My least favorite character from the Star Trek universe was and still is Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I want to say right up front that this is NOT the fault of the actor, Wil Wheaton. Wil portrayed the character as envisioned by Gene Roddenberry exactly as he was supposed to – unfortunately. I’m glad to see that Wheaton’s career has been somewhat repaired by his recurring role as himself on Big Bang Theory.
Love to Hate Wesley
Who is Wesley Crusher and why should we long for his death? Because he’s PERFECT. Sure, he screwed up when he went Starfleet Academy when he lied during a trial, but he eventually recanted and told the truth and that’s as close to perfect as I can stomach. He’s a prodigy with enough brains to give Stephen Hawking a headache. He’s young, he’s baby-faced, he’s ignored because of his youth and inexperience and yet he winds up saving the universe more times than he has hot baths.
This makes me feel inadequate in comparison as I struggle to fill out my tax forms, pick up dog poop off the lawn and realize that no matter what I do, I will never seduce Peter Gabriel. Yes, Wesley might save the universe, but can he figure out my deductibles? Will he pick up the dog poop? Will he get Peter Gabriel in my bed? No? What good is he then? Kill him. He’s a constant reminder that I am not him, and that stresses me out.
Deux ex Machina
His character was based on a young Gene Roddenberry himself, or at least, that’s the scuttlebutt. I sincerely doubt the young Gene Roddenberry was like Wesley or he would not have lived to reach puberty. Roddenberry’s middle name was Wesley, though. Wesley was to personify the audience and ask questions about what was going on. However, he proved to be much younger and much more innocent than ST:TNG’s core audience of viewers in their 20s, 30s., 40s and up.
Granted, ST:TNG’s first season went through some awful growing pains, so that all the characters had their awkward moments. However, Wesley was used a little too often to save the day. Instead of “deus ex machina”, we got “deux ex Wesley”. And Wesley never really grew as a character. Dimensionally, he was flat as a pancake.
Even Worse Than the Ferengi
In contrast, another character from the same series was the Ferengi. They were like mosquitoes originally – you just wanted to swat them and get on with more serious matters. However, the Ferengi grew in their culture, their personalities and their senses of humor as the years went on. They became characters I originally hated to characters I looked forward to seeing.
And besides – I wasn’t envious of them. Ferengi made me feel better about myself, unlike Wesley who seemed to smilingly highlight all of my personal and intellectual inadequacies. For that alone, Wesley Crusher deserves to die.