Sunday, July 26, 2015

Character Insight No. 155: Keenser, is he a pet?

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here 

Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Scotty's engineering shadow, Keenser, in an effort to solve the important debate of our time: IS KEENSER A PET?

Keenser in uniform.jpg

(Keenser from Into Darkness, courtesy

Keenser is an engineering crewmember who serves aboard the Enterprise in the Abrams timeline movies. Well, "serves aboard the Enterprise" may be a stretch, as he follows Scotty around everywhere and as we've previously criticized, Scotty doesn't spend enough time on the ship in either new movie to date.

About the only time these two characters are apart is when Scotty first transwarp beams to the Enterprise with Kirk in the '09 Star Trek. Thus, it's difficult to tell if Keenser is just a BFF coworker, a sidekick, or as Darrell posits, a pet.

Keenser was banished with Scotty on the remote outpost at Delta Vega, which seems to indicate he might just be a coworker or sidekick. Much like a good sidekick does, at a critical juncture of Into Darkness, he gives Scotty the look that forces Scotty to reconsider Kirk's request to investigate the coordinates received from Khan. As Scotty listens to him, that makes it seem like Keenser is more of an equal than just a subordinate pet.

Of course, Scotty gets on Keenser all the time for climbing up on high things and not eating much food...which are two very cat-like qualities. Plus, Keenser just follows along like a dutiful dog when Scotty resigns over the mystery photon torpedos Admiral Marcus puts on board to stop Khan. It certainly blurs the line between dutiful sidekick and just a pet.

One reason that Keenser may be deemed a pet is a lack of lines, but that was an intentional change made by the filmmakers after originally having some dialogue for the character. One line still slips though, albeit a short one:

Keenser: "Me!"

And that one word, even though it is a minor thing, proves this is just an alien that chooses to use silence and gestures and looks rather than try to speak a foreign language. That falls outside the definition of pet and right into the definition of sidekick. So I'm with Star Mike on this one, Keenser is not a pet (but just barely).  Sorry Darrell, you can take it out on me this week in Utah.

Speaking of Utah, I will be at Nerdtacular this weekend with The Trek Nerd, so please come say hello and let me know if you like the segment or what I can do to make it even better.

Mohinder Purba, better known as his stage name Deep Roy, is the actor who plays Keenser. At 4 foot, 4 inches tall, he has been able to play some highly iconic roles such as the stunt R2-D2, the stand-in for Yoda, and an Ewok named Droopy McCool in the original Star Wars trilogy. Most notably, he played all 165 oompa-loompas in the 200 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He's a perfect fit for a small alien role intended to bring some humor and wit into the often-serious storylines of science fiction.

Until next time, remember: captains have pets, engineers have sidekicks because they don't have time for pets.


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...

No comments:

Post a Comment