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May 21, 2009

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Oh, thank you so much for making my post look SO nice. The photos add so much to it. Great choices!

Not sure if you knew, but Nichelle Nichols had an affair with her old "Trek" boss, Gene Roddenberry.

Old news, Adam. Old news. (I don't think Hollywood can be considered the military, either.)

Thank you, Adam, for stopping by. I'm so glad you brought that up.

I am aware of Nichelle's affair with Gene. I wanted to concentrate on the characterization of Uhura in reference to her status as a pop culture icon.

I'm also under the impression that Nichelle had strong opinions about Uhura's characterization and was well aware, especially after Dr. King talked to her, of the iconic potential of Uhura.

Well, the whole premise of the movie was supposed to be an alternate time line, so what was is changed. On the other hand, Spock was not born differently even if he lost his mother sooner that originally, and the whole affair with Ohura was wayyyyyyyy out of character. That rankles. Someone commented on the underwire bra she showed in one scene (ugh! this need to have naked women) actually cause laughter in the audience I was in. There was a big SF group there, and they hooted at several scenes where the 'movie' people had no capability for futurism. The phone, the car, the bra were present day junk that the 'mundane' had no clue about.
(Remember, 'mundane' is used in SF the way muggles is used in Harry Potter. And also please remember that the SF community is larger than the trekkie community.

Pat, I'm the one who commented on the underwire bra. Yeah, I was disappointed at the movie's failure to envision the future. The bra was just one example of where it missed the mark.

My sons (ages 16 and 14) saw the movie with me on Mothers' Day and have been watching episodes from the original series since then. They're amazed by the difference in Uhura's characterization as portrayed in the new movie. In original Trek, she comes off as intelligent and professional, a member of Kirk's "cabinet" that he listens to when making decisions. In the movie, she's decoration with a waspish tongue.

Maybe the producers thought that the movie represented one giant leap for mankind, but it's one giant tumble backwards onto the fanny for women. Makes me wonder what they'll do with the character of Christine Chapel.

Hi, Patg - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I think I remember the days when the SF community bunched Trekkies into "media SF" or "media SciFi" (there's a difference, my aging brain tells me.)

But I do know that Hollyweird thinks that the audience relates better to a futuristic story if some recognizable elements/props -- like phones, cars and Victoria's Secret balconette bras -- are on the scene.

Hi, Suzanne - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I'm glad your sons are getting to see the Original Series while the new movie is fresh in their memories.

Your comment also reminded me of a phrase for a new "stock character" that seems to have arisen on, of all things, reality TV.

Your comment of the New Uhura as "decoration with a waspish tongue" reminds me of a character type that was recognized a few years ago - the "evil sistah." Check out this TV review previewing "The Apprentice:" http://tinyurl.com/q6hxzl

We'll wait. Come right back. :)

So, whaddya think? Is it possible that they turned Uhura into the "evil sistah," ala vintage Omarosa?

Rhonda, since I've never seen "The Apprentice," it's hard for me to judge Omarosa's character. The character of Uhura in the original series possessed the ability to unfold dimensions of herself for the viewer -- what I'd expect of a human being. I cannot say the same for Uhura in the movie. That's typically a reaction I have to stock characters.

Rhonda, you commented to Pat: "Hollyweird thinks that the audience relates better to a futuristic story if some recognizable elements/props -- like phones, cars and Victoria's Secret balconette bras -- are on the scene." Must be why aliens on the screen express affection by kissing. That's always annoyed me. Not all human societies express affection by kissing. Do you supposed Hollywood also does this because no one has the imagination to come up with other, non-X-rated expressions of affection?

Hi, Suzanne - Thanks for continuing the discussion. You make some good points.

Sulu and Scotty in the movie had more to do than Uhura did. Come to think of it, Chekhov's character got marginalized, too. The concentration on his accent made him mostly comic relief. He really deserved better, too.

As for the lack of imagination in Hollywood - well, that's probably all too true. But it's also harder than we might think because they have to represent everything visually. Talk about "show, don't tell."

On an episode of ST:Enterprise, Trip accidentally had sex through a non-traditional means with a female alien. Although the scene was played sensually, but not overtly so, we were just as surprised when what had happened was finally revealed as was Trip.

On another related note, I didn't see any gadgets in the movie that might inspire young geeks, like objects in TOS eventually became cell phones, Bluetooth headsets and e-readers.

So, it's cheaper and faster to not invent any new objects. Even though presenting possibilities was one of the neatest things about the old series.

Talk about boldly going where no Star Trek franchise has gone before…

To tell the truth, I kind of liked the new Uhura. And much to my surprise, I am really okay with the whole Uhura/Spock connection. In fact, it’s one of the things that will bring me back to future ST movies – if only to find out what happens to them. Now granted, I’ve only seen the movie once, and I may change my mind on second viewing, but for now, I’m intrigued.

I found the “alternate” Uhura refreshingly multi-dimensional when compared to the original. Accepting that this is supposed to be pre-TOS and an “alternate universe” –and hopefully the first “episode” of the new franchise - I thought Uhura presented a nice mix of human tenderness and vulnerability, babe-in-uniform sexiness, and tough minded career-military-woman-to-be. This Uhura is, after all, quite young, barely more than a cadet just graduated from the Academy. I could see foreshadows of the serious-minded professional she may one day evolve into, but also that she was not there, yet. I was actually reminded of the female characters from TV’s now defunct “Space: Above and Beyond.” When first out of training and thrust into their first major crisis, those young officers were also idealistic, inexperienced, and naive. They toughened up, became more professional and grew into their responsibilities as the show progressed. I would like to see the same sort of growth for this new Uhura, and I’m glad that the writers left her somewhere to go as a character.

And as far as the Spock/Uhura thing goes, while it was certainly unexpected, I found it surprisingly plausible in this alternate Star Trek universe. Granted, the scene on the transporter pad was gratuitous and way too public, but I thought the other “encounters” were nicely done and convincing enough, given the way we were set up for Spock’s “human side.” I thought the scene in the elevator where Uhura privately comforts Spock for the loss of his mother and his home-world was especially nice. Spock’s half-hearted resistance, and then grief stricken surrender, was beautiful.

That Uhura would pursue a relationship with Spock is believable for so many reasons. First, he’s hot. Second, as a Vulcan, he’s supposed to be emotionally unattainable, (and that’s hot.) Third, he’s hot. Fourth, he’s brilliant, focused, repressed, and “just vulnerable enough, though he won’t admit it.” Fifth, he’s hot. Sixth, he’s no mindless party-boy. (Somehow, I can’t quite see Uhura with some hard-drinking, trashing talking, brawling cadet… she obviously thought pre-Academy Kirk was an idiot.) Seventh, he’s hot. Eighth, he wants her, (he is half human, after all,) and the idea noticeably unsettles him. Ninth, he’s hot… And tenth, he opens up to her when he won’t open up to anyone else – and that’s really hot!

The fact that Spock, as her superior, is also a little bit off limits only adds to the allure. Granted, the fact that he is now her commanding officer aboard ship is going to complicate things. (And add more great story potential.) But at least in the beginning they were bending more rules than flat out breaking them. If memory serves, their relationship started at the Academy – before Spock was her commanding officer. Okay – so maybe he was her teacher, or advisor, (that was a little unclear,) and that, too, is seriously frowned upon. But then again, she wouldn’t be the first to get involved with her prof. (Show of hands, anyone?) Besides, ST has typically not been all that strict when it comes to inter-rank and inter-ship relationships. I seem to remember a wedding, in ST: TOS, between a senior and junior officer, (though it’s true that Kirk, himself, did manage to keep his hands off the crew,) and there was at least some cross-pollination in the ranks on ST:NG, as I recall.

It’s also not all that far-fetched, to me, that the new Spock would let himself embrace his feelings for Uhura. She’s gorgeous, and she’s also smart, serious, dedicated, direct, “logical,” forceful, yet still tender and supportive – probably a lot like his mother. And Spock, while intellectually mature, is also still quite young for a Vulcan. Given Vulcan longevity, he’s probably quite a bit “younger” than Uhura, which could account for her seeming dominance in the relationship. I thought the writers did an honest job showing our new Spock’s “attachment” to his human side, and especially to his human mother; enough to justify his developing “feelings” for another human woman. He struggles enough with other human traits, (arrogance, stubbornness, anger, pride…) to make this unexpected connection arguable for the new Spock. And let’s face it – his father married a human, so he’s had ample precedent right under his nose all his life.

To see how these characters grow, and how their relationship develops, (or unravels,) over time is going to be “fascinating.” I’m betting that the romance ends, of course, perhaps by mutual agreement. Spock will go on to embrace his non-emotional Vulcan self and his role as ranking officer; Uhura will let him go as she solidifies into the tough, professional career soldier she is meant to be. But I predict this will be painful for both of them, and very interesting to watch if it’s done well. I also see them both getting some genuine support from the new Jim Kirk – and real support, here, not thinly veiled competition. (Boy, do I feel some “fic” coming on…)

So all in all, I like the new Uhura and I like the new Spock. I’m interested to see where the Uhura/Spock thing goes. It’s funny – I would have been really annoyed if Uhura had hooked up with Jim Kirk, instead. Maybe it’s because a relationship with Kirk would have felt too shallow and predictable, or maybe it’s just because I always personally found Spock more “worthwhile” than Kirk. At any rate, I find the new “takes” on these characters intriguing, and this plot line fraught enough with potential heartache, conflict, tenderness and opportunity for character growth to be well worth anticipating.

Ooh - interesting! Thanks for stopping by and bringing up an alternative point of view, Sheryl.

Maybe military culture (and regs) will change a lot by 2300, but I know what a hot-button issue this is with women who've served in the military.

I probably have a little of that territorial feeling myself, after having worked in TV studios in the '70s when women were either in front of the camera or on the producer's arm (or other -- never mind. You get the picture.)

Anyhoo, I'm glad she wasn't smooching on Kirk, too. And one thing we totally agree on ... Spock is, and always will be, hot.

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