Saturday, June 13, 2009

Star Trek--"The Trouble with Tribbles"

We have reached what is likely the most iconic TOS episode. “The trouble with Tribbles” alternates with “The City on the Edge of Forever” on virtually every bst list you would care to name. The latter comes out on top for me, not just because I am a huge Harlan Ellison fan, but “Tribbles” just does not measure up to its hype.

Blasphemy, I know. The humor is too over the top for my taste. the characters are practically parodying themselves. Kirk is more of a jerk than he should be, Chekov claims more inventions are actually Russian than ever before, Scotty is an abrasive drunk prone to bar fights, mcCoy’s old country doctor routine goes way too far, and spock falling under the tranquil spell of the tribbles was predictably silly.

Speaking of Scotty having a dark side, no one ever seems to note or care that the Klingons most certainly killed the tribbles he beamed over to their ship. It was revealed in DS9 the Klingons discovered the tribble home world and destroyed it. one wonders if Scotty's act was the catalyst.

I will grant the tribbles were a neat creation. One of trek’s major faults is its lack of creativity in non humaniod aliens. Witness the flying pancakes/fake barf in ’Operation: Annihilate!” tribbles were a great step in the right direction. Looking ahead, there are not many subsequent alien looking creatures in any future trek to compare.

I will also give some major credit for broadening the klingons here. The story takes them out of the typical Cold War allegory sparring--although they and the federation are competing over Sherman’s Planet in the background--and makes them a more well rounded villain. It will not happen often until Ronald D. Moore becomes the go to Klingon writer on TNG and DS9 a couple decades later, so savor it while you can.

I sound like I am way down on ’The Trouble with tribbles.” I am really not. It is a fun episode. But it does not merit the accolades it gets. Call it the folly of youth, but I much more enjoyed theDS9 follow up “Trials and Tribblations.” it added a few more interesting elements, sych as a plot to assassinate Kirk, clarified why the tribbles kept sporadically falling on kirk from the silo (Sisko and dax were looking for one with a bomb in it), commented on why Klingons have developed large ridges, and even reconciled why a crewmen with lieutenant insignia was called an ensign. Perhaps it is because I am more a DS9 fan than TOS, I cannot see the popular appeal of “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment