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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

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

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Old July 19 2011, 07:04 AM   #1
MHT1138
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Why do people dislike The Outcast?

I actually really enjoy this episode and have since it first aired. I remember brother saying it was the one episode of TNG he couldn't watch all the way through. And I noticed in the best/worst thread in Gen Trek that several posters have listed as the worst or their least favorite. Any ideas on why? or am I just imagining things?
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Old July 19 2011, 07:22 AM   #2
Kelthaz
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

Because it was an incredibly pathetic attempt to address homosexuality while simultaneously being too afraid to address homosexuality. We end up with an episode that is awkward as hell to watch and you're either groaning or laughing at it. Occasionally both at the same time despite that being physically impossible.
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Old July 19 2011, 07:31 AM   #3
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

Well, just speaking for myself there's several things wrong with it. In the most basic terms, I find it really badly directed, especially the shuttle sequence which is supposed to be a life or death struggle but winds up looking like a slightly dull drive in the park.

As for the basic idea, there's actually a decent and very Trek concept at its heart. A planet where hetrosexuality is treated with the same bigotry that homosexuality often suffers from today in order to show how stupid the whole thing is. It's not exactly subtle but it's a nice enough idea and a better episode could have made something more of it.

But, and it's a big one, the whole episode depends on buying into the Riker/Amy-off-The-A-Team relationship. And it never convinces me. You don't get for one second that Riker would throw his entire career away for this person, and in order for him to go rouge Picard is written as a bit of a heartless bastard (yes he'll stick to the letter of the Prime Directive- at least when it's not some woman he wants to shag under threat- but he can and should be still pissed off at how this culture treat its people. Even a terrible episode like Symbiosis still had him mightily riled).

And of course, it would have been a far more powerful alternate sexuality statement just to have a gay character in one of the shows.
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Old July 19 2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
And of course, it would have been a far more powerful alternate sexuality statement just to have a gay character in one of the shows.
Exactly. That's the best way to handle the issue. Have a main character on the show who is gay and NEVER make an issue out of it. It's that fucking simple writers.

Anyway, as for the Outcast, it would have worked much better if Riker's love interest had been a male actor. You know, when you want to address homosexuality it helps when you actually have a homosexual relationship.
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Old July 19 2011, 07:46 AM   #5
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

I agree that the allegory is rather obvious, but that doesn't really bother me. Trek is rarely subtle when it comes to messages. I actually buy the Riker/Soren romance, and I love the fact that Worf helps Riker try to rescue Soren. I agree about Picard's reaction, pretty pathetic. What I don't understand, is how many fans, from what I understand, hate this episode instead of just not liking it.
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Old July 19 2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

When I first read the title I didn't get why anyone would hate the episode - it's just ho-hum but it's certainly not bad.

But when I thought back to when it first aired, I do remember it being a bit too safe and noncommittal.

Plus, it still doesn't quite sit well with me that Riker fell in love and nearly gave everything up for this quasi-homosexual person since that you know that there was no way that they were going to end up together at the end of the episode. Too reset button.

Still, the episode was a further support for homosexual rights when people were a lot more anti than they are now.

And it's funny how the further away we get from debating gayness and remembering the context of when the episode aired, the better I think it becomes. After all, you knew that Kirk wasn't going to end up with Edith Keeler too but the reset button doesn't quite seem like a cop-out there.
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Old July 19 2011, 09:09 AM   #7
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

When I first read the title I didn't get why anyone would hate the episode - it's just ho-hum but it's certainly not bad.

But when I thought back to when it first aired, I do remember it being a bit too safe and noncommittal.

Plus, it still doesn't quite sit well with me that Riker fell in love and nearly gave everything up for this quasi-homosexual person since that you know that there was no way that they were going to end up together at the end of the episode. Too reset button.

Still, the episode was a further support for homosexual rights when people were a lot more anti than they are now.

And it's funny how the further away we get from debating gayness and remembering the context of when the episode aired, the better I think it becomes. After all, you knew that Kirk wasn't going to end up with Edith Keeler too but the reset button doesn't quite seem like a cop-out there.
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Old July 19 2011, 11:47 AM   #8
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

I liked the allegory, myself. A sexless planet that hates sex? It's a much better "up yours!" to the right-wingers than "we're black down one side of our faces, and white down the other side". <shrug> Never minded "The Outcast" at all. And as for hiring a male actor to play Riker's love interest, that would've been silly, because Riker is a butch dude who is well-established as a guy who likes VERY feminine women. Just making up Melinda Cullea to look so neutral, gender-wise, was already pushing things, IMHO.
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Old July 19 2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

Kelthaz wrote: View Post
Because it was an incredibly pathetic attempt to address homosexuality while simultaneously being too afraid to address homosexuality. We end up with an episode that is awkward as hell to watch and you're either groaning or laughing at it. Occasionally both at the same time despite that being physically impossible.
This pretty much sums it up.
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Old July 19 2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

Riker is so awesome, he can find a woman on a hermaprodite planet.
I think one problem is that we don't buy our ladies' man Riker is truly helplessly falling in love with that woman.
It seems forced. If they had used Geordi it would have worked better.
Geordi would even have laid one of the hermaphrodites I'd bet.
I don't think it was a bad episode, but apart from the rather cool Sci-Fi way of turning contemporary issues on their head and making a social commentary out of that, it wasn't really exciting.
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Old July 19 2011, 02:31 PM   #11
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

Python Trek wrote: View Post
And as for hiring a male actor to play Riker's love interest, that would've been silly, because Riker is a butch dude who is well-established as a guy who likes VERY feminine women. Just making up Melinda Cullea to look so neutral, gender-wise, was already pushing things, IMHO.
This explains why I disliked it. You just don't believe that Riker could fall for a hermaphrodite. I agree with the poster above. We'd have all been able to believe it if this had been a Geordi episode.
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Old July 19 2011, 03:18 PM   #12
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
You don't get for one second that Riker would throw his entire career away for this person, and in order for him to go rouge Picard is written as a bit of a heartless bastard
I know this is a super-common typo, but for a second there I visualized Jonathan Frakes putting on some heavy makeup *shudders*
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Old July 20 2011, 07:11 AM   #13
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

SPCTRE wrote: View Post
inflatabledalek wrote: View Post
You don't get for one second that Riker would throw his entire career away for this person, and in order for him to go rouge Picard is written as a bit of a heartless bastard
I know this is a super-common typo, but for a second there I visualized Jonathan Frakes putting on some heavy makeup *shudders*
Did you miss that scene?


I always do that, stupid brain...
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Old July 20 2011, 08:59 AM   #14
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

I've always liked this episode. I think it does a good job of addressing the issues for the time that it aired. I don't get the comments I see in this thread, though. I'm surprised that people are upset on two polar opposites of an idea; that it was "too afraid" to address the issue and that it was too obvious in addressing the issue. I really don't understand these criticisms. It addresses the issue through allegory, just as countless other trek episodes do. IMHO if you don't like the episode for the reasons I stated above, I don't know how you can enjoy trek at all, since most episodes convey their message in the same form.
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Old July 20 2011, 09:16 AM   #15
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Re: Why do people dislike The Outcast?

MHT1138 wrote: View Post
I agree that the allegory is rather obvious, but that doesn't really bother me. Trek is rarely subtle when it comes to messages. I actually buy the Riker/Soren romance, and I love the fact that Worf helps Riker try to rescue Soren. I agree about Picard's reaction, pretty pathetic. What I don't understand, is how many fans, from what I understand, hate this episode instead of just not liking it.
The thing though, is that while Trek is rarely subtle when it comes to messages, Trek usually goes all the way through with its moral or intended message. For the Outcast though, just when it seemed that they were going for that message, they dodged it at the last possible second for something more ambiguous and quote-unquote "neutral" (and when is Trek neutral?) The thing is, that neutrality seems to be quite backwards when compared to Trek's history of provocative episodes. Yes, the episode makes it clear that sexual discrimination is wrong, but it doesn't really delve into WHAT constitutes the myriad of sexual identities that are out there, and it's further muddied by Soren being played by a woman; how do you really fight discrimination if you can't identify it?

Funny thing is, Jonathan Frakes himself felt that casting men as J'naii, or at least that Soren be more "evidently male," would've made the episode stronger. He thought doing so would've been comparative to the Kirk/Uhura kiss in TOS.

With that said, to me it's a mediocre episode, not a horrible one. That it ended on a downer could've been more effective had the episode taken a true stance and stuck with it.

Supernuke wrote: View Post
I've always liked this episode. I think it does a good job of addressing the issues for the time that it aired. I don't get the comments I see in this thread, though. I'm surprised that people are upset on two polar opposites of an idea; that it was "too afraid" to address the issue and that it was too obvious in addressing the issue. I really don't understand these criticisms.
The criticisms make sense if you divide the episode into acts. The majority of the episode is pretty strong in in allegory, but it plays chicken with the topic and loses in the last couple of acts. Off to a good start in its obviousness but then too afraid by the end to cash in on its intended message. I would believe THAT's the part that's frustrating for a lot of viewers, regardless of orientation.
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