Saturday, November 3, 2018

What the fuck is wrong with 20% of this country, bombs, & Good Trek/Bad Trek #72 The Paradise Syndrome

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 don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that the news has been particularly fucked the past couple of weeks. I was listening to the NPR Politics Podcast. They were talking about a recent NPR survey that found that 80% of Americans think that violent rhetoric and incivility could lead to politically motivated violence. The same survey says that the other 20% need to get their fucking heads out of their fucking asses and watch the news every once in a while. 80% Think it “could” lead to violence. Yeah, we’re kind of there. We’ve been there.

Listen, I’m not saying that folks don’t sometimes deserve to be bombed. I’m sure they're out there. The thing with the bombs is that they never get to the person you think they’re going to. What kind of fucking idiot thinks that George Soros isn’t the kind of idiot who’d have someone go through his mail for him? Of course he does. He’s not just sitting there at the mailbox mumbling about how many 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons he gets or doesn’t get. He has a person. Or maybe a whole team of people sit there and go through that stuff. They remove all the shit that’s a waste of time and gives him all the stuff that has to do with being a billionaire.

Same with the politicians who got bombed. They’re not going through every single package that comes their way. They have people. Underpaid people whose job it is to sit there and sift through all the horse shit letters and whatnot they get. That’s my problem with this. Not that politicians and oligarchs might get bombed. They won't. The postal workers and low-level employees for rich people are getting bombed. We're angry at the folks in charge and so we send bombs to other people like us.

And also, that politicians are having bombs sent their way and normal synagogue goers are getting gunned down. Jesus fucking Christ, this is all so fucked. What is the wrong with the 20% who don’t think that there’s violence on the horizon? Anywoo, the whole country is fucked, a good portion of this country is dumb as rocks and don’t consider bombs and synagogue shootings violence for some reason, and also I watched an episode of Trek. Which feels dumb at this point, but that’s what I did. It was The Paradise Syndrome. Here goes.


The gang finds itself at yet another Earthlike planet. They’re just kicking around for a little bit to investigate a planet before they try to divert an asteroid and have it not destroy the planet. But oh no, Kirk falls and gets amnesia and becomes an American Indian (?!?!) medicine man and gets married while the crew is diverting the asteroid.

Good Trek?

It wasn’t awful. I don’t think I’d call it a good Trek. It’s certainly a lot better than I thought it would be. Usually, when any kind of ridiculous looking Native Americans shows up, you’ll think that you’re going to be in for a rough ride. But it was really just kind of boring. Don't get me wrong, the portrayal of the Native Americans is pretty fucked. A whole lot of noble savage stuff. But really, it's mostly just boring.

Sometimes there's a fine line between CPR and just going to town on an unconscious child

They talk about how astronomical the odds are of running into a planet that is so remarkably similar to Earth. There are even American Indians running around. This is always the case though. Damn near every mission involves them running into an Earth-like planet. They’ve even run into actual Nazis from time to time. They've been to the ancient Rome planet. Like every planet they've been to is exactly like Earth. Why aren't they always this surprised?

Boy, these scenes of Kirk acting his way through his amnesia are fucking brutal. You get a classic Scotty "giving it all she’s got." Which is nice. That’s such a thing that TOS is known for, but I can’t really remember him doing it all that much until now. Maybe he has and I’ve missed a few. But at the same time, I don’t think he has all that much. Maybe he really kicks it in high gear throughout the rest of the season.

Oh dear

Trek, despite its reputation for progressiveness, has always been a little weird with its portrayal of Native Americans. TNG had at least an episode where they go to a native American planet. Voyager famously had a Native character. It was awful. Nothing against poor Robert Beltran but his Chakotay was something else. He did the best with what he was given, but what he was given was absolute horse shit. I read that Voyager hired a consultant to help them with their portrayal of Chakotay. And in one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, the Native consultant was full of shit. He was just some dude who made up a bunch of Indianey sounding stuff.
Still not as bad as any Chakotay spirit guide episode

Maybe it’s the benefit of having HD at my disposal, but Kirk’s stunt double gets so much work done. Some episodes he should really get higher billing than Shatner.

I legit LOL'd at this

It seems with the death of Kirk’s wife at the end that they were going for a cheap way to recapture some of that sweet sweet City at the Edge of Forever magic. It's cheap and I don't buy it. I actively wanted to boo my computer.

Better Trek?

If you want to watch a great episode where a character gets amnesia and has to try to figure out who they are, then I’d say go with the one where Data gets amnesia. Or whatever you call it when an android loses its memory. Data loss? Is that too on the nose? Anyhow. It’s a good one. It’s called Thine Own Self. Data has a bunch of radioactive material and loses his memory. He accidentally exposes a bunch of people to the radioactive material while he’s trying to figure shit out. It’s not the best amnesia episode, but I like it. Data was my favorite character growing up. And this is a good Data-centric episode.

Of course, the ultimate episode where a character wakes up on a strange planet and ends up with a wife he wasn’t expecting is The Inner Light. One of the best TNGs of all time. Also one of the best Treks of all time. It’s a great episode that has an ending that’s emotionally devastating in the best possible way. I know Trek is just a series of shows. Some of them can be very silly. It’s weird to watch a horseshit episode like this one and then watch The Inner Light shortly thereafter and realize just how good this show can be. So don’t watch Paradise Syndrome. Or maybe, if you want to. It’s ultimately fine, but forgettable.