February 4, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “The Naked Now”

The pilot is over, so it's time to get into a real Next Generation adventure...with a sequel to an original series episode.

The pilot, in hindsight, may not have done much for either Jimmy Impossible or myself, but now that we can move on to the main series.  And what do we start with?

A sequel to an original series episode.

Well, Jimmy skipped that episode, I’ve seen it, and now we’ve both seen the Next Generation follow-up.

“The Naked Now”

A strange disease rampages through the Enterprise, simulating drunkenness in much of the crew, as the ship investigates a star going nova!

jimmy:  Well now, that felt better. Production values already seem to be higher and people are starting to act more in character. Plus Data gets drunk and gets lucky. What else do you need?

tomk:  Well, maybe not a disease episode during a pandemic.

jimmy:  Yeah, that crossed my mind as well.

Plus, they must have had extra of that “freezing effect” make up left over from Farpoint that they had to use up.

tomk:  Of course, this episode is a sequel to an original series episode with a very similar plot.  Here, let me show you a pic from the most famous scene from that one:

jimmy:  Ah yes, I’ve seen that before.

tomk:  Everybody did when Takei came out of the closet.

But the plots of the two episodes are nearly identical.  The Enterprise visits a science station of some kind studying a planet or a star that’s about to explode.  They find the crew all dead, most frozen, one dressed in the shower.  That spreads a disease to the Enterprise that passes along through sweat.  Said disease…well, here it makes people act like they’re drunk or something.  Originally, it just made people’s inhibitions go away.  The ship’s doctor finds a cure at the last minute before something explodes and takes the Enterprise with it.

jimmy:  That…sounds very similar.

tomk:  The original episode ends with the Enterprise crew accidentally inventing time travel.

jimmy:  Well that…didn’t happen this time.  Instead we get a drunk 15 year old saving the day.

tomk:  The same kid who wonders why Picard won’t let him on the bridge?

jimmy:  Well, he was on the bridge last episode and overstepped his bounds.

tomk:  Apparently he also just lets people into his room to check out his project for his school’s science fair.

jimmy:  Kidding aside, they laid some nice groundwork here for Wesley being a bit of a child prodigy. The science project itself. And his belittling of…that engineer we probably never see again…when he can figure out rerouting the deflector in his head when it would take her hours to do.

tomk:  True.  I know Wesley isn’t a popular character for a lot of fans, but there are far worse kid sidekicks.

jimmy:  Wheaton just doesn’t seem to be that strong of an actor here in the early going. Though he was good in Stand By Me and on Big Bang Theory. But on the latter, he is just playing himself.

tomk:  The know-it-all kid always bothers fans.  Wesley isn’t anywhere near the worst I’d ever seen.  The Doctor Who episodes I’ve been watching lately feature a teenage boy math prodigy named Adric, a character so unpopular when the show did something really rare–killed off a companion–well, fans cheered.  The BBC actually made a claymation scene showing Adric dying much more violently as an extra on the DVD release.

Adric, it should be noted, is also a somewhat obnoxious punk who gives arrogant looks to the other companions, thinks he knows better than the Doctor, and even comes across as a bit sexist in some scenes.

jimmy:  They should have just sent him back to his own planet.

tomk:  They blew him up in the explosion that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction.

jimmy:  Neat.

tomk:  The animated extra had him survive the explosive spaceship crash only to be eaten by a T-Rex.

jimmy:  Lol. They really hated that kid more than Jason Todd.

tomk:  So, really, Wesley ain’t so bad.

Heck, the original episode also had a guy take over the ship from Engineering.

jimmy:  Did it have a drunk android.

tomk:  No.  It had a Spock break down crying because of all the emotions he suppresses.

jimmy:  Poor Spock. But at least that makes sense.  It was quite comedic, but I’m not sure that Data succumbing to the virus does.

tomk:  I’m with Picard on that one.  Data should be immune.

I’m not sure how they cured him come to think of it.

jimmy:  Simple hypospray.

tomk:  Well, I suppose.  Worf managed to stay healthy.

jimmy:  So if Worf/Klingons are immune, why not study him instead of 30 year old Enterprise logs?

tomk:  Well, no one touches Worf to infect him.  And maybe they weren’t ready for a drunk Klingon.

jimmy:  Because he’d be bat’lething everyone.

tomk:  I have a better question about Worf right now:  what’s his job on the ship?

jimmy:  Fill in whenever someone more important leaves the bridge. I mean, to the point he was in command of the saucer section last episode when Picard left the bridge.

tomk:  He reminds me of original series Sulu who had all kinds of jobs before he finally became the Helmsman.

jimmy:  You would know better than me about that.

tomk:  Sulu was often just a guy hanging around in early episodes.  In some, he was a physicist or a botanist or something.  And then he’d man the helm if no one else was there.  I mean, Roddenberry originally wanted Geordi for the Helmsman position because he thought having a blind pilot was cool.

They have like three Chief Engineers in the first season of TNG, so moving Geordi down there makes sense.

Likewise, Tasha’s death makes Worf Chief of Security.

jimmy:  Geez, spoilers, Tom!

tomk:  You said you knew that in the previous discussion!

Wait, you’ve seen this show before!

jimmy:  I have?  Oh right…I have!  🙂

tomk:  Though really, this episode is one of the few that shows Dr. Crusher looking to get some.  She mostly does doctor stuff.

jimmy:  And first to show a mutual attraction between her and the good Captain.

tomk:  Drunk Picard seems too befuddled to do anything about it.  He’s droopy.  She’s looking for satisfaction.  Heck, half the ship seems to be making out with the other half of the ship…except for Worf and that Chief Engineer (who we probably never see again).

jimmy:  Speaking of, Data is…fully fucntional.

tomk:  Data’s creator had some…really interesting ideas when he put that android together.

jimmy:  And not just functional, but programmed in many love making techniques.

…but doesn’t know what the word “snoop” means.

tomk:  Dr. Soong had a lot to answer for.

The answers for those priorities are probably tied to a needle in the middle of a large haystack.

jimmy:  A proverbial one.

tomk:  Add “idioms” to the list of things Data doesn’t know.

jimmy:  Maybe that’s what all those textbooks were about, things Data doesn’t know.

tomk:  Well, I sure don’t know. Did you know Tasha was jealous of Troi’s fashion sense?

jimmy:  I did not. But was just going to comment that one of the things that made this episode feel more like the TNG we remember than “Farpoint” did, was getting Troi out of her little skirt and into a full body suit…and an unofficial Starfleet one at that.

tomk:  Looks like her other clothes were a series of colorful, transparent scarves.

jimmy:  Based on what she had on when Data when to fetch her, Yar didn’t borrow enough of them.

tomk:  Yeah, well, we know these characters so well, we can clearly see how out of character all the infected people are.

jimmy:  At least there wasn’t a room full of frozen naked people…though given more time…

tomk:  Look, Jimmy, I know you like your pre-frozen orgy stories, but that ain’t gonna happen on Star Trek.

jimmy:  We might as well stop this rewatch now then!

tomk:  That was the fastest rewatch ever.

Almost as fast as Data shuffling chips into place.

jimmy:  Ya know, there didn’t seem to be THAT many chips. And Data, having a computerized mind…you’d think could have done it a lot faster. Was the limitation on how fast he could actually move?

tomk:  Well, he does need to identify each chip and probably insert them in a specific order.

jimmy:  Possibly.  Still.

tomk:  Look, how else was Wesley’s tractor beam going to factor into the greater plot?

jimmy:  It…wouldn’t.

tomk:  Right, but then after all that build-up, the plot point would go nowhere and Wesley would have done nothing to fix the problem he himself had caused.  And then he’d never get onto the bridge again.

jimmy:  Wesley!

tomk:  That scamp and his life-endangering ways!

jimmy:  And Dr Crusher with no qualms about rubbing it in Worf’s face.

And I misread your last sentence as “life-saving ways”… 

tomk:  They should be nicer to Worf.  He managed to avoid infection.

jimmy:  Through social distancing.

tomk:  See?  That stuff works.

Well, we got something like a real episode this time around, Jimmy.  Did anything else jump out at you?

jimmy:  Not really.  I’m glad it felt more like the show I loved after “Farpoint” had me wondering.

tomk:  Well, good.  Shall we move on to the next one, an episode just about everybody involved making it hated, an episode considered one of the weakest episodes in all of Star Trek, and one I actually had somehow never seen before?

jimmy:  Well, after that sell job, how can we not?!?

tomk:  I don’t make the rules.

NEXT:  “Code of Honor”

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