Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Fascination   Rewatch 
November 1, 2015 9:24 AM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

A Midsummer Night's Dream IN SPAAAAAAACE, featuring the Aunt Mame OF SPAA--look, I know I did this joke just last week, but it fits, OK?

Half-tempted to skip the trivia, and just post links to GIFs from the episode, about half of them captioned FIGHT ME. (Especially one of the real-life couple in the cast, who at least in this episode seem to be the worst kissers in the quadrant.) But anyway, from the usual source:

- Director Avery Brooks gave his evaluation of this episode; "I guess it was over the top. But what is over the top, after all? If you're having a pint of Guinness and you see the foam pouring over the top, you think, 'That's great!' But in a television episode, there's this concern about action being too large. It all comes down to rhythm, and whether a scene has it or not."

- Ira Steven Behr commented that the episode was: "the show that now and then runs the risk of pissing everyone off. It was a show that we had developed for the second season and never got around to doing. What I like about the episode is I thought Avery [Brooks] did some nice work with the direction. Another nice thing was the Keiko/O'Brien relationship. I think it was one of the most interesting threads we've ever done on the series, and some of the most real dialogue between two married people who have expectations but at the same time can't quite sync up with each other. I remember when we were watching dailies, everyone was uncomfortable because it really did strike close to home. Everyone had something in their lives they could relate it to, how a relationship could seem to be bad over such small things – what seem to be small things but are not, really. I thought it was a nice Human story. I thought Jake was very sweet with Kira, wanting to go out with her. Dax going after Sisko was kind of fun. I didn't think the Bareil stuff worked that well. The show was better than it had any right to be".

- This is Armin Shimerman's least favorite episode of all DS9 episodes. Shimerman, who teaches Shakespeare, has said of the show "I thought it was embarrassing". Alexander Siddig was also unimpressed with the episode, saying it is "memorable for not quite pulling off what it attempted to do".

- The attraction that Kira and Bashir displayed in this episode was even more evident off-set: Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig, the actors who play Kira and Bashir, had a son and were married while DS9 was still in production. Kira's pregnancy in Seasons Four and Five was written into the show as a result.

"Oh! You poor dear! I should never have given you all that candy." - Lwaxana Troi to Molly O'Brien after Molly throws up in Miles' lap.
posted by Halloween Jack (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll go ahead and put in my own feelings about the episode now: despite it seemingly being one of the lesser-regarded DS9 episodes, one way in which it really works is in contrasting the sort of over-the-top hyperinfatuation that it's making fun of with the messy, complicated negotiation involved in a long-term relationship, i.e. Miles and Keiko. There's also a bit of feminism in it, as well: Mardah leaves for the Regulan Science Academy, and ultimately Miles makes the offer to resign from Starfleet and follow Keiko in her career and/or move back to Earth if that's what she wants. There's also another example of why I like Lwaxana Troi's appearances on DS9 more than those on TNG; her offer to Odo is especially remarkable when you remember that she can't read his mind.

Negatives: some ageism when they're discussing the Disease-of-the-Week, and all the infatuations are hetero-only.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:09 AM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was always a bit bothered by calling it the "Gratitude Festival." I mean- I suppose that might be just what the non-Bajorans on the station call it, but I sort of wonder why the script-writers didn't just call it the Peldor Festival, and stick with the original explanation.

"Will you be joining us for Generic Religious or Cultural Observance this year?"

"Why, yes- I think I will attend Generic Religious or Cultural Observance this year."

I do like that the Gratitude Festivities are nearly the most '90s thing ever (although, my own personal celebration of 1990s Peldor Festival would probably include this.)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:54 AM on November 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

(Especially one of the real-life couple in the cast, who at least in this episode seem to be the worst kissers in the quadrant.)

Right? I feel like everyone on-set must have just been standing there like Principal Rooney all "So that's how it is in their family". Or else the actors actually kiss unremarkably in real life, and wanted to play up the comedy for their on-screen kissing, but ended up going over the top into SNL-sketch-kissing territory.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:13 PM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

all the infatuations are hetero-only.

Is that surprising, though? As far as we know, these characters are heterosexual (or at least primarily heterosexual. Dax is the only one we know for sure is potentially pansexual, and Garak is... well, all we know for sure is that he's a kinky lizard.)

If the disease was making them experience irresistible same-sex attraction, that would have been a big deal in 1990-something Trek. The 1990s were a less tolerant era for LGBT themes in general, and dealing with sudden, irresistible same-sex attraction as just one plot thread in a light fantasy comedy story like this would have really shocked audiences and might have backfired and played more like horror movie stuff. It's not that I'm saying Trek should have waited to until audiences were ready for LGBT stuff! It's more that this rather frothy episode would have been an awkward one to deal with LGBT themes.

It would maybe be possible to do a Trek episode about an illness that changes sexual orientation, but the symbolism there could get pretty dodgy and given Trek's troubled history with LGBT stuff I think it would have to be a Very Special Episode indeed, super respectful and earnest. Even then it would probably be like The Outcast and disappoint many LGBT activists for not being direct enough. I thought Rejoined handled LGBT themes pretty well actually, but of course even that wasn't as good as just having LGBT on the station would've been.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:13 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I know the dangers of judging old art by new standards, but I think that they could have edged up to it just a skosh, without having a character go "eww not teh ghey". After all, Bashir emphasizes that the Space Disease of the Week only brought out "latent, subconscious attraction to others on the station", and that could have been used to suggest that not all of the main characters were absolute Kinsey 0s. (I should also probably steer away from talking about the episode that I wish they'd made, but sometimes it seems like they drive right up to the border of something really interesting, but don't quite cross it.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:46 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

If I were going to pick a good episode to out one of the characters, this probably wouldn't be the one I'd pick, but personally I never get tired of pointing out Star Trek heteronormativity, because I never stop noticing it.
posted by thetortoise at 11:07 PM on November 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

"I guess it was over the top."


"But what is over the top, after all?"

Look below you, Cap'n.
posted by zarq at 5:44 AM on November 2, 2015

I need to slow down my own rewatch and let the official rewatch catch up, that way I'm able to jump in on discussions for episodes like this one that are otherwise completely forgettable. I'm only half a season ahead and I had to look up the synopsis for this one.

This episode might have fit better as a TOS episode, but it doesn't work for DS9. Maybe even TNG could have pulled it off.

The worst part is we come out of the episode with zero consequences. The only real fun part was Jadzia and Sisko. They have such a long and unusual history, there is so much there to explore.
posted by 2ht at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2015

Apropos of nothing in particular, here's probably the best DS9 GIF ever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:12 PM on November 2, 2015 [13 favorites]

CBS has announced that they're rebooting ST:TOS as a streaming series through their pay service: CBS All Access.
"Little is being revealed about the series itself, except that it will introduce new characters who are continuing to seek out new worlds and new civilizations, CBS’s announcement states. It’s also not related to the upcoming film “Star Trek Beyond,” notes the network.

The series will be the fifth following the original series than ran on NBC from 1966-67. Other “Star Trek” series included “The Next Generation” (1987-1994), “Deep Space Nine” (1993-99), “Voyager:(1995-2001), and “Enterprise” (2001-05).

CBS All Access already offers every episode of all previous series.

“There is no better time to give ‘Star Trek’ fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios, in a release. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”

The only bad news…well, beyond the monthly price tag? CBS says the new show won’t launch until January 2017."

posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on November 2, 2015

posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:03 PM on November 2, 2015

I want to be excited about this, but hearing that one of the Nu-Trek guys is the executive producer is like a photon torpedo hit directly to my enthusiasm. That probably means it's set in the Nu-Trek timeline, with that Nu-Trek sensibility. Ick.

But, here's hoping it's not crap and at least looks and feels a little like Star Trek.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:15 PM on November 2, 2015

Here's the Metafilter FPP about the CBS announcement.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:45 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

See this comment.


I just want a Survivor: Galorndon Core t shit.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:04 PM
posted by zarq at 1:47 PM on November 2, 2015

I... actually... kinda... liked? this episode?

One thing I noticed while watching was the camera did lots of nice continuous take shots as we tracked through the Gratitude Festival. I also liked that there weren't any traditional conflict-based plotlines. It was kindof a fun imaginary exploration of relationships, with a really strong serious relationship story, the Miles-n-Keiko plotline, at the core.
posted by Slothrop at 1:55 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, if you go to the Memory Alpha article linked at the top and read down through the "Background" section, there are some notes on the production techniques. I found this interesting: "purple (a color forbidden from the Star Trek color palette due to its association with 'old science fiction artificiality') was allowed to be used."
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:09 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Well, purple and teal are the proper colors for Generic Religious or Cultural Observance.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:17 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I liked this episode, but I can understand why it's divisive. Reading the Memory Alpha link, it seems like even the cast or crew were sharply divided about whether it was cute and fun or embarrassing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:42 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Reading the Memory Alpha link also, I am reminded of one of the things that really worked for me - Terry Farrell's performance as an infatuated and pursuing Dax was very natural and engaging. She felt maybe... warmer..? in this role than she sometimes seemed. Plus I do think Majel Barrett/Lwaxana Troi may not get enough credit for what she brings to Trek. Her final scene with Odo was very nicely played in my mind. I really felt her pain at the unrequited infatuation she felt for Odo.
posted by Slothrop at 3:37 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Jake: "I love you, Nerys, d'ya wanna go you out with me?"

I liked this episode, there were parts that made me laugh, but I can see why people might not like it and take issue with things about it. One issue I have is that yet again it was only the main characters affected, yet Lwaxana walked all around the promenade and station, so there should have been tons of extras snogging in the background. They could have slipped in a bit of LGDTQ action in the background, which would have been kinda cool. At least TNG had men in skirts in the background in a couple of episodes.
posted by marienbad at 3:54 PM on November 2, 2015

Also, as I have now caught up with you all, what time are the episodes watched? Do you all watch at the same time, or how does it work?
posted by marienbad at 3:55 PM on November 2, 2015

I don't think anyone is watching the show at the same time. If they are, I'm not involved! I just watch the episodes on my iPad and then wait for the thread to come up and offer my two cents. These are all first watches for me as I did not see the show when it aired and have not ever owned it on DVD. I've been involved with MetaFilter for over a decade, but this has been one of the most fun things I have done on the site!
posted by Slothrop at 4:00 PM on November 2, 2015

Also, as I have now caught up with you all, what time are the episodes watched? Do you all watch at the same time, or how does it work?

The episode threads go up on Wednesdays & Sundays, so, I tend to watch on the day of or day before. I think the only organized viewing in FanFare is the MST3K club.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:17 PM on November 2, 2015

"I don't think anyone is watching the show at the same time. If they are, I'm not involved!"

I've been wanting to find someway to have a group viewing, and it can be done, but it would involve things that could cause problems if we actually tried to organize it. Which is to say that I've found plugins to sync a media player over the net that are playing the same file, and then a browser extension that can sync YouTube videos. It's also possible -- and I've done this in the past one-on-one -- to use a virtual webcam driver to play a video within a video chat app. Those are the various ideas I've had. And then there's the obvious thing of setting up a video streaming server and a web server or something like that. All of these things would involve rights violations and I'm okay with doing something like that with a couple of people I actually know, but if you were to try to organize something like that here you'd possibly end up getting the attention of someone who'd object and then possibly get MeFi in trouble.

It's really, really annoying because this really seems like a virtual version of a small group of people getting together at someone's house to watch a television show. Although actually, you can get into trouble doing that when it crosses some threshold into "public viewing" .

Anyway. This is "FanFare Talk" stuff and not really appropriate here, but gosh it would be so much more fun to have organized rewatches that are actually simultaneous group viewings with maybe IRC chatting in real time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:12 AM on November 3, 2015

> Also, as I have now caught up with you all, what time are the episodes watched? Do you all watch at the same time, or how does it work?

Well, I'm eight years in the future, so the potlucks are difficult to arrange.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:53 PM on December 9, 2023

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