Thursday, February 25, 2010

Show Me That Smile Again

The nature of pop culture is such, especially these days, that serious events are somehow simultaneously overdramatized and dehumanized. Media outlets turn news of the famous or once-famous into desperate theater to captivate the weak-minded and empty-lived; meanwhile, for many more people, the stories are merely fodder for tasteless jokes.

The Gheorghian Way is to neither indulge the melodrama nor to spit on a man's (potential) grave, quite obviously. But executing the latter can prove difficult. In a news story rife with mentions of "Boner," quelling a man's inner Beavis takes some doing. And as much as the sentiment of this saga should be, "I hope he didn't do anything to hurt himself," I just couldn't come away with any reaction stronger than:

Boner Stabone's dad is Chekov??? How on earth did I miss that?

The search for a missing actor in Vancouver has escalated with efforts from concerned family members and friends, and spurred even more searches on the Web.

And yet, "Growing Pains" actor Andrew Koenig has still not turned up. Apparently, the TV star was visiting friends in Vancouver when he disappeared on February 14. Koenig was just a teen when he landed his recurring role as Richard "Boner" Stabone for the '80s sitcom, but he's 41 now. Still, his parents told the "Today" show that there is reason to worry. They said that before his absence, "he was very depressed." The Koenigs have gone to Vancouver to meet with police, and are asking for the public's help in finding their son.

Koenig's dad is Walter Koenig, who played Chekov on "Star Trek." The father's website has added a heartfelt plea for help in locating his son. According to the post, Andrew had been "suffering from clinical depression." It goes on to say that before he left his home in Los Angeles, Andrew sent his father a letter that was "despondent" in tone. More alarming, he sold a number of his possessions before his trip, and refused a job offer, saying he "wasn't going to work any more."

The younger Koenig, who appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and played The Joker in 2003's "Batman: Dead End," had most recently been working on comedy and editing movies with his friend, writer/producer Lance Miccio. Miccio told that the actor "suffered with depression and "would get down easily."

"He liked to go to Vancouver because it's beautiful and quiet, it's his favorite place in nature," Miccio said. "One of the films we did together, 'Living the Blues,' it's about a manic depressive musician who went to a spot in nature that he loved and took his own life. I'm not saying that's what happened with Andrew, but it has occurred to me."

According to Miccio, Koenig hated being known for his "Growing Pains" role and "Star Trek" connection. "When I introduced him to people, he said, 'Never say my dad's Chekov and never say I played Boner,'" Miccio said. "He didn't want to be known as Boner his whole life. That's something that affected him."

All jokes aside, just like that night in that frisky co-ed's dorm at Cluj University after too many shots of Ţuică, Gheorghe is hoping that the Boner appears, safe and sound.


TJ said...

I am embarrassed to say I never knew he was Chekov's kid either.

Geoff said...

Me neither. That's really the only interesting part of this story to me. How did I miss that?

zoltan said...

I don't understand why anyone would know that. Unless you're a Boner superfan or something.

Geoff said...

I am, and I've got one right now.

Whitney said...

See?? Geoff's comment made me laugh heartily, and this story is no laughing matter.

Dan said...

ahrl - that's audible hotel room laugh

zoltan said...

I bet Andrew Koenig and Jaleel White have a lot to talk about.

evision said...