I feel like those last three Riker panels work pretty well visually, but what I’d actually wanted was three shots of him from some scene where he was literally trying, and ultimately catastrophically failing, to contain braying laughter.
Trouble is I have no idea when Riker might have done that. It seems like something he would have done at some point, and with a little luck might have done in medium closeup so the screenshots would look pretty good, but when? Out of like 200 episodes? Turns out if you try to google this you just end up finding scads and scads of slashfic; Riker apparently bursts out laughing a lot while in the process of getting friendlier with Mary Sue or Gary Sue or Geordi Sue.
I went skimming through video a little, tried episodes on Netflix that mentioned him in the synopsis in case that meant a little more Riker face time. And he smiles plenty, but I’ve got smiles already. I didn’t manage to find a single instance of the sort of laughter I was hoping for but he did mack on or swap spit with at least three different women in the mean time.
Irrepressible, that guy.
Anyway, I’ve always found this actual scene from the pilot funny, but I think it’s supposed to be: Sisko is meeting this reclusive high holy leader, everything is super tense with the provisional Bajoran government, serious stuff presumably needs discussing, and…she fondles his ear without explanation and makes him super duper uncomfortable. It’s a fun moment, and it plays well on the show which is a credit to both actors and the director because I think it’d have been pretty easy for it to have come across more the way Riker here is reading it.
Also, I’m going with “Pah” here, not “Pagh”, because (a) this is apparently a really schismatic issue and I love a good schism and (b) the former is more phonetically transparent to casual readers (for whom: it could roughly translate as “soul”).
The scripts consistently used the spelling “Pah-wraith”. However, Wolfe maintains that “Pah is a misspelling, from my point of view.” Ronald D. Moore has also commented that he believes that pagh is the correct spelling. “The Assignment” co-writer David Weddle counters, “Not if it comes from Ancient Bajoran. The g’s were added centuries later, when the seventh hemisphere became more influential.”