What’s behind the dislike of Wesley Crusher?

Wesley Crusher. A character loved by many and loathed by equally as many. Many of my friends from the time I fell in love with ST:TNG in the sixth grade through today love Wesley.  Me? I fall in with the latter group (though even I’ll admit that Wil Wheaton is a pretty cool guy and grew up to be kinda hot). And yet I often wonder, why do folks like me hate the character of Wesley so much?

With and without colored bars

With and without colored bars

Maybe it was that ridiculous grey jumper/uniform he wore for ages. I hate to say it but that was probably on par with the male Next Gen crewmember in “Encounter at Farpoint” who was wearing an Original Series women’s uniform (yes, the tight miniskirt) for silliness. And the colored stripes on the shoulders in the first version? Really? Who could take a kid like that seriously? His hair didn’t help either. It wasn’t just that he looked dorky. Normally I’m all about the dorky but even I wouldn’t have danced with Wesley at an 8th grade dance if he had that hair.
Maybe it was that in several episodes when things seemed to go really bad we had a ship full of officers, scientists and engineers who were all trained professionals with amazing skills….and yet apparently not one of them could do anything to save the Enterprise. Instead it was Wesley, the kid genius, who saved the day. How did that make any sort of sense? As a kid I dreamed of being able to go to Starfleet Academy but apparently their courses just aren’t up to snuff if a single kid who hadn’t been through the academy was the one to pull everyone’s asses out of the fire.
Emo Wesley

Emo Wesley!

Maybe it was the attitude he developed later in the series. I suppose you could chalk it up to teenage rebellion but on him it was utterly obnoxious, even while I was first watching it as a teenager! I wanted to smack him upside the head and tell him to get over it. When those episodes aired I tended to tune out whenever he was on screen. (Much like I do in True Blood when it’s just Bill on screen) I’ve started to realize that I have a dislike of any character that indulges in emo tendencies. Probably while I can’t stand Bill (True Blood), Angel (Buffy/Angel), Scott (X-Men) and so on.

Maybe it was all three of those things and more. I know the high points in my dislike of Wesley were two particular moments. The first was in season 1 when Q was out and about, transported several of the crew and Wesley to a strange planet and then Wesley happened to get stabbed through the back by a musket-wielding alien. Be honest, how many of you went “Yes!” when that happened? The second moment was when he finally left with the Traveler. I actually cheered aloud when he finally left. To me, the ship and crew could handle themselves just fine without Wesley. Heck, half the things he had to save the ship from seemed to be his fault in the first place.

Wesley stabbed

Wesley stabbed!

To bring a happier end to this particular entry, I will say that I stumbled on Wil Wheaton via twitter years ago and happened to catch his blog entry where he talked about being at the Star Trek Experience in Vegas (before it closed). While the entry didn’t make me love Wesley or even like him a bit, I finally had a glimpse into the actor and decided that he was likeable as himself. Not long after I started following him one of my twitter friends that I knitted a Jayne hat for met him at a convention and had a picture taken with him…while she was wearing the hat I made. Talk about an odd connection to make.

Since then I’ve followed him on Twitter (though he never sees my comments to him as my account is locked and he hasn’t followed me…hint hint Mr. Wheaton!) and I’ve now seen him on “The Guild”. To my utter dismay I had to concede that now he was hot…as long as I didn’t think of him in Wesley terms. Somehow I’ve not gotten one “Told ya so” from any of my Wesley-loving friends, though I expect that to change in the near future.

I’ll probably never like the character of Wesley Crusher. And at least I can identify a few reasons that might explain it. But as for the actor, Wil Wheaton, I think that’s a dude I can totally smile at and respect.