The holodeck is one of those concepts from Star Trek the Next Generation that mostly only comes up when its causing trouble. It’s something that you most likely shouldn’t think too hard about either.
But it does come up in this episode, “The Big Goodbye,” and Jimmy and Tom thought about it all the same. See their thoughts below.
“The Big Goodbye”
Picard, Data, and Dr. Crusher are stuck in the holodeck when a hardboiled detective story goes horribly wrong.
jimmy: I’m sure if we thought about it too much we could find all types of problems with the portrayal of holodeck technology. Good thing we don’t do that.
tomk: Like how big it is?
jimmy: Or how many doors it has?
One only goes to a working bathroom.
jimmy: I sure hope so.
Or, how can the two characters step a single foot outside the room?
tomk: It’s in case someone forgets they changed clothes inside the holodeck with clothes that aren’t real.
jimmy: That’s as good an explanation as any.
tomk: It’s also so the two characters most closely based on characters from The Maltese Falcon can get a weird…”death”?
Here’s Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet:
jimmy: I’ve never seen it.
tomk: It’s a good movie. My grandpop’s personal favorite. And if you watched old Loony Toons, you’ve seen Peter Lorre.
jimmy: Not recently.
tomk: But in your life, you have.
tomk: But I know you have seen Seinfeld and probably Reservoir Dogs, so you probably recognized Laurence Tierney.
jimmy: You mean this guy? “He also guest-starred in Seinfeld as Alton Benes, Elaine’s gruff father. The Seinfeld cast recalls that he was difficult and scary to work with, specifically recalling a moment when he attempted to steal a real knife from the kitchen set in Jerry’s apartment. He could have been a recurring character, but they were afraid to have him back.”
tomk: That (I am guessing) Wikipedia entry fails to mention that Larry David used to threaten to write another script with the guy in it when people gave him too much of a hard time on the show.
Or that Quentin Tarantino had similar stories of what a nightmare the guy was to work with.
As do the producers of The Simpsons when Tienrey did a guest appearance on their show.
jimmy: He sounds well.
tomk: He’s deceased.
I used to listen to Simpsons audio commentaries on the DVDs. For the episode Tierney did, one producer said he would never bash a living person no matter how difficult the person was, but he had no problem complaining about Tierney because he was dead.
jimmy: I used to as well, but your memory is much better than mine. What episode was that?
tomk: The Christmas episode where Bart shoplifts a video game. Tierney was the security guard.
jimmy: Ah. Right.
tomk: And selling newspapers is character actor Dick Miller, and if this were BTAS and we heard his voice, we’d know he was playing a luckless gangster that probably shouldn’t have let Harley Quinn into his hideout.
jimmy: Letting Harley anywhere is probably a bad idea.
But this episode had enough weird moments.
jimmy: Like gum not existing in the future.
tomk: Like Data not just saving the day when the gangsters showed up.
jimmy: I kept waiting for that too.
Or for them to shoot Data to no effect.
tomk: Or the way it looked like Picard called the whole command staff to a meeting to rave about the holodeck.
jimmy: Yeah…it’s not like it was just installed.
Enhanced I suppose, but still.
tomk: It was so odd. He’s going on about how great it was, everyone’s listening politely, and then he goes into the meeting’s real purpose.
jimmy: It reminds me of a story where one of our buddies, who is a bit more on the fringe of the group, shows up to our poker game and starts going on and on telling everyone about how you can jailbreak iPhones. Everyone is politely nodding and seem interested. Meanwhile, this is a group of computer savvy early adapters who know all about it already.
tomk: I legitimately wondered if Picard called the meeting just to talk the holodeck. At least Wesley was interested in cars for teenage mating rituals.
jimmy: And I’m sure Riker has spent some time in there with his harp girls.
tomk: The holodeck is big enough for one to have a grand piano.
jimmy: I just found it funny that Wes and crew were working away, trying to get in the holodeck…and when the door finally opens, either it is one of the other supposed doors (which really, how far away could it be?) or they’ve already packed up and gone to lunch. Since they clearly didn’t come rushing in to save Picard and crew.
tomk: That hallway was empty too.
jimmy: Must have been lunchtime.
Also, if the holodeck breaks…why do the real people disappear? The Holodeck thinks they are holograms and “transports” them?
tomk: I don’t know. Maybe they just get hit with a power surge or a blizzard or something.
jimmy: And those gangster accepted the whole “alternate reality” thing pretty quickly.
tomk: And those gangster accepted the whole “alternate reality” thing pretty quickly.
jimmy: Because of his…tan?
tomk: It makes as much sense as a time traveling Kirk telling a Depression era cop that Spock was a Chinese man whose ears were damaged by an electric rice picker.
That’s not racist at all.
tomk: Not as bad as how the show once had Shatner and Nimoy both wear Nazi uniforms even though they were both Jewish.
jimmy: Well, they are actors, but that does seem like bad form.
tomk: True. And I don’t know that either complained about it.
jimmy: This one was a little weak (weaker than I expected) but I do enjoy the Dixon Hill character and was one of the few Star Trek figures I had.
tomk: What an odd figure to have. He looks like a Dick Tracy villain.
jimmy: His upper body is huge.
tomk: It just seems rather generic. Like, without the Starfleet insignia, he’s just a guy in a suit.
jimmy: Well, it does sorta, kinda look like Patrick Stewart. And Dixon Hill always used a blue gun, so that adds to the realism.
tomk: True. You win this round, Commodore Impossible.
So, did you think it was weird that there was all that talk of opening diplomatic relations with the unseen insect people, and after Picard successfully says the full greeting…everyone just flies away for some reason?
jimmy: Don’t forget the applause.
But yes, now that you mention it…they flew for hours at some form of light speed to get there and say the greeting and then step on it to get out of there.
tomk: Most diplomatic missions would then, you know, do more.
jimmy: Maybe they just needed him to speak the greeting. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense.
tomk: It makes as much sense as the holodeck.
jimmy: The holodeck is very cool…if you don’t think about it too much.
tomk: Well, there was one other thing I noticed: this was the rare episode that remembered Dr. Crusher is also an attractive woman. They keep telling us Tasha and Troi are, but she just hangs around Sickbay and gets maternal over Wesley.
jimmy: Though she had no idea how to put on makeup. Maybe she had Homer’s gun.
tomk: That’s what Picard’s blue gun does.
He wanted to spend some time alone with Crusher and his blue gun, but Data and Red Shirt kept blocking.
tomk: Some redshirt. I think the guy lived.
We can figure out later why an exploratory vessel has a 20th century historian onboard.
jimmy: That’s the plot of the series finale.
tomk: Which series? Enterprise? Law and Order: SVU? Teletubbies?
jimmy: Possibly Enterprise.
tomk: Good. I’ve seen TNG’s and don’t recall that part.
jimmy: It kind of gets glossed over but Wesley saves the day. Again.
tomk: Wait until he gets eaten by that T-Rex after the shuttle he’s on explodes millions of years in the past, causing his own death and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
jimmy: Is that in the series finale?
tomk: That’s a deleted scene from the reunion episode.
It’s why the Traveler finds him so interesting.
jimmy: Is there anything else that we found interesting?
tomk: Me? Not really. You?
jimmy: I think we may have covered it.
tomk: Ready to move on? We have a major villain to meet next.
jimmy: It better not be the Ferengi again.
tomk: No, this one is better.
Plus, we already met the Ferengi.
jimmy: I try to forget each time.
tomk: That’s a wise policy.