January 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Family Business”

Quark has to deal with the worst possible family crisis: his mother is earning profit.

Rene Auberjonois returns to the director’s chair for this episode.  His first time there, he directed a rather comedic episode about Ferengi culture focused on Quark.  This time around, he directed a much more serious episode also based around Ferengi culture and focused on Quark.

It’s a good episode, where the only laughs come from the general ridiculousness of Ferengi culture as it is.

Ferengi women have, for the most part, not been seen on this show or Next Generation for the most part.  The one exception to date was posing as a male because, well, female Ferengi are not allowed to earn profit.  Or talk to strangers.  Or wear clothes.  And they are expected to chew their male family members’ food for them.  You’d think all those sharpened teeth the Ferengi have would be good for at least that much.  The point is, Ferengi females are treated incredibly poorly no matter how you look at it, and what was probably initially presented to show how backwards the Ferengi were when the sneered how the Enterprise‘s women were not only allowed on the ship but they wore clothes (said in the most horrifying sneer possible) has since gone on to be more of a comedic thing on Deep Space Nine as the more the audience learns about Ferengi culture outside of the nonstop profit stuff, the more it seems to be one nonstop horror after another for the females, one where male chauvinism goes to such extreme lengths it becomes almost funny, like how Ferengi men expect the women to chew their food first..

But how do the females feel about that?

Well, we get an idea for one female in particular when a member of the FCA (Ferengi Commerce Authority) stops by Quark’s bar.  His name is Brunt.  He’s played by Jeffrey Combs.  There’s some irregularity in Quark’s accounts, and it turns out to be coming from a unique source:  his mother Ishka is making profit.  Rom, a real mama’s boy, calls her Moogie, so I’ll be using that name from here since, well, it’s more memorable.

Also, Moogie is played by the great comedic actress Andrea Martin for this one time only due to future scheduling conflicts.  It’s not necessarily a funny performance aside from some private interactions with Rom, but it works as she does everything a Ferengi female is not supposed to do, like, at all:  she talks to strangers, wears clothes, and worst of all, earns profit.  A whole three bars of gold-pressed latinum!

It’s not much and isn’t meant to be.  Quark does give her a good stipend, but she wants to be a lot more independent.  Rom maybe gets that.  Rom is the one who sees his family arguing and wants nothing more to do with that sort of thing.  He actually cares about the family, and while he doesn’t understand the whole “female wants to earn profit” thing, he does appreciate that Moogie is not only good at it, she might actually be better than Quark.   Yes, officially she only earned three bars.  In reality, she earned a whole lot more, and Quark was set to report her to the FCA if for no other reason than he’d need to somehow pay back all the profit and Moogie has far more than he is worth.

The episode plays off the idea that perhaps the reason Quark and Moogie fight so much is because they’re so similar.  Moogie even makes that clear when she notes that her late husband, though a good husband and father, was terrible at earning profit, a lot like Rom.

Then again, Rom is the one who saves the day here.  He’s the one that points out that Moogie is good at earning profit (which Quark should recognize) and he likewise points out that if Quark can find the rest of the profit, the FCA sure can as well.  That actually works for all involved, and Moogie gives back the profit…well, a third of it.  The FCA doesn’t know better, Quark is content, and Rom, well, he kept the family together, so it all worked out fine.

As for the second plot, it has to deal with Sisko’s love life.  The previous episode had Jake mention a freighter captain as a possible romantic connection for his father.  The woman is one Kasidy Yates, played by the always-welcome Penny Johnson (later Penny Johnson Jerald), someone I recognized as one of the better cast members when I watched The Orville for a season and a half.  It seems Yates has already met half the main cast except for Sisko, and the ones who haven’t met her heard about her from Jake.  As it is, she and Sisko meet and get along fine when it turns out she has a brother who plays baseball, a sport Sisko didn’t think anyone other than he and Jake even knew about anymore.  So, I think we’ll be seeing more of Captain Yates in the future.

So, to review, we got a Ferengi-focused episode that included guest appearances by Jeffrey Combs, Andrea Martin, and Penny Johnson Jerald.  That’s rather awesome.

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