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

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Old June 27 2010, 04:56 PM   #1
CobraCommander
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The purpose of Deanna Troi

After watching this show many times, I have asked myself what purpose should a Betazoid psychiatrist have on a starship. In regards to Deanna, I believe that a psychiatrist had no business on the bridge of a starship. She was not qualified to be in a position to outrank officers like Data in a crisis situation. It felt rather Soviet-like with a political officer sensing the Captain's thoughts to make sure they were 'correct'. Another issue with Deanna was her willful use of impathy to read others thoughts. That can be considered a violation/ mind rape. She herself hated it when she was at the receiving end of a mind read. The good thing about B5 was that it brought up a different perspective on telepaths. It went into how telepaths had to restrict their telepathy to avoid absorbing the thoughts of others. They were also shunned because non-tels were afraid of getting read. In TNG, those issues seldom ever came up. I will admit that Voyager did visit that topic in its later seasons.
I remember the episode when the Ferengi were negotiating the rights to a wormhole and a Human/Betazed negotiator was using his skills to beat the competition. When his skills were discovered, Picard blasted him for using his telepathy for his advantage. The negotiator made Picard eat his words by pointing out Picard's own hypocrisy of using Deanna for his own gain by reading the minds of others. Cobra
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Old June 27 2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

CobraCommander wrote: View Post
Another issue with Deanna was her willful use of impathy to read others thoughts. That can be considered a violation/ mind rape.
Most of the time, she could only sense emotions. The only people whose thoughts she could flat-out read were her mother and Riker, and that was because they were especially close to her.

As for the purpose of Deanna as a character, I've always thought it was because Gene Roddenberry was getting into so much psychobabble that he thought the show needed one. (Remember, this is the same man who once suggested that Jim Kirk's mother had a "love instructor." ) If TNG was being made today, it wouldn't.
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Old June 27 2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

CobraCommander wrote: View Post
After watching this show many times, I have asked myself what purpose should a Betazoid psychiatrist have on a starship. In regards to Deanna, I believe that a psychiatrist had no business on the bridge of a starship. She was not qualified to be in a position to outrank officers like Data in a crisis situation.
Well, just being on the bridge didn't put her in a position to outrank Data. In fact, even when she outranked Data, his status as Second Officer trumps her rank. The only time we saw command devolve to Troi was when the only conscious people on the Bridge were Trio, Ensign Ro, and Chief O'Brien.
She is on the bridge as an advisor to the captain. Although she often advised him of the mental state of an enemy, her original concieved role (and we did see her do this a few times) was to advise the Captain on the mental state of the crew.

The good thing about B5 was that it brought up a different perspective on telepaths. It went into how telepaths had to restrict their telepathy to avoid absorbing the thoughts of others.
Is There In Truth No Beauty wrote:
MIRANDA: On Vulcan, I learned to do things impossible to learn anywhere else.
KIRK: To read minds?
MIRANDA: How not to read them, Captain.
KIRK: I don't understand.
SPOCK: Doctor Jones was born a telepath, Captain.
KIRK: Oh.
MIRANDA: Vulcan was necessary to my sanity.
SPOCK: What most humans generally find impossible to understand is the need to shut out the bedlam of other people's thoughts and emotions.
One might suggest that most Federation citizens lack of fear of telepaths was due to more experience with them. A more tolerant view, if you will.
Most of the telepaths we've seen on Star Trek consider it rude to read someone else's thoughts without permission, and most people seemed to feel that was guarantee enough. That's very much how Voyager handled it: more "primitive" cultures feared telepaths, but the crew just takes Tuvok's word that he won't try to read their minds without permission.
I should note that:
Yes, Lwaxana Troi often suggested that she was reading the thoughts of others. She was totally okay with seeming rude, knowing that she was only kidding. She would suggest that Picard was thinking some lascivious thing about her, and both she and Picard knew that wasn't true, so she wasn't actually violating a taboo, it merely looked that way to outsiders. And she got a bit of a kick out of that.
My own mother does similar things regularly (although without telepathy).

I remember a SF novel I read where the central character dated a telepath. When they became intimate, she explained that, like B5 and trek, telepathy training wasn't so much about learning how to read thoughts as how not to, how to shut them out. And, she explained, that was harder when the other person was thinking about you. And also harder when you were in physical contact.
The result was that, when they were having sex, she would keep up a running babble of everything she was thinking, because she was aware of everything he was thinking, and wanted to keep things fair.
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Old June 27 2010, 06:21 PM   #4
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

Even if Troi had no teleptahy what was her purpose on the bridge? She was the counsellor for the entire ship. So why wasn't she counselling people? She was always on the bridge with her boobs practically bursting out the bunny suit.

Apparently she was an expert in aliens and first contact but it rarely showed. And usually what info she gave the captain about aliens wwas what she had read up. So the Captain could have done it himself and called himself an alien expert.

Troi is my favourite character out the whole of the franchises but she was badly written. She didn't know what a warp core breach was in season 1 but shes a Lt. Commander. I think Marina played her very well with what she had to work with.

I think she was there to divert people's attentions from their jobs with her breasts. She was a constant test to see who was good at keeping their mind on the mission. Oh and to point out the obvious whenever she had the bunny suit. And to look smart when she finally got into a uniform.
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Old June 27 2010, 07:09 PM   #5
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

Marina Sirtis is hot, so seeing Troi on the bridge was a plus in that sense lol.

But I think the addition of a counsellor makes sense, for obvious reasons. However, I don't understand why a counsellor would be a senior officer in her own right, and not a sub-ordinate under the Chief Medical Officer. Troi's role in a sense was medical. It's similar to how Chief O'Brien was the transporter chief, but was under La Forge's command, since transporters were obviously a technical system.

I think she was on the bridge largely since her empathy was an advantage to Picard. Kirk, Sisko, Janeway or Archer never had anybody on their left hand side on the bridge saying "Captain, I believe he's lying. We shouldn't trust him."
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Old June 27 2010, 07:25 PM   #6
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

At couple times at least, it was brought up in early seasons that it's appearently unusual for a Federation ship to have families.

When you have parents and kids and near-death experiences on a monthly basis, and rarely ever get to leave the ship, one might find the use of a counselor quite helpful. What's unusual is that there is only one on a ship with over a thousand people


Also, all previous Enterprises have been in service during times of war, so this essentially makes the Enterprise D the first Enterprise to be commishioned and uses during a peace period. Ad on top of that that it is the flag ship of the Federation ... maybe having a counselor on the Bridge to help with negotiations and first contact with another species, helpful and maybe even common.

And maybe, just maybe, Picard knew having a telepathic counselor by his side wouldn't be such a bad idea. Throughout the seven seasons, we learned he had reasons for picking Yar, Riker, Geordi, I think O'Brian, Ro ... surely he had his reasons for picking and utilizing Troi.
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Old June 28 2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

S3CT1ON31 wrote: View Post
Even if Troi had no teleptahy what was her purpose on the bridge? She was always on the bridge with her boobs practically bursting out the bunny suit.
You just answered your own question.

I can't remember who it was who said that the one thing that would probably date TNG as an 80s show was having a therapist on the bridge right there next to the captain.
tharpdevenport wrote: View Post
When you have parents and kids and near-death experiences on a monthly basis
A weekly basis, actually. Except during the summer, when, oddly enough, nothing bad would ever happen to the crew for months at a time.
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Old June 28 2010, 09:42 AM   #8
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
I can't remember who it was who said that the one thing that would probably date TNG as an 80s show was having a therapist on the bridge right there next to the captain.
Exactly. The Deanna Troi character is just so 80s. Remember, this was the decade that brought us thirtysomething, that circle-jerk about whining, self-indulgent yuppies.
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Old June 28 2010, 10:48 AM   #9
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

indolover wrote: View Post
However, I don't understand why a counsellor would be a senior officer in her own right, and not a sub-ordinate under the Chief Medical Officer. Troi's role in a sense was medical. It's similar to how Chief O'Brien was the transporter chief, but was under La Forge's command, since transporters were obviously a technical system.
Her role seems more ambiguous the more you analyse it. If she was regular personnel you'd expect her to be in uniform, medical uniform at that. She'd be under the aegis and career-line of medics, whether subsumed under the Doctor or as a distinct psychological department. From that angle she wouldn't be on the bridge, ranked as she was or able to train for Captaincy. Run all these options for Bones, Bashir, et al and the double-think shows up.

Last edited by tau136; June 28 2010 at 10:49 AM. Reason: more chat, less essay
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Old June 28 2010, 12:28 PM   #10
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

Yes, it was a very 80s thing to have the counselor on board and sitting on the bridge. I think they got better at writing for her and making her a more well rounded character in the later seasons.

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Old June 28 2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

We mostly see the bridge crew when they're about to meet aliens. Sometimes Troi is in her office so obviously she does counsel people aboard ship, both Starfleet and civilian.

However, it would make more sense to have her stay in her quarters/office most of the time, and getting paged "Counselor Troi report to the bridge" whenever they were about to make contact with possibly hostile aliens. If necessary, she could be transported to the ready room in a second, to appear a few moments later on the bridge.
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Old June 28 2010, 12:53 PM   #12
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

Another issue with Deanna was her willful use of impathy to read others thoughts. That can be considered a violation/ mind rape.
That is utter nonsense. Telepaths "hear"/Empath "feel" things automatically, just like we hear, see, smell and taste. That has nothing to do with rape. It could be voyerism to a certain degree.

Would you say that someone who can read body language and facial expression (to tell that you are lying or uncomfortable or hiding something, etc...) is RAPING you? And Troi does only a little more, since she can truly sense if people are angry or lying.

In the fictional world of Trek, there is Betazed, a whole world full of telepaths. They grow up with people being able to hear their thoughts. It's natural to them.

I find it funny how people interpret rape into everything related to telepathy.
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Old June 28 2010, 01:07 PM   #13
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

And we learn that Betazoids are taught early on how to handle and weed out random thoughts, and control their abilities.

Reading someone's thoughts without their knowledge, is like reading someone's diary without their knowledge, yet we don't call the diary reading "rape", now do we?
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Old June 28 2010, 01:37 PM   #14
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

tharpdevenport wrote: View Post
And we learn that Betazoids are taught early on how to handle and weed out random thoughts, and control their abilities.

Reading someone's thoughts without their knowledge, is like reading someone's diary without their knowledge, yet we don't call the diary reading "rape", now do we?
Or (unintentionally) overhearing a private conversation.
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Old June 28 2010, 02:16 PM   #15
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Re: The purpose of Deanna Troi

I like Troi..and Marina Sirtis
I know the character was sometime poorly written..but I found her interesting nontheless.
And its clear that she was the sexy woman of the show but I have difficulties talking anything negative about that either, because I think she is very beautiful
Its funny though, that the biggest counseling jobs that Troi had to do, happened mostly offscreen(there was Barcley, though)
I mean we never really saw Troi counceling Picard, after the Borg incident or after the "four lights" stuff (even though it was quite clear that Troi helped Picard to heal his mental wounds on both occasions) and she did also the same with La Forge, when he was captured by the Romulans
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