I write most often about my favorite show for the last fifteen years, Supernatural. But before Supernatural took over my life, I was a lifelong Star Trek fan, literally since I was a child. I’ve watched most of Trek’s incarnations, and loved both The Next Generation and Voyager. And my research is on both fandom and the psychology of being a fan and also celebrity and what that entails psychologically. So I was delighted to run across a hilarious little video by Robert Picardo (who played the iconic role of the holographic Doctor on Voyager) – which was inspired by an equally hilarious video by TNG’s Brent Spiner (Data) – that has something to say about celebrity and the profession that both are in.
The pandemic and being in isolation has changed the entertainment landscape in every way possible, mostly not for the better (other than delaying the ending of Supernatural perhaps, but that’s another story), but one thing it has brought fans is some unique social media offerings of all kinds from their favorite creative people – including these two videos. Both Brent Spiner and Robert Picardo have current projects going on that are exciting, but I’m glad they took the time to share a few minutes of poking fun at their profession, the idea of celebrity, and themselves! (You can check out the video plus a special director’s cut at the end of this article)
We discovered that we’re both from Philly before we actually started the interview.
RP: James Darren from Deep Space 9, who’s a great guy, is also a Philly guy – and proud of it!
Lynn: Rightly so. Philly rocks. I loved your video, it was hilarious! It’s also very catchy. I knew you could sing, since you sang on Voyager, which I think helped it be very aesthetically pleasing, and the lyrics are also very witty. How did it come about? Did you write and conceive of it yourself?
RP: Yes I did. My friend and colleague from Star Trek TNG, Brent Spiner, who played the character Data, who was an android — and probably the most famous and popular AI character in Star Trek, simply because their show was the first of the reboots and I think had the biggest audience when they were on of all of the subsequent series. Brent, about 6 weeks ago on twitter, uploaded a hilarious 2 minute or so singing parody that I highly recommend you watch…
Lynn: Oh, I did! When I saw yours and it mentioned Brent’s, I immediately went looking for his – it’s a hilarious spoof of himself and of celebrity and it’s awesome.
RP: And really he did that as a gift to his social media fans. It was just something he decided to do – it was shot during the lockdown with appropriate precautions. He thought it would be fun to give something humorous like that to his fans. I was very impressed.
Lynn: Me too!
RP: Meanwhile, a mutual friend of both Brent’s and mine named James Marlowe – his main business is to produce big corporate events for large tech companies like Apple and Facebook. He has a whole staff of people he had on salary and none of them were working because these events were all being cancelled. I had shot before with his little crew of five or six people to do videos for these events, so that’s how I know James and Brent also knows him. He called and asked if I’d seen Brent’s video. I said I watched it and it’s hilarious and he said, would you like to answer it? I said, what do you mean? And he said well I have a crew that’s at your disposal. I’m paying them and they’ve got nothing to do. I said, I can’t think of a single thing, but thanks for the offer.
RP: So I hung up the phone and I thought about it. I thought that Brent’s was so colorful and fun and joyous, I thought wouldn’t it be amusing if I did something entirely different that looked sort of like a lament, like film noir in black and white, a joke lament, like an actor bitching about his career.