Do flaws make good characters great?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by LobsterAfternoon, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I can see a rebooted TNG with characters full of flaws...

    Picard - Murdered his brother so he could control the family vineyard.

    Riker & Troi - Riker raped Troi in the past which is how they know each other. Troi is constantly fucking around with his head.

    Data - Has schizophrenia and murderous tendencies.

    Worf - Is a practicing cannibal.

    Beverly Crusher - Practices untried therapies on her patients, including Wesley who is autistic.

    LaForge - Truly blind and doing dishes in the crew mess.

    I thought it was a bold step for TNG to create characters that had upstanding character and didn't harbor flaws in the name of trying to make them interesting. :shrug:
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ I like to think there's a middle ground between "upstanding" and sociopathic! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  3. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    HAHHA

    I think interesting characters are 3D characters, whether they have apparent flaws or not.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Not sure that I'm that far off in this day and age. Just look at the last film.

    Kirk - Alcoholic lowlife who spends his time hitting on women in bars, has a criminal record.

    Spock - Sleeping with a student and goes into a violent rampages when you diss his Mama.

    Uhura - Uses sleeping with the teacher as a way to get the assignment she wants.

    Scott - Takes and tests his transporter theories on defenseless animals.

    :shrug:
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Depends how you look at things. Consider the original series:

    Kirk: womanizing loose cannon who violates the Prime Directive at every opportunity. Seduces Lenore Karidian just to get revenge on her father. "I'm a soldier, not a diplomat."

    Spock: Cold-blooded Vulcan who belittles humans every chance he gets. Goes into murderous rages when under the influence of pon farr, or alien spores, or alien viruses, or time-travel, or . . . .

    McCoy: Shameless bigot who constantly makes racist cracks about Spock's green blood and pointed ears. Questions Kirk's decisions and authority every other episode.

    Scotty: Heavy drinker with a weakness for doomed belly dancers. Gets into barroom brawls with Klingons when they diss his engines.

    You can make anybody sound bad if you work at it! :)

    And, seriously, labelling nuKirk an "alcoholic" is really stretching things. He orders a beer at a bar once in the entire movie! I don't recall him showing drunk or hungover on the bridge. (Plus, you left out the part where enrolls in the Academy and turns his life around.)

    I'll bet we saw Kirk consume a lot more Saurian brandy and tranya over the course of the original TV shows and movies. And does anybody really think that Original Recipe Kirk never hit on a woman before . . ?!!

    Hell, even Jean-Luc Picard got into bar fights when he was young and cocky. Remember the Nausicaans? But he eventually got his life together . . . just like nuKirk.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Agreed.

    He could barely remember his name when he came up to the bar. He had obviously had a few.

    As far as which group I'd trust to have better values, I'd go with the original series gang over the nu kids on the block. Yeah Kirk used Karidian but he wasn't using her for sex or to advance his position in life, he was using her to see justice done. When I see Scott send that mutt through the transporter in The Enemy Within, its not to test a pet theory or to show up a professor who disagrees with him, he's trying to save the life of his captain.

    I guess I just see a difference in how the two groups operate. Yes the original gang would push the limits but it was either for a good cause or because they were being manipulated by outside forces. The nu kids seem more self-absorbed, at least in the first film, with their flaws being directed towards their own self-gratification.

    YMMV.
     
  7. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't know. There often seems to be a bit of double standard when people criticize the new movie and the modern era in general. Consider:

    NuTrek: A young, reckless Kirk gets into a bar fight. He grows up a little and later becomes captain of the Enterprise.

    TNG: A young, reckless Picard gets into a bar fight. He grows up a little and later becomes captain of the Enterprise.

    Seems like the same basic narrative to me. Heck, the cocky, devil-may-care youth who grows up to be a leader of men dates back to Shakespeare at least. It's an old, old story, not some pernicious new trend.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  8. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    NuKirk is not about the so-called "flaws." Being cool enough to cheat Kobayashi Maru by nailing a hot chick isn't a flaw, it's a dream come true. Launching a vicious verbal assault to provoke violence isn't a flaw but a necessity to save the Earth at the least, maybe the whole universe by restoring the cosmically necessary Kirk/Spock. Which apparently is why a seemingly random choice of planets provides the future's validation of NuKirk in the nerdgasmic figure of Leonard Nimoy. When God intervenes like that, we surely are dealing with His Only Begotten Son.

    The perverse people who couldn't believe that NuKirk and NuSpock could be friends are the insignificant fringe who somehow couldn't thrill to NuKirk's script apotheosis. Or were small-minded enough to find NuKirk's personality unpleasant.
     
  9. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's not about "flawless characters"...not the least of which because flawlessness is itself a flaw. It's unrealistic and farcical and ridiculous.

    It's about 1) characters acting in-character, and 2) the flaws being interesting. Picard was interesting because he was The Picard. He was better than the guy we saw pissed at Hugh. That wasn't the guy we knew week after week. It wasn't a matter of him being perfect or bland like some inane Harry Kim or character from a prudish old TV show. And he was certainly human - i.e. he was suffering visual hallucinations in "Chain of Command, Part II". Sure he'd have flaws, but not ones you know that he wouldn't. He was a character with whom we could explore other unknown possibilities of existence, including flawed ones, but felt wasted and disappointing exploring very well known, very well trodden ones.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I'm sure women who have been used in a similar manner in the real world would disagree and so do I. The entire Academy section of Star Trek 2009, presented Kirk as a self-absorbed douchebag.
     
  11. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, but it would've been far worse if they'd left the dropped Gaila stuff in the film. It also didn't do anything to show that Kirk was a "genius level" person and lead to a whole series of contrived events to get him aboard the Enterprise.
     
  12. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^I agree that NuKirk was ugly natured, mean spirited and amoral. But the Star Trek movie didn't regard Kirk as flawed, the millions who suddenly realized Star Trek could be cool didn't regard Kirk as flawed, and the people here who authoritatively announce that the new movie is great don't regard Kirk as flawed either, but as a normal human being, i.e., someone they could identify with. I repeat, that's why the rather meaningless term "flaw" is used, to disguise what's actually being said.

    On the other hand, everyone who despises Harry Kim despises him for not being a male ingenue, which is the only real flaw, i.e., something the viewer doesn't want to identify with. But this is merely called "boring" instead of saying what the real objection is.
     
  13. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hey all, Newbie here.

    Flawed Characters Caught my eye: as we are all deeply Flawed {i, perhaps, more than most}, i believe we DO identify with those who are characterized as Imperfect, at best: yet rise above their Imperfections to become Heroes, nonetheless. Flaws make Heroes more relate-able, more sympathetic, more like the Us We Hope We Could Be.

    "NuKirk is not about the so-called "flaws." Being cool enough to cheat Kobayashi Maru by nailing a hot chick isn't a flaw, it's a dream come true."

    i HAVE thought a great deal about the idea of the CHEAT being so central in the reboot.

    i think Cultural values towards "doing what needs to be done to succeed" versus an immutable belief in Personal Responsibility, Morality, and taking the High Road have shifted quite a bit over the last several years.

    i wonder if the Generation coming of age right now doesn't have a very different Measuring Stick of 'cheating' than the culture at large possessed in my day~ and if this "Nu" attitude doesn't reflect the changing tide?

    Just thinking out loud~ and glad to be here.

    Thanks for listening...
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but the intervening time is more realistically long with Picard. And Picard skipped fewer ranks than nuKirk did. (nuKirk went from Lieutenant to Captain; Picard was at least a Lieutenant Commander before being handed the Stargazer, and also had much more experience)
     
  15. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't understand why cheating would be a new flaw for Kirk or reflective of new values. Both prime and nu Kirk cheated on the test.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I suppose it's relevant that the only time we actually SEE Kirk taking the test, it's in ST XI, and during that test, Kirk acts like a smug, preening jackass the whole time. Somehow I suspect that Kirk Prime didn't act like that - even if he did reprogram the simulation just like nuKirk did.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Well, that and if you count the deleted scenes he was using The Orion girl (whose name escapes me right now) for her access codes.

    Kirk in the 2009 film suffers from Anakin Skywalker syndrome. They made him so unlivable early in the film it was tough to become emotionally vested in his journey.