Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Outrageous Okona"

1.5 stars

Air date: 12/12/1988
Teleplay by Burton Armus
Story by Les Menchen & Lance Dickson and David Landsberg
Directed by Robert Becker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

I'll start with the good part, which earns the episode its points: The B-story involving Data following Guinan's advice to learn humor and taking lessons from a holographic stand-up comic (Joe Piscopo) ends up working reasonably well. Joe Piscopo isn't funny in these scenes, but Data is by definition an inspired straight man to a (would-be) comic persona. The scene where he gives his performance to an audience that laughs no matter what he does is both funny and sad; Data simply doesn't understand humor and maybe never will.

As for the main story, it's one of the most hoary and forgettable things in TNG's run. The Enterprise rescues Captain Okona (William O. Campbell; where's Bruce Campbell when you need him?) from his disabled ship. Okona spends his time aboard the Enterprise making high-spirited jokes, hitting on women, and in general being the type of Personality that requires a capital letter. (Wesley idolizes him ... which makes Wesley an even bigger nerd than I thought.) I suppose nothing says "swashbuckling scoundrel" like a ponytail and a three-day beard. One woman taken by Okona's charms is Teri Hatcher — yes, Teri Hatcher — whom Okona beds in record time.

The plot is a pedantic bore masquerading as light comedy. Okona is either in the middle of or the cause of a dispute between two feuding families. Is he the father of the pregnant girl whose father is really mad? Did he steal the crown jewel from the other family? Or is there something else here going on involving hopeless rehashed scraps of Romeo and Juliet? The episode makes it impossible for us to care, particularly in the awful climactic scene where all the parties are aboard the Enterprise and the air is finally cleared — in one of the worst-acted and worst-directed scenes I can remember on this series.

Previous episode: Elementary, Dear Data
Next episode: Loud as a Whisper

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86 comments on this post

Tue, Dec 11, 2007, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Right on with the "Outrageous Okona" review...that scene with Data and the fake laughter is great; other than that I can't even remember the episode.

I really like the last scene of "Contagion" for some reason, with Picard trying to find his way through the Iconian gate...maybe it's just directed really well.

"Time Squared" is one of my favorite time travel episodes on any series, not just Star Trek. It starts off with the crew seeing their certain doom but no clue how it happens, builds off of this tension well, and everything comes together perfectly in the end. The second Picard slowly coming back to reality is a great touch.
Wed, Apr 13, 2011, 12:09am (UTC -5)
"The Outrageous Okona" is the only TNG episode I caught in first run, and it put me off new Trek for a decade afterwards.
Mike Caracappa
Sun, Sep 16, 2012, 2:57am (UTC -5)'s Bill Campbell...who was the that just makes him awesome in general. I can forgive this episode in that case. :)
Sat, Sep 22, 2012, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Of all the great comedians throughout history, Data chooses Joe Piscopo. I guess it could be worse - if the show were being made now it would have been Jeff Dunham.
Sun, Nov 4, 2012, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Jeff Dunham with a Data puppet. Pass.
Fri, Nov 9, 2012, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Picard muting the audio, asking Troi what she is thinking about and then Troi sensing everything ("captain he is hiding something, captain he is telling the truth, captain he is lying") has become rather repeatitive and lame. I believe it was a very bad idea to put a Betazoid Counselor on TNG series. Of course Marina Sirtis is a cute actress, but still her role is stupid most of the times. Doesn't fit.
Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
This is it!

This is the worst Trek episode that I've seen so far. Worse than "Code of Honor", "Shades of Grey" and every other weak episode in between. it was so bad that I put TNG on hold for some good six months before I dared to keep watching.

It felt like anything but a TNG episode. Star Trek is not the place for love triangles, "suave" characters and parodies of much better romantic dramas.

On the bright side, the Data vs Humor plot wasn't that bad, but the comedian wasn't funny. At all. It was an embarrassing performance, just like when you ask your average dude to "act" and they do all sort of lame imitations of what they've seen on TV.


@ papa: I know the feeling. :(

While my case wasn't as bad as yours (just 6 months, instead of 10 years :P), this episode is bad enough to scare off any potential fan of the series.

@ Xaaos: I agree. Troi as a character was often more annoying than not, and completely unnecessary most of the times. When she's sensing stuff, she's the master of the obvious. And when she doesn't say a word, why would you like her to be there next to the captain? She's good looking and all, but I don't need a token cleava...woman to remind me the Federation is not exclusively composed of men.
Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Definitely a forgettable episode on the whole but I do have two distinct memories of watching it during the original airing (when I was two years old!). For some reason I always remembered Okana's ship approaching the Enterprise and then being locked on to with the tractor beam, and I also remember Data playing in the holodeck with the comedian.

As for watching it now as an adult, very bland and feels like it belongs on TOS in the 60s rather than TNG. The comedian on the holodeck was dreadful, I'd definitely walk out of his show in real life. Data and his totally tickled holodeck audience was kind of fun, but in the end this episode could never have existed and nothing would have been lost in TNG's canon.
Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
I have to disagree with Jammer's rating, somewhat. First though, my thoughts about the episode:

In other episodes, ("Data's Day" for one) Data mentions that Riker is always telling jokes and making people laugh - well that's who he should be trying to talk to learn about humor then! I too didn't find the comedian funny, though I did find the audience laughing at Data no matter what he did somewhat amusing.

Anyways, whenever I re-watch TNG I NEVER skip this episode. For one, this is one of the few, small, civilian craft that the Enterprise runs into, though you would think that would happen much more often. It's nice to see this angle. While I could do without the womanizing of the guest character, he did have some interesting dialog with some of the main characters of the Enterprise, and I enjoyed their dialog.

I also enjoyed the scene where the Enterprise gets challenged by two much smaller craft. At one point, Picard mentions he needs to know something, in case he needs to surrender to one of the vessels, and we saw a shot of annoyed Worf (No, Worf is not into surrendering to inferior opponents..) - just priceless.

Anyways, the intent of the producers of the show was to entertain, and I've shown above how it has done just that. Therefore, I give 2.5 stars/4.
William B
Wed, Apr 3, 2013, 7:21am (UTC -5)
I do like the Data plot somewhat, but the choice of Joe Piscopo and the material he feeds Data makes it hard to take this plot as particularly conclusive. Mostly it seems to me that Data learned that hacky 20th century comedians don't help him understand humour enough to be funny around 24th-century types, which, duh.

As @Corey mentions above, there is something funny about the situation in which the Enterprise is constantly threatened by ships much less powerful than her. I think Riker references Gulliver's Travels, even (though I might be making that up).

Anyway, yeah, Okona is not anywhere near "outrageous" enough to justify the honorific, and it feels like scenes and scenes are designed to burn into our brain how much of a lovable rogue this guy is. Pass.
Latex Zebra
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 9:55am (UTC -5)
A little harsh. I'd say this is a 2 at least. Yes Joe Piscopo (I'm a Brit, still never heard of him) is awful but I always figured that was the point.
I really liked the Okona character though. He was fun and I liked the vibe he gave to the crew.
TNG was still finding it's feet but this was a lightweight episode moving in the right direction.
Tue, Mar 25, 2014, 3:25am (UTC -5)
I thought the episode did a good job of explaining why Okona was a bit outrageous in his actions. His ship was a non-warp interplanetary craft and his work consisted of delevering cargo between the same ole two planets in the same system all the time.

As he explained, he just had to do things to lighten up his otherwise very dull and uninteresting occupation and life.

As far as his rank of captain, a captain is anyone who is charge of a ship. In his case his ship only required himself as crew but he was still the captain of her as he was the one responsible for her.

There was a later episode in which Wesley Crusher was critical of a shuttle pilot who called himself a captain. While the guy was arrogant, he was basically correct. Whoever is charge of a ship, whether it is an old mining shuttle, limited non-warp interplanetary craft, or great big starship is indeed the captain of her.
Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
I'm just going to say it, I think Wes was gay. Underage twink falls for womanising bearded "straight" man (Okona, Riker...) is a very common trope and the execution in these episodes does little to dissuade this notion. Wes' alleged "romances" with the Dauphin and Ashley Judd were so forced, I actually am getting behind this view...then he ends up leading a virtual monastic life in Journey's End. Yep. I take back what I said about the producers: Wes was Trek's first gay character.
William B
Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
@Elliott, point. There's some gay/closet allegory in Wesley's general isolation and there are fairly common "closeted gay can see things others can't" tropes that connect with his Mozart-of-time-and-space, a title conferred onto him by the fairly fey Traveler. In that sense, "The Game" also works as an allegory -- Wesley and Robin (Ashley Judd) connect not because they are romantically attracted to each other, but because they are both actually gay and are able to not get suckered into the game because, I guess, it is a heterosexual sexual desire metaphor (coming as it does from Riker's Risa romp).
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Data and the comic doing Jerry Lewis is the worst scene ever filmed. I actually covered my eyes for a moment out of embarrassment.

This episode sucks. The conclusion involves two characters we had no idea existed until about 1 minute prior. Shockingly incompetent all around.
Dave in NC
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 1:43am (UTC -5)
@ Elliot, Harry Kim gets my vote.

Re this episode: The idea of a lovable space rogue isn't that terrible or implausible, but I found the character of Okona to be unbelievable all the same. He smiles WAY too much. I also found the "drama" surrounding his life and his suitors to be uninteresting, not to mention a tad bit outdated and sexist.

The whole Data/comic thing works if you think about it as anti-humor. That includes Guinan's regrettable annoyed/droid pun.

It is SO profoundly unfunny that I find myself laughing at how inept and off-base it is. Yes, I just said it's so unfunny it's funny. :/

It's like the car accident you can't pull your eyes away from. It's VERY bad, but such in interesting ways!

Two Stars
Wed, Apr 22, 2015, 5:40am (UTC -5)
@Elliott: The way Wesley looked adoringly up at both Okona and Riker in the span of about two minutes definitely had me thinking the same thing.

I'm about 15 minutes into this one, and I'm relieved that my phone is about to die. Every other word out of Okona has me rolling my eyes so hard they're about to roll out of my head. I'm committed to watching every episode, but I may have to come back to this one.
Stacy M
Mon, May 11, 2015, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
This was one of the worst episodes I've watched. It was painful, between the sexism and terrible comedy. Also, Data calling a fish purse an amphibian was a ridiculous error on the writer's part.
Sat, Jul 25, 2015, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Oh where to start... This episode was awful, right up there (or more like "down there") with Code of Honor. Okona wasn't outrageous, the plot was. He was just beyond annoying. And why all of the sudden do all these aliens we run across conveniently look just like us??? Was the budget for make-up that bad? Ugh, just plain awful. I can't make it through 10 minutes of this episode without turning it off and going outside to watch flies you know what... far more interesting than this episode.
Fri, Aug 21, 2015, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
It was nice seeing Teri Hatcher on Tng, shame it was only briefly and in an episode like this
Diamond Dave
Sat, Aug 22, 2015, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
I guess every series gets an inconsequential puff piece, and in Season 2 we get here early! The writers clearly recognised there was a problem too as the Okona story wraps up early and the episode ends on the B-story with Data's continuing attempts to define funny - if you can't rely on your A-story to bring the episode to a strong conclusion, you've got problems.

I guess the Okona character is amusingly rogueish, and Data doing Jerry Lewis is one of those WTF moments - and what was with the Tip O'Neil joke? If there's anything that dates a series - particularly one set in the future - it's a reference to current affairs... A bit of a shocker - 1.5 stars.
Gul Senghosts
Fri, Nov 13, 2015, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
The A-story is proper "worst of Star Trek" rubbish, but the B-story with Data and Guinan saves the day. I find it really difficult to give this episode a rating. Main story is pants, but the side story is hilarious.

Main story deserves zero stars, but Data trying to make Guinan laugh is just too awesome to make this a bad episode.
David H
Fri, Nov 13, 2015, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
For me, episodes like this one and "Angel One" are the litmus test to whether you like Star Trek, or you only like it when it's good. Every television series, from Gunsmoke to The X-Files to whatever your favorite show is now, has a few classic episodes and some good ones and some where the ideas and writing were not up to snuff.

I like Star Trek. I like spending time in that world. Here I like the interactions between Picard and Riker on the bridge, and how Wes and Data relate to Okona. I like the Guinan-Data scenes. It was 45 minutes spent in a better world than this one. That's enough for me.
Andy's Friend
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 8:26am (UTC -5)
@David H

You are absolutely right. In fact, seeing so many complaining so much about the minor faults and lesser details of what are, essentially, wonderful stories about a better future is what has made me all but stop commenting here on Jammer's.

There are wonderful little moments and details in every single episode of Star Trek; and if sometimes the story is less grand than others, we should enjoy those moments, instead of pedantically pointing out errors. In my personal case, I especially like spirit of TNG, and the crew of the Enterprise-D. And I'm always perfectly happy to spend the better part of an hour in their company.

"I like Star Trek. I like spending time in that world. [...] It was 45 minutes spent in a better world than this one. That's enough for me."

Bravo, sir!
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
@David H
Bravo from me, too. As the ellipses added by Andy's Friend indicate, that noble sentiment is more powerful when "Okona" is ignored. Or rather, the sentiment applies universally, not just to one problematic story.
Wed, Dec 9, 2015, 9:45am (UTC -5)
Cmon, Jammer. This episode was fun. I found myself laughing a lot during an episode primarily about humor or the inability to embrace it. TNG was a long, long show. 176 episodes in total? Let them have fun sometime. The rogue was supposed to be cliche. The family dilemma was supposed to be hackneyed. The writers and cast and director all knew this.

They can't be fighting Romulans or being stuck in black holes all the time, you know.

Answer me this, J and all who've commented: did you laugh? Did you have fun watching this episode at any point? Cuz if you did that means it deserves top marks.

It was hilarious in my opinion. Couldn't stop thinking he was dressed almost identical to Harrison Ford in another popular scifi staple. Whoever could that be?

No, not perfect but I would say 3 stars. Comic relief, Whoopi was awesome, as was Brent. Even Patrick was essential to give the illusion of grounding things.

It was just pure fun. Marina's reaction when the rogue first appeared on the viewer at the start sums it up: she laughed like a little kid.

1 and a half stars is just ridiculous. If you're expecting serous and meaningful exposition all the time? Go watch something else. Star Trek has always been about fun and not taking ourselves too seriously. I mean, honestly, they devoted an entire movie to that pursuit: The Voyage Home, anyone? And arguably one of the best. Personally my favourite of all the Trek movies.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 11:09am (UTC -5)
It seems like a missed opportunity here, it's too vad they couldn't get either Billy Crystal or Robin Willams in the role of the comic.
Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
It surprised me to learn that the comedian Data met is a comedian in real life. I'm not a fan of the Data learns humor plot. half a star

Okana looked like they really wanted him to be a Han Solo kind of character, from his dress to him even being a smuggler! This plot is not unwatchable and at times in unintentionally funny. one star
Final score:1.5
The Man
Tue, Jun 14, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
All of this "bravo" and "it took me to a better place than this". No I didn't laugh, I wasn't entertained and you can lecture people all you want this was a terrible episode. Period.
Fri, Nov 4, 2016, 4:34am (UTC -5)
Data was right. Guinan's "You're a droid and I'm a noid" joke was not funny.
Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Han Solo is a likeable rogue but Okona is a narcissitic creepy sleazebag.
" Hey,look at me -I have sex appeal oozing from my pores-admit it you can't resist me."

Terri Hatcher should have kicked him in his overactive gonads.

Brent Spiner and Whoopi Goldberg saved this from absolute ruin but it is telling that the guy from Soap is playing Romeo's Dad cos this was pure cable tv frothy fare and deserves to be deleted.
.5 stars
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
I just watched this again out of curiosity. It's so poorly written too. They don't show us the character they tell us. Much of his character development consists of Troi assigning adjectives and descriptions, which never is convincing. If you want an audience to believe something about a character, or believe the character, you have to demonstrate it somehow. For example, if you introduce a character into a story and someone insists this is the kindest person in the world but we never see any acts of kindness or hear about anything they do as example or witness it, we just have to take the writers word for it and try to bear that in mind. But there's no context to the description and it has no impact, even if we manage to keep it in mind. Having troi spoon feed us the required adjectives up front felt lazy and poorly paced and poorly written. And much of her observations didn't seem like something you could know through empathy. They were assessments of lifestyle, and general approach to actions, not feelings that you could sense. How does someone "feel" like a free spirit, or any of her many other observations about his life style?

Aside from that everyone else slamming this episode is entirely correct. Just the mere fact we have a bunch of poorly developed characters who have no connection to the main characters of the series and no role in anything lasting, just some random people they encounter who we've never seen before and will never see again, taking over an entire episode with some boring love triangle romance - well it is astounding this was approved as a script. And there's no they'd or message to redeem it, no meaningful interaction with the main characters who are just kind of there as extras to facilitate this lame romance story. I think most people I know could come up with something much better, even if they know little or nothing about star trek.
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, 3:07am (UTC -5)
This episode is by definition (due to its title), and by far the best example of "Informed Attributes" (where a writer constantly TELLS the reader what a character is supposed to be like, rather than SHOWING them, and often the showing part shows the opposite of the telling part) that I think has ever existed.

Well, that's partially true. There is an "Okona" in this episode, but "Outrageous?" And Troi's shameless Informed Attributes attribution of being brazen, a lady's man, adventurous, etc. is so laughable as to almost be the best comedy (definitely more than Joe Piscopo) we'll see in this hour.
Wed, May 3, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
dejcallisto - good for you you apologist
Mon, May 8, 2017, 5:45am (UTC -5)
To everyone saying they didn't find the comedian funny.... wasn't that the point? Data had looked up an incredibly dated comedian telling jokes that were stale even by the time the show aired in the 80s "Take my wife, please" is the level or humour here and partly why imitating those jokes didn't work and made the rest of the crew cringe. I always felt part of the story that was hinted at was that data didn't get the nuance that humour changes over time and had he summoned a more relevant comedian in the holodeck he might he may have had more success.

For all of Whoopi Goldberg's presence and delivery, her joke "You're a droid and I'm a noid" didn't work either.. that scene could have been good if they came up with a joke that actually works. If you have to explain the joke to the audience (I didn't get it until it was explained) then it's not funny.
Daniel Blumentritt
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 1:15am (UTC -5)
{ Data and the comic doing Jerry Lewis is the worst scene ever filmed. I actually covered my eyes for a moment out of embarrassment. }

Although I love how Data says "So if I jump around like an idiot, that is considered funny?"
James Alexander
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 4:59am (UTC -5)
I actually didn't like Data's comedy lessons.
those scenes were awkward and cringeworthy, which was probably the point of them, but I don't really do cringe-humor and I thought it was more painful than funny.
I get what its supposed to do for Data's character but I just wanted him to shut up. it was much funnier when Q made him laugh in one of Q's episodes.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
I rewatched this the other day and I'll say one thing for the Okona character: it really calls into question TNG's early sexual libertine phase (which is mostly gone by S3). In S1-2 we're supposed to note that in the 24th century humans have 'evolved' to the point where casual sex is no big deal and yet when confronted by someone like Okona who pursues casual sex with multiple partners to excess I find the portrayal frankly creepy. I'm not just going on our modern sensibility of any kind of advance being sexual harassment, but rather the notion that the opposite sex exists for little more reason than to sleep with them; the objectification here is taken to the extreme. But is that supposed to be a good thing, exemplifying early TNG values, or is he meant to come off as a hoodlum ransacking the female quarters? Based on Wesley's reaction maybe we're supposed to think he's cool, like a Han Solo figure? His costume would certainly suggest they were trying to copy Solo to the point of copyright infringement. But then when the crew gives him suspicious looks and even Riker is irked, are we supposed to then gather than we should be looking down on him or pitying him for being so shallow? Or should we rather conclude that Rier is just sore because a better player is in his territory?

All of these questions aren't answer in the episode, but I find it significant that they're raised because to an extent I do think this loser of a character is a good demonstration about how Trek *should not* be about encouraging particular outlooks on so-called sexual liberation. I personally find Okona unavoidably creepy and I'm not at all convinced by the ending where we're shown to have wrongly assumed his guilt based on his reputation. Let's face it: the reputation is more than earned and the fact that the baby *wasn't* his is more of a coincidence than a realization that we misjudged him. We really didn't.

That being said, later TNG becomes so non-sexual in general that it almost feels like a whiplash effect from S1-2 where they wanted to maximally distance themselves from promoting a sexually licentious future. I think perhaps a better balance could have been struck overall so that it didn't have to be so all-or-nothing between sex being casual and between it not existing almost at all.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 10:47am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.

Excellent analysis. I never really thought about how sexually flippant they were in these first two seasons. All that Prime Directive talk, but the crew is apparently free to screw across the Alpha Quadrant.

And they thought it was quaint that the dad from the planet was upset about his pregnant daughter.
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 8:48am (UTC -5)
I am smarter than all those morons and their petty issues, don't those fools know that laughing is much better than worrying about petty bruised ego's and those pesky feelings?

Quit whining and laugh, morons!

Okay enough of this,
A hopefully more mature view:
While Data and his comedy were funny, those families had real issues that while petty and upsetting to you were quite relevant to them. Okona was funny and charming at first but also wise enough to man-up and to be mature enough to face the music instead of running away. In the end he really helped them and by the episode's end they all were well on their to resolving their issues and acting in a more civil manner to each other.

Want to know what preachy jack ass wrote this? Contact him at [email protected]

Love your site and will keep reading and commenting,
Peter Swinkels
Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
So this one's meant to be a light-hearted humorous outing but it's never funny and is dragged down by so many awful parts. It's just an entirely forgettable episode and hard to believe it came just a few weeks before "The Measure of a Man" and right after "Elementary, Dear Data", which was pretty good.

The subplot about Data trying to understand humor as a way of being more human was just not done well -- the Jerry Lewis impersonation by the comic was terrible and even Guinan's first meeting with Data was terrible (she tells him to get a better computer or something). Her joke to Data (droid/a noid) was so bad. This episode really had it's share of forgettable scenes... I usually associate Guinan with some important episodes and making some very perceptive comments, but here she's misused. Data should have talked to, for example, Geordi about humor.

As for Okona -- as an alien we can accept that he has radically different sexual ideas than what Star Trek would want to advocate -- very liberal and certainly some female members of the Enterprise crew come across as quite loose. But there's no Picard/Riker moralizing to "set things straight". And what was up with Wesley's admiration of Okona?? The writers found another way for Wesley to be portrayed as annoying.

The scene with the pregnant daughter and son and their undercover relationship with Okona caught in between -- seriously, how poorly was this acted?? I did like that Picard was in some kind of bind and didn't want to take sides or interfere. He had to figure out how to get out of the quandary given he held custody of Okona.

1 star -- The episode took long enough to find something of a plot and it turned out to be quite disappointing. The "humanization of Data" arc was weak although one could appreciate the sentience of the android and his trying to grasp the humor concept -- purely to support the light-hearted intentions of this episode. "The Outrageous Okona" is very much an early TNG failure before the series ever knew how to do an outstanding episode.
Star Wars Fan
Wed, Mar 14, 2018, 4:45am (UTC -5)
I hate Okona, stupid Han Solo ripoff. Han iz da haxorz lol lol!!!
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
This episode did have one mildly amusing bit, when one of the ships approaches the Enterprise and Picard orders them to do something unexpected (drop the shields? I can't remember) and Riker asks him why, and he replies, "In case we decide to surrender to them, Number One."
Prince of Space
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 3:29am (UTC -5)
That scene with the comic ‘impersonating’ Jerry Lewis.

My God... that scene.

It was one of the worst things I have ever seen on TV, and I’ve seen every episode of Small Wonder.
Peter H
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I took one look at the title, which told me everything I needed to know, and skipped this one.
Sat, May 19, 2018, 10:59am (UTC -5)
The A story was bad, but it was still better than the B story.

I could tolerate the secret lovers thing, it was like a poorly-written opera. But everything with Data and that awful comedian was boring and annoying.

Wesley was totally in love with Okona. Look at him, infatuation at first sight. If this wasn't a PG show, they'd be banging.
Mon, May 21, 2018, 7:00am (UTC -5)
Ao much to love about this one. Teri Hatcher in uniform. Teri Hatcher in a red dress. Teri Hatcher's eyes. Teri Hatcher's voice. And, oh yeah, did I mention that Teri Hatcher was in this?
Guinan's quip about droid/noid was a cute observation but it wasn't funny. Data's running gags such as the android laugh after being informed that something was funny, his comedic delivery of old jokes and his persistent pursuit to understand humor, made for a highly entertaing episode.. "Take jy Worf ... please" BWAHAHAHAHAHA
Mon, May 21, 2018, 7:41am (UTC -5)
Having read the comments, I'm pretty neutral when it comes to other peoples opinions that diddwe from mine. It's a bit harsh to say that people who are critical about episodes are somehow less of a fan of Star Trek. Everyone has their own expectations about their preferred genres. Some are just a little more highbrow than others. To each his own.
I love Trek but I struggled through the JJ Abrams films and you couldn't pay me to watch another eoisode of Discovery.The pilot was sooo bad, I get more satisfaction from The Orville.
Cesar Gonzalez
Thu, May 31, 2018, 7:33am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode. 3 stars for me. Liked Okana.
It was a lighthearded episode that worked.

I can't believe I'm the only one who didn't find Guinan annoying in this episode. Always so high and mighty up in her high horse.
Her joke that she considered funny wasn't funny in the least. Data's doctor joke was funnier. Yet, she talkes him down as of it wasn't.
Useless, annoying character.
Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
The droid/'noyed joke wasn't supposed be hilarious, the point is that Data doesn't even get how puns work in the first place.
Tue, Oct 23, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
0.5 stars. This fails for similar reasons to Profit And Lace - they're both written as light sex comedies, and scored as light sex comedies, but directed as dramas. The result in both cases is listless and weirdly flat: a drama with no drama and a comedy with no comedy. While Profit And Lace at least revolved around supporting characters we'd met before (apart from the commissioner and the dabo girl), the main problem with Okona is that the episode's entire proceedings concern people we're given no reason to care about - I count seven guest stars with speaking roles (Okona, the one guy and his daughter, the other guy and his son, Teri Hatcher, and Joe Piscopo). Okona is a terribly drawn character - the early scenes in particular strain to unsubtly impress upon us how awesome he is, despite all evidence to the contrary - and the warring factions are badly acted and directed.

The scenes with Data trying to learn comedy have some pathos and humor value (especially when he raises his hand and realises the holodeck audience will laugh at whatever he does), though don't totally pay off either, the conclusion is a little underwhelming. Guinan is pretty much the only person who comes out of this episode OK.

What is the deal with the Worf "I'd like that" scene? Is Okona offering to fight him, have sex with him, or both? :D
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 2:28am (UTC -5)
"In fact, seeing so many complaining so much about the minor faults and lesser details of what are, essentially, wonderful stories about a better future is what has made me all but stop commenting here on Jammer's."

Weird. I don't comment much but I really like getting very different takes on these episodes, and look forward to reading the review and comments here the minute an episode is done. I can't imagine anything more dull to read than people purely being positive about things they liked, and so worried about appearing to "complain" that they turn off their critical faculties. No thanks.
Data’s android balls
Wed, Dec 5, 2018, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
I hate hate hate this episode, so I guess I hate TNG. As if not liking every pile of crap they’ve ever made means I’m less a fan. The only thing “outrageous” is how bad this episode is. If Teri Hatcher’s character was that easy, Okana definitely had Riker’s sloppy seconds.
Vee Gee Boo
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 12:44am (UTC -5)
Couple of terribly awful good puns:

“You’re a droid, and I’m a noid.”
— Guinan to Data

“Take my Worf, please.”
— Data
Circus Man
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 10:54am (UTC -5)
The first I think is terrible terrible of a pun. "Droid" for android, we get that. But "noid" for humanoid is just forced. The fact that the script needs to then explain the joke -- not just to Data, but to us, because I would have never understood it otherwise -- shows that it is just weak.
William B
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
I wouldn't necessarily argue it's *not* a terrible pun, but I give a little leeway that referring to humanoids as "noids" is a little more common in a society where there are sentient non-humanoids they sometimes communicate with (i.e. Data).
Peter G.
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Whoopie delivered that moment of humor history with such finesse that she actually convinced me that her pun was funny, even though I've never laughed at it nor had an impulse that could possibly be mistaken for being amused. So she gets 110% credit.

Other than that I would put this episode among the all-time lows of the entire Trek canon for multiple reasons. It's certainly got less real content than Shades of Grey, is less dignified than The Naked Now, and hasn't got the moral stature of Code of Honor. I can't realistically put this one as low as Profit and Lace, Threshhold, Macrocosm, and all of ENT, but it's right down there.

One exceptional and out-of-character moment, though: when the alien ship arms "lasers" and Picard drops the shields to surrender, it's one if the biggest laughs in the series. So I'll pretend this moment happened in another episode to avoid giving it any credit.
William B
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
The episode gives over a LOT of its running time to Okona and Joe freaking Piscopo and basically all of that is wasted, so, I mean, yes.

I agree, though, that Whoopi is *so good*, and I'd argue that the moments between her and Data kind of work for me because of the strength of those two performers even if the "Data learns humour" plot is botched by the bizarre writing (and performances from Piscopo) choices.

I also like the moment you mention with the lasers and where Riker adds, that he feels like they're in Lilliput.

The episode does, I guess I'm saying, have some things going for it, and so I'd put it above Code of Honour anyway. Maybe not Shades of Grey.
Circus Man
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Well if we had ever heard this nickname "noid" used on Star Trek before or since, then maybe...

And yeah, Goldberg deserves an Oscar for making it as bearable as possible. Has one, come to think of it...
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 1:00pm (UTC -5)

The only good thing about this was Data trying to understand humour. 8/10 for that part

3/10 overall

I am not even going to waste time talking about the old tired adventurer playboy trope. yuck. the women.... who wrote this episode and directed it?
Daniel B
Fri, May 31, 2019, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
[[ even if the "Data learns humour" plot is botched by the bizarre writing (and performances from Piscopo) choices. ]]

The scary part is that Piscopo and Spiner apparently ad-libbed most of that stuff because what they were given to work with was somehow *even worse*
Thu, Aug 15, 2019, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting . .

--I have some memories of this one. Not good memories.

--Ugh. I think I'm supposed to charmed by Okona, but he just comes off as arrogant, phony, and annoying.

--Teri Hatcher. She looks pretty.

--And Okona is describing "what Life is," to Data. We're back to our Season-theme. This time the emphasis is on joy, freedom, living as you want to live, to be truly alive.

--Data is buying in, and trying to learn how to add some of this fun stuff to his experience, so he can be a real boy. The Piscopo part is wretched. The Data trying to be funny with Guinan is pretty cute.

--Never change, Data. I love you so much more than Okona.

--Lots of dry humor, what's funny, what's not funny, how individual "what you enjoy, what you think is funny" is.

--Quite boring. Bad dialogue. Lots and lots of silly. Two captains want to arrest Okona.

--Picard uses GoToMeeting and gets all parties on a conference call. Nothing is resolved.

--Slow, slow, slow - slow - moving.

--Kind of an unbearable lightness of being theme, here. You can fly high but miss out on relationships, or get involved with others, be more grounded, but miss out on flying high. You determine the balance you want. Choose your poison.

--Okona very King Solomon, here. New Life in the womb. This scene with the two Dads is horrendous. Bad dialogue, horribly acted. Ugh.

--It is not a good sign when I can't wait for an episode to be over.

--Data does a comedy routine. He finds out that life isn't really living if your experiences are not genuine.

--Take this episode, please.

A stinker.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
I'm surprised that Jammer and a lot of others actually like the B plot with Data trying to learn (about) humor.

I first saw this episode as a teenager and, coming from Central Europe, it was pretty much I was exposed to (American-style) stand-up comedy. I thought it was quite the opposite of funny, amusing, pleasant, humorous, you name it. I hated it so much that I'd avoided anything resembling stand-up for the next 15 years, until the horrible feeling this episode gave me finally wore off and I discovered that some stand-up is actually quite nice.

So... the pretty lame plot with Mr. Charming Rogue seemed really nice to me by comparison.
Dahj's Digital Ghost
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
"I come from a town so small it has a fraction for a zip code."

Same with the rating for this episode.
Fri, Apr 17, 2020, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
Okona based on Han Solo? Never, he was channeling Errol Flynn, and doing it pretty well too. And I always enjoy Errol Flynn. (Of course Han Solo was also based on Flynn's character, but wasn't doing a straight impersonation, which the actor doing Okona was.)

The whole episode I found pretty enjoyable. Reading many of the outraged posts above I found myself echoing Shakespeare's comment on the Puritans of his time "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
It might not have been the greatest ale or the tastiest cake, but a pleasant enough diversion.

I was surprised to learn that the comedian was a real one - my assumption was that he was a parody, intended to be unfunny. Guinan's wordplay was equally unfunny, but the term "noid" strikes me as quite a good one. I can imagine it might catch on in a setting where non noids get together. Maybe on that planet where the synthetic people live in "Picard".
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 6:35am (UTC -5)
Sitting here in quarantine, I am sympathetic to the sentiments of being glad to spend time in TNG world.

Best moment of the episode was the Picard-Riker exchange about the lasers. The way they said “lasers” was great, like us saying some word from 200 years ago that we’d maybe vaguely heard of.

Two Worf thoughts as well. The sexism in this episode is so cringeworthy. Okana has been onboard for what, a few hours, and I believe they report he’s been in the quarters of four different crew members? Worf is the only character who seems to have a problem with this.

Also, I remember seeing a YouTube video that is a collection of clips where Worf offers advice and it’s rejected. When they first encounter Okana and decide to fix his ship, there is this brief exchange:

Worf: “Sir, recommend limited access to our ship.”
Picard: “Agreed.”

So a win for Worf! Then again, seeing as Okana, once onboard, seems to wander around seducing crew members at a fast clip, to the point they are not sure where he is when they want him, maybe this wasn’t really a win for Worf. Dang it!
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Okay... as for "the Okona one" ....Not a stellar piece of writing to be sure, but I have to say that Data's stand-up performance, the one where anything he says or does makes the audience burst out with laughs, is a minor masterpiece. Not only did it make me laugh , but IMO it is incredibly important to the series.

It establishes that Data does understand humor, otherwise he would not be disappointed with the audience's lack of discernment as he hurls one tired one liner after another at them. It's a brilliant performance which recalls a Twilight Zone episide in which a failed comic gets his wish and is finally found to be funny matter what and non stop.....Torture!

It's perfect how Data gradually loses enthusiasm and finally says "Audience program off."... followed by that poignant final shot of an empty comedy club with 5 tables with little lamps, and 16 vacant chairs. Worth rewatching.

4/9 but with special attributes!
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
I'm almost impressed at how this show manages to nail two of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to TV show writing.

#1 - Writers trying to write stand-up comedy is always, always, always TERRIBLE. Like, criminally bad. This episode was as painful an example of that as I can imagine. At no point in all of history has the Comedian's standup been funny. Especially the weird moment where he and Data are flailing around making noises with the fake teeth. I want to become violent with whoever wrote that scene.

#2 - Writers trying to write a successful womanizer. It's PAINFULLY obvious that the people who wrote Okana's seduction scenes had no fucking clue how you pick up a woman and as a result seem to subconsciously view the act of seducing a woman as magic or mind control or something. And I say this as a man with next to no game. Nobody who isn't performing for sold out stadiums can just walk up to a woman at a transportation station and say "You're attracted to me let's plow" as an opener.

The sad part is that Okana's character did win me over and is the sort of character I would have liked to have seen more from because a lot of TNG seems woefully lacking in individual characters with goals that are separate from whatever military service they're a part of. The ending was actually nice even if it was predictable.

Just...please for the love of God TV writers, stop writing stand-up and terrible PUAs.
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Was I seeing things or was Wesley crushing hard on the Okona? He couldn't take his eyes off that man.

That brings to me ask with a show about the progressive optimistic future why no gay characters?
S. D. Martino
Mon, May 17, 2021, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
No, Wes is not gay. Neither was harry kim. I'm assuming okona was outrageous due to him having had sex with two frigging crew women within a few days. I must assume they were reprimanded offscreen for that. Or perhaps they both fell pregnant, which is why those crew women don't appear on the ship again.
One can always assume that if they did indeed fall pregnant and wanted to kill the fetus by aborting it, a trip through the transporter to a version of their previous non pregnant state would be the least messy.
Thu, Jun 10, 2021, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Ok so I've never commented on this, just as I thought.

First, that review was a scream to read. :D Hehehehehe

Second, this ep has one of the most blaring, klaxon-like examples of Counselor Troi States The Blindingly Obvious, in its final scene:

"Now we're hearing some truth."

I mean, when she says "What happened to all of the people" in S1's "The Arsenal of Freedom," that was kind of a whopper, but this takes the (android-shaped) cake. This is the dumbest line spoken by a regular cast member in the whole series, I think. I like to imagine that Picard slowly looks at her and starts a slow clap, and says "you sure graduated from Starfleet Academy, didn't you! Good job, Counselor! I'll tell you what, you are getting a gold star on your performance review!"

Just... wow, Deanna
Sat, Nov 6, 2021, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Agree with Jammer’s review and also with those calling out the stupidity of Counselor Troi’s role in this episode. Okona has some fun opening lines showing us he is irreverent, mischievous and a rogue. Counselor Troi uses her telepathic powers to tell Capt. Picard that Okona is irreverent, mischievous and a rogue. The first father character comes on the view screen yelling and screaming with anger. Counselor Troi uses her telegraphic powers to tell Capt. Picard that “his anger is real”. And further, with great superiority, that his upset that the daughter was left pregnant and abandoned by the child’s father is part of an outmoded morality system “we can’t possibly understand” in our advanced evolutionary state nowadays. Ugh!
Punch Drunk Jaradan
Mon, Jan 3, 2022, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
The most amusing moment in this episode is from the Enterprise itself. Data asks for the funniest comedian of all time, and it picks out...a 22nd Century mathematician?? I’d like to see that standup act.

(That, or Data picking out Joe freaking Piscopo as the funniest character of all time from his list. Oh Data, you sweet summer android.)
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Hey now, 20th century Harvard mathematician Tom Lehrer might take offense at your insinuation...

And actually, now that I think about it, Data sitting at a piano singing Poisoning Pigeons in the Park to the stuffy Starfleet officers would have totally made this episode the best episode of all time.
Top Hat
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
I’m not exactly defending this episode but it does not claim that Piscopo was the funniest. In fact, Data specifically declines the funniest and then chooses from a list. This comic must have specific qualities that Data wants.
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Data would probably have preferred Jerry Lewis, but the... ehm... "program" was not available. ;-)

Oh, and I'd totally dig a 23rd century version of Tom Lehrer. That would be awesome.
Wed, Jan 5, 2022, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
^that was me
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 3:20am (UTC -5)
With apologies to T. Lehrer "Who's Next" a 23rd century version....rough draft

First the Romies got the cloak, no hold no bar
'Cause they love the Praetor and the Tal Shiar

Then the Klingons got the cloak, and that's no myth
'Cause they swore it improved upon the old Bat'lith

'Who's next?...'

Ferengi want the cloak, but can't achieve
'Cause the latinum's trapped inside their sleeve

Dominion got the cloak, for their Jem'Hadar,
But extending to the Vorta was a bridge too far

'Who's next?...'

All I could manage at this hour. :)
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
“This comic must have specific qualities that Data wants.”

Like what? The complete inability to make people laugh?
Thu, Mar 17, 2022, 2:10am (UTC -5)
Rofl I'd say 1/2 star. This episode is AWFUL, it's ruined almost before it even starts. When okona is first shown on screen bending over for a seriously inexplicable amount of time and then he says something really dumb. Then for absolutely no reason it cuts to troi who has a stupid smile on her face and then describes him with some of the WORST dialogue I've ever heard ending with her summing it up as "rogue"...what in HEAVENS NAME is she even talking about. I mean seriously, why do they even give a [email protected]#& about this dude's lame problems. This is all I. The first few minutes and it's already so far gone at this point that it's best to just never watch it ever
Mon, Apr 11, 2022, 10:07am (UTC -5)
Some desultory thoughts--
1. The teleporter operator chica: suh-MOKIN'!!!

2. Out of all the planets, all civilizations, and thousands of years, Data chooses a comedian from the 20th century, and the 1980s no less - mullet and everything. Color me shocked. Yawn.

3. O'Connor or whatever should have been wearing a varsity jacket. I mean, if you're going to do a super cliched college jock stereotype, why not go all out!

4. Whoopi Elaine Johnson? BARF! She was boring even back in the day, on my first watch of the show but having gotten to see her in public life over the past 7-8 years though, I now positively, absolutely can't stand her. Definitely skipped all the scenes with her.

5. The overall story is not too bad- a bit corny but who doesn't like good old maize!?
Peter G.
Mon, Apr 11, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -5)
@ Michael,

"Some desultory thoughts--
1. The teleporter operator chica: suh-MOKIN'!!!"

I forget if she was the transporter 'chica', but Okona does pick up Teri Hatcher in the episode. So yeah, her being 'suh-mokin' is pretty much what defined her career afterward. You're not really being too controversial on that point. Actually I think you'd have to go pretty far in your remarks to be desultory in reviewing this episode. It does enough of a job of that on its own!
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Low-stakes fun is fine once in a while. I went in with very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.

The grumpy Picard was fun to watch. The laser threats were fun too.

I was watching Teri Hatcher. My wife was watching Bill Campbell.

Wesley's crush on the space rogue (I don't see it as gay, but I get why some people do) was another example of what a dud that character is. Wesley Learns A Valuable Lesson About Something That Seemed Enticing Originally, is a tired trope.

Rating: 2/4
Top Hat
Thu, Nov 17, 2022, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
It's bad, but at least it's bad in a wafer-thin timewaster sort of way. The stakes are so low that even the dramatic exits before commercial are all on fairly incidental plot beats. For me, the funniest sequence is Worf stalking through the corridor ready to apprehend Okona, whom he has this visceral hatred towards. The melodramatic music!
Top Hat
Fri, Nov 18, 2022, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
It's a wonder that William Campbell went on to a solid career after this. He is borderline awful, especially in the scene where he's pulled before Picard on the bridge. How the director let him get away with this mugging is anybody's guess.
Top Hat
Sat, Nov 19, 2022, 11:32am (UTC -5)
It's fascinating in an episode that's all about humour in its most forced and conspicuous forms, it's Picard whole gets the best laugh:

PICARD: Well, make it so, Number One. And reduce speed. Drop main shields as well.
RIKER: May I ask why, sir?
PICARD: In case we decide to surrender to them, Number One.

That's an EARNED laugh, flowing from the situation and established characterization. There's something low-key funny in these episodes where the subtext of Picard's performance seems to be Patrick Stewart thinking, "I wish I were doing something else right now."

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