Posts about Gates McFadden
[Picard] Is anybody else here really happy for Gates McFadden right now? After being nearly forgotten in the TNG movies Dr. Beverly Crusher will suddenly play one more time a really important role in a major TNG farewell season ... might McFadden even be the most important TNG returnee in Season 3?
Because my assessment after watching several ComicCon videos is that she actually will have a really important role while playing Dr. Crusher during Season 3. Which is kind of a miracle if you consider how low profile Gates McFadden was after 1994 compared to the rest of the TNG crew.
She for sure didn't play a major role in the four TNG movies, she didn't (as far as I know) really have a significant movie/TV carreer as an actor after "All good things" anymore, she only did conventions to remind the Trek fans that she was still out there ...
... and yet here she is attending her very first ComicCon to promote a show with herself in a significant role, doing panels and interviews with Patrick Stewart for basically the final season of TNG. Claiming that the script for Crusher in Picard, Season 3, was "the best script her character ever had". Hinting at a very important role for Beverly in the storyline.
Not Frakes, not Spiner, not Dorn, not Burton - the spotlight really seems to be on her. Which makes sense, of course, because Dr. Crusher and Picard is a relationship many fans wanted to see a resolution for since the late TNG seasons. So a show about "Picard" should of course always include "Dr. Crusher" (who wasn't really mentioned at all in the first two seasons).
But that the producers seemingly really went for it makes me happy right now. Despite all the negative feelings I have toward Picard the show so far. I always assumed she wouldn't have enough political capital to get a major storyline so late in her life. Gates McFadden IMO just deserved it after becoming an afterthought in the movie era (while Troi, Riker and Geordi still appeared in VOY) . I just hope they won't ruin her character with crazy writing.
Watching a convention panel with Gates McFadden and Nana Visitor and the topic of pregnancy comes up: link to part of video with that discussion (37:14) The discussion leading up to it are pretty good too, as she talks about how she sought to defy tropes about women in the way she performed Kira.
Nana mentions how she was scared she'd lose her job on the show for being pregnant, Gates is fully understanding and nodding so I looked it up and according to wikipedia she was pregnant during TNG but it was hidden: "Her pregnancy was not written into the fourth season of TNG; instead, her character wore a laboratory coat over her uniform to conceal it." I had no idea.
But my next admission is a little embarrassing. I'm currently watching DS9 for the first time and my dumb ass was thinking the other day: "man, they're really beating this pregnant-Kira storyline to death. How many episodes is this going to go on for?? I bet she's sick of wearing that silicone belly". Oh dear.
Edit: Nana, not Nina…
[Micro-rant] It was always readily apparent that Beverly loved and mourned the loss of Jack Crusher, but Gates McFadden and the writers made her character about far more than that, she was influenced by her tragedy, but not defined by it.
After the most recent episode of Picard I've been thinking a lot about how past Treks dealt with emotional trauma.
We've had more than a few traumatized, or at least emotionally wounded characters in the franchise. Looking just at TNG, we've got Riker's acrimonious relationship with his father, we've got Crusher losing her husband, Geordi lost his mother, Tasha's childhood was fucked up six ways to Sunday, so it's not like we didn't have traumatized characters in our franchise's past, but the actors and writers still managed to make the characters about more than just their past.
Gates McFadden made it clear through her portrayal that Beverly deeply loved Jack Crusher, that she missed him, that she wished she could give her son the father that he lost... But Beverly Crusher was motivated by much more than that, she wanted to be a good mother to Wesley, she wanted to be a good doctor, she had a great penchant for fairness and sympathy, she was ambitious and wanted to expand her horizons, and hell, there were a couple of times that she even fell in love! I don't think Crusher's character would have been better if we were given a three episode arc about how much she missed Jack every single time she had to administer a hypospray, in fact I'm pretty sure the end result would have been irritating as fuck.
The problem with trauma in Trek isn't its presence, it's its prevalence.
Last week we learned that Picard had an abusive father; that same week we learned that Detmer on Discovery never experienced the sensation of love as a child, and we were reminded that Saru was raised to be a prey animal with a limited lifespan, and the week before that we got the story of Tarka's traumatic backstory, all of which were couched against the larger plot of Booker's trauma at witnessing his planet disappear. The story of Picard's childhood trauma doesn't really hit very hard when everybody in Trek has a childhood trauma.
A few drops of Worcester Sauce on a good steak can dramatically improve the flavor of a meal, drinking a 16oz glass of the stuff will send you to the hospital for sodium poisoning. It's about moderation, and nuTrek is often immoderate to a fault. (/u/droid327/ says there's not enough salt in a 16oz glass of Worcester sauce to kill a person, but still, you know what I mean. How about "A rail of cocaine is fun, a 16oz glass of cocaine will probably kill you.")