I’m an unabashed Trekkie. I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation, watching it at my piano teacher’s house between lessons. I watched Deep Space Nine and Voyagerreligiously when I was home from college. I crushed on the usual suspects — Wesley Crusher, Tom Paris, Harry Kim, and Julian Bashir — and consumed my fair share ofStar Trek paperback novels in the lull between new episodes.
I saw every TNG full-length movie at midnight openings in theatres. I own the Star Trek Encyclopedia and even made a point to visit the Las Vegas Star Trek Experience exhibit, when it was still touring.
And, I loved Star Trek Into Darkness (which is being released on DVD and Blu-ray this week).
Check out the pilot episode of Hard NOC Life, a weekly video podcast by The Nerds of Colour. This episode features live, talking images of yours truly as I wave my hands frantically and try to articulate myself in real-time. In this inaugural episode, we focus on several of the movies released in Summer 2013, including a discussion on race in The Wolverine, Pacific Rim, and Elysium.
My boyfriend and I rarely go to the movies these days: tickets are overpriced, concessions are empty calories, 3D makes our heads hurt, and no one seems to follow basic theatre etiquette anymore. But, we make the rare exception for blockbuster movies: any film for which the special effects necessitate a big screen. Earlier this summer, we braved the Friday night mall crowds to check out Iron Man 3. Without fail, we found ourselves seated next to a trio of fanboys who, moments after the room darkened, launched themselves into a loud and obnoxious litany of Mystery Science Theatre commentary on the 15 minutes of trailer, each statement of amateurish snark blasted at full volume so that the entire movie-going audience could “share” in this bit of uninvited “fun”.
When the trailer for “The Wolverine” came on, MST Fanboy #1 – the fanboy who of the bunch was both loudest and closest to us — let out a shrill squeal. “I so can’t wait for when this comes out! It’s gonna be epic,” he declared loudly to no one in particular between fistfuls from his bucket-sized popcorn, and the rest of us found our lives enriched by the knowledge of his growing excitement about this movie, or at least by a momentary respite from the scathing and unrelenting witticism that he had unleashed upon the other trailers.
(By the time the movie started, it was clear that these fanboys had no plans of letting up. 20 minutes in as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark led us through his post-Avengers PTSD, we pointedly turned to MST Fanboy #1 and hissed loudly to get his attention. As soon as he turned to us we snapped: “Hey, dude, we can ALL hear you, and you’re not funny enough to justify this. You need to shut up. Now. ” The rest of the movie was enjoyed in much-appreciated silence punctuated by periodic glares of sullen reproach from my left.)
I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t one of those fanboys, and not just because I know how to enjoy a movie in respectful silence.
I also wasn’t one of those fanboys who was particularly excited about the upcoming “The Wolverine”. I just couldn’t find the wherewithal to be excited about a movie that seemed like little more than a modern-day X-gene adaptation of Miss Saigon, albeit with a little less singing and a little more mad ninja skills.
To some degree, I think it’s inevitable that all of us who were born and raised in the 80’s, who now look back at that decade with equal parts mortification and nostalgia, and most importantly, who share the special brand of being born and raised an 80’s kid of colour, are to some degree nerds with a special connection to comic books and all other things fandom.
Personally, I stumbled into the role of fangirl, and I still have a hard time fully claiming the title. There are plenty of folks out there with obviously better nerd cred than me – I spot several of them within the esteemed ranks of this site’s bloggers. These are the folks who can quote verbatim Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s From Hell, who can keep straight what happened and who died in which Crisis (and might even be able to point you at which issue of which title is relevant to your particular question), and who can gleefully cite the names of each X-man created by Chris Claremont before descending into a heated debate over whether any of them would win in an epic deathmatch against Iceman.
By comparison, I am a mediocre fangirl. As a kid, I was a casual reader of comic books, a casual consumer of 80’s television, and a casual player of Super NES games. Now, in my thirties, I have less time to devote to these kinds of pursuits than I would like, and I sometimes mourn how hopelessly behind I am on the latest pop culture news (which is moments before I wonder if it’s about time to crack out my dentures and high-waisted granny pants so that I can park myself on the patio rocking chair with a lukewarm chamomile tea and complain about these young whippersnappers, their ear-splitting music, and their new-fangled technology).
All that being said: I’m still a fangirl. Because as much as I’ve failed to make time for the fandom in my life, it has occupied (and will always occupy) an important part of my childhood.
When I was a kid, my prototypical Tiger Mom limited me to a single 30 minute allowance of television a day, which had to be pre-approved and penciled into my otherwise packed schedule of extracurricular responsibilities (also including school homework, home homework, Kumon homework, Chinese school homework, piano practice, and that one year when I flirted with learning the violin). This required me to choose how I spent my TV time carefully. For most of my childhood, I (for reasons now unclear to me, other than the fact that the show bore so little resemblance to my reality) picked syndicated Adam West Batman episodes.
Until, one day, I discovered Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Or, more specifically, I discovered the Yellow Ranger. The original Yellow Ranger.