Spock and McCOy

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Kinokima, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay this is one of my favorite relationships of the show but I have seen so many people completely not understand it. Granted I think this interpretation is in the minority but I have seen it enough...

    1) Spock and McCoy don't like each other.

    Okay yes I know Spock and McCoy argue all the time. That is part of their relationship. It wasn't something that started out with these characters. It just became popular and the writers caught on to that and continued to write for it.

    However despite their disagreements (and yes they weren't always playful) it is abundantly clear that Spock and McCoy actually respect and like each other. Spock and McCoy both have helped each other countless times. Spock entrusted his soul to McCoy. Both Spock and McCoy have shown worry when the other was hurt, etc. Really Spock and McCoy must be the absolute worst enemies ever. But of course if that doesn't convince you both Nimoy and De Kelley have said that Spock and McCoy liked each other deep down. Heck even Roddenberry has said it (there are plenty of quotes available which I will add later).



    2) McCoy is racist against Spock


    I am sorry but this is just silly. I think people who care so much about supposed racism against aliens should maybe be concerned with real racism but anyways...

    Yes I realize that McCoy did often call out Spock's Vulcan features and green blood but these lines were obviously meant to be funny. If you don't find them funny what can I say, this was written in the 1960's.

    Heck just as a real life example please watch Match Game in the 1970's . This was an extremely "liberal show" at the time. And I know for a fact than many of the panelists were involved in the civil right moments. But there were tons of jokes during the show that would definitely be considered politically incorrect today if not far worse than anything McCoy said about Spock. Times change and so is what is considered acceptable.

    But really if you think McCoy (one of the 3 main heroes) was meant to be racist when Gene Roddenberry was upset when a minor character might be a drug dealer on the enterprise in City on the Edge of Forever you must be kidding yourself.

    On another note Kirk called out characters when he felt they were being racist against Spock. Notice how he never calls out McCoy. He usually just laughs because he knows in the end the Spock/McCoy banter is harmless. And no I don't think it is because McCoy is his friend. Sure McCoy could get away with a lot, but Kirk would tell him off when he went too far.

    Another thing I don't understand why some people always blame McCoy when Spock had his own nasty judgements about humans and McCoy. I love Spock but he wasn't without faults himself.


    3) All Our Yesterdays

    This seems to be the one episode that Spock/McCoy haters cling to to prove that Spock doesn't like McCoy or the things he says about him.

    Yes I know one line in one episode from the inconsistent 3rd season proves a lot. This isn't even written by one of the series regulars.

    Now I am not saying All Our Yesterdays is a bad episode. I actually enjoy the Spock/McCoy scenes in this one. But this is an episode where the writer has Spock fall in love & only after Nimoy protested that Spock would never just do this that they write in the line of Spock regressing to his Vulcan ancestry. For some reason I don't think it is the best episode to judge Spock's feelings about McCoy. This wasn't the normal Spock, which McCoy quickly realized.

    If anything I would say Spock likes arguing & debating with McCoy. Whenever McCoy says something, Spock is quick to zing one back. Really he is definitely never shown to be helpless against McCoy. And yes at times I am sure both McCoy and Spock are annoyed by each other, I also think deep down they enjoy those verbal sparring matches.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's a guy at work who's my opposite in every way, and we have a little fun sparring and having purposely ridiculous arguments.

    I think there was some insensitivity in the '60s writing that had McCoy going too far, or going at Spock in the wrong way, but it was never meant to be "bad."
     
  3. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Spock shows McCoy respect/friendship in episodes like Miri, Amok Time and goes to him for advice in say 'Conscience of the King'. McCoy also calls Spock 'The Best 1st Officer in Starfleet'.

    Its episodes like 'Galileo 7', 'The Paradise Syndrome' and 'The Tholian Web' where McCoy acts unreasonably against Spock. He apologised later in 'The Paradise Syndrome' and in 'The Tholian Web' he was under outside duress.

    In 'All Our Yesterdays' Spock actually chooses McCoy over Zarabeth. So thats got to count for something.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To be sure, it wouldn't be to the detriment of the two characters if they really did hate, loathe, envy and despise each other. People do that a lot ITRW, and may still respect each other as professionals - and be good company to a third party both.

    As for racism or sexism, these things may simply go in and out of fashion without being a major factor in anything beyond immediate interpersonal chemistry. Say, with airtight legislation against favoritism, it doesn't matter much if the boss doesn't like the shape of your antennae. It's not as if hatred towards population groups would be impractical or detrimental as a thing, either: to the contrary, it's very beneficial to hate shoplifters or murderous Klingon scum without always stopping to examine the specifics of individuals within those groups. Kirk certainly was a poster child for categorical condemnation, as befits his profession. Why should his officers be held to a different standard?

    The most enjoyable thing about the McCoy/Spock relationship is probably the fact that their constant attacks against each other served as a means of revealing details of their personality at high frequency. Of course, this being episodic television, the personalities thus revealed weren't necessarily all that consistent, but at least these heroes weren't left as characterless enigmas whose only defining aspects would be their ranks or professions.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Then there's "The Menagerie," when Kirk begins to suspect Spock's up to something and McCoy puts up an impassioned defense of Spock.
     
  6. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ Thanks everyone for adding examples. I am sorry to start this little rant but I saw someone pull the McCoy is racist card and it is one of those pet peeves of mine.

    Other examples I can think of McCoy standing up for Spock is in the Omega Glory when Spock is accused of being the devil because he has no heart, McCoy yells it is just in a different place.

    Or in Plato's Stepchildren, McCoy begs them not hurt Spock.

    Not the two best episodes but those are good scenes to show McCoy cares about Spock.

    Spock also shows extra concern for McCoy in the Empath (where McCoy sacrifices himself for Spock and Kirk) and in The World is Hollow. And actually he shows concern for him in All These Yesterdays too.

    This perhaps is true. A well written relationship could be a completely antagonistic one. I just don't think that is the point of Spock/McCoy. They don't only respect each other but deep down they like each other. It's more that they won't admit it. But just because they like each other doesn't mean they can't have their arguments and disagreements.

    Actually I shouldn't say think because this is what the actors and writers have also said about the relationship. I am just not sure why that is hard for certain people to accept.

    The thing about the McCoy is racist thing is it is really silly. It is pretty obvious that the writers were not trying to convey that McCoy is racist against Vulcans.

    If today you think that dialog sounds racists than again this is really just a product of the time. It has nothing to do with the character but the writing. But here is the thing that gets me is who cares that the dialog sounds racist against Vulcans. Vulcans are not a real group of people.

    Trust me I cringe at real racism just as much as the next person but I don't see much of any real racism in the writing of Star Trek. Now there is some sexism which is also unfortunately the product of its time but racism....
     
  7. Mr. Hengist

    Mr. Hengist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The Spock/McCoy relationship is from a basic emotional level a kind of sibling rivalry. They are competitive for attention from the primary "love object/parent", Kirk.

    Some of McCoy's dialog might sound racist in retrospect--the references to "green blooded Vulcans" etc. But it surely wasn't intended, at the time, to convey the notion in-universe that McCoy was supposed to be a racist.

    Rather, McCoy was meant to show irritation/annoyance/disagreement with Spock's tendency to put logic above every other value. McCoy was the bleeding heart, Spock was logical and heartless--at least from McCoy's point of view.

    If anyone was a racist, it was more likely to be Spock, since it was very clear in many episodes that he believed his logical Vulcan species was superior to emotionally primitive humans. He also had a good measure of self-loathing and inner conflict as a "half breed."

    Of course as the series progressed there was a lot of character development and their personalities & relationship became fleshed out, more complex, and more 3 dimensional--not just "logical guy" vs. "emotional guy." So as the Spock character developed we saw more of his hidden aspect, his regret at not being able to express emotions the way he might have liked due to his cultural and psychological background. Spock came to depict not simply someone who was without emotion or had chosen logic as superior--i.e. "Data" before the emotion chip was implanted--to emotion but rather as someone who was very emotionally repressed and RATIONALIZED a sometimes overly-slavish devotion to the "logical ideal" as an excuse to not confront his emotions and insecurities.

    On the other hand, while McCoy frequently presented the "emotional viewpoint," let's remember he was himself a man of science--a physician, a researcher, an empiricist--and thus of necessity was in fundamental ways just as "logical" in the performance of his job and his world view as Spock was. How many episodes required Bones to analyze something or someone in the lab and come up with an antidote, diagnosis, or cure? That's all hard core science and logic, not emotionalism at work.

    So as a problem solving team Bones and Spock had to have been on the same wavelength to a great degree. Obviously so or else they couldn't have functioned as teammates and senior officers on the Enterprise.

    As far as anything specific such as whatever the line was in "All Our Yesterdays"--and I don't recall the reference off hand--it's not at all unusual or infrequent for any of us to say unkind or nasty things to people that we love if we are under great stress. It happens.
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    It sort of makes me think of the relationship between film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. They weren't really close friends, and didn't socialize much outside work. They were professional rivals, and enjoyed insulting each other, especially if it stung-- Gene loved making fat jokes at Roger's expense. But when one died, the other mourned.
     
  9. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The line in question is when McCoy says some Vulcan insult when he realized Spock has just given up on finding a way home.

    Spock says something along the lines of "I don't think I like that, I don't think I ever liked that" and goes on to grab McCoy by the chest.

    This proves to "certain fans" that Spock hates McCoy and McCoy is racist. Regardless of the fact that in the same scene this is where McCoy realizes that Spock isn't being himself and decided to edge him on on purpose to make Spock realize this.

    That is a a very good example here is who Nimoy compared Spock/McCoy too

    Burns/Allen, Abbott/Costello, Martin/Lewis, Gleason/Carney with Spock being the straight man to McCoy.

    And I am just quoting Nimoy again: "McCoy and Spock evolved into verbal sparring partners with the good doctor taking the humanist stance and Spock the side of logic-but there was always a strong undercurrent of friendship and mutual respect."

    The above is all from I am Spock. And I think if anyone knows & understands Spock it is Nimoy.
     
  10. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    In Bread and Circuses McCoy says to Spock "I know we've had our disagreements. Maybe they're jokes. I don't know. As Jim says, we're not often sure ourselves sometimes".

    I just think its a Spock McCoy thing not really a racist thing. McCoy doesn't think humans are better than Vulcans. He does make racist remarks though. Spock makes cutting remarks against humans that are less obviously racist because we (the audience) are at home nodding our heads in agreement.

    I would think that people nowadays know better than to make racist remarks but nuKirk is full of rude remarks to Spock in ST09 and STID and no-one is claiming he is racist.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Kirk, Spock and McCoy are one person. McSpirk, I guess.

    Spock is the side of McSpirk who thinks things through, rationality and logic. McCoy is the impulsive, emotional side, who leaps without looking. And Kirk is that which binds the two together and allows them to work as one.
     
  12. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the argument "It was in the 60s and 70s, so it's not racist". The definition of racism isn't time depending. It was also normal back then for blacks to give up their bus seats. Doesn't make it right.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    If by "back then" you mean the '60s and '70s, then not so much. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the 1950s, but I do remember newscasts of sit-ins at lunchcounters in Walgreens and Kresge's, etc. during the '60s, when blacks were refused service. Most of this was happening in the South. By the '70s if you had tried to make a black man give you his seat he would have beat the crap out of you.
     
  14. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just what does any of this change about the point I was making?
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral In Memoriam

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    Well the only thing it changes is perhaps your placing it in the wrong era. ;)
     
  16. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    We aren't talking about African Americans or any real group of people we are talking about the use of dialog between two fictional characters, one who happens to be an alien.

    The point of the matter is McCoy wasn't meant to be racist and if you are judging the dialog by today's standards then you are the one misunderstanding it.

    For the record "racism" was shown on the show. And in fact it was shown on other shows in the 1960's.

    Also "doesn't make it right" who doesn't it make it right for? It's not like anyone is making excuses for real racism and real sexism on the show.
     
  17. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just because the writers didn't knew better doesn't make McCoy's remarks okay in hindsight. McCoy constantly provoked and annoyed Spock for being alien, for being different. Not a good character. Especially since it's only McCoy of all the main characters who does it all the time as his special character trait. So already back in the 60s McCoy stood out as being the one who always got in arguments about Spock's alienness.

    And it gets even worse when nuTrek writers take that latent racism of McCoy's and port it into the 21st century in nuTrek.
     
  18. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You seem to be missing my point. The intent of the writers and what they are trying to convey is important here. The dialog whether you like it or not is going to reflect the time period it was written in.

    McCoy & Spock are fictional characters and thus as fictional characters they are someone else's creations (in this case both the writers and actors that played them). The writers and actors have given their own interpretations of these characters. Nothing that said McCoy was racist or that McCoy and Spock hated each other.

    There is a big difference between deciding based on your own interpretation that McCoy is racist then seeing real racism against actual groups of people in the dialog and so forth.

    And this doesn't have to be where a character says "you are such and such" but can be reflected in how minority characters are portrayed in media.

    So sorry if I think people should be more bothered by real racism, sexism, etc than supposed fictional racism.
     
  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Its not just McCoy in Star Trek.

    Add Archer and the crew of the NX01 to the list of racists.
    And T'Pol. I disliked her remarks about smelly humans.
    And Sran of course - puny whiteskins?.

    And Uhura in ST6 and Chekov started talking about 'they' in reference to Klingons. I think this was bad writing though because I can't remember either of them being racists before.

    I agree they should stop it in nuTrek. I know its meant to be funny, not racist. Maybe I should lighten up as Vulcans don't really exist but there's something wrong with Kirk making those remarks.
     
  20. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nether is the definition of friendship. Friends will often exchange barbs and insulting comments that if directed at a hated stranger or a opponent would have an entirely different meaning.

    Do you actually believe that McCoy hates Spock? Or for that matter hates Vulcans? Because unless he does, the comments are not racist.

    :)