On this week’s episode of The Alpha Quadrant Garrett Wang told a story I hadn’t heard before. He has previously talked about how he got in trouble for tardiness at the end of the third season/beginning of the fourth season of Voyager. He was suspended for two episodes because of it. (”Blood Fever” and “Fair Trade,” I think it was.)
Everyone thought it was because of too much partying, and he let people think that. Even after Voyager was over…at at least one convention, he said he wasn’t getting any job offers, and he thought it was because he screwed up on Voyager.
(I don’t think that was it at all. That would have been five years ago by then – ancient history – and Voyager wasn’t exactly big news in the business. Robbie McNeill told a story about having a casting director look at his resume and ask him why he hadn’t worked for so many years. He told her he had a regular role on Star Trek: Voyager. She was like, “What’s that?” I think Garrett didn’t get a lot of job offers because 1) there weren’t a lot of roles for Asian guys and 2) reality TV was exploding at the time, and that took away a lot of acting jobs.)
Anyway, Garrett said this week that it wasn’t partying that got him into trouble. He was just so depressed he couldn’t get out of bed. All he wanted to do was sleep. He had five alarms set and was sleeping through all of them. He knew it was terrible; he was keeping people waiting for half an hour to an hour and a half, and it was very expensive. He finally had to hire a friend to call him repeatedly until he woke up.
And the reason he was so depressed was that he was unhappy with his role on Voyager. He felt he had gone from being the toast of the town three years ago to spending 14 hours a day, 10 months a year spouting boring technobabble. He gave up roles in Mortal Kombat and Glory Daze (where he would have co-starred with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Matthew McConaughey, among others) for Voyager. He felt his talent was being wasted. Rick Berman insisted that the human characters on Voyager had to be “wooden, two-dimensional, and militaristic,” to make the non-human characters look better. And if they didn’t toe that line, the scene would be re-shot until they did.
He got called on the carpet for his tardiness and tried to explain, but Berman thought he was partying and wouldn’t admit it. After he was late three times, Berman suspended him, and threatened to fire him. Garrett says that’s why he was almost written out at the end of season 3. It had nothing to do with Kes or Seven of Nine.
It’s been 20 years and still I find new reasons to hate Rick Berman.