November 8, 2007

Open Letter to William Shatner

Dear Mr. Shatner,

Like many young men my age, I grew up watching Star Trek. However, unlike those same young men, I also watched you critically - oh, sure, I can forgive T.J. Hooker, but some of your choices - especially your tendency to snidely dismiss your fan base while simultaneously relying on them to further your career - leave me feeling slightly cynical. So when I read about how you were "stunned" by being left out of the upcoming new Star Trek movie, my only reaction was to confront you with the same words you used in an infamous Saturday Night Live sketch.

Get a life, will you, pal?

You have at least two Emmys...the IMDB shows that you have an extensive acting and directing career....and yet you're whining about not getting a role you played 30 years and several pounds ago? It's called "business", Bill - and unlike you, Mr. Nimoy seems to have come to some peace about Trek. All of the main actors seem to, except for possibly Walter Koenig. Of course, if I were hired because I resembled one of the Monkees, I might have a chip on my shoulder myself.

I realize my statements will be anathema - after all, you're "the Shat." You're the idol of millions, the guy that many young men wanted to least, the guy who had the women that socially awkward guys wanted to be with. (In terms of fans, I do not include Lene and Jungle Kitty of Look at His Butt - both of them demonstrate a great sense of humor about their "worship" of you). However, you are taking yourself way too seriously...even when you are the center of the joke - and encourage it - you still manage to demean others. I mean, making fried chicken jokes in the presence of an African American woman - at your own roast - is slightly debatable on the good taste and good sense scale.

Besides, I'm actually kind of glad you didn't get the role - part of the problem with Trek is that it began relying way too much on its own history. Several people have stated that it's "not Trek without Shatner" - my response is, "of course not, it will be better. No scenery hogging." It's interesting how Trek fans have a shifting view of history - they watched all the old shows, but nothing was quite like "the original series" and "when Roddenberry left, the show lost its vision." Of course, they'll take your slightly demeaning insults on How William Shatner Changed the World, or the little in-jokes on Boston Legal. (Which I cannot watch anymore - oh, it's not you, Mr. Shatner, it's James Spader. He's becoming annoyingly creepy. That and David E. Kelley's homily-of-the-week style of scriptwriting).

The sad thing is...there are times when I see you as Denny Crane, a once powerful man now facing his immanent mortality, losing his mental's those scenes when he's drinking his Scotch, or looking ruefully out the window...I see a glimpse of a man who fears that his past is slipping away from him. A man afraid that his best years are behind him, and that it hurts him. It's at that point that we all see the true William Shatner. I sometimes wonder...if that's the only way you can let out your angst, or if you're really that good of an actor. Personally, I believe it's more the former...but that's for you to decide.

If it's any consolation, it was just announced that Bruce Greenwood is playing Christopher Pike. Not only is he also an excellent actor with an extensive resume as well...he's also Canadian. That should provide some consolation while you wait out the WGA strike.

But please - let it go. Move on. You don't see Peter Graves whining about Mission: Impossible, now, do you? Or Adrian Zmed proposing a T.J. Hooker reunion movie?

Your pal,


Unknown said...

That would be Boston Legal, not Boston Public (the latter was a show about high school, if I'm not mistaken: same creator, though).

Gordon D said...


Thanks for catching that.

There's one mistake that I definitely blame...on William Shatner. :)

Roger Owen Green said...

Maybe you know this: I seem to recall that Peter Graves WAS offfered the M:I movie, but declined when he found that Phelps was going to be the villain. Is this true, or a reimagining by my failing memory?

Gordon D said...

Roger - I honestly don't remember - he probably could have been.

Maybe I should have said "Peter Lupus". Might have been funnier that way.

golfwidow said...

There's a reason "shat" is the past tense of "shit".