Friday, April 27, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Other Guys"

Stargate SG-1 has had mixed results with comedic episodes in the past. The show does not take itself too seriously to begin with--who could forget Osiris sadistically taunting Thor with impending torture while his tiny tootsies are sticking out from shackles--so when the theme is to be deliberately funny, the humor often goes way, way over the top. I had concerns with the premise of “The Other Guys” such would be the case. Not so. As a sci fi geek who can poke fun at the trappings of the genre, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode.

The SG-1 team is literally babysitting a group of civilian scientists on a remote planet. The three scientists are complete dweebs. Jay Felger is fannish about SG-1’s adventures in general and jack’s exploits in particular. Simon Coombs is a nerd obsessed with Star Trek, which is funny since he is played by ENT‘s John Billingsley. Meyers is the straight laced guy who follows orders and always carries a roll of duct tape around like MacGyver. When it appears a Goa’uld ship has ambushed and captured the SG-1 team, Felger disobeys orders to return to Earth and mounts a rescue, dragging the brilliant, but bumbling Coombs reluctantly with him.

What could have been a silly Inspector Gadget-type adventure wherein the two incompetent heroes manage to save the day against a superior force by completely screwing everything up is turned on its ear by a couple of surprising twists. First, the capture was a ruse in order to meet up with the Tok’ra operative posing as the Goa’ulds Khonsu. Khonsu has information about where Anubis is getting his technology. Felger and coombs have to be hidden for their own safety so as not to compromise the mission. In hiding, they witness Khonsu’s First Prime, Her’ak, discover the rebel Jaffa working for the Tok’ra Khonsu and plot to take over his army. It is then that Felger and Coombs truly become heroes by saving the SG-1 team, complete with plenty of references from Star Trek and other science fiction franchises.

“The Other Guys” is loaded down with references: Coombs thinks all scientists should worship at the Altar of Roddenberr. He expresses his fear of going on the rescue mission by saying he feels like he is wearing a red shirt. When Khonsu is killed by Her’ak, he really is wearing a red shirt. There is a bat’leth hanging on the wall behind Khonsu when he is killed. Fleger and Coombs crawl through ventilation shafts much like Jeffries tubes. Heck, there is even a reference to bathrooms being onboard Goa’uld ships, but not on Federation vessels.

There are numerous self-references, too. Felger echoes Jack’s comments a few episodes back about a sociopolitical nerd ruining the team’s coolness by saying the scientists are having the same effect. Sam teases Jonas about not smiling over his first capture by the Goa’uld since he has been visibly happy about his other firsts. Jack mocks the Goa’uld for not making grandiose enough speeches about their evil plan. The SG-1 team complains about yet again being imprisoned for their own safety. So on and so on. You get the idea.

The humor is all good fun without getting to silly. The only ridiculous part, wherein Felger and Coombs are awarded metals and Felger is passionately kissed by Sam, turn out to be a daydream from Felger. It is a nice way to cap off the episode. I would prefer to smooch Frasier, but one should never turn down a kiss from a pretty woman. Sam qualifies. But back to the point, “The Other Guys” is much better than I was expecting. Not only in regards to the humor, but there is is also a lot of action and ties to the over all sixth season story arc.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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