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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old March 24 2009, 03:23 AM   #1
Gary7
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Top 10 funniest episodes

I couldn't find a previous thread on this, although I have a feeling this must have been talked about before...

What do you think were the top 10 funniest episodes of TOS? Some were all out comedic, while others had a serious plot with either some intentionally funny parts or just plain silliness. Here's my list, in order of "funny factor":

1. "The Trouble with Tribbles"
2. "I, Mudd"
3. "Shore Leave"
4. "Whom Gods Destroy"
5. "A Piece of the Action"
6. "Plato's Stepchildren"
7. "By Any Other Name"
8. "The Naked Time"
9. "The Squire of Gothos"
10. "Catspaw"
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Old March 24 2009, 01:39 PM   #2
Eddie Roth
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Alright. But how is The Naked Time funny?
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Old March 24 2009, 03:06 PM   #3
Hambone
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

I would remove "Whom Gods Destroy". Even though it has a few funny moments, the overall tone is kind of dark. Insane asylums aren't funny places. And Marta gets blown up, which is also not funny.

"Plato's Stepchildren": I don't find anything enjoyable, or remotely funny, in this episode.

"The Naked Time": Riley's scenes are funny. Everything else is fairly serious.

Incorporating a little comedy into an episode does not make it a "comedy episode". In order for that to happen, there can be no real danger to our heroes (i.e. "Tribbles", "Action"). I don't think there are a total of ten comedy episodes in TOS.
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Old March 24 2009, 11:12 PM   #4
Gary7
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Hambone wrote: View Post
Incorporating a little comedy into an episode does not make it a "comedy episode". In order for that to happen, there can be no real danger to our heroes (i.e. "Tribbles", "Action"). I don't think there are a total of ten comedy episodes in TOS.
I didn't say they had to be full comedic episodes. Some of them have a serious plot with some very funny/silly bits within. Certainly Garth was a pretty funny character, up until he really showed his dark side with killing Marta. Kirk's little stint in the pain chair was brief and inconsequential. How on Earth can you say there was nothing humorous in "Plato's Stepchildren", what with all the gags that were played on the crew? Unless you're thinking in real literal terms... in which case there was hardly anything humorous in all of the episodes. Heck, if you go that far, then you could fear the tribbles were on the verge of overrunning the ship and preventing anyone from performing their duties with their furry clutter (putting the ship at risk, especially with the Klingons nearby), or everyone starving because the tribbles consumed all of the food resources. Nothing funny in that.
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Old March 25 2009, 07:11 AM   #5
Too Much Fun
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Hambone wrote: View Post
I would remove "Whom Gods Destroy". Even though it has a few funny moments, the overall tone is kind of dark. Insane asylums aren't funny places. And Marta gets blown up, which is also not funny.
I disagree with this. I think this episode is hilarious. Shatner's delightfully over-the-top performance when he is posessed and Marta's blatant literary plagiarism and the way she bickers to deny it were sublimely comedic. Yes, it gets serious when Marta is killed, but I think for the most part, the episode was very funny and is more of a comedy than a dramtic episode.

"Plato's Stepchildren": I don't find anything enjoyable, or remotely funny, in this episode.
Now this I agree with. That episode shouldn't be on any positive "Star Trek" list...only one about the worst of the series.

"The Naked Time": Riley's scenes are funny. Everything else is fairly serious.
This is another episode that I think treads between funny and serious, but leans more towards comedy. Kirk pining for romance and bemoaning how it eludes him due to his responsibility to the ship and Spock's struggles to contain his emotions are serious, but these scenes come right at the end are preceded by tons of hilarity. Sulu running around shirtless with a sword pretending to be a swashbuckler is one of the most memorable funny scenes in the entire series, and even during the serious moments there is some comedy (although, I'm not sure if it's intentional). One of the biggest laughs for me was Shatner's desperate and incredibly overplayed yelling at Spock about technobabble while Spock is in the middle of his emotional breakdown.

I don't think there are a total of ten comedy episodes in TOS.
And here's another point I agree with, but other than the episode I mentioned, I agree with the list (although I haven't seen "Catspaw" and "I, Mudd"). I would add "Elaan of Troyus", which I thought was one of the funniest episodes I've seen. Like "Whom Gods Destroy", it tries to get a little serious towards the end (with Kirk legitimately falling in love with someone he can't be with), but his 'disciplinary' interactions with Elaan are some of the most laugh-out-loud moments of the series for me.
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Old March 25 2009, 07:29 AM   #6
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

I can only think of three that were genuine comedy:

A Piece of the Action
The Trouble with Tribbles
I, Mudd

Now one might put parts of Assignment: Earth and The Naked Time in that category, but they really weren't meant as comedy eps.
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Old March 25 2009, 10:23 AM   #7
WendellM
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

I did/do enjoy the funny ones, though 10 seems more than I recall as actual comedies. Let's see what can be arranged, from most amusing downward...

Overall comedy:
1. The Trouble with Tribbles
2. A Piece of the Action
3. I, Mudd

Some funny elements:
4. Mudd's Women (the "pimp in space" aspect, the crew's reaction to the women, and Mudd's amusing characteristics)
5. By Any Other Name (Scotty's scotch and the kissing apology)
6. The Squire of Gothos (Trelane's foppishness, when not being threatening)
7. Shore Leave (light-hearted in places)
8. Assignment: Earth (Isis-identity humor along with a flummoxed Roberta Lincoln)

WTF?:
9. Spock's Brain (possibly unintentional)
10. Turnabout Intruder ("Janice Kirk's" preening/hysteria)
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Old March 25 2009, 03:33 PM   #8
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

"Plato's Stepchildren" is just embarrassing to watch. Now I know some will say, that's the point of the episode, but it's supposed to be embarrassing for the characters, not the audience. I haven't watched the episode in years and don't plan to in the future. It's not an episode I would take home to meet my wife, if you get my drift.

Sure, there are "funny" moments in nearly every TOS episode...even in "Patterns of Force", which was banned in a certain country for years. I love the moment when Kirk and Spock are dressing up in their "German" uniforms and Spock says to Kirk "You should make a convincing Nazi." Shatner's expression is priceless.

My pet peeve with the whole second season is that they tried to end almost every episode with a gag. Sometimes that's appropriate, usually not.
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Old March 25 2009, 04:20 PM   #9
ClayinCA
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I haven't seen "Catspaw" and "I, Mudd"
See "I, Mudd." See it now. Comedy gold.
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Old March 25 2009, 04:50 PM   #10
JustKate
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

"I, Mudd" has always been my favorite light-hearted episode. "Tribbles" is great too, of course, but "I, Mudd" tops it for me.

Last edited by JustKate; March 25 2009 at 07:54 PM.
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Old March 25 2009, 07:49 PM   #11
Gary7
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

In retrospect, I agree that this should have been broken out into two distinct categories: All out comedy, and funny elements. Oh well...

I also think that the 2nd season tried to inject too many gag moments, some that seemed out of place for the "spirit" of the episodes.

Yeah, "Plato's Stepchildren" was more funny-odd, really. Especially when Shatner is crawling on all fours with Alexander on his back. It must have been seriously embarrassing to perform it. I'd bet anything that Shatner put up some resistance to going along with it. Out of context, it's hilarious to see. That's why I put it in the list... but it's certainly not a favorite episode of mine. The writers should have taken more liberties with Shakespeare and had the crew performing acts from a variety of plays, maybe the "funniest of" in Shakespeare. It would have at least made the episode more palatable.

I'm kind of surprised that none of the DVD releases ever compiled a "funniest moments" montage as an added bonus.
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Old March 25 2009, 07:52 PM   #12
RobertScorpio
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
Hambone wrote: View Post
I would remove "Whom Gods Destroy". Even though it has a few funny moments, the overall tone is kind of dark. Insane asylums aren't funny places. And Marta gets blown up, which is also not funny.
I disagree with this. I think this episode is hilarious. Shatner's delightfully over-the-top performance when he is posessed and Marta's blatant literary plagiarism and the way she bickers to deny it were sublimely comedic. Yes, it gets serious when Marta is killed, but I think for the most part, the episode was very funny and is more of a comedy than a dramtic episode.

"Plato's Stepchildren": I don't find anything enjoyable, or remotely funny, in this episode.
Now this I agree with. That episode shouldn't be on any positive "Star Trek" list...only one about the worst of the series.

"The Naked Time": Riley's scenes are funny. Everything else is fairly serious.
This is another episode that I think treads between funny and serious, but leans more towards comedy. Kirk pining for romance and bemoaning how it eludes him due to his responsibility to the ship and Spock's struggles to contain his emotions are serious, but these scenes come right at the end are preceded by tons of hilarity. Sulu running around shirtless with a sword pretending to be a swashbuckler is one of the most memorable funny scenes in the entire series, and even during the serious moments there is some comedy (although, I'm not sure if it's intentional). One of the biggest laughs for me was Shatner's desperate and incredibly overplayed yelling at Spock about technobabble while Spock is in the middle of his emotional breakdown.

I don't think there are a total of ten comedy episodes in TOS.
And here's another point I agree with, but other than the episode I mentioned, I agree with the list (although I haven't seen "Catspaw" and "I, Mudd"). I would add "Elaan of Troyus", which I thought was one of the funniest episodes I've seen. Like "Whom Gods Destroy", it tries to get a little serious towards the end (with Kirk legitimately falling in love with someone he can't be with), but his 'disciplinary' interactions with Elaan are some of the most laugh-out-loud moments of the series for me.
oohhh yeahh....kirk spanking Elaan...is there a DIRECTOR's cut for this one???

Rob
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Old March 27 2009, 06:55 PM   #13
Jbarney
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Gary7 wrote: View Post
I couldn't find a previous thread on this, although I have a feeling this must have been talked about before...

What do you think were the top 10 funniest episodes of TOS? Some were all out comedic, while others had a serious plot with either some intentionally funny parts or just plain silliness. Here's my list, in order of "funny factor":

1. "The Trouble with Tribbles"
2. "I, Mudd"
3. "Shore Leave"
4. "Whom Gods Destroy"
5. "A Piece of the Action"
6. "Plato's Stepchildren"
7. "By Any Other Name"
8. "The Naked Time"
9. "The Squire of Gothos"
10. "Catspaw"
Of these I think the funniest would be "By Any Other Name". In my view Scotty drinking with the Kelvan is one of the funniest scenes EVER in trek. I know many people hold "A Piece of the Action" up as one of the best, but after repeated viewings there are some parts other people enjoy that I find annoying. Not that the episode is bad, it was fun, I just don't hold it as highly as some others. Same as "The Trouble with Tribbles". In my mind the best thing about the episode was Worf being able to say in DS9 that the Tribble Homeworld had been obliterated. That was funny.
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Old April 8 2009, 09:34 PM   #14
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

Though not a comedy episode, I always thought "the Way to Eden" was unintentionally funny just for the idea of space hippies and Spock jamming with them. The ending kinda removes that idea but I always laugh when I see the early parts.

Though I'd have to stick with "Tribbles" and "I, Mudd" as my favorite true comedies.
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Old April 9 2009, 06:28 PM   #15
Gary7
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Re: Top 10 funniest episodes

I don't think Tribbles had the funniest scenes, but the whole episode was just so light hearted... even with the Klingons around, you didn't get any sensation of real concern from the crew. So, there's all the ridiculous fuzz balls all over everywhere, with some people overtly fauning over them (like Uhura). Then you have Cyrano, the peddler. In retrospect, I'd say that "I, Mudd" was probably a little funnier.

By Any Other Name certainly starts out very serious... the crew is totally whipped, no question about it. You start wondering "well, I know this is a series, so there has got to be an ending to this somehow where they all escape..." and then the tide turns, it all becomes very light hearted and funny, especially the scene with Scotty and the Kelvan totally smashed.

Eden was still pretty serious, in my book, despite the cartoonish garb of the space hippies. But I never found myself laughing at any point through it. Only the occasional smirk, like at Adam with his "that's like NOW" and "I'll spread the word" as he captures air with his hands. The concept was pretty cool... very smart young people who have a radical agenda to completely escape from the modern world... I also like how much it mirrored the social strife of the younger generation of the time that was just about cooling off (the end of the turbulent 60's, 'Eden' aired in February 1969).
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