Friday, December 23, 2016

Good Trek / Bad Trek #9 What Are Little Girls Made Of?

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who's never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

I completely forgot to write about Star Trek last week. If you’re one of the thirty-some-odd people who read this, then my sincerest apologies. If I was going to skip over an episode, this would’ve been a good one because it was really something. That was selfish of me, and I’m sorry. The holidays are stressful and I imagine a lot of folks would’ve liked to kick back with a glass of eggnog and read a sick Trek recap.

It was extra easy to forget about Star Trek this week because this is also the premier of Star Wars: Rogue One. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but Star Wars is kinda dumb. I like some of the movies, but the way everyone loses their shit over Star Wars when there’s a lot of other much better sci-fi out there irks me sometimes. This is not one of those episodes that’s better though. It’s episodes like this that make me completely understand why people don’t like the Trek. This one in particular, is bizarre. Particularly considering that this is a fifty-year-old show, this is one bizarre hour of television. I can’t even imagine what folks thought back then when they were switching back and forth between this and The Waltons or whatever else was on. It’s bizarre, but they’re all so poorly paced and written so clumsily that these episodes are really pretty boring too. This episode features both killer robots and sex robots and couldn’t help but keep looking at my watch the whole time.

This one is very Nurse Chapel heavy which I like. Anyone who is at all familiar with any kind of Star Trek will have a soft spot in their heart for Majel Barrett. The wife of Gene Roddenberry. She was originally cast to play the second in command who was just called number one. CBS didn’t like the idea of a woman being that close to the captain’s chair so they made Roddenberry get rid of the lady commander. She did get to play Nurse Chapel, which was a much smaller role. This is my first time through the TOS episodes, so I don’t know how much smaller but since her other character’s name was number 1, and Nurse Chapel doesn’t have a number at all then I’ll assume that her role is diminished. She also was the voice of the computer on pretty much the rest of all the Star Treks. She also played Lwaxana Troi in (probably too many episodes than necessary. but who gives a shit, she’s great. She’s the only person to appear in all incarnations of Trek, and that’s super badass. People shit on Lwaxana a lot, but I liked her. She wasn’t my favorite reoccurring character, but she’s got some solid episodes that people overlook because they like shitting on any Deanna Troi episode. 

Recap:

The gang is headed to a planet to look for a character who has done gone missing. He found some tunnels and then went off the grid. Kirk has a hunch that he’s still alive down on the planet. Chapel gets to go with him because the missing dude is her fiancé. They find him and the episode is a fucking mess. They find Chapel’s fiance who is living with his longtime associate, a giant, and a lady whose nipples deserve top billing for the episode. 
Andrea: Hubble Hubble!

They’re all underground because Chapel’s fiancé has been studying the folks who used to live on the planet. The reason they’re worth studying is that when their sun went dark the whole planet went underground and started relying on robots. Korby (Chapel’s fiance) thinks all he’s learned about all these robots is going to revolutionize the way the whole galaxy operates. 

Boy that Kirk really gets around

Fine. The rest of the episode is just nuts though. I’m trying to keep the recap portions brief so here goes the rest. The folks who used to inhabit this planet are dead because they built robots that got paranoid and took over. Turns out that most everyone we’ve met so far is a robot. Chapel doesn’t like that her fiancé has been hanging out with a sex robot, but Korby assures her that it’s just a sexy robot, not a sex robot so he has not fucked it. But also he’s a robot and everybody dies at the end because these robots got the same paranoia bug that wiped out the original planet dwellers. 

Chapel and Andrea having a nip-ff!

It’s all pretty nuts. We also get a Kirk robot at one point who has a battle of the wits with the real Kirk. Again, it’s nuts. But at the end all the robots are dead and the Enterprise takes off. 

Is This Bad Trek?

Honestly, I have no idea. There were times that were entertaining that I liked. It was bizarre, and I have to give them credit for reaching for the stars. This show was on at 8:30 at night. That’s when families gather around and watch TV together. Knowing that some poor father had to explain the ins and outs of sex robots to his children makes me like it a little better. If Kirk hates the sex robot so much then why does he keep on kissing it? Other than that though this episode is a real mess. 

I almost forgot that Kirk spent a lot of time running around with, what is clearly, a giant sex toy

We do get our first red shirt death. So that’s pretty cool RIP crewman Matthews (I think). You’re the first, but I’m sure not the last. 

The best exchange in the episode is one I’m not even sure they meant to be funny. When Chapel first meets the sex robot she angrily asks her husband if he’s been having sex with the sex robot, and he responds by telling her that robots aren’t for falling in love with. Nobody said anything about falling in love, we’re talking about sexing the sex robots. The fact that you gave that non-answer is a big fat yes. 

Korby keeps on bragging about how realistic these robots are and that they'll be able to take over without anyone noticing, but the Kirk robot sucks. It's a jerk, and it can't eat. How long before people notice that their captain is physically not able to eat food. That might come up at some point. You, Dr. Korby, are no Noonien Soong. 
Kirk and robo-Kirk breaking bread

While we’re on the subject of the sex robot, not saying I agree with the practice but if you’re building them you could do a hell of a lot worse than modeling them after Sherry Jackson’s Andrea. A hearty space-wowza to her. But what does this mean for the rest of Trek canon? If they’re able to build these robots so lifelike and advanced why is Data look like 1G model compared to these? Did Kirk not tell anyone else about these robots? Did he forget to file his logs, and so Starfleet just never got around to taking a look at this technology. If that’s the case then he really messed up I’d say. 

All in all, I’d say that this was an example of bad Trek. It’s bizarre enough to warrant a watch if you’re interested in though. 

Strike that, I'm changing my mind as I write this. This episode was so nuts it was great. 

Push Trek

TNG: Up The Long Ladder

I haven’t seen this episode in a long time. Usually, when I rewatch TNG I skip over most of seasons one and two. This one isn’t great, plus it’s the return of another race of space-Irish. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but when it comes to being a good episode of the Trek then space-Irish need not apply. 

This one’s not about robots, but about clones. People whose people weren’t going to live on decided to turn to clones instead of robots. It’s okay. It’s got Dr. Pulaski who sucks, but in terms of early seasons of TNG, it has its moments despite the space Irish. I’d probably watch the What Are Little Girls Made Of just because it wins hands down in terms of pure bonkers TV. 


Good Trek

TNG: Measure Of A Man

This is the exception to the early TNG sucked rule. Kirk is not very nice to the robots (except for Andrea) because they’re just machines so fuck them. This season 2 TNG episode addresses the grey area of whether or not a sentient machine is considered a new life or not. In it, Data asks Starfleet not to disassemble him and Starfleet has the balls to say no. So they have a trial about whether that’s a decision Data can make on his own. Whether or not Data is a person or property is settled in a court of law. It’s a solid episode featuring a great performance by Jonathan Frakes’ William Riker, a character, and actor not necessarily known for depth. 


That’s it for this week. Sorry about last week. I’ll get back on schedule next week with,  either Dagger Of The Mind or Miri. I don’t know which one was officially next. Merry Christmas everyone!

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