I first heard about this episode from my beloved co-backup singer in Erin and Her Cello, Adam, who frequently watches the 3am G4 showings of TNG, but also frequently falls asleep while doing so. He explained this episode by saying everyone was “acting drunk and all sexy.”
I didn’t even need to hear any more; I put it on my queue immediately.
The episode begins with the Enterprise going to check out some ship, and when Picard is like “what’s up, other ship,” some woman with a sultry 1-900 voice answers and tells them there’s going to be a big blowout. Then there’s an explosion, and everyone is like “whaaaaat.” So they go to check out the other ship:
USS Party Bus
See that yellowish-orange thing in the lower right part of this pic? At first I thought it was a streamer, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be one of these. Yes, even in the 24th century, we are still using the same old twisty straw technology. Clearly, however, there was a “my parents are going out of town” level shindig here earlier, as evidenced by the craziness of the straws.
So the away team goes to investigate the rest of the ship and finds a lot of frozen naked people:
Artfully arranged hands and pieces of cloth = safe for TV
What I want to know about this shot is how much these extras got paid for being sprayed with fake Christmas snow and being naked. Is there a supplemental day rate for being flocked?
Walkin’ in a winter wonderland
The other thing about these people is that none of them are doing anything particularly party-like. I mean, sure, they’re all passed out, which makes sense, but not even ONE COUPLE was caught in flagrante delicto? Come on. That lady in the back there with one hand on her own boob is the most action anyone in the whole place is getting.
So Geordi tries to figure out what happened by poking around, when suddenly:
Extra Super Hold AquaNet, now in opaque
AAAAAA! Frozen naked dead lady! We all knew Geordi was awkward around women, but even for him, this is slumming it a little.
This is important – that Geordi touches this dead lady, because as we will soon learn, the people on this ship were infected with some sort of disease that made them a) act drunk, b) turn the heat on their ship way down and c) open the hatch TO SPACE. And touching is how this “disease” gets transmitted. We return to the Enterprise, where ladies are still wearing minidresses:
I think I can see cheek back there
And Wesley is doing a science project and wearing another goddamn sweater:
The sweater is knitted from tears
This one is not nearly as bad as that monstrosity from this episode, but still: what, what, what are those shoulders? And this collar, which I think is actually part of a tire:
Michelin Man, eat your heart out
I wish I could touch that sweater. It looks like it’s made of a window screen, or razor wire. I want it to hurt when I look at Wesley to remind me of what an obnoxious twerp he is. (Side note: please remember to separate Wesley from Wil Wheaton here, because Wil Wheaton? IS AWESOME.)
So Wesley, as he often does, makes this little baby tractor beam and uses it to lift up this chair:
Sally Jessy Raphael called, she wants her chair back
This is only important because it has some bearing on the plot, and also this chair is hilariously ugly.
Now, because Geordi touched that naked lady earlier, he is “infected” with some sort of disease that basically just makes you feel drunk: you get really warm, and also really touchy-feely, which is great, because then the disease can spread. So we get a lot of shots like this:
Because this is a first-season episode, it’s…well…it’s kind of bad. Okay, really bad. Like, “I don’t know how this show stayed on for seven whole seasons” bad. The rest of the show is basically everyone contracting this disease, acting drunk, and passing it to someone else.
The thing I don’t understand about this is: this is the THIRD EPISODE. Of the WHOLE SHOW. Like, I enjoyed the episode from a fan standpoint, because I know all these characters and how they normally act. But when this first aired, no one knew these characters, so the whole “wackiness” doesn’t work.
Like, seeing Tasha Yar “try on” Troi’s scarves is semi-amusing:
Troi: stockpiler of chiffon
Are these clothes? That Troi wears? Yar says something like “you’re always so fashionable when you’re off duty,” but these do not appear to actually be clothes, just big swaths of fabric.
Not a clothes
What is she planning? A dance of the seven veils? On a beach?
In the 24th century, being a Deadhead is like being into Ren Faire
I wonder if the replicator can make weed.
So Yar goes down to Engineering, where we have another documented miniskirt uniform:
Underbutt is the new cleavage
That’s it, ensign…just reach up a little farther. There is something REALLY off about all the proportions here. The skirt needs to be a little longer, the boots a little taller (and sans wedge, but that’s a personal preference). She does have great gams, though. Leg casting!
Subsequently, Yar basically infects all of Engineering, starting with this guy:
Set phasers to love me
This culminates in ALL of Engineering being tipsy, led by second-in-command Shimoda in a weird jumpsuit:
Putting the “gin” in “Engineering”
That is a bad jumpsuit, Shimoda. And I honestly think that if I was in Starfleet, I would specifically not be in Engineering just to avoid that terrible mustard yellow that looks good on like 1% of people. Also, what is guy on the far left doing there? Looking at that woman’s back? “I think I saw an oddly-shaped mole there.” The rest of them look like the cast of a Saved by the Bell knockoff. “We’re friends, so we touch each other semi-awkwardly!!”
Oh, by the by – while this has all been going on, Wesley Crusher has TAKEN CONTROL OF ENGINEERING by using his tractor beam and a little device he created that can mimid Picard’s voice. So basically the ship is being run by a child.
I named Totino’s Pizza Rolls my first officer
Meanwhile, in Tasha Yar’s quarters:
Underboob is now the new underbutt
First of all, this is a really interesting interpretation of “sexy.” Yes, more skin is more sexy, Tasha, but in my interactions with human males, the few that there have been, they have seemed to show a preference for boobs and shoulders rather than abs and…lower sternum. You have taken that expectation and tipped it on its head. (In your defense, your abs are pretty nice.)
Also, did you craft that top out of Troi’s chiffon stash? You know you don’t have to do that, right? That you live on a starship with a thing that will produce any item of clothing for you? Well, at least your hair is…uh…
Featuring Denise Crosby as Roxie Hart
It’s sort of shellacked. Anti-sexy, Tasha. But it doesn’t matter! Because you are trying to seduce AN ANDROID. Who is “fully functional,” we learn:
I guess Data is “programmed in multiple techniques” so that he can be closer to human, but it’s just really creepy, y’all. But Tasha ain’t care:
Get down, you
She has no back to her shirt, and no shame. This disease will ruin us!! Also I don’t know how those pants (or skirt…it’s never really clear) are staying up, at all, but I guess she was only planning to keep them on briefly anyway.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is what an android looks like after he’s banged a colleague:
He then launched into a full-scale vaudeville number
So this mutual seduction basically just happens with all the usual suspects, starting with Riker and Troi:
Cannot…resist…a million braids
If there’s one thing Cosmo has gotten right (and I think it’s just that one), it’s that updos are not actually sexy, because they’re so involved. You want to leave your hair down so they want to touch it, or something. That’s why I don’t even own a hairbrush. But Riker doesn’t care! He’s drunk on…something.
Picard and Crusher get into it, obviously:
I need you to examine my organ, doctor
Hey! A neck zipper! I have been wondering where the points of ingress were on those uniforms. They always seemed like they had no fasteners of any kind, which is impressive, but would be frustrating for bathroom times and sexytimes alike.
So all these hijinks culminate in the ship being endangered and Wesley somehow saving EVERYONE since the rest of engineering is off cavorting, except for the chief engineer, who wears a French twist:
Oh, and they find a cure by searching the ship’s computers for other incidents like this, and find a cure based on this episode of TOS. WEAK, guys. Weak, and kind of a ripoff. This episode is like your* loser sibling: you know it’s awful, but you love it anyway because it’s yours. Don’t watch it unless you’re already a fan, and even then, you may want to get a little drunk yourself before you dive in (just like you do when you hang out with that loser sibling).
If nothing else, we got a tipsy Picard (which is great, because Patrick Stewart is great), who gave Bev a little wave as she sauntered away:
Bye bye bye
*I do mean YOUR, as in you, not me, because most of my siblings have advanced degrees and all of them are rad.