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Jenzo
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

I would like to just add a thought on that. Initially we have Jenna going into Data 's quarters and when he resumes his painting after she said just carry on what you're doing, she goes back to him and says "book of love...." and uses a book reference to explain why he should have acted differently. So to me she is at fault there, she already tries to shape him into something different, maybe thinking she is helping him by giving him official reference, and he then uses that advice to change his behaviour, unfortunately using romantic cliches of old times (I suppose they reference him as liking Sherlock Holmes stories so he went and used romantic references from around the same period?).

I agree that they could have make it work over a season or a few episodes to make it more interesting, also it feels like Jenna gives up so easily?? If you know he's an android surely you would try different things to make it work, it would have been interesting to take it further.
I believe Data was already popular to viewers then and to a part of the female audience, so they try to see how that would unfold over an episode, however...it wasn't done with a real care for Data. From my point of view Data still cares until the end, he ever asks her to sit and eat, he wants it to go on, but she ends it. As a human if someone was breaking up with me like that I would also feel like, well if that is what you want I'll erase the program...be gone! I dont feel it's just "because he is an android" but that's the beauty of the series, often you can interpret Data's actions differently depending on your opinion.
It also plays a lot on the fact that Brent Spiner gives a lot of emotion to Data, genuine, childlike, naive. Even when he appears emotionless. I wouldn't say the same for Spock for example who appears a lot more serious / strict.

As someone else said earlier, we project emotions into our lovers but we can never truly share their emotion or be in their own head. Love is trusting that you believe the other person genuinely loves you. You take clues and you decide if you believe it or not. I think Jenna could have tried a bit harder if she truly loved Data, and we could have a dramatic episode where Data is corrupted and struggling when a force makes him threaten Jenna, this kind of stuff makes you wonder if he would kill her if his program is corrupted for example. Similar to the struggle Picard had when he came back from the Borg vessel. That stuff is powerful because the viewer can relate to that (a kind of projection like when we ask yourself on which side we would have been if born in Germany before the world wars), and either way it goes it would bring a lot of emotional drama.

This episode in the end shows that Data is ready for a relationship (in a few episodes before he even expressed an interest in marriage) but that he would need someone completely devoted to making it work, or a best friend, someone that truly gets how he works and can laugh it off when he acts oddly and just remind him to be himself, or play through the simulations and give honest feedback.
In the end Jenna was very selfish and as soon as things started to go differently from what she expected she ended it.
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