TNG Episode 2.04: The Outrageous Okona

In which I question the Star Trek writers’ understanding of the term ‘outrageous.’ Also ‘comic.’

Memory Alpha says: The Enterprise-D crew rescue a roguish freighter captain whose ship is malfunctioning, but his presence drags them into an interplanetary feud. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review:
Literally all I can remember about my first viewing of this episode is ‘You’re a droid, and I’m a noid,’ and thinking ‘well that’s not very funny.’ Bullet points, ho!

  • TWIN PLANETS etcetera.
  • EXCELLENT hair on one of the women science officers on the bridge. The Starfleet passion for updos is unabated.
  • I always kind of like how Starfleet ships of this period are beautiful and elegant and swooping, while civilian ships are all blocky and chunky and look like they’re made of glued-together model sprue (well, Borg cubes actually are). Starfleet is an aesthetic organisation as much as a military and scientific one. Well, see above re: updos.
  • The first sight we have of Outrageous Okona is his butt pointing at the viewscreen. I suppose that’s somewhat outrageous.
  • I know they want me to be charmed by Okona, but he’s a little too obviously designed to be charming; also I am a cynical grump. And he is a store-brand Han Solo.
  • Data gets to thesaurus, with the particularly enjoyable addition at the end (which obviously confuses him) of ‘wild elephant.’ Once again, Data’s thesaurus is not very GOOD if it doesn’t clarify the difference between a rogue elephant and a rogue person.
  • Well, clearly Deanna’s already a fan.
  • Riker’s beard feels threatened by Okona’s. Because really they are two of a kind, and may have to compete for an ecological niche.
  • IS THAT A WOMAN’S VOICE I HEAR? Because… it’s so unusual that a woman would be working on a starship? Although now Riker’s a fan too, because he’s like ‘YEAH PUSSY HOUNDS UNITE.’ I wish it were O’Brien’s shift on the transporter controls.
  • Okona’s ship looks far too big by comparison with the Enterprise.
  • Hello Very Young Teri Hatcher. Your hair looks dry, tangled and pretty terrible. The Lois Lane haircut was a definite improvement.
  • I like how Worf, Riker, Data and Wesley have formed up like a sort of chorus line. I want to walk past them and pat each one on the chest, like trailing a stick along the railings of a fence, and each of them will sing a successively higher note as I do. They are tremendously awkward.
  • What the hell are these garments Okona is wearing on his nether limbs? I mean, he’s wearing what look like stonewash grey jeans, and then over those, thigh-high boots with suspenders attached to his belt. I don’t even know what to make of him, sartorially.
  • Okona just moves down the line flirting with everyone but Data! Completely passes over him to hit on Wesley by pretending to think he’s a commander. Wesley’s little heart is completely won. AND OKONA BLANKS DATA COMPLETELY WHEN HE LIFTS HIS HAND FOR A GREETING. Is he racist about androids, or something? DON’T WORRY DATA I APPRECIATE YOU.
  • But Wesley is now ignored in favour of Teri Hatcher, as Okona talks and talks and talks at her and I wonder what the fuck is going on with his ponytail. This man is dreadfully overaccessorised. Ugh, Teri, headbutt him.
  • And all the boys just stand there and watch this, Riker doting on Okona’s ‘healthy libido,’ Wesley hugging the broken part of Okona’s ship, and Worf examining Okona’s utility belt like he’s hoping to find batarangs.
  • Interesting that Riker wipes Okona off onto Data, though, perhaps reasoning that he’s the safest person for him to be around. You want an oblivious, perfectly polite cockblock, you summon Data.
  • What does ‘Sexual attraction in this context is not a part of my programming’ mean? Are there contexts in which it is? And what context do you mean, specifically? Being on duty? Is this about professionalism? LET’S STOP THE EPISODE DEAD WHILE YOU EXPLAIN, BECAUSE YOU’RE MORE INTERESTING THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN IT. We can go and sit in the Sherlock Holmes study set while we chat and wear awesome dressing-gowns and I’ll toast crumpets at the fire and it will be ever so cosy.
  • ‘Well then, have you seen any good-looking computers lately?’ (long pause, Wesley grins besottedly at Okona) ‘That’s a joke. It’s funny.’ ‘Ah. Of course it is.’ (walks away emitting world’s most awkward laugh, which we fondly remember from ‘Conspiracy’)
  • And once again, I really wish that was Data being sarcastic, because that is exactly the reaction that attempted joke deserved. HA HA AN ANDROID WOULD LIKE TO FUCK A COMPUTER. pscht that’s like BESTIALITY you fool.
  • Wesley is just all kinds of infatuated with Okona, and wondering how long it would take to grow his hair into a ponytail like that.
  • Check out Okona’s puffy-sleeved pirate shirt. He’s charmed Geordi too. Maybe THEY should be best friends then.
  • ‘I am forced to add a measure of flamboyancy and ZEST to the doldrum of my existence.’ Does that explain the way you fly your ship, or what you’re wearing, you ridiculous fop?
  • Somehow Wesley has not followed Okona into the next scene, although honestly, I’d like it if Wesley was in every scene with Okona on the Enterprise, following two steps behind him and beaming adoringly, unable to think of anything to say but just wanting to be near him. And at some point Okona will pay him some kind of compliment and Wesley will be like ‘Thanks, you too!’ and then feel like a giant idiot.
  • While I can sympathise with Okona’s desire to ask Data lots of questions about himself, he’s smirking too much. DAMN YOU SMIRKY OKONA.
  • Okona: What about love?
    Data: The act or the emotion?
    Okona: They’re both the same.
    Data: I believe that statement to be inaccurate, sir.
    Okay dude, the android who can’t get drunk is more emotionally astute than you right now.
  • Now Okona starts rambling like a lunatic about canaries, and acts like Data has the problem because he doesn’t find it funny. Come on, writers! You need to bring better material than that if you want it to actually seem like a failing on Data’s part not to be amused by Okona. I can’t help imagining the hold of Okona’s ship as encrusted with canary guano now.
  • But, like most people who enjoy pointing out Data’s shortcomings, Okona isn’t really interested in trying to help him understand; he has to go get his willy wet. THE MUSIC OVER THIS SCENE IS RIDICULOUS AND TERI HATCHER’S DRESS IS UNFLATTERING – it bunches up under her butt. Personally I think this is why Data is wrinkling his nose. Also, it’s super bad for feng shui to have the foot of your bed directly facing the front door of your quarters.
  • After what I presume was an ad break, it’s time for an awkward chat in Engineering, which I present verbatim (with my own additions).
    Wesley: Commander, what do you think of Captain Okona? (Isn’t he dreamy?)
    Riker: Well, Okona is an interesting man, certainly. We’ve seen how he handles his ship. Apparently he knows how to handle people as well. (Rowr!)
    Wesley: Then why does he work alone? (Do you think he’s lonely? Do you think he’d like a sidekick?)
    Riker: He’s a man who lives his life by his own rules. He does what he does by choice. By his choice. Someday you’ll make yours. (twinkly blue eyes)
    Wesley: I already have. (Of course, I’m going to completely chuck it in when I realise Starfleet Academy is not for me, and go on a sort of extended gap year with my older gentleman admirer.)
  • This whole scene with Guinan just makes me feel so bad for poor baby Data, and so confused/irritated by the illogic of it. For one thing, Guinan is dressed like Kai Winn, which is never a good move. For another, Data is what, twenty-seven, twenty-eight by now? How has he not engaged with this issue already? Again, early Data makes so much more sense if you assume he’s about six. For still another, ‘You’re a droid and I’m a noid’ is not a good joke. It’s such a weak pun. And when you look at the whole utterance, it doesn’t make a goddamn lick of sense. ‘Stop. Look, it’s just you and I here. We’re talking, we’re having an intimate conversation. Why? Because you’re a ‘droid and I’m a ‘noid.’ What does having an intimate conversation have to do with what species the two of you are? Total freaking non-sequitur, Guinan. And Data’s expression is so confused and beseeching and HE NEEDS HUGS. And Whoopi Goldberg can be so much funnier than this! She was an actual successful comedian! I know I might sound like a humourless geek, but humour needs to make sense, it needs to have an internal logic (which can be completely unrelated to what normally passes for logic) so that it coheres.It’s funny because, in its own mad way, it makes sense.

  • SERIOUSLY HOW CAN ANYONE NOT JUST WANT TO EMBRACE THE POOR LITTLE GUY. HE IS BEING MADE TO FEEL LIKE THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM AND THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERYONE AROUND HIM IF YOU ASK ME.
    also he has pretty lips look at them pursed like that
  • Data: What do I do?
    Guinan: Well, under normal circumstances, I’d say seek a higher power. But in your case, probably a smarter computer is in order.
    Okay, I figured it out, Guinan is tripping balls in this scene, that’s why nothing she says makes a lick of sense. COMPUTERS DON’T GET JOKES EITHER. And seek a higher power? What, what? Like… pray on it? What?
  • So Data goes and asks the holodeck, I suppose, reasoning from ‘Elementary, Dear Data,’ that it’s smarter than him because it can create a character as smart as him, despite not being self-aware itself, unless you assume it’s Minuet, in which case… no, this just isn’t going to make sense either.
  • Even Computer is speaking in bizarre non-sequiturs today.
    Data: Of all performers available, who is considered funniest?
    Computer: Twenty third century Stan Orega specialised in jokes about quantum mathematics.
  • Now, maybe Computer is just trying to be kind and suggest a comedian she thinks Data has a chance of enjoying (or that she enjoys?). But that is not remotely an answer to Data’s question. Anyway, he turns that down as ‘too esoteric’ and asks for something ‘more generic,’ which I suppose is how he gets such a terrible comedy role model. Mmmm, generic comedy.
  • Who would, actually, be a good comedy role model for Data? Who should take him under his wing? After giving it some thought, I have selected Bill Bailey, because he uses a pipe as a prop and a lot of his humour relies on his sophisticated command of music, also I like him immensely. Your suggestions for comedy role models for Data are solicited in the comments!
  • How does Data even select a name from the list he’s presented with?
  • Wow, the zebra-pattern chairs in the comedy club are something. Why is there no audience? Doesn’t it just imply that this comedian is a failure?
  • The casting of Joe Piscopo… I have little to say about it, except that I barely even know who Joe Piscopo is, hearing of him purely because of a reference in The Simpsons that was a joke about the fact that his comedy career was unsuccessful. The part was actually supposed to be played by Jerry Lewis, but that didn’t work out due to scheduling conflicts, I suppose a bit like how the Beatles were supposed to appear on Doctor Who but got too busy, so they had to substitute a scene in which the Doctor and his companions watch the Beatles on television. The planned episode was going to be set in the late twentieth century and have the Beatles in old age makeup, still performing the songs they’d written in the 60s, which just goes to show that Doctor Who can be eerily prescient at times. I wish Data could have a wacky adventure with the Beatles or the Doctor instead of this episode.
  • Even with the horrible script, this scene would probably play better with Lewis as the comic because he would carry an elder-statesman kind of aura.
  • This scene would play so much better with Fozzie Bear as the comic that I almost peed at the thought.
  • It’s all the more heart-breaking because Brent Spiner is such a good comic actor.
  • Joe Piscopo doing an impression of of Jerry Lewis is not just not funny, it makes me actively sad. Data, it’s not your fault you don’t get it. There’s no it to get. The one thing that is funny is Brent Spiner implying that wearing Jerry Lewis teeth forces you to talk in a Jerry Lewis voice.
  • Data says ‘I simply want to know what is funny. I want to involve myself in other people’s laughter. I wish to join in.’ So… don’t you want to be in the audience, rather than performing? It seems to me you’re going at this backwards. Also, his little voice on ‘I wish to join in’ squeezes my ovaries.
  • Chipmunk voices are always funny. Apparently so are Jersey accents.
  • GUINAN. DATA DIDN’T SPOIL THE JOKE. THE JOKE WAS AWFUL. AND YOU WON’T EVEN EXPLAIN TO HIM WHY ‘My timing is digital’ IS FUNNY TO YOU AND IT WOULD NOT TAKE TOO LONG, YOU ARE JUST LAZY. DAMN YOUR EYES. I get so, so cross with people who won’t explain things to Data, because how is he ever supposed to learn? It’s not just because I have a stupid crush on him; it’s because I’m a teacher too. Anyway, I’m so relieved that Data gets to go back to the bridge where he can feel competent.
  • Now the actual plot of the episode is beginning, I guess, nearly twenty minutes in. I do not care.
  • I love Worf’s tone of fascinated distaste on ‘Lllllasers.’
  • HEAVE TO AND PREPARE TO BE BOARDED. WE HAVE LASERS.
  • How is this like Gulliver’s Travels? Riker is just trying to sound smart.
  • Does ‘Mute’ also cut the video feed to the guy hailing them? Or can he see Picard walking over and asking Deanna about him? There are a lot of odd details in these scenes that make me wonder what the person on the other end of the call is supposed to be able to see and hear on the bridge. They’re not very discreet.
  • Okay, I did enjoy the detail about the globfly, and clearly they are tremendously annoying.
  • Hmm the boy behind this guy looks all kinds of nervous and shifty.
  • ‘Mr Okona, to the bridge immediately!’ ‘Okay, but let me get my pants on first.’
  • Everyone sure does hate Okona.
  • ‘He has been reported in three different crew quarters.’ My GOD the man’s a slut. Wait a second. Where’s Wesley? Anyone know where Wesley is at the moment?
  • Plonking Comedy Music as Worf goes to fetch Okona, looking like he hates his life.
  • Did – did Okona just hit on Worf too (right in front of the woman he was just nailing)? Was Worf kind of up for it? I think the scene was supposed to play as if Okona was challenging Worf to a fight, but it did not come out that way. Oh well. It’s Star Trek. Gayness abounds.
  • WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WEARING ON YOUR LEGS, OKONA. No wonder Picard doesn’t want to shake your hand!
  • I am getting so irritated by the way Okona keeps shaking his head so that his bangs wobble. He is a twat.
  • Here’s an important question. Does Debin believe Okona seduced his daughter, or that he raped her? ‘Dishonoured’ and ‘took advantage’ could both mean either.
  • SPLITSCREEN TELECONFERENCING. SO FUTURISTIC!
  • Debin further says, ‘My case involves the victimisation of my daughter, and my honour.’ I suppose I, in the audience, am supposed to think that Okona is just a charming rogue who all the ladies love and no way he’d ever rape anyone, but Debin’s language keeps implying that he thinks Okona did just that. I feel so badly for the poor girl being displayed like this, however it is.
  • Anyway, boring boring boring.
  • I genuinely am amused by Worf’s ‘Mute.’
  • Boring boring boring. Okona you are boring, and definitely not outrageous.
  • Weird scene with Wesley and Okona, where I keep expecting Wesley to be like ‘STAY HERE WITH ME OR TAKE ME WITH YOU.’ I DON’T CARE ABOUT OKONA SO STOP TELLING ME TO FEEL SAD FOR HIM, MUSIC.
  • Man, he just got Geordi to do a rush job on his shitty engine thing and then changed his mind about leaving.
  • Dude. Data just smiled slightly to himself as Picard, Troi and Okona left the bridge. What?
  • Oh, I see Teri Hatcher’s back at work. How much time is supposed to pass in this episode? Did she just fuck Okona on her lunch break?
  • My son treated you like a brother! So Okona has a history of bewitching callow young men? Wesley: I THOUGHT I WAS SPECIAL!
  • HAHA THE BOY HAS HAIR LIKE MATTHEW MORRISON ON GLEE. In fact, he has a face a lot like him too!
  • Wow, Yanar can’t act.
  • I like Baby Matthew Morrison’s jacket and badge, though. He looks like a rocketeer or something.
  • How did these two even get together while living on two different planets that don’t really get on? It’s supposed to be Romeo & Juliet, but they lived in the same town!
  • She canNOT act!
  • So meanwhile, Data has taken Guinan to see his comedy program and she’s still heaping shit upon his jokes.
  • SHUT UP, GUINAN.
  • Oh, so now Okona goes all fairy godmother and makes everything perfect, and I just can’t help thinking that both Debin and whatshisface are going to be really angry if it turns out to be a granddaughter, not a grandson.
  • Can I even get through this scene? Data looks excellent in his tuxedo, I suppose that helps; he always looks good in suits. And I do kind of love how confused and affronted he looks when Piscopo hugs him as he walks onto the stage. Data’s always vaguely startled by people touching him, which I guess is part of why ASD people tend to identify with him.
  • God, poor Data, poor Data. They told him to practise his comedy with an audience – so he gets an audience that laughs regardless of what he says or does, and he is evidently crushed to realise it. OH MY POOR POIGNANT DATA. PIERROT SAD CLOWN.
  • Look, I appreciate the nod to George and Gracie (they are not the hell your whales), but there’s no reason why Data would have said that. And when he tries to make up a joke that is actually semi-relevant about Worf (he actually makes up a joke based on an existing model, rather than simply reciting an existing joke, which is surely a big step forward), everyone just poos on it. Sigh. This episode is a seething mass of failure and Brent Spiner and Data both deserve better material.
  • I suppose Data has given up on Geordi ever helping him with humour after the whole kiddleys thing, and of course they wanted to use Whoopi Goldberg as much as possible while she was available, but do you notice how seldom Data’s best friend is actually involved in his quest for personal growth? It’s also interesting that there’s no Dr Pulaski in evidence for this episode, because I’d’ve thought she’d jump at the opportunity to give Data shit about his lack of sense of humour.
  • I think the moral of the whole thing is that all the best comedy in this episode involved Worf. Worf is fun.

Anyway! Next time it’s ‘Loud as a Whisper,’ and then we return to DS9 and our regular two-two alternation.

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12 Responses to “TNG Episode 2.04: The Outrageous Okona”

  1. solo Says:

    I hate this episode and everyone in it (except Worf and Data).

    My favorite comedians are Eddie Izzard and the combination of Colin, Ryan, Wayne, and Greg from Whose Line is it Anyway. But I’d take anyone who is actually funny over Piscopo.

    • picardigan Says:

      I am a big original recipe Whose Line fan – Drew Carey is nothing like as fun a host as Clive Anderson. Wow, can you imagine how difficult improv or theatresports would be for Data?
      I was just watching Eddie Izzard the other day! ‘Dress to Kill’ and then a more recent one that I think was called ‘Stripped.’ Interesting how he seems to have decided elaborate facial hair is an enjoyable substitute for makeup.

  2. andygrrrl Says:

    See, what I don’t get, is they do a whole episode about comedy, and they have a great comedian right there in the cast. AND they make her tell bad jokes. Poor Whoopi. Did NOBODY think to make her consultant?

    • jakeish Says:

      They should definitely have let her write the material for her parts, or be a part of writing the material. And if she actually did have a hand in it… oh, Whoopi.

    • picardigan Says:

      I know the writing of Season 2 got severely messed up by a strike. Maybe there were tangled legal reasons why she couldn’t help with the script, or it was just a matter of scheduling and time.

  3. jakeish Says:

    “”””comedy“””””

    The scene where Data turns off the audience and stands alone on stage in his little suit is heartbreaking, though.

  4. Joey Says:

    DATA AND THE BEATLES. A HARD DATA’S NIGHT. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN. Their worldplay would confuse him so much but at least Ringo would probably be nice to him.

    Was “I’m a ‘noid” supposed to mean “I’m annoyed”? I dunno, I haven’t seen the episode, I just read something to that effect on TVTropes. And it’s stupid either way.

    • picardigan Says:

      John would torment the hell out of Data, because John Lennon was one of the biggest trolls humanity has produced, but Ringo would be nice and I think George would quite like to just hang out and learn tricky guitar chords together.

      She wasn’t even annoyed – because Data thought that was what she meant and she assured him it wasn’t. It was a really counterintuitive shorthand for humanoid. GUINAN, YOU MAKE NO SENSE IN THIS EPISODE.

  5. Curuchamion Says:

    BEARDS COMPETING FOR AN ECOLOGICAL NICHE. *dies laughing*

    Ridiculously awkward (non-)singing chorus line! 😀

    * “humour needs to make sense, it needs to have an internal logic (which can be completely unrelated to what normally passes for logic) so that it coheres. It’s funny because, in its own mad way, it makes sense.” – Perzackly! I forget who it was (if I ever knew) who described a sort of humor which “starts with a totally ridiculous major premise and develops it with strict logic and seriousness until the road runs out into a squirrel track and up a tree, and then sits there quite happily”, but that is what most of the best humor is. *sage nod*

    • picardigan Says:

      Or as my dad said when trying to explain the Goons to me, ‘It makes uncommon sense.’
      And really, very little makes less sense than the Goons. If Data had tried to take The Goon Show as his comic model he would have ended up drowned in brandy or possibly on fire.


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