Would 12 year old WIl Wheaton have fared better than 15 year old WIl?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Morpheus 02, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In reading the TrekToday article about Wil Wheaton saying acting is triggering for him, i don't think it mentioned the hate people had for his character. I am about the same age as him, so seeing how in episodes like Justice, where they wrote him as a 10 year old (i.e playing soccer instead of noticing the scantily clad people), where most guys our age would have had a much different reaction, we hated how he was written.

    I never saw "Stand By Me" so i don't know how he acted then. I would love to hear your thoughts on him then.

    My frame of reference for "boy genius" is Billy Mumy as Will RObinson... and i thought i he was the perfect model for what they were aiming for in TNG. He is clearly smart, but is also a child. So the stuff they had Wesley go through on TNG... i know Billy Mumy would have worked perfect for that, and his maturing into a man would have been handled better.
     
  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd hate the character of Wesley less if a) he wasn't written as a genius, or at least not one who saved the ship as frequently as he did, and b) he was shown interacting with more people his own age, or at least had it more clearly shown why he didn't do so.
     
  3. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In comparing the actor at different times in his youth, I don't think it would've made all that much difference, tbh.

    In all honesty, Wheaton isn't a bad actor, but he's not great either. He was & kind of still is pretty one dimensional, & the part he landed in Stand By Me played to that dimension extraodinarily well. It was an exceptionally well cast movie.

    Plus, on that film he had the benefit of being surrounded by some top notch talent, that elevated his performance, & a very good director that knew how to shape it.

    I don't think he had such assets on TNG, & the writing for him did no service to him... or the show either really. It always played like a fantasy aspect of Roddenberry's, shoehorned in for its own sake

    That said, I never hated him... just thought it didn't work all that well
     
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  4. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    The character had no chance of succeeding regardless of who the actor was.
     
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  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed that the actor wasn't the primary problem. It's possible a different child actor could have done more with the material, but I have my doubts.

    Wow, for just a second there I imagined Cirroc Lofton as Wesley Crusher...
     
  6. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He did a good job with the lines he was given :shrug:
     
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  7. captain crow

    captain crow Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The primary problem with Wesley is they're an irritating "child genius" trope character. So the character would've
    been crapped on regardless of Wheaton's age. Though if he had been 12 it might have been a little worse as the younger this type of character is the more irritating they are.
     
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  8. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    They should have made the character a complete failure and disappointment, but Beverly would always think that he is the best at everything.
     
  9. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    I'm always a bit cringing when people call for Wesley to be portrayed as a "normal teenager". Mostly because there is no such thing as a "normal teenager" blueprint. Unusually intelligent children aren't "abnormal" and I have never experimented with drugs or crap like that, does that mean I was an "abnormal" teenager?

    As I wrote in that "Problematic Character" thread. The problem with Wesley wasn't that he was a prodigy by itself, and his age wasn't a problem either (and I agree with @captain crow here, a younger Wesley would be even more problematic)
    I think he problem was that he was isolated and pointless in the series as it was. Give him a few friends (in fact make him coming out of his shell his character arc) and have him have an affinity for machines and help out as a temp in engineering instead of saving the ship. And suddenly you have a character through which you can explore the civilian side of things on the Enterprise. Of course, considering that the series is from the 80s, there would have been the danger that it would have descended into "After School Special" territory.
     
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  10. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Plus his acting ability did not mature as his body did, so his acting is still at the same level it was when he was a kid. (IMO, naturally.)
     
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  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, it's not hard to have doubts about that, when you consider pretty much every other child actors' roles on TNG. They were notoriously shit at depicting believable children, but kept trying anyway.

    It's a pretty fair criticism. Plus, I think back to his performance in Stand By Me, which is maybe the best drama he ever did, & when you look at it now, you can see he's a little out of his depth. He shares intimate moments with River Phoenix, where they each get a break down & cry scene, & River's is just legendary, as you'd expect, which kind of highlights how less so Wheaton's was. In fact, I suspect even Corey Feldman had more capability in that movie.
     
  12. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    Wesley, oddly, bothers me less now as an adult than when I was a kid. But I think you can chalk 80% of his problems to the “gee willikers” Leave it to Beaver style of acting he employed. It was a hokey performance probably insisted on by the directors and producers for who knows what reason.

    I’d be way more interested to see a sharp-minded, no-nonsense girl in the role as was originally envisioned. Someone like the girl in The Queen’s Gambit.
     
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  13. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    The whole point that a young child would play a pivotal role in a military-type of organization is silly. Many people get through Starfleet Academy, yet none of them have earned the opportunity to serve in place of Wesley?
     
  14. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    None of them had a Traveler tell their Captain that they have special abilities and should be supported
     
  15. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    I see literally no reason to think that Leslie Crusher would have been written any better than Wesley Crusher.
    She would have been subject to the same writers, directors and show runners.
     
  16. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    The Traveler was creepy.
     
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  17. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    Dunno. Maybe, it being a girl, they would think they had less leeway with the audience in the "annoying kid" department.
     
  18. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    Huh? Did people in the 80s find girl characters annoying?
    Plus, considering their track record with the other female characters early on...I doubt she would have become Kitty Pryde.
     
  19. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    I think the idea of a techie "nerd girl" was near unheard of in the 80s. I can't really think of an example in children’s TV at the time. That was more of an era for tough women like Yar or Cheetara/Teela/Lady Jane. When people aren’t used to something you’re more likely to be careful with it. I mean, maybe that’s just in my head. Shrug.
     
  20. ScottJ85

    ScottJ85 Captain Captain

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    I never really disliked Wesley, although I probably would have liked him better had he been written as a more realistic teen, dealing with the kinds of problems real teens face, or acting out in ways that real gifted kids tend to do when not properly challenged. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it elsewhere but I would have liked to see an episode where he gets caught smoking space-weed out behind the warp core, or more episodes where he had to deal with the consequences of some other bad decision.
     
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