RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 144,513
Posts: 5,676,270
Members: 25,623
Currently online: 591
Newest member: LordJuss

TrekToday headlines

Trek-Themed Roku Home Screen
By: T'Bonz on Apr 20

July Star Trek Comics
By: T'Bonz on Apr 20

Star Trek Vegas Convention Sweepstakes
By: T'Bonz on Apr 20

Retro Review: Parallax
By: Michelle on Apr 17

New ThinkGeek Trek Shirts
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Star Trek Online Adds Voyager Actor
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Project Enterprise Campaign Debuts
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

Star Trek Live In Concert Update
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

Crofoot: Angel One And The Offspring
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15

Inner Light Screenwriter Brooklyn Appearances
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 11 2014, 07:47 PM   #1
JimZipCode
Lieutenant Commander
 
Kirk and Helen Noel

Disagreeing over Kirk's back-story with Dr Helen Noel before the start of Dagger of the Mind, moving it to a new thread so as to not to blow up the other one. Here's where we left off:

Christopher wrote: View Post
JimZipCode wrote: View Post
Dagger of the Mind – we're supposed to understand there is some backstory btw Kirk & Helen, something that happened at the last Christmas party.
That is hugely, hugely misunderstood by fandom. The episode makes it clear that nothing actually happened -- they danced, they talked about the stars, and that was it. Period. Yet Kirk was extremely uncomfortable to be reminded of it afterward. Later, when he and Helen were testing out the neural neutralizer, she created an explicitly false memory in which they left the party and fell into an intimate embrace. The whole point of their romantic flashback was that it didn't actually happen, that it could never have happened, that it was an artificial memory Helen induced in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the machine. Yet generations of fans have misremembered the episode and believed that there actually was something between Kirk and Helen, when the whole point was that there wasn't. It's a classic example of the myth of Kirk blinding people to the reality.
Oh please.

I guess in a completely literal sense, Kirk and Lenore also merely "talked about the stars" in Conscience of the King. Do we have to turn off the part of our brains that reads intent and overtones etc? The dialogue in Conscience is loaded with potential, with implication. It is somewhere between gallantry and seduction – it's flirtation. Lenore is more the aggressor in the interaction, and Kirk is more coy; and they both have ulterior motives, Kirk trying to get information and Lenore setting the stage to get close enough later for the kill. But it's no mere exchange of information about stellar luminosity.

So Kirk and Helen "talked about the stars" too, did they? That is extremely suggestive. Dagger of the Mind makes it clear that SOMETHING happened between Kirk and Helen at the Christmas party. The episode also makes it clear that Kirk didn't sweep her off her feet, take her back to his cabin, and have sex with her – that was the false flashback. I'm not confused about that. But when Kirk sits down at the neural neutralizer at 0:34 on Netflix, we have been given tons of innuendo about the science lab Christmas party that Kirk dropped in on.

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Yet Kirk was extremely uncomfortable to be reminded of it afterward."
Well, why exactly? Kirk is deft and confident in every normal social gathering we see him in, thruout TOS. He's appropriate, he makes small talk, he essays some gallantries toward the ladies in a way that in the 60s was understood to be social and polite. He's fine. So if *nothing* happened between Kirk & Helen, he has nothing to be uncomfortable about. Yet as you point out he is uncomfortable; clearly and obviously uncomfortable. Therefore something happened.

Instead of trying to defend your thesis of Kirk's monk-like inviolability, let's try to look at it from the perspective of a typical viewer from the Mad Men era:
  • McCoy changes gears completely and seems to give a secret smirk to Kirk when Kirk tells him to find a suitable partner for the landing party. (15 mins in on Netflix) Then a significant glance back at Kirk as he leaves the bridge.
  • Kirk is momentarily speechless when he sees Helen in the transporter. Looks like embarrassment.
  • Helen whispers "Don't you remember?" to Kirk. He shushes her.
  • Helen gives us the phrase "Christmas party," also "talked about the stars," and he shushes her some more.
  • Kirk has some words for McCoy before he leaves.
  • When Kirk enters Helen's room that evening at the colony, she's awfully confident that he's there for some other reason than to ask her about the inmates.
  • There is a whole affect between them, a prickly but not unfriendly demeanor, that smacks of screwball comedy. Comfortable and uncomfortable with each other.
  • Kirk's attitude toward her in this sequence, from her quarters to the neutralizer room, is like he's wordlessly saying "I know, you're right, but this isn't the Christmas party, I need you to WORK right now." She finally seems to get it in the neutralizer room; she sobers up and snaps to with the line "I know my profession."
All that is before the neutralizer is turned on. How are we expected to interpret those things? "

Christmas party" is the biggest hint here. That's when people stereotypically get drunk and the boss nails the secretary. The 60s audience is clearly intended to read it as, there was an indiscretion between these two at the Christmas party: the hints are too broad to be taken any other way. There was something, and Helen thinks he's coming back for more, while Kirk is embarrassed to face her. Kirk's flustered state in the transporter room, and Spock's expression seal it – Nimoy deploys the same near-smirk Spock had for Mudd's Women and when Spock made his terribly inappropriate remark to Janice Rand at the end of Mudd's Women.

(Do you watch Mad Men? Early in season 4, Don has sex with his secretary after an office Christmas party. Don's subsequent demeanor toward Allison in the office is worth seeing, to compare with Kirk' demeanor toward Helen.)

It's really tough to resist this point. It's too obvious, and the script & acting have worked too hard to feed it to us. As to what EXACTLY went down – well there's a huge spectrum between dispassionate explication of stellar nucleosynthesis, and a passionate one-night stand in the captain's quarters. It has always seemed clear to me, and this is just personal interpretation, that Kirk & Helen at least flirted heavily and made out a little. Helen's fake flashback is a rich field for speculation: maybe she regretted not letting Kirk sweep her off her feet. Anyway they did not actually go any farther than that; they kissed seriously, and then perhaps parted at midnight, going their separate ways, back to their quarters alone. That's always been the way I saw it.

There is of course one big objection. Kirk hitting on a member of his own crew? That's even more implausible than his actions in Requiem for Methuselah. This is a conflict. The overall series characterization of Kirk is strong evidence that he's far to responsible a commander to initiate a romance with a crew-woman. The dialogue and acting in this episode are strong evidence that he did. How do we resolve this?

Is my memory faulty here, or does the James Blish adaptation have more detail to the backstory? Because for decades, from way before I was old enough to have any clear sense of how these things can go in real life, I have had a visualization of the Christmas party; and I don't know where I got it from. In that visualization, the Enterprise is at a Starbase or something when this Christmas party occurs; and the attendees are a mix of crew and base personnel. Kirk hits on a girl who he thinks is base personnel – he thinks Dr Noel is somebody else at the party – and then later is embarrassed to learn that no, the girl he was with is in fact a member of his crew. Or maybe she was transferred on a day or so later; something. Did I completely imagine that, or is there some basis for it in the Blish?

There's a lot to like about that scenario. It's consistent with what we see on screen, but it also addresses the objection that Kirk would never be so stupid as to make a pass at a member of his own crew. Because clearly SOMETHING happened between Kirk and Helen at the Christmas party.
JimZipCode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 08:49 PM   #2
J.T.B.
Commodore
 
J.T.B.'s Avatar
 
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
Well, why exactly? Kirk is deft and confident in every normal social gathering we see him in, thruout TOS. He's appropriate, he makes small talk, he essays some gallantries toward the ladies in a way that in the 60s was understood to be social and polite. He's fine. So if *nothing* happened between Kirk & Helen, he has nothing to be uncomfortable about.
To me it seemed more like a commanding officer who tries to keep strict barriers between his social life and his professional life being a little embarrassed that he now had to interact directly with a junior subordinate who had seen the other side of the barrier.
J.T.B. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 08:56 PM   #3
CorporalCaptain
Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: North America
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
JimZipCode wrote: View Post
Well, why exactly? Kirk is deft and confident in every normal social gathering we see him in, thruout TOS. He's appropriate, he makes small talk, he essays some gallantries toward the ladies in a way that in the 60s was understood to be social and polite. He's fine. So if *nothing* happened between Kirk & Helen, he has nothing to be uncomfortable about.
To me it seemed more like a commanding officer who tries to keep strict barriers between his social life and his professional life being a little embarrassed that he now had to interact directly with a junior subordinate who had seen the other side of the barrier.
Perfectly put. I think you put your finger exactly on it. All he did was dance with her (and talk about the stars, but, gee, they're in space!), but even simply dancing together had crossed a boundary in his mind.

I have the feeling that, during the events of the episode beginning in the transporter room, Noel was teasing Kirk because she felt that maybe he'd enjoyed himself at the party a little more than he was comfortable letting on, but that's just my reading of it.

When Helen says that she was suggesting that things happened in a different way, I think that means that the difference is that romance is inserted. Meaning, there was nothing romantic there before, only Kirk's awkwardness.

Their embrace in the elevator going down to the colony was just (ham-fisted) foreshadowing that their being thrust together seemingly in romance wasn't really romantic at all.
__________________
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 09:16 PM   #4
Greg Cox
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Oxford, PA
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

In general, I think Kirk prefers to keep his love life and his professional duties separate. Note also that he seems a bit uncomfortable in "The Menagerie" when the subject of some past dalliance comes up when he's meeting with the Commodore. That being the case, I suspect it wouldn't take too much in the way of "fraternization" to make Kirk a little embarrassed by whatever took place at the Christmas party. And it probably doesn't help that Helen seems very inclined to tease him about it . . ..

How far things went, short of them actually tumbling into bed, can be left to the imagination, but I suspect that Kirk would regard even a little serious flirting as inappropriate afterwards, given that she's a member of his crew. We're probably just talking a smooch under the mistletoe that went on a little too long . . . or something along those lines.
__________________
www.gregcox-author.com
Greg Cox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 09:21 PM   #5
CorporalCaptain
Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: North America
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
We're probably just talking a smooch under the mistletoe that went on a little too long . . . or something along those lines.
That's pretty good. Although, if they'd actually kissed, I'd expect her to mention that in some capacity, when she's brainwashing him and mentions how they'd danced and talked about the stars. Not that her failure to mention it means it didn't happen.
__________________
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 10:11 PM   #6
Dennis
The Man
 
Dennis's Avatar
 
Location: America
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Probably no more than a blow job.

"I did not have sex with that lieutenant."
__________________
"Russell T Davies is one of the best writers television has ever had, and I'm chuffed to bits to get the opportunity to work with him again.” - David Tennant
Dennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 10:16 PM   #7
Melakon
Admiral
 
Melakon's Avatar
 
Location: Unmarked grave
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Wasn't Helen originally intended to be Janice Rand in early drafts? That might account for some the awkwardness of situations, since it did seem some attraction between Kirk and Rand existed in earlier episodes. Then suddenly, Rand is gone, the script gets another rewrite, but some dialogue and plot points remain.
__________________
Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard: For duty and humanity! --Men in Black (1934)
Melakon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 11:47 PM   #8
JimZipCode
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Dennis wrote: View Post
Probably no more than a blow job.
Finally, a sensible viewpoint!
JimZipCode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11 2014, 11:52 PM   #9
BillJ
Admiral
 
BillJ's Avatar
 
Location: Covington, Ky.
View BillJ's Twitter Profile
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Dennis wrote: View Post
Probably no more than a blow job.

"I did not have sex with that lieutenant."
+1
__________________
Self-appointed Knight of the Abrams Table! - Thanks Marsden!
BillJ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:14 AM   #10
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
View Maurice's Twitter Profile
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Revised Final Draft, August 5, 1966

63C TRANSPORTER CHAMBER - INCLUDING KIRK AND HELEN

The look in Kirk's face makes us see what did happen
at the Christmas party. Quickly interrupting:

KIRK
Yes, of course. I had presumed
you were one of the passengers
we were carrying...

HELEN
I'm one of the new medical crew,
Captain.
(smiles, shakes
head)
Dull science degrees and all.

And obviously, judging by the twinkle in her eye,
the fact he thought she was simply a passenger did
result in something that night.
Underlined text is as it appears in the script.

That help?
__________________
* * *
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
—Will Rogers
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:18 AM   #11
Melakon
Admiral
 
Melakon's Avatar
 
Location: Unmarked grave
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

^ So, Kirk wasn't used to seeing her in uniform.
__________________
Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard: For duty and humanity! --Men in Black (1934)
Melakon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:20 AM   #12
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
View Maurice's Twitter Profile
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Or he knew she was Starfleet but thought she was not under his command per se.
__________________
* * *
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
—Will Rogers
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:25 AM   #13
CorporalCaptain
Admiral
 
CorporalCaptain's Avatar
 
Location: North America
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Maurice wrote: View Post
Revised Final Draft, August 5, 1966

63C TRANSPORTER CHAMBER - INCLUDING KIRK AND HELEN

The look in Kirk's face makes us see what did happen
at the Christmas party. Quickly interrupting:

KIRK
Yes, of course. I had presumed
you were one of the passengers
we were carrying...

HELEN
I'm one of the new medical crew,
Captain.
(smiles, shakes
head)
Dull science degrees and all.

And obviously, judging by the twinkle in her eye,
the fact he thought she was simply a passenger did
result in something that night.
Underlined text is as it appears in the script.

That help?
Awesome, though all that dialog was cut for the final episode, or got changed.
__________________
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
CorporalCaptain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:26 AM   #14
BillJ
Admiral
 
BillJ's Avatar
 
Location: Covington, Ky.
View BillJ's Twitter Profile
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Maurice wrote: View Post
Or he knew she was Starfleet but thought she was not under his command per se.
I guess that's what you get for fooling around with unknown Starfleet personnel before checking the new transfers to the ship.
__________________
Self-appointed Knight of the Abrams Table! - Thanks Marsden!
BillJ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 12 2014, 12:35 AM   #15
trynda1701
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: Kirk and Helen Noel

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
We're probably just talking a smooch under the mistletoe that went on a little too long . . . or something along those lines.
Even allowing for the Captain/crewperson relationships, giving this babe a lingering kiss and feeling slightly awkward afterwards is perfectly understandable! (That has to be the shortest Starfleet miniskirt we ever saw!)

__________________
Check out www.AllScaleTrek.com. A new forum dedicated to Star Trek kits, miniatures and collectables.
trynda1701 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:49 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.