Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by skylark14, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. skylark14

    skylark14 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Which one episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief and keeps you from enjoying the storyline? I see this was already touched on briefly in a thread specifically about whether ESP in humans is believable. My #1 for this has always been Mudd’s Women in the very early first season, even though overall this was the most realistic and fun period of the show, when it really did seem to be set in a futuristic workplace with co-workers socializing and coffee cups strewn about. Even back in 1966, I knew that you could not swallow a pill and have that pill comb and style your hair and apply false lashes and lipstick to your face. Each time it happens the transformation still brings a frown to my face and an “oh, please” from my lips.

    It was an interesting idea for a story but hard to translate to television without over-reliance on the makeup artist which then made it ridiculous. I guess I give them kudos for even attempting a psychological story like that in the first place.

    So which episode throws cold water on you and brings you back to realizing you're sitting on your own couch?
     
  2. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not so much an episode, but there are several times where there is flopped film or some other technical glitch that throws me off.

    One great example is in "The Way To Eden" near the end on Eden where Kirk is flipped and it is totally noticeable.
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It’s been discussed ad nauseam on other threads, but the ending of “The Omega Glory” is one humongous WTF. I can buy humanoid life on other worlds. I can buy alien civilizations parallelling familiar Earth cultures. But the friggin’ American flag and Constitution — with the exact same language and calligraphy, no less? What. The. FUCK???!! :wtf:

    Also, while “Miri” was a well-written and acted story, the ridiculous gimmick of the planet being an exact duplicate of Earth, continental outlines and all, almost made me want to switch the channel right after the teaser. And it was a stupid and unnecessary gimmick, since the planet’s exact resemblance to Earth doesn’t figure at all in the plot.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    "Miri" is just bizarre. It's a great set-up--an exact duplicate of Earth--that goes entirely unexploited after the teaser, and by the time the away team arrives on the planet it's nature is entirely incidental to the story.

    I'd second the conclusion of "The Omega Glory." Even if it wasn't so pointlessly jingoistic, it would still be a huge logic hole in the episode.

    Speaking of production-natured things, like the shot in "The Way to Eden" that Danny99 mentions, the more I see the original Star Trek the more such things pop out to me. The close-up of McCoy in the transporter room in "Mudd's Women" where he is in a different uniform with a biobed in the background in one shot (pulled from later in the episode) is especially jarring. It just doesn't fit.
     
  5. Geck

    Geck Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Mark of Gideon is another. Sure, do an episode dealing with the problems of overpopulation, but taking it so far that people literally only have room to all stand together in a giant crowd is just absurd. Add to that the Gideonites' overly convoluted plan with the duplicate Enterprise and the whole thing just falls apart.
     
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To deal with these in fanfic, I came up with the admittedly convoluted theory that these were parallel Earths--so easy to transit to during that time because of proximity to the former Delphic Expanse.

    Without an explanation like that, this AND Magna Roma constitute an unforgivable WTF.

    I think that ENT might well have hinted in this direction by re-creating Hodgkin's Law as being what sounds like a law of convergent evolution. Something that, in light of recent possible discoveries about space microbes, might well have something to it, rather than a bogus law that in the same universe, people would somehow spontaneously make the same choices, develop the same languages, and so on.

    What I find most breaks my suspension of disbelief is any time I see the pathetic treatment of women in any episode. That is unwatchable. Now, I can read TOS novels, and watch the movies, but the actual series...even the bad special effects and hokey plots would be easier to put up with if women were treated decently.
     
  7. Itisnotlogical

    Itisnotlogical Commodore Commodore

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    Balance of Terror. A large piece of wreckage that appeared suddenly from nowhere makes barely a whisper when it hits the ground, yet crushes a man to death and takes sustained effort from another to move. WTF.
     
  8. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    Miri and Omega Glory are two that are like that for me. Oh, and The paradise Syndrome too. I like the story but it is hard to beleive that this planet has inhabitants that look and act just like native Americans.
     
  9. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Almost any third-year episode and most of the second. Silly or trivial plotting.
     
  10. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And they reject contraception because of their great love for life, so they figure the better way to deal with excessive birth rates is to introduce a lethal plague into the population. :wtf:
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And in which episodes, specifically, were women treated badly? (That is, allowing for the cultural norms of the time in which TOS was created and avoiding the fallacy of presentism.)

    That was explained thus:

     
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Let's see...the whole "women can't be captains" thing (unless you're Romulan instead of Starfleet), Marla McGivers, Mudd's wife, all of those and many more were pathetic stereotypes. And frankly, I see no reason why we should excuse those stereotypes, especially in a show that purported to be about a better future than that. It's hypocrisy writ large. Even the fact that we only saw women as nurses and secretaries, in a rather pathetic excuse for a uniform (whose purpose was only to show skin) is pretty demeaning.

    Thank God the novelverse helped to rectify a lot of that.
     
  13. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There were limits to what you could get away with in pushing the boundaries of acceptance on a network TV show in 1966. Remember that NBC rejected the female First Officer in “The Cage.” Whether that was because they didn’t think audiences would accept the character or because they didn’t like the producer giving a major role to his then-girlfriend, that’s a topic for another thread.

    In fact, at a time when the only women serving aboard naval vessels were nurses on hospital ships, Trek TOS was quite progressive in making fully one-third of the Enterprise crew female.

    As for the minidresses, Nichelle Nichols and Grace Lee Whitney wanted to show their legs. (We saw women crewmembers in pants as well, at least during the first season.) And, perhaps paradoxically, miniskirts were seen as a symbol of female social and sexual liberation in the 1960s.

    I agree about the characters of Marla McGivers and Carolyn Palamas — women who were ready to betray their duty to Starfleet and their loyalty to humanity just because they went ga-ga over some handsome alpha male with rippling muscles. Even back when “Space Seed” was first broadcast, my mother remarked, “That girl is such a simp!”

    But Mudds’s wife? It was a comedy episode, and the nagging harridan of a wife is a stock comic character that goes back to classical antiquity.
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I watched Star Trek when it aired on NBC. I was in junior high school at the time; not a particularly sophisticated viewer. Nonetheless it was pretty obvious to some of us watching then that the portrayal of women on the show was sometimes silly and demeaning - the Janet Lester thing was greeted as a big WTF? by a lot of fans then. "The fallacy of presentism" has a nice plausible ring to it, but the fallacy of pretending that everything we now consider smart, virtuous or right was just thought of for the first time in this generation must have a name of its own. :lol:
     
  15. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    It does: "arrogance."
     
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dehner wasn't exactly a nice reflection on women, either--though I can at least write that one off to the fact that she was batshit crazy.
     
  17. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), the psychiatrist who got zapped into having telekinetic powers in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? She was never batshit crazy. Not by a long shot. Do you mean Janice Lester?

    Now, Marta (Yvonne Craig), Garth’s green girlfriend in “Whom Gods Destroy” — she was batshit crazy. But she was so friggin’ hot!
     
  18. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While I realize Trek is - and to a certain extent had to be - a product of its time, that doesn't make some of its really flagrant cases of sexism that much easier to take. It's understandable (not excusable but understandable) why some of my older relatives had/have racist opinions...but that doesn't make those opinions any less...well, vile. Even in the 1960s and before, women weren't allowed to be traitors just because they were in looOOOooOOve. People didn't say to Mildred Gillars, better known as Axis Sally, "Oh, you were in love with a Nazi. That's why you made those broadcasts and betrayed your country. Ah, we get it now. Never mind. We forgive you."

    So yeah, Marla McGivers and Carolyn Palamas were totally and egregiously sexist portrayals, and they weren't excusable in the 1960s, either. Whoever was responsible for them (and it wasn't the actresses I'm sure) should be well and truly ashamed of himself.

    But I agree with you on Stella Mudd ("Stella, dear" - I love that episode). If I was married to Harry Mudd, I might be a nagging harridan, too. Probably not - I'd probably throw his sorry ass out. But possibly. Harry could have that effect on a person. ;)

    But to drag myself back on topic, in the early episodes of TOS season 1, the way the costumes changed from episode to episode really bothered me, and it still does now that I know the reasons for it. But it's really distracting.

    Another thing that has repeatedly pulled me out of an episode is when the writers come up with really lame reasons why the crew can't use the transporters or some other Trekkishly ordinary piece of equipment - or when Spock doesn't use the neck pinch thingie even when it would clearly be in order or when Troi's empathic powers don't work for a really lame reason. These errors are sometimes minor and sometimes less so, but they distract me.

    Insanely ridiculous coincidences do as well. For example, in "Conscience of the King," there is only a tiny handful of people in the galaxy who saw Kodos...and two of them are on the Enterprise? Really? And the way aliens who've never been on a Star Fleet vessel can get on there and do whatever they want with no trouble. Lazarus, for example, can not only steal the Enterprise's dilithium crystals with ease, but he can then install them into his ship in just a few seconds. Are dilithium crystals one size fits all or something?

    And ridiculous plot contrivances do as well. For example, in both "Space Seed" and "The Alternative Factor" (both of which I rewatched just in the past few days), possibly dangerous strangers are allowed to roam around the ship or the ship's computers at will. What's the deal with that?

    TOS wasn't alone in silly plot contrivances, of course. The two long-term quasi/semi/sometime romances of Picard-Crusher and Troi-Riker were used or ignored, depending on how well they fit into a particular episode's plot. The same is the case for the quasi/semi/sometime romance of Janeway-Chakotay, too. I hate that. It's disrespectful of the audience and of the characters as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No...the zapping drove Dehner crazy.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ For her part, it took Dehner a lot longer to go megalomaniac than it did Gary Mitchell. Which seems to indicate that Mitchell already had predispositions towards that kind of worldview. If not, why did he turn evil so quickly? Think about it.