Three mornings a week I go babysit a kindergartner One morning he brought up “Crusher” and my mind immediately went to the Doctor of the Enterprise-D, Dr. Beverly Crusher. Of course they didn’t mean the Star Trek character, they meant the Skylander. And because the Skylander is made up of rocks it sparked a ten minute debate as to whether or not she’s evil. (Later, he confessed that he was just trying to see if he could get me mad. Well played, kid! Well played!)
Anyway, they keep asking me why I like Dr. Crusher and I kept giving them the same answer, which is that she just rocks. If any of your Star Trek: The Next Generation fans have been living under a rock, Gates McFadden, the woman behind Dr. Crusher, recently got a Twitter account (@gates_mcfadden), and even though it is still yet to be verified, it is her and while she’s trudging around going from “tweet shelter to tweet shelter” as she puts it. I thought it was time for an early edition of Ten Tuesday. So I give you ten reasons why Gates McFadden is awesome/cool/(insert other synonym here).
Here it goes:
1. Dr. Crusher had more brains than Data and Picard put together!
I liked Crusher from the moment I first started watching TNG but one of my all-time favorite moments is in Season 1’s “Arsenal of Freedom” when she falls down a hole with Picard and there’s an alien weapon threatening to wipe out the away team and Enterprise in orbit. Even thought she has a broken arm and leg, when Data arrives and they try to figure out how to stop the device, she says “Why don’t you just shut it off?” Even injured, after having to talk the Captain through her own first aid she managed to give the Captain and an android the solution to a problem that could have resulted in their own destruction.
2. She takes pictures of her own action figure.
If you’re on tumblr you might see pictures of a Beverly Crusher action figure in some odd situations. Well, that’s Gates. She does that. She comes up with the scenes and she take her own photos. The Adventures of 1/8th Bev, PezBev, and BarBev, are often the highlight of my day.
3. She’s a cat person.
She has two cats, but her black and white cat named Rudi makes frequent appearances alongside 1/8th, being both her drinking buddy and a taxi cab. (Just don’t take away his catnip or he might get violent.)
4. She’s “The Dancing Doctor”
Among my other favorite Dr. Crusher moments is Season 4’s “Data’s Day” where Data asks Dr. Crusher to teach him to dance. Of course, he fails to mention that this is for a wedding and so Dr. Crusher teaches him how to tap dance. (This is another big hit when I was trying to convince the child in the opening paragraph that I wasn’t completely nuts. A doctor teaching an android how to tap dance? Who can resist that?)
But in real life, Gates took dance lessons from the age of four. So that’s her dancing in the scene. Imagine how much fun that must have been to choreograph.
5. You might remember a movie called Labyrinth.
Any David Bowie fans reading this? Yea, you remember that ballroom scene in Labyrinth? Well, Gates choreographed that. Anyone who has ever been envious of Sarah in that scene has Gates to thank for that trance-like choreography.
6. She’s a feminist.
During Season 2 of TNG, Dr. Crusher went off to head up Starfleet Medical. In real life, Gates McFadden got let go because she was a feminist. At the 2012 Austin Comic Con, she stated that she talked about how she disagreed with a writer, telling him that if Beverly Crusher has raised this kid on his own and he has saved the ship six time in a row, why are the male characters giving him all the guidance and wisdom. She wanted to be more than just the loving mother because it hadn’t been portrayed on television.
The writer’s disagreed and she was asked to leave, but then the character was asked to come back, to head up some more great episodes like “Cause and Effect” where she got to get out sickbay and solve why they were in a time loop. (She also successfully called Riker’s bluff in a poker game in that episode!)
7. She’s on YouTube every chance she gets.
Gates loves YouTube, because as she said in Austin “It’s such a world out there. It’s unbelievable.” Not entirely sure what she watches on YouTube, but considering what a time suck it can be for some people, nice to know celebrities have the same weakness. (See the full version of the panel above.)
8. She has a sense of humor.
You didn’t get to see her be very funny during her time on TNG. In fact her audition was the one funny scene she had during the whole seven years (see this scene from “The Naked Now”). When she went into her audition she asked which of the three female characters: Yar, Troi, or Crusher was the funniest. They pointed her to Crusher. She has since referred to it as the bait and hook, but in her subsequent role and in real life, Gates is really funny. Search her on YouTube and watch some of her convention panels or just read some of her tweets. You will laugh. If you don’t laugh, you might need to get your head examined.
9. She teaches about her field.
One of things that I found invaluable as an undergraduate was having teachers who were doing work in the field they were teaching. Gates has taught in several places and continues to teach at the University of Southern California where she currently teaches BFA students physical theatre classes.
10. She’s the artistic director of a non-profit theater
Gates is the artistic director of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in LA (EST/LA). If it sounds familiar, that is probably because it’s the name under which she posts her 1/8th pics. Gates loves new ideas and that is what she gets with this theater. They perform only new plays and have had some really interesting past seasons. How many theaters do you know that actually stage a “Sex Farce with Sea Creatures?”
That’s Gates McFadden, in a nutshell and if you are on Twitter and do not follow her, I suggest you do so, because you will not regret it and if you happen to be in LA during her theater’s season, go see something there. And if you are following her on Twitter, please join us in trying to get her a verified account, because there are no guidelines and it seems impossible. If none of this convinces you that Gates is awesome, start watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix instant queue.
BONUS: She rides a unicycle?