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Old April 23 2013, 02:59 PM   #1
Dal Rassak
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characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

I sometimes get the impression that certain characters come in for a lot of undeserved stick for basically just being human.
Riker gets called a bastard and other unflattering things by some apparently just because he's got a bit of a temper, can be rash and doesn't suffer fools gladly.
Kira's been referred to as a whining bitch for being angry and fucked-up (how could you be anything else with that kind of past?).
Keiko of course is a total harridan for daring to get annoyed with her husband on occasion. I could go on.

Looks like if you're a Trek character and you ever get impatient or stressed out or simply aren't willing to waste time on people who irritate you - in short act like a normal person - you get bad press from some quarters.
I enjoy characters like Kira, Ro Laren etc. the most precisely because they're not always reasonable. It makes them more lively and convincing.
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Old April 23 2013, 03:13 PM   #2
R. Star
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Different tastes for different people. Not everyone's going to like

Personally, I think Riker's just a jerk for the way he treats everyone outside the command clique that he's not trying to lay. He's consistently condescending and rude to them for no other reason than he can. So yeah, sorry... that doesn't win points with me. Especially when the script tries to tell you how likable he is all the time. Others like him because he is quite the loyal friend if you happen to be in his clique and that's their privilege.

Kira happens to be one of my favorite characters. Sure she's got a number of issues, but to me that just makes her more real. I'm sure if you drug a Jew out of a concentration camp in 1945 or just one that had been in hiding they'd have any number of issues too. She's been through a lot and isn't the everything's hunky dory picture that Star Trek often paints for the good guys.

Keiko... I dunno, she never much sold herself to me. It's not that she get annoyed with O'brien occasionally... it's that she complains almost every episode she's in about O'brien's career and what she gave up for him, what he's doing. She does come across as a nag of the first order to me. But that's not all there is to her by a long shot. By all accounts she does seem to be a very compassionate person who cares about the people around her. My favorite scene with her is when she was telling O'brien to "kick his butt" in Rivals. You just got the feeling she was behind O'brien there.

Either way, you can go down the list with any number of characters and opinions are going to vary with each board member here. Just the way things go.
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Old April 23 2013, 03:31 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
I sometimes get the impression that certain characters come in for a lot of undeserved stick for basically just being human.
Sometimes people just like to criticize characters they don't personally like, often trying to find something (anything!) to justify why that character is so horrible.

Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes, but for me, I think the worst thing I can say about a character is one that isn't used very well or hardly used at all--that character might as well have been an extra or reoccurring character, IMO. And in that case, it's not about the character, but about the writing or creative choices made by producers.
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Old April 23 2013, 10:54 PM   #4
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Kira was a great character (probably my favourite in Trek). I don't see how people can comment on her actions, given the hard life she had. But over seven years she evolved and grew, maturing and accepting what she did.

As for Keiko, I never understood all the hate she suffers. Her marriage with Miles is very real, where they bicker and don't always see eye-to-eye, but love each other. I like that there are a couple of episodes where her knowledge and understanding of her husband play a key part.

Then there's the like of Alynna Nechayev who is branded a 'bitch' constantly. I have never seen her is such a light, but rather a flag officer in a key position who has to keep her eye on the big picture and not stroke the ego of the likes of Picard. She does what needs to be done for the safety of the Federation and Starfleet, which means needing to be forceful at times.
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Old April 23 2013, 11:00 PM   #5
BillJ
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Kira was a great character (probably my favourite in Trek). I don't see how people can comment on her actions, given the hard life she had. But over seven years she evolved and grew, maturing and accepting what she did.
Could've been a great character but the actress was just grating. I wonder if all terrorists look like they're going to break down in tears at the slightest sign of adversity?
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Old April 25 2013, 02:34 AM   #6
JirinPanthosa
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Here's the thing about the 'perfect/not perfect' debate in Star Trek.

'Perfect' characters can be great, but not if they go out of their way to force you to think they're perfect.

Flawed characters can also be great, but not if they make every story about the character be all about that flaw.

Other than Wesley at the beginning and half the Voyager crew I don't think Star Trek made this mistake too often with main characters. You could argue they did it with Spock's emotionlessness or Worf's humorless antisocial tendencies I suppose, but usually they showed you the characters' virtues or flaws by sticking them in a situation and just letting them react.

Except for Voyager and first two seasons Enterprise. On Voyager almost every plot was built around flaunting a character's key flaw.

DS9 occasionally did it but not quite so blatantly. They did have a penchant for the TV trope of "Take two characters with opposite personality and trap them alone in a dangerous situation".
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Old April 25 2013, 02:40 AM   #7
Dale Sams
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

I thought this thread was going to be about characters, rather forcingly, being made to be 'disappointed' in the actions of their peers. I refer to those two DS9 eps that make Odo look to be less than perfect to Kira and vice-versa respectively.

I'm not referring to Odo's actions under the influence of The Great Link...I thought that was understandable.



I wonder if Jellico's confinement of Riker to quarters was something amended by Riker and Jellico. Confining the guy who saved Earth is going to hurt Jellico's record as well as Riker. Plus, Captains have to find a way to get along with their crew. Relieving your XO after a week just doesn't look good.
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Old April 25 2013, 10:05 PM   #8
R. Star
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

I always thought Jellico wasn't that bad of a guy. Every time he was introduced to someone in that episode he was cordial to them for example. His command style definitely was "his way or the highway" and he was a micro manager. That's not bad, it's just different. Especially when everyone's been serving under Picard who basically gives his people all the leeway in the world so long as the job gets done.

Jellico to me seemed to put the mission before the people. Which is a very military attitude. To him they were facing the prospect of war if things went wrong. Jellico said as much to Picard and Troi. It wasn't that he didn't care about the people under his command, but he couldn't baby them at the expense of the mission. To Riker, Jellico was willing to sacrifice Picard to further the mission. He wasn't wrong. To Jellico, Picard is a small thing compared to the prospect of preventing a war, which was his mission.

Riker was insubordinate to Jellico and was increasingly so as things progressed. Jellico felt that was a danger to the mission having someone he couldn't rely upon in a critical position. So yes, when Riker crossed the line, he's relieved and Data's in the red shirt. Frankly Riker wasn't very professional in the episode at all. To me the scene between Geordi and Jellico in the shuttle was very telling. Not only did it demonstrate Jellico did attempt to bond with his people when given the chance, but that he'll put the mission ahead of personal concerns.

He did drop his pride when he asked Riker to pilot the mission. Why? His pride is a small thing to the success of the mission. I think he "dropped the ranks" and ripped into Riker, just to give Riker the chance to get all the nasty things he wanted to say to Jellico off his chest, so he'd perform the mission all the better. To say nothing about once the mission was a success and Jellico had the upper hand, he immediately demanded Picard's return. So you really can't say he didn't care about the people under his command, even if he didn't have time to pamper them so to say.

I suppose I ranted a bit on this, but he is one of my favorite characters and really did shake things up nicely on the TNG set. To me, Jellico was the professional, get the mission done, no matter the cost type of man. Just the sort of person you'd want on a high stakes mission where the threat of war is imminent. His style was different, and admittedly overbearing, but that doesn't mean it was wrong.
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Old April 25 2013, 11:16 PM   #9
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Riker is one of my favourite characters. When something daft was happening whilst everyone else stood around all po-faced you'd see Riker grinning and appreciating the absurdity of what's happening..
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Old April 25 2013, 11:21 PM   #10
Mysterion
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
I wonder if Jellico's confinement of Riker to quarters was something amended by Riker and Jellico. Confining the guy who saved Earth is going to hurt Jellico's record as well as Riker. Plus, Captains have to find a way to get along with their crew. Relieving your XO after a week just doesn't look good.
Confining Riker wouldn't be a bad mark for Jellico. No matter how bnig a hero Riker might have been ealier on in the series, at that point he was an insubordinate and unprofessional boob. Jellico let him off easy.

Captains don't need to find a way to get along with their crews as much as crews need to find a way to get along with their captains. And it was Riker's job as XO to facilitate that process, which he did not do.

If they'd carted Picard off to the loony bin after having been tortured and left Jellico in command of the Big E for the rest of the series, i would have been okay with that.
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Old April 26 2013, 02:17 AM   #11
Dale Sams
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Mysterion wrote: View Post
Dale Sams wrote: View Post
I wonder if Jellico's confinement of Riker to quarters was something amended by Riker and Jellico. Confining the guy who saved Earth is going to hurt Jellico's record as well as Riker. Plus, Captains have to find a way to get along with their crew. Relieving your XO after a week just doesn't look good.
Confining Riker wouldn't be a bad mark for Jellico. No matter how bnig a hero Riker might have been ealier on in the series, at that point he was an insubordinate and unprofessional boob. Jellico let him off easy.

Captains don't need to find a way to get along with their crews as much as crews need to find a way to get along with their captains. And it was Riker's job as XO to facilitate that process, which he did not do.

If they'd carted Picard off to the loony bin after having been tortured and left Jellico in command of the Big E for the rest of the series, i would have been okay with that.
It depends...yeah the guys in Band of Brothers got their asses handed to them, but David Shwimmer got a 'desk job' as well.


The really weird and dumb thing about that episode is Troi's comment "He doesn't know what he's doing" (or something like that) Yeah, Riker is written as loony tunes, but I'm telling you unless they agree to call it 'stress', they're both in hot water when Starfleet asks..."You had to relieve the XO of our Flagship after a week? WTF? That happens like once every five years!"

He felt he had to relieve him cause he was insubordinate and out of control, but not so out of control he could be trusted with a crucial shuttle mission. That's Captain Queeg territory right there.

But you're right (and the nitpicker book guy) that the crew comes off like a bunch of spoiled brats.
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Old April 26 2013, 05:37 PM   #12
Jonas Grumby
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

I'm almost tempted to give the writers of "Chain of Command" some major kudos for the way they handled the Jellico character. At first glance, he comes off as the villain, but look a little deeper and you see that he is actually the most focused, effective and clearly defined character in the piece. He almost single-handedly drives the plot (or at least the mission) to its successful conclusion.

Like I say, almost tempted to give kudos to the writers. But then I see how they trashed the regular crew, especially Riker. It really is the kind of character assassination that--in the old days--would have had William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy storming into Gene Roddenberry's office had it happened to them.
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Old April 26 2013, 06:13 PM   #13
R. Star
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Jonas Grumby wrote: View Post
I'm almost tempted to give the writers of "Chain of Command" some major kudos for the way they handled the Jellico character. At first glance, he comes off as the villain, but look a little deeper and you see that he is actually the most focused, effective and clearly defined character in the piece. He almost single-handedly drives the plot (or at least the mission) to its successful conclusion.

Like I say, almost tempted to give kudos to the writers. But then I see how they trashed the regular crew, especially Riker. It really is the kind of character assassination that--in the old days--would have had William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy storming into Gene Roddenberry's office had it happened to them.
Well the only person who was really character assassinated was Riker. LaForge complained a lot but that was rather informal... and people need to blow off steam sometimes when they're under a lot of stress which Geordi was. But he did his job when it got down to it. Heck, Troi was rather useful this episode. Beyond that, Data, Worf and Crusher were all treated normally.

Riker... just suddenly reverted to a confrontational teenager that has to argue with daddy no matter the circumstances. It was kinda sad to see that. They could've had Riker and Jellico butt heads over Picard without Riker suddenly turning insubordinate and unprofessional.
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Old April 26 2013, 06:28 PM   #14
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
He felt he had to relieve him cause he was insubordinate and out of control, but not so out of control he could be trusted with a crucial shuttle mission.
There is a wide difference between being an professional executive officer, and being a hot shot pilot in a twin seater craft on an attack mission.

The executive officer is the Captain good right hand, and representative to the officers and crew. While a private bitch session with the ship's resident shrink is one thing (and completely professional) such a venting in public is inexcusable.

And Geordi's complaints should have been shut down by Riker himself.

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Old April 26 2013, 08:46 PM   #15
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Re: characters getting stick for not being "perfect"?

R. Star wrote: View Post
They could've had Riker and Jellico butt heads over Picard without Riker suddenly turning insubordinate and unprofessional.
Hear, hear! That would have been a much better cause for contention between Riker and Jellico. Riker could have been concerned that Jellico seemed a little too eager to sacrifice Picard, rather than just scared that Jellico was going to screw up their happy-happy cruise ship working environment.
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