Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just A Geek by Wil Wheaton

I don't think my opinion of a person has ever swayed so much across the like/dislike spectrum as it has for Wil Wheaton. I first encountered Wil as the extremely annoying Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). Good googly moogly, I hated that character. It made me long for original Star Trek episodes where a landing party would beam to another planet and some extra on the show would buy the farm. Oh, how I wanted Wesley Crusher to be that unfortunate landing party soul.

I'm hard pressed to think of another character that evoked such distaste. Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker's character on Sex and the City. The sad part is (outside of my admitting I've watched Sex and the City enough to dislike Sarah Jessica Parker's character) that Star Trek: TNG was my entire exposure to Wheaton. I never saw the movie Stand By Me (his other notable role), and then he sort of vanished. In the late nineties I remember reading about his starting a blog popular among Trekkies and other assorted geeks and nerds. I checked it out but it didn't particularly interest me (watching Star Trek: TNG was after-school decompression. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe served the same purpose. Only reason I was watching was because I was in front of the TV and it happened to be on).

Years and years passed. Almost as if I were on a spaceship exploring unknown planets or something. But instead, I was watching a show by Felicia Day called The Guild. This show I was watching because of my internet crush on Felicia Day. In the third season of the show, an absolutely splendid bad guy shows up. "Oh, wow. I don't know who that actor is but he is awesome", I said to meself. Lo and behold, it's none other than Wil Wheaton. And in my opinion, he was the best part about The Guild, Day-crush and all.

As it turns out, while Wheaton was struggling to land acting jobs, he became a writer and put out several books, mostly about his life as a struggling actor. Goodreads recommended a different one but Just A Geek was the only one available near me. So I read it. Wheaton's not a bad writer. I wouldn't say he's a good writer, either, but definitely on the good side of the spectrum.

A lot of the book came from his blog. It's an interesting look at the difficulties actors face, especially when type-cast. More so, it's interesting from the standpoint of Wheaton's deciding whether or not he should try and detach himself from TNG. On the one hand, Star Trek is a huge thing and to have been a part of that has its perks. But more to the point and something everyone has to deal with, your past is part of you. You can't escape it. When Wheaton finally accepts that fact and embraces his past a bit more, he feels better about himself.

Just A Geek was a fun, quick book to read. I'd have to think long and hard as to whether or not I've ever read a book about or by an actor before. Hold on while I think about that.......Steve Martin, but he's a polymath, not an actor. Oh, and I read Hugh Laurie's The Gun Seller. But I think that's it. The book was a departure for me and, wait a minute....why did Goodreads recommend the other Wheaton book? Hmmm. Because I read The Soloist. Go figure.

If you're a nerd/geek/fan of TV, I think you'll like Just A Geek. But I know that most of the people reading my blog are far from being nerds and geeks. You're cool like me.

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