Perspective: Know Your Audience

I was at the chiropractor yesterday and in the waiting room the sound system started playing Stand By Me. Catchy tune. It also brings other things to mind. So, I turn to the receptionist and ask, “You know that kid from Stand By Me…?” I didn’t even get the full question out before she responded. “I don’t know, is that an old movie?” Old movie? It doesn’t seem like that old of a movie to me. But I suppose by many standards it is. It came out in 1986, which is getting close to 3 decades away. So I try again. “You know… Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman.” Her eyes light up a bit. “Wil Wheaton, I know that name.. let me think.” A bit of a pause. “He’s the guy from the Big Bang Theory!”

“Yes. Yes he is…” I suppose there is an entire modern audience that only knows Wil for his evil alter ego. “He’s the nemesis!” she adds helpfully. But she didn’t fully grasp the Why behind it. Perhaps she’s a bit younger. Perhaps sci-fi and ST:TNG were not part of her formative years. But even before that show that eventually gave inspiration for Wil to play his darker side, he had other great roles.

Stand By Me, is probably one of the best known, but I fondly remember some of his smaller roles. There was a TV movie, “The Defiant Ones” where a young Wil protects his land and his Ma from a pair of escaped convicts looking for a hideout and a place to break their shackles. I discovered last year he was one of the voices in Secret of Nimh (as was Shannen Doherty) along with many veteran actors. He apparently was Louis’ Friend in The Last Star Fighter (I’d have to see it again). And as I relayed this story to a co-worker I was reminded, “He was in Toy Soldiers, right?” “Yeah, I think he was.” “He was the kid that got killed, right?” “Yes, yes I suppose he was.”

But childhood roles aside, the man has kept active in his chosen career. Skimming through the IMDB, I’ll admit I haven’t seen many of the projects he’s been on (he was on the reboot of Love Boat??) but a lot of them sound interesting (okay, maybe not the Love Boat one). He’s also a very active writer. I still reflect back from time to time on his article in VTU magazine, The Beige Tax. He’s been an active blogger since before blogging was really a thing (, and honestly, he’s one of the few people I follow on twitter because, well, he’s fairly entertaining and occasionally insightful. Heck I read more of my Twitter feed than my Facebook feed these days.

All this is to say, Wil is much more than “The guy from Big Bang Theory”, but he is that as well, I suppose. Sometimes I’m just surprised about other people’s perspectives. Of course, ask me something about sports and I’ll probably stare blankly back at you as well. =P



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