be a few immature teenagers acting that way, but adults are just as bad! I have had a few instances lately similar to your Star Treck ones regarding the new Dallas re-boot. -_-

Anonymous said...

I never watched the original Star Trek show and I never had any plans to, but I did see the movie that came out a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it! So I would recommend watching the movie :)

Moriah said...

I have never watched Star Trek in my life, never will watch it. Although I watched the movie , I think the movie is much better!


Rachel said...

Don't feel bad Michael. Here's a short list of movies/TV shows that I have never seen, don't have any interest in seeing and get annoyed when people call me "lame" for not wanting to watch:

- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- Lord of the Rings trilogy
- Pirates of the Carribean
- Twilight
- Game of Thrones

The list goes on but you get the point.

If you don't like Star Trek, though, what TV shows/movies DO you love? I'm curious.

Flashman85 said...

On one level, it's simply some overzealous fans trying to share something they love with you. On another level, it's people reacting to what they perceive to be a fundamental communication gap. If you've never watched Star Trek, you're missing out on a shared experience that many people take for granted, like playing in the snow or reading bedtime stories.

I imagine you'd get the same result if you told someone you'd never eaten at McDonald's. Star Trek, like McDonald's, is part of our cultural identity.

There's some assumed common ground that's missing between you and the people you're talking to, and that fanboy/fangirl enthusiasm for Star Trek amplifies whatever fundamental feelings there are of wanting to bridge that communication gap.

If the people telling you to watch Star Trek are anything like me, they surely derive pleasure from sharing their interests and knowledge with others. That's part of why referencing Star Trek (or anything else, for that matter) can be funny--there's a joy in the realization or reinforcement that the person making the reference has had an experience that you've shared with them, directly or indirectly.

Obviously there are jokes and references that aren't funny, but coming at a Star Trek reference from an outsider's perspective is unlikely to trigger any kind of mirth or appreciation unless there's a foundation to build on.

To use a completely inappropriate analogy, Star Trek is somewhat like Christianity. Even if you've never been to church or read the Bible, there's a good chance you know some of the basic distinguishing features of the faith. If all you have to go by are some hyper-evangelistic followers and the stuff you've heard secondhand about the religion, it's gonna sound like a weird obsession, too.

At this point, I think the only way for you to have a meaningful exposure to Star Trek is to find a friend who simply likes the show, and wouldn't mind sitting down with you to share an episode or two. I forced myself to try watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic because people on my YouTube channel would NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT, and I was tired of being out of the loop. It's not half bad, but I would've had far more fun if an actual fan wanted to be the one to share it with me.

So, if you're interested in giving Star Trek a shot, I'll be more than happy to coordinate a viewing over Skype so you've got someone to watch it with. And, if you're totally turned off by it at this point, that's OK--as a Star Trek fan, I am telling you that it's OK. It's a great fandom, and it's a valuable cultural experience, but the same can be said of any number of other things you could be doing with your time.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that's basically Star Trek in a nutshell.

Miriam said...

One of my friends is crazy about the original Star Trek and thinks I'm a total nut for my lack of interest in it.
To be honest, her obsession with it has made me want to avoid it.. :p

Anonymous said...

My art teacher is obsessed with Star Trek. XD My dad showed me a few episodes.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent post, Flashman85. Couldn't agree with you more. (:

Kara said...

DUDE: Star Trek is epic! hahaha

Seriously though, I'm younger than you, but I've watched all of the original series as well as The Next Generation. It might not be something you're into, but it's definetly a cultural thing. There are a lot of Trekkies out there still today including me. And again, I'm younger than you. The jokes you mentioned have somehow just managed to become apart of the culture.

One last thing I do have to say is that Star Trek is rather relavent. If you look at the original series, a lot of what was scifi then is now modern technology and science. :)

Justice said...

Star Trek...yeah, I've never seen a whole episode of that, and don't have much interest in doing so, but my Mom and sister really like TNG and Voyager, so I hear about the show from them. I must say that I now have a small, odd appeciation of it, without being an actual fan.

I'm actually not into *any* of the big TV/movie cultural phenomenons. The only thing I'm a fan of that falls into the "millions of other people are nuts about it" category is a band: The Beatles. And I do understand the temptation to overreact when finding out, say, that your cousin has never heard "Strawberry Fields Forever". But I don't look down on people who don't know what I'm talking about -- after all, a few years ago, I would've been like them. And one can live a perfectly normal life without being 'into' any major pop culture thing.