There’s a lot of sass lurking behind the staid, stoic facades of the Enterprise crew. I’ve probably got something like this for just about all of the senior officers at this point, but for some reason Data in particular kills me.
This counts as a sort of sneak preview of tomorrow’s strip, because, you know, time travel.
I think a lot about who the audience for LARP Trek is — I’d like to think it works pretty well for both my fellow Trek/Next Gen/Deep Space Nine nerdballs and for the more casual reader who doesn’t really know much about Star Trek other than that “it’s not the one with the lightsabers” but can still appreciate a good Riker sex joke.
And so this is one of those jokes that’s going to operate differently for Deep Space Nine fans vs. folks unfamiliar with the series, since the twist is only explicit in the seventh panel but all the DS9 fans are screaming BUT THAT’S QUARK SHE MEANS QUARK QUARK IS THE BARTENDER the whole time anyway.
It’s like watching a horror movie with someone who doesn’t watch horror movies. Genre-savvy viewers have a different set of expectations and so a different viewing experience. They’ve got different Ghost Ship moments. Which is neat! Sit down a non-Trekful friend and read the strip together! Discuss your experiences! Create a diorama about it. Process the hell out of those feelings, just, really explore that stuff or something.
But so anyway the real takeaway here is that this is the sort of thing that would more slow Riker down than scare him off, in the long run. He balks now but as soon as the holodeck comes back he’s gonna start privately trying his hand at oo-mox.
A few folks have noted that there is no alt text when you hover over today’s comic — or, as you’ll discover with mounting horror while paging back through the archives, over any of them!
They were stolen by Ferengi.
Wait, no, they disappeared for some reason right after I updated WordPress to 3.5. I’m not sure why; it could be a change in WP itself (the new Media Library stuff is a big thing with this update), or it could be some interactional issue between the new WP code and the webcomic plugin that drives the webcomicry of the site. Or gremlins.
I’ll try to get it back, because who doesn’t enjoy a nice mouseover joke? You’re missing out today on reference to a coffee commercial. That’s not okay. Something must be done.
Oh Six Hundred already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin’ Ashley Judd
By a bloody red Cardassian stream
JUST ANOTHER WESLEY WEDNESDAY
It turns out that I can’t think of anything good to rhyme with Wednesday, at least not at seven in the morning, so let’s just put down The Bangles right there for your sake and mine.
Would it be unreasonable to suggest that a central part of Picard’s character is a disinclination to share? I’m not busting on him here, I mean that more in a straight-faced characterological way, as part of what makes him an interesting and complicated guy. He’s a thoroughly decent man, with strongly-held principles and an apparent desire to do good and see that others do good in the universe, but he’s also clearly ambitious and occasionally impulsive and it seems like messing with his stuff is about the best way for someone to get on his bad side.
The “someone” in the show when it comes up tends to be an alien race treating the Enterprise or by extension Starfleet as an entity or a concept with disrespect — e.g. shooting at his shit, ignoring his ethical boundaries, turning him into a Borg, being Q at all — but it’s there in his discomfort in crew interactions too if you look. Arguably the series ends on an admission of this, with Picard’s acknowledgement when finally joining the crew at the poker table* at the end (“I should have done this a long time ago…”) that he has been too reticent about sharing simple ritual fun-times with his own senior staff, the folks who are mostly clearly his friends at this stage in his life.
So Wes bogarting his fictional kid seems like it would set him off pretty well in its own right, is my feeling.
* And don’t think that poker table scene at the end of All Good Things… hasn’t kept me up at night given its implication that Picard wouldn’t go in for This Sort Of Thing. Though that is in itself a bit of an odd scene, because there were plenty of episodes where Picard holodecked it up with other crewmembers. Maybe he meant specifically confining himself around a gaming table in a small room, disintermediated from the protective conceit of a holoscenario? Which required a massive meta-existential life event to get him over? Which sounds like about what the holodecks going down would represent to the crew. Et voila, the circle has been squared and this all makes perfect sense after all.
I realize that Worf being who he is in Next Generation — a Klingon warrior by blood but naturalized significantly into human cultural and military structure via his adoptive parents and his Starfleet career — is part of what makes him an interesting character, but do you ever get the feeling that maybe he got dicked over a little bit by being stuck serving on the Enterprise?
Because he seems so hemmed in. I like a good “struggle with the conflicts generated by setting your cultural and emotional instincts against a differing but valued-by-you context” episode as much as anybody and Worf working to reconcile his Klingonness and his Starfleetery isn’t bad fodder for that sort of thing, but man the guy seems like he could really tear some shit up if he was a little more free to move or, maybe more to the point, on a different crew whose own aggregate character arcs and puny human builds didn’t require him to be constantly put in check just to make sure it doesn’t turn into The Worf Is Awesome, Let Worf Handle It science fiction badass hour.
I mean, seriously: he is constantly denied. It’s like the DM of whatever game TNG itself is being played in either hates the guy playing him or nerfed the character to keep the party equitable.
I like Worf a lot. He makes a good comedy foil, he’s entertainingly uncomfortable with emotional development, and behind the gruff exterior he’s got more emotional fragility and depth of feeling on the table than even Wesley most of the time. But man does he feel like he got stuck on the wrong show somehow and never found the exit home. Like some tragic Quantum Leap shit but without the leaping and Count Bakula is on the wrong ship in the wrong century and ZIGGY IS NEVER GOING TO ANSWER, WORF. ZIGGY ABANDONED YOU.
I think I lost my train of thought there. Anyway, it was also Michael Dorn’s birthday yesterday. Cupgaghs for everybody!
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For serious, salve Dorn is an awesome dude. Give this Nerdist podcast episode a listen for an hour or so of proof. Jet planes! Vegetables! Etc.
People have been having a good time making character-mapping arguments in this thread from yesterday, so I almost hate to collapse the waveform a bit more already, but here we are.
Riker-as-Bashir doesn’t really speak much to Will’s imagination, but it seems like a pretty inhabitable character for him. I prefer to think that Riker would go into this expecting to basically play himself but more so and without any consequences; he’s a bit hemmed in trying to be the responsible First Officer, so why not dispense with some of that burden of duty and just be a brash, handsome, no-strings-attached medical genius on a space station away from prying eyes?
Should we talk about Riker-as-Kirk? Because I guess that’s sort of the inverse function here, in a sense. Riker is Kirk knocked down a rung on the command ladder and providing a buffer to Picard, to be reckless so the ship’s captain doesn’t have to — early episodes of TNG in particular have Riker making pains to object to Picard putting himself in harm’s way, which seemed like a pretty clear commentary on the original series’ habit of having half the senior staff plus a couple redshirts beaming down to every crazy planet they could find.
But if Riker is the Kirk id and Picard is the Kirk superego, what does that make Riker-as-Bashir? id-of-the-id? That’s a drug only a Riker-addict like Riker himself could have positive feelings about ingesting.
Seems to be a thing at the moment:
And this is of course a curious inversion of the normal “Riker is the father, isn’t around for the birth” pattern.
via God, apparently.
As of strip number 11, I’ve started revealing character choices on the part of the crew of the Enterprise D, and so folks are talking about who should be who — this came up in particular in the comments from yesterday’s strip — so I figure let’s give it a proper post of its own:
Who from The Next Generation do you think ends up playing who from Deep Space Nine?
And, arguably more importantly, why? This is all about rationale. Paint a picture, make an argument, justify an unlikely juxtaposition of character types to the limit, etc.
It’s a contest where the prize is having made an awesome argument. So, incentive.
As of this writing I’ve already established that I’ve got Picard playing Sisko and Bev Crusher playing Dax, but if you’ve got an alternative universe scheme where I’m wrong about that, don’t let my obvious correctness stop you from presenting a compelling thesis along those lines. You will not be out of the running for being an awesome person, I promise. Later arrivals will have even more well-established facts to contradict, since I’m just gonna keep rolling out character reveals in any case.
So have at it, Internet. The fun of matching up TNG and DS9 people is what got this whole thing started in my brain in the first place, so as fun ways to kill time go I figure you shouldn’t miss out.
I know there’s a lot of jokes and or uncomfortable straight-faced discussions to be had about (a) the dilemma of being an adolescent boy with essentially no peer group on a sterile, surveillance-state environment like a warp-powered submarine and (b) the dysfunctional dynamics of spending most your time around your hot mom and your adoptive-but-actually-pretty-seriously-not father figure who sorta got your real dad killed, but:
Let’s talk about Counselor Troi. Specifically, about her duties as psychological counselor on the Enterprise. There’s about a thousand people on this ship, yeah? And she’s the ship counselor. There’s no clear indications in the show that she has staff; she’s The Ship’s Counselor, and that’s that.
How does she spend all that time chillin’ like a villain on the bridge? We see her actually counseling someone in a regularly-scheduled sit-down session like…five times? Maybe? In the entire run of the series. We see Picard specifically ordering some tea to drink more often than we see Troi doing what is ostensibly her vocation. She does plenty of little ad hoc “let’s just have a chat where I say observant things and we make expressions” moments mid-narrative but that’s not a J.O.B., that’s being there for your Bs.F.F.
A thousand crew members, let’s guess that maybe 30% of them need a monthly hour-long session (or a couple of half-hours, or a quick weekly check-in) for recurring mental health / evaluation / misc. counseling reasons. Most of it’s not dramatic, but it’s basic due diligence, crew-maintenance stuff that’s important in its own right, yeah? That’s 300 hours a month, or 10 hours a day and no weekends off. Plus drop-in hours. Plus emergencies. And that’s ignoring paperwork (PADDwork?), briefings with the senior officers, coordination with Bev’s medical staff, etc. Every single time she gets paged off screen, it should be interrupting a session or some bit of office hours.