Star Trek: Voyager: Fair Haven   Rewatch 
March 26, 2018 7:49 AM - Season 6, Episode 11 - Subscribe

[stuck between Trekkifying an old Irish joke and filking "Fairytale of New York"] OK, the crew goes to a stereotypical Irish village on the holodeck, and it starts raining, and there's this guy who's just standing out in the rain, and Tuvok goes, "Illogical." The pub owner says, "Don't mind him, he's Paddy O'Furniture." OK, so I went with the joke, sue me.

It was Memory Alpha babe, down in the drunk tank:

- When discussing the rewriting of the program, Paris and Janeway say it will take six or seven weeks to complete. The follow-up episode "Spirit Folk" originally aired six weeks later.

- The episode was filmed on location at Universal Studios in California on a redress of their "Little Europe" backlot set, where the exteriors of Sainte Claire were also filmed for VOY: "The Killing Game". Some of the buildings can be seen in both episodes.

- This was the first episode of Star Trek to originally air in the 2000s (January 12, 2000).

"Gentlemen, please! Love thy neighbor!"

- The Doctor, in the role of a priest, attempting to stop a bar fight

"Say ten Our Fathers and call me in the morning."

- The Doctor's response to Seamus's breaking the Fifth Commandment (In Catholicism the Fifth Commandment is "You shall not kill".)

"Saints preserve us."
"I possess superior hand-eye coordination."
"That's not all that's superior. The lily and the rose are staging a competition on your face."
"Clarify!"
"The fullness of your lips and the paleness of your cheeks – it's enough to make a man faint."
"Then, in that case, perhaps we should sit down."
- The holo-character Seamus and Seven, after Seven has hit the center six consecutive times while playing rings

Poster's Log:

OK, so some people have strong opinions about this episode. Bernd of EAS gives it a rating of 1 (and the follow-up, "Spirit Folk", a big fat zero); by contrast, he gave "Tattoo" 3 and "Faces" 7. His main criticism? "There is almost nothing special or inspiring about this episode." I disagree rather strongly, because the most honest three-word summary of this episode would be "Janeway gets some." How that isn't special (if not inspiring) is beyond me. The episode in general is something of a metacommentary on fanfiction, as Tom Paris--helmsman, medic, and holoprogrammer--creates an admittedly stereotypical Irish village*, and Janeway modifies Michael Sullivan to meet her specific needs. Chakotay as much as admits that he's done the same thing, and Janeway pleads the fifth when the Doctor asks her if she's gotten it on with Sullivan. And what the hell is wrong with that? There's some stuff in there that muddies the water a bit in terms of whether or not to treat Sullivan like a real person, i.e. not tweaking his parameters (any further, that is), but apparently not to the extent that he's on all the time like Vic Fontaine or gets to use the Doctor's holoemitter to hang out in the mess hall or whatever, but the main thing is that, contra Bernd's assertion that Janeway "behaves like a silly teenager", I think that it's a completely adult thing to do, taking care of business because having an affair with a crewmember would cause all sorts of problems.

Good performances by the guest actors in this one: actual Irish person Fintan McKeown is probably known best now for playing Ser Amory Lorch on Game of Thrones, and Richard Riehle, who's been in other Trek series (including a role in "The Inner Light"), has been in all sorts of things, including being the "Jumping to Conclusions" guy in Office Space.

Poster's Log, supplemental, following-up-on-that-asterisk division:

*So apparently some people have problems with this and "Spirit Folk" because of the bounteous Irish stereotypes on display. Pretty justifiable in context, since it's roughly four hundred or more years in their past (it's difficult to pin down exactly when Fair Haven is set, but I'm guessing it's before the Easter Rising), plus it's meant to be a pleasant and relaxing experience, so there's no call for it being all Angela's Ashes. I also recall some people commenting on the Doctor playing a Catholic priest, and how it's probably the only time that a member of the clergy of any real religion has been portrayed on Trek, but for laughs and by an AI; that might offend some people, but it seems clear that it's being done because it would be weird for an Irish village not to have a priest. They could have done a bit more fact-checking on the commandments, though, IMO.
posted by Halloween Jack (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Some of the buildings can be seen in both episodes.

I totally buy this as part of programming holoprograms. If you have the assets in your model pack, you're gonna use them.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:11 AM on March 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Particle of the Week: Whatever particle carries neutronic radiation.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Holodeck shenanigans are relatively uncommon in the MMO. Neutronic radiation is, on the other hand, harnessed for one of my very favorite torpedoes.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -8.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Argh, Oireland (warning, TVTropes - Voyager is mentioned on the page).

*So apparently some people have problems with this and "Spirit Folk" because of the bounteous Irish stereotypes on display.

Surprising probably no one, it bugged the shit out of me. It's not as big a deal as a lot of the racist stuff that goes on on Voyager, but I feel like it's all of a piece - just the general idea that our race determines so much about us is always pretty offensive even though this particular instance isn't as damaging as many things they've done in the past.

I would've minded less if they hadn't claimed it was all authentic right out of the gate. If Paris had just gone 'hey, building a theme park here, let an artist work,' it would've been less bad than 'oh hey this is all so perfect an Irish history buff is critiquing minor details like the harp.'

Irish people do notice this stuff too. I went poking around for stuff-not-TVTropes about Colm Meaney's views on the topic. I gotta get to working, so I didn't come up with anything, but I did glance at this article in passing, which articulates some of this in less grar-y ways than I'm liable to.

* Felt weird watching Janeway pick out a sex toy.

I disagree rather strongly, because the most honest three-word summary of this episode would be "Janeway gets some." How that isn't special (if not inspiring) is beyond me.

This is all true, but I didn't enjoy watching some parts of it. Like, on the one hand, you're not wrong: everything she's doing there is fine, and it's even good that the show is addressing the physical needs of a person stranded so far from home and everything... I disagree with some of what the Doctor said about 'there's no difference between a holodeck character and a real boy' and essentially view this as masturbation, but that's fine too. It's sex-positive in a way that I feel was unusual at the time, especially on television.

On the other hand, I really wanted to give poor Janeway some privacy while she was editing the barkeep to better match her fantasies. I guess it's a credit to their writing that this was uncomfortable instead of ridiculous, but it still felt way too voyeuristic. (I felt bad for Paris way back when he introduced Harry to his holographic girlfriend too. One thing I'll give them: Janeway has better taste than he does, trying to make someone interesting instead of just eye candy.)

So... yeah. I did hate this one. I can definitely see how someone would like it too though - the exploration of Janeway's isolation is a potentially fascinating topic, and it is legitimately good that nobody on the crew is judgmental about it during this outing. It's certainly better than Janeway's weird Gothic horror program, or focusing on her doomed relationship back home.
posted by mordax at 9:19 AM on March 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Further thought:

I could really see misogyny inspiring some people to react extra poorly to this, so it is good to have discussion about this story that goes beyond 'bleh.' That was a very good framing in the post Jack, and I'd definitely be more interested in further talk about Janeway and fanfiction than complaining about stereotyping. (Well-worn ground for me and this show anyway.)
posted by mordax at 9:23 AM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


but the main thing is that, contra Bernd's assertion that Janeway "behaves like a silly teenager", I think that it's a completely adult thing to do, taking care of business because having an affair with a crewmember would cause all sorts of problems.

Can't disagree there. And as for the mechanism by which she sculpts McDreamy into her perfect man, well, one look at the most popular Nexus mods for Skyrim will confirm that such modifications are extremely true to life when the topic is realistic and interactive computer-generated characters.

Doesn't mean I like the episode. On preview, I think mordax hit my issue:
the exploration of Janeway's isolation is a potentially fascinating topic
Good use of the weasel word "potentially."

I think this is a script that hasn't quite decided what it's going to be about. It *could* be hologram-personhood, but they don't commit to that. It *could* be Janeway's isolation, but the setup gives no indication of that being the focus. (Indeed, the teaser here—like another season six episode we'll discuss before long—is so bad that you just know the rest of the episode will never recover from it.) It *could* be about machine-assisted, um, romance, but there's no way UPN would've been okay with a full exploration of that. It *could* have been about the anomaly-of-the-week (which I forgot it even had until right now), but— never mind, it couldn't have been about that.

Instead, what's clear here (and, for me, was from my first viewing of this episode all those years ago) is that the writers decided "Let's make a new Sandrine's for the characters to hang out in" and introduced it too soon, before they'd figured out what to do with it. (And it was a fatal misstep for Fair Haven as a concept IMO; I don't agree with most of Bernd's remarks on this episode, but he may be right to say "Spirit Folk" is even worse.)

I'd definitely be more interested in further talk about Janeway and fanfiction than complaining about stereotyping.

I could've seen them going the fanfiction route here, with actual plots and what-not. And maybe bringing our crew into conflict through fierce fan-debates about what This Character would do and who That Character would and would not get it on with—just like in the real world of fanfiction. But they kind of already did that in "Worst Case Scenario."

If Paris had just gone 'hey, building a theme park here, let an artist work,' it would've been less bad than 'oh hey this is all so perfect an Irish history buff is critiquing minor details like the harp.'

Amen. It looks just like Disney World, so let it BE Disney World.

[stuck between Trekkifying an old Irish joke and filking "Fairytale of New York"]

Don't blame you for picking the one you did. That song seems…tough to twist into a Trek context.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:31 AM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't know what Colm Meaney thinks of these episodes, if he even watched them, but he was in the TNG episode "Up the Long Ladder", which features an even more stereotyped version of the Irish in the Bringloidi; O'Brien is on transporter duty when they're beamed aboard (complete with livestock and straw), and his expression is... not happy.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:02 AM on March 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ah yes, this guy.
…who was considered for the role of Picard OMGWTFBBQWHARBLGARBL

Man, that's one of those TNG episodes that aged badly within five minutes of airing.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:06 AM on March 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Code of honor also won the TNG wtf was this award as soon as it aired- but you could (somewhat) excuse that because of the season 1 writers strike and because season 1 of anything tends to have a few (or more than a few) Turkeys. But Up the long ladder had no such excuse. I think the whole episode was an excuse to have a hot Irish woman get macked on by Riker.

Compared to those two episodes this ep of VOY is a winner!
(Comparatively speaking)
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:01 PM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Compared to those two episodes this ep of VOY is a winner!

Yeah, this is a fair point. Early TNG was worse than Voyager, which is pretty bad coming from me. I do have to give them props for one thing though:
The African theme of the episode was brought in by director Russ Mayberry, who had the Ligonians race cast entirely from African-American actors. Mayberry was fired during production by the show's creator Gene Roddenberry, and First Assistant Director Les Landau completed the episode. Star Trek novel author Keith DeCandido later recalled that this was because of the casting itself, while cast member Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) thought that it was because Mayberry was racist towards the guest stars after they were cast.
(Wikipedia)

So at least they cleaned house over that one.
posted by mordax at 1:54 PM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Speaking of "Code Of Honor", the scriptwriter later retooled it into an early season 1 episode of Stargate SG-1 called "Emancipation" that was not racist but just as misogynist. It's still bad though. How bad? In reruns, it's usually skipped over! From the SG1 wiki:
This is the first of eleven episodes of Stargate SG-1 written by Katharyn Powers. She is also responsible for the very similar (both in story and reception) Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One episode "Code of Honor". Both episodes feature a female officer being abducted and later participating in a fight to the death which both parties survive. Given the extremely negative fan and critical reception to that episode, it seems surprising that this one was made. In further coincidence, both episodes are the 4th episode of their show's first season.

This is generally considered by critics as one of the worst episodes of the entire Stargate SG-1 series. The Sci-Fi Channel (and possibly the production team) seems to hold it in similar disdain, because it is rarely if ever re-run in syndication. Often, when the series is being rerun from the beginning, it simply skips straight from "The Enemy Within" to "The Broca Divide".
posted by Servo5678 at 3:00 PM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Speaking of "Code Of Honor", the scriptwriter later retooled it into an early season 1 episode of Stargate SG-1 called "Emancipation" that was not racist but just as misogynist.

I'm a vocal fan of SG-1, but this episode is the reason I didn't catch it during the original airing. Caught that one, decided to give the show a pass. Came back later and it got a lot better.
posted by mordax at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm a vocal fan of SG-1

Maybe we should do a Stargate rewatch once we run out of Star Trek.
posted by Servo5678 at 3:32 PM on March 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Any mention of early TNG brings to mind Chaos on the Bridge (on US Netflix). After seeing the chaos of the early seasons and bizarro Roddenbery lawyer rewriting scripts I'm amazed it survived.
posted by juiceCake at 7:41 PM on March 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


The book The Fifty-Year Mission, an oral history of Trek that I've mentioned in this rewatch series before, also covers a lot of that ground. TNG was very lucky that there really wasn't any competition in the TV space opera field to speak of when it premiered.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:50 PM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


TNG was very lucky that there really wasn't any competition in the TV space opera field to speak of when it premiered.

Mark my words: in 20 or 30 years we'll say the same thing about Game of Thrones.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:36 AM on March 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Somewhat OT (pertains to a different episode) and the link goes to Daily MailFail, but holy crap, everybody.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:23 AM on March 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just found the following on the VOY Season 6 MA page. It's allegedly a quote from Kate Mulgrew concerning this episode:

"When I read that one, I went right over to (Rick) Berman's office and I said 'What are you smoking?' I mean, how desperado is this broad!"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:44 PM on April 11, 2018


Janeway pleads the fifth when the Doctor asks her if she's gotten it on with Sullivan. And what the hell is wrong with that?

Nothing, in-universe. There's nothing wrong in-universe with Neelix making blood pudding, but it would be difficult to make a good episode with that as the A-plot. I didn't find it at all interesting.

It *could* be hologram-personhood... It *could* be Janeway's isolation... It *could* be about machine-assisted, um, romance...

Yes, any of those would have been more interesting. As far as I can figure, the message was, if you do have holo-lovers/family/friends, sure you could program them to be exactly what you want, but that's not realistic and ultimately unsatisfying. Except, that message was done much much better in the S3 episode "Real Life."

The space anomaly B-plot existed solely to seriously damage Fair Haven, which might be justified if the A-plot had been more interesting, but as it is, it's more annoying that there was never any real tension around whether the ship would survive. And the B.2-plot about Tuvok getting space sickness due to neutronic gradients was beyond pointless.

I also wondered in the scene where Janeway was dancing with Michael, given the 24-hour open door policy for Fair Haven, how there were two dozen other holocharacters in the pub and not a single other crewmember.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:28 PM on July 8


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