Charlie X – First aired on September 15, 1966
Teenagers….. it’s fortunate that I haven’t been one for a few years. Now, I can laugh at them without making fun of myself. Then again, I will probably feel the same way about 20 year-olds when I hit my 30’s. Of course, laughing at teenagers is what got the Enterprise crew into so much trouble this time around, so maybe we ought to be more careful with who we laugh at.
It is hard to not feel sorry for Charlie, his family was killed in the crash that left him stranded all alone on a backwater planet. He had absolutely no human contact until the crew of the Antares rescued him. Thanks to this he definitely wins the “Most Awkward Boy of the 23rd Century” award. Essentially, I think that what we get with Charlie is a look at a teenager without a filter. Since he was never told what was right from wrong, Charlie is constantly acting on impulse and desire. The twist is that this particular uninhibited teenager has acquired near Q like powers.
Perhaps due to having a B.S. in Psychology, I cannot help but analyze young Charlie and conclude that part of his problem is that he is in a very egocentric state of mind. Developmental Psychology tells us that, as adolescents, most of us go through a phase where have a Personal Fable and an Imaginary Audience. During our teenage years, we assume that we are the center of attention and that others are constantly watching us and judging us. The normal human reaction to this is to stress out over anything and everything about us that could possibly be a source of embarrassment. Eventually these feelings die out and we look back at how silly we were to think that our entire high school would care that we had a giant pimple on our face or that we didn’t dress cool enough. Unfortunately for Charlie, his imaginary audience was a little more real than the average teen, and his personal fable was under some serious attack.