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

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Old March 19 2014, 10:30 PM   #16
Shawnster
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

George Takei, a Japanese American actor, requested to not play a stereotype or caricature of a member of his own ethnicity.

Perhaps Walter Koenig, a white American actor simply did not make such a request since his character was not of the same ethnicity as himself? Some people simply have more difficulty or get more offended at playing a caricature of their own ethnic group than that of a different ethic group.

Especially when that ethnic group being mocked are those damn dirty Commies.
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Old March 19 2014, 10:55 PM   #17
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Chekov was an okay character and came off acceptably when he was played straight, but there was a tendency to indulge in silliness. He was hard to take seriously. Of all the characters Chekov is one that hasn't aged well because of the leanings to caricature. The accent alone was too forced.
As previously mentioned, a lot of that was due to the Zeitgeist. When Cold War tensions were running high, there was a tendency to make Russian characters either supervillains or comic caricatures -- UNCLE's Illya Kuryakin being a notable exception.

And the running joke of Chekov's ultra-nationalism, always claiming the Russians did this or that first -- well, back in the 1950s and '60s, Soviet propaganda did claim a few "firsts" for Russia that were not exactly historically accurate.


Melakon wrote: View Post
I was in high school when Chekov was introduced and I didn't like the character at all. All the "Russia this, Russia that" stuff didn't help either. He felt like a comic relief character to me, and was as out of place as Earl Holliman's Cook in Forbidden Planet.
Hey, just a darn minute. I liked Earl Holliman's Cook in Forbidden Planet.
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Old March 19 2014, 11:03 PM   #18
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

T'Girl wrote: View Post
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I remember reading somewhere that George Takei accepted the role of Sulu only because Gene promised him that he wasn't going to play a "caricature" asian stereotype, which ended up being true.
I thought Takei "accepted" the role because he was a working actor and they offered to hire him.
If you'll notice, very few of Takei's roles during and after that time were rarely any sort of caricature stereotype (by contrast, any Asian with a thick accent or evil streak or someone like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's were a dime-a-dozen during that time period). Takei in Mission: Impossible was a guest IMF agent who, kind of surprisingly, left the martial arts to the other heroes; he was a romantic interest to Mrs. Livingston in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (and these days, being a sympathetic Asian American romantic lead in film/tv is still a rarity). And during his college lecture circuit, Takei would emphasize the importance of taking on Asian roles that weren't racist caricatures simply because there were so few Asian roles to begin with, nevermind positive ones -- submit to one caricature and you and others like you get typecast, and stereotypes are enforced instead of proper media represenation that a larger audience so often takes for granted, which, in turn, limit the roles that casting directors would even consider for someone like Takei. So if you as an ethnic minority do get a positive role, you try to make sure that you play the HECK out of it as a character first and foremost. The possibilities of the audience's imagination is challenged, just like how TOS dared the audience to imagine a senior staff like Kirk's.

On a side note, and I realize that the show's famous for getting many distinguished Trek alumni, one reason why I dislike the Big Bang Theory is because Raj is often the target of just so much microaggression from other characters, and when he complains, they handwave it and dismiss it, as if his experiences don't really count (unless, of course, it's a Raj-centric episode).
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Old March 19 2014, 11:16 PM   #19
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Cyke101 wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
GalaxyX wrote: View Post
I remember reading somewhere that George Takei accepted the role of Sulu only because Gene promised him that he wasn't going to play a "caricature" asian stereotype, which ended up being true.
I thought Takei "accepted" the role because he was a working actor and they offered to hire him.
If you'll notice, very few of Takei's roles during and after that time were rarely any sort of caricature stereotype (by contrast, any Asian with a thick accent or evil streak or someone like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's were a dime-a-dozen during that time period). Takei in Mission: Impossible was a guest IMF agent who, kind of surprisingly, left the martial arts to the other heroes; he was a romantic interest to Mrs. Livingston in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (and these days, being a sympathetic Asian American romantic lead in film/tv is still a rarity). And during his college lecture circuit, Takei would emphasize the importance of taking on Asian roles that weren't racist caricatures simply because there were so few Asian roles to begin with, nevermind positive ones -- submit to one caricature and you and others like you get typecast, and stereotypes are enforced instead of proper media represenation that a larger audience so often takes for granted, which, in turn, limit the roles that casting directors would even consider for someone like Takei. So if you as an ethnic minority do get a positive role, you try to make sure that you play the HECK out of it as a character first and foremost. The possibilities of the audience's imagination is challenged, just like how TOS dared the audience to imagine a senior staff like Kirk's.

On a side note, and I realize that the show's famous for getting many distinguished Trek alumni, one reason why I dislike the Big Bang Theory is because Raj is often the target of just so much microaggression from other characters, and when he complains, they handwave it and dismiss it, as if his experiences don't really count (unless, of course, it's a Raj-centric episode).
Speaking of caricatures, Raj's dad is Babu from Seinfeld.
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Old March 19 2014, 11:35 PM   #20
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
In THE SEARCH for SPOCK, they had him dressed up like Little Lord Fauntleroy, for reasons, unknown.
You should see what he had to wear when he played Oro in the Starlost series.
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Old March 20 2014, 12:02 AM   #21
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Melakon wrote: View Post
I was in high school when Chekov was introduced and I didn't like the character at all. All the "Russia this, Russia that" stuff didn't help either. He felt like a comic relief character to me, and was as out of place as Earl Holliman's Cook in Forbidden Planet. No problems with Walter though. I liked Sulu better, perhaps because he was there first.
Yeah, Earl Holliman's "Cookie" was a bit over the top for me, just as Chekov is a bit over the top. Unfortunately for Koenig, who is awesome, that stereotype stuck with him well into the movies.
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Old March 20 2014, 12:24 AM   #22
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Poor ol' Cookie. I guess being "locked up in hyperspace for 378 days" really got to him. What does he say upon seeing Robby? "Hey Doc'. Is it a male or a female?"
Was he actually considering, ahem, "it" if Ostro had confirmed a gender?!
Whoa! Talk about "hard up" for some "companionship"!

Sincerely,

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Old March 20 2014, 12:40 AM   #23
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

The cast of MST3K once paid tribute to Earl Holliman, calling him "a man who would have been William Shatner had there not already been one."
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Old March 20 2014, 12:56 AM   #24
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Redfern wrote: View Post
Poor ol' Cookie. I guess being "locked up in hyperspace for 378 days" really got to him. What does he say upon seeing Robby? "Hey Doc'. Is it a male or a female?"
Was he actually considering, ahem, "it" if Ostro had confirmed a gender?!
Whoa! Talk about "hard up" for some "companionship"!

Sincerely,

Bill
Yeah, that was a rather odd first question.
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Old March 20 2014, 12:57 AM   #25
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Redfern wrote: View Post
Poor ol' Cookie. I guess being "locked up in hyperspace for 378 days" really got to him. What does he say upon seeing Robby? "Hey Doc'. Is it a male or a female?"
Was he actually considering, ahem, "it" if Ostro had confirmed a gender?!
I think it was more just simple curiosity on Cookie's part. After all, he'd probably never met a sentient robot before.

IIRC, Robby's reply was, "In my case, sir, the question is totally without meaning." But is it? Robby speaks in a deep masculine voice, he's immensely strong, and he looks pretty butch (for a robot)!

Now back to our regularly scheduled topic . . .
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Old March 20 2014, 01:03 AM   #26
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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.

Perhaps Walter Koenig, a white American actor simply did not make such a request since his character was not of the same ethnicity as himself? Some people simply have more difficulty or get more offended at playing a caricature of their own ethnic group than that of a different ethic group.

Especially when that ethnic group being mocked are those damn dirty Commies.
I was under the impression Koenig's parents were Russian Jews. Or does that not count as being "Russian'?

Was Chekov a caricature of a Russian? He's usually shown to be young, eager and a little impulsive. Are those traits associated with Russians? He's more of a caricature of youth. There is the accent, but is it any worse than Scotty's? His pride in Russia and its accomplishments is exaggerated for affect, but its no worse that Spock's wry comments about humans.

Sulu on the other hand is mostly a cipher, who does and says what the script demands. Takei makes the most of it though, through his voice and mannerisms.
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Old March 20 2014, 01:11 AM   #27
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Ceti Eels are the worst parasite in the galaxy. Once they enter the victim's cranium, they proceed to EAT the cerebral cortex bringing madness...and death. It's unavoidable.

... except with Chekov. Displaying behavior uncharateristic for the species, the little arthropod crawled OUT of his ear.

Probably in hunger, having found nothing inside.

In the next movie Chekov fell from a nuclear wessel several stories high -- and didn't die. why? Luckily, he fell on his head.

Those were traumatic events, but before all that he already demonstrated he can't count up to 6. And he cant tell a group of genetically enhanced superhumans from a particle preanimated matter with a Dynoscanner.

Now tell me he isn't retard, canon retard.
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Old March 20 2014, 01:27 AM   #28
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Was Chekov a caricature of a Russian? He's usually shown to be young, eager and a little impulsive. Are those traits associated with Russians? He's more of a caricature of youth. There is the accent, but is it any worse than Scotty's? His pride in Russia and its accomplishments is exaggerated for affect, but its no worse that Spock's wry comments about humans.
I was also going to point the fact he was "the kid". His Russian patriotism is not so far than his attitude toward Korax badmouthing HIS Captain Kirk. He has good moments in the movies, but the writer forgot to create a 40-year-old Chekov and instead continued to use the 22-year-old version.
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Old March 20 2014, 01:33 AM   #29
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

scotpens wrote: View Post
I think it was more just simple curiosity on Cookie's part. After all, he'd probably never met a sentient robot before.
Oh, I realize that was the intent and in 1956, certainly there was no "hidden" meaning. I just like to see things from the absurdist perspective on occasion.

I've literally been waiting years to make my silly observation and this looked like my best setup to spring it.

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old March 20 2014, 01:45 AM   #30
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Re: Why was Sulu played off as a normal person but Chekov as a caricat

I agree that the issue was the group dynamic. Brain damage in STII could be why Chekov was such a dunderhead in the later movies. I liked sulu though, he got a lot of decent lines in the early episodes, showing a smart, tactical mind, and a lot of common sense. Scotty, Rand, and Uhura also had a fair amount of comic scenes early on. Maybe it was just because Rand left, and Uhura became rather stoic that Chekov's one-note comic turns stand out so much.
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