Saturday, November 17, 2007

Actual Conversations...or... when geeks drink.

Ray and I were sitting at the bar before pub quiz the other night talking about Star Trek. For those of you that don't have terminally geeky Star Trek fans for friends, one of the topics that often comes up is "Least favorite episode" we go now to the conversation....

Me: obviously 'Spock's Brain'. An episode that's so bad, even heckling it seems too easy, somehow.

Ray: Nah. 'Requiem for Methuselah' has to be the worst one ever made.

Me: What? The one with the immortal guy? I like that episode!

Ray: Still the worst ever.

Me: Why?

Ray: Well, he's immortal, right?

Me: Yeah...

Ray: And he's been all these great men... Solomon, Alexander, Lazarus, Methuselah, Merlin, Brahms, Leonardo Da Vinci even...

Me: So?

Ray: Well, that's just silly. If Brahms was immortal, someone would have found him out. When you reach a certain level of fame, people start to document your background. We know where he grew up, we know where he learned to read music, and we know who his parents were.

Me: But if you were immortal, such things would be easy to fake.

Ray: I don't think so.

Me: Take Walter Cronkite... What do we really know about him that isn't what he's told us? He gained notoriety in his twenties, and everything before that is just his say so.

Ray: No... you see that's my point... people have looked into his background. They know where he went to high school... they've interviewed his relatives...

Me: No... they found a picture that could have been planted in a yearbook, and interviewed some old folks who claim to have raised him... both easily faked.

Ray: I'm sorry... there's no way Walter Cronkite could be an immortal, dude.

Me: Well, what about Dan Rather?

Ray: Oh, him... absolutely.

1 comment:

Ray said...

Rob,

I would submit one correction to this entry for the record. I do not believe that "Requiem for Methusalah" is the worst Star Trek episode of the time. I admit that this episode is not the best, if only because it features the aforementioned controversial premise. However, I would pick the following five episodes as the worst of the original series in descending order:

5. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." The Riddler from Batman can't rescue a heavy-handed effort and preachy discourse on race-relations which ends up trivializing the subject.

4. "The Mark of Gideon." James T. Kirk, Birth Control Counselor, advises an advanced but improbably (impossibly, even) overpopulated world that their plan to solve the problem by 1) kidnapping a notoriously amorous starship captain, 2) building an exact replica of his ship and 3) leaving him alone on it with a beautiful blonde with the hots for him in effort to expose her deadly infectious micro-organisms is not the best way to deal with a high birthrate.

3. "The Turnabout Intruder." An oddly sexist story in which one of Kirk's many former loves uses an alien artifact to gain the ultimate revenge on him by taking over his body and leaving him stranded in his own. Why? Because in the 23rd Century a woman can't become a starship captain for unstated reasons apparently unique to this episode. This episode might be on the bottom, but Shatner turns what may be his best acting job ever and the gender bending bit (including scenes which edge up to the homoerotic) is actually kind of edgy for the time.

2. "Spock's Brain." Female aliens steal Mr. Spock's brain to run their civilization. It sounds stupid when you say it like that, and that's what it is. This a bad script of a bad story performed by actors who turn in performances appropriate to the material. However, in my opinion, it is still second best to ...

1. "And The Children Shall Lead." "They're crying Jim. I don't know how it happened but it's good to see," McCoy says after they show the sinister children film of their parents who they have manipulated into commiting suicide. He could have gotten the same reaction by showing them the final cut of this episode about children who follow an alien being, which they think is an "angel," that uses them to control the minds of adults. We don't know why it wants to make adults kill themselves using children except that it is "evil." The little scamps begin try this on the Enterprise until Kirk, Spock and McCoy, break free by sheer willpower and show them the pictures of the parents playing with them.

If I could go back into time and alter the past so that one original Star Trek episode was never made, this would be it. At least Spock in Spock's brain walking around under remote control is sort of funny in a sick Plan Nine From Outer Space kind of way. These kids make you wonder if their parents didn't kill themselves simply to get away from them.