After playing Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation for one season, Denise Crosby wanted out, but what does she think today about her decision to leave the show?
At first, Crosby had high hopes when it came to Tasha Yar. “I always talk about a scene I had to audition with, that never made it on to film, and I never understood that,” she said. “That scene, to me, was what was so exciting and interesting about the character. She was really, deeply insecure and had this wonderful paradox going on. She was so physically capable and had this very strong persona, but inside was just this little girl that felt very much out of her depth. That was the scene that I had to audition with, and it gave me a clue to the character.”
But the character never seemed to reach her potential on the show. “I was always trying to find moments where I could sort of play that, as an actor, and have that stuff going on inside,” said Crosby. “It was really a letdown in a way, once the show got up and running. My favorite episode was when I died and came back. Yesterday’s Enterprise was just much more realized writing for this character.”
One episode, The Naked Now, showed Tasha Yar in a different way. “What was so wonderful was the humor and the absurdity of [The Naked Now], and the delight of playing [a] forbidden thing,” said Crosby. “That episode was fun because you got to see the other side of Tasha. You’d seen her as this fierce warrior, this take-charge character, and then she gets contaminated with this virus or whatever it was, and she takes on this other persona. That was a lot of fun. She was basically just drunk through the whole episode. I think people delight in seeing characters be inappropriate to who they are.”
Knowing what she knows now, did Crosby make the right choice to leave The Next Generation? “Yes,” said Crosby. “For me, I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying. This was not an overnight decision. I was grateful to have made that many episodes, but I didn’t want to spend the next six years going ‘Aye, aye, captain,’ and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years.”