Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek TOS, season 1: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (Sexbots!)

Notes:

1. I skipped the episode “Mudd’s Women” because I recently reviewed it here. The key takeaway from “Mudd’s Women” is that in the 1960s, women were valued for their looks and their domestic skills like cooking and cleaning (because in the future they lost the knowledge we have today of easy-to-clean Teflon pots and pans).

2. I created a new Star Trek category so you can more easily see all of my Star Trek posts!

Housekeeping:

Shirtless Kirk: in order to make a robot Kirk, you have to take off his shirt (as well as his pants). Hey, just two episodes ago there was a duplicate Kirk from a transporter malfunction, and now we have a duplicate Kirk from a robot-making machine.

Red shirt deaths: This will become a trend in future Trek episodes. You would think Kirk would learn a lesson about sending men off by themselves to do useless tasks. Every time someone dies, it’s because Kirk says something like “stand here by yourself and guard the entrance to this cave” (which is what happens in this episode). It happened the same way in “The Man Trap.” There are more than 400 people aboard the Enterprise, why can’t they beam down twice as many red-shirt guys so they can work in pairs?

Nurse Chapel: I believe that this is the only Star Trek episode where she was featured as a major character. Majel Barrett did a horrible job of acting in this episode, I can see why they wouldn’t want to use her again in a major way. Clearly an example of an actress getting a role because she was sleeping with the boss and not because of any talent.

*SPOILER ALERT*

All of my Star Trek TOS reviews have spoilers, but this episode has a surprise plot twist, or what was probably a surprise to viewers in 1966, but it seems kind of obvious watching it today, especially if you recently watched the HBO series Westworld.

This episode is quite complex to describe from a plot standpoint, although also very cheesy and stupid and it hasn’t held up as well as other TOS episodes. But at the same time, some of the ideas in this episode were way ahead of its time.

A lot of what we see in the HBO series Westworld can be traced back to this episode, including:

  • A character you think is human turns out to be a robot.
  • Robots revolted against their flesh-and-blood creators (a long-dead alien race).
  • Human brains can be copied into robot brains, thus achieving a sort of immortality for the human. A very creepy sort of immortality.
  • There’s a robot-creating machine that, although ridiculous looking and based on limited special effects they could afford back then, nevertheless reminds me of the 3D robot-printing machines from Westworld.
  • Robots can have sex with humans and with other robots.

Roger Korby, galaxy renowned scientist, lost for five years, and also coincidentally Nurse Chapel’s fiancé, is found living in underground caves on an ice planet. Korby says to beam down alone, but Kirk beams down with Nurse Chapel (whose wig was dialed down a bit from the previous time we saw her), and then when no one is there to meet him, he orders two red-shirt guys to beam down as well. The two red-shirt guys are promptly killed by an alien robot who looks and sounds just like Lurch from the Adams Family (and is played by the same 6’9” actor who played Lurch on the Adams Family).

Now, let’s talk about the sexbot, named Andrea in the episode (sounds like Android), if you’re into small anorexic-looking girls, then she comes off as a real sex kitten, but totally useless for doing anything else. When Nurse Chapel is first introduced to her, she seethes with jealousy.

KORBY: Christine, you must realise an android’s like a computer. It does only what I programme. As a trained scientist yourself, you must realise that

CHAPEL: Given a mechanical Doctor Brown, a mechanical geisha would be no more difficult.

KORBY: You think I could love a machine?

CHAPEL: Did you?

KORBY: Andrea’s incapable of that. She simply obeys orders. She has no meaning for me. There’s no emotional bond. Andrea, kiss Captain Kirk. Now strike him. You see? There’s no emotion in it, no emotional involvement. She simply responds to orders. She’s a totally logical computer. A thing is not a woman. Now do you understand?

I probably didn’t get this when I watched as a kid, but notice how Korby never denies that he had sex with Andrea, he just makes the argument, crudely translated, that he was merely masturbating to a really high quality Playboy magazine. Do we agree with that logic? Should a woman feel like her fiancé cheated on her if he has “sex” with much better looking sexbots? And remember, the guy was alone on a planet for five years. Wouldn’t a large percentage of present-day men pleasure themselves at least a few times during the five years, if not a lot more often?

But later, we find out that Korby is also a robot, albeit a more human-like robot because Korby’s brain was copied into it. So it was actually robots having sex with robots, like Dolores and Teddy from Westworld, except that unlike Dolores, Andrea is useless for anything except having sex. I made the same comment about “Mudd’s Women.” And Kirk is into Yeoman Rand even though she’s not intellectual at all. The message from these old Star Trek episodes is that women are for sex, and for interesting conversation you should rely on your male friends like Spock or McCoy.

Leaving aside the wonderfully politically incorrect observations of 1960s attitudes towards sexual relations, let’s talk about the significant philosophical point that the episode is making. Robots aren’t real people. If you copy a human brain into a robot brain, you just get a machine, a dangerous machine, but not a machine that you should feel any remorse for killing, you can’t kill a machine any more than you can kill the smartphone or computer you are using to read this, you can just turn it off. When Spock arrives at the end and asks “Where’s Doctor Korby?” Kirk responds with “Doctor Korby was never here.” The robot-Korby doesn’t count as the real Korby.

Star Trek totally reversed on this message with The Next Generation, where Data is introduced as a character that you are supposed to believe is a sentient being, with the same rights as humans, but why is Data any more sentient than Rock (the robot who looks like Lurch) or robot-Korby?

It is my opinion, and this is very important, that the TOS viewpoint is correct and the TNG viewpoint is horribly wrong. We must think of machines as machines, no matter how human-like they appear to be, in order to survive as a species.

Another message from the early Star Trek episodes is that people with super-powers are a dangerous threat to be eliminated. So a “human” who is now an immortal robot with more powerful logic, that’s a sort of dangerous superpowers. And of course Korby demonstrates his dangerousness by his plan to secretly replace humans with robots. Korby poses just as much danger to the continued existence of the human race as Charlie from “Charlie X” or Gary Mitchell from “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

And yet another continuing message from early Star Trek episodes is that transhumanist technology means the destruction of humanity. The Talosians from “The Cage” (the original pilot) ruined their civilization after they discovered mind control powers. The aliens who used to live on this ice planet destroyed themselves by creating robots. Eventually we will get to the episode with Khan who was cast out from Earth because he was genetically enhanced.

* * *

I forgot to discuss the Star Trek tropes that Kirk uses to escape his bad situation (held prisoner by Korby while robot-Kirk prepares to take Korby’s robot-making equipment to a human colony where they will begin secretly converting humans into robots).

1. He uses his Kirk logic-illogic-judo on Lurch and convinces him that Korby is the enemy (even though Korby is also a robot). Star Trek teaches us that a smart human like Kirk can always defeat a robot or a computer by out-talking it. I am absolutely certain that will never work in the future of the real world.

2. He uses his alpha-male sexual charisma on the sexbot robot to confuse her and make her even more useless than she was before he did that. Totally unrealistic, yet more fun to watch than asexual Picard.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 8, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Star Trek

34 Responses

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  1. The key point about humans with superpowers is that they become dangerous when the powers are known. This is because powers are a veto on all human relations. They override any social dynamic.

    This is why comic book superheroes have alter egos.

    map

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

    • And today we have a problem with power being concentrated in the hands of people who live in mansions surrounded by electronically controlled gates, who send their children to private schools, are served by a paid staff which keeps them separate from the concerns of normal people, and who generally use their money and connections as a veto on all human relations.

      MoreSigmasThanYou

      August 8, 2018 at EST pm

      • That is why the Sentinels are the real heroes of the superhero world.

        map

        August 8, 2018 at EST pm

    • Magneto was right.

      Artifact

      August 9, 2018 at EST am

  2. To whom were they appealing with shirtless Kirk? Did women watch this show in the 60s? I doubt many did.

    I disagree completely with your machines are machines opinion. I don’t care if our progeny are biological or mechanical or a mix of both. Why should I? DNA or circuits, they will be our legacy.

    Steverino@Steverino.com

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

    • “To whom were they appealing with shirtless Kirk? Did women watch this show in the 60s? I doubt many did.”

      Good question. Obviously the network was HOPING they could appeal to women, but probably not. On the other hand, remember that people didn’t have as much choice back then what to watch. Some women might have been watching because their husband was watching and there was only one TV in the house, and shirtless Kirk might have caused some of them to come back again.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 8, 2018 at EST pm

      • Forty-five years after TOS, the producers of Enterprise got into the habit of showcasing Scott Bakula’s naked torso. They also tried to sell the Southern blonde guy (whose real name escapes me) as some kind of virile hunk.

        The scenes set in the “decon chamber” were ridiculously gratuitous:

        TNG characters rarely went shirtless, but when they did, they went all-out. One episode came close to giving us full-frontal nudity:

        (Note the distinct lack of manscaping. In Nemesis, the hair on Frakes’ back had to be digitally removed from a scene in which Troi gets mind-raped.)

        Voyager once gave us a glimpse of Tuvok’s torso in a scene where several of the show’s main characters were having nightmares in their sleep:

        If Sisko ever bared his chest on DS9, I am not aware of it.

        Nowadays, any man who takes his shirt off on TV has to have a perfect six-pack, if not an eight-pack. (He also needs to be fully waxed.) If you don’t look like Joe Manganiello, you need not apply for work in Hollywood:

        Stan Adams

        August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  3. John Scalzi has a novel, “Redshirts,” about this observation

    Linda Seebach

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  4. The thing about Robot-Korby is that he thinks he IS Korby. The mind copying was pretty well perfect, so from his perspective, he’s the real Korby who just abandoned his physical body when it was to damaged to continue. Obviously that doesn’t fly with either Kirk or Chapel, to whom, as far as they’re concerned, Korby died years ago and made a Frankenstein copy of himself before dying. The Robot-Korby argument is the same argument that modern day transhumanists make about some future digital immortality. In this I agree with you that TOS has it right, Korby died and the robot was just a copy, a thing, not a real person.

    Mike Street Station

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  5. OT:

    Sorry to hijack the thread but I thought this was important.

    The reason why Alex Jones was removed was due to an interview with Isaac Kappy.

    https://www.neonrevolt.com/2018/07/27/isaac-kappy-blows-the-whistle-on-the-partymonsters-hollyweird-greatawakening-pizzagate-pedogate-nomore/

    map

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  6. “The message from these old Star Trek episodes is that women are for sex, and for interesting conversation you should rely on your male friends like Spock or McCoy.”

    Does any man actually believe women are for “interesting conversation”? Like it’s possible to have interesting conversations with a woman but I don’t think that’s their essential purpose if you are a man. If you’re looking for interesting conversation, the odds are more in your favor if you are dealing with another man since at least you’re more likely to have similar interests.

    I saw a stand-up comedian one time who was making fun of men who refer to their wife as their best friend. He said, “Seriously? Like if she was male, you’d be totally ok with your best friend being a 5’4″ skinny-fat guy who’s bored by sports and loves browsing Pinterest and taking care of children?”

    Jokah Macpherson

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  7. Will you stop injecting secks into these reviews? Cripes, man, nowhere did anyone bring up secks. They said “love”. What is WITH people needing to sexualize everything.

    S.J., Esquire

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  8. “if you’re into small anorexic-looking girls, then she comes off as a real sex kitten…”

    I thought the chick who played her was one of the hotter extras from the first season. Didn’t know I had a type.

    Jokah Macpherson

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

  9. IS this show legitimately good? As good or better than DS9?

    Magnavox

    August 8, 2018 at EST pm

    • DS9 is the best Star Trek, TOS is the most iconic Star Trek.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 8, 2018 at EST pm

      • Ay caramba! I don’t think I managed to get through more than a couple episodes of DS9. So boring! Bejorans? Their religion? Why am I supposed to care? Next Generation is much better. Heck, even Voyager was much better.

        Steverino@Steverino.com

        August 8, 2018 at EST pm

      • DS9 is the only Trek series where the characters are interesting and not just archetypes.

        Except for Spock, who is such an iconic character that he became the model for an archetype that would be found in many other science fiction movies and televisions hows to follow.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 8, 2018 at EST pm

      • ” I don’t think I managed to get through more than a couple episodes of DS9. So boring! ”

        You’re not wrong, at least for the first three seasons or so. It took a while before they figured out exactly what they wanted to do with the show, but it’s last few seasons were great Star Trek TV.

        Mike Street Station

        August 9, 2018 at EST am

      • DS9 has interesting well acted characters. That’s something that science fiction really struggles with as genre but that most fans don’t seem to care about. Written science fiction also has weak characters. DS9 is certainly not a perfect show but I like it a lot.

        As Dave Pinsen pointed out, everyone’s favorite TNG episide, The Inner Light, is such an outlier from the rest of the series that its fan favorite status acts as pointed argument against the quality of the show itself. DS9’s great outlier episode, Far Beyond the Stars, still had all the regular actors being super charming and awesome.

        Magnavox

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • “As Dave Pinsen pointed out, everyone’s favorite TNG episide, The Inner Light, is such an outlier from the rest of the series that its fan favorite status acts as pointed argument against the quality of the show itself.”

        That’s right, the best episode is where none of the regular cast is involved except for Patrick Stewart, and Stewart isn’t playing a starship captain: https://lionoftheblogosphere.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/star-trek-tng-s05e25-the-inner-light/

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • There’s a fault line between those who believe that “The Inner Light” was the best TNG episode and those who maintain that “The Best of Both Worlds” holds that distinction. I belong to the latter camp.

        Honestly, “very special” Trek episodes tend to leave me cold. I’m not particularly fond of “The Inner Light,” “Far Beyond the Stars,” or “The Visitor.”

        Stan Adams

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • I didn’t like any of the Borg episodes.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • “Yesterday’s Enterprise” doesn’t get mentioned much, but I thought it was one of the best TNG episodes. Its only flaw was that a crucial plot point hinged on an inchoate hunch from a Numinous Negro, Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg.)

        Hermes

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • Guinan was an alien with mysterious powers which she rarely used.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

        Incidentally, “Miri” aired on H&I tonight, along with the first half of “Unification” (the TNG episode where Spock went to Romulus0).

        Right now, the network is showing DS9’s “By Inferno’s Light,” the episode where Cardassia joined the Dominion. (At this point in its run, DS9 was getting closer and closer to becoming a soap opera about interstellar war.)

        Next on tap are Voyager’s “Alice” and Enterprise’s “The Xindi.” (The latter episode marked the point where Enterprise became a soap opera about … interstellar war.)

        Five nights a week, Enterprise is followed by two hours of Xena: Lesbian Icon.

        Stan Adams

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

  10. Lion, the city put a one year moratorium on VFH vehicles. Maybe you can do post on that?

    Yakov

    August 9, 2018 at EST am

  11. Lion, very interesting reviews. Keep it up!

    IMHO the women are intellectually-sensually interesting, they’re integrated, and defy the usual dichotomies. More so than many portrayed today.

    Robert

    August 9, 2018 at EST am

  12. “When Nurse Chapel is first introduced to her, she seethes with jealousy.”

    I liked the beginning when they show Nurse Chapel girlishly giddy that she’s going to reconnect with her man. They even have Uhura jump up to give her a girlish excitement hug. For some reason, this portrayal of female non-sex act directed heterosexual excitement seemed both pleasantly old fashioned and quaint by comparison to current TV where the lead up to heterosexual bonding isn’t girlish excitement but feigned indifference or verbal taunting.

    Curle

    August 10, 2018 at EST am

  13. I just looked up the bio of Sherry Jackson who played Andrea. She was acting from the age of seven and was the daughter in the hit TV series “Make Room for Daddy”.

    CamelCaseRob

    August 10, 2018 at EST am

  14. Andrea is like “small anorexic-looking girls”?
    WTF. Nothing is small or anorexic about her chest that’s for sure and they are natural. I’d say she’s ideal. Like the actress in Planet of the Apes. My tastes have not been poisoned by fat acceptance. Maybe you should devote a post about classic beautiful actress in the pre-tat pre-skank world. Just make sure to include Audrey Hepburn and Bardot as they were both hot.

    dvdivx

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm

    • She has the chest of a 12-year-old boy.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 10, 2018 at EST pm

      • No she doesn’t and the article I read said she had quite a male following back in the day.

        CamelCaseRob

        August 10, 2018 at EST pm

      • A 12 year old boy with breast implants, maybe.

        Curle

        August 10, 2018 at EST pm

  15. http://photoartinc.com/sherry-jackson-photos-6/

    That’s Sherry Jackson. She played Andrea. No 12 year old body detected.

    dvdivx

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm


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