Friday, November 19, 2010

Plato's Stepchildren

From Wikipedia:

"Plato's Stepchildren" is a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series
, first broadcast November 22, 1968. It is episode #65, production #67, written by Meyer Dolinsky, and directed by David Alexander. The episode is popularly cited as the first example of an inter-racial kiss on United States television (between Kirk and Uhura).

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise encounters an ageless and sadistic race of psychic humanoids who claim to have organized their society around Ancient Greek ideals.


Watch it
here (another one of those digitally remastered versions, pretty cool, actually).

Notes and pics:

* What's with the dwarf? Well, he's interesting, at any rate.

* This guy's like
J. Peterman from Seinfeld.

* Babe. Wasn't she in "
A Taste of Armageddon"?

* Is it fair to call this one a parallel Earth story? Sure, yeah, another "
sword and sandal" genre hybrid thingy.

* Ericatus and Dionide are
Lenny and Carl.

* These people are strangely alluring in their elitist arrogance. That is, I kind of love hating them.

* Scotty in command!

* Okay, the psychically enforced thrashing around here is pretty darned goofy.

* This dwarf makes me uncomfortable. He's a sort of
Robby Benson or Chris Makepeace type, but short and disproportionate.

* I once performed this song, myself, in front of a live audience.

* There's something gratifying about watching Kirk slap himself.

* Yeah, the psychic puppet thing is really fucking silly.

Pericles' shield is a pretty cool gift, but this whole ceremony is very you-had-courage-already, if you know what I mean. Kirk versus the Wizard of Oz.

* Good discussion on political morality.

* On the one hand, I love the theatricality and absurdity of the K&S laurel wreath performance. On the other hand, my discomfort continues to grow.

* Torturing Kirk lasts for fucking ever.

* Okay, Kirk's scream here, a rehash of his fabulous bellow in "
The Man Trap," is really funny.

* Love Spock's flamenco dancing over Kirk's head.

* Laughing Spock is always cool.

* Crying Spock is almost just as good.

* This entire sequence, from the award ceremony until Kirk the pony boy, man, I don't know whether I love or hate this. I feel kind of sick, but maybe that's a good thing. I don't know.

* I'm not buying Spock's shame here. He's reacting to an unwanted display of emotion with more emotion? That's not very Vulcan.

* Does Shatner have a cold in this one? He's pretty nasal.

* Okay, here's what I hate about Alexander: he's a bad
speech tournament actor. There. I said it out loud. But we've all been thinking it.

* Alexander: "You can keep your precious power!" A bad pint-sized Brando wannabe. I just kind of want to stare at the floor. I'll take
Mini-Me over him any day of the week.

* Okay, Uhura looks hot in her flowing yet form fitting Grecian attire.

* Kirk just looks gay: "Let's concentrate on raising this plate of fruit." Yeah, we know what you mean.

* "A serenade from the laughing space man." Actually, "Bitter Dregs," as performed by Spock ain't half bad. I mean, this is fucking absurd, but not so bad. Anybody ever hear Leonard Nimoy's "
Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"?

* Chapel is the least sexy of all women on Star Trek. This includes

* Dionide: "Oh, how faithless and fickle."

Ericatus: "Make up your mind!"

I don't even know what to say.

* Kirk and Uhura do look kind of hot together. Hey, imagine
Tony Curtis with the Captain, instead of Uhura. It's funny.

* Ooooh! Sadism. Do they realize how gay they're making Kirk look? I mean, a bull whip, really?

* Kirk: "I have a little surprise for you." This is just a final slap in the face.

* I'm really at a loss for how to rate this one. It's bad, definitely. But it's an unusual kind of bad, one that goes into some very weird places. It's like, what if Roddenberry handed the keys over to Yoko Ono for an episode? It's that kind of bad. Sort of
screeching and wailing and scratching on a chalk board while John Lennon and and a grooving rhythm section warble out a repeating blues riff. You want to just get the fuck away, but you're transfixed in absurdist horror, and John Lennon is, after all, on stage with her.

Can I give this episode both five stars and one star at the same time?