With his distinctive baritone and legions of fans from all walks of life, George Takei has joined the web series world with ‘Takei’s Take’, a series that focuses on bites sized technology information aimed at helping out seniors, or anybody confused by the lightning-fast pace of change.
Takei’s Take is a production by AARP (formerly ‘the American Association of Retired Persons, now just ‘AARP Inc’), which is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives.” Takei’s Take aims to make accessible such modern topics as ‘Social Media’, the ‘Sharing Economy’ and what Google Glass Beta testing could mean for the future.
Takei, (aged 76 at the time of writing) is a man who has fully embraced the technological age. Best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu is the original series of Star Trek (you may have heard of Star Trek, it’s this ‘space’ show that’s been around for a while), Takei has grown on from sci-fi alumni to modern pop-culture superpower. Since 2006 he has had a regular (and very popular) radio slot on The Howard Stern Show, which clued an audience beyond the Trek fandom into his deep voiced calm and witty presence. A similar feat was achieved when he placed third in the 8th series in UK reality show, ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here’.
Aside from many other reality show appearances and guest-starring roles (notably in ‘Heroes’ as Hiro Nakamura’s father ), it was probably Takei’s introduction to social media that really exploded his presence into the forefront of meme sharing popularity. Takei’s Facebook page has over 5 million likes, and that number is increasing all the time. The page is used for a mixture of important things, like LGBT rights issues or campaigns along with other civic issues, but also for an inordinate amount of knowingly groan-worthy puns, sci-fi nerd jokes, cat pictures, and all the memes you could possible eat.
Takei has even released a book called Oh Myyy! (There Goes The Internet) in which he details his experiences on social media and describes how it is one of the most fascinating and entertaining mediums of modern times. Oh Myyy! is his catchphrase of choice, often used in response to the bizarreness that the internet throws up on a daily basis.
Recently, Takei created a show (thanks to a successful IndieGoGo campaign) to take to Broadway: ‘Allegiance: A New American Musical’. Allegiance is a story of love and heroism set against the back drop of the period of Japanese American interment during World War II, something which Takei endured as a child. This dark period of American history involved rounding up people with Japanese heritage and forcibly imprisoning them in ‘war relocation camps’ throughout the duration of World War II, with two-thirds of those interred being American citizens; an act that did not receive an official apology until Congress and President Ronald Regan issued legislation in 1988, stating that the interment was based on, “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.
Takei’s sizeable following helped raise over $150,000 (250% of target) for the show, and an issue that is obviously very close to his heart. But even with dealing with weighty LGBT issues, Takei has developed a reputation for clarity of speech, incisive arguments, and the ability to deliver total smackdowns in hilariously cutting ways.
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Takei’s Take itself is a super-quick affair with bite-sized chunks of knowledge. Each video follows a format of Takei introducing and musing on the subject in hand, there being some quirky and fun animation to either exacerbate the description (or just to throw a joke in there, like a wink to the audience), some ‘out and about’ footage, and a brief interview with someone in the know – all the while whilst keeping the concept as open and accessible as possible – and then a summing up from the man himself. There isn’t enough time for any real detail, but one suspects the point is more to demystify the subject matter and provide enough information to pique the interest, all the while under Takei’s reassuring presence. Both informative and tongue-in-cheek fun? Takei’s Take is a Takei all over.
Takei is perfect example of a man who has found a true niche in the information sharing systems of modernity and has bloomed in a way that would never have been available before; an example to all celebrities in danger of becoming irrelevant as time marches on. Embrace what the information age can do for you, or risk being swept away, unheeded.
You can join the 5 million plus fans on Facebook here (you’ve probably been getting the shares in your Feed anyway!), or follow Takei’s Twitter at @GeorgeTakei. You can see Takei’s Take on YouTube.