Monday, March 16, 2009

Women love him; men fear him

I was just about ready to give up on writing a post tonight, thereby ending the hope for the post-a-day endeavor.

But then, salvation came from the Sci-Fi Network. (Or should I call it the SyFy Network . . . though I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to.)

After I watched tonight's episode of How I Met Your Mother, I flipped over to the SciFi Network while waiting for the VCR to finish recording Chuck. The network was showing what appeared to be "Encounter at Farpoint," the premiere episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the end of the episode and Captain Picard and Commander Riker were on the bridge, sitting in their command chairs and waxing eloquently about the possibilities for the future and what remained to be seen out there . . . blah, blah. The episode ended and there were a few commercials.

Suddenly, a new episode of ST:TNG began at the nine o'clock hour. And . . . FAST FORWARD somewhere into season two! The new episode (entitled "The Child" for you completists out there) began with a much more hip Riker sitting alone in the big Captain's chair. The juxtaposition  between the two episodes, separated by only two minutes of commercials was stark--and they outlined what I find so awesome . . . and hilarious . . . about how actor Jonathan Frakes evolved the character of first officer William T. Riker.

In "Encounter at Farpoint" Riker (and all the characters really) were stiff, uncomfortable. Riker was smooth-shaven, thinner, and rigid in his careful posture. But, by the time they filmed "The Child," everyone had grown into a familiarity with the character they were being asked to play--and the writing staff had also figured out who the characters were as well.

As "The Child" opens, BMOC Riker is shown slouching sideways in the Captain's chair. The rigidity of his original posture is gone. Riker is completely at ease with an entire starship at his fingertips. He's also sporting his awesome (and from then-on-signature) beard of supreme manliness. He is called into the captain's Ready Room and the scene shifts to the interior of the office. Riker walks to the captain's desk and settles himself down into the awaiting chair. But he doesn't walk in front of the chair and settle down backwards into it like any other male would. Nope, not this star commander. He walks up to the back of the chair and throws his right leg over the top of the chair to settle down. (It helps that the chair was low in profile, but still!)

At this point in the scene, I begin crowing to Lynda how awesome Riker's character is, composing many of the things that you've just read. The very fact that he settles into a chair that way is so . . . awesome . . . and so unnecessarily male.

To make it even better, when the conference with the captain is over, he actually reverses the chair maneuver to stand up and walk away from the chair. He throws his leg over the chair backwards! I wasn't even prepared for that, but for it to happen was just great.)

I'm sure this means nothing to whomever is reading this.

Just know that it is awesome.

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