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by Mollie Pettit and Mike Stringer

Dear Wesley Crusher,

You are, by far, one of the most annoying characters in the entire Star Trek Universe. Ok, sure, you have a few close runner-ups (Neelix, Lwaxana, Keiko, Alexander) but I’d still say you take the prize. You are an obnoxious know-it-all kid who had a tendency to screw things up, whether it be by appointing yourself “acting captain” and taking over engineering, letting nanites loose to destroy the ship, lying at Starfleet hearings, or getting a death sentence on a foreign planet. We’re talking second only to Star Wars’ Jar Jar Binks level of annoyance.

I recently found myself wondering if I could measure how annoying you are; how could I test, with numbers, that my dislike towards you is not felt alone, but shared by many? And beyond that, a collective dislike so powerful, that solely your existence in an episode would bring ratings crashing to the ground like the Enterprise in Nemesis.

How’d that turn out, you ask?

Ratings with and without you, Wesley Crusher

To begin, I gathered every line from every episode of Next Generation from Chrissie’s Transcripts Site, along with the corresponding IMDB ratings.

There are 176 Next Generation episodes which have a median IMDB rating of 7.4. If one separates the episodes that contain absolutely no Wesley from the episodes that contain at least one line of Wesley, a statistically significant difference is immediately noticeable: the no-Wesley median is 7.5 compared to a with-Wesley median of 6.95.

But there’s more. Take a look at this:

This chart is showing how the median rating drops as the number of lines Wesley Crusher has in the episode increases. Sadly for you, Wesley, the more you talk, the less people like the episode (I’m not claiming this data implies a causal relationship between Wesley talking and the rating of the episode: common sense, however, does).

Now, no matter how annoying I find you, Wesley, I feel an obligation to be fair to you. After all, you did save Picard from dying of thirst, save the crew from mind control devices, and you were the first to recognize that Lore was really Data’s evil brother and not Data himself. As much as I wanted this relationship between your words and ratings to be perfect, there are a few episodes where your presence didn’t drag down the rating. The episode with the most Wesley lines (“The Game”, with 119 lines spoken by you) has a respectable rating of 7.4. But, let’s be serious, how awesome would that episode have been without you?

Either way, in the end, I (and the data) side with Lore when he called you a “troublesome little man-child”. I have but one last thing I’d like to say to you, echoing the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and your mother (Beverly Crusher) in Datalore

Very Truly Yours,
Mollie

P.S. Just to be clear — this is not about you, Wil Wheaton. You seem like a pretty cool dude with whom it would be fun to grab a beer. It’s not your fault the writers often wrote your character to be so insufferable. Also, you’re fabulous in Big Bang Theory.

To the Star Trek fans

Thanks for reading! Would you like more? I have compiled every line from nearly every episode and movie in the Star Trek Universe (thanks to Chrissie’s Transcripts Site) into a format that makes it easy to find insights within the data and do statistical analysis. There is a lot of data here for me to play around with.

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