"Pen Pals" a Forgotten Gem?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Vger23, Jun 3, 2023.

  1. Forbin

    Forbin Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Thanks, you're a gem. ;)
     
  2. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral

    She woke up, looked at the seashell singing softly by the seashore, and screamed. Then the memories all returned thanks to that rush of adrenaline. The story's ending is rendered too easy, though the intent was to be sweet and saccharine.

    That said, I otherwise love the story - even Dr Pulaski sides with Data and clearly is impressed by what this walking toaster can do. But that ending... :brickwall: W:brickwall: H:brickwall: Y:brickwall: ?:brickwall: Data clearly isn't doing an 'up yours and your prime directive, Pee-Card' in doing so. He's just giving a baby a teddy bear - albeit under the most dubious and bizarre of circumstances. Couldn't the walking toaster think that this EXPERIMENTAL (AND ESPECIALLY TO A NON-HUMAN) procedure might not work as expected, especially if something familiar were to be seen, heard, touched, or otherwise experienced again? Unless Sarjenka woke up and promptly ate the shell, but that would have been worthy of The Orville. (Albeit not in a bad way...)
     
  3. CarnelianClout

    CarnelianClout Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It was one of the episodes to me that showed the failure of the prime directive. In a time where good men sit idly by and do nothing, they are just as guilty.
     
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  4. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral

    TNG did often run counter to TOS, and not just "Too Short a Season" being a response to "A Private Little War" (both gaudily preachy installments, proving that preachiness did not start in the 21st century, but I digress). TOS had Kirk doing what he believed was best (with breaking the PD as a result), regardless of societal upheaval. The "The Apple" being an easier and low-hanging episode to pick (though that Spock/McCoy scene is thoughtfully done, albeit too short). TNG is the sheer opposite - Picard doing what he believed was best (upholding the PD, apart from the 11 times Admiral Saltie pointed out), even if everyone dies horribly as a result. (For which, "The Masterpiece Society", a story that feels like a response to "Pen Pals" as it's hot to trot on "let's never interfere" and an overly-contrived episode at that with the "perfectly balanced" malarkey, is both the most egregious example -- yet, despite it all, has a few set piece scenes that rescue a couple of points as a result. but give me "Pen Pals" for the overall better and better-told story. Even despite its mindbogglingly-bad ending...)
     
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  5. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

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    Herbert
    And just what constitutes the parameters of how those "good men" act? When do they act? When do they not act? Perhaps not acting is the right choice in some situations.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. One merely has to look at the history of colonization in real life to understand that. The prime directive is there for a reason.

    Riker said it best when he stated, "our job is not to police the galaxy" And he was right to say that.
     
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  6. CarnelianClout

    CarnelianClout Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It depends on the circumstances. Not interfering in the affairs of other cultures that have not had contact with advanced societies would be valid. Though, in the case of a civilization that is to be destroyed by natural causes while you have the power to do something - strikes me as a valid cause to intervention.
     
  7. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    Going by this press photo from Mama's Family in 1988, Nikki Cox had the right features to play an alien child on Star Trek: NextGen, even before the Sarjenka make-up and prosthetics were applied:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    This following photo reminds me of the opening title sequence of Bargearse (the gag dub of the 1970s Australian cop show Bluey) where the guest actors are referred to as celebrity special guest stars on the basis of who they resemble (e.g. "Christopher Skase", "Sonny Bono" and "Lenin":

    The original concept of Sarjenka ("Pen Pals") looks like Miley Cyrus with devil horns - and Cyrus would not be born for another three years!

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Sarjenka?file=Sarjenka_concept.jpg
     
  9. Michael

    Michael Good Bad Influence Moderator

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    She did? :confused: I genuinely had to look up who of the two girls in the photo even is Nikki Cox, so apparently her features weren’t all that “alien” after all. At least not to my eyes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2024
  10. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Commodore Commodore

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    Incredible alien.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, yes. Especially with Riker's whole "this species is fated to die."

    It was deeply frustrating to watch that, and only decide to intervene due to a personal connection. So, no moral compunction, no ethical responsibility, no evaluation of past acts to determine best practices based upon Starfleet's interactions, rather than a one size fits all approach.
     
  12. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    Nikki Cox decided to do some bad plastic S as an adult. Compare the Mama's Family press photo there with a screencap of Sarjenka and it's obvious they are the same girl.
     
  13. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    If i were mean I'd say there's a Michael Jackson and Nikki Cox bad plastic surgery joke in there, but I'm totally not mean so I didn't say that.
     
  14. Quantum21

    Quantum21 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It was one of my favorites then, the same now. It's thoughtful and it's quiet.
     
  15. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    Oh, i can think of worse possible Sarjenkas in 1988 *whistles innocently*

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Michael

    Michael Good Bad Influence Moderator

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    Now what does her photo as a child have to do with the actress having done some plastic surgery as an adult? And no, personally I don‘t think it‘s all that obvious that it‘s the actress playing Sarjenka in the photo. I do recognize her, as I said, but there‘s nothing obvious about it to me.

    Nice. :rolleyes: Be better than that, please.

    :confused: Now what the hell is this supposed to mean? What’s the weird preoccupation with child actresses?
     
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  17. Barbara C.

    Barbara C. Ensign Red Shirt

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    It's more making fun of bad movies and poking gentle fun at stupid cliched jokes about MJ. Nikki and how bad Tami Erin was in the 1988 Pippi Longstocking movie. I'm a caustic Ebert/Kael style critic not a creep.
     
  18. JesterFace

    JesterFace Fleet Captain Commodore

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    'Pen Pals' seems to be a forgotten gem for me.
    Back in the days of VHS it was partnered with 'Q Who' on a two episode tape and I didn't give it much thought.
    Last summer I watched it for the first time in many, many years and it was a good episode.
    Next time going through best of STNG I'm going to throw it in there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2024
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  19. Michael

    Michael Good Bad Influence Moderator

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    It’s alright. Humor is a difficult thing to get across in written form. But also, not everyone will laugh about the same things. One person’s “gentle poking” is another person’s inappropriate joke.

    I think I did realize that you were probably jesting with your posts. I guess I just don't think poking fun at a (child) actresses looks is all that funny, and that is all. Sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud that way. But I’d just like for this to be a place where we talk about these people respectfully. Making fun about someone having done plastic surgery feels very … I don’t know, twenty years ago. And I just like to think the internet has moved past that. :)
     
  20. CarnelianClout

    CarnelianClout Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For sure, I was never really fond of the Prime Directive up to a point. It should generally mean "Do No Harm". If a species is dying out and there is no other way to save them but to intervene, it should be promoted to intervene if it is needed to intervene.