Diana Muldaur and the TNG cast

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by ShatnersToupee, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I remember back in the summer of 1989, I saw a news story on Entertainment Tonight (or one of those shows) where they announced that Diana Muldaur was joining the cast of L.A. Law and that Gates McFadden was coming back to TNG. At the time, I didn't know why Gates had left. I just assumed she was bored and wanted to pursue other roles much like Denise Crosby did. I also assumed that Muldaur quit TNG because she wanted to be on L.A. Law. Later that year, I saw McFadden in The Hunt for Red October. Seeing how small a role she had made me think her film career never materialized and that was why she came back to TNG. So I was very surprised to hear some of the rumors of what really happened.

    I'm sure this has been asked before, but can someone fill me in on the details? Muldaur herself has said that she didn't feel like they wanted her there, that there was a lot of infighting going on, etc. How much of this was true? Did the TNG cast just not make her feel welcome? Were they upset over McFadden being replaced? They had a reputation for being pretty childish so I can't imagine someone like Muldaur fitting it. Even Patrick Stewart had trouble with it in the beginning.

    I was never a big fan of the Pulaski character. She seemed too much like a McCoy clone, right down to her dislike of transporters. While it was nice to have someone who challenged the captain, I felt like she just didn't blend in well with the rest of the crew. In season 1, Picard emerged as a kind of father figure to the crew. Except for Stewart and Will Wheaton, the rest of the cast were all in their 30s. By adding Pulaski, it was like having a mother around. And who wants to watch a show about an old couple and their kids flying around in a starship?

    As for Muldaur, I thought she was great on L.A. Law. Her character on that show was meant to elicit a reaction from the audience, to see how they would react to a woman being tough and no-nonsense, which in a way was a precursor to having a female captain.
     
  2. Borjis

    Borjis Commodore Commodore

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    Indeed, and I wasn't sad at all when she fell down that elevator shaft.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd never heard this before I came to this message board, but apparently there was some kind of behind-the-scenes thing where Gates McFadden was being sexually harassed by a producer during season 1, a producer who left after season 2 at which point McFadden came back.

    Since learning that, I'm surprised McFadden would've wanted to come back since apparently no one on the show helped her when she was being sexually harassed, if this rumor is true.


    Don't know about Muldaur and the rest of the cast. I like Pulaski as a character, less bland than Dr. Crusher, but then it would've been awkward with Wesley there but no mom, and the Picard-Beverly background drama would've been gone from the show.
     
  4. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ The lack of what you describe as "Picard-Beverly background drama," Sonak, is one of the things I liked about having Crusher replaced with Pulaski. I liked Crusher just fine, and I liked Pulaski, too, but what TPTB did with the whole Picard-Crusher romance was just STUPID. It really was. With some exceptions, Trek doesn't have a good track record with romance - it just generally does a terrible job at it - and the perfect example of this was Picard and Crusher. I mean, one episode, they're deeply in love but conflicted; a few episodes later, one or the other of them is in love with someone else; a few episodes later, something else happens. It was ridiculous. I'm not crazy about a captain - any captain - having a romantic relationship with a member of his or her crew anyway, but jeez, if they're going to do it, at least do it well.

    But to get off my anti-P/C hobby horse and actually address your topic, ST, you'll find some stuff on why Gates left in the thread titled "Was there a real reason Lieutenant Yar..." You'll find it there despite the title, is what I mean.
     
  5. Keith1701

    Keith1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree, I never liked Diana Muldaur on TNG from the very start.:mallory:
     
  6. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Me too, and it's odd, because I actually like Diana Muldaur quite a lot. Just not as Pulaski.
     
  7. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    there's a lot of pulaski-hate on this board
     
  8. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    Ironically, I think Pulaski was just starting to become a likable character before she left. I really loved what she did in "Peak Performance" seeing right through Data's bullshit when Data denies having a bruised ego about losing and the way she encourages him to have some pride.

    The scene where she comes to his quarters and tells him to stop sulking is lovely. I didn't like her much before that episode, but based on the way she was in it, I can actually imagine her turning into a character people enjoyed if she'd come back for season 3.

    I prefer Crusher, though, and I do like the way her relationship with Picard was depicted. I thought it was very realistic and intelligent the way they were written to have romantic tension that they couldn't actually turn into a relationship because of their history.

    It would have been so much easier and lazier for the writers to throw them together just to have some more romance on the show (which I think explains the ill-advised Worf and Troi coupling), but the writers simply kept them close friends with romantic undertones and I respect that. Methinks Kate doth protest too much. :p I don't recall them going from deeply in love to just friends episode to episode. Picard confessed to being in love with her in one episode, she didn't reciprocate, and that was the extent of it.
     
  9. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As a teenager, it was literally a case of crusty McCoy clone or hot readhead, so I was more than happy to see Gates come back..
     
  10. ShatnersToupee

    ShatnersToupee Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    As far as the romantic tension between Picard and Crusher, I grew tired of it. The audience knows Picard won't get together with Crusher for the same reason Riker won't get together with Troi. Because then neither character will be free to romance the alien-of-the-week. Notice how they waited til near the end of TNG before putting Troi and Worf together. Same with DS9. Kira and Odo didn't get together until the end. Same with Bashir and Dax. That brings up another tired cliche of Trek. The male and female who start off as friends but then one of them decides they want more. For a show that's supposed to have such an enlightened view of the future, it would be nice if they could show a man and a woman being good friends and nothing more. At least Dax and Sisko stayed that way. Then again, he thought of her as "the old man".
     
  11. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Exactly, ST. I hate to disagree with you, Too Much (as you know), but far from being realistic, to me the P/C romance was in fact completely unrealistic. It was a typical TV show semi-romance, which means it was used when it was convenient to the plot but ignored when it was not. And by "ignored," I don't just mean "wasn't referred to when it wasn't necessary." I mean that when it was inconvenient - when TPTB wanted Crusher to fall for a Trill or Picard to fall for a shady archeologist/opportunist or whatever - it was ignored. It was as though it had never been...

    Until it fit a plot again, of course. And they did the same thing to Troi and Riker, which did nothing to endear that pairing to me.

    Hate when they pull that crap. Hate hate hate hate it.

    But I agree with Too Much about Pulaski. She rather annoyed me in the beginning, but she was starting to grow on me, as she evolved from female McCoy to an original character.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  12. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    I understand saying it was a little too 'convenient' how Picard didn't seem to mind Crusher having affairs (like in "The Host") despite supposedly being in love with her the whole time. For Bev's part, however, I don't think her feelings were totally ignored when it came to Picard and romance.

    For example, when Vash showed up, there was that cute scene of the two of them going off to have some 'girl talk' about him and she did seem amused when she first met Vash.

    I wouldn't go as far as to call her reactions 'jealousy', but she did have some reaction. She was playful and flirtatious with him once in awhile, showing that the writers didn't just forget about something being between them when it wasn't a central plot point. They weren't a 'will they/won't they' couple, but they weren't completely platonic either.

    She was attracted to him, enough that his romances affected her and she could tell him she was attracted to him, but not so much that she felt compelled to act on the attraction. This is why I think their relationship/friendship has some realism and isn't just a plot device.

    However you feel about Picard and Crusher, surely you can see that at least there was some kind of chemistry between them, unlike with Pulaski and Picard (or most of the cast). I think Data was the only character the writers tried to give some kind of chemistry with Pulaski, but it was the wrong kind.

    There was supposed to be some kind of comedic oneupmanship like with McCoy and Spock, but it just came across as Pulaski being a prejudiced bitch until the end when she started to warm up to him a bit and just become a little warmer overall, which allowed us as viewers to like her more. Too little too late, unfortunately.
     
  13. Whoa Nellie

    Whoa Nellie Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Actually, in the episode "Attached" what we are told is that Picard at one time in the past had been in love with Beverly.

    I really enjoyed both Crusher and Pulaski and would love to have seen Pulaski come back for a guest appearance. :)

    Warmest Wishes,
    Whoa Nellie
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  14. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    Well he may say that, but if he was over her, why did he say something like, "now that they're aware of each other's feelings, why don't we explore them?" at the end of the episode? :p
     
  15. Ryann866

    Ryann866 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    There's a YouTube video interview with Rick Berman where he goes into this a bit explaining that Gates and producer Maurice Hurley didn't "get along" as well as the feeling that the character wasn't working...

    Berman was the one that wanted to keep Gates and once he could make it happen for Season 3 he got her back. I'm sure they had to pay up though...
     
  16. heavylids

    heavylids Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Gates McFadden aged very nicely. In First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis she was quite the foxy lady.
     
  17. Whoa Nellie

    Whoa Nellie Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What Picard says is:
    We're not told specifically what those 'feelings' currently are. Possibly wistful thoughts of rekindling a long dead flame? Who knows?

    Why did Beverly turn Picard down cold? Did she take a 'lesson' from Nella Daren's experience?:p

    What Picard says onscreen is canon.

    What reasons fans may place behind his actions is only fanon.:)

    Warmest Wishes,
    Whoa Nellie
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  18. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I believe it was Maurice Hurley who was "bullying" Gates McFadden in season 1; when he wasn't getting the desired response from her, he convinced Roddenberry that the character wasn't working out.

    I've said elsewhere that I thought Muldaur - and Pulaski - were great for the show, and wished she would have stayed on longer.

    I believe it was Muldaur who said she DIDN'T WANT TO COME BACK for season 3, for the same reason she asked not be listed as "main cast". She did the stint as a favour to Gene Roddenberry, and had no intention of being in it for the long haul.

    When Hurley and Muldaur left at end of season 2, the door was open for McFadden's return. She hadn't done much at all since leaving, so was glad to come back.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    As for Gates McFadden, there were several problems that manifested themselves throughout Season One. (Much of these cobbled from Richard Arnold con presentations and TNG newsletters of the day.) When combined with the Hurley/McFadden problems, it all becomes understandable how it became one big mess, seemingly solved by recasting and reimagining the CMO. Hints of a possible future Picard/Crusher relationship were sown into early scripts ("The Naked Now", Bev's jealousy of Whalen in "The Big Goodbye", and a "There's something I've been meaning to tell you" running gag) but the actors were suddenly told to hold off on adding the subtext. McFadden saw this as eroding some of the intrigue of her character, plus she lost a very strong part when David Gerrold's "Blood and Fire" script was quashed.

    Also, McFadden's very fine, long, red hair was not holding its style under the hot lights and it was costing the production regular extra amounts of time and money while Continuity sent her off back to Hairdressing. Imagine how the problem could easily have painted the actress as a whiner and a timewaster on the set. Notice also that, when McFadden came back for Season Three, her character got an array of extremely expensive wigs, all in different styles and lengths. Marina Sirtis got rather jealous (in her usual good-natured way) and spent all of Season Three relentlessly campaigning to get a better quality real-hair fall to replace the el cheapo one she'd been given in Season Two, replacing the old bun hairstyle. (Sirtis boasts at conventions that she is a born campaigner.)

    Having just lost Tasha Yar, they really weren't planning on losing Crusher as well. Actually, it was Troi they were having trouble writing for; Troi is totally missing from a few Season One episodes. Marina Sirtis was retained because she was the last woman left standing. That's why plans were made to build a Counselor's Office set for Season Two, and also have scenes for Troi in the newly planned Ten-Forward bar. (Although when Whoopi Goldberg was suddenly cast as Guinan, many strong Troi scenes during Season's Three and Four were rewritten for Guinan.)

    I discussed some Muldaur stuff here:
    http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?p=4775037
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Er, those "several problems" aren't really very big ones. The romance angle between Picard-Crusher has nothing to do with the actress, McFadden, and the other problem is her red hair and the lights?


    Since there are other quotes about problems relating to her performance, it comes off as a bunch of "kitchen sink" rationales.

    It just seems like it was backstage politics with Hurley rather than real issues.