Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Ferengi Love Songs"

1.5 stars

Air date: 4/21/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Rene Auberjonois

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Don't you think of anybody but yourself?"
"Of course I do. I just think of myself first."

— Ishka and Quark

Nutshell: Weak. A predictable Ferengi melodrama with very few laughs. A season low point.

Two weeks ago in my review of "Business as Usual," I pointed out that Quark episodes that treat his character seriously rather than simply going for the obvious "comedy" of a situation are usually, if not always, better. While there have been lighthearted exceptions like "Body Parts" and "Little Green Men" that have worked, most Quark-centered shows that take this comedic approach are shallow, nondescript, unfunny, or all of the above.

"Ferengi Love Songs"—by far the weakest episode all season (again, aside from "Let He Who Is Without Sin…", which doesn't count as a real episode)—fits the description of Yet Another Standard Ferengi Outing™. It's goofy, annoying, trite, and all-too-sparsely amusing. I must admit that when I saw the preview featuring Quark's mother Ishka (a.k.a. "Moogie," recast since third season's Andrea Martin and now played by Cecily Adams) I wasn't particularly enthralled. And when the episode began, I tried to clear my mind of impatience and cynicism so I could enjoy myself. Alas, it was not to be.

"Ferengi Love Songs" is akin to the same sort of tiring pointlessness that third season's ponderous "Family Business" and last season's by-the-numbers "Bar Association" were. Again, the story doesn't really have a legitimate theme, it's just More Ferengi Farce, but without any solid laughs. In fact, I'd put "Ferengi Love Songs" on or near the bottom of the Ferengi episode list.

Surprisingly, unlike many Quark- and Ferengi-centered outings, this episode doesn't shove the joke of "Ferengi are greedy and economy-driven so they're funny!" down our throats. Instead, Behr and Beimler have scripted a Ferengi melodrama in which Quark runs home to Ferenginar to stay with his mother because he has hit a streak of bad luck and realizes his life is in shambles. Once he returns home, however, he discovers that his mother (apparently the only female Ferengi on the planet with any aspirations to tear down the sexist society a la "Family Business") has fallen in love with Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn, reprising a role that is really beginning to wear thin).

Ishka and Zek together are extremely annoying. Have you ever known a couple that was so syrupy and cute in public that it made you just want to walk really far away from them? Well, magnify that times ten and you get Ishka and Zek. Their cuteness emanates from the television screen in such farcical extreme that I wanted to walk away from my television. Fortunately, these scenes are in small, barely-tolerable doses.

But then again, that's hardly the fundamental problem with the show, although it sure doesn't help. One major problem with "Ferengi Love Songs" is that, as a Ferengi melodrama, it's predictable to the extreme. Just about everything that happens in the course of the episode can be called several scenes in advance. There isn't a single surprise or original idea to be found in the show. Does Quark try to take advantage of the Nagus' relationship with his mother to get his Ferengi business license back? Yep. When Zek refuses, does Brunt the FCA guy show up to offer to restore Quark's license in exchange for sabotaging Zek's relationship with this "troublesome female"? Yep. Does Quark lie to Zek about his mother's intentions and scare Zek off? Yep. Is Ishka crushed? Yep. Does Quark feel guilty afterward? Yep. Once it's revealed that Ishka is the key behind Zek's financial leadership (since he has chronic memory losses) does Brunt try to label Zek incompetent and seize power? Yep. Was this all Evil Brunt's master plan? Yep. Has Quark caused the mess of all messes and must now fix it by repairing his mother's and Zek's relationship? Yep.

Nothing in the plot has any sense of sincerity. It's 100 percent perfunctory. Is the conclusion to any of this in doubt for a second? Do we even care? No, and no. The storyline of a typical Ferengi show doesn't usually matter when it comes down to it; instead, what I look for is something amusing in the characterizations. It doesn't happen here. The only one who comes close to surviving the uninvolving mayhem of the plot is Armin Shimerman, who plays Quark just as adequately as usual. Quark isn't deep, but he's not really unpleasant to watch, either. Ishka, Zek, and Brunt, on the other hand, are puppets in a useless plot that has no need to give them any character beyond what little cardboardedness they need to fuel the useless plot.

As far as an analysis of Quark, Ishka, and Ferengi culture goes, "Ferengi Love Songs" leaves me somewhat perplexed. I thought the point of "Family Business" two years ago was to demonstrate how much the Ferengi don't fit in the Roddenberry universe, and that Ishka represented a wave of change. At times, this installment appears like it could've veered in that direction and followed things up. But it doesn't happen. All possibilities are abandoned as Ishka agrees to continue acting as Zek's secret financial advisor and the two live happily ever after. The "troublesome female" Quark lies to Zek about early in the episode is actually the Ishka that seemed to come out of "Family Business," and, quite frankly, that Ishka was a hell of a lot more interesting than this character, who promptly settles for status quo on Ferenginar so she can live out her days with the true love of Zek. Or something.

It may seem harsh the way I'm comparing Ishka with the Ishka that could've been; but, really, that's about all here that's worth scrutinizing. And scrutinizing leads to this conclusion. Other than the aforementioned, there's nearly zero substance. (I will add, however, that the Ferengi architecture and decor is terrible. No points for the production design department this week.)

Oh, yes. Then there's the B-story involving Leeta and Rom and their intentions to get married. Do I need to comment here, or is what I'm about to say as predictable as how this subplot unfolded? (I'll comment anyway, because that's my job.)

In brief: Please, no more. No more Rom, no more Leeta, no more any of it. This subplot was as much akin to shallow melodrama as was the main story, if not more so. And it was just as predictable, if not 100 times more so. I was practically reciting the lines before the actors.

Naturally, we get plenty more of Leeta being, well, Leeta. And plenty more of Rom being, well, Rom. I've had it with Chase Masterson's hollow performances. And I've had it with the writers' portrayal of Rom as Idiot of the Year. In this setting, a single (and complimentary, by the way) remark by Dax to Rom saying that he's the most un-Ferengi-like Ferengi she has ever met sends Rom on a hopelessly obvious attempt to suddenly become more Ferengi-like and begin treating Leeta in the sexist ways that a typical Ferengi man would treat any given "female." He begins by asking her to sign a prenuptial agreement. Give me a break. The handling of this is so terribly superficial and completely lacking in the behavior of real people (and more the behavior of cartoon characters) that it's practically agonizing to watch unfold. The only character to survive this aspect of the story is O'Brien (because Colm Meaney can work magic even with the worst material—then again, O'Brien's part in this is only peripheral). As long as Leeta and Rom are portrayed as cartoon characters, I have no desire to see them on Deep Space Nine.

I've said all I feel like saying about "Ferengi Love Songs." To the episode's credit, there are some amusing lines scattered throughout the show, but they're not nearly enough to overcome the bulk of the story's deficiencies. This installment is an average example of the DS9 Ferengi show and nothing more—but perhaps plenty less.

Previous episode: Ties of Blood and Water
Next episode: Soldiers of the Empire

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52 comments on this post

Fri, Apr 25, 2008, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
I think you are too negative about Ferengi episodes. I actually enjoyed this episode a lot. I had a lot of good laughs. Yes, it's silly and dumb, but that's the writers's intention! Not to bring up serious questions or to have a profound meaning. Zek's voice is priceless, even after a couple of episodes, as is Rom's stupidity. Very lightweight and amusing, after the heavy emotional and serious episode of last week.
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
I have to disagree with you Andreas, this episode was awful. If anything, Jammer was being TOO generous with 1.5 stars. I watch DS9 on my computer, and I ended up switching to my web browser half-way through and just listened to the audio for much of the second half, it was THAT boring. The characterization is just so dull and stereotyped, and when you couple that with Super Lame Ferengi Plot, it truly is agonizing. I would forgive it if it was funny, but I smile more during O'Brien torture episodes or even the ones about Cardassian concentration camps. Bleh.
Fri, Sep 4, 2009, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Andreas on Zek's's hilarious...especially back in Prophet Motive.

When he bellowed "I've got something foooooor yooooouuuuu" and "I can't help it...I liiiiike yoooouuu" and "You're wrinkling my suuuuuuiiiiit", I LoL'd.
Sun, Apr 11, 2010, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer and Blue, this episode is almost as bad as "let he Who Is WIthout Sin...". There is only one good scene, and it's the one about Martok. Everything else is pure cartoonish gag-inducing garbage. How I wish this series only had 24 episodes per season!
Sat, Nov 6, 2010, 12:16am (UTC -5)
"Congratulations, Quark. You've not only destroyed my life and Zek's life, you may have triggered the destruction of the entire Ferengi economy!"

Yet, somehow, I didn't care.
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 1:20am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed Family Business and Bar Association, and generally like or at least want to like Ferengi episodes. But for me, this is when the Ferengi episodes start going downhill. This episode marks the tipping point where Zek began to become tedious. He works as a foil, and should be vaguely threatening by Ferengi standards. Here, I get the impression I'm supposed to find him adorable. I don't. I want to punch him in the face.

This episode is just relentless on the viewer. Most Ferengi episodes are grounded in realism for the viewer is some way (even if just by having Dax sit on the side and providing commentary). This one isn't. Most of the action takes place on Ferenginar, featuring only Ferengi. It looks like Whoville on crack. The B-story, while set on the station, is a second over the top Ferengi romance. The A-story didn't need a B-story to complement it. It needed a B-story to provide some relief. It's a complete sensory overload for me as a viewer.

Quark's best days are officially behind him with this story. After this it's Profit and Lace, and then The Emperor's New Cloak. The Ferengi are best represented by Nog from this point forward.
Chris Freeman
Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 3:32am (UTC -5)
Best part of this episode: Kira's "couldn't care less" attitude when Leeta is complaining to her. Now that's a character I can relate to in this episode!
Tue, Apr 3, 2012, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Yes, it's dumb. Yes, it's cartoonish. Yes, it deserves the review it got, but I don't really mind these Ferengi episodes all that much. They're mildly amusing background noise.

Now eventually turning Dukat into the cartoonish Anti-Emissary, that I mind...
Tue, Apr 3, 2012, 11:25am (UTC -5)
LOL @Max! Ferenginar = Whoville on crack, that's a good one!!!
Sun, Apr 22, 2012, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
The Ferengi homeworld looks very much like many others Trek planets. With all that technology they have you think some of this worlds would have invented the amazing art of producing windows.
The CGI of the starships and the space station always looks pretty descent, so why didn't the producers invest a little money for some simple matte painting? It would prevent the studio sets from looking like... Well, studio sets.
Sat, Nov 24, 2012, 10:40am (UTC -5)
I don't have the hate you have about Ferengis, but I agree with you about this episode. There are so many clichés and the supposedly comic scenes are laughable (in the wrong way) because they are so ridiculous.

About Rom, I remember that in the first season, his view about marriage and females was completely ferengi: he said he likes his female to be naked and submissive. So, his falling in love with Leeta never rang true to me. But then again, I never understood why they introduced Leeta on DS9 in the first place..

On another note, I think that what Dax told Rom was very disrespectful, even if well meant. How would you like someone telling you: you're the most un-human-like human I know. But, I'm over-analysing an episode that doesn't need to be :p.
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 5:32am (UTC -5)
Also re: "I think that what Dax told Rom was very disrespectful" from Arachnea, the situation gets even more confusing when you consider how much Dax seems to like the Ferengi.

I think Ferengi stories have a place, but I think they really fall apart when they become complete farce. I appreciated those Ferengi episodes that were somewhat comedic but at least took their own content seriously, or had *something* to say about Quark, or Rom, or...someone.

But I would give this episode a bonus star for the line "I was a scheming, profit-hungry female who couldn't keep her clothes off!"
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
The thing I find odd is how the Ferengi are always the bad guys that need to change. Rom is the only one sacrificing anything. What exactly is Leeta giving up for the relationship?
Fri, Aug 23, 2013, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
To me, this episode was completely over the top - I agree that it was a farce that just wasn't funny.

There was one thing, however, that made me laugh out loud:

Quark opens his closet door: "Brunt, FCA!"

Somehow jeffrey Combs manages to make every single line he has a hoot, no matter which character he plays. That guy is awesome!
Sat, Oct 26, 2013, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Another "meh" Ferengi episode. It has its moments.

Fri, Feb 21, 2014, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
So this Tongo tournament that Ishka was in...I assume she would have had to been nude to participate.
Fri, Feb 21, 2014, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Nice nod to continuity that "Marauder Mo" has the phaser whip thing from early TNG.
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 2:14am (UTC -5)
There's four lines in this episode that actually made me LOL. There's two lines in Max's comment above that made me LOL. A whole episode versus a couple of paragraphs. Well you do the math. Max wins. So does this review.

I even agree on the Rom part. I generally like the idiot-savant character he is. But this was just out of left field stupid. I actually wanted to SEE something from out of left field hit him in the forehead.

A couple of laughs and a couple of actually sincerely good scenes save this from a complete farcical nonsense.

1 star.
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Ferengi episodes were always divise in Star Trek fandom. Super nerds hated them, casual watchers loved them. Now I like Star Trek as much as the next person, but I also love Ferengi episodes.

What Dax said about Ferengi also applies in real life. Once you accept that Ferengi episodes aren't really serious and never game changing you find that you can really enjoy for the light-hearted romp they are.
Sat, May 10, 2014, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
Ferengi episodes, corny (and insulting, if you think too hard) as they are, still manage to entertain me more than whenever TNG tried some weird crap... Like Sub Rosa, or most of the Troi episodes. That being said, this isn't just a Ferengi episode, it's a two-fer relationship episode. And we all know how almost universally trite THOSE can be.

2 stars.
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
I hate Zek and we see way too much of him in this episode.

Always a skipper for me.

.5 stars.
Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
This one straddles the line between 1-1/2 and 2 stars for me. I like the series-long arc that develops about the Ferengi way of life. On the other hand, I wish it involved more than four or five Ferengi (Zek, Quark, Ishka, Brunt, Rom). Not that I want MORE Ferengi episodes, but I see that the DS9 writers were going for an arc along the lines of Cardassia or Bajor. The difference is that those settings generally get serious face time in a dozen episodes a year and actually seem to exist in a universe with one another. Ferenginar is just... separate from everything. Not that I'd want it to factor into the Dominion War at all but it'd still be nice for it to have at least a bit more weight than, say, the Mirror Universe storyline.

I didn't hate this episode as much as everyone else. Probably because I recently watched some season 1 TNG starring the Ferengi and... wow. Not even DS9's worst episodes reach those depths. Mother of mercy.

tl;dr: A silly, pretty stupid episode that's (thankfully) insulated from the rest of the series. Still nowhere near as bad as "The Last Outpost".
Nathan B.
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Others have said what I wanted to, even down to the same words: Zek:s voice is a riot all by itself, and even though the Ferengi episodes are corny, they are light-hearted in a refreshing way. It's fun for me to see serious topics like forbidden relationships, memory loss, aging, and the like treated with an amusing, light touch. As an avid DS9 fan, I've never yet met a Ferengi episode I haven't liked.
William B
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
I find that Ferengi episodes don't so much irritate me as leave me a little down, wishing that they were better. The episodes feel tired and they make me feel tired. There are some important themes here; late-life romance and taboos against it, Zek's encroaching senility, the culture clash of Leeta/Rom's values. In some ways though I guess I have trouble just accepting the starting idea. That Zek is having a secret romance with Quark's mother is weird enough to begin with, because this is "A FEEEEMALE!" Zek ("Rules of Acquisition") we are talking about, but I get that he's aging and lonely and seems unaware that Ishka is actually running his business, so, fine. But that Ishka really only has Zek's best interests at heart and is not attempting to leverage any personal gain out of essentially being the Nagus' secret consigliere just feels wrong. The whole point of Ishka in "Family Business" is that it's just as valid for women to be self-interested capitalist sharks as it is for men to be, and so for her to be so disinterested in her own gain and to be content to be the woman-behind-the-power specifically because of love doesn't quite gel with what we know about her. Why does she love Zeky, anyway? In some ways, I would prefer it if Ishka really was partly in love with Zek but also partly pretty genuinely attempting to use Zek to leverage her own profits; this would give bigger bite to Quark's attempts to tear them apart, but would also avoid having Ishka held to different standards than other Ferengi characters because she's a woman. I do like that she says she has not given up on women's equal rights, but that Ishka is basically a girlfriend, caretaker and secret hardworking financial chief who gets no public credit for her role and can't even openly acknowledge it to Zek until the episode doesn't sit right with her character's progressiveness.

Anyway, Quark decides to destroy his mother's happiness for personal gain, because he's depressed at his string of failures, and, I dunno, part of the problem with Quark's depression is that we already had "Business as Usual" wipe out Quark's considerable debt two episodes ago and had him go through a moral lesson. Ishka had assumed Quark would disapprove of her relationship with Zek, but he thought it was great, so he really was acting out of no remaining ideological feelings when he broke them up for Brunt's sake, and stupidly failed to see that Brunt is not exactly trustworthy. It is hard on some level to evaluate Quark's behaviour, because Ferengi are supposed to be self-interested, and so the episode sort of cheats by overdetermining what Quark has to do; rather than coming to any sort of realization about whether he actually does care more about his mother's happiness than his financial standing, or whatever, it is necessary to get Ishka and Zek back together to save the Ferengi financial empire, and all is quickly forgiven. I like the shot of Quark as petulant child with Zek and Ishka being cutesy, because Quark really does seem like a ten-year-old throughout the episode, which maybe is the point -- Ishka dating makes Quark retreat in age to a spoiled brat of years past, perhaps -- but really Quark is a weak protagonist, making no real moral decisions and basically just doing what first Brunt than Ishka tells him to. And then he gets "Body Parts" revoked, because, whatever. I want to comment at some point on the way this season systematically reverses all the changes of season four, and many reestablishments of the status quo feel cheap and unearned. This one most of all, though.

It is a bit silly to complain much about the plot in an episode like this, but why would Brunt seek to humiliate the Nagus financially rather than just exposing his secret relationship? More significantly, I have no idea how Quark and Ishka got Zek through the business meeting he was alone in.

The Rom/Leeta stuff is pretty agonizing, and the whole thing relies on us being invested in these kids getting married when we have no real sense of why they are together in the first place; the only episode to suggest why the two of them even care about each other at all is "Bar Association," which is hardly enough. That Rom and Leeta are in love with each other has been established in dialogue, but have we seen their bond in action? Anyway, the subplot parallels the main plot in that the romance is nearly broken up by Ferengi misogyny, except that whereas Quark had to go in and sow seeds of poison, this plot happens because Dax and O'Brien start sowing dissent in totally predictable ways. That Rom has a broken heart from his last, difficult relationship is a detail which actually is sort of affecting, for a few seconds. But anyway, the plot weirdly resolves with Rom having to give up all his profits rather than the recognition that he can still have Ferengi values for himself and just shouldn't put restrictions on how Leeta behaves -- I mean, the obvious resolution would be that Leeta should not just expect that Rom should start following her religion closely either, but that detail gets ignored. It may be that this is a commentary on asymmetrically "evolved" cultures, that really Bajoran culture > Ferengi culture and it is totally legitimate for Rom to give up his latinum and to start memorizing Bajoran prophesies for their upcoming Bajoran ceremony, which does not really sit well for a few reasons. Generously, it maybe just is that Rom is a bad Ferengi and realizes that his latinum, such as it is, is toxic to his continued relationships. I don't know.

I don't hate the episode or anything, but it left me pretty cold. 1 star, I suppose -- maybe 1.5.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Jan 24, 2016, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Ah, because what this series really needed was a contrivance that puts Quark, Zek, Moogie and Brunt together in a farce that even includes people hiding in closets.

Honestly, I find this boring more than anything. Not a lot happens, it's not that funny. Even the Rom/Leeta subplot, which I haven't had too much of a problem with up to now, actually leaves Rom more annoying than ever.

A bit of a misfire. 1.5 stars.
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Quark is one of the few aces in the show. It's his episode, along with Wallace Shawn. What's not to dig here? There's enough shakiness performance-wise with DS9 to taint most episodes. This was the Trek originally I drifted away from (like pre-season 4 Voyager) for a bunch of reasons. Of course, the Ferengi were one of them. Coming back to it now I find the playfulness very well balanced. Like the Berkhoff episode, too. I think Shawn (and Behr) is having a lot of fun here. That alone is worth x4 of the best of Sisko's scenes. It's an odd situation, certainly I confess I am surprised, but I think the Ferengi episodes are going over a few heads (lobes).
Tue, May 17, 2016, 5:56am (UTC -5)
Oh, joy, the return of Ishka, as if she wasn't horrible enough in "Family Business". This one was practically doomed from the start. Add into the mix the other massive failings of the episode and you have yet another terrible Ferengi episode. Coming so soon (only two episodes!) after such a magnificent use of Quark in "Business as Usual", "Ferengi Love Songs" is even more embarrassing.

Does anybody remember "The Nagus"? You know, when Zek was portrayed as a legitimately intimidating figure and someone who commanded at least some respect as a Head of State? Well, that's all been flushed right down the toilet, hasn't it?! Because now he's little more than a Looney Tunes character who has been reduced to literally hiding in closets. Imagine, if you will, coming home one day to visit your mother and finding none other than Barack Obama himself secretly cowering in our childhood bedroom closet (with a Secret Service agent no less) because he's afraid you might find out that he's secretly screwing your mom. Sound ridiculous? That's because it is! Zek is the damn Ferengi Head of State! Why is he being treated like this?! Strike one. Oh, we also have Brunt secretly beaming into and out of Quark's closet, because why not turn him into a cartoon character as well. Strike two. Ishka continues to treat Quark horribly, continuing her disgusting parental behavior from "Family Business". Strike three. Zek and Ishka spend the vast amount of their screen-time together acting like stoned-out chipmunks or infatuated middle-schoolers. Because we just have to have the cartooniness ramped up to an annoyance factor of eleven, don't we? Strike four. We also have Zek fall from a respectable Head of State to a simple-minded forgetful idiot who has to rely on his girlfriend for advice on how to run the government, because the character assassination simply will not stop, will it?! Strike five. Marauder Moe action figures? Complete with a line about leaving them in their original packaging? Was this supposed to some cute, little in-joke at how Trek fans treat Trek merchandise? Because it was nothing but fucking stupid and borderline insulting! Strike six. At several points in the episode, the action takes place in Zek's office. Are we supposed to assume that this is literally the Ferengi equivalent of the Oval Office? Because if it is, I have to say, I'm certainly less than impressed! A gold curtain and a cheesy looking chair on a one stair dais? That's it?! They couldn't come up with anything more impressive than that for the center of the Ferengi government? Good grief, when we later see Kai Winn's personal office, it's more grandiose than this! And I'm sorry, but the Bajorans (and Winn herself) never struck me as having more of a passion for ostentation than the freaking Ferengi! Strike seven! There is nothing about this A-plot that is even remotely salvageable. Zero out of ten.

The only thing that saves the episode is the B-plot with Rom and Leeta. And even it has massive flaws. So, practically this entire romance has taken place off-screen but now the writers want us to accept that they're getting married? You know, I actually like both of these characters, but this is asking me to accept way too much. Strike one. What is the message of this plot? If you're a beta male but want to get with the hot girl, then just give away all your worldly possessions and rely on her job as a bimbo to support the two of you? Ummm.... I'm no ladies man myself, but I don't think it works that way, guys! Strike two. Why is Rom's desire to protect his assets during the marriage simply treated as buffoonish? The man has legitimate fears that need to be addressed. His first wife took him to the cleaners and then dumped his ass for a richer man. Do you think that might have had an impact on his psyche or personality?! But, instead of addressing that aspect of the character (and actually giving the episode something serious to chew on) we're instead treated to cliche "Ferengi are just greedy and need to stop" claptrap. Groan. Strike three. Three out of ten for this plot.

A zero and a three. Average that out and you get 1.5/10. I'm really not feeling generous towards this episode, so I'm rounding that down.

Sat, Oct 1, 2016, 12:51am (UTC -5)
always a good laugh to go back and see Jammer ripping on Ferengi episodes.

Yeah, he hates them. We get it.....
Sun, Nov 20, 2016, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
One thing about Quark that this show never explores is how he is fundamentally different from other Ferengi but doesn't accept that about himself. This is shown starkly in the scene where he tells his mother that all his time with humans has rubbed off on him and given him a conscience. But he was giving deals to Bajorans during the occupation long ago. What about him or his upbringing led him to do that? Why does he live so far from home so isolated from most other Ferengi?

This episode could have created a nice foil between Quark and Rom where Rom has come to accept that he is not like other Ferengi, and even embrace it. But it doesn't. Instead the Rom/Leeta subplot is awful. Why would Dax say those terrible things to him? (Can you imagine anyone saying to a member of an ethnic group, "You're great because you're not like other __________." I don't think so.)

And what about Leeta? Does she not know that she's dating a Ferengi? Is the expectation that Rom will completely give up his culture and Leeta will make no compromises? That's not an awful thing since it's hard to imagine Leeta coexisting with Ferengi culture and Rom's not a very good Ferengi. But the show should make that explicit: Rom is giving up his culture not just because he's in love with Leeta but because his culture does not work for him.

The idea that an advanced civilization has no plan for a peaceful transfer of power is insulting and ludicrous.

I've been thinking about how every alien species in Star Trek has exactly one trait. Klingons = love of honor. Ferengi = greedy. But civilations that cover planets are bound to have all kinds of cultures and subcultures. There is no single way to define Earthlings. We are greedy, peaceful, imperial, scientific, xenophobic, religious -- and that's just on the block where I live. It's one thing to define the government a certain way ("the federation is . . .") but cultures can't be captured like that.
David Pirtle
Sat, Dec 3, 2016, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
I can always guess the score you'll give an episode based on how many Ferengi are heavily featured. It's an inverse ratio.
Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 5:51am (UTC -5)
I skipped all the Ferengi episodes based on Jammer's low ratings of them, but I've started watching them and really enjoyed them, for the most part. Yes, they're a hoot. No, they're not game changing the way 'In the Pale Moonlight' or most Garak-heavy episodes are, but that's all right, because I can enjoy them for their different merits. Zek is hilarious AF and I can't get enough of his voice.

In fact the only Ferengi episode I didn't like so much was 'The Magnificent Ferengi,' in which Zek did not play a significant character. He has good chemistry with Armin Shimerman and Max Grodenchik, and is always good for a laugh or three. His last arc in S7 has me in stitches every time.
Fri, Jun 30, 2017, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was mildly funny. It doesn't fit in with the rest of the ds9 universe if you insist on taking it all very seriously, but I am fine with a show where some of the episodes are dramatic and others are farcical. I find the reactions here funny, of course you aren't supposed to care about the Ferengi economy.

2.5 stars.
Sun, Jul 2, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
I usually like Wallace Shawn. He went quite a bit too far in this episode.
Real Ric
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
I'm a huge Ferengi fan and as a few others have pointed out (not on this site) - they are an allegory of Jewish stereotypes (of interest to note- most prominent Ferengis were played by Jews who enjoyed the roles).

Once you appreciate that you start watching Ferengi behaviour closely and comparing it to Jewish stereotypes. That's why this is a solid 3 stars - highlights are of course Zek's voice again and Combs ("Brunt. FCA").

This ep made me do a little research so here's some trivia:

- re: the Marauder Mo figures, apparently quite a few were made for this episode but the crew liked them so much they kept them as souvenirs.

- re: Ishka's line about keeping them in their original packaging, Ira Steven Behr is an action figure collector and apparently keeps them in their original packaging. The line was an improvised nod to the producer.

Long live Ferenginar!
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 2:19am (UTC -5)
2.5 stars

I originally hated this but the few times I've rewatched it over the years I don't have that same reaction. I've actually come to enjoy it and the post season four Ferengi episodes

They're not great but not as bad as I thought. As strange as it sounds they kinda have a certain charm all their own. Ira actually managed to create a nice little Ferengi subset of characters like Ishka, Zek, Brunt, Rom, Nog that are endearing. Maybe it's simply nostalgia but I found this episode entertaining enough
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
There goes an hour I'll never get back -- a stupid Ferengi episode that doesn't know if it's a comedy or trying to be serious. Winds up being neither or somewhere in between and I really struggled to watch the entire thing.

It's long been established that Ferengi society can't be taken seriously with their stupid rules of acquisition, treatment of females. Of course, the characters are ridiculous comic figures -- all of them. Zek and his assistant -- give me a break. Zek and Quark's mom together -- this is just not Star Trek for me. It's not what Gene Roddenberry would have intended.

Adding in a B-plot of Rom/Leeta's wedding being on and then off and then on again was tedious and another insult to Trek fans. Had enough of these 2 after "Doctor Bashir, I Presume".

0.5 stars for "Ferengi Love Songs" -- one of the worst DS9 episodes I've seen. If this is supposed to be making a point about equal rights for females, there are much better ways to do it. I really don't know what Star Trek can do with the Ferengi anymore. Based on Jammer's review, I'm not sure how he gets to 1.5 stars for his rating.
J Fenzel
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Rahul,. Completely agree. I'd rank this one below Let He Who Is Without Sin. Not a fan of Ferengi episodes, especially this one. Quark is a good stand alone Ferengi character, but he does best in an ensemble story. Oh well, hope thats the last One of these this season.
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Zero stars.
Mon, May 7, 2018, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Yes, this episode was mind-numbingly stupid. However, there is a much bigger problem plaguing most, if not all, episodes that dwell deeper into Ferengi culture. All Trek races have something that sets them apart, something that makes them a special culture to be examined and in relation, to examine humanity itself. That is one of the biggest points of the entire series. Now, when you take a concept that defines one of those races and use it as comic-relief and somehow at the same time plan on using it to tell a serious story and incite serious discussion, you do not get either and instead end up with miserable and utterly wasted episodes. To continue to an even bigger issue, those episodes themselves hold the concept on which the entire Ferengi society is based on as something so preposterous that it needs to be rectified to be more in line with human ideals and morals. Take for example the position of women in Ferengi society. Every time the values that dictate they shouldn’t wear clothes or leave the house were mentioned, they were delivered in such frivolous manner that one wonders if there ever was a point where the writers intended them to be taken seriously. As such, I cannot in the slightest identify with their plight or root for their emancipation. And in the end, why should I? What writers and some viewers don’t seem to realize here is that they are NOT a human society and as such shouldn’t be measured against the human standard of morality. Why would you create a culture so different from our own just to thwart it in the end by making it more like “us”, which is exactly what happens in the series finale. The best example of that issue however is without a doubt the entire “Bar Association” episode which I thoroughly hated. It has all of the elements that I have just described that work against the very fiber of their society and actually wants the audience to root for them.

Yes, we as humans should strive towards social justice in the same way we should condemn authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, mindless violence and violations of war conventions. However, you don’t see Cardassian or Klingon cultures made fun of as is the case here. When moral issues arise in a clash between a human and some other culture it is up to you as a viewer to make your stand and examine it for what it is, which is not the case with Ferengi cultures. We even have that very problem visible in this episode between Rom and Leeta. It is a cultural clash where Rom’s culture was bound to lose right from the start for reasons I have put out in this review.

What I’m saying is that by putting out radical ideas and at the same time trying to make them tamer by making them more acceptable to the human eye is trying to have your cake and eating it too, which only spectacularly misfires. We end up instead with a massive caricature of a culture that fails miserably in telling its story, nor do we get any valuable moral questions or discussions because at the end, those do not matter in the slightest. The writers have already decided for you before the story was even told.
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Per usual, Jammer doesn't have a sense of humor. Great comedy theater. One of the funnest episodes of the season.
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
I don't think this episode works, but I certainly don't think that it's actively awful. It's more bland and boring than actively offensive. As a comedy, it isn't funny, but it didn't actively upset me. There are several half-way decent moments.

1.5 stars.
Thu, Jan 24, 2019, 8:27am (UTC -5)
I liked that we get to actually see Feringhinar and learn a little more about Ferenghi culture in DS9. I like to learn that it's always raining, I like the almost Hobbity look of their houses. I like learning about the Ferenghi afterlife.

The Ferenghi women thing - I always assumed the women must be barely sentient or something, the way the situation was described. I could buy a species evolving that way, for whatever reason: One of the sexes much less intelligent than the other, something very alien and really not up for comparison to human norms and values.

But, no. I think ST would have been better off leaving that whole thing to our imagination. This idea of improving the Ferenghi by making then more human - I don't like it.

Shimerman is great, as always. I don't like the Negus and that story itself is boring and confusing.

Leeta and Rom - I don't like the moral of the story, which seemed to be that poor pathetic Rom should give up anything and everything for his prize, Leeta. It should have been about the need to compromise and prioritize and be partners, in a marriage of equals - which is what they have chosen for themselves.

Bobbington Mc Bob
Wed, Jul 24, 2019, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
The pattern sadly, continues.
hit miss hit miss hit miss hit miss hit miss hit miss hit
David K.
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 3:41am (UTC -5)
Wait, wasn’t Ishka supposed to have been sold in to servitude when Quark broke his contract? That was supposed to be one of the consequences. Why was that never addressed, even with a throw away line about how she had to spend half her fortune bribing people or something.
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
I like Quark and (most of the time) Rom, but this was a painful episode to watch. Don't understand all the hate for "Let He Who Is Without Sin…" which got a zero star rating when (1.5 to 2 stars seems more appropriate) but this episode falls below that. Would rate this at a half star, and that's being generous.
Sun, Nov 15, 2020, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Ira Behr has a very blunt and obvious sense of humor, which never rises above the theoretical level. And so he sticks Quark in a dress, has the Ferengi start a union, marries the hideous Rom to the bosomy Leeta, sends Quark to area 51, has the grand Nagus hiding in Moogie's closet...all things which are theoretically funny, but only as a broad and basic premise. He's not witty or fleet-footed enough to elaborate these premises into anything really clever or funny.

And so in "Ferengi Love Songs" we have one obvious plotline juxtaposed with another. In one, Rom marries Leeta and tries to get her to give up her Bajoran customs. In another, Moogie starts a relationship with the Nagus and so violates Ferengi customs. In the first story, a husband and wife learn to share their assets and so treat each other as equals, in the second, Ferengi customs are violated when a woman wears clothes, offers financial advice, and exerts control upon men and indeed the entire Ferengi economy.

Though intended as a "sophisticated farce" and a "comedy of manners", Behr's characters are too grating, too broad, and too familiar a set of stock archetypes. Moogie and Nagus in particular are like a couple of cartoonish trolls, rather than savage satires of greedy merchants.

You can imagine a genuinely funny writer doing for the Ferengi what "Frasier" farcically did for the posh and the elite aroundabout the same time - the dialogue witty and flowing, as Quark mostly is when offering advice at his bar - but Behr's visits to the Ferengi homeworld typically do the opposite, degenerating into visits to Jim Henson's house of rejected Muppets.
The Queen
Wed, Dec 15, 2021, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
I think the basic problem is the way the Ferengi were imagined so shallowly. All the other alien civilizations in Trek may have started out one-note - Vulcans are logical, Klingons are honorable warriors, Romulans are violent, Bajorans are religious - but those single attributes are relatively neutral, unlike the greed of the Ferengis. And over time, the other major civilizations have been treated with increasing sophistication and interest - but not the Ferengi! They're always just greedy, no other motivations allowed. Romulans can be loyal, Bajorans can be devious and violent, Vulcans actually have very strong emotions, and Klingons have pretty much all the motivations that humans have - but not the Ferengi! They're just greedy. If we want Rom or Quark to be likable enough to carry a story, then he's not a true Ferengi. Out of all the series, DS9 should have gotten a handle on this problem, and I'm not sure why they didn't.

This episode, being virtually all Ferengi-focused, was a great opportunity to develop some of the characters more, but the writers chose not to, for reasons I can't figure out. I'm actually getting Discovery vibes from the writing here: we've got a character with a name, and they're not the star, so what more do we need to do with them? It's a major failure of writing, and most of the actors couldn't overcome it. Kudos to Armin Shimerman and Jeffrey Combs, that they did.
Sun, Mar 20, 2022, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Hahaha. I've always seen this episode as "what would a ferengi sitcom look like?" The inevitably obvious answer......the car wreck hell of this episode. Lol. I honestly have no idea why they thought this could possibly work. The closet gag was actually funny but wouldve been more suited to "friends" or a "Frasier" jhoke lol
Wed, Sep 14, 2022, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
A personal identity crisis followed by some family drama. You'd think Jammer would be all over it... - but, of course, it's a Ferengi episode, not Klingon, so it barely gets any stars 😉

This was pretty enjoyable. Not the best D.S.9 has to offer, not by a long mile, but interesting enough to watch and even get a few laughs out of. EONS better than Klingon stone-age crap that's been done to death!

I'd give it 2-1/2, maybe three, stars.
Gilligan's Starship
Thu, Nov 3, 2022, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Couldn't you just do a sensor sweep of the station and lock on to the voles to beam them out into space or something? Scotty had no problem doing that with the tribbles in TOS.

I would be more of a fan of these Ferengi episodes if the other actors were more grounded in their performances like Armin Shimerman. I love Wallace Shawn, but he & the other Ferengi are usually SOOOO over-the-top it makes it hard to watch.

Not sure why they recast Andrea Martin as Quark's mother, but nice to see her again recently in "Only Murders In The Building".
Thu, Nov 3, 2022, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
It appears that Andrea Martin didn't cope well with the prosthetics.
Wed, Aug 16, 2023, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
There is so much that's good among episodes of DS9, I just skip over this one when I revisit the series. There are good Quark/Ferengi episodes. This one is close to insufferably irritating. It may be intended as comic. I find it trying.

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