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

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Old March 6 2011, 01:41 PM   #1
skylark14
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Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Which one episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief and keeps you from enjoying the storyline? I see this was already touched on briefly in a thread specifically about whether ESP in humans is believable. My #1 for this has always been Mudd’s Women in the very early first season, even though overall this was the most realistic and fun period of the show, when it really did seem to be set in a futuristic workplace with co-workers socializing and coffee cups strewn about. Even back in 1966, I knew that you could not swallow a pill and have that pill comb and style your hair and apply false lashes and lipstick to your face. Each time it happens the transformation still brings a frown to my face and an “oh, please” from my lips.

It was an interesting idea for a story but hard to translate to television without over-reliance on the makeup artist which then made it ridiculous. I guess I give them kudos for even attempting a psychological story like that in the first place.

So which episode throws cold water on you and brings you back to realizing you're sitting on your own couch?
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Old March 6 2011, 03:55 PM   #2
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Not so much an episode, but there are several times where there is flopped film or some other technical glitch that throws me off.

One great example is in "The Way To Eden" near the end on Eden where Kirk is flipped and it is totally noticeable.
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Old March 7 2011, 12:41 AM   #3
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

It’s been discussed ad nauseam on other threads, but the ending of “The Omega Glory” is one humongous WTF. I can buy humanoid life on other worlds. I can buy alien civilizations parallelling familiar Earth cultures. But the friggin’ American flag and Constitution — with the exact same language and calligraphy, no less? What. The. FUCK???!!

Also, while “Miri” was a well-written and acted story, the ridiculous gimmick of the planet being an exact duplicate of Earth, continental outlines and all, almost made me want to switch the channel right after the teaser. And it was a stupid and unnecessary gimmick, since the planet’s exact resemblance to Earth doesn’t figure at all in the plot.
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Old March 7 2011, 01:12 AM   #4
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

"Miri" is just bizarre. It's a great set-up--an exact duplicate of Earth--that goes entirely unexploited after the teaser, and by the time the away team arrives on the planet it's nature is entirely incidental to the story.

I'd second the conclusion of "The Omega Glory." Even if it wasn't so pointlessly jingoistic, it would still be a huge logic hole in the episode.

Speaking of production-natured things, like the shot in "The Way to Eden" that Danny99 mentions, the more I see the original Star Trek the more such things pop out to me. The close-up of McCoy in the transporter room in "Mudd's Women" where he is in a different uniform with a biobed in the background in one shot (pulled from later in the episode) is especially jarring. It just doesn't fit.
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Old March 7 2011, 01:35 AM   #5
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

The Mark of Gideon is another. Sure, do an episode dealing with the problems of overpopulation, but taking it so far that people literally only have room to all stand together in a giant crowd is just absurd. Add to that the Gideonites' overly convoluted plan with the duplicate Enterprise and the whole thing just falls apart.
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Old March 7 2011, 01:40 AM   #6
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
It’s been discussed ad nauseam on other threads, but the ending of “The Omega Glory” is one humongous WTF. I can buy humanoid life on other worlds. I can buy alien civilizations parallelling familiar Earth cultures. But the friggin’ American flag and Constitution — with the exact same language and calligraphy, no less? What. The. FUCK???!!

Also, while “Miri” was a well-written and acted story, the ridiculous gimmick of the planet being an exact duplicate of Earth, continental outlines and all, almost made me want to switch the channel right after the teaser. And it was a stupid and unnecessary gimmick, since the planet’s exact resemblance to Earth doesn’t figure at all in the plot.
To deal with these in fanfic, I came up with the admittedly convoluted theory that these were parallel Earths--so easy to transit to during that time because of proximity to the former Delphic Expanse.

Without an explanation like that, this AND Magna Roma constitute an unforgivable WTF.

I think that ENT might well have hinted in this direction by re-creating Hodgkin's Law as being what sounds like a law of convergent evolution. Something that, in light of recent possible discoveries about space microbes, might well have something to it, rather than a bogus law that in the same universe, people would somehow spontaneously make the same choices, develop the same languages, and so on.

What I find most breaks my suspension of disbelief is any time I see the pathetic treatment of women in any episode. That is unwatchable. Now, I can read TOS novels, and watch the movies, but the actual series...even the bad special effects and hokey plots would be easier to put up with if women were treated decently.
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Old March 7 2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Balance of Terror. A large piece of wreckage that appeared suddenly from nowhere makes barely a whisper when it hits the ground, yet crushes a man to death and takes sustained effort from another to move. WTF.
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Old March 7 2011, 02:15 AM   #8
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Miri and Omega Glory are two that are like that for me. Oh, and The paradise Syndrome too. I like the story but it is hard to beleive that this planet has inhabitants that look and act just like native Americans.
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Old March 7 2011, 02:24 AM   #9
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Almost any third-year episode and most of the second. Silly or trivial plotting.
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Old March 7 2011, 02:25 AM   #10
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Geck wrote: View Post
The Mark of Gideon is another. Sure, do an episode dealing with the problems of overpopulation, but taking it so far that people literally only have room to all stand together in a giant crowd is just absurd. Add to that the Gideonites' overly convoluted plan with the duplicate Enterprise and the whole thing just falls apart.
And they reject contraception because of their great love for life, so they figure the better way to deal with excessive birth rates is to introduce a lethal plague into the population.
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Old March 7 2011, 02:34 AM   #11
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
What I find most breaks my suspension of disbelief is any time I see the pathetic treatment of women in any episode. That is unwatchable. Now, I can read TOS novels, and watch the movies, but the actual series...even the bad special effects and hokey plots would be easier to put up with if women were treated decently.
And in which episodes, specifically, were women treated badly? (That is, allowing for the cultural norms of the time in which TOS was created and avoiding the fallacy of presentism.)

Space Therapist wrote: View Post
Miri and Omega Glory are two that are like that for me. Oh, and The paradise Syndrome too. I like the story but it is hard to beleive that this planet has inhabitants that look and act just like native Americans.
That was explained thus:

SPOCK: . . The obelisk is a marker, just as I thought. It was left by a super-race known as the Preservers. They passed through the galaxy rescuing primitive cultures which were in danger of extinction and seeding them, so to speak, where they could live and grow.
MCCOY: I've always wondered why there were so many humanoids scattered through the galaxy.
SPOCK: So have I. Apparently the Preservers account for a number of them.
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Old March 7 2011, 02:53 AM   #12
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
What I find most breaks my suspension of disbelief is any time I see the pathetic treatment of women in any episode. That is unwatchable. Now, I can read TOS novels, and watch the movies, but the actual series...even the bad special effects and hokey plots would be easier to put up with if women were treated decently.
And in which episodes, specifically, were women treated badly? (That is, allowing for the cultural norms of the time in which TOS was created and avoiding the fallacy of presentism.)
Let's see...the whole "women can't be captains" thing (unless you're Romulan instead of Starfleet), Marla McGivers, Mudd's wife, all of those and many more were pathetic stereotypes. And frankly, I see no reason why we should excuse those stereotypes, especially in a show that purported to be about a better future than that. It's hypocrisy writ large. Even the fact that we only saw women as nurses and secretaries, in a rather pathetic excuse for a uniform (whose purpose was only to show skin) is pretty demeaning.

Thank God the novelverse helped to rectify a lot of that.
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Old March 7 2011, 03:46 AM   #13
scotpens
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Let's see...the whole "women can't be captains" thing (unless you're Romulan instead of Starfleet), Marla McGivers, Mudd's wife, all of those and many more were pathetic stereotypes. And frankly, I see no reason why we should excuse those stereotypes, especially in a show that purported to be about a better future than that. It's hypocrisy writ large. Even the fact that we only saw women as nurses and secretaries, in a rather pathetic excuse for a uniform (whose purpose was only to show skin) is pretty demeaning.
There were limits to what you could get away with in pushing the boundaries of acceptance on a network TV show in 1966. Remember that NBC rejected the female First Officer in “The Cage.” Whether that was because they didn’t think audiences would accept the character or because they didn’t like the producer giving a major role to his then-girlfriend, that’s a topic for another thread.

In fact, at a time when the only women serving aboard naval vessels were nurses on hospital ships, Trek TOS was quite progressive in making fully one-third of the Enterprise crew female.

As for the minidresses, Nichelle Nichols and Grace Lee Whitney wanted to show their legs. (We saw women crewmembers in pants as well, at least during the first season.) And, perhaps paradoxically, miniskirts were seen as a symbol of female social and sexual liberation in the 1960s.

I agree about the characters of Marla McGivers and Carolyn Palamas — women who were ready to betray their duty to Starfleet and their loyalty to humanity just because they went ga-ga over some handsome alpha male with rippling muscles. Even back when “Space Seed” was first broadcast, my mother remarked, “That girl is such a simp!”

But Mudds’s wife? It was a comedy episode, and the nagging harridan of a wife is a stock comic character that goes back to classical antiquity.
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Old March 7 2011, 03:50 AM   #14
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

I watched Star Trek when it aired on NBC. I was in junior high school at the time; not a particularly sophisticated viewer. Nonetheless it was pretty obvious to some of us watching then that the portrayal of women on the show was sometimes silly and demeaning - the Janet Lester thing was greeted as a big WTF? by a lot of fans then. "The fallacy of presentism" has a nice plausible ring to it, but the fallacy of pretending that everything we now consider smart, virtuous or right was just thought of for the first time in this generation must have a name of its own.
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Old March 7 2011, 03:55 AM   #15
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Dennis wrote: View Post
"The fallacy of presentism" has a nice plausible ring to it, but the fallacy of pretending that everything we now consider smart, virtuous or right was just thought of for the first time in this generation must have a name of its own.
It does: "arrogance."
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