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Topic #20
To boldly go…

You know that they’re everywhere. You probably even work with a few of them. Heck, you might even be one of them yourselves.

They’re a secret society of individuals… men and women of all ages and colors. They speak in cryptic languages, use strange and mystical devices, and greet each other with secret handshakes.

They meet in secret, and don’t talk much to outsiders. They’re one of the strangest cults around. Yes, that’s right… I’m talking about Trekkies.

Now before any of you get your phasers out and start sending me hate mail, let me tell you this: I’m one of you too… sort of.

You see, in any major social group (like a religion, cult, or in this case: science fiction fan groups&#41, there are different tiers and factions that one can belong to, depending on your beliefs and dedication to the cause. Let’s take a look at two very different, yet very similar groups: Jews and Trekkies.

Orthodox Jews believe that the bible was written by god. Specifically, God grabbed Moses’ hand and wrote the damn thing, word for word. They believe that the Tanach (the original five books&#41 are to be followed to the letter. Only a few devout rabbis can lend interpretation to the scripture. Orthodox jews always wear appropriate garb which identifies them as being orthodox, specifically a yarmulkes and beards. They speak Hebrew whenever possible, and become frustrated with Jews who are not fluent in the language. Orthodox Jews tend to be no fun at parties because they’re constantly reminding non-Orthodox Jews that they aren’t real Jews.

Conservative Jews believe that the bible was ghost-written by god through Moses. God came down and whispered into Moses’ ear and he wrote it like he heard it. Conservative Jews believe that the bible is subject to interpretation but not to radical interpretation. Conservative Jews don’t wear yarmulkes unless they are with other conservative Jews at temple. Conservative Jews understand enough Hebrew to get by, but won’t ever speak it unless they’re with Orthodox Jews.

Reform Jews believe that there was divine inspiration that helped Moses write the beginning of the Bible… and that the writing are good and valid, but are open to personal interpretation. You must know the Jewish laws, but only are required to follow the laws that you feel apply to you. Reform Jews don’t tend to wear yarmulkes unless they are at temple. Oh, and we don’t speak much Hebrew, if any at all.

Now, let’s look at Trekkies.
Orthodox Trekkies believe that if it wasn’t written and blessed by Gene Roddenberry, it ain’t real Trek. Only a few writers (like D.C. Fontana&#41 are allowed to interpret his scripts. Devout Trekkies love the Original Series, and accept The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine as valid extensions of the series, as they were created by Roddenberry himself. True Orthodox Trekkies always have trek bumper stickers, mouse pads, screen savers, beedle-de-deep communicator pins and a a full Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain’s uniform. Orthodox Trekkies tend to be no fun at trek-conventions because they’re always looking down on the non-orthodox as only being "sort-of Trekkie."

Conservative Trekkies might have a trek screen saver, mousepad or key-chain, but never all three. They might know some Klingon, but rarely speak it in non-Trekkie circles. They might actually like Deep Space Nine and maybe even like Voyager, but they will never forgive the writers of Star Trek: Generations for killing off Kirk in such a wussy way.

Reform Trekkies can only say a few words in Klingon, and it suits them fine. You’ll never catch a Reform Trekkie at a costume party dressed in a Star Fleet uniform, and will probably laugh at you if you come dressed as the captain of the USS Whateverthehell. Reform Trekkies watch all of the Star Trek series every week… even Star Trek: Voyager, if only to look at Jeri Ryan and make fun of that little trayf warthog: Neelix.

As you might remember from previous Topics of the Week, I am a Reform Jew. I believe that the bible is certainly open to interpretation, and I only know a few key phrases in Hebrew. In addition, I am also a Reform Trekkie. I believe that Roddenberry was a genius and visionary, but that there are others who can continue his work… and the only Star Trek stuff I have is a Worf and a Garak action figure.

However, I am truly a Trekkie at heart. Every week, I sit down at the TV and wait with joyous anticipation for the next episode of Deep Space Nine to come on. Unfortunately for me, that means that I have to sit through an hour of that damned Voyager. Icch.

I guess, in all reality, Voyager isn’t so bad this season, it’s just that the first three years that I had to sit through the recycled plots, boring character development and wussy supporting aliens. I mean come on… can you really see a cute (yet extremely annoying&#41 girl like Kes going out with that overgrown technicolor warthog Neelix? Give me a break.

The happiest day on Voyager is when they kicked her little ass over into the 12th dimension (or wherever she ended up landing after "growing beyond this corporeal form"&#41.

The second happiest day on Voyager was when Seven of Nine came on the series. Well, actually, the second happiest day was the end of the second episode with Seven when they ripped off all of that Borg armor and showed us a truly bodaceous woman with extremely perky "implants." There are, a number of things that just don’t make sense to me in the show when it comes to this whole Seven of Nine thing. The biggest this is: why not give Seven a standard Starfleet Uniform? I mean, come on… 125 people trapped on a small ship, seventy five years from home having to watch Seven walking around in a silver catsuit that’s so tight that it could show a mosquito bite on her ass, let alone a pair of nipples saying "hey there ensign, wanna some over here and have a drink?" If you were the captain of the ship, wouldn’t you have her trade in the high-heeled vinyl outfit for something more modest so the male members of the crew don’t spontaneously combust?

Of course, neither of those Star Trek events can beat the episode of Deep Space Nine when Leeta drops her towel in front of Robert Picardo when he offers her a great job managing a bar in his neck of the woods. But for some reason, Leeta passes up the semi-hunky Dr. Zimmerman (Picardo&#41 for an ugly little troll of a man, Rom, the geeky Ferengi engineer.

You see, the message of Judiasm and Star Trek is the same: If you work hard and follow the rules, you’ll be rewarded. In Judiasm, the reward for being made fun of by gentiles is eternal bliss. For trekkies, the reward of being made fun of because you’re a geek is getting the girl… and the bigger the bizarre-looking geek you are, the better looking the girl.

Based on this theory, Seven of Nine will marry either Edward James Olmos or Tommy Lee Jones.

Before I met Avery, I had watched absolutely no Star Trek whatsoever, aside from the few minute chunks here and there of the occasional Star Trek movie being shown as the Movie of the Week on network TV. That all quickly changed when I realized that he loved Star Trek and all it's spin-offs. At first I resisted. Star Trek is for geeks, and it's boring, too, said I. Even though it was still on as the background noise to whatever I was doing in the same room at the time, I steadfastly refused to look at the screen. This would have been a good plan if the show aired once a week, but alas, the Star Trek franchise never sleeps. At this point, with all the spin-off shows on top of the neverending syndication of The Next Generation, Trekkies can rest assured that at any particular hour of any particular day, some version of Star Trek is being shown somewhere in the world.

The more that I sat in the same room with the show on, the more I realized that I was actually *gasp* remembering parts of episodes, and even airing my own commentary, randomly and unexpectedly blurting out things like "That Jean Luc. He's such an over-annuciating, Earl Grey-loving stick-in-the-mud who really needs to have some sex, eh?"

The very season that I started to actually watch, and even like, Star Trek: The Next Generation was the season that it went off the air. And now that I've gotten into Deep Space Nine, it too is going off the air. Pretty soon, all we'll be left with is reruns and Voyager – Ugh. Though we love Star Trek, you can't help but poke fun at all it's outer-space maladies. I'll skip the original series, because all I know is that it's never on, not even in reruns. That and the guy in the red shirt always gets killed. The only reason that I would watch it now would probably be for the camp value of the over-acting William Shatner and his cardboard ship.

Jean-Luc Picard: wins hands down for the best Captain contest. Yes, he, too overannunciates, but he's a trained Shakespearean actor, and therefore has tons more style than T.J. Shatner. Who could forget the episode where he wistfully played that annoying little tune on his tin whistle over and over and over again? Or the "There! are! four! lights!" one, where there actually were five lights, and he wasn't gonna let the bad guys make him believe any different, no sir! Sigh. Picard. The last time I saw him was in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

Deanna Troi: She feels…something…happiness. No, wait, it's a…pain sensation…a burning…anger. No, wait, that's just the spicy sausage she ate for lunch. My favorite Troi episode is the one where, in some terribly surreal twist of fate, she becomes a lifelike birthday cake and they serve her.

Geordi LaForge: How very hi-tech! He's wearing a space hairband! But it seems to have slipped…what's that? A special visor? Because he has no pupils, you say? I'm sorry? No, I completely understand that we need some impressive space gadgets on a space show! Why can't I stop humming the theme song to "Reading Rainbow?"

Kathryn Janeway: Yet another Captain with a notable speech pattern, only instead of over-annunciating, she talks as if her jaw is permanently wired halfway shut. She's the most ineffective of all the Captains, possibly portrayed all wishy-washy on purpose to make sure that the American public doesn't ever elect a woman President or anything. You can just sense the sexual tension between her and Chakotay: "Chakotay…come…over here. You've got…something on your face. Oh. Never mind." Avery does a killer imitation of her "We are 75 years away from home and Federation rules just do not apply" speech. Y'know those nights when you go to bed but just can't fall asleep, so you end up acting all weird and silly? We have wiled away many a sleepless hour doing Janeway impressions: Janeway seducing the crew, Janeway craving Moo Goo Gai Pan, etc. It seems like she's been spending most of the time on recent episodes in her quarters, most likely disgruntled because she has to play second fiddle to Seven of Nine's breasts.

The rest of the cast of Voyager: Who? Oh yeah. Harry Kim, a man who couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it, which is not so good if you're in charge of a space vehicle. Neelix the warthog-man. Tuvok, the black Spock. That other guy whose name I never remember. I can't believe that this show is the one they're renewing.

Kira Nerys: She's had a lot of hairstyles and Miles O'Brien's baby. I mean, Keiko's baby. Oh, I don't know what I mean. All I know is that Keiko was hopping mad at her for getting close to Miles. That's gratitude for ya! This season, Kira and Odo the Shapeshifter are now together. I bet they have loads of fun in the bedroom! ("Now that's a shape!"&#41

Benjamin Sisko: Also known as The Sisko. I'm sure Avery Brooks wishes he were doing something other than waxing philosophical about alternate planes and projecting every line as if it were his last.

Miles and Keiko O'Brien: Whenever we get together with Avery's father, we can always count on there being some kind of Make Fun of Keiko power session (on the program right after the Janeway impersonations.&#41 The sole purpose of the tree-and-plant-loving Keiko is to whine so much at Miles that he goes straight to Quark's bar and drinks a bottle of scotch. Watch the fun ensue as Miles tries to repair the ship while under the influence! Laugh with Miles as Keiko eventually leaves the ship for good! Watch a new very close relationship form between Miles and Dr. Bashir!

Worf: My ownership of a Worf action figure can attest to the fact that I can't possibly say anything bad about Worf. In whatever series he's in, he is always one of the best characters. My favorite Worf lines include "You're just supposed to…sit here?" (as he's sitting in a mud bath&#41 and, of course, "I am not a Merry Man." (when Q turned the crew into Robin Hood characters.&#41 Oh! And the most recent Deep Space Nine where they're playing baseball on the holodeck and the Vulcan from the opposing team forgot to touch home plate and the game was at stake and Rom screams "What do I do?" and Worf says "Find him and kill him." I still think that they should do one of those In-Style magazine articles on how famous people's hairstyles changes over the years about Worf.

There are other characters which I just plain like, like the Ferengi Quark, Rom and Nog, and others which I just didn't mention, like Data and the occasionally-appearing mischevious Q. Fun Fact: Janeway could have been the best Captain ever: all she had to do was have sex with Q, but she refused. Methinks she shouldn't have looked that omnipotent horse in the mouth. I mean, come on, Janeway! Engage! Make it so!

Live long and prosper, y'all.

*Trayf = not kosher… warthog is definitely not kosher.

Posted in Topics of the Week (1990s).

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