Go ahead, make fun of Germany’s infatuation with David Hasselhoff. But before you scoff at how campy an entire culture can be, let’s direct our attention inward and examine America’s infatuation with William Shatner—who, incidentally, will be returning as Priceline’s “negotiator” in upcoming ad spots.

That’s right, Priceline knows that America has a strangely loyal relationship with Shatner. The fact that his character will return as spokesman after literally dying in a fiery crash earlier this year brings us a level of joy we haven’t felt since the return of the McRib. PR experts, of course, want to capture the secret behind America’s love for Shatner so they can replicate it, package it and profit from it over and over again.

But we’re hard-pressed to define or explain our nation’s collective affinity for a man who has taken us to the final frontier and back for more than 40 years. Read more