The myth of the bad Ferengi episode's on "DS9."

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Jayson1, May 17, 2017.

  1. Jayson1

    Jayson1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know the show has a reputation of having bad Ferengi episodes but I am going to make a argument that this is more theory than fact I went through all the main Ferengi or Quark based shows and counted the number of Great,good and bad episodes and the results might surprise you
    Here is the great ones:
    1"The Jem'Hadar" I know it's not considered as a Ferengi episode but Quark has a big enough role in it to count for me. Plus all the fun of the first part of the episode comes from Quark and he has the great speech to Sisko were he basically stands up for his people and talks about how Humans use to be worst.
    2"The House of Quark" Great episode were you see Quark out of his element. Love the scene with all the Klingons looking at finacial records and Gowron just tosses his to the side. Also like Quark not using the Bat'leth which was really brave and I felt he had solid chemistry with his wife.
    3"Family Business" First look at the Ferengi homeworld. I like his realtionship with his mom and they along with Rom and Brunt were just fun together.
    4"Little Green Men" Works because all the Ferengi characters just play off each other so well. Toss in old Sci-Fi tropes a garage sale, Quark as a captain, jokes about Sisko looking like Bell from the Bell riots and maybe the first toliet joke via "waste extraction" and it's all great.
    5 "The Bar Association" I like that it's exploring a issue like unions and I like that Rom stands up to Quark and even goes and gets a better job.
    6"Body Parts" A deep character story that isn't just played for laughs. I'm not sure if Quark had ever had to look at his values as hard as he does in this episode. Basically tells Brunt to go fuck himself at the end which is a stand up and cheer moment.
    7"The Ascent" Like "Jem'Hadar" this isn't a full Quark episode but you can't do this ep without him because we get to see one of the most intresting Trek duo's get a episode all to themselves and it works because Quark/Odo scenes always work.
    8"Business as Usual" Like "Body Parts" this is more drama than comedy and I like how Quark is basically in dark place and yet finds away out of it. The line that I think is Gaila says about how "In all those lights in sky would anyone notice if one went out" is a great all time favorite line for me.
    9"The Maqnifcent Ferengi" I got to admit I wasn't sure if I was going to put this on the great list but I went ahead anyway because I know everyone seems to love it. Me it's good but not great. I just don't think the Ferengi work well as action characters and I know that is part of the joke but I think if your going to do this story they should be at least a little more capable than we see here.
    10"Who Mourns for Morn" I love this episode. A fun little caper of back dealing criminals coming together and Quark outsmarting them all. Plus it's nice to get some more backstory on Mourn.
    11"The Siege of Ar-558" Not a pure Ferengi episode but Nog does seem to have the second most important story and Quark offers up sage advice and also gets to show concern when Nog is sent on a mission. I always like when they show that the Ferengi are capable of caring about each other and are not just greedy bad people all the time.
    12"It's Only a Paper Moon" A little limited because the actor who plays Nog is not super talented but he does know his character well so that makes up for it. It's nice to see them explore PSD and have a character have emotional trama. Also I like VIc Fontaine and I like how he helped Rom basically by just being a friend to him.
    13"Meridan" Should have listed above since I was going through the season as they ran but I forgot 2 stories. The A story is awful but I find the B story of Quark trying to create a sex program with Kira to be funny and it has a great payoff with Quark. While I like that Ferengi can have more depth on "DS9" than other Trek shows their is nothing wrong from time to time just writing them as creeps because that aspect is still there.
    14"Heart of Stone" A story is average though a little more important than I think we might consider with a Founder already in the AQ and Odo actually saying out loud that he loves Kira. The B story though is what's great. Rom wanting to join Starfleet which feels a little out of the blue since the previous ep we saw him was him acting like a jerk on a double date with Jake. Still they explain his reasons well enough to were it makes sense and It's a great idea to see someone intrested in Starfleet who isn't a utopian human or even a alien who might also be from some paradise style planet.

    That's it for the great episodes. I will list the good and bad episodes later. Getting tired of typing and can't find my pet monkey who usually makes half of my threads for me to finish at the moment.


    Jason
     
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  2. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the three main Ferengi characters are superb. I think the Nagus started off great, ditto Brunt. Enjoyed Rom fightin' for his rights as the union guy and so on. But I think the portrayal of wider Ferengi veered far too much into sitcom/slapstick towards the end culminating in the awful clanger of Rom replacing Zek. Nothwithstanding Quark, I felt they did a disservice to the Ferengi toward the end there.
     
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  3. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm quite a fan of "Bar association" and tend to agree, the "bad ferengi episodes" thing is a bit like "beam me up scotty", it exists more in the collective public consciousness than reality.

    The Ferengi exist primarily to give the Federation's socialism a capitalist foil, an on screen representation of the values they claim to have evolved past.

    If there is a complaint for me it is that this is simply done too heavy handedly, too blatantly and without balance or nuance. Rather than allow two alternative viewpoints space to play out on screen and credit the viewer's intelligence by letting them draw their own concluisions there is a tendency for the Ferengi to be a parody, played for comic effect, making any alternative stance the butt of a joke rather than a position to be considered in light of the alternatives.

    This, I feel, actually weakens the message as it becomes harder to take the point seriously and often reduces the characters to caricature.
     
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  4. Orac

    Orac Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I believe the Ferengi episodes are unpopular for two reasons:

    1. The Ferengi are ugly.

    2. The allegory for western capitalism makes viewers from western capitalist nations uncomfortable.
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Ferengi aren't my favourite species, but they are good for a completely different POV on matters (which is always good, as the human element does get very tiresome at times), so I was a little disappointed with how they were on their way to mirroring a Federation planet by the end.
     
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  6. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you don't like Ferengi, then the Ferengi eps are bad. You can't argue with them peoples using logic.
     
  7. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Vulcans?
     
  8. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nah, not uncomfortable - they were always more caricature than satire. If anything their hamhanded treatment diminished Gene's liberal utopian message (where episodes like The Neutral Zone satired capitalism more effectively). For all of the capitalist criticisms attributed to the Ferengi, Federation folks exhibited a whole gamut of "capitalist" sins:

    • Economic Systems (The Price; Errand of Mercy; Treachery, Faith and the Great River)
    • Economic competition for resources (Prodigal Daughter; Measure of a Man; Insurrection)
    • War for Resources (Journey's End; The Maquis)
    • Skirmishing for Security (Tin Man, Siege of AR-558)
    • Mass Murder (Equinox)
    • Genocide (Dear Doctor, Extreme Measures)
    • Fraud (Homeward, Insurrection)
    • Greed, Avarice, Antisocial behavior (Various Mad Admiral episodes)
    • Profiteering (Insurrection)
    • Arms dealing (Business as Usual)
    • Extortion (Second Skin, The Circle)
    • Lying (Evolution, The First Duty)
    • Good Samaritan Law Violation (almost any Prime Directive episode)
    • Procuring (Justice, Captain's Holiday, Paradise)
    • Piracy (Damage; The Expanse)
    • Propagandizing (The Circle)
    • Coup (Paradise Lost)
    • Cultism (Valiant, Let He Who Is Without Sin, Paradise)
    • Unregulated Prize Fighting (Tsunkatse)
    • Match Fixing (Rivals, Code of Honor)
    • Assault (Harbinger, Learning Curve, Family)
    • Grand Theft Auto (Carpenter Street)
    • Grand Larceny (The Voyage Home)
    • IP Theft/Trademark Violation (The Voyage Home)
    • Copyright Violation (Author Author)
    • Exploitation by Owners of the Means of Production over Labor (Author Author, Rura Penthe)
    • Humanoid Trafficking (Author Author)
    • Gender Inequality (Code of Honor, Cogenitor, The Outcast)
    and...
    • Class Inequality, Racial Prejudice, Intolerance (- See any Ferengi episode)


    But yeah - the Ferengi are not like the pretty people.
    :D
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  9. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Regardless the episode, Armin Shimerman always gave his all. To that end, there was always at least one great performance in every Ferengi story on DS9.
     
  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the episodes where the Ferengi come off as actual Western capitalists.

    The bad Ferengi episodes are the ones where they come off as cartoons. Ishka, Zek, and Brunt were always cartoons of laissez faire capitalism.

    When the main Ferengi characters were paired with non-Ferengi characters and Quark debated capitalism with the utopian characters were the best Ferengi moments. His conversation with the Vulcan in The Maquis, the guy he defused the bomb with in Starship Down.

    Ferengi episodes failed when they used them for bad physical comedy, funny voices, and presented Ferengi society as the Federation on opposite day instead of a robust, complete society. Characters hitting each other and screaming. Zek, Ishka and Brunt characterized respectively like the boss, domineering mother and corporate jerk characters in a Nickelodeon cartoon.
     
  11. The Grim Ghost

    The Grim Ghost Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree there are a number of good Ferengi episodes. It's just unfortunate that some of the Ferengi characters are so massively overplayed, screaming their lines and doing overly annoying voices. If characters like Rom, Ishka and Zek were asked to just take it down a couple of notches these episodes would be far more enjoyable.

    Thankfully we have great stuff from Quark and occasionally from Combs to balance out the overly goofy stuff.
     
  12. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They can be a bit over the top at times, but I've always loved the Ferengi episodes. I think when I watched the series live, week-to-week, the Ferengi episodes were a bit frustrating as they broke away from the story most of the time and could feel like filler, but now I tend to take episodes for what they are. I haven't marathon'd DS9 in any way but pick up episodes here and there, and each time, the Ferengi episodes are oh-so much fun.
     
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  13. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

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    I loved the Ferengi episodes when I was first watching, and I still like most of them. In particular, I think "The House Of Quark", "Business As Usual", and "Family Business" are all exceptional. What sours it is that the last three Ferengi stories are just outrageously, shockingly awful. "Profit & Lace", "The Emperor's New Cloak", and the Ferengi plot in "The Dogs Of War" are among the worst material DS9 every produced. Clustered in the last two seasons like that, with no good Ferengi stories in the sequence to break them up, and you see why people came away from the show not feeling great about that arc.

    (If you count "Who Mourns For Morn", I think that's also a clunker. And I actually have a guilty-pleasure soft-spot for "Ferengi Love Songs" at the end of season 5, but I recognize it's a deeply flawed episode and I can't argue too much with the consensus that it's lousy)

    If they had just called it with "The Magnificent Ferengi," I suspect today there wouldn't be such a pervasive attitude among the fandom about the weakness of the Ferengi installments. (Instead we could have threads that discuss "was it a mistake to stop doing Ferengi shows in the last season and a half?")
     
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  14. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Prophet Motive is also rather atrocious, as is The Nagus.

    Ferengi are not the problem, Zek and Ishka are. Zek other than one speech of his I love in The Nagus was horribly written. His understanding of economics is equal to that of the writers and it shows. Like he graduated from the Michael Scott school of business and it never makes any sense how much time he wasted on Quark.

    He is not half believable as a business leader.

    And if a guy like Quark is known to have such frequent access to the head of state, shouldn't that have raised his profile and made other Ferengi consider exploiting that access?

    One of the dumbest things about DS9 was that the entire alien cast was on a first name basis with their head of state, but Zek was the least justified.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  15. Sybok Was Wrong

    Sybok Was Wrong Commander Red Shirt

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    Sorry, but the Ferengi are incredibly embarrassing. I'm embarrassed for the actors playing them, the prosthetics are embarrassing and stupid looking, and their motives for existing are shallow.

    When I watch Ferengi and think of Kirk & Spock, and things like the Guardian of Forever, THE WRATH OF KHAN or other awesome TOS moments----I can't believe STAR TREK devolved into Ferengi nonsense.
     
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  16. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, that's unfair, I think. Nog's character arc was pretty great, especially after he got his leg shot off. 'The Maginificent Ferengi' shows that not every one of them is a stereotype. Actually, the Vulcans and Klingons are much more Hat Wearing Aliens than the Ferengi turned out to be - ymvv of course.
     
  17. The Grim Ghost

    The Grim Ghost Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TOS is my all time favorite. But surely you are leaving out some terribly ridiculous episodes of TOS that easily measure up to the Ferengi stuff. I Mudd? Plato's Stepchildren?
     
  18. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And The Children Shall Lead
    The Way To Eden
    Spock's Brain

    Most Ferengi episodes are masterpieces compared to those, so I think no show is in any position to throw stones at the others in terms of nonsense.
     
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  19. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

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    So true. Let the series that did not produce "Spock's Brain" throw the first stone. None of these shows are without their own serious missteps.
     
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  20. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And I love the cheesy WTF-ery of some of the worst of the worst out of TOS.
     
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