Saturday, December 30, 2017

Pettiness in Comedy & Good Trek/Bad Trek #52 Wolf In The Fold

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 and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I’ve been a comedian for a while. You wouldn’t know that unless you’re reading this or know me as most people don’t know that I’m a comedian. Having been doing comedy a while, you get to know a lot of other comics who’ve also been doing it to little or no avail. I’m sure it’s no different in music or art or poetry, but a lot of conversations among comics, especially among comics who haven’t gotten what they feel they deserve can be bitter and petty. Being bitter and resentful is just kind of part of the game until hopefully one day hopefully, it’s not. But you have to get to the point where you have a reason to not be bitter. Until then, sometimes it feels good to sit and bitch.

Bitterness can take many forms. Sometimes it leads you to sit around bitching because too many straight white guys get stuff. Sometimes it leads you to sit around bitching because you think your straight white maleness is holding you back. You need to let this stuff out sometimes, but it’s important to remember that you can’t let it get the better of you. If for no other reason, then people won’t want to ever be around you. I’m as guilty of this of the next one. I’ll see someone get something. I won’t get anything and I’ll get upset. In my darkest moments I get angry about folks getting shit I don’t even want or think I’d be a good fit for. That’s when I’m at my worst.

I’m sure musicians and actors and poets are probably the same, but comedy is what I’m around so that’s what I’m familiar with. In my years as a comic, I’ve seen a lot of petty horse shit. I myself have been guilty of this. When I first started I used to troll comedy message boards and make fun of comics I didn’t think much of. It was stupid and immature, but also kind of fun and helped me pass a lot of time at my job. 

I'm not here to talk about my petty bullshit though. I'm here to talk about the absolute most petty thing I ever saw as a comic. That would be something having to do with actor Dustin Diamond. For those of you who don't know, Dustin Diamond used to play the character Screech on Saved By The Bell. Now he bills himself as a comedian. I don’t know the guy. I’ve never worked with him. I know people who have and have heard mixed things about him as a person. I've also I’ve heard universally bad things about his act. That’s probably because he’s not a comic. He’s a former actor who now does comedy to pay the bills. I honestly don’t even know if he still does comedy, but he used to when this took place. The reasons to not like the guy as a comic are valid. He used to steal jokes from other comics which is a huge no-no. But of course he stole jokes. He was never really a comic. I'm not condoning it. I think joke thievery is universally bad, but if I went to see any washed-up celebrity doing comedy I can't say I'd be surprised to see them do some questionable material. The people who went to see Dustin Diamond weren’t comedy fans interested to hear Diamond’s take on life. They were folks who recognized his face and wanted to see words come out of his dumb mouth for an hour because they remembered Saved By The Bell. And because they remember it they think it was a good show. It was not.

None of that matters though. I’m not talking about anything that Dustin Diamond did. What I'm talking about is a comic who worked with him and ended up hating Dustin Diamond. A lot of doing comedy sucks. You write jokes and you perform them for nobody and sometimes people you don’t think much of get a lot of money and recognition while you toil away in obscurity. This thing of ours can be really frustrating and a lot of doing this really just plain sucks. 

Anyhow, this guy, whose name I don't recall or care to bother looking up, worked with Dustin Diamond. By his own accord, the guy did well. Also according to him, Dustin Diamond did not do very well. He felt great because of his great set and thought that Diamond should feel bad about his shitty set. He wanted to share the legendary story about the time he did better at comedy than a guy who isn't really a comic but he wasn’t content to share this story with friends or normal social media or on the message boards that already existed. This guy thought that this story needed a platform all it’s own. So he set up a website. A website called screechsucks.com. 

The about of the site said it was set up so folks could read and share stories about Dustin Diamond and how much they hate him. There was ever only one such story. From the guy who made the website. I know it was the guy who made the website because it said this site is set up to share stories about how much we all hate Dustin Diamond and he said I’ll start and then shared his story about doing better than Dustin Diamond that one time. Zero comments. He thought that this website would be a place comics from all over the world would come and swap stories both about times that Dustin Diamond did them wrong and times that they really put Dustin in his place. And nobody did. From what I can tell I was the only one who ever read this account of his epic feature set. 

My mom would say "looks like someone has a crush!"

It’s hard to keep on doing comedy when literally everything is telling you not to. When shit gets bleak, which it usually is, it can be hard not to get petty and resentful. I'm trying to be more positive. Just keep on working and hope for the best. That's something I plan on working on in 2018, more positivity and less pettiness. If that doesn't work out then I'll probably debut my new website screechsucksbutnotasmuchastheguywhomadethewebsitescreechsucks.com.com. Becuase no matter how down on myself I get at least I’m not either one of those assholes. 

Know what else is bad? This terrible episode of Trek. Have at it. 

Recap:

We open the episode with a belly dancer. Not a great start. Star Trek gets a lot of credit for the good they do, but holy shit, you’d think Gene Roddenberry should’ve hired someone of middle eastern decent to just sit and shake his head periodically at some of these awful ideas. It goes on for so long. Scotty and Kirk just talk about how Scotty needs to have sex. Then Bones and Kirk talk about how much Scotty needs to have sex. Supposedly, he needs to get laid so bad because he got a concussion. A concussion caused by a woman. Seriously. The belly dancer music is familiar. I know in TV you have to cut corners where you can but they have reused this particular piece of generic belly dancing music a lot. I don’t know why we keep on having belly dancers. But they do seem to pop up often. I would bet dollars to donuts that Gene Roddenberry’s wife, Majel Barrett was forced to parade around in some vaguely middle eastern costume from time to time.

This show that gave America its first interracial kiss also gave us a whole lot of this

Scotty isn't even given time to fuck his woman caused concussion away with the belly dancer when there’s a scream. Looks like there’s been a murder. A murder of a belly dancer most foul. Looks like we’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned murder mystery. Murder on the Enterprise express. 

We’re just getting into the first murder mystery when someone else is stabbed to death. This time a member of the Enterprise. Also a woman. Also, Scotty was the only one present at the time. These people get multiple stab wounds yet they only let out a single scream. Seems like there’d be more blood curdling going on there. Scotty again was left alone with a vulnerable woman. Seems like maybe someone should be keeping an eye on him seeing as he’s the only suspect that anyone has at this point. 

The future

They keep on leaving women alone with Scotty and these women keep on ending up dead. Seems like maybe he should be in a brig or something. Because they have a seance to figure out what's going on. The lights go out and another woman ends up stabbed. This is getting out of hand. We’re already at three dead. That’s too many. 

They put Scotty on trial and then the episode goes fucking apeshit. Turns out that Jack the Ripper is responsible for the murders and he takes over the ship. They somehow trick Jack back into the body of one of the folks putting Scotty on trial and beam him out into space. It’s pretty messed up. 

Good Trek?

No. These are just so bad. Each episode since I stopped watching Discovery has been worse than the one before. Next week’s episode is The Trouble With Tribbles which is a classic, so I got that going for me. Then Discovery comes back that following week so I'll probably start on those again. Looking forward to some good Trek coming up because watching these are a real bummer. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started watching these, but these are such a drag. When they’re bad they’re just so bad. Like this one. This one is so very bad. Even a couple really good Bones zingers weren't anywhere near enough to salvage this piece of shit for me. 

That's right. Practice workplace safety or get Jack the Rippered. 

I’m trying to think of how many episodes have featured belly dancers. I think like three or four and each time those scenes go on forever. I don’t know if Roddenberry had a belly dancer thing or what, but these scenes do really seem to drag. I’ve yet to see a lady dancing to vaguely middle eastern music scene that went on for an appropriate amount of time. I like watching pretty ladies dance as much as the next guy, but I gotta tell you that's not why I'm watching. I mean, don't you guys have a spaceship? I kinda want to see what's going on up there. I don’t want to shit on pretty ladies dancing, but there are other places to get my fix for that. I would kinda like to see some space stuff. 

I wonder if anyone watching at the time had the opposite reaction and was really disappointed when this turned into a murder mystery. Like they were halfway through the cold open and were like hell yeah, a whole episode about Scotty getting laid to overcome a blow to the head. Finally. And then all the women end up good and dead and he’s on trial and they were just cursing that fact. Some awfully sexually repressed dude in the sixties who was jazzed at the prospect of ladies belly dancing for the full hour and now has to watch whatever this is. 
Laughing about not knowing if he stabbed three women to death. 

For an episode I did not like I watched it in parts a lot. I put this on a dozen times and kept on zoning out. I would look down at my phone and next thing I know it would be already well into The Trouble With Tribbles and I had no idea what had happened. Finally, I was watching and heard them say that Jack the Ripper was the killer and said, out loud to nobody “yo, what the fuck did you just say?”

I know I’ve had this same criticism for the past three episodes, but this one also felt like three episodes all kind of taped together. This one more than just about any other episodes I’ve watched so far made me angry. Fuck this one. 

Better Trek?

This episode made me so angry that you should watch literally anything else. This is one of those that's so bad I see why people hate Star Trek. If this was all I knew about Trek I would hate it too. Fuck this show and its weird-ass Jack the Ripper ending. It's messed up. I’m glad that Discovery is back next week. Because Discovery is very good and this episode is very bad. Watch a couple past Discovery episodes and get ready for its return. Also, the Dark Mirror episode that pokes fun at Star Trek was really cool. I just watched it last night and it was really solid. There are some fun Trek jokes in there and has fun at TOS's expense. It's not really a Trek episode, but it's cool as hell and worth a watch. I really like Cristin Milioti. Even though I hated the ending of How I Met Your Mother I loved her character (until the end, but that's not her fault). Everything I've seen her in she kills it. This Dark Mirror is no exception. 

In terms of Trek episodes then there are a few. None of which are great, but none of which are worse than this one. If you want to see a member of the Enterprise hang out with a ghost who travels time and space then you have TNG's Sub Rosa. Largely considered one of the weirdest and worst episodes of the run. Dr. Crusher starts having sex with her dead grandmother's ghost lover. It's pretty messed up. But makes more sense from an afterlife perspective. I’m not telling any ghosts out there how to spend eternity, but I can tell you that when I’m shuffled off this mortal coil and I’m given the choice of murdering ladies or laying in spooky congress with Gates McFadden that I will definitely be choosing the latter of those two. 

If you want to see members of the crew being put on trial on a planet they're not from then I'll give you two to choose from. First is TNG's Justice. In this one, Wesley Crusher is almost put to death because he's a clumsy idiot. A charge for which he most definitely is guilty, but probably not death penalty worthy. I understand this planet is supposed to be a utopia but it seems that maybe Dr. Crusher should've investigated the laws and punishments before letting her teenage son frolick with the natives. Nothing against Dr. Crusher. I'm a fan. 

Lastly, I'd go with a VOY episode Ex Post Facto. Probably the best of the three I just listed. Though not as good as the Black Mirror episode. Paris is found guilty of murder and Tuvok tries to prove he didn't do it. It's a neat episode that lets Tim Russ really have at it. I've said it before that I think his take on Tuvok is just phenomenal. So any episode that focuses a lot on Tuvok is worth watching for that reason alone. If you want to get the full Wolf In The Fold experience watch half of Ex Post Facto then switch over to Sub Rosa. It won't make sense, but neither did the original episode. 

That's it for this week. Here's to a bunch more good Trek in 2018 and a lot less bad Trek. Happy New Year!


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