Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kai "the spy", Aug 27, 2016.
I've been noticing the same problem, here in the land of horses.
Here's the thing about Rudolph in The Orville for me. If it's a comedy show, I'm willing look past things like Rudolph changing someone's worldview. It's a comedy, and that's part of the joke. Plus, I love that Rudolf special.
However, once the story gets real, shit hits the fan, and it's more drama than comedy, then you start to think about it analytically. Bortus sees a short animation and it changes his whole worldview in a manner that runs counter to how the entirety of his species thinks. I don't think so. It's a major plot point that the entire episode pivots around. And, it's not believable. So, yes, it fell flat for me too.
Again, if it was comedy, different standards apply. But, this episode was primarily a drama with some comedy mixed in. That can work absolutely fine, but you have to be careful how the comedy fits in and not let it undermine the drama.
My druthers would be that The Orville sticks to being a comedy that focuses on escapist fun. YMMV.
Perhaps you're thinking of the tiny fish called a Seahorse, but male kangaroos do not have pouches (nor do they produce milk, so even if they did, the babies would starve).
Loved this episode. It found this perfect middle ground between the "Kirk convinces backwards aliens to adopt enlightened Federation values in one away mission!" of TOS and the gratingly vapid "Picard gives a sage lecture about moral relativism" of TNG. It was as good as ENT's Cogenitor, where the aliens had abject injustice in their society, but Trip's reckless interference led not only to a terrible tragedy for the cogenitor but to a diplomatic catastrophe that ruled out the possibility of slowly and thoughtfully winning these people over to the correct side of the moral issue. It might take decades or centuries of cultural exchange and medical research to convince the Vissians that this is even a problem that needs solving.
The Moclan culture has gone astray by suppressing femininity to the point of surgically altering all female children to males. It's a smog-drenched industrial zone of a planet ravaged with constant explosions from weapons testing, which is their culture's chief industry. It's male competitiveness run amok. Contrast it to Earth, where steel towers are interspersed with gardens.
And the show does not cop out with the pseudo-profundity of "who says we're right and they're wrong". Mercer plays devil's advocate and basically steel man argues the opposing position, yet ultimately admits he's not convinced by it. Because the Moclans are clearly wrong and humanity is clearly right. It's no more chauvinistic a position than saying "slavery is wrong and universal suffrage is right".
Yet the show also recognizes that being right doesn't magically change the world. Any culture that's entrenched in some moral failure is almost certainly immovable by argument as a whole. Taking a time machine back to the ancient world and telling Fertile Crescent nobility about egalitarianism and the sovereignty of each individual will not eliminate slavery. No amount of facts or evidence will convince most of them otherwise. Try going to Turkey and convincing people of the Armenian genocide - it'll fall on deaf ears because the national myth says otherwise and accepting "it's a conspiracy theory" is far easier than the shame of believing your nation committed atrocities a century ago.
So no, they did not upend Moclan society through pithy arguments. But they did convince Bortus by showing him a story with a message rather than lecturing him - the latter offended him and made him put up a wall against argument. The former got the point across. And they did sow the seeds of social change by revealing that the Moclans' most revered literary genius was actually a woman. This may well lead to eventual cultural evolution within Moclan society and defeat their entrenched dogmas.
But Bortus and Klyden's child will not be the vanguard of a revolution. Klyden's decision was great writing, because it makes sense in so many ways. Having been altered himself, there's almost certainly a psychological barrier to admitting what happened to him was unjust. And there's also the obvious maternalism of wanting the best for his child, contrasted with Bortus's paternal focus on greatness for his child.
This was not an episode about transgender issues. It was an episode about femininity and masculinity being complementary aspects of humanity. It was an episode about cultural inertia, and how it's overcome. It was an episode about right and wrong and prudence. It was an episode about civilizational interchange. All of it is allegory about humanity, just not in whatever obvious Very Special Episode of Blossom sense some dim reviewers thought it was.
It was goddamn Trek at its best and I loved it.
I've seen Blazing Saddles. Comedy and political/social commentary are not mutually exclusive.
I also wanna defend the Rudolph thing.
Bortus is an alien. He does not see the same cheese you and I do in this cartoon, because he does not have the cultural context for it. He just sees the universal theme of the argument everyone was trying to lecture him about earlier. He was always receptive to the argument, but the manner in which it was done offended him and made him tune it out.
It seems it would be pretty hard to discern between children's entertainment and sacred myth if watching alien movies. Imagine for a second that you're an alien and you're shown a primitive shepherd's son feeding crowds with magical fish and loaves and walking on water, preaching humility and peace. And then you're shown an orphan in a secret school of magic who ultimately defeats a figure of ultimate evil through friendship and teamwork.
How are you going to figure out that one story is a defining spiritual belief of billions of people and the other is a popular children's book? It seems you'd rather focus on the core message of both stories. "Shaka, when the walls fell" conveys the same meaning whether Shaka is a sacred mythological hero or the star of a popular Tamarian action movie franchise.
Man, what a sad episode...
Let's talk nerdy to lighten up the mood... Is it just my impression or the Orville's sensors are way better than the TNG's ones? If i remember correctly, usually searching for just an individual on an entire planet was an operation that required hours in Star Trek, here they found the female in few seconds.
Like I said, it can work but you have be careful.
On TNG, how well sensors worked was defined by the same principle as how fast warp speed was.
That is, all tech depended on what the plot required. In one episode, Beverly Crusher could lay a vial with some DNA in it on top of her tricorder, press a couple of buttons and project a life-sized hologram of an alien from two billion years ago reciting a long and implausible message about the origins of intelligent life - in perfect English.
Oh yeah, I really liked Orville splitting that asteroid in two with its cutting beam.
Someone once compared me to Rudolph in real life. It was intended as a complement while acknowledging that I'm an oddball. So, for that reason I can't really regard it as corny.
By the way, I thought that the moment about who would play the car in Monopoly was pretty funny.
And I swear that for a brief moment in the beginning I thought that Brent Spiner was on the show!
With all the TNG-isms, including ending for commercial breaks on sonic wallpaper beats, I have to assume that a comparison with TNG is intended, and it's not simply parody or homage. A poster upthread suggested that Picard would have talked the Moclans out of performing the surgery. Given the level of emotional investment in the situation on Mercer's part, I think I agree. When Picard was going to let something objectionable happen, he was already predisposed to allow that under his moral code. But when he was invested in something, he prevailed. Not so, here. Mercer failed after giving it his all, and I think that's a major part of the point of the episode. Denying the prevailing Picard is a pretty specific critique of TNG. (eta - I suppose this critique could apply just as easily to the other Captains, like Kirk, who seemed to prevail once they became emotionally invested, but with all the TNG-isms, I really felt like they were aiming more specifically at Picard.)
The (awesome) cutting beam segment was also a critique of Star Trek in general. Those sorts of technobabbly situations have taken whole episodes to resolve after twists and turns. Orville fixed that situation in a jiffy, without breaking a sweat.
I don't think it was ever a matter of sensor precision, but rather computational analysis. TNG computers were painfully slow by modern standards, considering how powerful they should be. It didn't feel off in the late 80s/early 90s because, well, nobody was used to Google returning 2 billion search results in 0.87 seconds. The Orville's computers just process data at a more plausible speed for modern audiences.
Not sure about TNG, but on Voyager they could scan a planet and pick out individual people, especially if they had a uniqe characteristic.
I see it differently.
Nor every Moclan is in the Union and Bortus has displayed a much calmer and more reasoned approach to things than other Moclans seen, indicating he is more open to changing his mind, and that his mind set has shifted some from mainstream Moclan society to the Union officer life. Only out of the mind set still in his mind did he initially want the sex change.
Note later in the court room (SPOILERS dear readers) while every one was taken aback and even some scornful of the reveal, Bortus accepted it very willingly.
It's entirely believable he could change his mind. Some may not like the catalyst for the change though...
Does anyone else find this 100+ page thread difficult to get through? Maybe give Orville it's own mini-forum?
Loved seeing the blob guy again!
The ending broke my heart. Bortus should have made the tribunal watch Rudolph. Bortus telling Klyden that he still loved him... It should have made Klyden reconsider his opinion on the surgery.
Heavy but good episode.
Finding the woman and her turning out to be a well known writer fell flat for me. I was hoping they would discover that, like Klyden, a significant number of Moclan children are born female and their society (at every level) hides the numbers. Maybe the species always had a smaller percentage of females which lead to constant war and destruction among the more populous males for the limited opportunities of finding a mate, and getting rid of females was what allowed them to overcome their violent past. Most cultures have dark histories, and a lot of traditions are carried out without analysis. Seemed like they could have presented a more compelling 3rd act with a more nuanced situation like that. Either way, it remains an okay show and scratches an itch I didn't realize I was feeling for quite a long time.
I still think the humor is hit and miss but two gags had me on the floor,"...if Rudolph had been euthanized at birth as his father wished."... "Yeah, Idon't..." and of course "The moon?" Perfect delivery.
Think a little deeper. Isn't that what Star Trek storytelling itself represents? I mean, here we are having an issue discussion about gender because of...a goofy TV show. How is that any different from the Rudolph special other than the age demographic? Yes, it's really pretentious, but it runs to the core of Star Trek. Bortus could very well have been watching Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. So The Orville went highly post-modern and meta that way. I don't think it trivializes things at all because we really do take media that seriously, at least when we decide to get outraged about it (Gay Sulu, Gal Gadot armpits, all-female alamo drafthouse screenings, James Cameron dustup, etc...)
If Bortus still feels so strong about this, can't he just reset his kids gender, which takes 5 minutes, and seems to need no recovery time, and RUN.
Take the baby and RUN!
Yeah, I thought they might go for that idea of having a lot of females underground as it were, but that would have just steered it back towards not performing the "corrective surgery."
As it stands, the question in my mind now is how often the corrective surgery is actually performed. There might be considerably more females born than Isaac indicated in the teaser. Given that Bortus didn't even know that Klyden was born female, maybe the publicly-believed statistics (the sort of thing "Data" would know) are less than accurate.
By the way, it wasn't just "a" well-known writer. It was the same esteemed writer that Bortus had quoted earlier in the episode, which by Moclan tradition required a literary quote in reply, that Grayson chose to be the lyrics of "Survivor."
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