3.20 – Tin Man

So, as we all know, some episodes are goldmines of bizarre fashion choices, and some have nothing but uniforms (in the spreadsheet we use to keep track of which episodes we’ve done, Anna has written “Only Uniforms” next to a few). This was almost one of those episodes. There was only one major guest star in this episode, and it happens to be Harry Groener, who you may remember from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 3. The first video to pop up on a search for “The Mayor Buffy” was this weird music video compilation to a song by a band called Rasputina entitled “The Mayor”. It sounded slightly catchy, and only now am I realizing that it’s possible that the song is about the character? But that seems farfetched.

Anyway, in this episode, Harry plays a Betazoid named Tam Elbrun who used to be a patient of Deanna’s. When I brought up the episode to start doing my screengrabs, it was frozen on Deanna’s face like this, so I figured it was as good a way as any to kick things off:

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You blinked, Deanna.

Now Tam is so crazy psychic that he’s a Starfleet ambassador who specializes in first contact, because he can read everyone’s minds SO DARN WELL. Unfortunately, he has the personality of a sulky gay kid who grows up in the country and knows he’s smarter than everyone else and is tired of explaining why.

But why let me tell you what he’s like, when I can just show you the bizarre clothes they put him in.

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I call this pose “if you make one wrong move I’ll tear your weave out with my teeth.”

There’s obviously a lot to take in here. First of all, in classic 24th Century style, the mixing of different shades of the same hue is not only not wrong, it’s practically required. “Well, how would you know which pants go with which shirt and belt if they weren’t all roughly the same color? Sure you may look like mint chip milkshake thrown into a swamp, but who cares? Ice cream and swamps don’t exist in this century anyway.”

Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

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I don’t want to knock a guy for having a receding hairline, but what crazy hairstylist on this show decided it should be teased that high? It’d be one thing if they were going for a Grease-style ‘do, but give this guy a break. I know, I know, it was the early nineties—America’s most popular television personality was Jerry Seinfeld, and, well, we’ve basically got a blond version of that here. In a weird way, if you look at the next picture, it almost looks like by the end of the episode (where the above shot was taken from) he’s gone more bald. Anyway. On to the top. 

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Though to be fair, I’m pretty sure Tam isn’t a top…

Now, I think most people will know that between me and Anna, she’s the more stylish of the two of us, and also the more industrious. I’ll write a thing just as much as she does, but once she starts sewing shit and making things, I just go and take a nap. What I’m saying is, I don’t know this for sure, but I imagine there was an intern somewhere in the costume department at Paramount (I actually couldn’t readily find out which studio the show was filmed at… thanks for NOTHING internet!) who had to sew in all those little rivulets or whateverthefuck they are. It gives the illusion that he’s a giant plant, and his head is some weird aberration that grew out of a leaf.

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I can retract my head in case of danger.

I mean, there’s not much more to say about this… can we call it a neckline? For some reason “throatline” seems more appropriate, other than WOW, if this guy is such a good telepath, how did he not pick up on the pain that this outfit is causing everyone’s brains around him? And I haven’t even gotten to the pants yet.

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Greensleeves.

So before we move on to those pants (and don’t you worry, we’ll get there), we can see that this weird poofy flutes motif/travesty has also moved on to his arms. For a while I was feeling like this outfit was bizarrely RenFair-y (I suppose Tam is a bit of a RenFairy), but then I realized that a RenFair outfit would have a little more color, some trim or an accent or something. Instead we just get these odd cuffs that go the entire length of the forearm, and probably make your elbows sweat real bad under those studio lights. One more thing to address before the pants.

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Sorry, I was out late last night at the Enterprise’s hottest new club: Turbolift. Club owner Will T. Spike-her is back, and he is running at warp 9. They have everything: Doctor Crusher dressed in a skin-tight garbage bag, Data’s cat Spot swimming in a pool full of Klingon bloodwine, and DJ LaGorge spinning records wearing nothing but Deanna Troi’s wig and a kilt, which is crazy because he’s blind. (If this confuses you, click here.)

OH GOD THOSE PANTS! Focus, Charlie. All I wanted to say here, other than why would you design this size shirt for this size man, is what is going on in the whole belt area? For some reason the shirt splits below the belt, but it isn’t a button-up shirt? So the leaves part just to make sure you don’t piss on the shirt? Like, literally, try and imagine what this garment would look like if you took off the (again, green) belt. It would be like if you took a pair of scissors to a Kermit the Frog Halloween costume and sliced it up to the navel.

Okay, now for the pants. There’s a lot going on here, but before we get into anything else, it seriously does not look like the costume department put in a crotch. Are these on forward? Who knows? What if Tam needs to pee? Funny I should ask that, as there were several shots of his back throughout this episode and there’s something funny going on…

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Ribbed for whose pleasure?

Okay, I guess we have to take a second to talk about WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH THOSE PANT LEGS. Imagine again that poor costuming intern, having diligently created this shitty-looking top, and then her boss comes and says, “I think for the pants we’re going to do some pleating.” She says, “you mean, like a pair of khakis?” “No, dear, we’re going to do diagonal pleats from the hips to the ankles. Hope you didn’t have any plans tonight!” Pleat may not even be the right word. Take a look at that shot of the sleeves up above. What is happening there? Are those vents? Why would you have a piece of clothing do something like that? How far up do those little lips of fabric go? Sigh.

Anyway, look at the picture above… look at the center of his back. Do you see it? Here, let me get you another shot:

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When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get sprung… in back…?

Yes, ladies and gentleman, what we are looking at in this shot is a back boner. And that is why Betazoids don’t need pants that open in front, because their wangs are in the back. All this by way of saying that at the end of the episode (and I’m not going to try and explain what happens because it’s not worth it), when Deanna does this, it’s pretty fucking disturbing:

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“What do you mean Dr. Soong didn’t install a Betazoid attachment?”

Aaaanyway, that’s really it for the fashions, though there was a brief appearance by a Romulan:

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“We’re training our rabid pit bull, so I have to wear protective clothing at all times.”

I mean, what really is there to say about the Romulans anymore, amirite or amirite?

The only other fun things I want to share with you are 1) some fantastic space-acting by Picard and Riker… the ship gets pushed out of the way of a supernova, and instead of doing the normal camera-shake trick (which was revealed to me in the episode of Reading Rainbow where LeVar goes to the set of TNG!!! BEST EPISODE EVER), they do a strange spinning thing. This is how Picard and Riker try and sell it:

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No, Patrick, I don’t know where you went wrong either.

Actually, if anyone is actually acting in this shot, it’s Deanna. YOU GRIP THAT SEAT, GIRL!

2) As I was navigating through the episode to find the screenshots, there were a couple of nice moments highlighted by the freeze frame. I call this first one: “No, I swear, I’m really not jealous of either of your lustrous hair.”

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I’m not buying it, Picard.

3) And lastly, this fantastic moment, which, really, is worth everything always forever.

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“Commander, if you don’t stop that immediately I will beat you to death with my metal sash.”

All right, folks! That’s it! I’m out!

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