intrigueing: (calvin & hobbes)
intrigueing ([personal profile] intrigueing) wrote2015-02-27 07:15 pm

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Although I was not a first-generation fan, Star Trek TOS was my first fandom (along with M*A*S*H and Harry Potter), and probably out of all my fandoms, the one that is most consistently near the front burner.

And so much of the appeal and timelessness of TOS was the characters and the ideas they embodied. Spock was a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable performance by Mr. Nimoy, alien-ness unsurpassed by any other Star Trek actor, in my opinion. Out of every single actor who I have seen play an alien character, Spock stands out, because of Nimoy.

It was the little things -- the way he moved, the way he held himself, the way he talked, the way he paid attention to the tiniest little details to imbue them with consistency, to make them Vulcan, so clearly and firmly committed to making every gesture and word authentic to the core, no slips into who's-going-to-know-the-difference laziness about keeping up the illusion of alien-ness -- no "normal", human-esque behavior, no moments where he broke character while in the background, or because the temptation to take the easy route and react the way humans would for dramatic effect was too great.

This happens so often with other actors playing aliens -- even the really, really, really good ones. There's always those moments, little moments, when their mask crumbles and that regular ol' 20th-21st century human actor peeps through. Often so small you don't notice it until you compare it to the sheer airtight-ness Mr. Nimoy brought to his illusion. It was a case of perfect plausible deniability -- there were none of those moments (after the Pilots, of course), that I can recall, where I could point to as a "tell," a moment of "oh, look, he's not an alien after all." Even his most human moments, like the single moment of absolute joy at the end of "Amok Time", the human-ness is still Spock's particular, unmistakable brand of humanity -- the character's humanity.

The performance of Vulcan-ness -- or Spock-ness, rather, for Spock's humanity was crucial to the character -- was absolute, and that made all the difference. I could believe with 100% unshaken suspension, in spite of cardboard sets, ridiculous special effects, garish makeup, and general '60s hilarity, that Spock was really a half-Vulcan scientist from the 23rd century. It sounds like a modest accomplishment, but when I try to think of any actor who played an alien the way he did? It's rare, so rare, so memorable, and so unique.

Sorry for the rambling entry, but I'm sure some of you know what I mean. I know I'll definitely be rewatching some of his best episodes tonight, and over the weekend. RIP.

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