Sure, season one of Star Trek the Next Generation may have been a bit…rough, but Tom and Jimmy got past that. The rest should be smooth sailing, right?
Well, we’ll see as the two discuss the season premier for season two, an episode where Counselor Troi got unexpectedly pregnant.
There are changes on the Enterprise…like Troi’s unexpected pregnancy!
jimmy: Quite a few changes to start season two.
tomk: Yes. For one thing, they have a lounge now.
jimmy: And a Guinan.
tomk: Yeah, well, when a recognizable actor turns out to be a big Trek fan…
jimmy: Go on…
tomk: Um, Whoopi Goldberg is and was a Star Trek fan.
jimmy: Though not quite at the height of her popularity yet, this was a huge get for the young show.
tomk: Oh, she was up there at the time.
True, she hadn’t won her Oscar yet, but she did have a good movie career going at the time.
jimmy: Yes, but pre-Ghost, Sister Act, etc.
tomk: Well, if you wanna pull out that stuff…
She hadn’t made this yet either:
jimmy: And let’s hope she never does.
tomk: She did. She had to be sued to get there, but she did.
Anyway, I didn’t realize she showed up so early in the show’s run. Ditto Riker’s beard.
tomk: But we still have Maurice Hurley running the show and a writer’s strike, so we’re not out of the low quality episode woods yet.
jimmy: Yeah, the child part was interesting, but just seemed to end as a convenience to the plot and show runtime.
tomk: Yeah, about that…
Remember when I told you the show was accused of reworking old scripts from previous Trek incarnations?
This episode really was an old script they dusted off and changed the names on for the most part.
jimmy: I guess Uhura was the original cast member to get pregnant.
jimmy: Oh? Didn’t know that. So…what the hell happened with Gates McFadden?
McFadden…did not get along well with Maurice Hurley.
He fired her.
Apparently, her background was as a theater actress, so she was used to making suggestions for what her character might do. Hurley…did not appreciate that.
Muldaur was something of a Trek veteran, having appeared on the original series twice (though as two different characters), and she came on hoping for the same good experience she had on the original show and never got it. The rest of the cast had already bonded with each other and had a set way of doing things, and she didn’t like that at all and thought they were spending too much time screwing around and wasting time.
I think it’s pretty apparent someone just decided they wanted a female version of Dr. McCoy to clash with Data like Bones used to with Spock…only Data doesn’t really clash back the way Spock would.
jimmy: It’s pronounced Data.
tomk: Huh. I was pronouncing it Throat Warbler Mangrove.
jimmy: I’m sure having her listed as a guest star and not in the main credit sequence didn’t help matters.
tomk: I believe she only appears sporadically at that anyway.
And she’s older than Patrick Stewart..and still alive last I checked.
jimmy: She’s a good actress and an ok replacement. I can definitely see what you mean about her being Bones-y.
tomk: Well, she just does as she sees fit. No need to see the Captain of her assignment.
jimmy: Maybe she was on her way and Troi hijacked her.
tomk: And she can’t just call ahead and tell Picard there was an emergency?
jimmy: Good point. She doesn’t seem to care what others think. Especially Picard. But especially Data.
tomk: Good thing Data doesn’t mind. Just say his name right or he’ll look a little bewildered when asked.
jimmy: The android with no emotions looking bewildered.
tomk: He has fully functioning genitalia. I think he may be a little better programmed than we thought.
jimmy: Sitting in his quarters, smoking his pipe and smugly laughing at us!
tomk: Playing father when Troi gives birth within a day or getting pregnant…
jimmy: Another scene where Pulaski takes a dig at Data for being a machine.
tomk: For a future where everyone gets along, she’s kind of an asshole.
jimmy: She’s old school for sure.
tomk: Well, Beverly is apparently head of Starfleet Medical for…some reason.
jimmy: She really impressed them with all the people that died on her in season 1.
tomk: Hey, that admiral with the Bluegill in his neck lived!
Sometimes it’s not how many you save, but who.
jimmy: That may be exactly it. Save an admiral, get a promotion.
Let the head of security die, get a promotion.
Read a book to kids, get a promotion.
tomk: Worked for Worf!
Maybe they just ran out of red shirts.
Great…now I got the Reading Rainbow theme stuck in my head…
tomk: It’s how Picard became captain and why he hates kids. He read books to a bunch of ungrateful brats.
jimmy: Speaking of kids, you’d think he’d be more comfortable by this point around Wesley. Man, that turbolift scene was awkward.
tomk: You wanna be the guy who tells the show’s creator’s favorite character he has to leave to be with his mama?
jimmy: Not when you put it that way.
tomk: But it was an awkward episode. Lots of shots of people just…watching things. Riker and Worf watching Troi give birth…the woman at Day Care watching Troi and her boy leave…
jimmy: I noticed that. At least once I was like “uh, what is going on here?”
tomk: Again, the episode was…weirdly paced. Probably because they really just used an old script no one filmed before for a reason.
On the other hand, the Enterprise has a playpen full of puppies to stare at. And now I want a puppy.
jimmy: Haha. Where did the puppies come from? The replicator?
tomk: I dunno. Apparently, they have a dog in there somewhere I suppose.
jimmy: Or two dogs…
tomk: Puppy production usually works better with two dogs.
Get them down for a holodeck pasta meal, and you’re set.
Tramp scored big that night.
jimmy: So did Deanna.
tomk: Yeah, well, she didn’t remember it.
jimmy: And Riker will never forget it.
tomk: OK, that sounds wrong.
But he sure was outraged when he found out she was expecting.
jimmy: How long after season one is this supposed to be?
tomk: I dunno. Six hundred years?
My point was that Riker needs to shit or get off the pot.
tomk: He seemed fine later. You know, after Picard, Worf, and the other men talked about getting Troi an abortion.
jimmy: With her in the room. Like she wasn’t there.
tomk: Yeah, well, this episode doesn’t exactly do Troi as a character any favors.
She’s just there to get pregnant and cry.
jimmy: At least Worf redeemed himself by agreeing to tuck Wesley in at night.
tomk: He will do so in the most warrior-like and violent fashion possible.
tomk: But hey, thank God for Wesley Guinan was there to advise him. Sure, that should be Troi’s job and Guinan is doing Troi’s job better than Troi, and…I think I’ll stop there.
jimmy: Well, Guinan has booze. And soufflé.
tomk: And a flat hat.
jimmy: It was the style at the time.
tomk: She couldn’t just tie an onion to her belt?
Does she have a belt?
jimmy: Belts were abolished in 2112.
tomk: Well, they use Stardates now, so who knows?
jimmy: And look, O’Brien is back! He really loves doing the 1st episode of the season.
tomk: This time he’s a transporter chief and not some random security guy. He probably got a promotion.
jimmy: Not appear for 24 episodes, get a promotion!
tomk: He did TWO episodes in season one!
More like skip 20.
jimmy: What was he in besides Farpoint?
tomk: That one where Picard got possessed by the blue lightning.
So, if saving one admiral, letting the security chief die, and reading books to children got Beverly, Worf, and Geordi promotions, do we want to know what O’Brien did?
jimmy: Just stayed out of the way.
jimmy: He’ll get in plenty of trouble in the years to come.
tomk: Well, he is the most Irish-looking actor I’ve ever seen, so he’s easy to spot.
jimmy: More Irish than the French Captain with the British accent?
tomk: Well, Colm Meaney actually is Irish.
jimmy: We like Colm Meaney.
tomk: And he may like you.
jimmy giggles: Really?
tomk: Well, all things are possible. Like Troi could give birth and then everybody forgot the kid might be a security threat.
Or we could spend a whole episode safeguarding a plague cure that might not even work.
jimmy: And that the child has an impact on.
tomk: And that Troi knew the boy she barely knew was dying for some reason simply because he said he had to go away.
jimmy: She is empathetic.
tomk: So that means she has a mental MRI machine?
jimmy: It doesn’t?
tomk: So, maybe it’s time to ask the uncomfortable questions: was Troi raped?
jimmy: It sure seemed that way.
tomk: No one in the episode seems to think of that.
Then again, I looked up where the script for this one came from. The proposed sequel TV series that never got made was going to use this one and have an alien lay some eggs in a random female crew member.
jimmy: Nothing like a good alien laying eggs in random female story.
tomk: Sometimes they lay eggs in men.
jimmy: That…won’t end well.
jimmy: If you’re lucky that’s where it comes out.
tomk: Well, Troi got her emotions run through the ringer. And she’ll forget all about it next time.
jimmy: I’m going to guess that child is never mentioned again.
tomk: Do you remember hearing about him again?
jimmy: I didn’t remember him the first go round.
tomk: That settles that then. We know Jimmy remembers things.
jimmy: As usual I watched this on Blu-Ray. There’s an obvious leap in the budget from season one. Ironically, there were several scenes on the bridge that looked really grainy. I don’t know if it was a similar situation to that season 1 episode where they couldn’t find the original negative to remaster and had to upscale from standard definition.
tomk: You know, I also thought some of the scenes were grainy as I watched it on Netflix.
jimmy: Maybe Riker rubbed the film on his bread.
tomk: Maybe they recycled film stock from the 70s just like they did the script.
jimmy: Heh. That’s more likely.
tomk: Well, I learned I want a puppy, Troi learned its hard out there to be someone’s mama, Riker learned he can be jealous before the baby is born but not after, and Data learned the miracle of childbirth and the pain of bigotry. Did I miss anything?
jimmy: Wesley doesn’t need his mama.
tomk: He has, like, three or four fathers now. That balances out, right?
jimmy: I think it does.
tomk: Well, how do you like season two one episode in?
jimmy: It’s ok. I don’t love Pulaski, but don’t hate her. I’m happy for everyone getting a promotion and a bar to relax in.
tomk: Well, maybe we can get something without questionable sexual politics in the near future.
jimmy: Sounds like a segue to me.
tomk: It could be. Did you have anything else to add?
jimmy: Not really.
tomk: Well, maybe we should try checking out a void next time.
jimmy: Voids are fun.
tomk: Not if you’re stuck in one.