Shatner Likes It Raw

Published December 3, 2008

Portrait courtesy of the Biography Channel

Oh, William Shatner. Spoken-word performer; science fiction novel writer; paid celebrity product endorser; Captain Kirk. Living legend. How do you make that which is so wrong seem so very, very right?

The eternal conundrum that is Shatner’s undeniable appeal kept me up long after last night’s premier episode of Shatner’s Raw Nerve, his new BIO channel celebrity interview series, had ended. Sporting an almost white suit jacket and leaning over the back of a tweed armchair, Shatner introduced his debut guest, Jenny Craig spokesperson Valerie Bertonelli, by beckoning: “She was a rock-and-roll wife; now she isn’t. She was fat; now she isn’t. She was [brief, contemplative pausefor dramatic effect] an addict; now she isn’t. How did she do that? Let’s try and find out.” Honestly, it could have ended there and I would have been hooked.

Then, it got better. It seems Bertinelli is as smitten by Shatner as I am, because there were maybe 15 seconds of onstage time before she began baring her soul to a man still best known for manning a fake spaceship. Just 5 minutes in, Bertinelli had admitted to committing adultery. Soon it was religion. Then relationships. Then addiction. Then she calls him “sexy.” It was incredible.

But it wasn’t absurd. Shatner hit hard with some tough questions, but he really listened to the answers. He was concerned, attentive. He offered up a few key anecdotes about himself, but he let the full spotlight stay on his guest. I am now jealous of Valerie Bertinelli. I want to tell William Shatner all of my deepest, darkest secrets, too.