Does McCoy really break the fourth wall in "Babel"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by plynch, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Reading that very fine book, ST 365, I was stunned at reading the page about McCoy breaking the fourth wall at the end of the ep ("Well whaddya know, I finally got the last word!"). The book asserts he is talking directly to the audience.

    I NEVER took it that way. I thought it was just a close up, but that his words were audible to the others in sickbay.

    Have you understood it as the one time an actor in TOS speaks directly to us? Seriously, said, "What!?" when I read that page. But I can see how one could take it that way.
     
  2. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    No, he doesn't look at the camera. I always took it as him talking to Amanda or Kirk.
     
  3. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    Or talking to himself. He did mutter a lot.
     
  4. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Commodore Commodore

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    "If I jumped every time a light came on around here, I'd wind up talking to myself."

    :lol: (McCoy, the Corbomite Maneuver.)
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I thought they deliberately flirted with it, yeah. It was definitely a joke commenting on the show's format - not unlike Picard's remark at the end of that episode about "Moriarity" in which he suggested that perhaps they were all "part of a simulation running in a box on someone's table." :lol:
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just took it as talking to himself and happening to look in the direction of the camera that, to him, wasn't there. It was staged so that it gave the broad impression of the actor talking to the audience, but it's not like his eyes actually focused on the camera; he was just looking approximately toward it.
     
  7. KeepOnTrekking

    KeepOnTrekking Commodore Commodore

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    I don't have a copy of the script but the James Blish adaptation has McCoy directing the comment to Amanda. :)
     
  8. KirkShatner

    KirkShatner Cadet Newbie

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    I used to think it was breaking the fourth wall but now I think that he is talking to Kirk or Amanda.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, he's not looking specifically at any other character. He's addressing the room in general, or talking to himself with the intent that others should hear.
     
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I do have a script here somewhere, but how accurate are the stage directions at
    http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/44.htm ?

    KIRK: Doctor McCoy, I believe you're enjoying all this.

    SPOCK: Indeed, Captain. I've never seen him look so happy.

    MCCOY: Shut up. (to Kirk) Shh. Shh! (to camera) Well, what do you know? I finally got the last word.
     
  11. PikeFan

    PikeFan Commander Red Shirt

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    It wasn't uncommon for the lovely doc to be talking to himself. despite what "history" records it as, I think he's talking to Amanda. :D
     
  12. Gepard

    Gepard Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In other words, not breaking the fourth wall, but leaning on the fourth wall.
     
  13. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Either way, it's probably my favorite McCoy moment from the series.
     
  14. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am glad so many people agree with my correct opinion. Be well!
     
  15. Basill

    Basill Captain Captain

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    I've always thought of it as a "Broadway moment." I've known some interesting characters in my time and a few people who actually do that in "real" life, so that TOS scene has never bothered me.

    It certainly never bothered me anymore than Kirk's proclamation in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" that a 200 year prison lock-up, "... ought to be just about right."
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Or, in Shakespearean terms, an aside. Although an aside is basically the equivalent of a comic-book thought balloon -- it's not something the other characters are supposed to hear.
     
  17. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Now, THAT was breaking the fourth wall...
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That would be the only aside in Star Trek, then, right?

    Hey - that could be fun: what lines could be taken as asides?

    "I shall quicken my pace"?
     
  19. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The joke is repeated in TFF. “I’m a nervous wreck. If I’m not careful I’ll end up talking to myself.”

    The delivery is better in TCM.
     
  20. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Worf In the 23rd Century Premium Member

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    Since the time frame of Trek wasn't really established yet it doesn't quite work as a statement to the audience. Works as a self-referential joke for Kirk, since he knows hes from the future.