My buddy Kirk had a great post today about pre-teen genre crushes, and I was inspired to steal the notion. What makes an eleven year old into a fanboy? Can it be at least partly the fault of the young ladies involved? I say yes! After all, if Judy Jetson had been born to the Flintstones maybe I'd be more into historical fiction instead of sci-fi and fantasy. Food for thought!
So, first screen crushes. Kirk is completely right about Lynn Tanner. Her primary role in the show may have been to crush on boys, listen to pop music, and gape with amazement at how fascinating ALF was, but that was apparently enough to impress me. But, no, I don't recall having feelings for VICI. I DID watch 'Small Wonder', though. More than once. And wikipedia says it's regarded as one of the worst shows of any kind ever. So... well, I have been known to fall for robots and aliens. Maybe it did start there.
The Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story had Bastion, Atreyu, a limitless imaginary kingdom, and a boy called Mike all in her thrall. A desperate quest, a plea from a dying sovreign: find her a name, save the world. Sounds easy, right? Oi.
Anyway, it's not that I was lusting after these characters (perhaps a list for another day) : I think at eleven I was fascinated by them before I knew why. A classic damsel in distress. Couldn't she just find her OWN name? Didn't matter. I wanted to help- even if it meant reading every book in the library.
Luz Sansone from Earth*Star Voyager. Oh, Luz! Young Jessie 'Beany' Bienstock was all agog over her, and frankly at the time I couldn't think of any other communications officer I'd rather spend a generation voyaging to the stars with, either. I might have been a dozen years away from my first kiss, but, boy, was I sweet on her! Her friend Lani teased her about 'the younger man' (Beany was 14). But if she was into younger guys maybe 12 wouldn't have been a stretch...? Although I was probably more annoying than Beany and more useless in a crisis. Sigh.
Convieniently, I discovered this actress was the teen daughter in Harry and the Hendersons, who I also liked. I guess teen daughters willing to put up with hairy freeloading houseguests was something I considered important.
Maggie Gordon from The Last Starfighter takes the bizarre in her stride and bravely leaves her world behind for the love of a guy who's good at video games. She was by no means helpless, but a hard worker who cared for her gramma and didn't want to live in a trailer park all her life. I admired that, I think. Certainly I wouldn't have minded being the Alex Rogan Beta Unit, haplessly trying to make out with her and getting slapped for his robot trouble. I think I knew that was pretty much what I could expect eventually. Did I mention girls scared the crap out of me?
Still do sometimes. And I married one!
Stephanie Speck from Short Circuit. She was lively, happy, compassionate, loved animals, and adopted a loveable newborn robot.
If she was willing to hang out with Number 5 & Steve Guttenberg and even Anthony Michael Hall then surely she'd like me! Also, her loser ex-boyfriend was played by the awesome Captain Johnathan Hayes of the Earth*Star Voyager. Coincidence? Uh, yes.
Princess Vespa from Spaceballs. Lovely and spoiled rotten. Ready for fun. Quick with a gun. And vitally, funny. I do so like a girl who can make me laugh! It's interesting to me that I liked her somewhat more than Princess Leia, who may have been resplendent in a gold bikini but I just don't know what we would have talked about! Comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, parody, cute girl. I think that movie did more to make me the unidentified flying oddball I am today than I ever gave it credit for. And for that, I'm swearing revenge. Curse you, Mel Brooks!