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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old February 25 2011, 11:13 PM   #1
ShatnersToupee
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Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

I remember back in the summer of 1989, I saw a news story on Entertainment Tonight (or one of those shows) where they announced that Diana Muldaur was joining the cast of L.A. Law and that Gates McFadden was coming back to TNG. At the time, I didn't know why Gates had left. I just assumed she was bored and wanted to pursue other roles much like Denise Crosby did. I also assumed that Muldaur quit TNG because she wanted to be on L.A. Law. Later that year, I saw McFadden in The Hunt for Red October. Seeing how small a role she had made me think her film career never materialized and that was why she came back to TNG. So I was very surprised to hear some of the rumors of what really happened.

I'm sure this has been asked before, but can someone fill me in on the details? Muldaur herself has said that she didn't feel like they wanted her there, that there was a lot of infighting going on, etc. How much of this was true? Did the TNG cast just not make her feel welcome? Were they upset over McFadden being replaced? They had a reputation for being pretty childish so I can't imagine someone like Muldaur fitting it. Even Patrick Stewart had trouble with it in the beginning.

I was never a big fan of the Pulaski character. She seemed too much like a McCoy clone, right down to her dislike of transporters. While it was nice to have someone who challenged the captain, I felt like she just didn't blend in well with the rest of the crew. In season 1, Picard emerged as a kind of father figure to the crew. Except for Stewart and Will Wheaton, the rest of the cast were all in their 30s. By adding Pulaski, it was like having a mother around. And who wants to watch a show about an old couple and their kids flying around in a starship?

As for Muldaur, I thought she was great on L.A. Law. Her character on that show was meant to elicit a reaction from the audience, to see how they would react to a woman being tough and no-nonsense, which in a way was a precursor to having a female captain.
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Old February 26 2011, 02:11 AM   #2
Borjis
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Indeed, and I wasn't sad at all when she fell down that elevator shaft.
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Old February 26 2011, 05:39 AM   #3
sonak
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

I'd never heard this before I came to this message board, but apparently there was some kind of behind-the-scenes thing where Gates McFadden was being sexually harassed by a producer during season 1, a producer who left after season 2 at which point McFadden came back.

Since learning that, I'm surprised McFadden would've wanted to come back since apparently no one on the show helped her when she was being sexually harassed, if this rumor is true.


Don't know about Muldaur and the rest of the cast. I like Pulaski as a character, less bland than Dr. Crusher, but then it would've been awkward with Wesley there but no mom, and the Picard-Beverly background drama would've been gone from the show.
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Old February 26 2011, 06:05 AM   #4
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

^ The lack of what you describe as "Picard-Beverly background drama," Sonak, is one of the things I liked about having Crusher replaced with Pulaski. I liked Crusher just fine, and I liked Pulaski, too, but what TPTB did with the whole Picard-Crusher romance was just STUPID. It really was. With some exceptions, Trek doesn't have a good track record with romance - it just generally does a terrible job at it - and the perfect example of this was Picard and Crusher. I mean, one episode, they're deeply in love but conflicted; a few episodes later, one or the other of them is in love with someone else; a few episodes later, something else happens. It was ridiculous. I'm not crazy about a captain - any captain - having a romantic relationship with a member of his or her crew anyway, but jeez, if they're going to do it, at least do it well.

But to get off my anti-P/C hobby horse and actually address your topic, ST, you'll find some stuff on why Gates left in the thread titled "Was there a real reason Lieutenant Yar..." You'll find it there despite the title, is what I mean.
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Old February 27 2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Borjis wrote: View Post
Indeed, and I wasn't sad at all when she fell down that elevator shaft.
I agree, I never liked Diana Muldaur on TNG from the very start.
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Old February 27 2011, 04:44 PM   #6
Forbin
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Me too, and it's odd, because I actually like Diana Muldaur quite a lot. Just not as Pulaski.
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Old February 27 2011, 07:35 PM   #7
sonak
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

there's a lot of pulaski-hate on this board
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Old February 27 2011, 08:23 PM   #8
Too Much Fun
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Ironically, I think Pulaski was just starting to become a likable character before she left. I really loved what she did in "Peak Performance" seeing right through Data's bullshit when Data denies having a bruised ego about losing and the way she encourages him to have some pride.

The scene where she comes to his quarters and tells him to stop sulking is lovely. I didn't like her much before that episode, but based on the way she was in it, I can actually imagine her turning into a character people enjoyed if she'd come back for season 3.

I prefer Crusher, though, and I do like the way her relationship with Picard was depicted. I thought it was very realistic and intelligent the way they were written to have romantic tension that they couldn't actually turn into a relationship because of their history.

It would have been so much easier and lazier for the writers to throw them together just to have some more romance on the show (which I think explains the ill-advised Worf and Troi coupling), but the writers simply kept them close friends with romantic undertones and I respect that. Methinks Kate doth protest too much. I don't recall them going from deeply in love to just friends episode to episode. Picard confessed to being in love with her in one episode, she didn't reciprocate, and that was the extent of it.
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Old February 27 2011, 08:33 PM   #9
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

As a teenager, it was literally a case of crusty McCoy clone or hot readhead, so I was more than happy to see Gates come back..
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Old February 27 2011, 09:35 PM   #10
ShatnersToupee
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

As far as the romantic tension between Picard and Crusher, I grew tired of it. The audience knows Picard won't get together with Crusher for the same reason Riker won't get together with Troi. Because then neither character will be free to romance the alien-of-the-week. Notice how they waited til near the end of TNG before putting Troi and Worf together. Same with DS9. Kira and Odo didn't get together until the end. Same with Bashir and Dax. That brings up another tired cliche of Trek. The male and female who start off as friends but then one of them decides they want more. For a show that's supposed to have such an enlightened view of the future, it would be nice if they could show a man and a woman being good friends and nothing more. At least Dax and Sisko stayed that way. Then again, he thought of her as "the old man".
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Old February 27 2011, 11:40 PM   #11
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

^ Exactly, ST. I hate to disagree with you, Too Much (as you know), but far from being realistic, to me the P/C romance was in fact completely unrealistic. It was a typical TV show semi-romance, which means it was used when it was convenient to the plot but ignored when it was not. And by "ignored," I don't just mean "wasn't referred to when it wasn't necessary." I mean that when it was inconvenient - when TPTB wanted Crusher to fall for a Trill or Picard to fall for a shady archeologist/opportunist or whatever - it was ignored. It was as though it had never been...

Until it fit a plot again, of course. And they did the same thing to Troi and Riker, which did nothing to endear that pairing to me.

Hate when they pull that crap. Hate hate hate hate it.

But I agree with Too Much about Pulaski. She rather annoyed me in the beginning, but she was starting to grow on me, as she evolved from female McCoy to an original character.

Last edited by JustKate; February 28 2011 at 04:37 AM.
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Old February 28 2011, 01:36 AM   #12
Too Much Fun
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

I understand saying it was a little too 'convenient' how Picard didn't seem to mind Crusher having affairs (like in "The Host") despite supposedly being in love with her the whole time. For Bev's part, however, I don't think her feelings were totally ignored when it came to Picard and romance.

For example, when Vash showed up, there was that cute scene of the two of them going off to have some 'girl talk' about him and she did seem amused when she first met Vash.

I wouldn't go as far as to call her reactions 'jealousy', but she did have some reaction. She was playful and flirtatious with him once in awhile, showing that the writers didn't just forget about something being between them when it wasn't a central plot point. They weren't a 'will they/won't they' couple, but they weren't completely platonic either.

She was attracted to him, enough that his romances affected her and she could tell him she was attracted to him, but not so much that she felt compelled to act on the attraction. This is why I think their relationship/friendship has some realism and isn't just a plot device.

However you feel about Picard and Crusher, surely you can see that at least there was some kind of chemistry between them, unlike with Pulaski and Picard (or most of the cast). I think Data was the only character the writers tried to give some kind of chemistry with Pulaski, but it was the wrong kind.

There was supposed to be some kind of comedic oneupmanship like with McCoy and Spock, but it just came across as Pulaski being a prejudiced bitch until the end when she started to warm up to him a bit and just become a little warmer overall, which allowed us as viewers to like her more. Too little too late, unfortunately.
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Old February 28 2011, 02:35 AM   #13
Whoa Nellie
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

JustKate wrote: View Post
and the perfect example of this was Picard and Crusher. I mean, one episode, they're deeply in love but conflicted;
Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I understand saying it was a little too 'convenient' how Picard didn't seem to mind Crusher having affairs (like in "The Host") despite supposedly being in love with her the whole time.
Actually, in the episode "Attached" what we are told is that Picard at one time in the past had been in love with Beverly.

Picard: "And then, little by little, I realized that I didn't have those feelings anymore . . . twenty years is, after all, a long time."
I really enjoyed both Crusher and Pulaski and would love to have seen Pulaski come back for a guest appearance.

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Last edited by Whoa Nellie; February 28 2011 at 02:47 AM.
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Old February 28 2011, 05:44 AM   #14
Too Much Fun
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Whoa Nellie wrote: View Post
JustKate wrote: View Post
and the perfect example of this was Picard and Crusher. I mean, one episode, they're deeply in love but conflicted;
Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I understand saying it was a little too 'convenient' how Picard didn't seem to mind Crusher having affairs (like in "The Host") despite supposedly being in love with her the whole time.
Actually, in the episode "Attached" what we are told is that Picard at one time in the past had been in love with Beverly.
Well he may say that, but if he was over her, why did he say something like, "now that they're aware of each other's feelings, why don't we explore them?" at the end of the episode?
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Old February 28 2011, 07:45 PM   #15
Ryann866
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Re: Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

sonak wrote: View Post
I'd never heard this before I came to this message board, but apparently there was some kind of behind-the-scenes thing where Gates McFadden was being sexually harassed by a producer during season 1, a producer who left after season 2 at which point McFadden came back.

Since learning that, I'm surprised McFadden would've wanted to come back since apparently no one on the show helped her when she was being sexually harassed, if this rumor is true.


Don't know about Muldaur and the rest of the cast. I like Pulaski as a character, less bland than Dr. Crusher, but then it would've been awkward with Wesley there but no mom, and the Picard-Beverly background drama would've been gone from the show.

There's a YouTube video interview with Rick Berman where he goes into this a bit explaining that Gates and producer Maurice Hurley didn't "get along" as well as the feeling that the character wasn't working...

Berman was the one that wanted to keep Gates and once he could make it happen for Season 3 he got her back. I'm sure they had to pay up though...
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