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Old May 27 2012, 06:33 PM   #17
stj
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Re: Tom Paris - awesome or vastly underused?

I never got a sense of what Tom's problem with his father was about, nor did I project any personal problems with my father onto the blank cardboard cutout.

The bad boy image was only believable by comparison to Kim, and there was very little onscreen interaction between Paris and Kim after the third season episode The Chute, for some reason. ()

His interactions with B'elana seemed designed to establish that 1) Tom was way too cool to be pussywhipped but 2) his superior sensitivity was balm to her Angry Warrior soul.

I didn't even buy the idea that he was particularly smart, even if he was supposed to warn about the failure in Timeless, establishing he was smarter than Janeway, Tuvok, Kim and of course 7 of 9. (Plus the other throwaway incidents along the same lines.) This may be partly because the actor couldn't/wouldn't do the "technobabble" lines, but that's still what I got from the screen.

It was clear that Tom was supposed to be pretty much perfect, in a Rebel Without a Cause kind of way. He was a Gary Stu, complete with the seemingly obligatory peculiar, not a real name, name. Paris? Why not Schenectady, except that Paris is cooler? His perfection seemed forced upon us, rather than showed to us.

For my part, this meant he was used far too much. The vacuousness of this character, used as a main cast member far more than more interesting characters (like Neelix or Chakotay before Seska and religious heeby jeebies castrated him) or more strongly drawn characters (like Tuvok or Kim) left an emotional blank at the heart of the series.

When the series first began, Chakotay had salt and pepper hair, while Tom Paris had a sweptback do that made him look ten years older. I don't there's any doubt than Paris was supposed to be the romantic interest for Janeway, except that they couldn't make Paris interesting enough to be a plausible attraction for Janeway. We should be grateful that we were spared that horror show!
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