What The Fuck Is So Random About Kelsey Grammer?
That’s my question for Lev Grossman, who wrote the following passage about his favorite “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode, “Cause and Effect,” in a May 4th Time article that generally concerns the forthcoming J.J. Abrams Trek reboot, but also Star Trek at large:
There’s a lot to love about ‘Cause and Effect.’ The fetching but elusive Ensign Ro Laren is in it. Generous amounts of drive plasma are vented from the starboard warp nacelle—always good. The writers actually give Dr. Crusher something useful to do for a change, and Kelsey Grammer makes an awesome, beyond-random cameo as the captain of the other ship.”
Now hold the phone there, Tex. Just what the fuck is so random about Kelsey Grammer? Kelsey’s been a working actor since at least the early 1980s. He was definitely a working actor in 1992, the year “Cause and Effect” was produced. In fact, one could accurately state Grammer was at the height of his fame that year as beloved barfly psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” (the following year marked the beginning of his eleven year run on the spin-off “Frasier”). So I really don’t see how “Star Trek” hiring one of the most popular sitcom actors of that era is even slightly in the neighborhood of “random,” let alone “beyond-random.”
You want “random” for a “Star Trek” captain? How about a toaster? How about a Kodiak bear? How about a toothpick or a diaper or a can of fart spray or a cardboard cutout of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas? How about something that isn’t a working human actor whose credits include “The Simpsons” and “Another World?” I mean, shit, it wasn’t like Kelsey Grammer was just walking by the Paramount lot when he accidentally tripped, fell into a costume, learned a bunch of lines, and ended up in front of a camera. A pile of uncooked hot dogs? The keys to Brent Spiner’s Honda? Yes, I’ll accept those items as totally “random” Starfleet Officers, but not Kelsey Grammer, a PROFESSIONAL ACTOR and “STAR TREK” FAN who had to be BOOKED and PAID to appear.
While I’m busting your chops here, Lev, I’d also like to take you to task for using that awful “wait for it” gag TWICE in one paragraph. “Wait for it” really only works in spoken dialogue. You’re building suspense for the listener. They will indeed have to wait for the crazy information you’re about to lay on them. They cannot make you speak faster. Your mouth is an instrument only you can control. In print, “wait for it” is just a cutesy pile of vomit that gets in the way of the narrative. I am not going to pause and ready myself for whatever insane fact awaits me in the next part of the sentence. I’m just going to damn you for wasting my precious time with trendy garbage slang that belongs in a sassy pre-teen conversation about Zac Efron.
And yes, Lev, isn’t it just completely fucking insane that “Enterprise” star Scott Bakula was once on “Quantum Leap?” Oh, no, wait—that isn’t completely fucking insane, not at all, because “Quantum Leap” was the most high-profile shit Scott Bakula ever did. Nothing he’s ever appeared in before or since has been more popular—not that football movie he did with Sinbad, not his role on “Murphy Brown,” not his high school turn as the lead in “Godspell.” In the words of Amy Poehler, really? That’s your reveal? Some shit me and my Grandma already knew for over a decade? If your article were an actual real-time conversation between the two of us and that little nugget of info was prolonged with a “wait for it,” I probably would have gone semi-Christian Bale on you. Next thing you’re gonna tell me is the guy who played Urkel doesn’t really talk like that! HOLYFUCKINGSHIT!
As for your prediction that this new Star Trek won’t have a “sense of intimacy” or be both “brilliant and ridiculous,” I guess you haven’t seen the following trailer:
Robot cop, that little kid’s hair, that little kid’s line, James Dean Biker Kirk, Uhura’s granny bra, Crazy Action Suit Sulu—all brilliant, all ridiculous (intimacy quotient pending). How could they not have you at Thelma & Louise Convertible Death Wish Nine Year Old?
Sorry if this all seemed a bit harsh, Lev. I guess I’ve been a little touchy since the Hipster Grifter randomly stole my—wait for it—“Quantum Leap: Season 1” DVD that was autographed by Scott Bakula! It was right underneath my—wait for it—framed photo of Kelsey Grammer! That’s random beyond Thunderdome!
Tags: Crazy Action Suit Sulu, Hipster Grifter stole my "Quantum Leap" DVDs, James Dean Biker Kirk, Lev Grossman, Scott Bakula was in "Quantum Leap" and everbody knows it, Star Trek, stop saying random all the time when shit's not random, Uhura's Granny Bra