I wrote in my last blog (and first for quite a while) that “to be clear – I always hated Acting-Ensign Wesley Crusher.” Strong words. So Wil’s book arrived from Amazon yesterday and I finished it this morning. And, 267 pages later, I’m feeling a little guilty about my clarity above.
Wil’s book is good. Very good – it’s the first book in a long time and only auto-biography that I read cover to cover over the course of a evening/morning. It’s very much about the battle between embracing the legacy of being a Star Trek actor and trying to get away from it. About coming to terms with the decision to leave the show and dealing with the consequences. In Wil’s words, it’s about angst. But I’m not writing a review here. It’s about far more than his experiences with Star Trek and if you were even remotely a Trekkie or just interested in a good and true story, go buy it. The link/image to the right for the book I’m talking about is taken from Wil’s own site and so hopefully he’s up for merchant royalties if you choose to buy via clicking here.
A recurring theme in the book is the many many times Wil took shit for all the people that hated Wesley. From his own blog and also reproduced in the book:
“So you didn’t like my fucking character on a fucking TV show I haven’t even worked on in Ten. Fucking. Years. Thank you for blaming ME for the writing of a fictional character, on a fictional TV show. That makes complete sense, considering all the input the writers would take from a 15 year old kid. Have you ever bothered to ask? Did it ever occur to you that I just said the lines I was given? I’m sorry Wesley messed up your precious television show. Fortunately, there were whole seasons after I quit, without me. So you can watch them, and feel better. But don’t take it out on me. I’m just an actor, doing the best job he could with what he was given. So I worked on a TV show. So I have made a living as an actor. Big deal. I’m no better than anyone else, and I have never said I was, or thought I was…
“Congratulations, sir. I’m glad that your empty, pathetic existence is made whole by shitting on a person who you’ve never even met.
“You know, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get into this. I promised myself that I wouldn’t get sucked in to the mire with the lowest common denominators. Well, guess what, guys? I don’t care if you’re “The Guy From TV” or if you’re “The kid from math class”. Being personally attacked hurts. It sucks. I wonder, do you spend a fifth of the time you spend dumping on me doing something constructive with your life? I certainly hope so.”
Now, I don’t feel guilty about the above. I clearly made the distinction between character and actor in my post. But I do feel a bit guilty and I empathise with Wil that there are so-called Trekkies out there that wouldn’t or couldn’t make this distinction and, furthermore and worse, would take it out on the actor. Gobshites.
I also stand over my cringe and credibility comments about Wesley yesterday but I didn’t go on to say that, to be fair, the character grew up over the years. In particular, I thought The First Duty was a great episode and it showed Wesley as a real person. It also had a fantastic scene between Picard and Wesley where Picard lectures Wesley about duty and truth. We saw the boy become a man and face his fears on the Battle Bridge in possibly the best two-part TNG episode of all time, The Best of Both Worlds. The Game was also a good episode but that may have had more to do with Robin Lefler (Ashley Judd) than Wesley 😉