in praise of friendship
One of the things I loved the most about the series was its protrayal of believable friendships - across the barriers both of species (Jake/Nog) and of class (O'Brien/Bashir).
Throughout TNG it's strongly implied that Picard and Riker are best friends apart from being captain and first officer, but strangely you're never shown them being friends, like sharing a drink in off-duty hours or something. DS9 did it better.
It always gets my goat that in most TV series, the only relationships deemed to be worthy of exploring are romantic ones (or ones have the potential to be so), never mind that in most people's lives, a good friendship outlasts entire series of romantic encounters - not to mention seeing you through the collateral with a sympathetic ear and as many drinks as it takes... (grin)
I would have preferred for Kira and Odo not to become involved for that reason. It was a nice relationship in the end, but to me it was more interesting to show a really close and trusting bond between a male and a female character that doesn't have to turn into something else, as that's almost never done. And in the end, they didn't do it.
Disappointing, because predictable. It's like, oh he couldn't possibly care for her that much if he didn't have those particular feelings for her. It plays into this whole "a man and a woman can never be just friends", there always has to be some latent sexual attraction just by virtue of being opposite genders, which is rubbish.
(I mean, by that logic, anyone bi theoretically is incapable of having any friends at all, because they'd want to sleep with everyone...)
I love the little scene where Jake stows himself and Nog away in a corner of the cargohold to teach his friend how to read; it's just so touching.
And one of my favourite scenes of all time is the drunken scene with Bashir and O'Brien, it's that true to life and it's charming. The bit where O'Brien states that "there's no middle ground with you; people either love you or hate you. I mean, in the beginning, I just hated you", and then when he's asked, "and now?" - realizes he's talked himself into a corner where he's going to have to say the dreaded L-word next, and the way he rephrases his answer... it had me laughing out loud.
There used to be this concept called brotherly love, which invites much deliberate misunderstanding and sniggering these days, but towards a true friend (the kind you can wake at 3a.m. in a real emergency without getting shouted at, not just a drinking buddy) that's exactly what you feel.
Only you'd never use the word. You call one another "you old bastard/w****r/expletive of choice" in a certain jokey kind of voice instead and it's sort of understood what you mean by it. You have to be really, really drunk to ever actually say... it's like a Ferengi trying to say things like "workers' association".
And yes, there are certain specific ways in which you are closer to a best friend, and in a way love them more, than you sometimes do your wife or partner - as gets more or less said as such in a couple of other exchanges in the series. I'd say that's true to the experience of a lot of people, both men and women, and is simply because a best friend tends to be more like a second self, whereas your love interest tends to be more the ideal other.
So, I'm congratulating DS9 on getting some good solid friendships in there. It made the whole thing more engaging and realistic than it would have been without.
"Love is like being enlivened with champagne; friendship, like being comfortably filled with roast beef." (I forgot who said that; it might have been Dr.Johnson. And you need a proper meal more often in order to live than you do champagne.)
Re: in praise of friendship
TNG had other friendships though, most notably Data/Geordi.
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