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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "The Galileo Seven"

Sure an' begorrah!  It's St. Paddy's Day in outer space!  At the start of this week's Star Trek episode, sure and isn't the Enterprise passin' the remains of the biggest St. Patrick's Day party in the history of the universe.  At least that's what it looks like judging by the massive blob of green vomit floating around in space.

Personally, I'd steer clear of all Kryptonite-colored puke nebulae, but Kirk has standing orders from Starfleet to fly inside and see whether or not it's an open bar.

The Enterprise happens to be schlepping the Galactic High Poobah to a tea-totaling plague planet called Marcus Welby III.  I'm guessing by his no-nonsense attitude that he's the Dean Wormer of the Federation, and he insists that Kirk steer clear of all fun so they can make their rendezvous and deliver his load of lifesaving Fizzies on time.

I'm pretty sure the Galactic High Poobah was also the guy who played the mayor of San Francisco in a Dirty Harry movie, but not the one where the mayor really was Dean Wormer.  The Galactic High Poobah was a different mayor in that Dirty Harry where the mayor gets kidnapped and winds up on Alcatraz and either Cagney or Lacey gets shot at the end.  I don't know which.  The fat one who was married to the black guy from The Rookies, not the other fat one who wasn't.

Kirk sends Spock out in a shuttle to investigate the Kawasaki phenomenon that makes the sky look like green beer puke.  Why Spock has to go in a shuttle is never adequately explained, since it seems like it'd make more sense to take the Enterprise in there.  It's not like they can't take the Enterprise in, because they do so at the end to rescue Spock whose shuttle crash lands in a minute.  (Uh-oh.  Just act surprised when it happens.)

Spock's shuttle crash lands!

A crash-landed shuttle is such a great, original concept to spark a story.  And I'm sure it will stay that way, because this is a one-off deal and Star Trek won't flog the whole "shuttle crash lands on alien planet, hilarity ensues" concept to death over the next forty years.  So enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime concept this one time, because you'll never, ever see it happen again.

Down on the alien, smog-enshrouded planet, Spock sends crewmen Larabee and Gelato out to get killed...oops, I mean to reconnoiter.  He orders them to keep the shuttle in sight at all times, so naturally they wander forty miles out into a fog-filled valley then close their eyes and spin around a couple dozen times to make the trip back more excitin'.  

The two crewmen stumble upon an abandoned summer camp where all those sexy teenagers died ten years ago, and naturally Larabee or Gelato (who cares which one?) gets murdered by a giant, Styrofoam-rock-heaving gorilla-man.

Spock shoots a laser beam around, and the giant gorilla-men run away.  At least I think they do.  There is no budget to show more than the back of a head or a shoulder or something.  They do toss in some giant plastic spears, which I suppose would be pretty scary if they took the tips off because you could put out an eye.  (This public service message courtesy my mother who told us not to take the rubber tips off the darts in our dart guns, even though we did it all the time anyway and none of us ever lost an eye.)

Spock says they'll die for sure with nothing to eat if they stay on the planet.  Way to boost morale, Commander Bring-Down.  I thought this guy was supposed to be King Logic?  You've got ray guns to shoot the gorilla-men, so that takes care of them for as long as the juice in the ray guns hold out.  And instead of giving up on eating so easily, maybe you could -- oh, I don't know -- find out what the giant gorilla-men are eating and drinking.  'Cause logically they must be eating something other than Styrofoam rocks and plastic spears.  And those pelts they're wearing aren't mail orders from L.L. Bean, so there are potentially tasty animals out there you can hunt.  Or maybe Starfleet survival training consists of waving around an EBT card and demanding free Froot Loops from every King Kong alien that walks by, followed by starving to death if they don't immediately pop open the pantry.

I think Spock must have them dig a latrine.  Also, Spock is a toilet exhibitionist a la Lyndon Johnson.  That's the only explanation I can come up with for why at one point they're all squatting around outside in full view of aggressive aliens who have already killed a crew member and are not hiding behind some Styrofoam rocks.

To suggest that I should courtesy flush out here is illogical.  Jerks.

Upstairs, Kirk decides to bring the Enterprise in where he should have brought it before and search for the tiny little ship that wouldn't be lost if he had taken the big ship inside the puke cloud to begin with.  Also Mayor Grand Galactic Poobah is hollering at him that if they don't get to planet Marcus Welby III on time, all the best geosynchronous parking spaces will be gone.

Downstairs, Spock carts dead Gelato back to the shuttle and gets big plastic spears tossed at him.  He says they don't have to shoot the King Kong gorilla-men monsters, they only have to shoot above their heads and they'll be so impressed by the pretty light show that they'll applaud and wander away.  Did this guy really go to Vulcan logic school, because I'm pretty sure with that stupid plan by the end of the episode Spock and everybody else on the shuttle will be roasting on a spit with space-apples stuck in their mouths.

Up on the Enterprise, a second plastic toy shuttle doesn't find Spock.  Probably because it's only four inches long.

Down on the planet, the monster gorilla-men attack the crash-landed shuttle, but the budget only paid for one to be seen on camera and, like all the rest of the monster gorilla-men, you can only see little bits of him from a distance.    

Inside the shuttle, Scotty flicks the porch lights a couple of times and the monster gorilla-men run away before they can set fire to the bag of dog poop.

Scotty says that if he takes all the phasers and channels their power into the flux capacitor, he can get the shuttle back to 1985.

Drama is had by an impromptu funeral for Gelato which Spock correctly says is stupid and dangerous, and also by one guy being so insubordinate to Spock that he should be tossed in Space Leavenworth for the rest of his life.

We're supposed to think that Spock is wrong to not get all weepy and risk everyone's life by having a funeral in the backyard of aggressive gorilla-man space monsters, but he seems pretty vindicated to me when the gorilla-man monsters attack during the buffet after the funeral and Spock gets his foot caught in some Styrofoam rocks near the table with the deli platters and stale Chips Ahoy.

The shuttle takes off just as the Enterprise has abandoned its search because if Kirk doesn't leave pronto the Dirty Harry mayor has threatened to show him naked pictures of Officer Cagney or Lacey.

Kirk drives away very slowly like an old lady but, unlike the old lady who backed into my parked car in the parking lot that time when I was taking a nap during my lunch break at work years ago, at least he keeps checking the rearview mirror.

Spock dumps all the fuel out of the shuttle and sets fire to it to act as a big road flare, which means that the shuttle is going to burn up in the atmosphere and everyone is going to die.  He thinks it's hopeless and that the Enterprise won't see the gas burning.  If it was so hopeless, maybe it would have made more sense once they got the shuttle flying again to find an island or somewhere on the planet where the gorilla-men aren't living and set up a permanent camp there.  Or, you know, sentencing everybody on the shuttle to a fiery death is a pretty good command decision too.

Spock's makeshift flare is seen from the Enterprise, the plastic toy shuttle is brought aboard, and everybody is happy except Gelato and the other guy Spock's crummy leadership allowed to die down there.  Also the guys from the search party who died as well.  But they weren't main characters, so it's okay.

Kirk says Spock panicked when he set fire to the gas, and Spock says that panicking was the logical thing to do, and everybody on the bridge starts laughing so maniacally I'm pretty sure Bones must be venting nitrous oxide through the air vents.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "Dagger of the Mind"

On this week's Star Trek, the Enterprise is delivering medical supplies to the Tarantula penal colony.  Judging by the gigantic prop pill bottles on the transporter pad, I assume it's the zany CBS sitcom version of a "penal" colony and the bottles are filled with Viagra.  Oh, Charlie Sheen, how I miss your Madame Tussaud's wax figure face and your unfunny, coked-up single entendres.

The Enterprise beams up a giant box with a "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL XMAS!" sign taped to the side.  The box is juuuust big enough for a guy to fit in, but since it's a prison colony they trust that nobody's hiding out inside so Kirk sees no reason to peek under the lid. 

I find it odd that the beamer thing isn't programmed to automatically detect humans crouching inside boxes, because you'd think it'd be pretty important to automatically detect organic material of any kind when you're beaming stuff up and down on alien planets all the time.  Or maybe it's a Magician's Alliance rule to keep snooping Starfleet personnel from figuring out how the "saw the woman in half" trick works.

There's a shocking twist right off the bat this week when the lid of the box pops open and an escaped lunatic pops out!  I never saw that coming.

Uhura has green plastic onion rings hanging from her ears.

The loony beats up the transporter room guy and runs up to the bridge with a phaser, demanding $100,000 in cash in nonsequential bills and a plane to Neptune.  He also demands that Uhura do a naked fan dance because, as I said, he's crazy.

That is some security they have on that ship.  First, a twitchy, acne-scarred loon can run around the hallways and no one stops him.  Then he manages to get all the way up to the bridge, which along with engineering should be one of the most heavily defended areas of the ship but which, like engineering, is always getting taken over by every blob of light, space flea or hitchhiking Ricardo Montalban the ship picks up.  Can't they even bother to hire one asthmatic octogenarian security guard just to keep maniacs from leaping through the door and scaring the vig off poor Chekov every other week? 

The loon is actually Dr. Charlie Horse Gelding, who was assistant to the head of penal (stop laughing) planet Tarantula IV.  Down in sickbay he gives a performance so ridiculously over-the-top that Bones insists Kirk turn the Enterprise around and go back to Tarantula IV and arrest his acting teacher.

Tarantula IV is run by Inspector Luger from Barney Miller, who was senile as a cop but who is supposed to be brilliant as a scientist, but if I was crazy I'd still feel more comfortable with Harris, Fish or even Wojo as my psychiatrist.

Lt. Helen Noel accompanies Kirk to the planet, bringing along nothing but a short skirt with her underwear hanging out and accompanying sexy music.  I'm just glad it's not one of the politically correct Star Trek series that came later on or we'd have been treated to Kirk's ass hanging out and I would have had to put my eyes out with the TV remote.

Kirk, always the professional military man, ogles his subordinate like he's drooling over a centerfold and I suddenly wonder why Starfleet only hires hot dames.  I assume that in the future there are pills to make you skinny or maybe there's a "no fatties" sign hanging on the gates outside Starfleet academy.  I also assume Kirk, Scotty and Uhura are allergic to the former and managed to avoid the latter by sneaking inside in a pastry truck.

Inspector Luger wears a unitard with a picture of a huge hand crushing a bird to death on it.  He's also so open and honest and friendly that you know by TV rules that he's actually a lying maniac who's going to try to kill Kirk about two scenes from now.

Upstairs, Spock mind melds with Dr. Charlie Horse Gelding while downstairs Dr. Inspector Luger demonstrates a special barber chair invention with a glowing bedpan glued to the ceiling above it.

The usual.  Trim back and sides, glue it to the top.

Everybody on the planet marches around like Zanaxed-out zombies, but Kirk doesn't hightail it back to the ship for the cavalry the minute the bedpan starts shooting out mind-control rays on some poor slob.  Instead, he decides he wants to see how it works up close and personal and so he sneaks back and sits down in the barber chair.  I'm glad it was the crazy-house kind of penal (stop laughing) colony and not the criminal type, or this genius would have had the bright idea to cook his breakfast by sitting in the electric chair with a plate of bacon in his lap and having Lt. Sexy-Music throw the switch.

Lt. Sexy-Music tells Kirk he molested her at the company Christmas party, but in a good way.  Dr. Inspector Luger comes in and takes over the sparkly bedpan controls.  He turns the machine up to 11 and tells Kirk he loves Lt. Sexy-Music more than pie itself.  So he's not a villain after all, he's an intergalactic matchmaker.  Isn't that nice?

The bedpan fries Kirk's wig and makes him drop his phaser.

The two lovebirds get locked up together, but wait!  It turns out that the procedure that always rips out everybody else's mind, shoehorns in subliminal suggestions and turns them into walking human husks doesn't work on superhero Kirk.  Gosh, isn't he swell, gals?  Just don't go swimming in his pool.

Kirk orders the dame to climb through some ducts, because that's never been done before.

Dr. Inspector Luger sticks Kirk back in the barber chair again and tries to get the glowing bedpan to get him to stop treating his costars like crap and overeating but -- c'mon -- the thing doesn't work miracles.
Lt. Sexy-Music shuts off the power at the power-shutter-offer, and Kirk hits Luger with a Mason jar and heads for the hills, leaving Dr. Inspector Luger unconscious on the floor of the bedpan machine room.

Spock shows up and turns the power back on, and when the power comes back on in the bedpan room, Dr. Inspector Luger loses his mind completely and winds up getting transferred over to the 12th Precinct.

At the end we're told that Dr. Charlie Horse Gelding (who, recall, was as crazy as a loon for the entire episode) has been put in charge of Planet Psych Ward.  So Kirk thought it was a great idea to literally put a lunatic in charge of the asylum.  I guess Spock finds this hilarious, because he's grinning like a loon himself as the Enterprise takes off from the mess they've just made as fast as its little warp nacelles can carry it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "Arena"

At the start of this week's Star Trek, the Enterprise has just arrived above planet Cesspool III, which is run by Commodore Traverse who is apparently the Huggy Bear of the Milky Way.  Bones is practically wetting his space pants in the transporter room he's so excited to get down to the planet, which I assume from his uncomfortable, mummified corpse grin is some sort of outer space nookie palace.  I'm a little surprised because, frankly, the way Kirk chases down every yeoman in a beehive with his pants down around his ankles, that's what I thought the Enterprise was all this time.

Bones is so excited to get some that he makes a racist comment about Spock's ears that everybody thinks is hilarious.  Given the thin skin that everybody on planet Earth has developed by the early 21st Century, I kind of miss the innocence of the far-off future of the 1960s where you could casually mock an entire race for a common physical feature and not wind up having the 23rd Century version of Al Sharpton camping on your front lawn in his velour tracks suit, burning down your grocery store and inciting galaxy-wide riots.

Kirk, Spock, Bones and three expendable guys beam down to Cesspool III and find it's a bombed-out, uninhabitable wasteland.  Maybe Sharpton got there first after all.

Unseen aliens attack from a distance, and a guy in a red shirt is first to get melted.  I am shocked by that startling plot twist.  Either that or I'm startled by that shocking plot twist.  Either way, wow.  Who saw that coming?

Monty Python explosions start erupting all around, but I can't see Tim the Enchanter on top of the mountain next-door.  All I can say is that it's a good thing beings that can build spaceships that can brave the inky depths of space and cover vast distances at speeds greater than light have not developed the ability to target a simple mortar or Sulu would be in command and hanging new drapes on the bridge window right now.

Kirk runs heroically in those places where the special effects guys told him the explosions wouldn't be, he does a little "serpentine, Shelly" from The In-Laws, tosses in a shoulder roll or two, then hides behind a sofa.

Lt. Kilowatt shows up to tell Kirk that the other expendable guy is dead, and to ask for a transfer to a ship where the chance for survival until retirement isn't limited to just seven bridge officers.

Kirk launches an exploding blue billiard ball and blows up a mountain and a ship that's been shooting at the Enterprise takes off.

Up in sickbay, Kirk questions the only survivor from Cesspool III.  The guy has a severe case of Silly Putty stuck to his face.  I think I can see Andy Capp's head from where Bones pressed the guy's cheek against the Sunday funnies.

Kirk insists that the only conclusion they can come to is that some fiendish, unknown alien superpower has invaded Federation space.  Spock clearly doesn't agree, but doesn't offer any alternatives, like, for instance, space pirates, Klingons, Romulans, or one of those superintelligent flashing light shows they're always running into every other week.  Kirk insists that Freedonia is going to war.

The Enterprise gives chase to the alien ship, which suddenly slams on the brakes and tries to get Kirk to rear-end them so they can claim whiplash and sue the pants off the Federation.

It doesn't occur to Kirk that this might be a trap to draw him in close, since the script has decided that this week he's going to be a tactical moron.  The almighty script has also decided that he's going to be a bloodthirsty maniac, because he's all set to blow up what he thinks is a stalled and unarmed ship right up until the Enterprise suddenly slams on its brakes as well.  Will there be no end to these shocking plot twists?

A groovy talking light show appears on the Enterprise's TV screen, and I check my watch to confirm that it's been two weeks since the last talking superintelligent flashing light show took over the Enterprise.

The groovy light show says it's a Metronome, and that it just popped over from a Laugh-In rerun to say it wants to sock it to Kirk for being militaristic and for wearing such an obvious a hairpiece, like he's fooling anyone.

Kirk vanishes from the bridge and Uhura screams like a girl and covers her mouth in terror.  Because, you see, she's never seen technology that could make a person disappear.  How did they get her up onto the Enterprise in the first place, with a pulley and a very long rope?

Kirk appears on a desert planet next to a guy in a rubber lizard suit who is wearing a picnic tablecloth miniskirt and who makes grunty noises like he's constipated, which I hope he continues to be because I don't think he can get out of that rubber suit fast enough if necessary.

The lizard in the rubber suit is called a "Goon," and he and Kirk are supposed to fight to the death for the fate of their respective ships.  The Goon has a giant rubber head with a mouth that has lots of pointy teeth but which doesn't move.  I wonder with a completely immobile mouth, even when he talks, how the Goon eats, but at least Kirk doesn't have to worry about being bitten in this exciting fight to the death, so that's nice.

Kirk throws a papier-mâché rock at the Goon's chest and it bounces off, proving that Goons are immune to papier-mâché.  They wrestle a little and Kirk punches it in the ears and the Goon lets him go and starts overacting like Max Bialystock took its blue blanket.  Kirk runs off and reports into the alien tape recorder that he's been given by the Metronomes that the Goon has withstood attacks that would have killed a human.  He threw one papier-mâché rock at its chest, punched it in the ears, then ran away.  I call the ambulance when I get a hangnail, and even I could withstand Kirk's lethal attacks.

 No tongues.

The Goon is still making all kinds of grunty, hissy noises.  Someone please get him some lizard-strength Ex-Lax.

Kirk runs up a hill and throws the biggest papier-mâché rock of all down on the Goon, who is down below making girlish "hee-hee-hee" giggles like Homer Simpson when he thinks he's being clever.

Kirk figures no creature could survive such a terrible avalanche of papier-mâché, so he skips tra-la down the hill with a disturbing grin of triumph plastered on his face.  The Goon jumps up and goes "Boo! Grunt!  Hiss!" and Kirk runs away and falls into a diabolically clever papier-mâché rock trap set up by the Goon. 

The Goon looms, ready to strike! 

Close up on Kirk! 

This is the end!

Luckily, an exquisitely timed TV commercial break gives Kirk time to regroup and run away.  The Goon is so mad that he walks into the camera and knocks it down.

Up on the Enterprise, the groovy light show returns and turns on the TV ostensibly so that the crew can see Kirk die, but actually so that Spock can narrate Kirk's genius last-minute plan down on the planet.  Uhura reacts like a girl again when she sees the Goon.  I don't want to tell the Federation how to staff its ships, but maybe it'd be a good idea to get someone to answer the phone who doesn't screech like she's seen a mouse every time some new alien calls to say hi.

Kirk constructs a rudimentary lathe and shoots diamonds into the Goon.  We're led to believe that he now has the opportunity to kill the Goon but shows compassion and spares it.  But, wait.  A boulder dropped from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro didn't squash the thing like a bug, but it can be knocked over by diamonds fired out of a bamboo blunderbuss?  And if that huge rock didn't crush it, how is Kirk's little pointy rock supposed to hack through its neck?

Too late for logic.  Kirk loudly announces he won't kill it, and the diamond-riddled Goon vanishes like Zsa-Zsa Gabor two months after the wedding.

A scrawny little fruit appears on a rock above Kirk so that he can see up its tinfoil dress.  He announces that he's a Metronome and that Kirk showed the advanced trait of compassion, because no human being has ever demonstrated compassion before, except all those other times we did.

The scrawny little fruit says that the Metronomes are thousands of years more advanced than humans and are, therefore, better.  He says that in a few thousand years, maybe humans can be swell like the Metronomes.  Which means we have a future to look forward to in which we are all arrogant, androgynous little turds in tinfoil dresses with sparkly fireflies flying all around us.  Somebody drop a papier-mâché rock on me.

Kirk appears back on the ship with all his boo-boos healed and his yellow pajamas dry-cleaned.  The Enterprise sails off back to Cesspool III for some reason, even though everybody there is dead and the Goons who slaughtered everyone on the planet are still floating around out there ready to attack again, so the main issue that got the whole story rolling has still not been resolved.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Seen when running...

I came this close to asking those three landscapers who were lounging in the grass in that front yard if they were telling sad stories of the death of kings, but I figured it was too early in the morning to get beat up so I didn't.