Thursday, November 15, 2007
Caged in the Menagerie
Tony Longworth (file)
On Tuesday night, Tony and I went out to see the hi-def, remastered version of "The Menagerie," the only two-part episode of the original Star Trek. The new special effects were nice and all that, but what really struck me about the episode was the degree of sexual innuendo - both deliberate and unintentional.
Kirk has a legendary reputation as an intergalactic lothario, but I keep forgetting just how many episodes, even serious ones like this, feed that mythology. In the opening moments of the show, an attractive young yeoman at a starbase Kirk is visiting chats him up. At first, she mentions a mutual friend - a female one - and Kirk looks worried. But the young lady smiles warmly and says something like "She spoke...very highly of you" while her eyes roam up and down his body. Cut to a reaction shot of Kirk's smug grin. The audience loved it.
Then, Kirk is presented with a projection of a stunning green alien dancer. A minor character speaks glowingly of her attributes, and Kirk's expression is one of naked arousal. Shatner really knew how to sell this stuff.
Finally, there's a scene where the female guest star is attempting to entice Captain Pike, Kirk's predecessor, into staying on the alien planet where she's imprisoned. She and Pike are in a sort of virtual reality, and it's heavily implied that at long last she's convinced Pike to have sex with her. But they're interrupted by the arrival of Pike's officers, who intrude on the dream state, and the guest star wails, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I wasn't finished!" The entire audience broke up.
Tony and I, by the by, are both Past Presidents of the University of Alberta Star Trek Club. I guess that means we're pretty geeky. Not as geeky, though, as the folks dressed up as Klingons who scanned us on the way into the theatre, ensuring that we were not "alien infiltrators." As one who owns a phaser, communicator, and dozens of Trek action figures, though, I'm not going to throw the first tribble.