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

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Old February 24 2009, 07:23 AM   #1
number6
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Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Meglomaniacal mind control!!


Dr. Lovelace guest stars!!!


Lots of Homoerotic overtones!!


Whips and hot pokers!!!!


Barbara Babcock wet and salivating!!!


Kirk kisses Uhura!!


Spock sings!!


Kirk slapping himself silly!!!!


Absolute power corrupting absolutely!!


Absolute power brought down by a dwarf!!!


Lots of exclaimation marks!!!!


There's something for everyone here.
For me this was one of the highlights of Season 3.
Why do so many of you hate this episode??

I want real answers and not answers like "because it sux."

Let the games begin!
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Old February 24 2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Indeed, an S&M bonanza. Decadence galore! What's not to love? We're all fools for admiring "City on the Edge..." and "Naked Time" with all their touchy-feely tenderness. LOL

Who is Number One?
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Old February 24 2009, 07:48 AM   #3
number6
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

locnar wrote: View Post
Who is Number One?
I am.
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Old February 24 2009, 08:00 AM   #4
M'Sharak
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Worth watching for Michael Dunn's performance alone, really, but there's other stuff, too.
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Old February 24 2009, 08:23 AM   #5
number6
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
Worth watching for Michael Dunn's performance alone, really, but there's other stuff, too.
Great stuff. I used to watch him on the Wild Wild West all the time!!
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Old February 24 2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

^ ^

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Old February 24 2009, 05:17 PM   #7
Too Much Fun
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Okay, Kirk slapping himself was funny, but other than that, it was painful to watch. I just thought it was shamelessly exploitive of the actors (the regulars, as well as the dwarf), with a script that called for them to humiliate themselves, in a way that did not serve the story or accomplish anything besides making the audience cringe. At least when Picard was humiliated in "Chain of Command", it was intense and dramatic. Here it was just hokey and lame.

And the kiss was disgusting. People talk about it like it was some great idea because it was the first interracial kiss, but this is neglecting the fact that it was the ill-conceived premise of two friends being forced to kiss under mind control, which is just a stupid, creepy, ugly idea. I hated this episode because it was a train wreck that was not entertaining on any level and reinforced all negative stereotypes that Star Trek is just cheesy nerdy 60s cornball junk. If you can enjoy this episode on some campy 'so bad it's good level', good for you, but to me it's a disgrace to Star Trek and the absolute lowest point of the franchise in terms of acting and writing.
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Old February 24 2009, 05:24 PM   #8
Jeri
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

I think if people were disgusted, then it was a good illustration of the adage, "Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
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Old February 24 2009, 05:37 PM   #9
plynch
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

It sux. No, seriously, it is so goofy. As goofy spectacle, you're right. As thoughtful, well-crafted, engaging science fiction, yikes. It's people who want more from a drama, and desire for their beloved show to be actually good who can't stand it. (I sound pretty arrogant. Maybe I am.)

But I love Spectre of the Gun! Weird. But Spectre is actually well-written (the words on the page) and it raises a point about the nature of reality.

Argh! Am I rationalizing? Consistency is way over-rated.
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Old February 24 2009, 05:59 PM   #10
Cakes488
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
Worth watching for Michael Dunn's performance alone, really, but there's other stuff, too.
Damn Skippy there's other stuff too. I enjoy each episode for what it is and yes you're always going to like some better than others. I loved this episode as a kid and still love it today. There is NO EPISODE OF STAR TREK that I'm ever going to say "sucks"...that is just not gonna happen. Star Trek's "worst" is better than most shows bests...especially with the tripe being produced today.
1) No matter how the kiss was portrayed it's indusputible that it was the first inter-racial kiss on network televsion.
2) Kirk/Spock are supposed to be completely humilated (and be made into court Jesters) by Parmen, so yes if you felt that way then the point was conveyed. This humilation occured because they were being punished and it was also entertaining to the Platonians (me too LOL) ..what do you want Parmen to do.... serve them tea? Of course this humiliation served the story...that was the whole point...!!!
3) As viewers we can root for Alexander as he revolts against this humilation of Kirk/Spock/Himself -- the veritable underdog who eventually triumphs.

So to sum it up...I love this episode, just as I love every other Trek episode although each for different reasons.
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Old February 24 2009, 06:12 PM   #11
number6
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
Okay, Kirk slapping himself was funny, but other than that, it was painful to watch. I just thought it was shamelessly exploitive of the actors (the regulars, as well as the dwarf), with a script that called for them to humiliate themselves, in a way that did not serve the story or accomplish anything besides making the audience cringe. At least when Picard was humiliated in "Chain of Command", it was intense and dramatic. Here it was just hokey and lame.
The humiliation was to illustrate in no uncertain terms how powerless the mighty Enterprise crew was under the control of Parmen. For it's time (and even now) it was pretty intense and dramatic. You haven't really told me how or why it was "just hokey and lame."
And the kiss was disgusting. People talk about it like it was some great idea because it was the first interracial kiss, but this is neglecting the fact that it was the ill-conceived premise of two friends being forced to kiss under mind control, which is just a stupid, creepy, ugly idea.
But that was the point: to show how this "great society" of Plutonians have sunk so low that they consider this sadistic display entertainment.

I hated this episode because it was a train wreck that was not entertaining on any level and reinforced all negative stereotypes that Star Trek is just cheesy nerdy 60s cornball junk. If you can enjoy this episode on some campy 'so bad it's good level', good for you, but to me it's a disgrace to Star Trek and the absolute lowest point of the franchise in terms of acting and writing.
You really haven't explained this very well. Which "negative stereotypes" are you referring to specifically?

I don't enjoy this on a "so bad it's good level" in any way. i think this is another Roddenberryesque display of the level to which absolute power corrupts. The fact that they were all brought down by the very person they dumped on all those years is poetic justice. Alexander represents all of us who were kept down by bullies and petty thugs. We all wanted to beat them in the same way and then get to go beam up with those who were our liberators. There is subtext upon subtext!! You seem to criticise the superficial without looking at the underlying meaning. That's the way the episode was written, and written brilliantly.
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Old February 24 2009, 08:23 PM   #12
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

I think the basic idea was sound, but network standards of the 1960s probably kept the "acts of humiliation" far too tame. Imagine if a contemporary science fiction show used the plot of telekinetic aliens putting the main characters through all sorts of humiliating paces. It could get truly disturbing in a way that would justify Spock and Kirk's feelings of anger and hatred toward their tormentors.

I'm not a sadist, but I just think what Parmen subjected Kirk and Spock to wasn't that brutal (tap dancing on someone's head notwithstanding!)... If I was made to dance with laurel leaves on my head and crawl around like a horse, then it would be stupid, but I think I would recover from it. The only part that I found really effective was when Spock was forced to laugh and then to cry. That goes straight to the integrity of Spock's character and was well written.

Of course, the basic fact that someone is entering your mind and taking away your free will is pretty offensive. It just didn't come across that way on the screen as effectively as it could have IMHO.
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Old February 24 2009, 08:28 PM   #13
Too Much Fun
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

number6 wrote: View Post
The humiliation was to illustrate in no uncertain terms how powerless the mighty Enterprise crew was under the control of Parmen. For it's time (and even now) it was pretty intense and dramatic. You haven't really told me how or why it was "just hokey and lame."
I don't debate the validity of the episode's message. I understand what it was trying to do, and I agree that it was a worthy idea to explore. My objection is to how the idea was conveyed. You can defend what it was trying to illustrate and praise it for illustrating that all you want, but that won't change the fact that the method of making its point was weak.

You're right, the show had a worthy purpose that could and should have been intense and dramatic, but to me it wasn't, because the form that the humiliation took was too silly to be taken seriously. One has to try really hard to appreciate the message of this episode given the context of it (as apparently you have), but for me (and many others who have seen the episode), it was just too difficult to get past the ridiculousness of visuals like Kirk pretending to be a horse and Spock prancing and singing to feel for them or take their tormenters seriously as truly menacing villains.

But that was the point: to show how this "great society" of Plutonians have sunk so low that they consider this sadistic display entertainment.
Again, I think the way the point was made was poorly conceived. I thought making the two kiss seemed unnatural, something the writers wrote only for 'shock value' rather that because it was organic to the story because they knew an interracial kiss would be considered risque for television at the time.

You really haven't explained this very well. Which "negative stereotypes" are you referring to specifically?
The negative stereotype that I think the show reinforced was simply that Star Trek is corny and over-the-top, and all Star Trek fans who take this nonsense seriously are all very weird individuals. See, you're looking at the show from a perspective of someone who likes to analyze it very thoughtfully and consider what deeper meanings may be below the surface of the events and words in an episode, which is all well and good, but not all viewers are going to approach it that way.

For casual viewers of the show or those not very familiar of it at all, they're going to watch this show and see a dwarf riding a grown man making horse noises, two grown men singing and prancing horribly, and people mind-controlling objects to throw them across a room and think, "what is this stupid sci-fi bullshit?". A good Star Trek episode should convey its message with imagery and dialogue that is subtle and restrained enough not to alienate viewers who are going into it without the open-mindedness that the most passionate Star Trek fans do.

I don't enjoy this on a "so bad it's good level" in any way. i think this is another Roddenberryesque display of the level to which absolute power corrupts. The fact that they were all brought down by the very person they dumped on all those years is poetic justice. Alexander represents all of us who were kept down by bullies and petty thugs. We all wanted to beat them in the same way and then get to go beam up with those who were our liberators. There is subtext upon subtext!! You seem to criticise the superficial without looking at the underlying meaning. That's the way the episode was written, and written brilliantly.
I will agree with you about Alexander. It was a good decision to make him ultimately the hero of the episode, but I just couldn't stand everything leading up to that. You are doing a lot of creative interpretation to justify this episode's absurdity, and the highest quality episodes would not need to be rationalized so thoroughly because the power of their images are obvious to anyone. I find what you're saying to be a real stretch, but if you're capable of imbuing this episode with such qualities in your mind as you watch it, more power to you. I wish I could have appreciated on that level, it would have made watching it a lot less painful, but I couldn't get over the goofy visuals. I can grant you a lot of what you say as simply 'that's your opinion, it contradicts mine, but I can accept it as a someone else's interpretation', but I can't agree at all with you on the writing. The writers had a good message that they were trying to convey with this episode, but the means by which they conveyed it (with the torture methods they came up with) robbed it of all the power it could have possibly had.
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Old February 24 2009, 08:48 PM   #14
IrritatingGameOfChess
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I don't debate the validity of the episode's message. I understand what it was trying to do, and I agree that it was a worthy idea to explore. My objection is to how the idea was conveyed. You can defend what it was trying to illustrate and praise it for illustrating that all you want, but that won't change the fact that the method of making its point was weak.
You summed up my feelings far better than my post did. Thanks!
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Old February 24 2009, 08:55 PM   #15
QuasarVM
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Re: Plato's Stepchildren: Why the Hate??

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
number6 wrote: View Post
The humiliation was to illustrate in no uncertain terms how powerless the mighty Enterprise crew was under the control of Parmen. For it's time (and even now) it was pretty intense and dramatic. You haven't really told me how or why it was "just hokey and lame."
I don't debate the validity of the episode's message. I understand what it was trying to do, and I agree that it was a worthy idea to explore. My objection is to how the idea was conveyed.
I agree...the problem was "execution. execution. execution." A problem that plagued many Season Three episodes...
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