Saturday, February 16, 2008


Last night I watched the Star Trek TOS episodes "A Private Little War" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion."

Each was troubling for a variety of reasons.

To being with, "Private Little War" is truly worthy of a Ph.D. dissertation of its own analyzing its twisted justification of American intervention in Vietnam. Remember this is 1968. In a thinly veiled parallel, Kirk ends up giving guns to a peaceful population so they can protect themselves against the bad villagers the Klingons have armed.

Then, I really wonder, What is up with all the bondage/domination S/M trips on Star Trek?
Not infrequently present as an undercurrent, it is blatant in "Gamesters," as dominators force Kirk to don a "training harness" and "collar of obedience," and he is chained and whipped for their pleasure--and, presumably, ours.
I seem to be missing something--why is this sort of power-play so prevelent in this show? I mean, besides the entertainment value, what's going on psychologically and politically (not to mention spiritually and grammatically)?

But, in fact, all that's not my point here.
I really wanted to talk about these episodes' unusually excellently bad costumes.

The Mugatu monster ape in "Little War" is my favorite of the Fun-Fur-clad actors leaping about like toy Yetis. The Mugatu actor wears what looks like a do-it-yourself craft project, all white shag with a ridge of rubber spikes down its back.
I would have loved to be the one who got to wrestle Kirk to the ground and bite him. (You see, I get this kind of thing when it's a fake monster.)

In "Gamesters," the "thrall" slave Shahna wears the silliest swimming-suit-like costume ever. It appears to be made from industrial tin foil, and it doesn't really fit her very well. She also has ridiculous puffy, stiff green hair and makeup to match--I'm surprised she could blink her eyes with all that mascara.
(What was it like for the actors to kiss each other in all that makeup?)

But my favorite detail is the big alien lunk who the dominators "select" to mate with Uhura. Maybe it's because I live in a part of the country with many people of Scandinavian descent, but when they call him by his name, I burst out laughing.
His name is Lars.

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