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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old March 21 2014, 03:02 AM   #46
Merry Christmas
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Shawnster wrote: View Post
George Takei, a Japanese American actor, requested to not play a stereotype or caricature of a member of his own ethnicity.
Sulu was created to be "Pan-Asian" so that did play to Sulu not being ethnic Japanese ... until they killed that idea in the movies by giving the character a Japanese first name.

urbandefault wrote: View Post
Speaking of caricatures, Raj's dad is Babu from Seinfeld.
Biggest caricature in TBBT would be Sheldon's mother Mary Cooper, talk about painting a character with a wide brush!!

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I was under the impression Koenig's parents were Russian Jews. Or does that not count as being "Russian'?
I thought that was Leonard Nimoy's family history, not Koenig's.

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Old March 21 2014, 03:43 AM   #47
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

T'Girl wrote: View Post

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I was under the impression Koenig's parents were Russian Jews. Or does that not count as being "Russian'?
I thought that was Leonard Nimoy's family history, not Koenig's.
They're both the children of Jewish Russian immigrants.
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Old March 21 2014, 03:54 AM   #48
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

The Pravda story always sounded like BS to me. I doubt that a show that nobody in America was watching at the time was on the Soviet Union's radar.
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Old March 21 2014, 04:48 AM   #49
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sulu was created to be "Pan-Asian" so that did play to Sulu not being ethnic Japanese ... until they killed that idea in the movies by giving the character a Japanese first name.
I didn't really care for how that worked out, the same with "Nyota" Uhura. For years and years, they were Sulu and Uhura. Now with first names, I see them popping up in all kinds of productions. It reminds me of Hawkman comic books in the 80's. He reveals his Carter Hall identity, and all of a sudden his mask kept getting knocked off in battles, now that his identity is conveniently known, of course!
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Old March 21 2014, 05:17 AM   #50
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sulu was created to be "Pan-Asian" so that did play to Sulu not being ethnic Japanese ... until they killed that idea in the movies by giving the character a Japanese first name.
I didn't really care for how that worked out, the same with "Nyota" Uhura. For years and years, they were Sulu and Uhura. Now with first names, I see them popping up in all kinds of productions. It reminds me of Hawkman comic books in the 80's. He reveals his Carter Hall identity, and all of a sudden his mask kept getting knocked off in battles, now that his identity is conveniently known, of course!
The name "Nyota" floated around fandom for decades before being made official. "Hikaru" was first used in Vonda McIntyre's novel The Entropy Effect.
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Old March 21 2014, 05:50 AM   #51
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Hikaru Sulu's first name was revealed in the original film franchise. And Sulu was not created to be "pan-Asian" that I'm aware of; he was created to be an American -- in TVH I believe they specify from San Francisco -- who happened to be of Asian ancestry and otherwise was not Asian at all, more of a Western-style Renaissance Man. (Hence the character's hobbyist enthusiasms.)

Timewalker is right, Uhura had her first name unofficially in fandom for many, many years before it became canon. That feels right and natural: as long as I've known the character, I always thought of her as Nyota Uhura.
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Old March 21 2014, 07:25 AM   #52
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Geoffrey Mandel's U.S.S. Enterprise Officer's Manual, published in 1980, gives Sulu's first name as Itaka and his birthplace as Tokyo.

But then, it also says Spock's "other" name is Xtmprszntwlfd.
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Old March 21 2014, 07:48 AM   #53
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

BigJake wrote: View Post
Sulu was not created to be "pan-Asian" that I'm aware of; he was created to be an American -- in TVH I believe they specify from San Francisco -- who happened to be of Asian ancestry and otherwise was not Asian at all, more of a Western-style Renaissance Man. (Hence the character's hobbyist enthusiasms.)

You could say the characters were created for a 1960s audience, and in Sulu's case retconned for the '80s and on.

I'm at work now, but I think The Making of Star Trek states that Sulu is half Japanese and half Chinese. I don't recall it saying he's originally an American, but we can see he is completely assimilated to the U.S., so it adds up the same. Post-recon, he is just Japanese.

George Takei said in recent years somewhere that he was fine with his character being named after the Sulu Sea, even though it's not a Japanese surname, because "a sea touches all shores."
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Old March 21 2014, 02:41 PM   #54
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
I'm at work now, but I think The Making of Star Trek states that Sulu is half Japanese and half Chinese. I don't recall it saying he's originally an American, but we can see he is completely assimilated to the U.S., so it adds up the same. Post-recon, he is just Japanese.
TMOST says this:
Although of mixed Oriental and Filipino background, Sulu's cultural heritage is mainly Japanese, and he finds himself drawn to the samurai concept as a philosophy. Despite this, he is a rather "hip" character and has an excellent sense of humor.
Exqueeze me . . . samurai don't have a sense of humor?

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Old March 21 2014, 04:27 PM   #55
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Personally, I find both first name choices for Sulu and Uhura to be incredibly clunky. Heck, even Tiberius as Kirk's middle name has never worked for me.

As for Sulu's character development, that seemed to stall after the first season. He was always great visually-speaking in all bridge scenes, but when you compare him with Scotty as far as juicy character scenes, Scotty wins handily. In fact, Sulu's best outing in seasons 2 and 3 is probably in ''Mirror, mirror'', and that isn't even the ''real'' Sulu...
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Old March 21 2014, 07:35 PM   #56
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I was under the impression Koenig's parents were Russian Jews. Or does that not count as being "Russian'?
I thought that was Leonard Nimoy's family history, not Koenig's.
They're both the children of Jewish Russian immigrants.
And so was Shatner...
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Old March 21 2014, 08:59 PM   #57
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Just checked -- Shatner's father was born in Austria, not Russia.
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Old March 21 2014, 09:37 PM   #58
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Alrik wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
So the "Pravda story" is just a story?
According to GR it was just a story. I did some digging to see if I could find the story I remembered from long ago. No luck. But I did find GR's side of that.

First off, I guess I miss-remembered the part about the suits wanting a Davy Jones knock-off. That was all GR, but his reason for making Chekov Russian were pretty much spot on. And GR was adamant that he had written to Pravda first letting them know that Chekov was to be introduced. It was NBC that said Chekov was in response to the Pravda article.
Was there really an article in Pravda lamenting the lack of a Russian character in Star Trek? Or is that just part of the behind-the-scenes mythos we've been hearing about these past nearly 5 decades? That is what I would appreciate knowing, please.
There's a Snopes article on this topic which is worth reading. Can't link to it on my phone, but it's not hard to find.
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Old March 21 2014, 10:02 PM   #59
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

T'Girl wrote: View Post
urbandefault wrote: View Post
Speaking of caricatures, Raj's dad is Babu from Seinfeld.
Biggest caricature in TBBT would be Sheldon's mother Mary Cooper, talk about painting a character with a wide brush!!
I'm from that general area, so I'm used to seeing that "wide brush." Most times it doesn't even register.

scotpens wrote: View Post
Geoffrey Mandel's U.S.S. Enterprise Officer's Manual, published in 1980, gives Sulu's first name as Itaka and his birthplace as Tokyo.

But then, it also says Spock's "other" name is Xtmprszntwlfd.
Rewatching ST09 the other day, in the bridge fight scene where Sarek exclaims, "SPOCK!" ... it occurred to me that the next scene with the two in the transporter room could gone something like this:

SAREK: Speak your mind, Spock.
SPOCK: That would be unwise.
SAREK: What is necessary is never unwise.
SPOCK: Father ... why have you never called me by my first name?
SAREK: I cannot pronounce it.

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Old March 21 2014, 11:50 PM   #60
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

scotpens wrote: View Post

But then, it also says Spock's "other" name is Xtmprszntwlfd.
Wtf, indeed.

About the motive for creating Chekov, I think the Davy Jones idea is the most reasonable. The Monkees originally aired on NBC beginning in the fall of 1966--a year before the introduction of Chekov in TOS season 2, so it seems Monkee-mania was so potent, NBC (and/or GR) desired that same kind of feel pushed into TOS (after watching the tone of season 1), in a way that would fit. He was not singing, or getting into romance of the week, but just his presence (character age factor, wig, etc.) had the potential to draw in younger, female viewers.

Aside from being inexperienced, Chekov often seemed like he was being groomed for bigger things, since he worked with Spock more than anyone else, and appeared to have the Vulcan's respect. That alone takes him out of the strict caricature accusation, as comic relief of that kind cannot be well merged into a serious production.
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