Which episode most breaks your suspension of disbelief?

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

  1. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    So glad you are here! That's an interesting observation I must mull.

    Mudd's Women is about the only episode I haven't watched in the last three years. It's kind of dull, iirc, too.

    The leering Spock is AWFUL!
     
  2. Myko

    Myko Captain Captain

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    No, there was a real venus drug, but the pills given to Eve at the end of the episodes were placebo.
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the other two women looked way uglier when the effects of the drug wore off. Eve basically looked like she'd just woken up after an all-night bender.
     
  4. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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  5. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As ridiculous as some of the episodes may be, none of them create suspension-of-disbelief problems that interfere with my enjoyment of the episodes.

    That’s probably because I watched them over and over and over again starting when I was a very young child. These stories were strongly imprinted on my mind before I had the knowledge and cognitive skills to realize there was anything “wrong” with them. In a primitive brain sense, these stories may be more real to me than reality because I learned them first. Now that I’m older I can think, “Hey, wait a second, that’s not right...” but it still feels right.

    In another thread a while ago, I complained about what I perceived as serious logical flaws in the TUC screenplay. Somebody asked why I wasn’t similarly bothered by logical flaws in TWOK. I didn’t really have an answer at the time, but now I think it’s because I was 12 years old when I first saw TWOK and 21 when I first saw TUC.
     
  6. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was a bit disappointed when I first saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I remarked to my father that the actors were now ten years older than they were when the series ended. “Yes,” he replied, “and so are you!”
     
  7. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That gets my vote, too. Can't watch that without busting up laughing. :rommie:

    Close second: Lincoln getting a spear thru the chest.

    Third: the episode where the two sorcerers were revealed as tiny bird-like aliens with visible strings. (Shows how much I watch TOS that that's the best description I can come up with.)

    The Ancient Rome and Native American planets are a bit much, too. At least the Nazi, Gangster and Ancient Greece planets had some rationale.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    You're thinking of "Catspaw." Thankfully they removed the strings in the remastered version.
     
  9. Tarek71

    Tarek71 Captain Captain

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    I think of the Mudd episodes, I, Mudd was incomparably the more unbelivable. But seeing the Yangs and Kohms of Omega Glory are just beyond silly. I cringe whenever I see that US (?!?) flag come out and Shatner does his Kirkian recitation of the Constitution. Painful stuff.
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'd agree about TOS: The Omega Glory being bad were it not for one thing. Look around today in the United States and you will find a lot of politicians pushing a cherry-picked view of the constitution that goes not much deeper than Ee'd Plebnista. These politicians could benefit from sitting in on Lieutenant Kirk's Civics Lectures. Couldn't hurt. For them, the CliffsNotes:
    According to Memory Alpha, the following dialog fell on the cutting room floor:
    Simply not editing out this dialog should have gone a long way to fixing the suspension of disbelief problem.
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The planet with the American Indians had an explanation, as I quoted upthread in post #11.
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ^ And a pretty decent and memorable explanation at that.
     
  13. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While it's certainly far preferable to the utterly indefensible denouement, it's interesting that it completely negates the entire premise of the episode: if they're human, there's no prime directive problem. Instead, it's a more complicated case of Tracey assisting a group of de jure Federation citizens against insurrection; in other words, he's exercising a legitimate law enforcement function and it's impossible to see why Kirk is so opposed to that. Indeed, if Tracey were a true dick he'd be demanding orbital bombardments, but instead he requests hand phasers, evidently desiring to use minimal force in dispersing the throng of feral white people threatening the peaceful, civilized Kohms.

    Sure, he's gone all Colonel Kurtz on us, but being a poet-warlord perched on the rim of the Fountain of Youth is just a nice bonus.

    Also questionable is why we shot a parchment copy of the Constitution into space.

    On the plus side, the ethnic makeup of the Yangs and Kohms seems less racist with that explanation, with the vast majority of Earthbound "Kohms" being, in fact, quite Asian. However, I'm pretty sure a failed colony would be more likely to remember the "Zhonghua" part than the "Renmin Guongheguo" (neither of which, you'll notice, have the syllable "Kohm" in them). Ha, maybe it's a corruption of "Kuomintang" and it was supposed to originally be an American-Taiwanese adventure that divided over national lines. Not that that makes much more sense; it'd be like the Yangs identifying as the "Gops."
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  14. Expo67

    Expo67 Captain

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    I guess the revelation of Lazarus being two people in 'The Alternative Factor' would be one such episode.
     
  15. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So the idea is that Cold War era humans from both sides left Earth together, outdid the Augments by finding and colonizing a planet, populated the planet thoroughly enough to create a “This globe ain’t big enough for the both of us” situation, had a nuclear war, and had descendants born after the war who lived for several centuries before being discovered by the Exeter in the 23rd century? I don’t think that works.

    I’m going to go ahead and defend the utterly indefensible by pointing to the context in which it was made, and in which I saw it dozens of times as a child and a teen before TNG came along.

    There are, by Memory Alpha’s count, 727 Trek episodes and counting. They come together to form a cohesive whole we call “canon.”

    That conception of Trek didn’t exist in 1968 and wouldn’t come to exist for a long time after. These episodes were more or less self-contained stories. The idea was that you would see each episode once or twice on TV. If you enjoyed it, the episode was a success. If you found the ideas in the episode interesting enough to discuss with other people, it hit one out of the park. Nobody contemplated that the episodes would be scrutinized on home video, and they certainly weren’t intended to form a consistent foundation on which to build the incredibly complex Trek universe of TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, and eleven (soon to be twelve) feature films.

    The “parallel planet development” concept was a way for the writer to present a story as a possible future for us, and hence a warning. It was heavy-handed symbolism in Miri and used to somewhat better effect in The Omega Glory. It’s farfetched in the same way as Mirror Mirror, and I don’t consider it a real problem for either episode.

    I disagree completely with your interpretation here. Even if the long-forgotten ancestry of these people can be traced to pre-Federation Earth, that doesn’t mean they’re subject to Federation jurisdiction and doesn’t mean the Prime Directive doesn’t apply. My father was born in Chicago after his parents immigrated from Poland, but I don’t consider myself a Pole and Poland doesn’t consider me one either.

    How do you figure the Kohms are the legitimate authority over the planet and the Yangs are the insurrectionists? It’s a war between two ethnically and culturally distinct populations. Tracey picked a side and used 23rd-century weaponry to massacre people on one side while the other side supported his medical research. He’s going to have a tough time justifying that in whatever court martial or war crimes trial he ends up facing, and “We discovered after the fact that their ancestors came from Earth” is not an argument that defense counsel is likely to find effective.

    What audience do you think this was made for?
     
  16. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Smart people? But yes, probably not people with access to Wikipedia, I suppose.

    For what it's worth, I don't know too many Americans who would self-identify as "Yankee," either, even Northerners. It's almost always something someone else calls you. But that works since Tracey would've gotten the name from the Chinese.

    Or maybe they shot a major league ball club into space along with the parchment Constitution.

    Why would I second guess the man on the ground? At any rate, nomadic populations tend to be more aggressive than settled ones. Mongols, Manchus, Yangs.

    I dunno. Starfleet sometimes seems to be able to exercise legal authority over humans who've predated the Federation, for example in "Space Seed" and "The Neutral Zone." Maybe in "Requiem for Methuselah," I forget. I mean, if someone were born in New York in 1770, then frozen for two hundred years and thawed out by Richard Nixon, is he still an American citizen? Sure he is. If I set up a colony in Antarctica with an American spouse, I believe my grandchildren would be American too.
     
  17. Sybok

    Sybok Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    uh, like any one with a planet surface scene that takes place on a stage, or really any interior scene that happens off of the enterprise, its all so 60ish (obviously lol), thats why i pay attention to the stories rather than to the effects or sets

    edit: oh, the early episode wear kirk is surprised/agitated he gets a female as yeoman - so much for the 23rd century politically correct paradise
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  18. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just because he’s there, that means he’s authorized to pick sides based on Federation interests and get involved in somebody else’s war? That hardly seems consistent with Federation values.

    So? The Yangs, as a result of losing the war, had become nomadic, backwards, and aggressive... and that entitles Tracey to assist the Kohms in continued subjugation of the Yangs? Seriously? The area where the fighting was taking place was former Yang territory that had been conquered by the Kohms and that the Yangs were seeking to recapture. The devastating impact of Kohm conquest on Yang culture doesn’t automatically make the Kohms the good guys and the Yangs the bad guys in this fight.

    Poor analogy. Better analogy:

    A group of people leave New York in 1770 and find an uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic, or go to Antarctica as you suggest. Their new home is remote and in territory that is not claimed by the US or any other major power. They form governments and establish two sovereign nations in this remote land.

    200 years later, a US Navy vessel happens upon their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren, who don’t know where their ancestors came from. Their two nations are at war with each other. The location is rich in natural resources, and the captain of the Navy vessel decides to get involved in the war and use its advanced weaponry to help one side against the other in exchange for access to these natural resources.

    No, I don’t think these people are properly subject to American jurisdiction. And while propping up oppressive foreign governments in exchange for natural resources was not uncommon for the USA in Nixon’s time, it certainly doesn’t fit Roddenberry’s utopian vision of the Federation.
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If he were frozen prior to July 1776, wouldn't he be a British citizen?
     
  20. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^If he were a New York citizen, he'd be an American citizen. But he might also potentially be a British citizen, I think, yes; I'm not sure of the British policy following independence, although my understanding is that many Tories left for Canada and Great Britain, and I would suppose that their policy was such that one could not possess dual citizenship at that time.

    Except in "The Cloud Minders," where the Federation didn't mind outright slavery, as long as the spice flowed. Now, I'll certainly agree that that doesn't fit the vision, either.

    The problem: their states are not sovereign. They are unrecognized governments with less legitimacy combined than Sealand.* Further, Americans cannot renounce their citizenship without complying with the relevant law. Therefore, our USN captain is assisting American citizens; there may be problems with the military performing law enforcement duties--my immediate impression here is that outside the United States, that would be all right, as I've seen the USN assist American citizens in trouble in foreign countries, notably in Lebanon in 2006--but that's outside the scope of this argument. Starfleet clearly has a law enforcement mandate not present in the American military.

    The Yangs and Kohms--if they're human--are American and PRC or RoC or simply (post-unification?) Chinese citizens. Both those countries joined United Earth, which likely converted every human in existence into a UE citizen, but even if it fell short of that, it no doubt converted the citizens of its constituent states into UE citizens. The Federation was certainly formed in the same way. As existing citizens of America/China, then, the Yangs and Kohms gained UE citizenship, even if they didn't know it; subsequently, they gained Federation citizenship, still unaware.

    And if Kirk and Spock figured it out, why wouldn't Tracey, who spent a much longer time with them, and had the opportunity to observe them intimately?

    So, it being reasonable to assume that the rights and privileges of Fed citizenship include physical safety, it's also reasonable for Tracey to pick one side over another, left to his judgment. Although one acknowledges that he was less of a peacemaker than he ought to have been, it may have been evident to him that the Yangs were implacable foes, a warrior culture that preyed on the agricultural Kohms. You can even kind of infer it: it's ridiculous that a few thousand people would need to fight over one stretch of land when they're on a planet the approximate size of Earth, that clearly has enough trees and the like to support a breathable atmosphere... unless, perhaps, the Yangs are actively trying to enslave the Kohms. :shifty:

    *The Royal Family of which, I might add, are still English citizens. Indeed, iirc Britain claims sovereignty over Sealand. I guess it's not as urgent as the Falklands.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011