“Serious question, Bill Shatner. How many actors watch each episode of shows in which they star and how many never give them a second glance?”
He sent a shrug emoji—he hadn’t a clue.
Another person chimed in: “I can't speak to how many actors do watch the episodes of their shows, Tom, but it's a pretty common thing to hear from an actor doing talk shows or press that they never do. Enough that it stands out. You hear it when they’re doing commentaries too.”
I took a dislike to Bill from a talk show appearance long ago. It took my son-in-law for me to reassess. His self-parody song ‘Has-been’ did it for me. You cannot hold a grudge for someone who does self deprecatory humor. And what about when he tongue-in-cheek played some self-absorbed media personality in a Columbo episode—so in love with himself that a huge portrait of himself dominated his mansion? It calls to mind my own line—of how I love self-deprecatory humor and also the kind of humor where you make fun of yourself. (I also liked the Galaxy Quest—it was a parody of Star Trek—star rolling when there was no need to, the other crew walking behind him)
“I find everyone’s creative process to be interesting,” said another. “I never really thought about how many actors watch themselves. I bet most do.”
Probably. But it will be counterbalanced by the fact they are always creating new stuff. Bob Dylan said he barely looks at the old stuff once he has done with it—and even while he is working with it. He is known for a maximum of two takes before release. Actors have a good gig and may come to view their series work much as a a plumber or electrician views their latest job—that is, not too much other than to mull over encounters, mistakes with a view of learning for the next time, etc
I follow very few celebrities. Bill may be the only one actually, and I have written some unkind things about them, such as “some of the silliest people in the world are celebrities—all of them really, except our guys” and we don’t have that many. With Prince’s demise, is there anyone at all? Two or three, maybe, in the second tier.
But that unkind assessment was mostly due to celebrities weighing in on political matters where they reliably know nothing. Shatner is refreshingly apolitical, and is not even American, but Canadian. This calls to mind one of the Lake Wobegon folk misunderstanding a radio mispronunciation of Granada during the Reagan years. “Canada?” he said. “Why on earth would we invade Canada? What could we possibly gain from that?” The answer of his neighbor: “The element of surprise!”
Bill takes sides somewhere in the autism dialogue—on which side I am not sure—and he takes a lot of heat for it. He blows them off and blocks those who get too obnoxious. I used him for inspiration when I had to blow off a few trolls of my own.
He may be the only celebrity but there are several public figures I follow, and—let us be honest—you do get a little zing whenever one replies to you (unless it is to say what a moron you are). You get this zing even though you know full well that it is silly—that you’re just dealing with another mortal—like Paul and Barnabas were when they had to point out that circumstance lest they be worshipped: “Men, why are you doing these things,” they cried, “We too are humans having the same infirmities as you have.” (Acts 14:15)
The zing comes from the sense that you have connected, however briefly, with a “famous person,” but the overall lesson is how difficult it is to do it. The constraints of time, attention, other obligations, and energy hem them in to a greater extent than we, since they also have to separate the wheat from the mountains of chaff—I would imagine it is hard for many of them to know real friends when they see them, so obscured by the sycophants are they—how can you tell who is who?
I mean, if I get a comment, I can give it full attention, because I don’t get too many of them, but what can the “famous person” do? Thus if you are in possession of the very secrets of life (which I am) and want to convey it to someone high up who may do something with it, you find you cannot for all the noise at the top. What is that saying about the war that was lost because the battle was lost because the regiment lacked a knight because his horse was out of commission because a shoe was lost for want of a nail—or something like that. There is a lesson in there somewhere and someday I’ll figure it out. For now, it is that the king operates blindly because the ones who could give him honest feedback are too far down in the food chain for him to notice.
As for Shatner, he just seems to be enjoying himself—not taking himself too seriously. How can one not like a guy like that? And my all-time favorite GIF, applicable to so many situations, is that of he shoving back at the Gorn. I have used it many times. Sometimes a guy just doesn’t want to put up with crap from the reptiles—whoever they may be—and has to push back some.