i find it hard to tell you, because i find it hard to take

Le_barre
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ast night I watched an amazing episode of TNG called Family.

It is a truly wonderful episode that focuses on the human element of Star Trek. It is very dark and very heavy. It deals with the consequences of some very serious events from earlier in the series: Picard’s assimilation by the Borg and subsequent stint as Locutus, Worf facing his parents for the first time since his discommendation in Sins of the Father, and Wesley’s first face-to-face meeting with his father, Jack Crusher, via a holographic message which Jack made for him when Wesley was born.

It is a fantastic opportunity for the Patrick, Michael and me to take a brilliant script, filled with wonderful dialogue and complex relationships, and show the world what we can do as actors.

Partick and Michael are brilliant. They make the very most of every single scene, especially when Michael deals with the conflict between Worf’s need to
suffer for his discommendation with his obvious love for his parents,
and when Patrick finally lets Picard’s fall completely
apart as he acknowledges how helpless he felt at Wolf-359 and deals with its aftermath. It is a Ron Moore script that previews the depth and pathos that I have come to love on Battlestar Galactica, and they are absolutely outstanding in it.

And me? Ron gave me a chance to really shine, to explore some complex emotion and take Wesley beyond the two-dimensional caricature I often complained he’d become. I finally had a chance to explore and perform a human side of Wesley as he sees the face of his father and hears his voice for the first time in his life. I finally had a chance to really do something after years of saying "Aye, sir, warp six, sir" . . . and I fucking phoned it in. I sat there and I made all my stupid little faces and acted like I cared, but It’s painfully clear that I was halfway out the door. I totally and completely blew it. I was ashamed as I watched my eighteen year-old self last night, and rather disgusted by the time my scenes were over.

I looked extremely tanned, so the episode was probably shot in summer, and I’m sure I would have rather been at the beach with my friends instead of wearing a spacesuit on stage nine, but it’s no excuse. I was expected to be professional and do my job, and instead I was a bullshit hack who didn’t show up for work. I suppose the director could have knocked me into shape, but who knows what was going on at the time for him? And who knows if I would have even listened to him? After all, I was eighteen and I knew everything. I had the whole world figured out.

There were so many opportunities in that scene: opportunities to look at him and try to see myself in his eyes or hear myself in his voice; opportunities to make a rare emotional connection with a scene that didn’t involve a lot of techno babble and opportunities to just be simple and honest and truthful. As an actor, I should have thought about all the things we never got to do together, I should have done everything I could to stretch the moment out as long as possible, so the audience is left thinking that Wesley is going to sit in that holodeck and sob and miss his dad and watch that thing over and over for the next several hours. At the very least, I certainly should have allowed myself to feel the resulting sense of loss, but as a fucking douchebag teenager I didn’t feel anything. I’m pretty sure I walked into stage nine completely full of myself, and didn’t stop checking my watch until I was done with the scene.

Jesus, what a pathetic waste. What a complete and total fucking waste. On that day, I didn’t deserve to wear that uniform, and I certainly didn’t earn the right to call myself an actor.

It is such a great episode, and I’m so ashamed and disappointed that I didn’t realize it at the time. 

Ron, if you happen to read this: I am so sorry. When I saw you at Grand Slam, I thanked you for all the gifts you gave
me over the years; I’d forgotten about this one (probably because I
didn’t appreciate it at the time, in all my teenage arrogance and I am so sorry that I disrespected your work and didn’t honor the gift you gave me. Your work deserved better, and I was too much of an idiot to live up to the material. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to create something so wonderful, only to watch it destroyed by an arrogant and entitled teenager. I am so, so sorry.

I have learned much since I was eighteen. In fact, I became aware of what a douche I was about a year after I filmed this episode, and realized that I need to get the hell out of Hollywood and find out who I really was and who I wanted to be. I spent the next three years working all that shit out, looking at myself in the mirror every day until I could truly say that I liked the person I saw reflected back.

These days, I don’t take anything for granted, and I always do my very best to rise to the challenge of the material I’m lucky enough to be given. I wouldn’t change anything about my life, because the person I am today grew out of the person I once was . . . but I’d sure like a chance to take that wonderful material and do it justice.

Hopefully, I’ll get to watch an episode tonight that I can feel proud of.

(image from Memory Apha)

Afterthought – I put a version of this in comments, but here it is for the rest of all y’all (or is it all y’alls? all of y’alls?): It is important to me to examine and reflect on my life, whether it’s something I’m fiercely proud of, like my performance in Best of Both Worlds I & II, or something I’m not proud of, like the things I’ve written about here.

When Family was over last night, I had a visceral feeling of shame and regret as strong as the feeling of terror I had writing about my first day of high school yesterday. It’s lived in me all day, so I finally decided to write about it tonight.

I don’t intend for this to become some sort of big pity party for me or
anything, and by writing this, I don’t feel that I’m sitting in a funk,
dwelling on the past, wasting he present (I’ve done lots of that in the last few years, and I think I’ve hung on that cross enough, thank you.)

I absolutely love who I am today, both as a creative writer/actor and as a person. When everything is stripped away and I am left with nothing but my naked soul, I am very comfortable with what I have. I wouldn’t have that if I didn’t reflect on all the peaks and valleys of my life, including moments like these.

Now that I think of it, if I didn’t have such respect for Ron Moore, and if I hadn’t just seen him two weeks ago, I may not have had such a profoundly powerful reaction to my performance (or lack thereof) in his episode.

Anyway, if I didn’t tear down the wall from time to time, I’d just sit here and wait for the worms to come, and nobody wants that. Trust me.

91 thoughts on “i find it hard to tell you, because i find it hard to take”

  1. It is so easy to forget that actors are human too. Thank you for sharing so much with us.
    On a side note, I was at ICON this past weekend and found a Wesley Crusher figure that I can’t wait to have signed! Come to NYC when the new book comes out.

  2. I didn’t go through all the comments so I don’t know if this was already said, but you accomplished more at 18 than most do in a lifetime. I know you don’t feel sorry for yourself, you made that clear. Just don’t feel to sorry for the people you supposedly let down either.
    TTFN;
    Tina

  3. Hi Wil,
    I’m one of your RSS readers, so I rarely come over here to make a comment, but this post compelled me. Like Kim, and I’m sure others (I haven’t read all the comments) have said: how your performance struck others is not necessarily how it strikes you, the critic.
    I loved that episode, and it meant a lot to me – all of the story lines – in coping with my own losses at that age, which were many, and the kind that no teen should have to face. In all honesty, it’s the episode where I finally stopped hating Wesley…and I didn’t hate him for the reasons a lot of people cite. I hated him because he was human, because he was a teenager, because he was arrogant and the adults ignored him and treated him like a kid or a prop…because he was everything I was. The bright kid that no one knew what to do with, the kid they knew wasn’t an adult, but wasn’t a kid, and was sure as hell smarter than a lot of the supposed supervisors.
    I hated him because he was too close, too real. I wanted the fantasy that the other characters provided.
    Picard and Worf offered poignant stories of fantasy in “Family”…but Wesley’s story was the one that hit close to home. And I went from hating Wesley for embodying everything I was, to being so thankful for the very same thing.
    Anyhow. Just a few thoughts from someone who grew up at the same time.

  4. I keep thinking about a Doctor called Giedde. He did and does studies that are published through National Institute of Health. He said: “Teenagers’ brains are not broken; they’re just still under construction.” When you first read the studies it almost comes across that teenagers are well for the lack of a better word retarded. He is quoted “The pattern probably serves an evolutionary purpose, he said, perhaps preparing youths to leave their families and fend for themselves, without wasting energy worrying about it.”
    The funny thing is that later in life a person looks back and thinks things like…Did I have a death wish? Was I dead inside? Was I suffering from a blunt head trauma?
    The fact that it bothers you now just means that you have grown up…probably. Ha!
    Now all that you have to look forward to is teenagers that you are raising saying something they definitely do not mean, and after the words come out of their mouth they will looked as shocked as you, almost like a stroke victim. Since you have and active, and now documented proof, you can use it to approach your kids.

  5. I keep thinking about a Doctor called Giedde. He did and does studies that are published through National Institute of Health. He said: “Teenagers’ brains are not broken; they’re just still under construction.” When you first read the studies it almost comes across that teenagers are well for the lack of a better word retarded. He is quoted “The pattern probably serves an evolutionary purpose, he said, perhaps preparing youths to leave their families and fend for themselves, without wasting energy worrying about it.”
    The funny thing is that later in life a person looks back and thinks things like…Did I have a death wish? Was I dead inside? Was I suffering from a blunt head trauma?
    The fact that it bothers you now just means that you have grown up…probably. Ha!
    At least you remember actively the sensation of being a teen.

  6. Wil,
    I appreciate your candor and honesty…not just in this post – but in every post. I think the greatest sting about growing up is having to confront the 18 year old version of yourself…and spend a great deal of time wincing with shame and regret. I have an anectode to share and even though it’s not nearly the same experience as yours…it pained me – in a humourous way if that makes any sense. My mother was at my house the other day and we happened to be drinking tea and looking out of the front window. As we were looking I spotted a bunch of noisy, goth/emo high schoolers walking home from school and I said “Oh great, just what I need, a bunch of nomadic gothic teenagers in the neighborhood.” My mom just looked at me….and I think I died a little inside because sixteen years ago I WAS THAT KID.
    Yeah, it hurts to look back and see yourself “phoning it in” or being a smidge lazy – you know, being a normal, regular teenager who would rather chill out with friends; but I’m glad that you had the insight to get away from it all and learn to love who you are. Not everyone gets to that point in life. I remember watching that episode when it first ran and I didn’t think you were acting in a half-assed manner.
    On the East Coast the rerun (that I caught) was “Journey’s End” – I’m truly happy for you that you’ve chosen to take advantage of the opportunity to leave the insane pressure of Hollywood and find yourself and what makes you happy in this life. The best path isn’t always the easiest or the one that makes the most sense at the time.

  7. I enjoyed that post, because, for as much as everyone says that they were just 18, and they were stupid, I think there’s always SOMETHING that people look back on and KNOWN they could have done a little better, even then. It’s not like 18 year olds are devoid of ALL rationale, though they are quite hard headed generally. I should know, I’m 22, and not THAT far away from it myself. ;-)
    I admire your honesty about it all, and didn’t see it as a pity party at all. I mean… Who DOESN’T look back at life and wish they handled something better? :-) After all, the unexamined life is not worth living… That truly is what makes us better in the now.

  8. I concur with rednikki, redheadedwriter, and Ignatz: Who you were is what makes you who you are today. I look back at all the decisions–good and bad–that I’ve made in my life and realize that if I could go back and change any one of them, I might not be who I am today. And since I like who I am today, I have to accept who I was. If you’re going to grok yourself, you have to grok all the bits that make you “you.”
    (And maybe that’s one of the things wrong with Hollywood: expecting children to be “professionals.”)

  9. best would be to just say “rest of y’all” though you could say “rest of all of y’all”…
    “y’alls” is right out :)

  10. I remember getting fired from a band I was playing drums for when I was about that age and I was HEARTBROKEN for like 6 months. When I was 28 I found an old rehearsal tape and I was in TEARS I was laughing so hard. Holy CRAP did I ever think I was Neil Peart. A fill every other bar that I almost uniformly fucked up, my time was all over the place and I was making the most RETARDED jokes between songs.
    I’d love to go back and change things like that…but I’m reminded of the TNG episode “Tapestry”. You can’t pull at the threads of your life without risk of unravelling the whole thing.
    I only wish my young blunder was as cool as getting stabbed through the heart and not screwsticking “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

  11. I’ve been instructed in the proper syntax for y’all.
    y’all = 1 person
    all y’all = many persons
    IANAT, mind you, but know one or two.

  12. you know its funny, I think it is very noble of you not to blaim your ignorance on being a teenager. I think too many people do, especially actors at least the ones I see on TV that get into trouble. I think we all do stupid things as kids. Hell that’s what being a kid is for, but you are right, you were called to be an adult and actor and in your eyes you blew it. I can’t say if you did or not because I don’t remember that particular episode you are talking about, if I saw it I probably would. I think the fact that you can go back and say you fucked up shows how much you have grown as a person. hell you have kids now, as most of us do. Good reflection. Come by the site some time, i love new people, plus I think you did great on the show, granted I was young when it was airing. LOL

  13. Dude, you so have to stop beating yourself up.
    Every actor is perfect. No actor every learns or grows or gets better or anything.
    Do not beat yourself up over past acting jobs. Learn from them, but don’t be sofa king hard on your eighteen-year-old self.
    Do you remember my friend Gabe? He used to point to “Adventures in Babysitting” and say shit like…”Don’t you think you could have done better?” and “It wasn’t a perfect acting job, y’know?”
    I told him it was perfect. It was just what I wanted to do. I made a damn choice, and I stuck to it.
    Vehemently defend your past work. It’s yours, you better own it. But please, don’t feel sorry for yourself.
    Wait… I have a quote…
    “Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
    [Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
    Adult Simba: Oww. Jeez… What was that for?
    Rafiki: It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.”
    So let it be what it was…fantastic!
    I love watching you in that stupid suit. You were Wesley Crusher. No one else was. Be proud. I was on the set of “Under the Boardwalk” the night NG debuted. We watched it on a monitor in Make-up. I was so damn jealous, I could eat my own head. If I ever catch you crying about some stupid shit you did when you still had a ‘teen’ at the end of your age, I’m going to force you to watch a movie that has either Yahoo Serious or Carrot Top in it. Shit. No one is proud of the things they did when they were young. But you should be. You have always done great work. And as for being more sensitive in that scene, shoot, I don’t know a more sensitive guy.

  14. touching post… and made very grateful i don’t have these sorts of visually recorded moments for the world to ponder. not that most can’t relate to what our 18 year old selves do.
    reflection is awesome, dwelling is excruitiating. i try to avoid the latter as much as possible. :) You continue to be awesome.
    OH… and in other fab news! I’m in the used bookstore today and SCORE and unopened ST:NG How To Host A Mystery(you are grinning so big in the pic on the back of the box) and a Pristine condition(plastic removed though)…dundundundunnnn… ST:NG U.S.S. Enterprise(tm) NCC-1701-D Boxed Set Blueprints!!!never unfolded~faint! Used book stores ROCK!!

  15. That’s one of my favorite episodes. I love it in part because it depends so much on context. I don’t think it would have much of an impact on someone who’d never seen TNG before; but for those of us who knew and loved those characters, it was solid gold.
    Next time I watch it, I’ll have to take note of your performance. I haven’t seen it in the last year or so, but I don’t seem to remember being as exasperated with Wesley as you are. Then again, I had rather a different relationship with the character — I wasn’t responsible for bringing him to life :-) — so I can see why it might read differently to you than it does to me…

  16. You know something, Wil? I think more people are going to empathize with the story as you just told it than empathized with Wesley’s original storyline in that episode. Very few of us lost a parent when we were that young…but almost all of us were arrogant little douches when we were eighteen, and probably for a good margin on either side. I know I was no prize at that age, for instance, and don’t think I don’t know that I could have done better, and really should. Makes me feel a little like Red in The Shawshank Redemption…I want to go back there and take that kid and give him a good talking-to, tell him what life is really like…but that kid is long gone, and this thirty-mumble-year-old is all that’s left.
    In fact, even at the time I don’t think a lot of us “got” that performance…we were all too busy either hating on Wesley, or speculating whether Jack was feeding him a bunch of baloney and Wesley was really Picard’s son…and maybe that was what Beverly never got to spit out every time she said, “Jean-Luc, there’s something I have to tell you…” (Yeah, I know, what she really had in mind was most likely “I love you” or some trivial variant thereof.) Like you, though, we’re older and wiser now, and we can see the nuances that we missed back then, even if we don’t have your critical eye for the performance, not having actually been there and all.

  17. Acting. I’ve never done it but am a huge film buff. Here’s what I can gather about great actors. Nearly all of them seem to read a lot of literature or plays, many of which are the greatest works of all time, and to ask a lot of questions about material, as many as they can creatively brainstorm to themselves and others, journeying into details no one even asked about or thought of. Look at Brando, Hopkins, Foster, Olivier, Pacino, and so on, including Patrick Stewart. They completely, boldly go, launching beyond what anyone even asks for, and therefrom dimension is theirs. Their research is deep and wide, and is not ordinary labor for them, but a labor of love, generated in the spirit of play. (Socrates said true knowledge is play.)
    Acting seems to depend on literature, in addition to experimenting with presenting behavior. Of the great works of lit, the most interesting to one personally are probably the best to pursue. Combining those with the regular favorites, and even some cheesy or campy stuff occasionally, for it seems we all have some cheesy stuff we have small delights in, looks well to do, moderating them altogether. What’s really amazing is how the greatest works make everything else not as satisfying in ways, and look elementary, though they surely have varying levels of merit. They may be hard to pick up at first, but getting past that is well worth it, and there are fine joys.
    Actors must have a blast reading texts aloud, alongside the importance of taking the time to sit down, relax, and think over what is said or where its thoughts can go. What kinds of questions does it bring up? What about it matters a lot? And where is it going?
    More thankful than I can know, taking a course in literature from a solid teacher (who actually has the wits to build others instead of try to break them and tyrannically call that intelligence), or one on the language of film, which I blessedly got to do at NYU, is unspeakably invaluable. Or, like Jim Morrison said, a really good library can suffice. And just watching lots of films, all kinds of films, is great education. Like they say, education is ultimately self-education, letting oneself learn, and is self driven. Film and plays draw a lot of riches from lit, and great dialogue comes from that. It’s like going from black-and-white silent films to technicolor and sound. In mentioning all of this, I’m certain Harlan Ellison would support some of the things along these lines. (Have you heard of the TV series on ABC set to release during the summer? It’s called The Masters of SF, and an Ellison story or more will be adapted.)
    Studying the masters in anything after awhile will yield some of that mastery to you. The more inspired with love and interest one is, the more they will search and learn and love. When it’s real, or feels like it’s real, it’s also fun, some of the most fun, and it’s inviting of a true freedom. Like that quote you selected as the work itself meaning everything, look at the bona fide greats in any field. They are the most prolific because they are having a blast, both enjoying challenging themselves mentally or to experiment with new things they’ve thought of, or to immerse themselves into their discipline for the pleasure they draw from it. And it keeps going, because like the saying goes, there’s always more to learn and be fascinated by.
    There’s a great course on tape on the history of SF literature from The Teaching Company (http://www.teach12.com/teach12.asp?ai=16281) that I cannot wait to get. SF can encompass and circulate through any genre, and because of that, it seems well chosen to vary reading of other kinds of lit in addition to it. And of course in films too. How about Welles, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Hitchcock, Lean (Lawrence of Arabia), and so on? It looks like the more cosmopolitan the approach, the more expressive one can be.

  18. Film and plays draw a lot of riches from lit, and great dialogue comes from that. It’s like going from black-and-white silent films to technicolor and sound. In mentioning all of this, I’m certain Harlan Ellison would support some of the things along these lines. (Have you heard of the TV series on ABC set to release during the summer? It’s called The Masters of SF, and an Ellison story or more will be adapted.)
    Studying the masters in anything after awhile will yield some of that mastery to you. The more inspired with love and interest one is, the more they will search and learn and love. When it’s real, or feels like it’s real, it’s also fun, some of the most fun, and it’s inviting of a true freedom. Like that quote you selected as the work itself meaning everything, look at the bona fide greats in any field. They are the most prolific because they are having a blast, both enjoying challenging themselves mentally or to experiment with new things they’ve thought of, or to immerse themselves into their discipline for the pleasure they draw from it. And it keeps going, because like the saying goes, there’s always more to learn and be fascinated by.
    There’s a great course on tape on the history of SF literature from The Teaching Company (http://www.teach12.com/teach12.asp?ai=16281) that I cannot wait to get. SF can encompass and circulate through any genre, and because of that, it seems well chosen to vary reading of other kinds of lit in addition to it. And of course in films too. How about Welles, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Hitchcock, Lean (Lawrence of Arabia), and so on? It looks like the more cosmopolitan the approach, the more expressive one can be.

  19. An addendum to the post on acting, literature, and film:
    In terms of experimentation, Bob Dylan has tried lots of things, and those times when something doesn’t gel right somehow, or he metaphorically falls flat on his face, he simply gets up again and tries something else, or will later on.
    In artistic identity, it looks like ingesting a good amount of art as a solid foundation from which to fly from can infuse and help form sharpest artistic sensibility. Along with that, like you can see with the greats, one can branch out and explore for their own truly original work; kind of having to let go of influences for awhile and dissolve them or let them go in the self in a way in order to find that original identity, world, and being.

  20. Wil, Wesley was also 18 (right?). He needed to figure out life also. This was one episode where he was not the superhero saving the day, but a troubled teen hit with too much too fast. Perhaps you played the part as the director wanted.

  21. Wow. Keith Coogan is officially added to my personal pantheon of heroes. To his comment I can add only a heartfelt, “Hear, hear!” I am so impressed with the wisdom and down-to-earth common sense of his comment–words fail me. But I am forever impressed.
    (And to t16skyhopper I can only say, “every word English, yet it makes no sense.”)

  22. I love these glimpses from behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing.
    FWIW, I don’t think your 18 yo self was entirely wrong. Wesley was in many ways a tool for the growth of Picard. I think it’s a shame that the writers/creators missed out on all the conflict a teenager experiences. I would have enjoyed seeing more stories about Wesley.

  23. The only mistakes are the ones we don’t learn from.
    It makes us all too human.
    I love your writing because we (I) can see parts of our own self in you and it. And we see we aren’t all so different from each other. Even though we are all unique.
    Just like everybody else. :-)
    Thankfully memory is a tapestry we can re-weave after the fact. No matter how ugly the pattern, just rotate it 90 degrees, hang it, and call it ART!

  24. Actually, the problem is that you are expecting a type of emotional maturity that neither Wes nor Wil had. Wesley lost his dad when he was a baby. He never got to know him. His earliest memories were of Picard telling him that his father was dead. It’s entirely appropriate that Wesley is trying to feel something, but can’t really. In his head, he knows he should be sad, but his understanding of his loss is still a three year old’s understanding. If they made a special episode catching up the crew 15 years later, and Wes had a family, his reaction to that message would be quite different. Just like your reaction is deifferent now.

  25. It’s really interesting to see your reaction because, personally, I rank Family as one of my favorite “Wesley” episodes. (If it makes you feel any better, there’s a lil’ black girl out there who watched TNG exclusively to drool over Wesley and still to this day must stop what she’s doing when “The Dauphin” comes on tv.) I think that your performance is brilliant in that episode. Even if you are not proud, know that the fans appreciated your work!

  26. Wil, it is such a privilege to be able to read your thoughts about your work on my favorite series.
    I received the complete ST:TNG box set for my birthday a few weeks ago. I didn’t know which episode to watch first, so last night, I chose Family. I enjoyed it, and I felt that your facial expressions conveyed a great deal.
    Next, I watched Tapestry and pondered your blog entry.

  27. A common pitfal of being a child is having people always telling you what to do, how to feel, how to act, and what to appreciate. It is no crime to act like a child when you are one. You should feel no shame. The beauty of growing up is being able to look back and notice everything that you have learned between there and here. That is how it is supposed to work, you know. :)
    Some particularly wise person whose name I’ve forgotten said that children aren’t waiting to grow up and live their lives…they are living them. Grown ups sometimes forget about that.

  28. Wil,
    I’ll second, third, fou- well just attach me to the long list of peeps saying not to beat yourself up over something you did when you were 18. There’s not a one of us out there that didn’t blow a really excellent thing by being a bratty kid. (throwing a fit in Carnigie Hall? Me? No! How could that.. oh yeah. It was me)
    And how cool is Keith Coogan?
    Too cool for me.
    -MKF

  29. Hi mate,
    At 18, I also thought I knew it all.
    Now, 18 years later, I recognise how very little I actually do know!
    Don’t sweat this droplet of time. It’s a great episode and you were part of it!
    mistamcgee

  30. Hi Wil,
    I can see how you may feel bad about your own performance but maybe it will lift you up to see the episode as a complete work of art that you have added your part to.
    “Family” is to this day one of my all time favorite Star Trek episodes and I always enjoyed it not just for the Picard story or for the Worf story but also for having Wesley see his dad and I didn’t feel it was terrible.
    Though you certainly may have a different angle to see the episode from and I imagine you would do it differently and maybe even better now. But I as a fan (and certainly I am not alone there) love that episode!
    Don’t feel too bad for it! :-)

  31. Wil,
    It’s funny that you should write something like this at the exact time that you did. I know, just from reading some of the other commentary here, that I am not the only person to regret things that we have done or not done in our past. Especially at 18, which is peak “know-it-all” time for all teens, people tend to do things that they look back on with bad feelings.
    Although it wasn’t watching myself on TV that brought it on(as if!), I was also thinking about some things in my past I wish I could take back. However, after reading your posting, I can’t help but come to the same conclusion you did. I feel glad that I have learned from my mistakes, and take comfort in knowing that I won’t make the same ones going forward. We shouldn’t fault ourselves, but rejoice in our personal growth and introspection.
    So, I’d like to say thank you for bringing some clarity to my own life with your commentary. I read this blog because I enjoyed Wesley’s character and your acting so much…and I’ll continue to read it because your personal honesty is refreshing in this time where most people care only for self-image.

  32. I get you, dude. I’m an actor, and I was all gung-ho about graduating high school with flying colors, going to NYU and living the life as a serious artist and all that good shit.
    I ended up dropping out of high school (I got a GED later) and moving around/traveling a lot, bouncing from college to college. At 26, I’m just NOW about to get my BFA, in Richmond, VA, no less.
    But I’m glad I did it this way. I don’t envy anyone who has to work as an actor in their teens. It’s a HARD JOB. I don’t care what anyone says. To be as vulnerable as you need to be, as brave and ballsy and willing to put yourself out there…that takes dedication. And it’s totally understandable that teenagers shy away from it. And those that DON’T…well, lots of times they can’t handle the emotional strain and things…turn out badly.
    I have nothing but the utmost respect for you as an actor and a person.
    If it’s any consolation, I thought you were magnificent in Stand By Me.

  33. Wil,
    We all make mistakes. It’s a part of life. However you learned from those mistakes, and moved on with your life. TNG was a learning experience for you, and to a degree for everyone who watched the show.
    The point is, you are a different person because of those events. And, much happier for it.
    You are still #1 in this fan’s book. Be true to you. that’s what matters.

  34. Dear Wil: Having seen the episode in question several times, I have a thought as to why your acting choice was actually the best one.
    We can’t choose when we’re going to react to stimuli. I didn’t really start crying over my mother’s death until I saw her at the funeral home, dressed by the undertaker. And your character didn’t really know his father: Jack Crusher was a cipher to him, a fragment embellished by Beverly Crusher and his shipmates. In short, you didn’t really know him. So to expect your character to react to a holographic image of a virtual stranger with an outpouring of tears just doesn’t seem real. It might have hit Wesley after he left the holodeck, in which case a scene could have been added to that or a later episode in which a delayed reaction was shown. Anyway, my 10 cents worth (prorated for inflation).
    BTW, great essay title! What did you think of Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World?” I call it the “Anti-Prom theme.” If that had been the theme of my high school prom, I would have gone. In a heartbeat.
    Take care.

  35. The Perfect Present Texan form of the word you:
    You: One Person (the one to whom you are speaking)
    Y’All: A small group of people to which you are speaking (i.e. a table of four people in a restaurant)
    All Y’All: A large group of people within earshot of the speaker (i.e. the entire restaurant)
    The word you, when used in the Texan form, never ends in (s). This is a confusion caused by the New Jersian form of the word: (you – singular, yous – plural.)
    My wife’s sister lives in Texas and my wife used to live there and I had to learn how to use YOU before going there because people get confused if y’all use you differently. I just moved to New Jersey so I am learning the other side of it now.

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