The blogosphere and twittersphere are making Captain Kirk and Star Trek allusions, but William Shatner's dueling dance with Sarah Palin on "The Tonight Show" last night was pure Denny Crane, the lovably lecherous lawyer he played in Boston Legal.
"What I give to you, what I share, I do with no one else," William Shatner's Boston Legal character Denny Crane tells fellow lawyer James Spader's Alan Shore in one of their end-of-episode après-ski moments of quiet reflection. "I love you Denny, you are my best friend. I can't imagine going through life without you as my best friend. I'm not going to kiss you however," retorts Spader with just the right blend of earnest yearning and self-deprecating humor:
I don't know whether you know this, but not many men take the time, every day, to have a cigar, glass of scotch, to talk to their best friend. That's not something most men have.
I like to think that what you give to me you do with nobody else. Now that may sound silly to you. But here's what I think is silly, the idea that jealousy or fidelity is reserved for romance.
Nobody does this schtick better than William Shatner, and now the man who won the hearts and minds of an earlier generation with his Captain Kirk at the helm of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek is back center stage on a television set near you, seducing us and our countrymen with star-billed appearances doing dramatic readings of Sarah Palin's prose on Conan O'Brien's "The Tonight Show" and interviewing Rush Limbaugh on "Shatner's Raw Nerve," a celebrity interview series airing on The Biography Channel. And you don't have to sit around watching O'Brien or have access to The Bio Channel to get the message. Thanks to online social networking, the best of Shatner 3.0 has gone viral, making William Shatner/Denny Crane the GOP's new secret weapon.
The Limbaugh interview turned into a soul-feeding Denny Crane/Alan Shore quiet moment of reflection. So much for Rahm Emanuel & Company's attempts to make Rush the new GOP bogeyman. Meanwhile, Palin beat the pants off Shatner in a joint appearance on "The Tonight Show" last evening. In several appearances last summer, Shatner had mocked Palin as he sat on a stool doing dramatic readings of her 140-character-or-fewer tweets on Twitter. Annoying to Palin fans like us, but nevertheless brilliantly executed, as Hot Air's AllahPundit noted at the time:
These bits are actually less a testament to her goofiness than to the ability of Shatner’s sublime hamminess to make anything funny.
And now — again as seen on Hot Air — Sarah has parried Shatner's thrust and responded with a fatal thrust of her own during a "surprise" appearance doing dramatic readings from Shatner's autobiography. First Shatner entered stage left for a few cherry-picked readings from Going Rogue:
I looked down to see the moose's eyeballs lying in his palm, still warm from the critter's head … I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals, right next to the mashed potatoes … One year, while stalking sheep, I disappeared.
Then Palin entered stage right to playfully mock the mocker:
He remembered the old rule of law enforcement. Of course I understand you robbed that bank because you have no self-esteem. Boom! Taste my night stick … My whole being resonated with the incredible feeling that I was going to go visit with an elephant … and I was going to visit that elephant in my underwear.
Like the moose whose eyeballs lay warm in Palin's father's palm, Shatner/Denny Crane had been bagged. It was small-screen magic, pure late-night-television gold. As the audience erupted in paroxysms of ecstasy, Palin exited stage left arm in arm with her delighted new admirer.
Update: Dan Riehl links with a treat: Shatner's Denny Crane on gun control. Thanks, good friend!
Update II: Woo hoo! Instapundit links with a question: "THE GOP’S SECRET WEAPON: William Shatner?"
Update III: "A huge ovation for Palin — in a pure blue redoubt," writes Machine Gun in the comments:
Shatner: Disloyal to His Fellow Lefties? Or simply smart enough to know which way the wind is blowing?
We loved her commenter ponce's reply:
Update V: DRJ guesting at Patterico's Pontifications links with a Palin-Derangement-Syndrome theory of her own:
What better plan could celebrities like Oprah luck into than garnering sky-high ratings for themselves by hosting Sarah Palin, all while simultaneously building up the one Republican they have convinced themselves could never win?
While you're over at Patterico's, treat yourself to a little "Puppy Love."
Update VI: Shatner has the last word in a Glenn Beck interview cited by Mark in Patterico's comments:
So [Boston Legal's Denny Crane] may be pretending to be crazy. That`s kind of what I`m playing.
Update VII: "Her increasingly improving ability to withstand ridicule will stand in stark contrast to the self-righteous [Gore]," writes Gay Patriot with a link.
Update VIII: No link, but Legal Insurrection's "Palin's turning point" is a great read. Our favorite quote from coolpillow1111 in the comments:
Palin and Shatner — it was a match made in heaven!
Finally, commenter Jim Treacher's trenchant one-liner about the entertainment media speaks for all of us here on the right side of the aisle:
They've turned her into a symbol for everybody who's ever been helplessly frustrated by the media's left-wing bias.
It's where we live.