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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old August 20 2008, 09:48 PM   #76
William Leisner
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

TerriO wrote: View Post
Still not disabusing me of that whole "manwhore" notion, guys. Reinforcing it, actually.
But... but ... he was only mostly a manwhore before he became captain!!! Surely you see the difference that makes!!!
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Old August 20 2008, 09:50 PM   #77
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

William Leisner wrote: View Post
TerriO wrote: View Post
Still not disabusing me of that whole "manwhore" notion, guys. Reinforcing it, actually.
But... but ... he was only mostly a manwhore before he became captain!!! Surely you see the difference that makes!!!
So, he's only as easy as 2+2 in the series, whereas he's as easy as 1-2-3 before that?
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Old August 20 2008, 09:55 PM   #78
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

It is the women in his past that makes Kirk look like such a ladies man.

The stuff that happens onscreen during the three seasons of OS does not.

But it seems that whenever writers wanted a dramatic element regarding Kirk and a guest actress they made her an old flame of the Captains.

One might even argue that the women supposedly in Kirks past were not lovers.

Ruth (Shore Leave) might have been some idealized, never consumated obsession of Kirks from years back that the computer on the planet manifested for him.

Likewise, Dr. Lester (Turnabout Intruder) apparently was extremely volatile and there are indications her relationship with Kirk was very brief. It might never have been a sexual on either.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:57 PM   #79
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Okay, so Kirk had a lot of girlfriends, but that's because he was a character in '60s episodic TV, where each story had to stand on its own so recurring relationships were rare. It's hard to find a TV action hero who doesn't have a long list of old flames. Heck, MacGyver had different old flames or lost loves cropping up two or three times a season, and he was a sensitive '80s kind of guy. If Kirk was a "manwhore," then so are most classic TV heroes, with rare exceptions like Columbo or Stuart MacMillan (and even he got his titular Wife killed off in the final season so Rock Hudson would be free to have romances of the week).
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Old August 20 2008, 09:58 PM   #80
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Cicero wrote: View Post
... probably one of the most upright characters we've seen on screen (and William Shatner apparently played him so much that way that Nicholas Meyer felt compelled to force it from his system to an extent, waiting until Shatner acted less like Kirk and more like a less heroic character before moving beyond some scenes).
That's not quite the reasoning I recall Meyer giving for why he exhausted Shatner's performance, take after take after take. I was simply to stop Shatner overacting. The result in some scenes was a more subdued, perhaps weary, Kirk, as Shatner got bored with saying the lines over and over, but how is that "less heroic" for Kirk?
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Old August 20 2008, 10:26 PM   #81
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, so Kirk had a lot of girlfriends, but that's because he was a character in '60s episodic TV, where each story had to stand on its own so recurring relationships were rare.
And welcome as we come careening back to my original point. He was a product of his time. The whole "free love" movement was in full swing back then. Having a lot of girlfriends wasn't that unusual or looked down upon. What was a likeble character then is not guaranteed to be a likable character now. Can you name a character like Kirk that has been created in the last 10-15 years who's actually likable? Can't think of one off the top of my head, but I'm willing to admit I don't know every SF character out there.

Times change. And the mores of one generation aren't going to necessarily be the mores of another.

Although, considering the stereotype of the average male fan of Trek, I've got to wonder how much of the Kirk hero worship is from guys who had trouble getting dates in high school.
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Old August 20 2008, 10:29 PM   #82
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, so Kirk had a lot of girlfriends, but that's because he was a character in '60s episodic TV, where each story had to stand on its own so recurring relationships were rare. It's hard to find a TV action hero who doesn't have a long list of old flames. Heck, MacGyver had different old flames or lost loves cropping up two or three times a season, and he was a sensitive '80s kind of guy. If Kirk was a "manwhore," then so are most classic TV heroes, with rare exceptions like Columbo or Stuart MacMillan (and even he got his titular Wife killed off in the final season so Rock Hudson would be free to have romances of the week).
There are a lot of old classics that are pretty much unwatchable to me. I very much dislike the type of the tough military man who thinks emotions are a weakness and played by actors who often look overly masculine with square jaws. When that is combined with the typical female scream-a-lot who has little to contribute to the story apart from being pretty and getting into trouble, then I am definitely fed up.

Kirk is not quite that bad but he is far away from being a MacGyver. I am a fan of the MacGyver series and never had a problem with how the series handled his female friends and lovers.

I am very glad that storytelling in general has evolved and keeps evolving.
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Old August 20 2008, 10:34 PM   #83
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
Ruth (Shore Leave) might have been some idealized, never consumated obsession of Kirks from years back that the computer on the planet manifested for him.
Or, she could have been one of a hundred conquests, who he was particularly fond of because this amazing thing she used to do with her tongue...

But either way, is there any doubt that Kirk did "consumate" with the Ruth-bot in "Shore Leave"? A construct specifically created for him, out of his own fantasies, so that he could, quote, "play" with her?
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Old August 20 2008, 10:39 PM   #84
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Cicero wrote: View Post
... probably one of the most upright characters we've seen on screen (and William Shatner apparently played him so much that way that Nicholas Meyer felt compelled to force it from his system to an extent, waiting until Shatner acted less like Kirk and more like a less heroic character before moving beyond some scenes).
That's not quite the reasoning I recall Meyer giving for why he exhausted Shatner's performance, take after take after take. I was simply to stop Shatner overacting. The result in some scenes was a more subdued, perhaps weary, Kirk, as Shatner got bored with saying the lines over and over, but how is that "less heroic" for Kirk?
I think I specifically remember him saying that what frustrated him about Shatner's acting was that Shatner approached playing Captain Kirk with the fact that he was the hero in mind, whereas Meyer wanted a protrayal that opened up the possibility of Kirk not being the good guy all the time.

There was a bit of a falling out between the two when Meyer cut a segment of the 'let them die' scene which Shatner had insisted on - and had thought he'd been promised would stay in - in which Kirk literally waves off his statement as a clear overreaction, not something he really meant.
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Old August 20 2008, 10:44 PM   #85
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Or, she could have been one of a hundred conquests, who he was particularly fond of because this amazing thing she used to do with her tongue...
From the way Kirk reacted to her, it was pretty clear that he felt deep love and regret. It was no mere fling. If anything, the impression I got from Shatner's nonverbal performance was that their relationship had ended tragically, that maybe she'd even died. Honestly I'm amazed nobody's ever followed up on that.

But either way, is there any doubt that Kirk did "consumate" with the Ruth-bot in "Shore Leave"? A construct specifically created for him, out of his own fantasies, so that he could, quote, "play" with her?
Yes, that counts as one of the two probable encounters he had during the first season, and in my mind is more probable than the other one, Edith Keeler (whose standards of propriety probably would've precluded premarital sex).
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Old August 20 2008, 11:05 PM   #86
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
Captain Pike's wife
Who?
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Old August 21 2008, 02:18 AM   #87
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
It is the women in his past that makes Kirk look like such a ladies man.

The stuff that happens onscreen during the three seasons of OS does not.

But it seems that whenever writers wanted a dramatic element regarding Kirk and a guest actress they made her an old flame of the Captains.
I think you raise an interesting point here, about how much backstory actually informs on the characters whether it's shown extensively on screen or not. For example, we know that Neo is supposed to be some expert hacker; but do we ever actually see him hacking into much before he's liberated from the Matrix? And, while I know it's a joke, Morn is an unstoppable talker, even though he never even speaks on screen.

You can find all sorts of these sort of things throughout fiction, both Trek and not. We know Spock has a strained relationship with his father, for example, even though it's only shown a few times in 30 years. It's those kind of scenes that inform on what you're not seeing (such as, for example, the way Kirk seems to go from woman to woman so easily), rather than representing the only times that it's happening.
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Old August 21 2008, 05:48 AM   #88
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Back to the original post, I suppose one must ask "What would make a character in Star Trek unlikable to the other characters?"

I think first and foremost, given how big a premium they put in Trek of characters being willing to sacrifice themselves for their shipmates, an unlikable Trek character would need to be someone completely uninterested in self sacrifice.

A Lt. Commander or someone of similar rank who wouldn't go anywhere remotely dangerous without a phalanx of security with them and wouldn't hesitate or show a bit of emotion in sending other crewman into extreme danger.
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Old August 21 2008, 07:54 AM   #89
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

That might be a bit drastic. I think it's easier. Some Trek characters have a trait about them that makes them unlikable. But that one bad trait is out shined by their many other positive traits. All that needs to be done is create a character in which their positive traits don't do enough to off set what people dislike about them.

Take O'Brien for instance. In TNG and DS9 he showed some attitudes towards Cardassians that could be taken as racist. However he eventually overcame those prejudices. What if he hadn't? What if he went on the rest of the series spouting off about the "damned Carddies" now and again? What if he muttered "spoonhead" under his breath as Dukat or Garak walked by? Throw that in and leave the other positive aspects to his character and do you still like him as much? Is he as respected and admired by his fellow officers?
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Old August 21 2008, 08:56 AM   #90
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

So when is the unlikeable crewman from D'Ton III showing up?
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