Saturday, February 28, 2015
Who is Your Favorite Star Trek Character and Why is it Spock?
The great Leonard Nimoy has left us for the Genesis Planet. In our sadness, let's look back not just at Star Trek (as the question suggests), but at everything he gave us, from Spock to Body Snatchers to Three Men and a Baby to Standby: Lights, Camera, Action, the Nickelodeon show on which I grew up watching him as a kid. He gave so much to the world and lived such a full life that it's hardly tragic to think he died at the old age of 83, and yet he's one of those people that any time is too soon to say goodbye.
Why is Spock the best character in all of Star Trek -- and arguably one of the best characters in all of modern pop culture? What are your favorite Nimoy performances? How are you saying goodbye? Let's see each other through this.
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I'm pretty scared about the whole Y2k thing, after seeing the "Y2k Family Survival Guide", hosted by Nimoy.ReplyDelete
Woah, that's pretty hilarious and scary from what I saw of it. But I'm not going to watch a whole hour of Y2K fear. Here, I'll save past Nimoy a lot of time. Step 1: Do nothing.Delete
Nimoy performing his "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" is certainly a memorable performance.ReplyDelete
As many have done or will do, I teared up while watching Wrath of Khan last night.
I think I will have the same reaction.Delete
I'm watching a Nimoy marathon this weekend. Some highlights:ReplyDelete
Star Trek TOS: "This Side of Paradise" - Spock's last line in this episode is quietly devastating.
Columbo: "A Stitch in Crime" - Nimoy plays a cold, ruthless heart surgeon. If you thought Mirror Spock was a nasty piece of business...
Star Trek II, III, and IV: Because duh.
It was thanks to Mr. Nimoy's greatness and cultural legacy that Voyager's Tuvok was the first Vulcan I really connected with; I was of course always aware of Spock, but it was a while before my kid self appreciated him as more than just the my parents' generation's pointy-eared cool cucumber. Farewell, Mr. Nimoy. Thanks to you, Spock of Vulcan will be remembered many generations hence.ReplyDelete
And here's an amazing, mandatory read about the time Nimoy, as an LA cabbie back in '56, picked up and chatted with one then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Just wow, folks.
Fantastic. Thanks for posting that.Delete
You're welcome! Everyone else, even though the weekend's over, you can and should still read it. It's great. :)Delete
I totally agree with Steve K's recommendation of A Stitch in Crime. It's one of the best of Columbo's original run, and Nimoy crushes it as the arrogant foil to Peter Falk's disheveled detective. It's the antithesis of Spock, and a great way to see Nimoy's range.ReplyDelete
That being said, who needs range when you have Spock? There's a reason that Spock has been arguably the most recognizable alien in all of pop culture (outside of Superman, maybe?) for almost 50 years. Nimoy imbued him with a grace and dignity (Pon Farr aside) that isn't present in most human characters in TV and movies, much less alien ones. He never let Spock's alien nature be his defining personality trait, no matter how much it may look that way on paper, and that's an incredible accomplishment. Star Trek owes its legacy to character above all, and of all the charactes in the Federation, Spock may be the most nuanced.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit since yesterday. I loved, loved Spock as a kid growing up -- he was the "imaginary friend" I'd spend hours with in my backyard, exploring everything and making up adventures to help each other through. And I've been asking myself exactly this question: what was it about Spock that I responded to so strongly?ReplyDelete
JP I think you're on to something when you talk about his grace and dignity. And yes, El Gaith, he was a cool cucumber, and I loved that -- I knew he'd never lose patience with me, or yell at me or tease me or do any of the other things "normal humans" did that upset me. He was super-smart, loyal, good-looking, and had an awesome job that I myself hoped to have one day as a space explorer -- in short, everything I would want in a friend. So there's all that.
But there's something more that I would never have been able to articulate as a seven-year old--something that still makes science fiction one of my favorite film genres: by presenting us with the "alien," science fiction asks us to determine in our hearts and minds what we value about being human. Even though it was imaginary, my friendship with Spock taught me the way I wanted to be human. Be smart, because it makes you useful. Be interested in everything. Always try to figure things out. Be loyal, calm, quick to defend your friends but slow to cause trouble. And try not to get rattled when people tease you for being different, because they will. (As if having pointed ears was somehow NOT the coolest. Bones, you're just jealous.)
So yeah, Spock was the best, and Leonard Nimoy gave the world a beautiful gift in his genuine, nuanced performance of the character. I'm sad that Nimoy has left this world, but to be honest, Spock and I still hang out sometimes. LLAP, F-Heads.
Spectacularly well-said. Please excuse me, I have some space-dust in my eye.Delete
That space dust is powerful stuff as it is traveled way over here too.Delete
Nimoy and Spock are universally loved and I can't really add a whole lot that hasn't already been said. Instead I will stand up for the much maligned Star Trek the Motion Picture. Yes it is SLOW paced and has a few hokey moments. But know that going in and let the awesome visuals and glorious score wash over you. LLAP Mr. Nimoy.ReplyDelete
There's a great bit at the end of "Amok Time" in which Spock, after believing Kirk is dead, lets his human side show by being all happy that the captain is still alive. "The Tholian Web" is also a great Spock showcase, with him commanding the Enterprise and butting heads with McCoy for most of the episode.ReplyDelete
Of course, there's also Spock's confrontation with the punk on the bus in Star Trek IV, but you all knew that already.
I wrote a heartfelt comment yesterday that seems to have disappeared after I hit "publish." I think Spock was a profoundly human character, and his duality and struggle between logic and emotion is one that everyone can relate to. In Star Trek, Spock is our gateway and our path to entry. Kirk may be fantasy fulfillment, but Spock is us, in the guise of an alien. We learn the most about ourselves and humanity through his trials and experiences. As for the man himself, Nimoy left the earth a profoundly better place because of his time here, and I'm going to miss him. I'm just glad that he left behind so much that we can remember him by.ReplyDelete