An Ode To Leonard Nimoy, and To His Undying Character

Spock with a cat is basically the epitome of awesome.

Spock with a cat is basically the epitome of awesome.

Spock is still with us. He was brought back to life by the Genesis Device, after all. He’s out there somewhere, with pointy ears and one eyebrow raised, telling us the most logical course of action.

It is Leonard Nimoy, beloved to millions of people across the globe, that is no longer with us. But somehow, that doesn’t feel quite right to say.

I generally have a slight aversion to cheesy celebrity death posts, mainly because I have never had personal experiences with these celebrities, or did not feel like I was enough of a fan to warrant writing a eulogy for someone I’d technically never met. I was a fan of Robin Williams, for instance, and was very saddened to hear about his tragic death, but I did not feel I was the right person to write about what he meant to people.

This is different.

Leonard Nimoy did much more than play Mr. Spock on Star Trek (here is the proof). But for me, and for most people, I imagine, Spock is what he will be remembered for the most. It’s obvious why, and I don’t need to explain what made Spock such a good character. What I want to talk about is what Spock meant to me.

My parents are huge Star Trek fans, and one day the decided to order the first show from Netflix, CD by CD (back when people actually still ordered physical DVDs from Netflix), and watch it episode by episode with us. Since we had to wait for the DVDs to come in the mail, it was the closest we could get to watching it as a real TV show. In a way, it was even better because we were seeing every episode in order.

The show gets off to a semi-slow start, but by the time I saw “The Menagerie,” I was hooked, and much of it had to do with that intriguing pointy-eared science officer that was so different from everyone else in the show. And yet, he fit in perfectly. There would have been no Star Trek without Mr. Spock, and I don’t think I would have been drawn to the show as I was if not for him.

I’ve said numerous times, in discussion of TV shows like The X-Files and movies like Gravity, that what I personally look for in storytelling are complex characters. A good story is carried by great characters, and the emotional arc of any tale rides on a character’s conflict and development. But a great deal of it also rides on personality, which is something I haven’t discussed much.

Spock was – is – a logical, practical, calm person with two halves, a person split right down the middle between two kinds of being: the logical, and the emotional. The emotional is his human side, the logical is his Vulcan side. Or so the show claims. What was so, so special about Spock – and what really drew me to him, as a shy, lonely, awkward twelve-year-old – was the way he showed his humanity through his inhumanity. Some of Spock’s most emotional, noble, loving material is channeled through a being of logic – his Vulcan side cooperating with his human side, allowing it to drive his actions. And damn, there’s just something so relatable about that. We all feel like that. We all have problems that lead us in different directions. We all must find ways to make two conflicting sides of ourselves help each other.

I think Leonard Nimoy took this character that Gene Roddenberry created and gave him a depth, a layer, that Roddenberry had not anticipated. One raised eyebrow is funnier than any joke, one sincere sentence says more than a monologue ever could have. The contrast between Spock and Kirk is striking: Kirk, whose emotional material is delivered through passionate monologues and rousing speeches; Spock, who can do the same with a softly spoken sentence. Neither is better than the other; they go together, complement each other. Two halves of a whole.

I had to go out and do stuff today. I had to do normal things, like eat breakfast and go to class and buy food and talk to people. And all the while, I kept turning my head away, blinking back tears. I kept thinking back to when I was younger, sitting on my living room floor with a bowl of popcorn, watching a spaceship full of people wearing primary colors flying through space, boldly going where no one had gone before. To my young mind, Star Trek was the greatest thing I had ever seen, the most exciting, the most intriguing, the most creative. In many ways, it still is. In great part thanks to Leonard Nimoy and his character.

Spock, you have been and always shall be my friend. Live long and prosper. Thanks to you, I know I will.

spock

I Don’t Think I Can Do It – Random Stuff

***WARNING. If you are currently watching The X-Files right now for the first time, DO NOT READ THIS POST. It will contain some serious spoilers.


x-files-m-s-poster

As most of you have probably guessed by now, I am a huge fan of The X-Files.

No. “Huge fan” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am obsessed, but obsessed in a way that is entirely unhealthy and satisfying at the same time. You see, I’m the kind of person who goes through phases of fandom. I’ll always love The X-Files, but there are periods of time I won’t watch it, and then suddenly I’ll have this sudden urge to watch an episode and before I know it I’m watching episode after episode and I can’t do anything else or think about anything else. Every thought I have is somehow redirected to The X-Files; every situation I find myself in I relate to the events in the show.

When I first watched the show, however, I stopped at Season 8 because Mulder was gone. This isn’t so unheard of; many of the fans did. The show is about Mulder and Scully, and it just wasn’t the same without the two of them in the foreground. However, when I went through the show a second time, I told myself I would watch the whole thing.

Well, I made it through Season 8. And yeah, it wasn’t that good. But it was not good in a way that was totally flip-flopped for me. The parts I expected to be terrible weren’t, such as new characters John Doggett and Monica Reyes. The parts I expected to be good – like Mulder coming back, for God’s sake – were really awful.

I have a new X-Files review blog, so I won’t go into any specific detail. But I will say that Season 8 became a sort of tedious thing to watch after a while. Usually a season of The X-Files manages to crank out a whole slew of good episodes, but Season 8 only really gave two – “Per Manum” and “Alone.” They were damn good episodes, though, so I guess that’s something.

But now I’m on Season 9. I’ve just started the second episode, and as I was watching it a little voice came on in my head and wouldn’t shut up. It kept saying “This isn’t right. This isn’t right,” and as I continued to watch, it grew louder.

And now I’m wondering if the voice is right. I’m thinking about leaving the show hanging and skipping straight to the finale.

Because here’s the thing. The X-Files, at its core, is about the relationship between Mulder and Scully. It’s about how they handle their work and their lives and each other, and that’s what made the show so great. The alien bounty hunters and government conspiracies are all exciting, but the heart and soul of the show reside in these two wonderful characters, characters so real they jump off the screen, the kind of characters that make you depressed to be living in the real world. These are the characters The X-Files gave me, and they aren’t there in Season 9.

Although I do legitimately like John Doggett and Monica Reyes, they don’t have that same magical quality I saw in Mulder and Scully, and since I’m not a TV watcher normally, I don’t know, I guess they just don’t do it for me. Or perhaps it’s because they don’t feel like The X-Files any more. And that’s the problem. It just doesn’t feel like the same show, and I guess that breaks my heart. I don’t think I can do it. I’m not sure if I can get through. But that feels like betrayal.

So, I’m going to have to make a very serious life decision. Season 9 – to watch or not to watch? It’s a tough, tough choice. WHY MUST THINGS CHANGE?!

As Doug Walker so eloquently put it:

Busy Days, Lazy Nights: An Update

So I haven’t posted a review in a while, for several reasons. First of all, I’m pretty busy during the daytime.  Secondly, I’ve been reading Libba Bray’s The Diviners, which I like a lot, but it’s a very long book.  Once I finish it, you should definitely expect a review on it.  Thirdly, I’m kind of on an X-Files craze, and have been working on my new X-Files review blog, which I’m really having a good time with.  And sadly, I’m very lazy at night, sometimes because I’m tired, but mostly because I’m watching The X-Files. 

Actually, part of the reason I haven’t posted anything in a while is because I haven’t really read or seen anything I felt I should review.  The last book I read was Eleanor and Park, and I honestly don’t have much to say about it; it was just okay.  It didn’t leave that much of an impression on me.  The last movie I saw was Gravity (for the second time!) but I don’t want to review it until I own it, and it hasn’t come out on DVD/Blu-ray yet.  I also saw Catching Fire, and was very impressed with it, but I still don’t have enough to make a substantial review.

So that’s about where I am right now.  Expect mostly X-Files reviews in the near future, and definitely a review of The Diviners once I have finished it.  Until then, happy reading/watching/doing whatever it is you do with your life.

Until next time!