April 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Lower Decks”

The series takes a look at a quartet of junior officers.

Perhaps the most unique of the current Star Trek series is Lower Decks, an animated comedy about life on a second-class starship in the Star Trek universe and what it means to be a junior officer in said universe.

That show was inspired by a much less funny episode of TNG.  Jimmy and Tom discuss it below.

“Lower Decks”

Four young officers go about their business on the Enterprise.

jimmy:  Well… I didn’t expect her to die.

tomk:  You were expecting a lighthearted episode that provides a lot of laughs like the cartoon that took its name from this episode?

jimmy:  Exactly.

tomk:  You were maybe not expecting to learn Riker isn’t quite Canadian.

jimmy:  I was shocked when they said he was.

tomk:  He doesn’t remind you of the average rugged Canadian ladies man?

jimmy:  Not enough plaid.

tomk:  Plaid seems to be forbidden in the future.

jimmy:  Given some of the outfits I’ve seen them wear, maybe they should allow plaid back.

tomk:  Riker probably had all kinds of plaid since the show was made in the 90s.

jimmy:  Because Jonathan Frakes was from Seattle?

tomk:  It was the 90s.

jimmy:  So, was there no higher ranking Bajoran on board that could have taken on such a delicate mission?  Or, anyone really since they can so easily use plastic surgery to make anyone look like they are from anywhere.

tomk:  Apparently not. Bajor isn’t even a Federation planet at this point.

jimmy:  Just seems like a mission for someone with more experience than an ensign.  Seems like Picard dropped the ball here.

tomk:  Worf trained her.

jimmy:  Doing his best Jedi impression.

tomk:  He seemed like a better mentor than Geordi and Riker.

jimmy:  Geordi wasn’t too bad. Riker was awful.

tomk:  Geordi clearly only worked on Geordi’s schedule.

Crusher meanwhile just wants to be a gal pal.

jimmy:  Riker wasn’t really that guy’s mentor. Geordi was at least the Vulcan’s boss. Same with Crusher.

tomk:  True.

Worf actually gave good advice about confronting Picard.

jimmy:  Worf knows how things work.

tomk:  I didn’t see anyone else reaching out like that.

Well, maybe Bartender Ben. He’s probably Guinan’s nephew.

jimmy:  Heh. Maybe. It’ll probably come up in his next appearance.

tomk:  Right. Like who Discount Riker’s mentor was.

jimmy:  So I’m guessing the Lower Decks show doesn’t feature any of these characters?

tomk:  Nope.

jimmy:  Ah. I figured it might, until, you know, one of them got obliterated.

tomk:  Lower Decks, the animated series, is a comedic look at life on a lesser ship in Starfleet.  The only thing it has in common is the idea the command crew are not the main characters.

jimmy:  It’s not even on the Enterprise?

tomk:  Nope. It’s on the Cerritos, a California class ship that does missions like “second contact.”

jimmy:  Huh. Not that it matters I guess.

tomk:  It means that Riker, Troi, Kira, Quark, Tom Paris, Q, Sulu, and mostly recently Grand Negas Rom and his wife Leeta can be special guest stars as played by the original actors.

But they aren’t on every episode.

jimmy:  You know Frakes has to find his way on there.

tomk:  Are you kidding?  Lower Decks Riker kicks ass.

And yes, that is Troi next to him.

jimmy:  And he beat Batman!

tomk:  Actually, don’t be too impressed. Those were Pakleds.

jimmy:  Looked like Batman.

tomk:  He was a wannabe.

jimmy:  Or it was Space Halloween.

tomk:  Or it was another crazy Lower Decks cameo.

jimmy:  Oh Q.

tomk:  You never know what will pop up on Lower Decks.

jimmy:  Hmm.

tomk:  Yup, anyone can appear on Lower Decks.

jimmy crosses it off The List.

tomk:  Anyone except the Garbage Day Guy.  He’s restricted to some TNG chats.

jimmy:  I was actually surprised at how much the main cast appeared while the show tried to give the events from the LD crew perspective.

tomk:  Well, you mostly see the main cast from the LD’s perspective.

jimmy:  True. But they are rarely alone  Almost always interacting with the main cast.

tomk:  Well, see, the main cast all have contracts…

jimmy:  True again.

tomk:  Like the one you signed that said you can’t push Watson down the laundry chute more than three times a week.

jimmy:  I compromised a lot on that one.

tomk:  We can’t all be Ben. That guy can explore space without having to ever go on dangerous missions. And he gets to play poker with everyone. I’m actually starting to wonder if that was supposed to be Guinan but Whoopi was busy.

jimmy:  Maybe. That would make some sense. Not sure if that would play as well with the LD crew…but no worse than Ben showing up at the senior officers poker game.

tomk:  I’m just very curious about the guy. Are there a lot of people onboard that have jobs like that who aren’t part of Starfleet or who aren’t related to a member of the crew?

jimmy:  Only when required by the plot.

tomk:  Someone needs to see to everybody’s needs. God knows Troi can’t.

jimmy:  With replicators and synthehol, I’m surprised they even need bartenders or waiters.

tomk:  Someone has to do the hard work of carrying things and hiding the good stuff for whenever Scotty visits.

jimmy:  True. They usually do have a secret stash.

tomk:  See, replicators can’t do that.

jimmy:  That’s true. Are they allowed to drink real alcohol after hours, or too risky?

tomk:  These people don’t seem like the type to break those kinds of rules. No wonder Scotty drank more…

jimmy:  Everyone’s different, and I know you’re not a drinker, but I can’t see going to a bar and having a fake alcoholic drink. What’s the point?  I suppose if you like the taste you like the taste.

tomk:  That’s why, I’m sure, the Impossible Industries brewery will continue to churn out all of Scotty and Captain Jake’s favorites.

jimmy:  Those guys put my kids through college.

tomk:  Your kids?

jimmy:  Someone’s kids.

tomk:  Metaphorical kids.

jimmy:  Yeah.  Those.

tomk:  Probably the Beaver’s kids.

jimmy:  Well not Riker’s, or Troi’s or Geordi’s or Picard’s or Data’s.

tomk:  Data stored Lal in his memory bank and then went back to work.

jimmy:  He’ll bring her back some day I’m sure.

tomk:  Like they brought back Wesley’s Bajoran classmate?

jimmy:  I couldn’t remember specifically, was she actually in that episode?

tomk:  She was.  Same actress too.

jimmy:  Cool.

tomk:  So cool, they killed her off.

jimmy:  Unfortunate.

tomk:  She was Worf’s best student ever.

jimmy:  Ever is unknown, but he certainly looked out for her and took her under his tradukka.

tomk:  And he told her to stand up to Picard.

jimmy:  He did. Worf knows all about that.

tomk:  He probably even taught you at home on your couch while she learned that lesson.

jimmy:  He’s that good.

tomk:  You probably went off and stood up to your boss right then and there.

jimmy:  Or I went to bed.

tomk:  Yeah, it probably is exhausting.

jimmy:  Keeping up with the Worf’s is hard work.

tomk:  You’ll never pass Picard’s courage test with that attitude.

jimmy:  I’m not cut out for Starfleet.

tomk:  What are you cut out for?


tomk:  In that case, try pouring drinks and being everybody’s buddy. Work on your poker skills, and you two can be the next Ben.

jimmy:  No thanks.

tomk:  Then why not fill out this application to be the ship’s official Newfoundlander?

jimmy:  That I can do!

tomk:  OK, let’s see who’s applied…you, the Moose, the Beaver, and a woman who may be Riker’s great-great-great grandma.

jimmy:  She won’t get it, she’s from Alaska.

tomk:  Picard has to review it.

Though I thought Picard seemed a little uncharacteristically harsh when he dressed down Ensign Sito during that first scene with her.

jimmy:  Definitely.  Though I think he was maybe pushing her to get her to stand up for herself.

tomk:  I should think so. He more or less admitted as much when she went back for Round Two.

jimmy:  Then he sent her to her death.

tomk:  He hoped otherwise and did offer her an out.

jimmy:  Like she could say no at that point.

tomk:  Look, just because you can’t say no to a bald Frenchman doesn’t mean nobody can.

jimmy:  Could you?

tomk:  Depends on the Frenchman.

jimmy:  Fair enough.

tomk:  Probably not Picard.  Good thing I am grossly unqualified for any such missions.

jimmy:  Me too.

tomk:  I might be able to give Nurse Ogawa romantic advice, but she might know better than to ask me.

jimmy:  She’s engaged, so she might be doing ok.

tomk:  She’s a semi-regular background character as it is.

jimmy:  I was going to mention that.  I was surprised she was still an ensign.

tomk:  Someone has to be an ensign.  I suppose next you’ll be surprised Troi isn’t a Lt. Commander like all the other characters in the main crew that aren’t Riker or Picard.

jimmy:  No, that doesn’t surprise me.

tomk:  Oh, well, in that case, you win an award.

jimmy:  Is it a year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat?

tomk:  No, it’s a Certificate of Appreciation from the Picard Vineyard for astute observations.

jimmy:  Oh.  Ok.  Thanks.

tomk:  You also get to cruise on the Enterprise with Picard as your new best friend.

jimmy:  Oh?  Ok!  Thanks!

tomk:  And now the Moose is jealous.

jimmy:  He can come along as Riker’s new best friend.

tomk:  Make him Worf’s, and you might be able to avoid problems.

jimmy:  He’d do well in that Klingon-Fu class.

tomk:  Well, that settles that.  But this episode was missing something.

jimmy:  Data’s cat?

tomk:  Well, I was thinking something like Data’s going to the Renaissance Fair.

jimmy:  It was certainly missing that.

tomk:  Well, maybe that can happen in the next episode, or something like it.

jimmy:  Don’t tease me. I’ve only been saying for over 150 episodes “I hope Data goes to the Renaissance Fair in this one.”

tomk:  Well, he doesn’t quite go to the Fair, but he does go to a place that could pass for one.

jimmy:  I hope he takes Geordi with him.

tomk:  Well, would you like to find out what he does?

jimmy:  Sure.

tomk:  Good.  It’s probably not what you expect, but Data can’t help getting in trouble sometimes.

Next:  “Thine Own Self”