Dec 9/11

Okay, some history here: when I was a kid, my mother and I fought most of the time. We're both hot-blooded, so fights started easily. We both have incredible amounts of energy, too - it must be genetic. For years, those resources were poured into our conflict.

Something else you should know: my mother's side of the family is hyper-educated. They must average more than one degree per person. I have a degree as well, and my sister has three (I'm the black sheep).

Given the conditions above, realize this: my mother LOVES tv! Magnum, P.I., which I talked about in my Nov 21 entry - well, I rarely watched that show, but often walked in on it while she was. That's why I knew enough to write about it.

As a kid, I loved tv, too. We first only got two channels, but then we got cable and had an amazing nine! (We really were blessed then, and we knew it.)

In those prime years, one show we watched was Matt Houston (1982-1985, ABC), which was a typical private detective series. The star was a rich guy who liked solving crimes. Produced by Aaron Spelling, the show was appealing, and safe.

Matt Houston was special in one important way: I liked it, but so did my mother. Whenever it came on, we'd stop fighting to watch it instead.

My mother's a great person to watch tv with. She enjoys her shows, and points out the humour you might miss, but never talks over the show. I think you'll agree, that's a rare talent.

Therefore, I always enjoyed watching Matt Houston. Those truceful hours spent were much appreciated, and usually led to peace for the rest of the evening.

My mother's favourite character on the show was C.J., his assistant, who really had Houston's back when he needed it. Every episode my mother commented on how beautiful C.J. (played by Pamela Hensley) was.

Well, Mom, here's C.J., just for you (even though I know you don't read my blog). Still to this day, we're just missing each other's messages, I guess.

P.S.: My mother and I finally called a truce last March, after over five years of silence. She's coming here for Christmas this year.

Wikipedia and also IMDb were sources for this article.

Pamela Hensley Home

Dec 11/11

Man! What a tough weekend!

Another weekend trip to a city has reminded me - in stark relief - of the gut-wrenching realities of travelling and city living.

First of all, everything's in public. The kids know they've got you: if they misbehave, you can't do anything, or else you're the bad parent who's mistreating their children (no matter how poorly the kids listen or behave).

Second of all, time is tight, since you went to the city for some scheduled reason. Therefore, you really need the kids to cooperate: all the more reason for them not to.

Third, space is in short supply: parking, walking room, washrooms, everything.

City life is tough, but I notice that kids there are comparatively rare: you don't exactly see a lot of them, for how many people there are. It's mainly adults in the city. Interesting....

Well, anyway, I knew I wouldn't be in control this weekend and I wasn't, but I had to face up the best I could. We did what we had to do (which, of course, was a function for the kids) and made it back safe and sound. So I'm thankful for that.

Speaking of control, here's a man who, by contrast to me, pretty much always was. Of course it's Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

When Next Generation began in 1987, I was sceptical. What further could it offer from the original Star Trek?

But you know, it did offer something more, I'm happy to say. It didn't try to relive the glories of its predecessor; instead, it took a modern direction. The issues faced were often different, or at least treated differently. I thought Captain Jean-Luc Picard had a more sober, sensitive, and even self-critical attitude towards himself and even his mission. He constantly seemed to be fine-tuning the Starfleet approach so as not to harm the peoples they encountered. He did share Kirk's space-age ethnocentrism - that even if humankind wasn't the leading culture yet, it eventually would be. However, he manifested it more subtly, and approached relations with other, "equal" cultures with more flexibility and even enjoyment.

Star Trek - both the original and also The Next Generation - laid out prototypes for space exploration, each appropriate for their own times. The question is, Was it really about space exploration, or just about everyday human interaction in our modern society?

I always enjoyed The Next Generation; eventually I came to like it more than the original. I've always seen this as proof I have an open mind.

IMDb was a source for this article.

Captain Picard Home

Dec 12/11

Some people are so good at playing one role, their fans won't let them do anything else. One possible victim of this phenomenon was David Bowie: people loved him as Ziggy Stardust, so they just wanted to see him do that over and over. He wanted to move on, however, and try new genres and points of view. But he could never get the people as interested in his new stuff; they loved the old stuff too much.

William Shatner definitely had no problem moving on from Captain Kirk, having successfully played many diverse roles since - T.J. Hooker being a memorable one. Leonard Nimoy, however, may have suffered somewhat from the role trap of Mr. Spock.

After Next Generation ended, I had fears that Brent Spiner - who was incredible as Mr. Data - may have "become" Mr. Data in an unshakable way. Some people's problems, really; I doubt he would ever have had to work again, anyway.

Well, whether he had to or not, he did - and did he ever! As Gil Godwyn, the militant entertainment director of the cruise ship in Out to Sea, Spiner was amazing. He didn't even look anything like Mr. Data; every trace of that character was gone. As my mother said (see my Nov 12 blog entry), a really good actor can be unrecognizable from one role to the next.

I don't know what Brent's up to now, but as an actor, he can do anything. He proved that in 1997, when he broke out of the Mr. Data role, and into that hall of chameleons where all true actors will eventually be found.

Wikipedia was a source for this article.

IMDb was a source for this article.

Brent Spiner Home