Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Let He Who Is Without Sin..."

zero stars

Air date: 11/11/1996
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Rene Auberjonois

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Do not hug me." — Worf to Bashir

Nutshell: Bad. Very bad. In fact, abysmal.

Well, I didn't think it was possible, but with "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." DS9 has managed to displace "Fascination" as the series' worst installment. In fact, this is among the worst episodes of Trek ever filmed—it even rivals Voyager's "Threshold" from last year. I'm just glad "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." has so little to do with anything that its degree of badness doesn't have any long-term effects on the rest of the series.

The "story," such as it's called, is something I would probably expect to see on Baywatch. It serves as little more than filler between shots of people hanging around the beach. It's so ineptly written and meaningless that I have trouble even thinking about it without having a sudden desire to queue the tape to the beginning of the episode and recording C-SPAN for an hour. It's hard to believe that Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe of all people could come up with such mindless, lobotomized drivel. This show, more than anything else, resembles a very cruel joke on the audience and the series.

Whenever an atrocity like this episode happens (as rarely as it is), it makes me wonder: How in the world could things go so wrong? Didn't someone connected with the show ever step back and look at what they were making—and realize how bad their product was and try to fix it before it was too late? Considering how much a team effort an episode of DS9 is, it's very hard to see how the vast number of checks and balances could go so wrong.

Just as I posed in my review of "Threshold" last season, I pose here the question: What the hell were they thinking when they made this?

The teaser opens as Dax announces to Sisko and Odo her plans to go with Worf to Risa, that renowned pleasure planet. As mentioned three times in as many minutes, Worf and Dax "have much to discuss" while there. Worf is not happy with how lightly Dax takes their relationship. Dax thinks he needs to lighten up. Worf finds himself even more annoyed when he discovers that Bashir, Leeta (Chase Masterson), and Quark will be coming along. This teaser is not nearly as funny as it wants to be. (Strangely enough, though, it's probably the most watchable sequence in the show.)

Once the characters get to Risa the show proceeds ever-so-rapidly downhill. Most of act one is wasted on some of the dullest, drawn-out discussion about a Trek relationship I've ever heard. (It's also horrendously characterized, as Worf goes from a state of "we should just forget it and leave" to "oh, okay, we'll stay" in the time it takes Dax to remove one more article of clothing. Ugh. Not funny, guys; just plain insulting.)

A majority of the episode's lines are spoken with such bemused and passive detachment by the actors that I began to wonder if even they were doubting the certainty of the teleplay. Really, I'm not sure who to blame for the lackadaisical performances. The material is so off-kilter that I don't know what director Auberjonois or any of the actors possibly could've done with it. Still, knowing that hardly helps countless scenes where Farrell, Dorn, Siddig, Masterson, and Shimerman come off looking pretty awful.

Near the end of act one the show finally begins to develop a plot of sorts, as the episode introduces an "essentialists" group led by a man named Fullerton (Monte Markham) who is determined to show the people of Risa how destructive their indulgence in artificially created luxury life truly is. Unfortunately, his speeches are all based on nonsensical arguments, as he condemns those who use replicators, holodecks, and weather-controlling devices as lazy and dangerous to society.

Well, okay, Risa is artificial. So what? It's a paradise vacation planet, for crying out loud. Vacationing is a simple human indulgence. For Fullerton to infer a causal relationship between vacationing and an impending downfall of the Federation is such a stretch that I couldn't help but feel cynical about the premise's whole idea. Every facet of Fullerton and his lame soapbox preaching manages to insult my intelligence. Why? Because the episode seems to want so bad to make Fullerton's ideas add up to some allegorical point, but it's so misguided that I was angry at the smug notion that it actually thought it was actually about any real comparable issue.

And Worf buying into Fullerton's cause is so ridiculous that it makes him look like a stubborn, gullible fool. (After shutting down the weather control grid he says, "If Federation citizens cannot handle a little bad weather, how will they handle a Dominion invasion?" Under serious scrutiny this has little persuasive power, but the episode assumes we'll just take it at face value. I don't buy it.) But wait—he isn't really doing any of this because he believes it, he's doing it because he's mad at Dax and wants to work out some anger by (literally) raining on everyone else's parade. And Worf's about-face at the end of the episode where he confronts Fullerton (who punches Worf for absolutely no reason whatsoever) is so horrendously handled that it's appalling. It seems to want to say "Look at Worf—he can lighten up and be a badass all at once!" Does this strike only me as way beyond the sensible actions of Worf's character? Please, no more.

While we're on the topic of characters, let's talk about Worf and Dax. "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." took the relationship between them and did exactly what I hoped we wouldn't see as a follow-up to "Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places"—turned it into a series of predictable cliches and trite conversations; a mishmash of soap opera melodrama and some of the worst dialog I've ever heard Behr and Wolfe pen. (The argument about Jadzia's spots itching was particularly atrocious.) When "Par'mach" aired, I really hoped that the writers would follow up on it intelligently. Didn't happen here. At the very least, I suppose I can take comfort in that they didn't decide to end their relationship here—that way they can at least try again, hopefully (oh, my, I hope) with more success.

I realize that Worf and Dax are different in the way they see the world, and I like that aspect of them. What I do not like is the bipolar, one-dimensional stubbornness forced by the writers onto each of them used merely to create lame dialog that shoves the characters even further into a static state of non-development, only so that a contrived, three minute speech in the closing minutes can solve the characters' problems and end it on a happy note. No, thank you very much. (Worf's somber speech in and by itself wouldn't be awful, I suppose, but the context sure is bad. It comes so far out of left field that it feels positively false.)

Turning to the sideshow, Bashir, Leeta, and Quark simply came off looking silly in scenes that had little to no story-building value. Their scenes were nothing audaciously bad like much of the rest of the show, but nothing to be thrilled about, either.

Oh, yeah, and the Adrandis character (almost forgot about her) is a complete waste of time. Don't get me wrong—Vanessa Williams is a good sport (I thought she worked just fine in Eraser), but her character here makes such pointless appearances and is used for such meaningless dramatic effect (unless you count the contrived scene where Worf happens upon Adrandis giving Dax a massage as dramatic) that I would've rather opted for no character here at all. The fact that the preview last week went out of its way to mention that Williams would be guest-starring makes the entire notion little more than a ratings ploy with zero payoff—and that sure doesn't make me feel better.

I was actually embarrassed watching this show. I wanted to crawl under my chair and hide. I kept hoping that at some point the show would get better, but it didn't—it rambled for a long while and then ended. Once this review is complete I will have a new goal: to expunge this episode from my memory and, if possible, from the entire Star Trek universe itself.

There are only three things I found remotely interesting while watching this show: (1) Terry Farrell in those revealing outfits (not an intellectual observation, to be sure), (2) a one-minute trailer for First Contact (not part of the episode), and (3) the preview for next week, which includes Garak for the first time this season and looks interesting (ditto). Note that none of these are in any way useful for a critical analysis of "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."

I think I've covered everything that is (or, rather, that isn't) worth covering. "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is a viewing experience I have no desire to repeat, unless I get the opportunity to be on MST3K the week they happen to pick it as their target. (Oh, wait... that show was canceled. Never mind.) I'm sure DS9 will bounce back with something infinitely better next week—I just hope I'll have recovered by then.

Previous episode: Trials and Tribble-ations
Next episode: Things Past

Season Index

118 comments on this review

Paul - Thu, Mar 20, 2008 - 3:27pm (USA Central)
I think two things are missing from this review.

Firstly, how embarrasingly cringe-worthy Worf's "soccer speech" was.

Secondly, Dr.Bashir has absolutley no right wearing any sort of singlet/tank-top on TV. His skinny body is disgusting. Nearly as bad as the tank-top itself. Takes one back to the fashion crimes of early TNG.

I'm glad I watched this episode when no one else was around.
Paul - Thu, Mar 20, 2008 - 7:30pm (USA Central)
Wow, a Paul halfway across the world rated this episode last night as I rewatched this drek in Australia.

This episode is fantastic, how can you not like such scenes:
* The soccer speech
* her spots itching when she drinks juice, that she will drink because she wants to
* Worf going on about the beautiful Gamma Quadrant space was the most beautiful thing he has seen until Terry Farrell in a swimsuit
* Worf being jealous of a man with a transparent skull, and Vanessa Williams.
* ANYTHING that Monte Markham does/says - he doesn't belong in this.
* Odo and Sisko giggling about Worf and Dax breaking each other's bones when fu#%ing
* Leeta on the shuttle sitting on Bashir's lap saying the two horgons 'like' each other.

OK that's a joke. Those scenes all lend to creating one of the worst episodes of Trek ever made. At least Worf never put on those gold shorts. And if you (Paul) had a problem with Bashir's tanktop, don't watch 'Rivals'.
Paul - Wed, May 7, 2008 - 8:12pm (USA Central)
This episode is so bad, not even a drinking game can save it. Question: did Vanessa Williams just gleefully admit to fu#%ing Curzon Dax to death??
Not Paul - Sun, Jun 1, 2008 - 4:36pm (USA Central)
Horrible. This was perhaps my first time watching this ep since it first aired (I may have watched a rerun at some point) and it had almost nothing to redeem it.

Well, okay, two things: I actually did think Williams' line about death by jamaharon(sp?) was pretty funny, particularly if we were to take it as fact. Probably exactly the way a Lothario like Curzon would want to go out and amusing to juxtapose with the somber flashback in "Emissary" of Jadzia receiving the Dax symbiont from a very serene Curzon. Also, in retrospect, I got a genuine laugh when Leeta said she'd been thinking about someone else. The payoff about how Rom's supposed sex appeal really didn't work, but, knowing how their relationship will play out, the *anticipation* both of Leeta naming Rom and of Quark and Bashir's reaction is actually pretty priceless.
Blue - Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - 8:08am (USA Central)
Coming right after Trials and Tribble-ations, this probably marks the worst 2-episode run in all of DS9. At least this did kinda explore Dax-Worf and attempt to justify what the hell they see in each other (I still don't buy it, but whatever, you can't choose who you love blah blah). And I'm glad they acknowledge that Worf is the most boring character in Star Trek, and perhaps all of television. "OMG HONOR! OMG DISCIPLINE! OMG AM I KLINGON OR HOO-MAHN?!" There, that sums up Worf's every interaction.

"The Essentialists" plot was ridiculous; I wish they had just gone further and made it a total Christian parody. Might have squeezed a few laughs. Leeta's Rom-fatuation did make me smile though.
Dimitris Kiminas - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 5:12am (USA Central)
I'd go for the following ratings breakdown:

We start with a possible: +4 stars
Intelligence-Insulting plot: -2 stars
Characters out of character: -1 star
Unsuitable/Unutilized guests:-1 star
All comedic attempts unfunny:-1 star
Earthquake-o-matic satelites:-1 star
Dax in a swimsuit: +1 star
=======
Net total -1 star

Jammer you must introduce negative stars and award one to this episode! :)
Paul - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 11:44pm (USA Central)
Dimitris,

I'd say that it's very kind of you to start out with a possible 4 stars.

In my book, it should start at Zero and have to earn any stars it gets.

Oh, and -1 for Bashir's singlet
Jonathan - Mon, Aug 31, 2009 - 9:27pm (USA Central)
I liked this episode. I like silly episodes every once in a while. I'm in the minority here, but I'd watch this episode again just to see Leeta play with the two statues on Bashir's lap. Hilarious.
Jay - Fri, Sep 4, 2009 - 9:53pm (USA Central)
This episode isn't great but it's hardly the outrage it's being made out to be.
Jake - Thu, Feb 25, 2010 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
Well, then, the same can be said for TNG's "Shades of Grey"
Nic - Sun, Feb 28, 2010 - 9:54pm (USA Central)
I hated this episode. Hated hated hated hated hated this episode. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

Though I actually think that Worf's story about his childhood added a dimension to his character and helped to explain why he was so uptight all the time. I just wish he had said all that in another episode.
Jammer - Mon, Mar 1, 2010 - 6:56pm (USA Central)
^ -- Roger Ebert, "North" review, 1994
Charlie - Mon, Apr 12, 2010 - 9:53am (USA Central)
It's episodes like this that gave DS9 it's not-so-endearing nicknames of "Melrose Space" or Deep Space 90210."
Nic - Wed, Apr 28, 2010 - 10:25am (USA Central)
Yes, well, sorry for quoting, but I could never have come up with something that good on my own!
christian - Wed, Oct 27, 2010 - 1:26pm (USA Central)
I think you should have given the episode at least half a star just for those revealing outfits of Dax :) But otherwise I agree, absymal episode of an otherwise fine season of an otherwise fine (my favorite) Trek series
Dizzle - Mon, Nov 22, 2010 - 3:16am (USA Central)
What is a whore-gun and where can I get one?
Max - Mon, Dec 27, 2010 - 2:12am (USA Central)
As a rule, I always assume that creative people begin every endeavor with the best of intentions. I avoid the work "hack" for just this reason. I believe that no matter how ultimately misguided the final product may turn out to be, the creators actually believed at the conception stage that this would be a product that someone, somewhere, could conceivably find interesting.

However, I don't doubt there are times when the script is written, the stages are built, and the actors are assembled, that television creators come to recognize their appalling lapse in good judgement, only to realize that it's too late to turn back now. This, I suspect, was one of those moments.

Worf is a tricky character. Given his inclination to drone on about HONOR, Worf could easily drift into self parody. With this story, which I can only describe as "Worf joins the Tea Party", crosses that line. (Seriously, these Essentialists would look right at home in the 21st century screaming about death panels).

Looking back on Captain's Holiday, very little time is actually spent on Risa itself. Picard and Vash actually ditch Risa early on for the caves. This is because the writers of that episode were not actually all that interested in Risa as much as the idea of a Romancing the Stone style romantic adventure starring Picard. Risa was part of the gag, but it wasn't the whole show. A little Risa goes a long way. It wasn't a joke funny enough to carry the weight of an entire episode. It didn't need to be revisted.
Jared - Sat, Feb 5, 2011 - 8:40pm (USA Central)
This episode and ENT's Two Days And Two Nights really are the one-two punch to Risa.
John - Thu, Apr 14, 2011 - 12:32am (USA Central)
I agree with you about many episodes Jammer, but this is one few exceptions. I actually found this episode entertaining. It wasn't perfect by any means but I'm not on the hate bandwagon that many people are about this one.
Some Dude - Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - 8:39pm (USA Central)
John - you have to be kidding. How could you possibly stand this being done to these characters? It's not only a very, very bad episode - it also insults every true fan by ridiculing every major character that appears in it. And not in a good way.

Shame on the producers for this one!
Van Patten - Wed, Jun 1, 2011 - 5:55am (USA Central)
@Max

I take your point, given the need probably to reconstruct the 'Risa' sets, but surely they must run the script through some kind of checking process. I can recall reading this review and watching the episode subsequently purely because it was the first episode ever given zero stars (Threshold at the time of reading had a half star and was later revised down). When the same rating was given in Season 6 to 'Profit and Lace' I refused to watch it , and it remains to this day the only DS9 episode I have not seen. I wish I had shown the same gumption when it came to this piece of garbage.

Appallingly written, badly acted and hideously misconceived on every level. Not just the 'Fullerton preaching' but every aspect of Worf's behaviour throughout the episode felt forced , unbelievable and as Jammer puts it so eloquently 'managed to insult my intelligence' - a well deserved zero stars. On subsequent viewings if anything it gets slightly worse. Easily one of the five worst episodes of any Trek incarnation, and in the context of this season such a faux pas that you are tempted to ask the question whether the staff had been on a particularly debauched holiday prior to its production.
Elliott - Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
Are you all really so blind not to be able to see that every episode of this series contains a very glaring kernel which generates the episode; a philosophical point set against the Roddenberrian Universe.

People have already pointed out that most of the episode is forgettable dribble, but the ideas behind it fall right in line with the progressing philosophy of the show. Yes, it's true that the setting and general writing of the script make the speech about the surrounding empires' view of the Federation seem ridiculous (and in my opinion it is anyway), but the series will go on to essentially prove this point with the Dominion War.

I have hardly seen a DS9 which doesn't seem to be acted from a soapbox; it seems that this time, it annoyed more people than myself, but it's really nothing new.
Janne - Sat, Sep 24, 2011 - 8:24am (USA Central)
I just re-watched this one last night. I vaguely remember not disliking the episode the first time I saw it, but it is, in fact, one of the worst episodes of DS9. On the upside, I think the show needed a Fullerton to preach about innate weaknesses of federation. It's just poorly realized here.

I won't repeat anything about characters being out of character, but the absolutely worst thing and the most damning thing in the episode is the implication of Curzon dying on Risa, by having sex. While there is little doubt Curzon would have enjoyed "sexcavations" on Risa, it is a crime against the character of Curzon and I for one can't fathom just how the writers justified doing this to him.
Krysek - Wed, Oct 26, 2011 - 5:32pm (USA Central)
You guys saved me. Ten minutes in I'm wondering if there is hope but apparently there isn't. I'm feeling gross at this point, so I'll just skip it. Good reviews, I'm sorry if you watched all of it.
tec - Fri, Dec 2, 2011 - 2:27am (USA Central)
Is this ep bad yes very bad...for Trek...but compared to most anything found on TV today this ep is wonderful 4 stars even..

And even then there are a few good points
The set up for the Dominion War as noted above
The set up for Rom and Leeta
The fact that Dax and Worf are not just a one time thing

And for the guy in me
Dax in a one peice
And Leetas revealing scene

There where worse eps of DS9 not many but a few
Chris Freeman - Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - 3:07am (USA Central)
I love that this site has original reviews from the 90s.

Watching this in 2012, the essentialist guy seems more relevant now that we have tea party crazies running around.

And I am very glad someone finally took Worf to task for not actually growing up among Klingons. This was rarely addressed in TNG, he was just the expert on all things Klingon. But in truth, what he knows comes from textbooks and his few excursions into the empire.

Those things could have been a strong 20 minute B-story in a different episode, though, and did not deserve their own show.
Justin - Sun, Mar 25, 2012 - 8:55am (USA Central)
@Elliott, enough with your pseudo-intellectual defense of the "Roddenberrian Ideal" or whatever you want to call it. Gene Roddenberry would have been proud of this episode, OK? It had plenty of things he could identify with - a utopian pleasure planet, scantily clad women, bad dialogue, and a dumb plot.
Chris - Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - 3:16pm (USA Central)
I don't hate this episode. There is something important in there about the appeal of fundamentalist ideas, particularly for people who have had to repress a lot of their natural personality, like Worf. His revelation of killing an opponent at soccer was shocking and a good explanation for his subsequent attempts to maintain iron self-control. The separation ceremony was also an interesting idea.
Elliott - Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - 1:02am (USA Central)
@Justin :

My responses are fast becoming as repetitive as your attacks, but let me just say that I do not espouse a "defence of the Roddenberrian Ideal"; in this review, for example, I pointed out that the show is often built upon a counterargument to that philosophy. The execution in this episode was startlingly terrible, as everyone seems to agree upon, but the ideas behind it were nothing new, which is something I didn't see anyone else post. That's why I said what I said.
Tom - Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
Why all the hate about this episode? It was a silly episode but it's not the first one in Star Trek. Plus anything with Jadzia in bikini takes at least 2 stars.
Snitch - Tue, May 1, 2012 - 4:45am (USA Central)
This was one of the failed humor episodes. Worf was way out of character but overall it was harmless fluff, so I don't get Jammers hate. This is not crap like Fairhaven of Threshold.
1-1/2 Stars from me.
Jacob - Wed, May 9, 2012 - 7:38am (USA Central)
I would give that episode at least 2 stars, there are worst episodes than this in the series. It was a silly and not humorous (as intented) episode but it doen't hurt the series (unlike some failed humorous episodes in the final season).
The Sisko - Thu, May 24, 2012 - 4:42pm (USA Central)
1,5 stars from me. It's definately not the worst episode in the series (not even close).
Nebula Nox - Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - 12:44am (USA Central)
First, Julian does not look bad at all! However, he was exhausted during the filming because his and Visitor's son was born during it.

Second, while this is far from my favorite episode, the tea party has made it relevant. Unfortunately real life has less of a happy end.

I rather liked how Leeta and Bashir broke up. Very civilized.
Jack - Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - 11:08pm (USA Central)
So does Risa have an off-season? Because even with the weather control system, they have to let it rain periodically or else the planet would be desolate...
Josh G. - Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - 11:24pm (USA Central)
You know, I won't defend this episode, but I've never really disliked it much. More accurate to say that I don't really mind it and find it tolerable in a brain-shut-off sort of way. And I do like the idea if not the execution of the Essentialists because - frankly - the Federation is soft and decadent. This just wasn't the way to raise the point.

I will say that Worf's inability to have a good time isn't a novel aspect of his character - it does all the way back to Redemption Part II at least.
TMLS - Thu, Jun 28, 2012 - 3:22pm (USA Central)
OK, it's not good. But it's no Shades of Gray and it insinuates that whilst Baseball died out football (soccer :P) didn't, so half a star from me.
Ian - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 12:15am (USA Central)
Awful, yes,
But the worse part is,, though they want to make Fullerton the bad guy, in the end he WAS right about how soft and weak the Federation has become.
After all, it IS always losing its wars and usually needs some sort of extrordinary help to survive...
Grumpy - Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - 9:24am (USA Central)
Several commenters are pointing to the kernel of a good idea in this heap, namely the Essentialist critique of the Federation. It's a more organic development than, say, the Maquis, which was forced on DS9 externally. Unfortunately, the premise is wasted. I especially hate how Fullerton walks in at the end of Act 1 and explains the entire plot in less than a minute. Also, Worf's behavior is not only out of character, it's unthinkable that a regular character would so casually side with terrorists (cowardly terrorists who only act on a planet so laissez-faire that criminal mischief isn't prosecuted) and be forgiven at the end of the episode.

Likewise, Worf's "soccer speech" is nice in theory, but instead of explaining a fundamental aspect of his character, it's used here to justify his otherwise criminal actions.
Cail Corishev - Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - 11:31am (USA Central)
There could have been a good episode that explored the question of whether too much wealth and comfort leads to corruption and weakness for a society and its inevitable collapse. And DS9 was the only Trek series that could have made that episode. This wasn't it.
William - Fri, Nov 9, 2012 - 4:44pm (USA Central)
Gosh -- I actually give this two stars on Jammer's scale. Definitely not great. But zero stars? They had worse ones in my mind for sure.

I actually like the premise of the episode a lot. And the Essentialists had a good point to make. It was rather silly for Risa to be basking in such mindless pleasure pursuits while there's just been a Klingon war and Dominion war brewing.

I think the show fell short on delivering on the premise, but not in an epically bad way at all.
Shawn Davis - Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - 12:14pm (USA Central)
I agree that this is the worst episode in Star Trek DS9. However, is episode comes off as the Citizen Kane of Star Trek compared to ST: Voyager episode "Threshold" which is the worst trek episode in the history of Star Trek.
David - Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - 11:54pm (USA Central)
I am not defending this episode by any stretch, but I do like to try and understand how something like this could have happened. The idea of people who live in paradise becoming soft and complacent is an interesting one.

Also this quote from Memory-Alpha: 'According to Ira Steven Behr, "the idea was to do a show that would rattle the audience, that would show sexuality and push the envelope about Risa. Once you get past the titillation, is this a lifestyle that people in the 20th century can approve of?"' And there is the seed of some sort of interesting story there, Risa is a very sexually open planet, no doubt there would be groups protesting it. Okay, it's an awful episode, but knowing that there was some sort of thought process involved that clearly got...confused...makes me feel better. I prefer a failed attempt over no attempt at all.

Also I have to defend Bashir's body, plenty of people go for that, in a heroin-chic, emaciated rockstar sort of way. (On second reading that looks like an insult, but I'm serious! It's the foundation of the skinny jeans industry.)
Pete - Sun, Apr 21, 2013 - 11:22pm (USA Central)
This episode is not very memorable. Some of the TOS episodes are far, far worse however - though nostalgia allows us to overlook them.
Patrick - Mon, Apr 22, 2013 - 2:39pm (USA Central)
Risa has given us TNG's "Captain's Holiday", DS9's "Let He Who is Without Sin..." and ENT's "Two Days and Two Nights"; not to mention the lame holodeck interludes during execrable Voyager's third season. I'd be tempted to join a real-life Essentialist Movement to keep Risa from being used in any further Trek incarnations.
Gore - Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 1:19pm (USA Central)
I cannot but cringe at "Let He Who Is Without Sin", wedged, as it is amid a cluster of truly stellar episodes of DS9.

It's a great shame that Risa was ever depicted on Star Trek. That way, "The Pleasure Planet" would have remained tantalisingly mysterious. Despite the premise of the TV series, I genuinely believe that some areas of the galaxy are better left unexplored. On screen at least.

However, I really like the idea of the Essentialist Movement. I believe that a fake terrorist attack with harmless weapons, just to prove a point about how unprepared for war/hostility the average Federation citizen actually is, and how they can't always trust Starfleet to keep them safe from danger, has great dramatic potential. It would be a wake-up call to every decadent Federation citizen, people who have taken their comfort and security for granted for hundreds of years.

With that in mind, Earth would have made much more sense for a fake terrorist attack / demonstation than Risa.
Ray - Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 3:09am (USA Central)
So this episode was pretty bad. According to memory alpha the writers wanted to have more skin and sexuality in it, so I can see that making it better. But really, the dialogue was so bad, that it killed it.

But okay, ignoring the lack of sex on a pleasure planet, and the horrible dialogue, I'm still left with one confusing thing:

Why wouldn't Worf and all the other Essentialists get in trouble for messing with the weather grid? I mean, is that okay in the future - to just go around jacking with entire planets weather grids? Seems like something that could potentially injure or kill people, and would be frowned upon, especially by Starfleet...
ProgHead777 - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 4:22am (USA Central)
The quote at the top of the page is the best thing about the episode. I chuckled. After that I was expecting an enjoyable fluff/comedy ep but once they get to Risa the whole thing just dives right off a cliff. And that's even before Pat Robertson shows up and puritan Worf decides to join his cult. Really? REALLY? Seriously, how the hell did this episode make it off the page and into production? How the hell did it make it ONTO the page in the first place? What were they thinking?
Elnis - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 2:04pm (USA Central)
The only thing that could've saved this episode was if Worf had actually put on those golden bathing trunks.

Just imagine it: "Bay Trek" with Worfelhoff running in slow motion along the beach.

That, at least would've made me laugh.
As it is, this episode makes me cry.
ProgHead777 - Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - 10:21pm (USA Central)
@Elnis, Worfelhoff! LOL!
Kotas - Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - 9:22pm (USA Central)

This is a really bad episode from a plot standpoint, and the characters do some stupid and uncharacteristic things. There are funny things here and there that make it more watchable than some other bad episodes.

2/10
eastwest101 - Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - 10:50pm (USA Central)
The script was a creepy, boring, glacial, confused bumbling wince-inducing cringe-worthy steaming hot pile. I enjoy some of the other the silly episodes sometimes myself, but this was a dreadful waste of some decent actors time, and it just got worse and worse.

Pretty much compulsory educational viewing for inexperienced scriptwriters on "what not to do..."

Entire thing should have gone straight to the bin.
Jons - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 - 8:29am (USA Central)
" For Fullerton to infer a causal relationship between vacationing and an impending downfall of the Federation is such a stretch that I couldn't help but feel cynical about the premise's whole idea. Every facet of Fullerton and his lame soapbox preaching manages to insult my intelligence. "

So... You have never seen actual fundamentalist Christians then? These are the people who sue schools because they put Harry Potter in their libraries, say Yoga is Satan entering the soul and that last week's tornado is caused by gay marriage!

I didn't think that episode was that bad, and to be honest, I felt it was pretty realistic that some people would feel like they do. And the struggle Worf goes through is very real, and echoes on a social level what happened on Homefront - sacrificing your paradise to somehow *save* paradise is impossible. If you want paradise, you have to take the risks that go with it.
Dusty - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
I thought (hoped) you might be exaggerating, but wow. This episode really was bad. The script was terrible and the acting followed suit. Every scene with Bashir and Leeta was cringe-worthy. The Essentialists were as joyless as the tourists were decadent and frivolous, so I couldn't support either side.

Jadzia in a swimsuit was the one good thing about this. I'm going to do myself a favor and try to forget I ever saw the rest of it.
Vylora - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 3:48am (USA Central)
Hey...does anybody remember that internet meme with the image of Picard doing a face-palm?

Yah...

Zero stars.
Ospero - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 1:25am (USA Central)
Huh. When I look over that list of Risa episodes, I begin to wonder whether it was some kind of joke/apology on the writers' part to have the planet burnt to a cinder by the Borg in the "Star Trek: Destiny" book trilogy.

Yeah. Not good.
ES - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 3:43pm (USA Central)
Risa was originally supposed to be very, very different. Roddenberry turned it into a sex place. You should look up the Ron Moore/Ira Behr interview on that.
Eddy - Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - 1:55am (USA Central)
"The only thing better than good sci-fi is bad sci-fi"

Is no one else entertained by bad episodes? I like these WAY better than mediocre episodes...Let He Who is Without Sin, Threshold, Sub Rosa, Fair Haven, Spock's Brain etc are terrible, but I can't help but enjoy them!

Bring out the popcorn!

Yanks - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 8:24am (USA Central)
Wow. Lots of hate for this one.

Any episode that references soccer can only be a turd. Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-)

Risa is the modern day brothel, kind of like Switzerland with regard to global politics. They are just neutral. It's the progressive Federation's writing niche to push “no strings attached” sex. Of course Dax used the holo-suite for that all the time.

Fullerton is the religious/moral opposition using any excuse to win/impose their moral beliefs. In this case it’s “security”.

I'm not opposed to Risa, if it's not your cup-o-tea don't go there. The universe is a big place.

How Worf can initially say he is within his prevue to arrest them early in the episode and then side with them is a head scratcher.

Leeta-Bashir ….. snore…

We get Jadzia in a one piece, Quark is funny…. .5 stars for that I guess.
Jack - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
Yanks:

Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-)

Considering he seems to have been raised in what is now Belarus, sure.

When his parents come aboard in Family, it's from "Earth Station Babruysk".
Yanks - Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - 1:50pm (USA Central)
I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. This is the 24th century. Wouldn't a game like Parrises Squares make more sense for a Klingon?
Eddy - Mon, Sep 8, 2014 - 3:10pm (USA Central)
Nah, I think Worf's a Kadis-kot guy myself...
E - Tue, Sep 16, 2014 - 9:42am (USA Central)
This episode surely doesn't deserve the hate.

Yes, it is an obvious throw-away episode. As such, it's a pretty big waste of time that steers too far from the sci-fi genera, but it's not -terrible-.
Del_Duio - Tue, Nov 4, 2014 - 11:03am (USA Central)
This has always been my least favorite DS9 episode. I will forever refer to it as "That one with Vanessa Williams in it." For it to be smack dab in the middle of an otherwise superb season is strange to say the least.

The only Trek episode I can think of offhand that's any worse is that terrible TNG season 5 one with Lwaxana, Alexander, and Worf in a mudbath. Luckily, that one is MUCH MUCH worse than this is.
Robert - Tue, Nov 4, 2014 - 11:10am (USA Central)
It's actually a bit of a shame, because a backstory as to why Worf is a bit of a stick in the mud is actually a really interesting idea, and I don't really object to the added backstory but Worf committing a terrorist act is so far out of character that I just can't forgive this one.
NoPoet - Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - 5:32am (USA Central)
Heh, another review, another weird, self-contradictory rant from Elliot, who clearly hates DS9 and comes here - the home of Trek reviews - to constantly go on about it. I didn't like Sliders from season 3 onwards, it turned into an insulting farce of what it used to be, but I didn't force myself to endure all of it. For feth's sake, I even gave up on season 4, so I've never known how it all turned out. I most certainly wouldn't go onto a Sliders site and post negative reviews of all the episodes, then claim I was a fan.
As for the DS9 episode - I nearly watched it for the first time but there are so many amazing episodes this season that it just isn't worth it. If the episode is as bad as you lot say, I'll end up ripping out all my pubic hair in rage. Terry Farrell is attractive, but I most certainly do not watch Trek for the babes. I watch it because I believe in its message.
Robert - Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - 8:08am (USA Central)
@NoPoet - I like DS9 as much as the next guy, but I think you're going to have to start ripping. This episode is pretty bad. It had a lot of decent ideas and a lot of really poor execution. That said, yay for Dax spots going all the way down!

The killer of this episode is that Worf becomes a terrorist. You just can't fix it after that.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Nov 12, 2014 - 7:06am (USA Central)
@Robert - 'I like DS9 as much as the next guy.'

As long as the next guy isn't Elliot. ;o)
Elliott - Wed, Nov 12, 2014 - 11:26am (USA Central)
Well, don't I feel like a celebrity 'round these parts!
Sonya - Thu, Nov 27, 2014 - 8:51pm (USA Central)
Do you remember Worf's relationship with K'Ehleyr in TNG? Now *that* was chemistry. I just don't find his relationship with Dax to be plausible in any way. And how idiotic was it for Dax to propose vacationing with Worf in Risa anyway? (But by this point, I'm pretty much resigned to the writers turning Dax into an idiot. I'm glad so many people enjoyed her in a swimsuit. I can't remember the last episode in which she was allowed to display her character's formidable intellect. It's like the writers are turning her into Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science. They seem to be working out their adolescent fantasies through Dax's character. K'Ehleyr was strong and sexy. Dax's character has become vapid.)
Impulse - Sun, Nov 30, 2014 - 8:56am (USA Central)
Worf doesn't want Dax to be herself, he thinks she should be a Klingon woman. So what if she has several lifetimes of experiences, Worf will only listen to her if she removes clothes or gets physical with him. Essentially Worf is only interested in Dax for her body, and Dax knows this. Why would Dax stay with him?

Worf goes to a pleasure planet off-duty, wears his starfleet uniform, joins terrorrists and sabotages their facilities. He doesn't deserve to wear the uniform again. In fact, he doesn't want to be in starfleet according to his own philosophy. Over the years he has openly criticized Federation weakness so often it occured to me he would be alot happier if he went to the Klingons.

Then the soccoer accident. I saw a glimmer of hope in this well told recollection of Worf's that explains his restraint. I wondered how many episodes would pass before this was forgotten by the writers like most of the other inconsistencies I have observed, but I had to wait a mere 10 minutes for that to happen. He held a man up by his neck and tossed him across the room, all with Dax on his arm approving. That man could have easily died and it was mere minutes after his heart-felt sob story about killing in his youth!!

I could go into immense detail about Worf and the others but we don't have that kind of time. I will continue watching to the end but it's strictly comedy with a few dramatic surprises from now on as far as writing is concerned.
DavidK - Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 8:27am (USA Central)
@Elliott

Ha! At this point do you ever feel like you couldn't change your mind even if you wanted to? People's perception of your opinion is probably bigger than it actually is =P
Dave in NC - Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 12:03pm (USA Central)
Elliot's got his own thing going.
dlpb - Sat, Dec 27, 2014 - 3:39pm (USA Central)
This is the 24th century. Wouldn't a game like Parrises Squares make more sense for a Klingon?

----------

Are you another who believes Soccer, a world wide sport (the biggest) will suddenly die out in the next few hundred years? Don't be silly. Also, if Worf was going to play any game, it would not be weak American football. It would be where that came from in the first place- Rugby.
Yanks - Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
I don't think many sports will die out. Weak American football? pffft. Any sport that doesn't allow the use of your hands is not a sport. ... and I could see Worf playing Rugby. Rugby is awesome, soccer is a socialist flop sport.
Londonboy73 - Thu, Jan 1, 2015 - 11:36am (USA Central)
Yanks - I don't think many sports will die out. Weak American football? pffft. Any sport that doesn't allow the use of your hands is not a sport. .

I have read hundreds of comments on this site, hundreds... I have never seen such an ignorant, incorrect and pathetic comment in all that time. Any sport that doesn't allow use if hands is not a sport.... Seriously mate, grow up.
Mark - Tue, Jan 27, 2015 - 12:34pm (USA Central)
Yanks is just displaying the usual ignorance that a lot of my fellow Americans have when it comes to soccer(its actually football, the real football but I digress). They don't really know anything about the sport but yet they "hate" it. Makes sense to me. Of course the typical response there would be "I know enough", which is one of the most arrogant and ignorant comments someone can possibly make about anything. I echo the sentiment of grow up.

As far as the episode goes, this has to go in the top 3 or 4 worst episodes of star trek period. One reason I hate it so is because I've never seen Jadzia and Worf as a legitimate couple, and their scenes were just beyond painful in this one. I will never understand for the life of me why the writers decided to pair them up. To me Jadzia only liked Worf because of her obsession with Klingon tradition from her past hosts, and that influenced her to liking the only available Klingon who was also a main cast member. I think her getting with Julian in the last season and not getting killed off would have made more sense then the almost train wreck direction they decided to go with her character.

Dreadful dreadful episode overall.
Yanks - Tue, Jan 27, 2015 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
Mark, I played soccer... and I hate it. I don't begrudge anyone for what they like or dislike. My point was one would think the Klingon Worf would have played some kind of contact sport.
Mark - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 10:50am (USA Central)
I've known lots of people who have "played" soccer just to make a point that they know what they're talking about. Usually the ones who actually did play soccer and hated it weren't very good at it and/or they felt like they weren't good enough for a sport that is "non-contact". The problem is is that soccer IS a contact sport. It may not be quite as much contact as football but there still is a lot of contact going on, more than what you see on a high school level(which is a joke if you breathe on the guy you get sent off, there is literally little to no contact allowed probably mainly due to the fact that high school players in this country don't know how to initiate contact without seriously hurting someone) or on the television.
Mark - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 10:53am (USA Central)
Another point is that Americans need to get over this whole "its got more contact so its more of a MANS sport" mentality. I would like to see any of those people go out and play against professional European players and see how long they last.

Yanks - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 4:10pm (USA Central)
Mark,

I can only assume you haven't played American football or rugby if you are comparing the "contact" in the respective sports.

"Contact" at the pro level soccer is constantly followed by flops and is more like heavy touching.

But hey, I only played high school level.

Mark - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 5:01pm (USA Central)
I think at this point its obvious you're just another ignorant stubborn jackass who only sees what you want. No I haven't played football. I've had friends who have though and soccer as well who have told me that soccer is so much harder. A muslim friend of mine who was on both his semi pro soccer team in his country and football team in college at different times said that during conversation at one time. I also have a friend from Cameroon who has done the same thing more or less. Said pretty much the same thing as well. Soccer is a contact sport rather you want to see that or not. If you've ever been to an in live world class professional game you would see this. It also takes more skill to be really good at it. Maybe you should look up online at all the bad leg breaks, acl tears, and deep leg cuts(look up wayne rooney leg cut, or leg breaks soccer on google) to see just how much of a "non-contact" sport soccer is.

I don't expect any change in opinion however. It's like arguing with a brick wall when it comes to debating with people like you. Have a nice day.
Yanks - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 6:16pm (USA Central)
Mark, your rant is laughable.

Soccer is "hard" and folks break and tear things.

That really supports your argument.

You could look up injuries in American football (because you brought it up) and compare it to soccer, but then you wouldn't have an argument. I'm sure folks tear things in badminton too.

As to what started this, I guess you're right. I can picture little Klingon kids running around and not scoring the entire game... making sure they didn't plow someone over or hurt someone. I'm sure millions of Klingon warriors would have loved to attend those games. Especially when their kids can get a yellow card for tripping someone or using their hands...or get a red card and removed from the game for being too rough.

That sounds Klingon to me. Song material there.

You win.
Mark - Wed, Jan 28, 2015 - 8:14pm (USA Central)
What I don't get is what exactly is your issue? Why do you and other Americans hate soccer so much that you act like such childish rude assholes about it? You've missed my point entirely here and have completely supported my point about arguing with a brick wall regardless. Get over yourself and take your pompous attitude somewhere else. You just sound like some nerd who likes to boast about how much contact a sport has or how more "manly" a sport is over another despite the fact that you don't compete in any of these sports yourself. Yes of course football has injuries just as bad as soccer, my point was that soccer has lots of contact despite what you may believe. But again I don't expect that you'll see reason because you just seem very stubborn and narrow minded.

In all reality its a ridiculous thing to talk about rather or not a fictional race on a TV show from 20 years ago would compete in a "non contact" sport. It hardly even matters. However you've made yourself look foolish by acting like soccer isn't a sport because it doesn't allow you to use hands, is a socialist flop sport and involves "heavy" touching. I don't think you could go anymore with the stereotypical ignorant American who knows nothing about soccer more if you tried.
Robert - Thu, Jan 29, 2015 - 7:47am (USA Central)
As an American who's sole sporting watching typically involves the World Cup and the Superbowl I feel I am uniquely qualified to chime in here.

The Superbowl is a fun excuse to eat hot wings and watch stupid commercials and the World Cup is a fun event to chat about with all of your friends from different countries.

As to Soccer and Football though? They are both pretty stupid. Americans don't like soccer because of the element of performance art to it and the low scoring. Some of the best players in the world are some of the best divers in the world. There's also a objectiveness to the rulings that feel unfair. Americans HATE unfair.

You want to know what Americans do like? Excess. That's why we have 48 oz drinks and why Football goals give 6 points. Add an extra 5 points to each Soccer goal and the ratings will go up, I assure you! The truth is that Football has more amazing plays than soccer (unless you're really into defense, in which case soccer is beautiful) but the majority of it are a bunch of guys ramming into each other in ridiculously heavy "armor" to gain 3 yards. Yawn to that as well.

Worf would have played hockey. With a bat'leth. Qapla'!
Robert - Thu, Jan 29, 2015 - 8:37am (USA Central)
Just to qualify the statement "Football has more amazing plays than soccer", I mean that the frequency of plays that have people on the edge of their seat are higher than soccer. I don't mean that an awesome Football play is more awesome than an awesome Soccer play. I'll let sports fans debate that.
Jammer - Thu, Jan 29, 2015 - 9:22pm (USA Central)
I don't normally play the Ugly American, but when it comes to soccer, I will. It is boring to watch. They should call the sport "running around a massive field and never scoring." I don't think we question the athleticism. I do think we question the fun of watching it. But that's a point of view, not an objective fact.

Most Americans have the opportunity to play the sport as children (myself included), and some play it even longer, but our culture at large just doesn't care much about it. Are we right and is the rest of the world wrong? Well, I suppose not. But that doesn't make my or any other American's opinion any less valid, and it doesn't simply necessarily arise from arrogance or ignorance. Maybe I'm not worldly about my sports. Oh well.

When it comes to some things, like sports, which, yes, is ultimately just entertainment, it's just a matter of preference. I prefer watching sports (like American football) where there are complicated rules, lots of scoring, and intricate strategies at work. Is the sport overly contrived for TV? Probably, and I say, great. What I *don't* prefer is watching people run around a massive field and scoring once (or zero times) in 90 minutes.

If that makes me an ignorant a-hole, then I must accept the label in this case.
Mark - Thu, Jan 29, 2015 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
I have a friend who loved everything American football. Loved the Dallas Cowboys all the way back from when he was a child and Emmitt Smith was playing running back for them. He wasn't from Dallas or anywhere from Texas for that matter, but the Cowboys were the team he loved from day one of watching football. He also really loathed soccer. Couldn't stand the sport. He saw no redeeming qualities about it, and said the same things that have been said here about it and other things that I've heard about it from other Americans countless times. When asked if he had ever been to a game he said no and he wanted to keep it that way.

Well me and some other friends of mine decided we were going to take a trip to Germany and tour a little bit of both Berlin and Munich. We asked him if he wanted to come along and he was very excited about the whole thing. When we got there we managed to get tickets for the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund game. He wasn't so thrilled about it but he decided despite all his "hate" for the game he would go for the experience to see what all the fuss was about. It was a great game and he was completely enthralled throughout most of it. He came out of it very surprised at how exciting the game was, and how different it was than what he had expected to be. After that he decided to casually start following Bayern Munich from then on. Eventually after a short time that casual following became more than that and it has gotten to the point that he now is a huge support of Bayern Munich and catches every game. Does he still watch football? Sure, but it doesn't seem to hold his interest like it used to. He still follows the Cowboys, but is actually now a bigger fan of Munich.

Now I know that not all Americans would be like him and decide that after one game to decide that it was indeed a great sport. Some people would still hate it. There are people who know all about American football and still hate that. There are also people in Europe and South America who can't stand soccer either. However I do think that if more people were exposed to high level soccer on a consistent basis, a lot more people in this country would start following a team and start getting into it a lot more. Part of the problem is with a lot of Americans is that they think the soccer being played in their youth comes close to the real thing. In this country IT DOES NOT. For the most part not anywhere close. You said that they should call it the sport of "running around a massive field and never scoring." The problem is you can say that about a lot of sports albeit about something else(such as football is nothing but a group of grown man playing rough with each other over a ball). You have to grow up with the sport, playing it, watching it and knowing how the game works to fully appreciate it. Once you know that and you realize how fast and hard and skilled those guys play(something that the television doesn't come close to doing justice of really showing)it is a VERY exciting sport to watch and play most of the time. Sure there are very boring matches of soccer, but that's in every sport.

I actually don't usually care rather or not someone hates soccer. Most of the time I just blow them off as someone who doesn't know what they're talking about more than likely. I think to have an actual opinion about something, especially a strong one such as hating or really disliking something, you really should have real first hand and consistent experience with that something. Most Americans don't when it comes to soccer. Most Americans are quite arrogant and ignorant when it comes to the sport. That wouldn't be a problem. The problem is though a lot of Americans will treat you like a subhuman and start getting all kinds of rude and nasty to someone who does like the sport, like its some communist attack on American values and traditions. It's really sometimes just plain weird. They also think they know everything they need to know about the sport because they played in their youth and/or they watched it a couple of times for maybe 10 minutes at the most. They don't. Most don't. I think if they were to actually really look into it, actually take a deeper look and investigate what soccer is all about, a lot more people in this country would be invested in it and finally understand what the fuss is really all about. If you don't like it find. But don't act like its not any less a sport than the one that you like just because you don't really understand and/or appreciate the sport. You also can't call it boring until you've actually watched it consistently, especially in person live in my opinion.
Robert - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 6:44am (USA Central)
@Mark - I don't disagree with you (you'll note I said I enjoyed the Superbowl for it's commercials). I probably like the World Cup better, but it may just be because it's fun to smack talk my Brazilian, British and Italian friends (completely baseless of course, the Americans should be better than we are).

I do get why Americans prefer American football in a lot of ways, but it shocks me that we are so uninterested in this global contest of athleticism. I disagree that there's anything in soccer that would hold a Klingon's interest (though to be fair, boxing may be too lame for a Klingon). With the level of athletic talent and the money America is usually willing to spend on world sporting events I really do think Americans would like soccer more if we made a concerted effort to be better at it.

Also, a lot of sports is in the way it's sold. A really good announcer can make a game way more exciting (the same way you noted a game can be more exciting played live). I think soccer in particular is fun played live because of the ridiculous level of passion of the fans. I imagine that's quite infectious (I've never been, but I could see that).

I still don't really care much about sports either way, but I'll be enjoying my junk food and commercials on Sunday. I hope there's a good game (because there have been a few really good ones in the last few years). But if not I'll still have fun. I also look forward to the next World Cup.
Dave in NC - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 8:11am (USA Central)
Disclaimer: I grew up in New England, so I was basically weaned on the Red Sox. My team allegiance dissipated with adulthood. I haven't watched a big league game in I-don't-know-how-long but I still read the stats in the paper when I can. Old habits die hard.

That admission made, I must admit I've never had one passionate argument/debate about spectator sports because that whole world doesn't really speak to me on any level.

I've never really understand the vicarious connection people seem to have with people they don't know succeeding at something trivial.

The "hometown team" people are rooting for? They are made up of overpaid people with no roots or ties to the hometown other than a giant paycheck.

That merchandise and those stadium tickets they sell? By design the pricing gouges people (especially children).

Most of their stadiums are built on the taxpayer dime and are never paid off. It's only a couple of decades before the owners start crying for ANOTHER newer, flashier arena. They tout economic benefits that never seem to materialize. They threaten to move the team. The sports-fan voting bloc freaks out and the government folds. Repeat cycle.

The reason I said sports doesn't matter in the grand scheme? That's because pro-sports usually involve doing things TO A BALL.

The final irony? Most of those fans would be better off to get off the couch and join an amateur league.

Yeah, I don't get the passion.

PS- Is there anything more irritating than listening to a bunch of people talk about a sport (players, management, refs) when you don't watch it and don't care about it? I know it's just my personal bias, but talk about a colossal waste of time & energy.
Latex Zebra - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 10:48am (USA Central)
Americans, don't have the patience for Football, I refuse to call it soccer when American’s version of football is played mainly with peoples hands, in my experience. Likewise with cricket.
American’s tend to favour sports that are constant and something is always happening. For me as a Brit I can enjoy the passing and movement on the pitch as much as I do seeing a goal go in.
I do love American Throwball though. I was a pioneering fan of the Heathrow Jets, one of the first teams in the UK, and used to watch them virtually every weekend. I’ll quite happily stay up and watch the Superbowl as well.
Can’t stand Rugby though, nor Cricket. The former is quite annoying as I live in the shadow of Twickenham Stadium! I do wonder about fans of American Football, who love the strategies and tactics, would handle Test cricket. Slow as you like but tactically very clever.

Anyway the point is, people love different sports, some none at all. Football, as in the proper version played with your feet is the most watched sport in the World. It doesn’t make it the best. Just the most popular.
Robert - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 11:08am (USA Central)
"Americans, don't have the patience for Football, I refuse to call it soccer when American’s version of football is played mainly with peoples hands, in my experience. "

/rant begin/

You know it's called Football because the PEOPLE are on foot right? As in to contrast it from the sports the Brits played on horseback.....

As far as why we call it soccer... Americans did NOT decide to change the name of an international sport just to be ethnocentric dicks and invent their own. The entire mixup is England's fault and has very little to do with us.

From around 1400 (first historical mention of football in England) to about 1800 MANY games carried the name football. The first football game to gain real traction was invented at Rugby school. Rugby School football became popular throughout the UK in the 1850s and 1860s and had spread to Scotland by 1857.

Association Football (soccer), first played in Dec 1863 was a sport popular with the British elite, most specifically college students. British college students had the habit of shortening things and adding -er to them (Rugby -> Rugger) and started called Association Football Asoccer. So in 1863 you had Rugger and Soccer (since both games were football, the British school kids used the FIRST word to derive the colloquial names).

The first game of American Football was played in 1869 (6 years after the first soccer game) by Princeton and Rutgers. Since this was our football and the other 2 were popularly called Rugger/Rugby Football and Soccer/Association Football, we just plainly called our version Football. And rightly so. Since it was played on FOOT and derived from the many, many footballs out there already.

In the 1880s soccer spread to the British lower class and became insanely popular. They didn't like the hoity toity university names and ignored soccer to call it Football. The first record of Association Football being called Football instead of Soccer is in 1881, 18 years after the Oxford kids started calling it Soccer and 12 years after American Football was being called Football.

But, go ahead and assume that our refusal to change OUR sport's name after the Brit's decided to change THEIRS so that they could have the name back is America being stupid if that's what you need to do.

Oh and US, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, and Australia all still widely use soccer because they all made their own Football while the Brits were still figuring out what to call theirs. And FIFA was formed in Paris in 1904... 35 years after the first American Football game. But yep, we should have just given them the name back. Because their game hits the ball with their foot. Even though that has nothing to do with it.

/rant over/
Robert - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 11:11am (USA Central)
@Zebra - That rant wasn't meant to seem angry FYI. Just frustrated because Brits roll their eyes when Americans say soccer... but it's actually their fault :)
Robert - Fri, Jan 30, 2015 - 11:21am (USA Central)
I will say that I think soccer has a lot of strategy and tactics, it's just more subtle and difficult to follow and focuses on defense a lot of the time.

Anybody else think this conversation is more entertaining than the episode?
Mark - Sat, Jan 31, 2015 - 12:43am (USA Central)
@Zebra

I think that's what a lot of people don't get about soccer. The very quick and intricate passing and movement that goes on, along with the high skill level is what keeps people watching. It's also very competitive and intense, and when a goal goes in, its through great buildup and great skill.

The fact is though that you're never going to convince people to watch something that they have already made up their mind about. It goes along with everything else in America really. Take things at face value and run with it and then act like your opinion of something that you only really know bits and pieces about is a valid one.
Latex Zebra - Sat, Jan 31, 2015 - 9:33am (USA Central)
Oh Robert you just threw yourself on that giant wiggly worm on the end of that hook.

I was just seeing who would bite. I know you weren't being nasty.

It's just a name, though to me it will always be football. Look at Australian Rules Football. The only thing they got right is Australian as they play it with their hands and there don't actually seem to be any rules.

I feel sorry for my Brother as he has moved to the states to try and educate you yanks ;) on the ways of real football, I mean soccer. Teach kids at the moment but he has said the parents are getting more into it on the sidelines.
We're both scared that you guys are going to really get into it. Given the size of America if everyone started liking soccer then the rest of the World is doomed. You'll dominate for years.

You guys stick to BasketBall and American Football please.

Oh and yes the episode was awful. Sports discussion will always be better.
Latex Zebra - Sat, Jan 31, 2015 - 11:17am (USA Central)
Interestingly enough there is a game starting soon. Manchester City vs Chelsea.

There are 26 broadcasters there and there is an estimated global audience of 650m who will watch.

This is just a league game, no cups or anything involved. That is pretty crazy. Especially as 15 years ago most people outside of England would barely know those teams.
Jammer - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 12:28pm (USA Central)
Name a TV show that is outside your preferred area of general interest or preferred genre. (For a lot of people, these would be sci-fi shows. For people frequenting this site, it might be something else.)

Now imagine that the rest of the world watched this show, or at least a whole lot of people. Maybe it's "NCIS" or something else on CBS that has tons of viewers.

Now, you may never be interested in watching this show, ever, even if it might be hugely popular, or even if it's critically acclaimed. You may even have watched an episode or two and concluded that it is just not for you. Are you wrong for not wanting to watch it? Are all the people who have never seen "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad" wrong and/or arrogant idiots for not being interested and thinking it's a waste of their time?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say no. I might even grant them their bias against the show based on what it is about and their lack of interest in that particular thing.

Sports (even soccer!) are no different -- and I'd go even further and say that sports are even less valid as something you can defend outside of personal preference because they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be.
Mark - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 2:28pm (USA Central)
They're arrogant idiots if they say things like its a "socialist flop sport" that is "non-contact" and hate it when they don't really know the sport that well or at least as well as they think they do.

I've also known people who didn't like Breaking Bad or some other show because they watched an episode or two and couldn't get into it. They then sometimes act like its a pile of garbage and don't understand how anybody could like it after only watching a few episodes. That to me is being a bit of an arrogant idiot. Yes that includes if you've never even seen the show and act like its a waste of your time. How do you know?

You think if someone decided to try watching star trek but only caught episodes like this one and a few other ones that were mediocre and decided that all of star trek must stink, without watching any of the other series or episodes, do you think they're opinion is valid? People can have an opinion if they want to. To turn around and say something isn't very good or is boring when they've only seen bits and pieces of it really is to me not legitimate. Going based off face value and first impressions judgments is not legitimate. How many times have people had to get to know someone they didn't like, or kept with a show they didn't care for at first only to end up really liking the person or the show?

I'll also never understand how people can call soccer boring considering how constant stop and go football is. They just did an analysis of the Super Bowl the other day. 4 hours long and its only going to be around 27-28 minutes of actual action going on. That's a little ridiculous. A lot of the time football plays consist of 2-3 yard runs or 10-12 yard pass plays. The big exciting plays are usually a couple a game maybe.
Dave in NC - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 3:32pm (USA Central)
Jammer said:

Sports (even soccer!) are no different -- and I'd go even further and say that sports are even less valid as something you can defend outside of personal preference because they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be.


My two cents:

Absolutely 100% correct!

Besides giving bored kids & gymrats something productive to do, the ancillary societal benefits of spectator sports is pretty laughable.

I do understand the mind's need for useless drivel. After all, I have seen Voyager's Threshold three times.

There is literally nothing deep or profound about these activities themselves. Yes, there might be some interesting "human interest" stories there for the press to exploit, but you could achieve that end with a incisive profile of the first stranger you pass on the sidewalk.

Spectator sports really are the distillation of the human tendency to put undue importance on competition that has no productive end result.
Pointlessly throwing/kicking a ball around year after year doesn't say anything about the human condition, unless you're a pessimistic existentialist.
msw188 - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 3:56pm (USA Central)
Haha, where did all this come from? I'll just be a jerk and list all the boring things about all sports in the US:
baseball - everything... I will say it feels pretty unique though
basketball - basically everything, can't hit people, players can call timeout midplay...?
football - too much stopping and starting, feels custom-designed for television replay and midday naps
soccer - too much ground is covered too slowly, might be better if the field were a bit more compact and had boards to lower the amount of stops due to 'out of bounds'... also would be improved by more body blows, substitutions midplay (to allow higher frequency of 'all-out' physical play), and being played on ice, preferably with sticks and a puck, making it faster without losing the thrill and beauty of scoring a relatively rare goal

I think that covers all boring sports with major coverage in the US. :)
msw188 - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 4:23pm (USA Central)
Jokes aside, I will respond to:
"they are not a form of artistic expression the way a good TV show or film can be."

"Spectator sports really are the distillation of the human tendency to put undue importance on competition that has no productive end result."

I think there is some truth to both these statements, but some oversimplification as well. At the highest levels of sports, I will claim that there are moments of beauty and artistry. The best players in any sport will have those moments on the ice (or the field, I guess) where their physical skills and intelligence seem so fine-tuned to the task at hand that they are able to make something seemingly magical happen, something that feels unique and impossible to either preconceive or replicate. This isn't so different from our usual notions about art (especially music). We cannot quite quantify what it is about the piece (or the play on the ice) that so moves us, but somehow we feel that something special, maybe even something genius, was achieved.

What separates sport is that the beauty is at least partially derived from the fierce competition of the opponent.
Josh - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 4:36pm (USA Central)
Re: Americans not having the "patience" for (soccer) football.

I trust anyone suggesting that has never gone to a baseball game and had to explain why it's actually interesting. As Homer Simpsons observed, without beer, he'd never noticed how boring the game is.
William B - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 9:14pm (USA Central)
I don't have a real opinion on soccer vs. football.

On the question of whether sport can have aesthetic merit, I agree with msw188. I am not personally invested in any spectator sports, and there are some whose drawbacks (in terms of injuries, etc.) are very hard for me to personally see as being worthwhile. But I do think that human bodies and endurance tested, individuals working as a team, the competitive urge channelled into a "safe" environment, etc., have some beauty and contain some truths about the human condition. I don't really know how to say that without being pretentious, especially because I am really not the person to talk about this. I agree that the aesthetic qualities of sports are further removed from the way that quality tends to be evaluated for narrative art, but I don't think that means that team sports have no aesthetic qualities (or redeeming social value) at all.
Skeptical - Sun, Feb 1, 2015 - 9:18pm (USA Central)
Well, this conversation took a weird turn... Just my random two cents.

- To anyone complaining about how silly it is to watch X sport or get worked up about Y team, just remember that you're posting on an internet page dedicated to an episode that appeared 18 years ago. And something that has no productive end result? Isn't that true of any TV show? None of us here have a right to complain about any other fandom =)

- On a more serious note, interest in sports in general I think relies in part on the unpredictability. A TV show? It's scripted, someone plotted it all out. But sports? We don't know who's going to win. We don't know if a particular strategy is going to work. It's a battle of wits and skill and a little luck, and what will happen is anyone's guess. So we watch, hoping for our team to win, but also hoping that, out of this uncertainty, something exciting and new will appear. Storylines that are scripted, well, we can appreciate the writers for coming up with something clever. But an amazing moment in sports? That comes naturally out of the people involved.

And so when random events of skill and strategy come together to form a beautiful narrative, it etches itself into our memory. And it does so just as well as any preplotted, pre-scripted narrative. As an example, Americans back in 1996 fell in love with the women's Olympic gymnastics team. Why? Because they won their first ever gold medal in a dramatic fashion, with gymnast Kerri Strug landing a vault despite an injured ankle. If it was plotted by a writer, we'd have rolled our eyes at the cheesiness. But since it happened in real life, it was a sensation.

Heck, this is true even if it's not a team you root for. I'm a Cubs fan, and as pained as it is to admit it, the downfall of the 2003 Cubs, or for that matter the rise of the 1969 Mets at the expense of the Cubs, are both dramatic narratives in the world of baseball. It's stories like those that keep people coming back to the sport, or to sports in general.

- As for soccer in general, it is not true that Americans don't like it because of low scores. That holds true for hockey and baseball as well. It's also not true that it's not flashy enough for Americans; baseball isn't either. I think part of the problem is that it's harder to enjoy soccer on a "superficial" level. Maybe there's strategy involved with setting up defenses and the like, but it's not obvious to a casual observer. To a casual observer, the game really does look like a whole lotta nothing. In contrast, American football and basketball are exciting on a superficial level, but also have a greater depths that can be enjoyed by more dedicated fans (well, at least football does; I don't know and don't care about basketball). As for baseball, well, it's kinda boring on a superficial level (at least my wife thinks so...), but I think it's enjoyed on the superficial level as more of an experience. Sort of an American tradition.

- As for what sport is better, whatever... It probably does come down to personal preference. Me, I don't care one wit about soccer, and am only half interested in American football. Baseball is my sport. And it doesn't bother me at all that others think it's dumb or boring or whatever. Does it really matter?

- Finally, as to whether or not Worf would have played Soccer vs a more contact sport, well, isn't it possible that the Rozhenkos steered him more towards less violent sports? If I was Worf's dad, I would be at least a little afraid of letting Worf's violent tendencies get a bit out of hand. Even K'Eylhar and Alexander liked killing baddies on the holodeck and got a bit of a bloodlust. If Worf really was that much stronger, I would think Rugby or wrestling or anything else might be a bad idea for him... Especially given how even soccer turned out for him.
Robert - Mon, Feb 2, 2015 - 7:47am (USA Central)
"Why? Because they won their first ever gold medal in a dramatic fashion, with gymnast Kerri Strug landing a vault despite an injured ankle. If it was plotted by a writer, we'd have rolled our eyes at the cheesiness. But since it happened in real life, it was a sensation."

Well said, I like the thought behind that :)
Mark - Wed, Feb 4, 2015 - 11:29am (USA Central)
@msw188

Hockey is fun to watch but it sounds like you've never seen a professional soccer game if you think it doesn't cover enough ground fast enough. Sure there are slow buildups but there are also very quick counter attacks and very quick passing going up and down the field. As I've said as well the quick intricate passing with the level of skill and physicality makes it exciting to watch most of the time.

The only reason hockey is slightly faster is because its as you said more compact and also the fact that they're on ice with skates.
Mark - Wed, Feb 4, 2015 - 11:35am (USA Central)
@Dave in NC

I would agree that sports are pretty much pointless from every perspective except an entertainment one. People love entertainment and seeing things that get them out of their seats and forget the worries of their lives and make them feel good is one of the main reasons sports are still around.

I love soccer as much as I do because of the fact that it was one of the very few things that was actually good in my childhood(not to sound mopey). All of my better friends in life loved the sport as well, and it has been one of the main reasons of why I have very deep connections with some people, from the past and present. Soccer more than any other sport in the world, really can bring all kinds of people together most of the time.
Icarus32Soar - Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 10:36am (USA Central)
The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.
londonboy73 - Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 7:08pm (USA Central)
Icarus32Soar - Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 10:36am (USA Central)
The episode was unspeakable and so is the latter part of this thread which has degenerated into a jingoistic bonebrain rant about football genres. I'm outta here, this is an insult to ST.

How the hell is this an insult to ST??? If anything it shows what a good debate even one of the worst episodes of ST can bring.

I didn't agree with lots of the points being made and agreed with others (being English and a soccer fan it's obvious which side I took). But the whole debate was very interesting and even Jammer had his say! I fail to see how it is in any way an insult to Star Trek.

I didn't enjoy the debate on the comments section of 'Far Beyond The Stars' which went on for ages about the intricacies of the American Federal Govenment. You know what I did....... Didn't continue reading it...... You know what I didn't do...... Say it was an insult and throw my toys out of the pram!

If you don't like the debate don't read it. Saying it is an insult just because something doesn't interest you is just sad.
DVMX - Wed, Mar 18, 2015 - 12:57pm (USA Central)
I guess I'm in the minority but I actually enjoyed this episode a lot. Its not perfect (not sure how I'd grade it...2 and a half stars?) but I was entertained throughout. I guess I tend to like filler/fluff eps with Worf. Plus I was a big fan of Worf and Jadzia's relationship, and this provided context to further that along.

Honestly the only two eps of DS9 that are 100% unwatchable to me is "Profit and Lace" and "Fascination". Beyond that, I can even find favor in Quark-centered eps (easily my least favorite character). But luckily DS9's stellar eps far outway their so-so eps.
Robrow - Tue, Apr 28, 2015 - 8:45am (USA Central)
Worse than 'Fascination', I now feel I can say I've watched DS9's 'Sub Rosa'. Most of it was painful, bits excruciating. Apart from Quark and Bashir's mutual shock at Leeta's attraction to Rom. That was a good one.
Del_Duio - Tue, Apr 28, 2015 - 9:48am (USA Central)
@ Robrow: Actually "Profit and Lace" is WORSE if you can believe it. Actually, IMO it's a lot worse. That is the single worst episode of DS9. There's only one good point to the whole episode and that's a joke Worf makes about 40 seconds in.
Yanks - Tue, Apr 28, 2015 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
:-)

All this talk to include Jammer joining us because I said it is more reasonable to assume that Worf would play a contact sport.

Any sport that includes a Vuvuzela is not a sport at all, it's a head-ache in the making :-)
Robert - Wed, Apr 29, 2015 - 6:43am (USA Central)
By the 24th century Vuvuzela ITSELF will be an Olympic Sport.
Mark - Fri, May 1, 2015 - 7:08pm (USA Central)
Forgotten about this little debate for a little while. Only came back to it because I've been re watching some of these episodes lately

@Yanks Stop trying to get another debate going. You know nothing about the sport obviously so just keep it to yourself from now on.

That's a good boy.
Yanks - Sat, May 2, 2015 - 6:58am (USA Central)
Mark, you rewatched this episode? ... lol
MsV - Tue, May 5, 2015 - 2:08am (USA Central)
For Yanks: Any episode that references soccer can only be a turd. Does anyone believe that Worf played soccer instead of football? :-) No he played all of them including mixed martial arts, wrestling, boxing and anything rough and violent. I am the gymnastics type. lol

I won't say I like the ep. but I have watched at worse shows. I think it deserves a 1.5 for Vanessa Williams, I just think she deserved more screen time. She is a pretty good actress and is very pretty.

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