If you suggested that I’m really only doing this whole thing for the Riker sex jokes, I would have a hard time arguing.
I’m maybe wasting material for a future comic in talking about this, but it’s not difficult to watch some Riker-centric scenes in TNG and come to the conclusion that his face is just a straight-up sex thermometer. Like, any time Riker is smiling, he’s ready to go. Whomever or whatever. That smile is upstairs and downstairs. Which makes those crestfallen moments when the smile wilts a little bit funnier.
You might object on the grounds that Riker smiles sometimes in scenes with no obvious erotic overtones. I’m saying that’s a failure of imagination. The man’s got some serious depths, psychosexually speaking.
I will say that among my favorite moments on TNG were episodes where Patrick Stewart, a very fine actor indeed, got to play Jean Luc Picard, Lousy Actor, whether in the holodeck or on stage in one of Bev Crusher’s community theater productions. You have to give the guy massive credit for managing to be so convincingly, effortlessly cringe-inducing in his affected badness.
It’s funny, though, we almost always saw holodeck episodes, at least the earlier ones, as things where the bridge crew in general were sort of awkward and self-conscious about what they were doing, which seems sort of weird if taken at face value: this holodeck thing is the best video game ever but everybody’s all weirdly stilted about it? But it’s not so weird if you accept that it’s these characters, specifically, who were bad at it. Maybe because they were career-minded enough that they just didn’t get time in there? Maybe because they just weren’t naturally disposed to that kind of thing? Or maybe they were just a bunch of squares, I dunno.
Reg Barclay certainly knew how to get into the spirit of things, at least until everybody went and messed that up for him, so clearly the whole awkward inhibition thing wasn’t a constant.
I feel like I should note here that (a) the Aquans really are an alien race in the Star Trek universe and (b) they are in fact fish people, and (c) they only ever appeared in one episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, and (d) that apparently qualifies as series canon, and (e) I only know any of this because I looked it up on Memory Alpha when I needed some aliens for Picard to blow up.
I like Star Trek a lot — I have watched more of it than the average person, that much is safe to say — but I’m not an encyclopedic superfan, so it’s handy that there is an actual encyclopedia maintained by actual superfans. Because I’m gonna be leaning on that thing a lot.
Heya! I’m Josh and this is my thing. It’s sort of a weird thing, but I hope you like it.
If you’re curious about where LARP Trek came from, this welcome post has the backstory. If you want to get ahold of me, one reliable method is to give me a holler over on twitter; my handle there is @joshmillard.
This whole thing is a bit experimental right now, but I’m enjoying it and I’m hoping other folks will enjoy it too. If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, be sure to let me know, one way or another.
Happy boldly going!