Trekkies Aren't Only Fans Going Overboard

ByABC News
December 16, 2002, 2:29 PM

Dec. 10, 2002 -- -- There's a very good reason why the Bible and Shakespeare's great works have been translated into Klingon humans are illogical.

When it comes to becoming ridiculously over-involved in a TV show, Star Trek fans are intergalactic whipping boys. Even in a world where Star Wars fans wait on line for six weeks for a premiere, Trekkies with their Vulcan ears and toy phaser guns get unfairly singled out for abuse.

On a Saturday Night Live skit several years ago, William Shatner jokingly mocked Trekkie conventioneers as the ultimate geeks.

"Get a life," Shatner told them. "What have you done with yourselves?"

Looking over at SNL's Jon Lovitz, Shatner demanded, "You, have you ever been on a date?"

Lovitz just looked down at his shoes in shame. "Grow the hell up!" Shatner said. "It's just a TV show, dammit!"

But now, as a new Star Trek movie opens, its stars are defending Trekkies.

"You go to any football game, any sporting event, and you'll see people who paint their faces, dress up, and do all sorts of wild things," says Brent Spiner, who plays Lt. Cmdr. Data in Star Trek: Nemesis, opening Friday.

"When you go to a Trek convention, only a small amount of the people are dressing up and going to such extremes. But they are always the ones interviewed on TV. They make a striking visual image, but they don't really represent the group."

May I Sample Your Blood?

Certainly, any convention has its oddballs. Democrats and Republicans gather to nominate presidential candidates every four years, and this very serious task is undertaken, in part, by conventioneers wearing donkey masks and gag elephant trunks, while dozens of others don novelty straw hats.

At least science fiction fans aren't trying to run the government. At least, not yet.

The 1999 documentary Trekkies exposed the outer limits of fanaticism. One Trekkie changed his name to James T. Kirk. Another contemplated having plastic surgery on his ears to look more like Mr. Spock. And a third carried a hypodermic needle to conventions, hoping to get blood samples from his favorite stars.

Another fan, Dr. Denis Bourguignon, practices dentistry in a Starfleet uniform. An enthusiast from Boston dresses his cat like Dr. McCoy and calls the poor puss "Bones."