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

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Old March 7 2011, 04:06 AM   #16
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Dehner wasn't exactly a nice reflection on women, either--though I can at least write that one off to the fact that she was batshit crazy.
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Old March 7 2011, 04:14 AM   #17
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Dehner wasn't exactly a nice reflection on women, either--though I can at least write that one off to the fact that she was batshit crazy.
Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), the psychiatrist who got zapped into having telekinetic powers in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? She was never batshit crazy. Not by a long shot. Do you mean Janice Lester?

Now, Marta (Yvonne Craig), Garth’s green girlfriend in “Whom Gods Destroy” — she was batshit crazy. But she was so friggin’ hot!
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Old March 7 2011, 04:27 AM   #18
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote:
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.
While I realize Trek is - and to a certain extent had to be - a product of its time, that doesn't make some of its really flagrant cases of sexism that much easier to take. It's understandable (not excusable but understandable) why some of my older relatives had/have racist opinions...but that doesn't make those opinions any less...well, vile. Even in the 1960s and before, women weren't allowed to be traitors just because they were in looOOOooOOve. People didn't say to Mildred Gillars, better known as Axis Sally, "Oh, you were in love with a Nazi. That's why you made those broadcasts and betrayed your country. Ah, we get it now. Never mind. We forgive you."

So yeah, Marla McGivers and Carolyn Palamas were totally and egregiously sexist portrayals, and they weren't excusable in the 1960s, either. Whoever was responsible for them (and it wasn't the actresses I'm sure) should be well and truly ashamed of himself.

But I agree with you on Stella Mudd ("Stella, dear" - I love that episode). If I was married to Harry Mudd, I might be a nagging harridan, too. Probably not - I'd probably throw his sorry ass out. But possibly. Harry could have that effect on a person.

But to drag myself back on topic, in the early episodes of TOS season 1, the way the costumes changed from episode to episode really bothered me, and it still does now that I know the reasons for it. But it's really distracting.

Another thing that has repeatedly pulled me out of an episode is when the writers come up with really lame reasons why the crew can't use the transporters or some other Trekkishly ordinary piece of equipment - or when Spock doesn't use the neck pinch thingie even when it would clearly be in order or when Troi's empathic powers don't work for a really lame reason. These errors are sometimes minor and sometimes less so, but they distract me.

Insanely ridiculous coincidences do as well. For example, in "Conscience of the King," there is only a tiny handful of people in the galaxy who saw Kodos...and two of them are on the Enterprise? Really? And the way aliens who've never been on a Star Fleet vessel can get on there and do whatever they want with no trouble. Lazarus, for example, can not only steal the Enterprise's dilithium crystals with ease, but he can then install them into his ship in just a few seconds. Are dilithium crystals one size fits all or something?

And ridiculous plot contrivances do as well. For example, in both "Space Seed" and "The Alternative Factor" (both of which I rewatched just in the past few days), possibly dangerous strangers are allowed to roam around the ship or the ship's computers at will. What's the deal with that?

TOS wasn't alone in silly plot contrivances, of course. The two long-term quasi/semi/sometime romances of Picard-Crusher and Troi-Riker were used or ignored, depending on how well they fit into a particular episode's plot. The same is the case for the quasi/semi/sometime romance of Janeway-Chakotay, too. I hate that. It's disrespectful of the audience and of the characters as well.

Last edited by JustKate; March 7 2011 at 04:41 AM.
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Old March 7 2011, 04:39 AM   #19
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Dehner wasn't exactly a nice reflection on women, either--though I can at least write that one off to the fact that she was batshit crazy.
Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), the psychiatrist who got zapped into having telekinetic powers in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? She was never batshit crazy. Not by a long shot.
No...the zapping drove Dehner crazy.
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Old March 7 2011, 04:42 AM   #20
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

^ For her part, it took Dehner a lot longer to go megalomaniac than it did Gary Mitchell. Which seems to indicate that Mitchell already had predispositions towards that kind of worldview. If not, why did he turn evil so quickly? Think about it.
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Old March 7 2011, 05:50 AM   #21
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

JustKate wrote: View Post
If I was married to Harry Mudd, I might be a nagging harridan, too. Probably not - I'd probably throw his sorry ass out. But possibly. Harry could have that effect on a person.
When I think about it, Harry and Stella probably deserved each other.

And the way aliens who've never been on a Star Fleet vessel can get on there and do whatever they want with no trouble. Lazarus, for example, can not only steal the Enterprise's dilithium crystals with ease, but he can then install them into his ship in just a few seconds. Are dilithium crystals one size fits all or something?
I suppose they could be something like all of today’s devices that plug into USB ports.
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
scotpens wrote: View Post
Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), the psychiatrist who got zapped into having telekinetic powers in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? She was never batshit crazy. Not by a long shot.
No...the zapping drove Dehner crazy.
For her part, it took Dehner a lot longer to go megalomaniac than it did Gary Mitchell. Which seems to indicate that Mitchell already had predispositions towards that kind of worldview. If not, why did he turn evil so quickly? Think about it.
And Dehner was persuaded to turn against Mitchell after a good inspirational pep talk from Kirk. I don’t think she really had it in her to be an evil, super-powered bitch goddess.
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Old March 7 2011, 06:08 AM   #22
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

While there are some prime examples of cheesiness already mentioned in this thread, I would say the cringe-worthy example that gets under my skin would have to be "And the Children Shall Lead". And it's cringe-worthy for several reasons:

1: It features the gratuitous use of child actors which look more cute than serious in the so-called plot.

2: despite the cute kids, some of them did try to make a good impression and the addition of Melvin Belli makes me step back and say "How can they have hired so many actors, for such a silly story?"

3: The episode features one convoluted gimmick after another. I fail to see how these kids acquired the power to make Scott, Checkov, Sulu or Uhura so delusional. The endless swords thing quickly becomes grating from its obvious goofiness.

4: The alleged story seemed to me to be a bad retread of "The Naked Time". Been there, done that, had mixed results before. Why are we here again?

All this having been said, the story does make me wonder if there were a way to tell it without all the cheesy theatrics. (I think it would've been next to impossible to tell a more direct story about children being manipulated by an alien menace in 1968.)

Other stories mentioned here probably could've been better executed with some better writing. This one would probably be the hardest to salvage.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:11 AM   #23
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

In Court Martial, McCoy uses an unimaginatively modified Shure SM58S micrphone to mask the heartbeats on the bridge. I don't have a problem with anything else in the series.. It's all a bunch of nitpicking and finding silly reasons to complain about something that was totally more appropriate for a show in the sixties than it is today.

I like how some of the wall pieces in engineering are just metal grilles from a home barbeque.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:25 AM   #24
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

number6 wrote: View Post
In Court Martial, McCoy uses an unimaginatively modified Shure SM58S microphone to mask the heartbeats on the bridge. I don't have a problem with anything else in the series...
Not even the mid-20th-century squirt bottle used to poison Lt. Riley’s milk? Or the drum chronometer on the helm-nav console? Or Kirk’s Samsonite suitcase in “This Side of Paradise”?

I like how some of the wall pieces in engineering are just metal grilles from a home barbeque.
And lots of the crap stuck on the walls throughout the Enterprise was spray-painted styrofoam packing material. Looked pretty cool at the time, though.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:32 AM   #25
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
number6 wrote: View Post
In Court Martial, McCoy uses an unimaginatively modified Shure SM58S microphone to mask the heartbeats on the bridge. I don't have a problem with anything else in the series...
Not even the mid-20th-century squirt bottle used to poison Lt. Riley’s milk?
No. There are several such bottles in McCoy's cabinet, right next to the trombone mutes.
Or the drum chronometer on the helm-nav console?
Not enough to suspend my disbelief, though I do like how they re-did it for the Hi-Def reissue.
Or Kirk’s Samsonite suitcase in “This Side of Paradise”?
How does one pack their clothes in the 23rd century?? I don't think suitcases are really going to go away.
I like how some of the wall pieces in engineering are just metal grilles from a home barbeque.
And lots of the crap stuck on the walls throughout the Enterprise was spray-painted styrofoam packing material. Looked pretty cool at the time, though.
At least they look functional.. I thought of another one: The weeper plant obviously being a hand wearing a leafy glove.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:42 AM   #26
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

"The Omega Glory" is my answer to all "What <bad thing> in TOS?" threads.
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Old March 7 2011, 09:23 AM   #27
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
I agree about the characters of Marla McGivers
McGivers was a freedom fighter.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:09 PM   #28
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

People get their panties in a wad when a woman is portrayed as being a sap for love.

However, I never see the same attitude when Trek does the same thing with men. They never get their boxers in a wad from any of the following:

1. The Man Trap -- McCoy acts like an idiot and almost can't bring himself to phaser the vampire because it can resemble an old love.

2. The Conscience of the King -- Kirk gets suckered by Lenore.

3. Is There in Truth No Beauty -- Marvick, the jealous lover tries to beat up the Ambassador in the Box, stupid sappy behavior out of sappy love.

4. Way to Eden -- Checkov is played for a fool by Irina

5. Lights of Zetar & Who Mourns for Adonis -- Scotty behaves like a love-sick schoolboy. He throws himself at Adonis, disobeys orders...

6. Mudd's Women -- all the men act like idiots and sucker to the women.

And worst of all.. when Zephran Cochran falls in love he has to apologize for it:
COCHRANE: Captain, don't tell them about me.

Makes men look like immature weaklings who care what "the guys" think. They might possibly doubt his masculinity if he behaved out of love.

Seems like the usual selective sensitivity to sexism.
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Old March 7 2011, 08:45 PM   #29
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

scotpens wrote: View Post
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.
I don't think there's any debate over the matter. NBC rejected the casting of Majel Barrett, not the role, which they supported. Roddenberry wouldn't budge on the matter, and the role was dropped.

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.
That number appears in The Making of Star Trek, but I've always wondered if it's supported on-screen. It's certainly not supported by the main cast. Of the starring roles, all three are men. Of the featured roles, three of five are men (three of six if you count Rand, but the character was dropped pretty swiftly). That's six of eight of the main roles being men, and one of the two female characters, Chapel, appears pretty infrequently.

maryh wrote: View Post
6. Mudd's Women -- all the men act like idiots and sucker to the women.
You have to go pretty far to read that episode as sexist towards men. Weren't the women, you know, on drugs that made all the men attracted to them?
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Old March 7 2011, 09:27 PM   #30
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Re: Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Harvey wrote: View Post

maryh wrote: View Post
6. Mudd's Women -- all the men act like idiots and sucker to the women.
You have to go pretty far to read that episode as sexist towards men. Weren't the women, you know, on drugs that made all the men attracted to them?
I think it is sexist both ways.

The black haired girl struts past McCoy and easily get all the info she needs out of him. Madga did the same to a communications officer and gets a communicator as well. All these men fall for the pretty faces so easily, the miners are even duped into marriage merely based upon a pretty face.

According to Mudd:
MUDD: Well, what it does is give you more of whatever you have. Well, with men, it makes them more muscular. Women, rounder. Men, more aggressive. Women, more feminine,


All this translates to me into showing that men of the 23rd century will still be a sucker for a pretty face, and a nice set of knockers... to the point of endangering the ship.

Did the Venus Pill actually effect the men by some unexplained force (besides sexual attraction)? That would be odd since the men did not take any drugs. I am open to the possibility of it though.

I think this does further demonstrate my idea -- that the sexism is applied selectively.
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