Today is my oldest son’s fourth birthday.
Crazy. I can’t believe I’ve been a dad for four years already, and I can’t believe that in that time, I’ve managed to create a raving “Star Trek” nerd already. That wasn’t the endgame I had in mind, certainly, but a series of events in the last two months has brought us to this place, and so in honor of Toshi and his latest obsession, this week we’re going to be talking about a whole lot of “Trek” here on the blog, as well as my evolving reactions to the series since rewatching it all and the reactions of a nascent nerd being exposed to it all for the first time.
It’s strange, too. I’ve never really thought of myself as a “Star Trek” fan. I’ve liked some of it. Haven’t liked some of it. So this definitely isn’t a case of my trying desperately to force Toshi to like something I like. No, like most of his current obsessions, this began with him asking to watch trailers on my computer one afternoon while I was working. This was right after the third of the “Trek” trailers was released, and I figured he’d like seeing some spaceships and aliens.
When it finished, though, he looked at me, eyes wide, and just said, “Again, Daddy.” Once. Twice. Three times. He would have kept watching it over and over all afternoon if I let him. That trailer hit him like a bullet, dead between the eyes, and left him reeling. He asked me dozens of questions about it. “Who’s that? Who’s that? What is he doing? What’s that ship called?” Right away, there was a hunger to try and understand the images that so obviously rang his bell. In case you’ve forgotten it, here’s that final theatrical trailer for the JJ Abrams film:
[more after the jump]
Epic, isn’t it? Well, that’s all it took. When the film came out, I saw two different press screenings of it, and then talked it over with my wife. The film’s intense, but it’s not violent in the way that we’re concerned about with a lot of Hollywood fare, so one Saturday morning, a few weeks after it came out, I put Toshi in the car, drove him to the theater near our house, and we sat and watched “Star Trek” together.
I don’t think he blinked twice during the whole thing.
Every day since then… and I mean every single day… he has played “Star Trek” from the moment he wakes up to when he goes to sleep. Sometimes he remixes it a bit and adds a Frankenstein or a Yoda or a Spider-Man to the mix, but it’s always within the context of “Star Trek.” Everyone in the house has their part to play, whether they realize it or not, leading to some truly hilarious role-playing involving my Spanish-speaking mother-in-law and my one-year-old son as Uhura and Chekov. It doesn’t totally matter which parts everyone is assigned, though, since every day’s storyline begins the same way. He walks into my office and says, “Captain Kirk, V’ger is attacking the Enterprise. He’s gonna make our spaceship crash. We’re gonna fight him!” And then he runs around for six hours yelling orders to Scotty and Bones and simulates direct hits on the ship by stumbling from one side of the room to the other. He’s even gotten fairly good at making the “live long and prosper” sign with his hand, since he’s always Spock, no matter who else is playing. Even if Leonard Nimoy and Zach Quinto stopped by the house to play “Star Trek” with him, I’m fairly sure Toshi would still insist on being Spock.
When Paramount sent the box set featuring the first six movies on BluRay, Toshi had a minor meltdown. He couldn’t believe there were more “Star Trek” films, and that we actually had them in the house. I was careful to parcel them out, though, watching one at a time with him. There was only one movie he refused to sit through, and we’ll get to that one later in the series. But I was amazed at just how voracious his appetite for all things “Trek” truly is. I thought the old show would be the thing he couldn’t hang with, but when I picked up season one of “ST:TOS” on BluRay as well, he was just as happy, and he will find any excuse to sit through an episode with me. It’s actually become the perfect way to get him to do anything. “You wanna watch ‘Star Trek’ in Daddy’s office?” “YES!” “Then eat your carrots.” “OKAY!”
So check back all week as I review all of the movies and the original series, season one, and let’s get geeky.
It’s what the Birthday Boy would want.
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