Why is Data so likeable?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Zippo and Flask, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Zippo and Flask

    Zippo and Flask Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm currently watching "The Offspring" and was thinking about the question: what makes Data so likeable as a person?

    What are your thoughts and reasons for liking Data?
     
  2. sadsquid

    sadsquid Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think a big part is that he treats everyone with respect. He doesn't have prejudice or pride or anything, so whether its a senior officer, a 'lower decks' officer or a civilian, he listens to them and treats them as equals. He's even polite and civil to his captor in The Most Toys!

    His childlike innocence and naïvety, combined with his massive strength and intelligence, make him kind of the type of person the human race would aspire to be in an idealistic, optimistic future, where you can afford to be innocent and naive because there's no greed or selfishness or people taking advantage of you.
     
  3. Zippo and Flask

    Zippo and Flask Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I agree. It is ironic that Data aspired to be like humanity, when perhaps it should have been humanity which aspired to be like Data.
     
  4. d'Anconia

    d'Anconia Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    His lack of emotions (in the episodes) is what gives him the likeable personality. The only judgement he can make is whether an action is moral or immoral. He doesn't feel prejudice, jealousy, hatred against anyone else (unlike other characters), which is a trait that sets his personality aside from others. Also, a person that always makes a moral decision can't be despised!
     
  5. Zippo and Flask

    Zippo and Flask Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    ^ Those are good points. I wonder, how much of morality is made up of logic and emotion? Said another way, what is a 100% moral decision? Is it one which is purely logical, purely non-emotional, some combination of the two, or based upon other factors?
     
  6. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    that's a good point about the "treats everyone with respect" without regards for things like rank or status. You're right, you got politeness and civility no matter who are what you were.
     
  7. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I also find his eagerness to learn and lack of guile quite charming. I love his demeanor when being taught to dance by Beverly in Data's Day. The whole scene is beautifully done.

    And sometimes it's the tiniest things that I enjoy. Once in a while he does something so...human (for want of a better word) that you cannot believe that anyone would ever doubt his sentience. I think it's also in Data's Day when he is sitting at a work station thinking to himself and he catches his finger tapping...I don't know why, but I love it. :D
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He's programmed to be likable. Especially after Lore. But as to why I like him? Well in a way he's looking at the world through a child's eyes with the same sense of wonder, yet without the other annoying traits of children. He's innocent and always polite. And honest to a fault.
     
  9. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    As a corollary, would a real human so lacking in guile, prejudice and emotion be so appealing. Unfortunately, a piece of me says no. His android uniqueness makes Data's traits desirable in a very special way.
     
  10. Sadara

    Sadara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh, time for an unpopular Star Trek opinion. I'm actually one of the very few fans that finds Data trying. I don't dislike him, but he's not even close to making my top 20 list of favorite Star Trek characters.

    I guess for me, he's an interesting character, but I would find it difficult to have patience with him and his endless questions and such. He's also unintentionally funny which I guess for me isn't as humorous as say, Damar and Worf who are sarcastic and mean to be so.

    Data's okay, but I don't get the obsession with him.
     
  11. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

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    He's not a jerk.
    He doesn't judge.
    He strives to improve himself.
    He has a cat. I have a cat. :D
     
  12. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    I don't think anyone's said it explicitly, so I'll add in a nomination for Brent Spiner's performance of the qualities that others have mentioned. In the wrong hands, the same character on paper could come off as creepy and annoying. There was a brief learning curve, but Spiner nailed it.
     
  13. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    You have a kindred spirit here. I tolerate Data in small doses. I don't like him, and I don't get why Spiner the actor is considered so wonderful.

    He has a cat that apparently had a sex change, and Data doesn't consider his cat sentient. No real cat lover thinks that.
     
  14. Captain Rob

    Captain Rob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Data doesn't have a cat.

    Spot has an android.
     
  15. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    It's very jarring whenever a character like Pulaski is mean to Data. Feels like someone kicking a puppy.
     
  16. hIndsIght

    hIndsIght Ensign Newbie

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    Then you must've really hated Bruce Maddox... he didn't even want to let Data into Starfleet.
     
  17. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    I'd say all of the above is part of the phenomenon of Data's charm, but with specific regard to that last part. It's specifically that he is this awesome product of our genius. Super strength, speed, efficiency & intelligence. Perhaps the most impressive specimen of human ingenuity ever. He is all these amazing things which we love to see in sci-fi, & yet, he is endowed with an almost unequaled humility to anyone else in the cast. He knows exactly how much better he is than a human & in what ways, but in no way does he ever presume that he is anything but lesser & flawed

    His humility is what makes him endearing. The old saying "Power corrupts" is true of humans & Data is more powerful than any human ever, but he manages to be just, honorable, loyal & humble regardless

    The scene that comes to mind is in "The Offspring" when Data has stated his case & Picard has followed suit, but the response is that the Admiral still intends to take her. Picard actually has to stop Data from accepting defeat. Data is so gentle that he almost lets society trample him, & only through people wanting to protect him is he able to succeed in life, at times

    In a way, though he is the strongest & toughest crew member. He is also the most fragile & easily taken advantage of
     
  18. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Indeed, that's the main reason why Pulaski didn't work...you couldn't lazily introduce a McCoy clone and get the same chemistry that you got between Spock and McCoy...Data was too inherently different from Spock.
     
  19. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

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    What the heck are you talking about?
    I didn't say anything about cats being sentient.
    I didn't say anything about Spot's sex. Sheesh.
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    except that was only her attitude toward him for like five episodes or so. Further into season 2, she's much nicer to him.