ext_2512: ([scrubs] no one understands relationship)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
I started watching this episode in March and was so horribly embarrassed that I peaced out for five months. Thank god for Netflix saving my spot.

Episode Notes: The last one from March is 'TAKING A BREAK BEFORE I LITERALLY HAVE TO DIE' )

Overall Reaction: I really, really, really have a massive embarrassment squick, and this episode TROMPS ALL OVER IT.

But, also -- although I know it is part of a pattern of self-destructive romantic choices -- I could not make sense of Jenna's behavior or expectations in this episode at all. Yes, Data presents as humanoid, and humans love to project emotions onto things, but what does Jenna think she is going to get out of a relationship from a person who is self-confessedly incapable of emotion? "This is all part of a program?" she asks incredulously at one point, and I just want to shake her and say, "HOW DO YOU THINK DATA EXPERIENCES THE WORLD."

If anything, I felt a cringey sort of empathy with Data in this episode. As someone on the ace spectrum, the experience of performing a relationship without understanding the feelings or urges driving the other person is too real for me. Of course, Data, NOT HAVING EMOTIONS, would probably not immediately grasp the reason for my empathy.

In theory [oh, damn, that's the name of the episode, but I've committed to saying it], I can appreciate the premise of the episode -- Data likes to explore what it means to be human! Of course he would want to experience romantic love too! -- but the actual experience of watching the episode was a world of nope.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"But I'm not capable of love."
"Then it's going to be a very unique experience." (Data and Guinan)
ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. )

Overall Reaction: Oh, boy.

Okay, so, I wrote a thirty page paper on queer representation (or lack thereof) in Star Trek when I was in college, and I watched a lot of episodes from the spin-offs for it. One of these was "The Host." I...did not have a lot of great things to say about it. (I didn't have a lot of great things to say about "The Outcast" as an example of queer representation on TV either, but I suspect than when I eventually rewatch it, I will have a lot of great things to say about Riker's constant willingness to step out of his comfort zone. I really do love that about him even if sometimes it leads to him allowing his doctor pal to insert her space lobster boyfriend into his abdomen.)

This episode is probably the prime example of media "pushing its boundaries" in a way that frankly just puts a giant neon sign on those boundaries that says "BOUNDARIES HERE APPROACH WITH CAUTION." It defines limits that the viewer may never have thought were there by being so limited in its imagination.

An illustrative anecdote: when I finally had to watch High School Musical, also for a college course, I was struck by the song "Stick to the Status Quo." In it, the school queen bee watches in panic as her carefully constructed social order seems to be crumbling. Students, inspired by the basketball player and the brainiac who are daring to sing on stage, begin to share their freakiest confessions. And I thought, as I watched this scene, "Wait. You mean I am supposed to be ashamed of being the kind of crazy reprobate who both likes to do homework and to groove to my tunes? That is something I am supposed to feel bad about and that people will reject me for? This is the outer bounds of socially unacceptable behavior?" It made difference so tame and then patted itself on the back for its willingness to celebrate "doing your own thing," all the while sending the subtextual message that even these tiny transgressions against the status quo would be noticed and policed and shutting off the possibility of bigger, unimaginable transgressions.

In my Starfleet, the Starfleet of my dreams, the one I was taught to expect, it would never have occurred to me that gender and sexuality would still be so rigid in the 24th century. "Perhaps, someday, our ability to love won't be so limited," Beverly says -- referring, in theory, to her inability to cope with Odan's changeable physical form -- and I had sort of thought that that someday might have come already in Star Trek. However the episode tries to frame Beverly's conflict, however reasonable that internal conflict might be, what we see is her able, bizarrely, to accept her love when he is temporarily in the body of one of her closest friends, but unable to fathom the idea of being with a woman, because her ability to love is too limited. I see her saying that Star Trek isn't ready for me.

I have no doubt that this episode was well-meaning. But I want more than well-meaning, or I want nothing at all. I can work with nothing; not enough is just depressing.

Finally, I'm never ever ever going to win this fight with sci fi shows but...it's not okay to sleep with your friend's body when he isn't home? Also now I'm never going to be able to get rid of the mental image of Riker and Crusher macking on each other, so. Thanks for that.

Star Rating: **, for some good scenes and Picard hugs; ZERO, for at all satisfying queer content

Quote of a Different Episode:

SPOCK: Her attitude when she approaches you is profoundly different than when she contacts us. Her appearance is soft, gentle. Her voice is melodic, pleasing. I do not totally understand the emotion, but it obviously exists. The Companion loves you.
COCHRANE: Do you know what you're saying? For all these years, I've let something as alien as that crawl around inside me, into my mind, my feelings.
KIRK: What are you complaining about? It kept you alive.
COCHRANE: That thing fed on me. It used me. It's disgusting.
MCCOY: There's nothing disgusting about it. It's just another life form, that's all. You get used to those things.
COCHRANE: You're as bad as it is.
SPOCK: Your highly emotional reaction is most illogical. Your relationship with the Companion has for one hundred and fifty years been emotionally satisfying, eminently practical, and totally harmless. It may indeed have been quite beneficial.
COCHRANE: Is this what the future holds? Men who have no notion of decency or morality? Maybe I'm a hundred and fifty years out of style, but I'm not going to be fodder for any inhuman monster.
SPOCK: Fascinating. A totally parochial attitude.

This scene from the Original Series episode "Metamorphosis" completely reinforces the gender binary, but, still. This is the Starfleet that I want to imagine. What a totally parochial attitude, Beverly.
ext_2512: ([tng] where there's a whip)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
No notes, because everything I has to say deserves to be said outside of the cut.

Overall Reaction: Watching this episode was like being stabbed over and over again in the heart.

1) The action plot of meeting an incredible new creature...and killing it, was actually very well-done. Picard's happy little face on encountering a new lifeform is what Trek is all about. But, still -- they killed a pregnant mother. And then the baby imprinted on the ship because it had no living parental figures. WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVEN WRITE THAT STORY.

2) The romance plot gave me lots of feelings, too. Feelings of "WHY," and "WHY GOD WHY," and "STOP PLEASE STOP," and "I am so grossed out, so grossed out."

Show, I want to like Geordi LaForge. I really do. And, when he is not interacting with women, I usually do. But his discomfort with women is not charming or relatable; it is adolescent, and frankly a bit disturbing. He is a Nice Guy (TM) -- he feels he is entitled to a woman, but can't accept the fact that the woman he wants might be a real person with her own needs or desires that don't perfectly mesh with his own. He spends most of this episode alternately punishing Dr. Leah Brahms for not being his fantasy girl or coming on much too strong because of some false sense of intimacy from the Holodeck. She, on the other hand, is initially brusque -- even rude -- but she quickly acknowledges that she that she made hasty judgements and resolves to take Geordi on his own merits; she behaves, after their first meeting, with polite professionalism. Geordi plays soft jazz at her.

This episode wants me to see this as "they both made prejudgements! They both learned about each other and came to work as a team! They finish each other's sentences, it's charming!" I just can't go there. I appreciate that Leah is married, and so Geordi isn't rewarded with romance -- he does have to acknowledge the difference between fantasy and reality. But it's not some cute foible that can be aw shucksed off. His behavior was creepy and inappropriate and if I were Brahms', I'd have written him up for more than fucking with my engine design. She was right to feel violated when she found out about the Holodeck program, and she shouldn't have had to get over it.

Star Rating: **, but purely because I think Leah is great and the space whale plot, while SOUL CRUSHING, was pretty good

Quote of the Episode:
"All right, look. Ever since you came on board, you've been badgering me. And I've taken it. I've shown you courtesy, and respect, and a hell of a lot of patience. Oh, no, no, no, wait a minute! I've tried to understand you, I've tried to get along with you. And in return, you accused, tried and convicted me without even bothering to hear my side of it. So, I'm guilty, okay? But not of what you think! Of something much worse. I'm guilty of... reaching out to you. Of hoping we could connect. I'm guilty of a terrible crime, Doctor. I offered you friendship." (Geordi, UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH)
ext_2512: ([tng] from the t.y.s.d.)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: This got long, but it's not my fault Deanna's boyfriend is hilariously creepy. )

Overall Reaction: Okay, I am sorry, but I hate Deanna's boyfriend so much. SO. MUCH. Here is a list of things he does that I hate:

1) Doesn't blink.
2) Messes up Deanna's hair and grabs her neck possessively when he has only known her for ten minutes. Says "Much better" when she meets his exacting standards.
3) "Conformity is not my style." Go fuck yourself.
4) "Must've been a nice day." You're a cocky motherfucker.
5) "Your other men." Ugh.
6) Unapologetically uses his empathic abilities to possibly unethical ends and then shames Deanna for using hers to ensure the security of the crew. And excuses himself by saying, "Well, I gained an advantage by using it with you," which does nothing to allay my feeling that he mind whammied her somehow.
7) Is a total dick in negotiation and can't keep the personal and the professional separate. Sometimes I complain that Riker can be a bit controlling of Deanna, but here he was nothing but considerate of her feelings while her new boyfriend tried desperately to use their relationship to his advantage and to start a cockfight with Riker.
8) Asked Deanna to run away with him to be his conscience. Yeah, that's a tempting offer for any woman. Especially a professional counselor! GET A THERAPIST, YOU DOUCHE.

I'm also confused as to why there seemed to be foot fetish porn in the middle of the episode, but I can't blame him for that.

So, that's the thing. Who cared what else was happening in this episode? All I could concentrate on was how much he made my skin crawl.

And I felt bad for the Ferengi who got stranded 80 lightyears from their home in a tiny shuttlecraft, for the record.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"I'm Captain Picard of the Enterprise; I am serving as host for these proceedings."
"Good. Then see to it we get some chairs."
"Let me explain..."
"Fine, fine, just have your Klingon servant get us some chairs!"
"I'm in charge of security!"
"Then who gets the chairs?" (Picard, Ferengi delegate Daimon Goss, and Worf, engaged in the fine art of negotiation)
ext_2512: ([music] i must have been thirsty)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Hit me. )

Overall Reaction: Well, they could have had a lot more fun with the idea of a man stuck in a wretched dime novel for all of his days. There isn't very much to commend this episode.


And then my brain shorted out.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"Take this creature for example, he doesn't exhibit any DNA structure!"
"Excuse me, son. Look who's talkin'! You sound like my ex-wife." (Data and one of the endless stream of Southern stereotypes who love him)
ext_2512: ([maddow] serious newsperson)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Dammit, my computer shut itself down for updates and I hadn't saved my notes on this episode.

Oh well, now we'll never know what it was about.

Okay, okay:

Overall Reaction: Hahahahahahahaha, person who plays Julian, you have a completely inappropriate amount of fun with this episode. "I am... as you would say... FIT... AS A... FIDDLE?" All that eye-rolling! Priceless!

I actually didn't call the ending to this, but that was more because I was a moron than anything. I definitely suspected the woman of being Vantika -- at least until the crew did -- but when she was acquitted, I was all, "Is it the annoyingly smug Starfleet security officer? Oh please, oh please."

Of course, he'd never interacted with Vantika in any way, least of all while he was still living. >.<

This post has become one big catalogue of my fail and I'm ending it now.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode: I'm going to go with the fit as a fiddle one.
ext_2512: ([bop] amused)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: VIRGIN ALARM! )

Overall Reaction: Um, well, I mean, it was a whole episode about Wesley Crusher. That's a little excessive.

I'm pretty sure we were supposed to feel for him, in the pangs of his new love, as he infected his girlfriend with the only contagion her warden couldn't protect her against: free thought. But it felt to me that he was (a) stepping into a sociopolitical situation he knew nothing about, (b) far, far too quickly in love (oh, 15-year-olds), and (c) surprisingly hung up about non-humanoid love for a 24th century man. Didn't Kirk teach us a valuable lesson about this in "Metamorphosis"?

Still, the girl was sweet, and there was nothing overtly objectionable about the episode. Unless you consider the fact that it was about Wesley objectionable enough, which, point.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"No. Men do not roar. Women roar. And they hurl heavy objects... and claw at you."
"What does the man do?"
"He reads love poetry..." (Worf and Wesley, on Klingon mating rituals)
ext_2512: ([wedding wars] in it to win it)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: She's just a simple country doctor. )

Overall Reaction: Of all my "TOS did it better" episodes, this is the most "TOS did it better" of the bunch. (Other, of course, than "The Naked Now".) People must have aged at an unnecessarily accelerated rate dozens of times in TOS, including the good old country doctor they seem so intent on modeling Pulaski after. Honestly, how many aging diseases can there be? We've already got the adrenaline-cured one (how had I forgotten that Chekov's fear preserved him? really, Chekov?) and whatever's affecting Jack.

That aside, who didn't call that the creepy, telepathic, unnaturally sexually mature children were the source of the problem?

The thesis of this episode appeared to be "genetic engineering: a terrifying and terrible thing."

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"God knows I'm not one to discourage input, but I would appreciate it if you'd let me finish my sentences once in a while." (Picard, stone cold fox)
ext_2512: ([misc] hi jared hi!)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Click if you're an animal enslaver. )

Overall Reaction: Um, this is the one where Picard is possessed by the energy being, right?

...Definitely one I enjoyed more for the little moments than the overall plot.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"...Humans no longer enslave animals for food purposes. You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialized out of patterns used by our transporters." (Riker, supporting my vegetarianism)
ext_2512: ([misc] the bulldyke will do her work)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Overall Reaction: Once I recover the files from my old laptop, I might discover that I had dozens of humorous asides to share about this episode, but none of the notes I have on hand dealt with minutiae, only with general themes that could be incorporated into this comment. To whit:

+ Wow, good call on not letting the Ferengi be the major villains of the series, PTB. They are seriously silly.
+ Aaaaand I think I get where the criticisms of possible antisemitism in their portrayal come from.
+ I liked Picard's bluff. Hot.

ETA: I did have a few random notes! The salient points were: (a) oh boy, the Ferengi are sexist, too!, (b) Picard's little S1 outbursts of French patriotism are super cute, and (c) one of the things I like best about Picard is what a good delegator he is, always willing to take input from his crew (and just as willing to shut them down if they're being dumbasses).

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"Apologies, Captain. I seem to have reached an odd... functional impass. I am, uh, stuck." (Data, his battle with a Chinese finger trap providing the highlight of the episode -- AS PER USH)
ext_2512: ([tos] kathleen)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: NOT. ENOUGH. KATHLEEN. )

Overall Reaction: I think in this case my rambling notes sum it up: the program, struggling to find its feet, copies TOS's work. The added "personal" touches just don't strike the right note. Say what you will about over-acting in TOS (or don't -- I'd prefer if you didn't), but with all the sobbing and crazed slapping and unsubtle messages painted on the Enterprise walls (LOVE HUMANITY), the episode really does a fine job of getting to the core of many of the characters' quirks, neuroses, and motivations. Even the side characters, who are never really given personal lives due to the episodic nature of TOS, get some screen time; a lot of my love for Sulu stems back to his swashbuckling scene in "The Naked Time." It's a great first season episode, and a damn entertaining one (there is slapping around! and Kathleen!). This episode sacrifices the strengths of the episode it's ripping off (ham-handed but entertaining character development, swashbuckling) and overplays the romantic possibilities of TNG's more serial nature. It's the second episode of the show. There are things I am more interested in than Deanna's tortured relationship with Riker, even if it's fun to see the Captain get a bit frisky. Basically: this episode took one of the most fun conceits of the original series (get them all drunk!) and dropped the ball on it.

Star Rating: **

Quote of the Episode:
"So you mean I'm drunk -- I feel odd but also good!" (Wesley, summing it up)


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August 2014



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