Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I worked my way through college and graduate school as a fast-food manager at Hunt Valley Mall. Nearby were several hotels, and three or four times a year the Mall would be overrun by Klingons and Vulcans and sundry other intergalactics spilling over from the Balticon or Star Trek conventions held nearby. There's a scene in Trekkies where a group of Trekkers in full Klingon gear get served by fast-food employees in their own uniforms; that brought back memories.
Trekkies is one of the greatest documentaries I've ever seen, because say what you will about the subjects of the film, their enthusiasm is fascinating. One guy diligently builds mock-ups of equipment from the original series in his workshop--watching him drive his Captain Pike chair through wintry streets to Radio Shack was hilarious. Castmembers share interesting stories about fanatics and their attentions (one guy asks James Doohan for a blood sample, then tries again 20 years later). They share the drawings and paintings fans have sent in--some of them outrageously erotic imaginings of Next Generations characters fucking.
The phenomenon of Star Trek deserves sociological and anthropological study; George Takei recounts going to Cape Canaveral because he wants to get autographs from some astronauts, and is completely shocked to find them demanding his. So many people from so many walks of life treat the show(s) as a religion and genuinely find it life-changing, often tracing career choices back to their favorite TV show. Their enthusiasm rubs off. I laughed my ass off.