My Parents are Trekkies

Which for many years guaranteed I wasn’t.

And when I say “Trekkies” I mean mostly that  my dad can watch the same episodes over and over and over and over and over and over and over again without difficulty, and gives my mom a Star Trek calendar every Christmas, and my mom watched the series, and therefore I knew all the character names, the general ‘universe’ of the series, and the theme song from the very first note. This also helped ensure my indifference.

After the new movie came out, however. Well, lets just say I’ve never had an objection to expanded universes.

When I find something I like, I never really want to give it up, which lead me to fan fiction, which in an indirect way made me a perfect fan for fan fiction. Much like Star Trek, fan fiction is one of those things that is unbearably geeky in popular culture. But I’m not really that fan either. I haven’t a clue what those “star dates” are supposed to be, know little to nothing about the later series, couldn’t care less about when the uniforms changed, and inconsistencies abounded–you know, like all the time. Nor do I know the difference between a trekkie and a trekker, which is apparently important.

That’s my personal theory as to why Star Trek spawned the era of fan fic, by the way. Because it has so many inconsistencies within its own universe, but such great characters you keep watching. Of course, this reason just occurred to me after I started this post, so forgive me some inconsistency of my own. It came to mind, though, because I recently read an claim that Trek evolved fan fiction because it had character potential that would not have been acceptable in the time period: specifically, Kirk and Spock slash. Slash when characters on a show are given a non-canonical relationship. Canon, in this context, means the accepted ‘truth’ of this universe, in this case the TV shows and movies. The ‘pairing’ of Kirk and Spock actually gave name to the term slash because warnings for it apparently followed a progression of Kirk/Spock, to K/S, to /, which of course is “slash”. Or so I’ve heard.

The explanations of which has completely derailed my point.

So. Kirk and Spock. Well, I don’t see it. Then again I rarely do. However, it also bothers me because claiming people did see it and were simple drawn to make it fact almost sounds like an argument that they were simply oh so progressive. That’s problematic to me because so many people who write slash are women, and it really isn’t a way of standing up for gay rights. If anything, it could be called exploitive. It’s a well-established phenomenon though, and it’s on the internet and can’t be stopped.

I think the sheer randomness of the so-called canon though might be what really got it going. Obviously people enjoy writing things like slash or what have you, but when there are so many holes in the storyline, it makes you question what might fit to fill them. Some people really like relationships.

My favorite part of Star Trek though, is that it never seemed to take itself as seriously as the fans–and for that matter, the creators–did. Take, for instance, the episode of “Spock’s Brain”. It’s practically canon crack!fic! Spock’s brain is stolen by beautiful, brainless females who need a new one to run their world. Hilariousness!  And so many of the lines are so over the top–if you watch the original series, the only one I’m referring to–that I can’t imagine the actors didn’t realize it when delivering them. Now, I can’t say anything  about what happened after the fame…because in current Trek fandom, the only thing you can’t say about them is that they don’t take themselves seriously.

Especially the sequel series. Much as I love Data and Picard, the Next Generation is so studious dramatic, half the episode I’m cringing in sympathy for the over-acting. IS SERIOUS BUSINESS people!

Star Trek 2009 was fun for the lens flare and explosions, and I don’t think meant to be taken entirely seriously either. And the score is awesome. I just watched it again a few hours ago, and it really doesn’t translate as well to the small screen, but that music just grabs your spinal cord and shakes you, yelling “it’s exciting dammit!” Also, considering they blew up Vulcan, it’s positively warm and fuzzy at the end. It’s almost as good as The Voyage Home and saving the whales and sending Chekov to look for nuclear veapons in the eighties. How I love that movie.

Popularly, Star Trek seems to be the absolute height of geekiness. Like there’s nothing to recover from: you either love it all or you don’t. Which in some ways makes it very hard to be a casual fan. Especially a casual fan who likes the eighties book series and The Animated Series (hey, they had non-humanoid aliens!). But don’t try to get the original series on DVD because even though it only ran three seasons they’re even higher priced than some current series, which makes no sense to me. So I can’t have them. Other than, you know, watching them free online, where they are hosted by the owners, with really irritating commercials. So I’ll just keep up my whine of “it’s not fair!” and enjoy my (gen) fan fic.

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61 thoughts on “My Parents are Trekkies

  1. HI
    I just stumbled upon your blog via wordpress and I adore anything trekkie!

    In our house, WE are the trekkies (and we are the parents)
    This post made me smile SO BIG!
    Thanks

  2. My hubby, myself and at least 2 of my 4 adult kids consider themselves trekkies. Even though I loved the old series, I actually am a bigger fan of Next Gen and have to admit I have the entire season (minus like 3 episodes!) on VHS! I didn’t buy them, my dad found them at a yard sale years ago. I need to sell on e-bay, since I can watch whatever I want online now!

    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/come-and-rest-awhile/

  3. Huh, I had no idea the term slash actually actually originated with Kirk and Spock! I just thought it was really strange how many Kirk/Spock fics you had to scroll through before finding something totally vanilla to chuckle at. And yes, I do actually admit to reading the occasional fanfic 😛
    Still… I can’t quite believe that slash really got the fanfic scene going. I get how people might want more of a character/relationship (totally with you there urbannight) but surely… well I just don’t see it. But perhaps that’s just because, like you, I don’t get the Kirk/Spock thing at all…
    BTW all the parent-generation Trekkis in my family have by now moved on to being bored with the show! How strange is that?! And even stranger… formerly non-sci-fi people have suddenly started talking about Star Trek/Gate/Wars at family dinners…

    PS: I actually saved your post so I could finish reading it when I had the time 😛

    • Thanks!

      Well, fan fiction really just got slowed down by the invention of copyright and sped back up with the invention of television, or that’s how it seems to me. If you look back before, around Samuel Richardson’s time, unauthorized sequels of famous works were published all over the place–hence, copyright 🙂

      I look forward to seeing you again! (and I don’t blame you at all…I tend to be a little long-winded, although I hope interestingly so :D)

  4. My wife had no knowledge of star trek when I started dating her. That changed after she started hanging out with me though and now she gets just as hooked as I do on shows like Star Trek, Stargate, Dr. Who, etc. etc.
    I had to explain to her though that I was a Trekker not a Trekkie (there’s a fine distinction, I”ve never been to a convention).
    The overacting is part of what makes it so good, but she still despises Shatner with a passion and was very happy that they rebooted with a different actor.

    • So Trekkies go to conventions? That’s interesting, although I kind of prefer it to trekker, just because I like the sound of the word more!

  5. I’m not a Vulcanian, but I’m a Star Trek fan from Uruguay ! ( Does it seem when no man has gone before ? ), Star Trek may be the first – from my point of view – cosmic series with a world sucess, the first that put us in the space – remember also Lost in Space, the 60s series ! – playing and dreaming with intergalactic voyages.

    I red ( bought from amazon ) William Shatner’s Star Trek memories, a joifull book that I higly recommend to fanatics!!

    Thanks for giving me a moment with another fellows intergalactic voyagers like your parents.

    Gabriel, now from Spain.

  6. My husband and I were the original generation Trekkies (I’m 72 now.) The whole family camped in front of the TVevery week when the original series started. Later, when the movies came out, the older kids went to a Trekkie convention once and came back with an autographed picture of Leonard Nimoy in Spock costume. My son had a Star Trek Academy Manual with blueprints of the Enterprise series, etc. my friends and I still speak in Trekkie dialogue sometimes. My daughter had “Live Long and Prosper” in purple frosting on her wedding cake! And one of her friends still wears an Enterprise uniform for costume parties.
    All of us kept our Scifi nerd preferences in entertainment, and it transferred to Star Wars, and then to the Stargate SG1 series and beyond to SGU on the Syfy Channel.
    Some of us like to read the scifi fantasy books now, and I have read all the books by Elizabeth Moon, who makes military scifi/fantasy addictive.
    But I never got over my fascination with Spock. He was my favorite character.

    • Spock is definitely my favorite character, but he is best when he plays off the others, I think. However, ooh, autographed Spock picture: cool! (Forgive my slightly fan-girly sqeeing please) 😀

      And I was telling my mom about this post, and learned that apparently both my grandparents really liked it too (I never stood a chance, apparently). I guess her dad originally pronounced it ridiculous, but ended up caught himself.

  7. I enjoyed the article…my folks liked Trek, but I can’t say they were addicts. I was more of one than they were. And yes, I did like JJ Abram’s vision of Trek…as one of my friends and I said after seeing it in the theater, “Gee, that would make a great series…when’s the next episode available?”

    So, how do your parents, and you, yourself, stand on “Galaxy Quest”? I thought it was a hoot and a half, especially with Sigourney Weaver as a blonde bimbo, “Why are there chompy things? This episode was badly written! Whoever wrote this episode should be shot!”

  8. Since we’re all ‘fessing up… I’m 26 and have watched every single episode of the original Star Trek (only one that’s any good, imo) at least once and every movie at least 3x.

    Yes, this is incredibly geeky and, unlike you, I cannot even blame it on my parents. I blame my dorky older brother instead who also made me read Asimov novels. Phew – done!

    • Wow! Of course, I only started reading them after my parents had finally given up their collection after years and years of them sitting on the shelf…and they probably had something close to that number.

  9. Pingback: My Parents are Trekkies @mariethea.wordpress.com « Miguel Guarrior

  10. Pingback: My Parents are Trekkies (via Plot Configuration Parameters) « JimmieJoe.com

  11. I love this post. Also, I don’t see Kirk/Spock at all. Most slashed couples in any fandom, unless they are ‘out’ in the fandom, are an either you see it or you don’t thing.

    • I can barely stand romance in my other-genre series! So I definitely don’t see slash, however popular game it is in fandom. And I so love friendship stories above it–hence why I like all three: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Thanks for the comment!

  12. My dad watched HOURS of Star Trek reruns every day…for some reason, there were three hours a day of Star Trek mania. I am forever scarred by the experience. I did however pay him back with endless 90210 reruns, which I still watch when he comes to visit, just to annoy him!

    • Now there’s an idea! Don’t think I could pull it off though…and it’s kinda hard when I ended up liking the show myself. However, we kids still don’t let him watch Back to the Future anymore. Because I think we saw that even more often.

  13. My sister and her husband are the biggest fans ever. They actually named their daughter after a star trek character. My sisters engagement ring says “I love you” in Klingon.

    Star Trek literally takes over people. It’s CRAZY!

    • While in a vacuum, that’s kinda cute, the naming of children and suchlike, but, yeah, a little much for me. The ring idea seems okay though, as in it’s obviously a shared interest, and if they ever get out of it (although Star Trek does have durable fans) it’s a great shared joke!

  14. Agreed–the new Star Trek (can’t believe I’m writing this with all the years I’ve HATED Star Trek while loved the original Star Wars trilogy and considered Trekkies “traitors”-lol…) is actually good enough that I have next to no complaints. Kudos!

    • Hah, I’m pretty sure Trekkies were first! Although, confession…I don’t think I’ve ever really watched the original Star Wars movies all the way through (gasp!). I did like the first one though! And the later movies are fun to watch dubbed in Spanish, it was a fun way to practice 🙂

  15. Hey, sorry you had to suffer through endless re-runs of the origional Star Trek. I’m apparently of your parents generation. I watched the origional series and did watch some of the re-runs. I’m not a Trekkie and I don’t know the difference you mention between Trekkies and Trekkers (whatever that is). The running plot of the show is why so many love the show; it portrays a future where humans have solved our political, religious and national differences, all work together and are more interested in exploration and scientific discovery than conquest. It was a great concept. Wish it were true. It was also a bit of a morality play on american society in the 60’s.

    • That’s interesting, the idea of comparing Star Trek to a morality play of the sixties. I like that. And yeah, I definitely see the idealism, even through some of their issues….like those in the episode “Turnabout Intruder”. I was more than a little uncomfortable with the whole “if she’d just stayed home like a good little woman…” although I suppose that’s debatable. Thanks!

  16. I grew up watching Next Generation. It came on TV on Saturday nights. And if I wanted even a nibble of Pizza Hut, I had to sit there and watch Captain Picard. I never really cared for it. I can, however, say word for word the opening dialogue of every episode. And that makes me smile.

    • That makes me smile too, thanks for sharing that–I definitely know how it feels! When I went back and watched the original series, I kept expecting to hear Next Gen’s theme song. lol

  17. I never watched an episode of Star Trek… ever. Is that really bad?

    I do know what you mean by fanfiction, it can be super fun and when I first started writing I indulged in it. Like you said, the Star Trek characters can be larger than life so it’s fun to play with characters like that in written format.

    • See, that just seems weird to me, but is probably normal…I don’t think the original series is in syndication often anymore. I think you’re okay 😉 And with fan fiction, characters can definitely be further explored than most media has the budget or inclination for. And sometimes you just want more, right? Thanks for the comment!

  18. Episodes are watched over and over and over by my husband and me too. Our adult kids still don’t understand our enthusiasm, although they did enjoy the most recent movie.

    A documentary movie you might enjoy watching with your parents is ‘Trekkies.’ It’s hilarious whether you’re one yourself or love someone who is.

    • I should definitely look that up, I know my brother has NetFlix: thanks! I think more people need an open mind to Star Trek, it’s too much fun to be missed 🙂

  19. Hmm, I never knew what the true definition of slash fan fic was until today. Thank you! I always thought it was fan fic that turned into a dirty Saturday night soft core porn, but while it CAN be that, it’s actually much simpler.

    Not that I, uh…read…uh…fan fic or anything…

    • Yeah, if you avoid slash it is kinda hard to know what the actual definition is (not that I’m implying you read fan fic 😉 ). I just keep coming across articles about fan fic from different fandoms. It’s an interesting history. Although, like academia, on the internet you can find someone who studies practically anything.

    • I think I saw more Next Gen. because it was in syndication, so that’s where most of my nostalgia is…even though it took me years to realize that Geordie was the Reading Rainbow guy! Silly me 🙂 See you were probably lucky getting into it yourself to grow out of, I just found it on my own, so who knows!

    • Same thing with me, I became a fan (even if a casual one) when The Next Generation was in syndication. Then Deep Space Nine came along and blllaahhh…. As for “ThE” Star Trek, I just stayed away from it. I don’t recall why though?? hhumm??

      • The thing about the original series is that it’s just so dated, kinda hard for a modern audience to get into I think, especially with the cultural influence of the time.

    • That is exciting 😀 They definitely had pretty people on the new movie, which compared to Voyage Home I would say is better, Voyage Home is just funnier to me. Thanks!

  20. Love! This is hilarious! My parents passed on their geeky love of star trek to me and though i haven’t watched it for about ten years, all the trekkie info is so ingrained in me that I can still name episodes!

    • Hee 😀 I never learned episode names (even now I only know a few) but if I tell the plot to my mom even she can generally name them. You might want to catch a few of the good episodes though, they can be remarkably good with character studies and such…although episodes like “Spock’s Brain” are just lol worthy when you need it 🙂

  21. I think this is the best article I’ve read here. Of course, that could be because I’m a trekkie myself. I spent the 70’s watching the re-runs on T.V. with my father.

    At 40, I’m the youngest member of my stitching group. This is a group of older ladies who are major science fiction fans, most of whom are in their 60’s and some in thier 70’s. Two of whom were in the publishing industries and a couple of fan fic writers.

    From thier discussions of fan fic, I think you are giving Slash to much credit for the momentum of fan fic. It’s root is so much simpler. We were giving these intersting and engaging characters for only three years and we wanted to continue telling stories about them for no other reason than the fact that we were not ready to give them up. And it appears that we are still not ready to give them up.

    • Thanks so much! Your stitching group sounds fun, although I suppose I already have too many hobbies 🙂 I agree with you about the momentum of fan fic: I found it in the first place because I never could give up the fictional worlds I loved just because the books/shows ended. And it’s really interesting to be introduced to a new interpretation of a scene you know by heart.

  22. Great post. I think TOS is more expensive because they have done some new CGI work that makes the planets and Enterprise look up to date. By the way, I’m a Trekker.

    • Okay, I can give you the CGI, actually, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it–guess I’m just too cynical. Thanks!

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