Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Family Business   Rewatch 
December 16, 2015 7:50 AM - Season 3, Episode 23 - Subscribe

Quark and Rom's Moogie Introduces Feminism to Ferenginar.

Trivia (cribbed from here and here.)
* First appearance of Ishka, Quark and Rom's mother, played by Andrea Martin
* First time Trek visits the Ferengi homeworld, eight years after the race was introduced.
* First mention of the Ferengi Commerce Authority (FCA).
* First appearance by FCA Liquidator Brunt, played by Jeffrey Combs.
* First appearance of Freighter Captain Kasidy Danielle Yates, played by Penny Johnson

* Emmy and Tony award-winning comedienne Andrea Martin's first and only appearance as Ishka. She originated the character, but disliked the makeup so much that she declined to reprise the role in future episodes.

* Ishka's head-piece for this episode was based on that worn by Wallace Shawn as Zek, and was designed to look almost caricature-like, with drooping lobes and large jowls. For the scene when her knees are seen, makeup supervisor Michael Westmore even designed drooping kneecaps. For the shot where her shoulders and the top of her chest were exposed, Westmore didn't have time to create a proper foam-latex appliance, so he rubberized Kleenex, and wrinkled it, laying it across Andrea Martin's shoulders and on the upper portion of her chest. According to Westmore, Martin was not amused by the makeup.

* Ira Steven Behr: "I don't think it was quite the Ferengi version of Long Day's Journey into Night, but it's about as pure a Ferengi show as you can get. This year we've accomplished two very good episodes for the Ferengi. "Prophet Motive" was a flat-out comedy with nothing else but humor. Then we did "Family Business", which was much more serious. I thought there was some wonderful stuff between Rom and Quark, and the fight was good and surprising. I thought Andrea Martin was very good. The relationships were all nice, and it was an interesting look at the Ferengi homeworld."

* Kasidy mentions that her brother lives and plays baseball on Cestus III which had previously appeared in the Original Series episode "Arena". The fact that there are once again Human colonists living on the planet suggest that the Federation and the Gorn Hegemony finally put aside their differences in the interim between the two episodes. The baseball team he plays for is called the 'Pike City Pioneers', presumably named after the character of Christopher Pike from the original Star Trek show "The Cage"

* The new runabout USS Rubicon is given its name in this episode, replacing the USS Mekong, which was destroyed at the Battle of the Omarion Nebula in "The Die is Cast" The name "Rubicon" continues the theme of DS9's runabouts being named after Earth's rivers -- something Kira comments on during the episode. It is also another reference to Julius Caesar, continuing that continuity from "Improbable Cause" and "The Die is Cast," which had several Caesar references.

* Quark's mother saves his old childhood action figures, which happen to be re-dressed Ferengi action figures from Playmates' TNG action figure line of the mid-90s. Quark's figures would make another appearance in the fifth season episode "Ferengi Love Songs"

* When Quark and Rom are arguing about their father, Quark puts his hands over his lobes. Sharp-eyed observers will notice a mistake: his fingers make impressions on his foam rubber skull.

Quotes
Kira: "The 'Rubicon' it is. You know, the rate we go through runabouts, it's a good thing the Earth has so many rivers."
--
Quark: [to Rom] "That's how it begins. All it takes is for one impressionable youngster to join Starfleet, and the next thing you know, a whole generation of Ferengi will be quoting the Prime Directive and abandoning the pursuit of latinum. It's the end of Ferengi civilization as we know it, and it's all your fault!"
--
Ferengi Blessing:
Quark: "My house is my house."
Brunt: "As are its contents."
--
Quark: "Females are not allowed to earn profit!"
Ishka: "Why not?"
Quark: "Because it's the law, and without law, society would descend into chaos."
Ishka: "If you ask me, this society could use a little chaos."
--
posted by zarq (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think it was quite the Ferengi version of Long Day's Journey into Night

I'm going to remember this every time I watch this episode.
posted by thetortoise at 8:35 AM on December 16, 2015


I enjoyed the little details of Ferengi society they've added in to this episode, beyond the whole fucked-up gender relations thing. The welcoming ritual is an especially nice touch.


I also love that Andrea Martin made an appearance on DS9.


Kira's line about the runabouts is also fantastic, and I love the joy that Jadzia seems to take in inserting herself into others' personal lives. It's a little detail of her personality that Terry Farrel really nails.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's funny how far the Ferengi have come by now, starting as (miserably) failed TNG villains and developing into this whole culture with their own customs and history. The more we learn about Ferengi, the more their world and their society come to seem rich and real. They never stop being funny, but we can understand how things work there a lot more easily than we could ever understand how things worked for Klingons. (People cheat each other endlessly, but somehow society goes on. That makes sense to us. But how does a huge, spacefaring culture work when seemingly every dispute is resolved by combat to the death?)

This one was directed by Rene Auberjonois, and he was a great choice. He's got all that experience working under heavy makeup himself and he and Shimerman are both excellent actors who have done a lot of theater work and take these characters seriously, so they really dig in and find some tense drama among the comedy here. Who ever would have imagined that Quark and Rom would have a fight like that, and that it would be such genuinely grim stuff?

Quark is kind of an asshole in this one, but his assholery always just makes it sweeter when he comes around to acting on his better impulses. A lot of Quark stories are about him throwing off everything he's been taught is right, and admitting to himself that he's not as greedy and selfish and awful as he wants to be. The series ends with him once more digging in his heels, declaring that he's the last of the old-fashioned Ferengi. But what he never, ever seems to understand is that his culture is becoming more like him, that other Ferengi are throwing off the old ways too. He represents exactly the kind of change he's railing against.

It's funny, just recently we had a fun little run of episodes that were much more "weird sci-fi plot" based, and now we're having a run that goes deeper into character stuff. This and Explorers are both episodes where the sci-fi is really kind of background, and we're focusing on conflicts that are more personal. Here it's all set on a planet of weird toad people and actors wearing rubber heads are arguing about whether women should wear clothes in public, but the emotions under that are easy to understand. It's a big family mess, and those are universal.

The actress who replaced Andrea Martin did a fine job, because it wasn't until the series was over that I found out the character hadn't been played by Martin all along. (Of course, all those pounds of prosthetics and the monster teeth and stuff probably helped hide the change.)

I don't know if it's a "mistake" that Quark can leave finger marks in his skull. Maybe Ferengi just have squishy heads!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:04 AM on December 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also kind of love that around this time, the producers really started to develop a coherent visual language for Ferengi design and fashion. And it wasn't...terrible?

I mean, Quark's suits are a nightmare of clashing '90s textile designs, but they sort of make sense for him and how he sees himself- a bar owner, with some underworld connections, kind of a flashy dresser, but with a more serious side, befitting the eldest son in a family.

At least it's better than the horrible pajamas they were still dressing Jake in.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every time I see a Ferengi synopsis on Netflix, I think "Oh this is going to be a detour. It will be boring or [x] and I won't like it."

I have no idea why I think that. I'm really coming around to the idea that Armin Shimerman was the star of the show. I still love Andrew Robinson the most, but it's amazing what they did on DS9 with a character, Quark, who was ostensibly just a bit part and a stereotype. Max Grodencik is stellar, as well. His turn to set his brother and mother straight was terrific!
posted by Slothrop at 10:23 AM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


(A bit late on my comments, but I just got around to rewatching this tonight, since I won't be seeing the latest entry in That Other Franchise until this weekend.) This is probably one of the best Ferengi episodes, especially as Ishka will come back, and so will Brunt, FCA. Even if it's only Jeffrey Combs' second-best recurring DS9 character, Brunt is still a great contrast both to Quark and to Odo. Brunt seems pretty close to Quark in their views about Ferengi traditionalism, although that will change, and if Brunt will come to seem to be more than a little vindictive, it's nonetheless in the manner of a by-the-book cop. Compare his attitude to Odo's; even if Odo seems to enjoy his cat and mouse game with Quark quite a lot, I think that it's implicit that he also understands Quark's importance to the station's operation and overall culture. It's also always great to see Rom stop being a doormat, even if only for a minute.

Also, in terms of family caring for each other, it was very touching to see people take an interest in Sisko dating. Even if people don't know just how bad it was on the Saratoga during the Battle of Wolf 359, they obviously are rooting for Sisko to get back into the dating game, and he in turn clearly understands that and isn't too irritated at their interest.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:54 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Quark is kind of an asshole in this one, but his assholery always just makes it sweeter when he comes around to acting on his better impulses. A lot of Quark stories are about him throwing off everything he's been taught is right, and admitting to himself that he's not as greedy and selfish and awful as he wants to be. The series ends with him once more digging in his heels, declaring that he's the last of the old-fashioned Ferengi. But what he never, ever seems to understand is that his culture is becoming more like him, that other Ferengi are throwing off the old ways too. He represents exactly the kind of change he's railing against.

I've talked about this before, but Ferengi episodes like this one give me warm happy feelings and remind me of my family. This is a little hard to explain if you didn't grow up with a small business being a big part of your life (Bob's Burgers comes the closest for me after DS9 but lacks the very Jewish inflection). Even the sexism, the least endearing Ferengi quality, and its progress through the course of the show reminds me of the shift from my grandparents' generation to my parents' (only boys know how to run a business, etc.)

I mean, Quark's suits are a nightmare of clashing '90s textile designs, but they sort of make sense for him and how he sees himself- a bar owner, with some underworld connections, kind of a flashy dresser, but with a more serious side, befitting the eldest son in a family.

I fucking love Quark's costumes for all these reasons, especially that pink-and-blue tie-dye-lookin' masterpiece-of-tacky-bricolage jacket. If I ever do cosplay (good lord, the makeup), it's what I'm doing.

At least it's better than the horrible pajamas they were still dressing Jake in.
My wife always points out that Cirroc Lofton's unexpected growth spurt means that they were dressing him like Bea Arthur for several seasons. But, as Jake probably always reminds himself, at least he's not Wesley.

Jeffrey Combs' performance as Brunt, FCA, is the best use of the impediment of fake teeth to further vocal characterization I can think of.
posted by thetortoise at 10:51 PM on December 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hadn't realized that Combs played Brunt as well.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:24 AM on December 23, 2015


FWIW, Quark's awesome pastel jacket sold for $5,040 in 2006...
posted by kaibutsu at 12:09 AM on July 22


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