Star Trek The Next Generation: The Outrageous Okona

I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
"Captain's log, Stardate 42402.7. We are traveling in the Omega Sagitta system traversing between twin planets that form the Coalition of Madena. Both worlds are populated by a humanoid race which colonised the planets two centuries ago, and which now co-exist under a precarious but successful treaty."

'The Outrageous Okona' is TNG's attempt to do a bedroom farce, which is just as horrendous as it sounds. It is also the episode where Data tried to be a stand-up comic. So be afraid, be very afraid.

The so-called "Outrageous" Okona is meant to be a loveable scoundrel, a sort of pin-up version of Harry Mudd, but he is nothing of the sort. Partly this is because of bad casting. This is a role that is calling out for an actor with a bit of cocky swagger, which is something the future Rocketeer just doesn't have. The other problem is the script, which gives Okona corny pick up lines like: "You have the majestic carriage and loveliness that could surely be traced back to the noblest of families". Someone pass me a sick bag.

And yet, for reasons beyond all understanding, every female on the ship is irresistibly drawn to Okona's "charms" and fall into his arms at warp speed. A better name for him would be the promiscuous Okona, since he treats the Enterprise as his own personal harem. It's not just the women who seem to find Okona and his horrendous ponytail strangely irresistible. Wesley, proving once again what a complete tool he is, is so enamoured by Okona I expect there is now a poster of him on the wall of his quarters.

As bad as the entire Okona storyline is, it is nothing compared to the sheer horror of Data's efforts to understand humour. To do this he goes to the holodeck to consult a mullet headed stand-up comic who's about as funny as a documentary on Auschwitz. Is there really anything more painful to witness than two people doing competing Jerry Lewis impressions? I didn't think so. This entire subplot is just agonizing to watch and quite possibly the nadir of the entire series.

Come back, 'Spock's Brain'. All is forgiven.
Notes and Quotes

--Data says it is impossible for him to get drunk. Someone's forgetting 'The Naked Now'.

--Teri Hatcher puts in an uncredited appearance as the teleporter technician that Okona seduces.

--Dr. Pulaski does not appear in this episode.

--I really felt sorry for Patrick Stewart while watching this. It is obvious that Picard's embarrassment and frustration with everything that is going on is genuine. Stewart is making no effort whatsoever to hide how ashamed he is to be starring in this travesty.

Troi: "His emotions suggest that he's mischievous, irreverent and somewhat brazen. The word that seems to best describe him is rogue."
--70% of Troi's job is stating the bleedin' obvious.

Guinan: "You spoiled the joke. It could have been your timing."
Data: "My timing is digital."

One out of four crappy ponytails.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I agree that it's pretty awful. It's like they had this idea that they were going to do this playful Harry Mudd-like rogue who would turn out to be not so bad after all, but it was poorly written and miscast.

But I did like the Guinan/Data scenes. And I didn't hate the comic club stuff that much. It was an odd B-plot that didn't go with the very weak A-plot. Unless Okona was supposed to end up as a stand-up comic?

Monophylos Fortikos said...

What annoys me most about how Troi acts in this episode, and in many others, is that she's basically instructing the audience on how to react to a situation. She does this a lot, actually. "I sense unease" = "You are supposed to feel uneasy right now." In this case Troi is telling us we're supposed to like this guy Okona even though he's not going to do anything to merit it.

Curiously, the actor Billy Campbell was supposedly considere for the part of Riker. My biggest problems with Frakes's Riker were that, until he grew into the role, he came across as immature and smug; based on Campbell's performance here he would not have been an improvement.

Joe Piscopo...worst TNG guest star ever? Quite possibly.

drnanamom said...

Mark you are right, the episode was terrible but your review was hilarious! Well worth watching the episode, thanks.