Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Hollow Pursuits”

3 stars.

Air date: 4/30/1990
Written by Sally Caves
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review Text

At long last, here's welcome evidence that there are screw-ups in Starfleet. Given how the Enterprise is so often a testament to the hopelessly elite, it's refreshing to get a story about lowly Lt. Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz), a guy who's always late, awkward in groups, inexplicable to his shipmates, unable to fit in, and addicted to his fantasies in the holodeck.

Geordi is fed up and frankly doesn't want to deal with him anymore. Picard's approach is more proof of his Picard-ness: Rather than abandon this officer and transfer him out, he asks Geordi to make more of an effort to reach out and get to know the guy. It's not an easy task. Barclay's shyness reaches a level of social paralysis, and it makes him ineffective as a communicator in a workplace setting. Meanwhile, he spends all his free time in the holodeck.

The episode is probably best remembered for its amusing holodeck sequences featuring Barclay's overactive imagination and depictions of real crew members — including a uniquely hilarious opening scene where Barclay's overconfident alter ego (and it's a complete alter ego) struts into Ten-Forward and pushes Geordi and Riker around. Later, there's swordplay, which features a version of Riker that Barclay has digitally shortened. Troi finds it all to be amusing and therapeutic — until she sees the digital version of herself that Barclay has created (the "Goddess of Empathy").

But the heart of the episode is in deconstructing a man who doesn't fit in or feel comfortable. Guinan's sympathy for Barclay's situation is commendable. And Geordi makes a real effort to break down his defenses. Of course, the hilarious moment when Picard slips and calls him "Broccoli" is a classic, comic worst-case scenario. After all of Geordi's efforts, the captain accidentally sets everything back a step.

Does the episode need its overplayed jeopardy premise involving the malfunction that causes the Enterprise to race out of control? And does the jeopardy have to come down to terse, last-minute warnings from the computer that the ship is about to be destroyed? No and no. But I do like the way the engineering team swiftly deconstructs the problem with simple logic to find the solution. These are smart people working a problem intelligently. The episode's closing joke is Barclay's goodbye scene — to the holographic crew. Barclay is a welcome rough pebble among all the Enterprise's polished pearls.

Previous episode: Tin Man
Next episode: The Most Toys

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142 comments on this post

    None of the comments mention Hollow Persuits? Barclay is one of my very favorite recurring guest characters on TNG (and Voyager).

    Anyway it's pretty surprising how season 3 managed to turn everything around for the series, considering how awful season 2 was. Good thing the show survived long enough for us to see 5 more seasons.

    Although I agree with Jammer that Hallow Pursuits was an entertaining hour of tv, the one thing that bugged me about the show that he didn't mention was the ease in which anyone can walk in while the holodeck is occupied. I can easily imagine far more embarassing uses to which such incredible tech can be used! I mean, isn't there any kind of security with the thing? Barclay's use of the holodeck made me wonder too about its availability in Federation society in general. If there was such a thing in real life, I'm afraid society would simply collapse as, human nature being what it is, most people would become so addicted to living out their fantasies on a holodeck that society would simply collapse. It reminds me of an experiment I read of where mice were allowed to press a button that stimulated their pleasure centers and they ended up starving to death because they couldn't bear not being stimulated.

    ^ yeah, in "Our Man Bashir" Julian claims that entering a holodeck that is in use is "illegal".

    Watching this episode today the thing that struck me was that Geordi senior team in Engineering is all men. Definitely would not be cast that way now.

    I've always liked Barclay, and I'm impressed by how well this episode presents a balanced look at what it means for a social misfit to be in the workplace both for said misfit and for his superiors. It's easy to fall into Barclay's perspective, and the episode earns our sympathies partly by aligning him with the fans. Michael Piller has said that Barclay's holodeck simulation wasn't meant to be a commentary of fans and fanfic, but whether Piller realized it or not that is part of the effect: the episode contrasts the desire to be an idealized version of oneself, hanging out with and being superior to one's own heroes, with the reality of what walking alongside such giants would mean. And Barclay's opinions of his crewmembers often align with fans'. Troi is *hot* and Barclay imagines seducing her; Wesley is obnoxious and Barclay imagines him as a brat who gets threatened by his mother with spanking*. Still, we are shown Geordi's perspective as well, and Barclay's spending all his time on the holodeck and inability to communicate properly are not just funny impediments but genuinely serious ones.

    Somewhat unfortunately, I think that the jeopardy premise maybe was necessary for the episode to work within the standalone episode format. Part of what the episode needs to do is to establish why Barclay ultimately *is* a worthwhile crewmember to have around in spite of his considerable flaws, and it needs to make clear that while there is a large portion of pity and willingness to try to make anyone feel welcome in the crew, Barclay actually is more than just a charity project. Saving the ship is a somewhat truncated way of showing that Barclay, should he gain enough confidence to contribute to the Engineering staff and the crew at large, is good for the ship. If TNG had a greater devotion to ongoing storylines, it could potentially have a more realistic storyline in which Barclay gradually turns around and so the dividends from Picard, Troi and Geordi's investment in Barclay come more gradually. However, that is still hard to pull off with a secondary character, to say the least. Having Barclay be both a competent officer and use his imagination and thinking-outside-the-box mentality to save the ship is the way in which the episode doesn't merely send the message that any officer can get away with incompetence; the point is rather that Barclay's ability to contribute to the team is in somewhat nontraditional ways that require some effort on the part of his superiors to find his niche. All that said, this probably could have been accomplished by having the problem be serious but not a ship-threatening one; something that could require the ship need to shut down for a few weeks or some such without requiring that Every Person On The Ship Die if it's not solved right away.

    On that level, I like very much that the central idea Barclay suggests -- that it's a person who is infecting the various engineering systems -- is both outside the box of normal thinking, and also something that doesn't require a genius-level intellect, the way something Wesley might have done in s1. I have seen the episode *before* and I didn't remember that it was carried by people, and I didn't think there was any way this mystery could have a resolution that would not just be tech. Barclay's creativity, which Guinan notes should be valuable to an engineering team, and which is the thing that keeps him disconnected from other people (since he lives in his Secret Life of Walter Mitty fantasy world), is the thing that is useful, should he be able to apply it to his job.

    The episode is still merely good and not great, because the fantasy sequences, while memorable, get repetitive after a while, and the jeopardy premise, while probably necessary for the episode to work as I said above, still wins Barclay's entry into the fold a little cheaply, and also relies on a lot of tech. As Jammer says, hearing the Engineering team work through the problem logically is a total delight, however. I also appreciate how the episode's end teases the probability that Barclay will be leaving the ship in a way that suggests that the Enterprise and Geordi and Barclay himself will not have to deal with any of the difficulties that the episode suggests. But, no, Barclay is here to stay, and he's merely leaving his fantasies behind. In keeping with the show's genuine attempt to imagine a better humanity, it's not so much that people are cured of social dysfunctions like what Barclay has, but that society has grown and adapted so that it's possible to find a place to let unusual and imperfect humans be the best they can be. High 3 stars.

    I regret learning that Dwight Schultz is a wacko racist conspiracy believing tea bagger nutjob. I can't enjoy the Barclay episodes now.

    @Sintek: While I have no idea if what you said about Schultz is true, I don't see why it has to affect your enjoyment of his performance if he did well.

    Bobby Fischer is an excellent example of this: his victories over his fellow GMs (Grandmasters) in chess were just inspired - he defeated a GM 6-0 in a candidate's match and that just wasn't done! But he clearly was anti-Semite, had paranoi, and had hate issues. In other words, his chess was brilliant but he wasn't so stellar a person. If you so choose, you can do the same - enjoy a performance without liking the actor.

    To each is own though.

    As for the episode, I enjoyed seeing the main characters in fantasy, as surely the characters ARE in fans' fantasies. In odd sort of way, it mimics real life.

    I too, like Jammer, enjoyed seeing a less than perfect human on the Enterprise, and liked seeing Picard refuse to just transfer problems to other starships rather than just deal with them. 3 stars for me as well.

    I am not a fan of Holodeck episodes. They always make me cringe a little bit because they are so awkward. I watched this one with a TNG virgin and I'm almost sure this person never wants to watch another TNG episode, no matter how many times I tell them that there are much better episodes.

    I don't agree with Jammer's review here. To me this is a one-star episode.

    I just got done watching this episode, and it was a hoot!

    However, the comment above slandering Dwight Schultz as racist, and a "tea bagger" is anything BUT a hoot. (And if don't you know how that latter epithet came about, let's just say that is tremendously sexually crude).

    Right at this very moment, I'm listening to a podcast from Dwight Schultz (from this September), and he sounds like a guy who both occasionally talks with a wacky voice (like you'd expect a voice actor to do), and has not uttered anything racist or "nut job" in any way.

    Please don't slander people, on the right or on the left. If someone says something you find disagreeable, state what actually was said, don't just slap a label on them in an internet forum.

    On Sintak's comment I will only say this: it doesn't surprise me but does dismay me that so many people who undoubtedly consider themselves enlightened, tolerant people feel it is ok to slander, insult, and feel such incredible hatred towards people who happen to have a different political philosophy. It's just another outside group that the inside group can be intolerant towards in order to feel superior.

    As for the episode itself, it was great fun. TNG gets some flack (and deservedly so sometimes) for being too invested in character insights or dealing with moral or philosophical issues to the detriment of a good story. Here, though, it's a character episode, but one that is entertaining and relatively fast moving as well. It's funny at times, serious at times, mysterious at times, and indulgent at times. I didn't feel the holodeck scenes dragged on too long. It helped that the first two weren't obviously on the holodeck, and that the latter three involved actors we like hamming it up for all they're worth.

    And Barclay, well, great character. Is his neurosis a bit too exaggerated? Maybe a bit, but I've known some people who were pretty close to that. And as an introvert myself, there were moments that were pretty realistic... And the episode is pretty fair when exploring these issues. Geordi and Riker come off as a little bit nasty in their harsh treatment of Barclay, and yet completely justified and understandable too. Picard's defense of Barclay may seem too tolerant for someone as immature as Barclay, but he has a point too that Barclay has had a reasonably successful Starfleet career so far and thus could be a valuable member of the crew. Essentially, the message is that socially inept people should be given a fair amount of leeway, but in return it better not cause problems with their work or other people.

    The different reactions to Barclay's holodeck adventure were nice touches too. It makes sense that LaForge was the most sympathetic, as 1) he has no place to talk (and kudos to the writers for calling back to Booby Trap), and 2) he didn't see the more controversial characters (the goddess of empathy and mini-Riker) until later.

    I also don't care that the "ship in danger" plot was used. The episode needed to show two things: that an addiction to a fantasy life can be rather crippling to one's real life, and that socially awkward people are people too. The 10 seconds to destruction plot managed both of them nicely. Because Barclay was spending too much time on the holodeck and not doing his job, a thousand people nearly died. And because LaForge put in a bit of effort to make Barclay feel a part of the team, a thousand people didn't die. Hurray! The only quibble is that time was running out and the two of them were still walking around everywhere. You'd think the no running in the hallways rule could be a bit relaxed in those situations...

    PeteTongLaw, you think the all-male senior staff was the most alien part of that scene? How about the fact that a staff meeting only lasted 2 minutes? Now that's an unrealistic utopian future!

    Sooooooo nobodys even going to bring up how absolutely CREEPED out Troi had to have been to find out Barclay was having sex with her doppleganger on the holodeck? Can you just imagine if it had been for real? lol Barclay would be fired and possibly jailed, Troi would SUE Starfleet for not having security on her pattern, just thinking of the all implications bowls me over. Thank God it's in the Star Trek universe, lol. Oh and around 12 minutes in I swear I heard Barclay talking about the "flux capacitor" lol swear, go see!

    Now, 3 stars seems about right for this one :)

    I like that this episode addresses the big elephant in the (holodeck) room: with tech good enough to imitate life, what's stopping anybody to create their own personal version of people they know in real life?

    Picard seems to engage in Dixon Hill fantasies every now and then, Riker and Geordi created a fake woman to spend time with, and even Data enjoys playing as Sherlock Holmes, but what separates Barclay from the main characters is that the latter know when to stop. I thought it was due time to see a holodeck episode that deals with social issues instead of malfunctions.

    It's not a classic episode by any means, but it's both fun and interesting. And Barclay is a great character and I'm glad to read he's coming back later.

    Funny though, now that it's been more than a year since I've watched the episode, all I remember is Barclay's awkwardness and holographic adventures (and his trouble with the real people) but totally forgot about the critical situation of the week.

    Perhaps I notice it more in this episode than in others, but I laugh at Guinan's hat flopping around as she counsels with Geordi.

    Reading through all the comments I don't see the feeling that I get from the episode. It seemed that the ship in danger part of the episode was meant to show that some people have a different way of thinking and that can be an advantage when we are encouraging to them.

    As a school teacher, I am trained to see that angle.

    Stviateur, that lack of privacy protection was also odd, if not worse, for Worf's program in "The Emissary" (as a guest rather than senior officer, who could have done some quick override we didn't see, could enter); it seems like there's no protection because there's an ideology of non-judgment but the characters don't always follow it.
    I jeopardy plot was a bit standard but I liked how gradually it was introduced and how the solution was both surprising yet came out of what we'd already seen.

    Your ears did not deceive you. When Barclay went to the holodeck to vent to his fantasy Troi about being interrupted by Wesley, he spoke this little gem:

    "I knew about the flux capacitor, but I didn't need to hear about it from some 17 year-old kid."

    In the prior scene when Wesley interrupted him, he asked Barkley if he had checked the flow capacitor. Perhaps Dwight Shutz had recently watched BTTF, and just slipped up during the scene. I was surprised that they left it in there though. You'd think that someone would have noticed, and had them reshoot the scene.

    jay: "in 'Our Man Bashir' Julian claims that entering a holodeck that is in use is 'illegal.'"

    I'm guessing something happened between here and there to lead to some rules being put in place.

    Susan: "how absolutely CREEPED out Troi had to have been to find out Barclay was having sex with her doppleganger on the holodeck? Can you just imagine if it had been for real? lol Barclay would be fired and possibly jailed, Troi would SUE Starfleet for not having security on her pattern"

    Yeah, like that.

    Honestly, I think this *is* a classic episode. It addresses some real psychological and social issues, in the ship/Starfleet environment generally and with hologram tech specifically; it does this through a great new character that we'll see again; it makes a reasonable story use of a jeopardy situation (OK, so another just-in-time salvation isn't really necessary) that is integral but subordinate to the character story; and it totally works as a comedy too! We get to see our familiar characters embarassed, rather than be embarassed ourselves as with some of the 'comedy' misfires elsewhere. Not the 'biggest' kind of episode, but one that absolutely accomplishes everything it sets out to do.

    Four stars.

    Lol. This episode is awkward and funny. Data in that musketeer's outfit was the freakiest thing I've ever seen.

    Once you realize the holodeck is a metaphor for compulsive jacking off, the episode makes perfect sense.

    'Mr Brocoli' as said by Captain Picard just sums up this episode. And the 'Ha!!!' by the musketeers. Brilliant!!.

    What can I say about "Hollow Pursuits"? Well, first off - I love the character of Reginald Barclay, probably because I see so much of myself in the quiet, socially awkward guy who yearns to be more accepted and socially gregarious. Barclay is such a welcome relief from the supremely super-confident people we usually spend time with in Trek. The closest we've had to someone like this is LaForge with his problems with women (but that isn't because he's socially awkward, far from it).

    This episode isn't without problem however. First, why are so many people so critical of Barclay, Riker especially. Geez, is it so much of an oddity for these people to encounter a timid person that they just don't know how to deal with it? Second, I think this episode is where the inherent problems with the Troi character really come into focus. In the scene where Barclay actually goes to her for counseling, she fumbles the ball so hard it's laughable. You have a guy here who is painfully socially awkward and timid and what does she do? She turns the lights off, tells him to close his eyes and sit back and then sits so close to him that they're practically touching. Good grief! Could she have misread his problems any more thoroughly? And given the fact that she's an empath, how did she miss Barclay's obvious nervousness? Also, this is a prime example of why she should wear a standard Starfleet uniform. Wearing whatever it is she usually wears to counseling sessions isn't very helpful, especially with a patient who is already extremely nervous around women.

    Still, "Hollow Pursuits" has several things going for it - a wonderful new character, legitimately funny comedic bits and very nice reactions to Barclay from Guinan, Picard and LaForge. Even the tension at the end with the ship seconds away from ripping itself apart is enjoyable because it gives Barclay his chance to shine.


    I also have a problem with the crew ignoring Barclay's right to privacy. Geordi making the mistake the first time gets a pass (but underscores how perfect this society apparently is that no one else does anything embarassing on the Holodeck). But he should have known better than to go back a second time and bring Riker and Troi along. Everyone is entitled to their fantasies, and though Barclay's got out of hand, that's no excuse.

    TNG talks directly to its core audience by saying that socially inept people crippled by shyness and living a fantasy existence cut off from the real world can actually be appreciated members of society - and even heroes no less...

    It's to the episode's credit though that while Barclay is ridiculed, there is at least an attempt by his management structure to address his problems. As such it is a fairly sensitive reading of the issue - that Barclay contributes to the solution but that the solution is a team effort shows that the goal of integrating him with his colleagues is a success.

    Of course, we also get a lot of fun holodeck scenes - foppish Riker being a particular favourite, along with Troi's reaction to her Goddess of Empathy portrayal - and Picard's wonderfully awkward "Lieutenant Broccoli" moment. 3 stars.

    This is one of my favorite episodes so far. From the opening scene, to Picard's slip-up, to Geordi, Riker, and Troi walking in on Barclay's fantasy, it was hilarious. Good writing, good acting. Troi was actually useful, and Wes wasn't completely obnoxious. I have nothing to complain about, except I, too, thought they should have been running to Cargo Bay 5 (with only 3.5 mins to destruction) instead of taking a Sunday stroll.

    Also, "Haha, he said flux capacitor!"

    Let me be blunt..

    La Forge's behavior early in the episode was completely unprofessional and unsuited for anyone in command. It is unnacceptable for a manager or commander to sit with his subordinate staff and make fun of one of the other staff. A leader will attempt work with everyone; not bully and mock him and throw his arms up in the air in front of the guy's coworkers.

    Picard saying Broccoli was a disgrace as well and he never got called out for it. Troi will confront him on all sorts of private thoughts but didn't confront him about that.

    This is the 24th century and allegedly humanity has improved. Yet, they treat a guy with mental illness with mockery, scorn, and bully name calling. Just a disgrace all around.

    I get the writers did this in the late 80's and were not enlightend, maybe that is why. But this show is supposed to depict our amazing future where we all get along and are not greed and don't make war. A guy with social anxiety or depression should not be made the butt of jokes.

    I hate how the senior staff treated this man.

    Why should Troi call Picard on it?? He was mortified. He's the one who told LaForge to cut it out and slipped his tongue in front of Barclay. What should Troi say? That horrible thing you did that you're mortified about and know was horrible is horrible? I suppose that would at least be in character for her....

    Total agreement on the rest of the staff though.


    Considering how much danger the Enterprise is in every week, I don't blame La Forge at all for being pissed at Reg. And for his credit, La Forge was extremely kind and patient with Reg after speaking to Picard, even defending his holodeck antics while the other COs reactions came off as livid.

    Additionally, La Forge is NOT a model boss. His social skills are actually not much better than Barclay's, which is part of the point -- Geordi lacks the proper social graces to deal with a socially anxious staff member. Geordi's (undiagnosed) social difficulty mostly does not interfere with his work, but it is also a problem.

    Sorry, I meant that Geordi's social difficulties haven't interfered with his *engineering* work, and even much of his command work, as long as those under his command don't require particular finesse. I think that part of Geordi's breakthrough here is to recognize that he and Barclay actually have similar problems. Geordi has successfully prevented his social difficulties from impacting his work until now -- it is mostly only a problem when it comes to romance, where he is terribly racked by uncertainty and fear and cannot set the proper boundaries. When he recognizes that Barclay suffers from this all the time, it's a little easier to see what Barclay is going through.

    Being pissed is one thing... being a commanding officer and making fun of him with his co-workers is very poor. I don't like how the writers did it and I understand I can't expect a script written in the 80's to be as socially understanding towards mental illness and bullying... I am just point it out that an evolved 24th century humanity should have got past that.

    They push Barclay further into his holodeck because he knows that everyone in the real world is mocking him and doesn't value him as an officer. They are part of the problem here.

    And Wesley of all people; with all his quirks and annoyances, should not be making fun of anyone for their social skills.

    Just weird writing all around.


    I don't think any Star Trek series tells us Barclay is ill; he's just painfully shy. He's also a bit of savant, but his personality is what people have trouble with. And please don't treat him so pitifully, he passed the Star Fleet entrance exam that even Picard failed once. He's clearly very capable when puts his mind to it. I thought that was the point of the episode, at least...

    ^^ Yeah, to show that you can be a bit 'off' and not only contribute to solving a problem or issue you can excel at it ^^.

    In some ways I think it was a love letter of sorts to the many legions of people who've watched Trek over the years. That's what I get outta' it at least.

    What I liked about this episode is that the the villain (or antagonist) becomes the hero. By "villain" I don't suggest that Barclay had any evil intentions, but merely that, in his initially presented role as a screw-up, his presence was detrimental to the crew's function. He somehow managed to accomplish tasks, but not without aggravating his co-workers and commanders. He clearly becomes the hero when the pressure of the dire situation forces him to overcome his shyness and propose the creative idea that leads to the solution.

    One point about his holodeck programs: I would have thought that there would be restrictions on who could be created; the computer would be prohibited from making versions of real crew members, out of respect for those crew. It could possibly consider violation by proxy, and as such, would be disallowed.

    Picard's akward "Broccoli" mistake was just fantastic - so unexpected and so brilliantly acted by P. Stewart. It's a shame such a great moment was wasted on a forgettable episode like this. Like one of the previous commenters, I found Guinan's flopping hat to be a distraction.

    And did it bother anyone else that with minutes to go before the ship explodes, Geordi and Barclay are casually walking instead of running?

    @ Jor-El,

    "And did it bother anyone else that with minutes to go before the ship explodes, Geordi and Barclay are casually walking instead of running?"

    To be fair you have to assume such things are an aesthetic and directoral means of showing movement and action in order to create a pace and dynamic for what's being shown. People running 'feels' different from people walking, and so this plays into the scene texture the director wants. If the characters are feeling a sudden emergency (someone's been shot, there's an intruder, the core is breaching, etc.) they tend to show running, while during scenes where they're thinking over a problem the tone is more constructed and somber to show that they are not thinking chaotically. These are all storytelling tools.

    If you wanted to be literal and suggest what 'should' really happen then you'd have to just forget most of what happens in Trek and realize that in any emergency people would be constantly beamed all over the place to remove travel time. This would be storytelling death, however, and so the narrative uses travel as a part of the story rather than as means of explaining to you how they're getting from point A on the ship to point B.

    Hello hello

    It eventually got to be mildly irritating to me when I would see members of the crew walking to the emergency. Beaming point-to-point notwithstanding, if time was of the essence, they would race there, not walk while discussing options with the clock ticking...

    Just my take on it... RT

    I'm just watching random episodes and settled on this one tonight. When this series is in its stride the writing is just so good. While your average TNG episode doesn't tend to evoke powerful emotion like a "Duet" from DS9, at the same time the dialogue is so crisp, the actors so much fun, and the nuance is at times is more important than the larger plot. Here we're introduced to Lt. Barclay, who, rather than merely being presented as the odd man out with 'a problem', is instead fleshed out in very short order and rendered as a very human, and also humorous, character. And I don't mean humorous on account of the gags that Schultz managed to work in; I mean that he's actually funny when you get to know him. And that's amazing, because it feels like we do get to know him, and that we actually have to get to know him before we can judge. And for an episode to pull that off in 20-25 minutes is amazing.

    Also amazing to me is how the writing never loses sight of the real issue, which is Barclay's suffering. What might have devolved into making fun of his holodiction instead serves as a vehicle for us to ironically laugh at the rest of the cast. Each of them is made to look foolish in the episode. When the real crew encounters their facsimiles and become outraged they somehow come off looking even more foolish. Riker not only fails to keep his dignity in the face of the clown-Riker, but in fact he succumbs entirely and we can see that the shell of composure the crew can put on that Barclay can't may not be as solid as they would like everyone to think. Even Picard is made to look foolish when he accidentally pronounces "Mr. Broccoli." Guinan herself takes Geordi down a peg when he tries to dismiss Barclay's problems. In an episode about a man who feels small, it's amazing that the writers decided to find a way to show how everyone can feel small if they're out of their comfort zone. The difference is that Barclay is always out of his comfort zone.

    Barclay's talk with Geordi in Ten-Forward is especially well done, as the writing homed in on the fact that even what we in the audience see Barclay go through is only a glimpse at his discomfort, and when Geordi claims to get it and Barclay says "you *can't* understand," he's quite right, and is indirectly speaking to the audience as well. We feel entitled to judge him because the show's about him, but he tells us clearly we are not equipped to judge what we don't understand. That's as Trek as notion as I can think of.

    Special props to one particular line in the show where even Marina Sirtis missed the double meaning. At the start of Deanna's counseling session with Barclay she asks him "Have you ever been with a counselor before?" The phrasing would be odd except that the line is deliberately awkward in order to allude to the fact that Barclay had clearly been having sex with the various incarnations of Deanna in the holodeck. Rather than merely being random fantasy element, it's fairly clear that he is infatuated, or at least attracted to, her specifically. When you listen to the text of the scene it's easy to realize that the entire scene's tension and Barclay's panic are meant to have been caused by that one line, because in asking whether he's "been" with a counselor before, to which he answers "Yes...well no" it's clear that in his mind he's mixing up fantasy with reality and knows he can't keep it straight well enough to interact with her properly. The rest of the scene, rather than being merely a vaguely nervous scene with a man afraid of counselling, is obviously supposed to be Deanna further and further doing things that the holo-Deanna probably had already done with Barclay, but as romantic preludes - turning down the lights, telling him to close his eyes, etc. It's all ambiguously sexual enough to make Barclay go nuts. By the end we should know exactly why he needs to get the hell out of there, and although the scene is decently funny as it is it should have been drop dead hilarious. The writing certainly is, but both the director and Sirtis missed it. Pity.

    It shouldn't come as any surprise that another episode I find myself admiring greatly is one of Cliff Bole's, who apparently could masterfully write for many styles and bring out character nuances few other writers ever did.

    Peter, great analysis and I agree that this episode is great. I love the point that the episode finds ways to show how everyone does badly outside their comfort zone, and that for Reg this is all the time (for the moment). Just an aside -- Cliff Bole is the director, not the writer. That his episodes tended to be strong does suggest that while (like most television) Trek is mostly writer-driven, a strong hand behind the camera does add quite a bit.

    Crap. You're right, Bole is the director and not the writer. In which case I've inadvertently critiqued his direction of the counselling session instead of praising him. Ah, to hell with it, he's awesome and he did a great job with the episode.

    I'm not sure why people are comparing Barclay's holodeck addiction with Geordi's holodeck fantasies. They're completely different - Geordi invited a real woman into the holodeck with him in "Booby Trap". Later, he was attracted to Leah Brahams but that was not intentional - he was running a simulation and trying to save the ship. By the way, why was every cast member re-created in the holodeck except Worf?

    @ David,

    "By the way, why was every cast member re-created in the holodeck except Worf?"

    Because he is not a merry man.

    That was too easy.

    I love thinking about the creative spark behind this episode. I imagine a bunch of writers, noticing that all the characters are just too damned perfect, decide to explore what happens when an imperfect guy is inserted into the mix. To their credit, they gave him an imperfection that's truly relatable to the world at large, but maybe especially so to many in the ST fan base.

    The light touch in the writing is admirable. Barclay is very sympathetic and has a hero turn at the end showing that he's valuable - but because of the comedic slant to the show, I didn't feel clobbered over the head by a message-of-the-week. And the comedy walks the line of having crew members making fun of Barclay a bit, which could be really uncomfortable to see, except that the tables are frequently turned and other crew members are also put in uncomfortable places at times. Especially Riker, who has that cocky thing going, and can only be improved by being occasional cut down to fun-size.

    As an aside: This is one of three times I can remember that Guinan has slightly harsh words for Geordi. She shuts him down witheringly when he's badmouthing Ro in the eponymous Ro episode, and she gives him a pretty harsh response in the flesh-and-blood Leah Brahms episode, when he moans to her that Brahms is not acting like his fantasy woman. I don't remember Guinan smacking down any of the other crew members - so it gives the impression that she thinks Geordi's brand of immaturity requires a little tough love.

    Or maybe she just plain dislikes him and thinks he's a pain in the ass?

    About Worf not being duplicated: perhaps Dorn lacks the range needed to play one of Barclay's goofy characters? Dorn is great at playing the serious, put-upon, straight-man, but maybe he doesn't have it in him to play a goofball? The closest I can think of him coming to such a character was the baseball player in DS9, and even that character was relatively serious, if notably less serious than Worf.

    Barclay has to be one of the most relatable characters for me in Star Trek, I suffer from a similar social anxiety although not as bad as Barclays, so his character relates to me quite well compared to the heroic, outgoing and commanding bridge crew we always see. It's a shame we don't see more of Barclay though considering hes basically a genius underneath despite being restricted by his crippling anxiety.

    Also Wesley's being a dick in this episode as usual, not only was it obnoxious to point out the obvious to a Starfleet Academy trained adult with a higher rank and far more experience but Barclay hadn't even finished his sentence and giving him an insulting nickname? I wonder if Wesley would have appreciated being called "Willy Sucker" instead of Wesley Crusher or just see Barclay say at one point "Where's your Dad? Oh wait." and see his expression.

    Definitely a change of pace episode - good to see some human resources issues being dealt with on the Enterprise. Also good to see that someone isn't perfect although the heavy-handed nature exaggerates Barclay's flaws.

    It was almost as painful to watch Barkley's discomfort enacted as it must have been for what the character is supposed to be feeling.

    I genuinely cracked up when Picard called Barclay Mr. Broccoli. One of the funniest scenes in TNG for sure. And then Data tried to explain the common mistake, Picard gives him one look and shuts him up.

    I have to wonder if they have sign-up sheets for holodeck use. I'm surprised anybody can just enter another person's holodeck program. This results in a highly embarrassing situation for Barkley and some entertaining moments.

    The episode suffers from heavy technobabble in terms of what causes the acceleration and what the solution is. And of course Barclay has the outside-the-box solution. This part seemed highly contrived in a way to arrive at a happy ending.

    I'd rate "Hollow Pursuits" 2.5 stars - a good but not great episode - kind of typical for TNG when it wants to shine a spotlight on a non-sci-fi situation, that of different types of people in the workplace and the issues they may face. Some heavy-handedness, a bit extreme acting but perhaps makes the lesson to keep trying to work with the person suffering the discomfort or mental illness which has become very topical in today's society.

    I do agree that series 3 episodes are sharper and whole character driven and a step forward although I still think series 2 is really undermined I think there was some really good episodes and it was a shame in some respects that it went a bit too far in the current episodes and lost some drama No doubt that the best TNG series were 2 3 and 4and four after that I think it lost it in many respects

    Sintek : How exactly is Dwight Schultz a wacko, racist, or nutjob??!!

    -3 stars. Somewhere in that range

    The episode was decent not great. It was interesting idea for shy introverted people like Barclay taking their daydreaming of being more assertive from one's imagination into the holodeck allowing him to act out what he was too shy and timid to ever do in the real world.

    The episode did a good job also of its characterization. Barclay's relating to Geordi in Ten Forward on what it's like to be a shy person in social settings was spot on.

    The jeopardy plot with ship malfunctioning generated genuine suspense and tension

    I do question though the right of the crew to enter barclay's private program. To me that's an invasion of his privacy

    And Wesley starting the nickname for Barclay was a very poor reflection on his character. And one would think him being a smart kid that he'd have been victim of such things himself.

    Oddly enough this may be my favorite Next Generation episode. I empathize with the character quite a bit, though he's the most exaggerated version of my own insecurities I could imagine. I actually like all of the writing in this episode including the jeopardy plot but really it's the character that makes me love this (and every Barclay episode).

    Barclay is a great character.
    Although written as just painfully shy I wonder whether Dwight Shulz was trying to suggest someone on the low end of the autistic spectrum.
    Anyway his awkward interactions in the early scenes permit us to see what an utter thug and bully Riker is-grabbing his arm in the cargo bay and threatening him.
    In the modern workplace Riker would be suspended for that.
    If the stone age commander got away with that his sexist behaviour later in the holodeck would get him the sack for sure.
    Did I say that Riker is my least favourite TNG character?

    "Although written as just painfully shy I wonder whether Dwight Shulz was trying to suggest someone on the low end of the autistic spectrum."

    Funny, I mentioned Barclay's character as a comparison to Tilly in another thread. Still, I'm not sure it's autism, as there could be many social anxiety disorders that could explain Barclay's condition. Or maybe he's just a quirky guy.

    This one gets three stars if only for the depiction of Wesley as Blueboy

    @Borusa: Starfleet is akin to the military, not a private company workplace. Therefore, it is not out of place for Riker to forcibly grab Barclay's arm and reprimand him. And Riker has every reason to express displeasure at Barclay's level of performance.

    @PeteTongLaw: you're right, it is unfortunate that the engineering staff is depicted as all men and wouldn't be cast that way nowadays but interestingly this was already a step back for TNG because the first season depicted a female chief engineer in only the second episode, and the second season featured Ensign Sonya Gomez prominently in a couple of episodes as part of Geordi's staff and she was intended to be a reoccurring character. At least by 1995 we had a main cast chief engineer with B'Elanna Torres on Voyager.

    Yes, it was dickish of Wesley to also be a bully to Barclay when his character is the type that in the real world would also be made fun of for being a know it all child prodigy but it also makes sense in a way because it's not uncommon for those that want to fit in and be accepted to follow group think even if it's something negative like bullying another person. Wesley probably just wanted to be part of the group and be in on the joke though it was nasty. That rang true to me.

    Anyway, this was a good, entertaining episode that is also thoughtful for one, addressing the issues of holodeck use privacy and the recreating of actual people to use however you want, and two) portraying a less than standard heroic Starfleet officer type who is socially awkward and struggling to fit in. That struggle and the efforts of his shipmates to reach out in various methods was really fascinating to watch. The Ron Jones conducted orchestration was excellent work. Same with the costuming. The humor was so good and you can tell the actors are just having so much fun playing their holodeck counterparts. Barclay is also an interesting complex character and Dwight Schultz really brought him to life. I also enjoyed the misdirection at the end of the episode that you think the character is leaving the episode for good and I remember the first time watching as a kid thinking how disappointing after really enjoying this unique character and then being delighted that it was just another holodeck re-creation. The save the ship dilemma did feel forced but I did at least like the reasoning and deduction used to figure out the solution. The one thing that I've never liked at all and I've never seen pointed out by anyone else is the lame end of Act One/cut to commercial when the officer's drinking glass has a leak in it and the officers in Ten Forward make this huge dramatic deal over it and the music swells ominously. I mean c'mon, your glass springs a leak and then the mood of the episode is supposed to become grim and dangerous and the audience is supposed to go "Oh no!" It was a bit over the top. I guess the writers couldn't figure out a smoother way for an act break. But still overall, very good episode. Also, reading these comments was the first I've ever heard of Schultz being some kind of nutjob which would be shocking if true. In fact, the guy wanted to do Star Trek and got connected with the role on the show because he worked with Whoopi Goldberg on the movie "A Long Walk Home" and asked her if he could get on the series. Fun fact!

    I think Worf wasn't included in Barclay's holodeck recreations because Barclay didn't interact with Worf in the real world, so he had no need to do so in the holodeck.

    I also think Wesley was just being a normal kid in making up the "Broccoli" nickname - right or wrong, it's what kids do (and not only kids, actually).

    Every time I watch this one and hear Barclay say "you CAN'T understand..." boy, can I relate. I was that shy, awkward person most of my early life.

    LOVE the quick reverse of sense of humor when Riker and Troi see the Goddess of Empathy!

    Interesting episode, although I find the scenes in holodeck embarrassing. Should there not be some protection built in;-) .

    Lt Barclay is a quite recognisable person. I guess many of us can find some similarities. What I really like is that Picard really recognises the problem and does not try the simple solution. Geordi does not like the task but takes it on seriously and realises that it is ok and that her also appreciates the qualities of Lt Barclay.

    Yes, young Crusher is a self important man who compensates his young age , and also lack of mature social abilities, with a small bullying tendency. But also here, although I do not like his personality, he does also contribute.

    People are different and it is mostly a good diversity of a team that makes it successful.

    @PeteTongLaw: THAT's what you took from this episode???

    I really liked this one! Sadly, in real life, people would probably use the holodeck for much more perverse and immoral pursuits. But still, in a good family show like this, it shows the dangers of addiction. It actually reminds me of the way many are addicted to their phones and other devices today!

    I was never shy, but I had friends who were. It's amazing to me how they change from "normal" when they are around me and other close friends, to completely quiet when around others! But we all have different imperfections and insecurities. I feel for Barclay and am glad he made progress

    Nice episode with some very funny moments and nice bits of psychology. Nitpick: why didn’t they remove those canisters from antigravity sled before testing it?

    Loved it. One of the highlights of S3 for me. I don’t know why a lot of people seem to hate holodeck episodes. I love them. Can’t get enough.

    The more I rewatch this show the more I feel that it's straightjacketed by its genre conventions, which sacrifice interesting drama for rote ship / crew in peril action.

    I was really enjoying this episode right up until the point that the technobabble problem and subsequent solution revealed itself. Past that point I just switched off and started playing with my phone, waiting for the episode to come to its inevitable conclusion.

    I know this show can do better, and it's great when A and B stories successfully meet, but this was not one of those times.

    Impressed me more in 2018 than in the 20th century.

    I think the issues of technology addiction and how socially awkward people are treated are more in the forefront now, so I appreciate the handling of them.

    And I love when Picard puts the onus on Geordi to address the issue.

    Social outcast who is mercilessly picked on by the crew exacts his revenge holodeck style.
    Oh, and he saves the ship too.
    5 stars

    A lot of people commenting on the privacy issue but every time someone went into Barclay’s holodeck program, he was supposed to be working. Both Dereliction of duty and being AWOL can be court martial offenses.

    Instead of personally getting him, his commanding officers could had just sent security personnel to drag his butt to the brig pending disciplinary measures that could have included rank reduction, confinement or getting kicked out of star fleet. He was basically a wanted criminal when Geordi and Riker went looking for him. He didn’t have any right to privacy at that point.

    If you think wild things are going on on the Enterprises 'holodeck, check out Quarks! There should be an easier solution to the energy problem, though. Matter and antimatter meet to create energy. One of those streams won't cut off, creating the problem. Just cut off the matter stream! There will be nothing to mix, and no energy! Will that leave a bunch of dangerous antimatter floating around? I don't know. But it sounds much easier. Unfortunately, that would get rid of a good part of the show.

    @Sintek (June 7, 2013): Your comment is so preposterous that I think I see why you like Star Trek. You need a comfy and safe world where disagreements are only of the most minor significance. Everyone in Jammer’s site that has read your comment is now dumber for it. May Q have mercy on your soul.

    @Corey (July 9, 2013): Because this is the 2000’s, we have social media now. One no longer has to even consider any other views. Friend the ones that agree, block the ones that don’t. Voila! Your worldview has 24/7 validation and woe be to the fools that don’t step in line.

    @SkepticalMI (February 6, 2014): Agreed. It’s spooky the ease with which people will read a blurb on their website of agreeing choice, and with little to no research just adopt what they’ve been spoon-fed as the gospel truth. Worse is how they’ll regurgitate it with dripping vitriol in a crusade to bolster their ideology. As if it’s like rooting for a sports team or something. It’s mind-boggling that the advent of such amazing technology and access to information has served only to make many more ignorant.

    @213karaokejoe (June 15, 2014 x 2): Without a doubt, the floppy hat is chuckle-worthy. So is your comment, “As a school teacher, I’m trained to see that angle.” Alright, settle down Agent 213... 007 is still on the job, we’ll call you if needed. ;-)

    @Dave (February 22, 2016): That was definitely pretty blunt. A tad bit over-the-top, but very nicely blunt. Consider decaf.

    @RandomThoughts (September 10, 2016): Most definitely. ANY time there’s an emergency I chuckle at the fact that instead of just beaming there, they “hurriedly” go through the corridors, take turbo-lifts, stop and make small-talk... I get that the beaming special effects can probably be costly, but at least make them RUN. haha... oh well, what are ya gonna do. It’s Star Trek, and even with all its quirks I love it.

    @Sean (November 10, 2017): Agreed. Barclay kinda makes the episode as he also seems like a huge magnifying glass on my own real (or perceived) shortcomings.

    @CodyB (Not that far up there, scroll up ya lazy chowderheads!): Same here! Some of my most favorite episodes involve the holodecks. But you know how the *true* Star Trek fans can get about them... so it’s best not to poke them and make them venture forth from their enlightened hovels. ;-)

    @Roger W Norris (Right above): Any relation to Chuck? OK... that was lame. Lemme try again. Um... your idea to cut off the matter stream seems perfectly logical. Nicely done, and I’m proud to take over the most recent comment on this episode from you, sir. *salute*

    Just re-watched this, and found myself rewinding and rewatching the 'musketeers' scene just for Picards 'HA'. Utterly brilliant. A great episode? Most definitely.

    Hello Everyone!

    @Prince of Space

    Thanks for the comment. I was just watching "The Hunted" with my Wife the other night, and decided not to say "They are walking to the emergency", as Worf and a crewman were in no particular hurry to get to the escapee. It would have broken her immersion, and I'm having a hard time getting her to like the show anyway. :)

    Regards... RT

    I really enjoyed this episode. How refreshing to not have the superhuman bland crew for once. Hurray for Guinan for speaking up for Reg.

    This episode has aged really well.

    We get some good Guinan scenes, Troi is used well, the comedy is great, the holodeck scenes are witty/funny, and Picard's management skills are showcased to good effect - he brings the awkward Barclay into the fold - though this requires the contrivance of Georgie and Riker becoming heartless, tactless brutes for an episode.

    And while the episode degenerates into another "forced action climax", it's an interesting one, and for once the engineering team seem like actual engineers working sequentially through a tough problem.

    With the rise of virtual realities, machine learning AIs, smart phones and face swapping and deep faking technology, TNG also seems quite prescient about tech addiction. With this episode and The Game, you have some of the most chaste, innocuous, but pin-point precise science fiction tales about modern techno-sexual fantasies/fetishes/addictions.

    A well done episode for the most part - the last part, full of technobabble as they try to figure out what's wrong, was kind of tedious. The plot line was weak - definitely a character-driven episode.

    Schultz does a good job as the hapless Barclay, and Sirtis is excellent and amusing as the various versions of Troi (goddess of empathy!).

    I think the ep might be drawing parallels between the way the invidium was being spread around the ship causing damage, and the way rumors and name calling (Broccoli) was being spread around the ship, causing damage.

    Contact with others, can be good or bad, depending on what they're "spreading."

    I loved tiny Riker with his short little sword.

    Lots of nice little touches. Enjoyable ep overall.

    @ Springy,

    "I think the ep might be drawing parallels between the way the invidium was being spread around the ship causing damage, and the way rumors and name calling (Broccoli) was being spread around the ship, causing damage."

    Yes, I think that's right. The engineers couldn't figure out the problem because they were looking for something wrong with the ship; but it was the crew that was spreading it. Likewise, I think we're supposed to understand that when looking at someone like Barclay we're thinking there's something wrong with him, whereas in reality the problem is with the crew. He's only weird because they're put off by someone like him; if they were somehow more understanding of his issues he would no doubt be a lot better off.

    Now to an extent this may seem a bit pat, because yes, someone with anxiety issues like he does really does have to also learn on his own how to address them, but I think the issue is less whose fault it is and more that what might be a minor setback in life turns into a catastrophic obstacle that risks turning into an addiction problem for him. In real life it would be pills or alcohol instead of the holodeck. If they're saying what I think they're saying, it's that it's everyone's job to avoid spreading anxiety around if someone different is present, and I'm down with that.

    The reveal that it was a person who was the root of the plot problem and not the tech also suggests that at the root of Reg's holodiction is interpersonal problems, not the holodeck tech itself. (More generally, it's generally not the chemical effects of the drug that are the root of the problem, but the usually-social problems that cause a person to take it in the first place.)

    @Peter G, @William B

    Good thinky thoughts.

    Of interest, the definition of invidious:

    "Calculated to create ill will or resentment or give offense; hateful: invidious remarks. "

    Our harmful compound is invidium.

    Brilliant episode, this one. Very clever. A really terrific performance by Dwight Schultz.

    The only complaint for me is that the drama and suspense at the end relies on a tried and tested formula; the 'ship in grave peril with only minutes to find a technical solution' chestnut. Apart from that this episode is a welcome and original diversion from the usual tropes. Some strong humour, as well.

    I hadn't seen this one for many years and was watching the scene where Riker, Troi and Geordi turn up on the holodeck through my fingers. I was half expecting them to find the holographc Deanna with her underwear round her ankles, up against a tree.

    Can't understand all the nitpicking for such a great episode. You can tell a lot of care went into this one.

    Funny thing is, the first-run trailer gave you absolutely no clue as to the real focus of the episode. (Check it out on Youtube.) Upon seeing this trailer, the plot seemed lame and I even thought about skipping Next Gen. for the week. As luck would have it, I just happened to be in front of the TV when this debuted and was blown away.

    Barclay's depiction cut a little too close to home for this awkwardly shy high school student. Great acting and writing. Thought the disaster plot line was very necessary for the story. Genuinely surprised by the cause of the malfunctions and by Barclay's theory which proved to be true. Even that last scene had tricked me. Thought the episode was ending by having Barclay leave the Enterprise (going the way of so many one-off guest characters) when in fact, he was just leaving his fantasy world.

    When this one comes up in reruns, I always stop and watch and think fondly of those first run viewing memories from my high school years.

    The lack of privacy protocols for the holodeck doesn't surprise or bother me in any way because as depicted on the show, it's still quite new and relatively unexplored technology. Remember that in Encounter at Farpoint and Code of Honor it was limited to simple landscapes and "soulless" defense training. In The Big Goodbye Troi mentions to Picard "you've been looking forward to the upgrade of the holodeck" where we get people with actual characters. The Bynars upgrade it again shortly thereafter in 1100100 to create Minuet, which may or may not have culminated in the computer's ability to create Moriarty in Elementary Dear Data.

    So it's not until the last year or two (in-universe) that the holodeck has even been able to replicate people in any meaningful way, as far as we know. Yes there's some of Gene's "evolved humanity" nonsense on display here as none of the rest of the crew had ever conceived of using the holodeck in the way Barclay has, but doesn't that explain why they wouldn't think to put any sort of privacy protocols in place? It's not until several years later in DS9 and Voyager that they mention such things, so it's likely the Federation has been scrambling to catch up with a quickly evolving technology. It's not unlike the similar struggle to define the rights of artificial intelligence we see with Data and later the Doctor in Voyager, except the legal ramifications of holodeck use just aren't worth dedicating any screen time to.

    Oh one other thing. Simply turning off the matter stream to the warp core wouldn't work because as suggested, it would leave an ever increasing pool of antimatter in the middle of the warp core. The fuels are deuterium and anti-deuterium stored near absolute zero to stay in liquid form, and they're essentially squirted from the top and bottom of the warp core into the reaction chamber at Main Engineering level where they annihilate each other and the energy is shot out the back as plasma to the warp nacelles. The warp core itself is basically a tube of magnetic rings that keeps the antimatter from touching anything, because it will still react with any matter it touches. So if you shut off the matter stream but the antimatter stream kept going, then it would just fill up the warp core until there was too much for the magnetic constrictors to resist and some of it would touch the inside of the core and boom.

    Lovely to see this again, in my covid 19 lockdown inspired voyage through long past StarTreck. It's a great episode and Barclay has long been one of my favourite characters.

    One gem I'd forgotten was Data's incisive intervention when he shut down the Brocolli infection and the "just joking" excuse for it by analysing them. That's how to do it, a far more effective way of countering that kind of talking and acting than by denouncing them as being offensive.

    And I liked the way he reacted to Picard mis-speak of "Brocolli" - treating it as a matter of language rather than attitude.

    In some ways Data could be an excellent Ship's Counsellor than Troi. (So would Guynan of course, and in practice that's what she is. I liked the floppy hat - it looked like a halo, making he some kind of resident Angel on the Enterprise.)

    I have a hypothesis about why Worf isn't included in the fantasies. Barclay recreates people in the holodeck who threaten or stress him in the real world. But Worf wouldn't be threatening or discomforting to a person like Barclay at all. Worf is a loner who devotes himself to duty. Worf has no potential to Barclay as a friend or a mate and is always purely professional, so there is no social dimension there.

    Having experienced some of the issues Barclay did I know I would have been far more comfortable around someone like Worf - a pure professional - than with a clique of colleagues who are also friends - not to mention beautiful women like Deanna.

    Then again Data and Picard areincluded in the fantasy so maybe I am off base.

    By the way regarding the illegality of walking in on a holodeck program keep in mind this isn't a civilian installation like Quark's bar - this is a Starfleet vessel, basically a military installation and Barclay is an officer. And even then no one walks in on this lightly - Barclay is late for a shift and in one case there is a shipboard emergency.

    The Picard broccoli scene is such gold - it's this awkward moment that just goes on a little too long. Just perfect.

    "The Picard broccoli scene is such gold"
    Seeing Picard having an out of body experience. It's a treat.

    Part of me absolutely despises Barclay but to be honest it's probably because he reminds me of who I was when I was younger. I still have trouble with people and get a bit too involved in escapism but I'm not Barclay bad.

    When Picard says mr. Broccoli and the smile just melts off his face is the realest moment I've seen in Trek. I could *feel* it in my stomach. Great scene, it made me physically ill.

    This episode fills me with so much rage.

    The idea of Barclay is awesome. FINALLY someone who isn't just the best at their job 24x7. But because this is TNG we can't have that expressed through nuance or evident over time we have to have a giant, bumbling, nervous mess of a man whose inability to properly express something as simple as the results of a test to his engineering peers would render him a completely unacceptable candidate for a menial posting let alone the FLAGSHIP.

    That and three of the bridge crew casually flipping through his browser history and judging him for it. Are you seriously going to try to convince me that Riker doesn't just absolutely coat that holodeck with bearded sperms every time he goes in there? To just casually waltz into someone's private fantasy time and then judge them for it - it makes me so mad, fellas.

    No, seriously. I mostly joke around about this show making me mad but this episode makes me want to call the police to press charges against the writers.

    "This episode fills me with so much rage."

    Do keep the time period this was made in mind. In 1990 the internet as we know it today had only been launched a year prior, and most people didn't even have computers at the time, let alone internet access. So things like "browser history" and "online privacy" and such were completely unheard of at the time. I give the writers a pass.

    I do agree that Barclay's portrayal is awfully ham-fisted. He gets better in later episodes, but we don't need him to be a bumbling fool to see that.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say they were looking through his browser history. It is fair to criticize them for just barging into Barclay’s private holodeck time. Seriously, do these people not know how to knock on a door? Or use a doorbell? They do it every time they want to enter the Ready Room or someone’s quarters.

    Or are the writers saying it was okay to just storm in because Riker was upset at Barclay for being late for work? If so, would it be okay for Riker to just push his way into Barclay’s quarters if that is where he happened to be instead? Of course it wouldn’t. On the other hand - seriously Reg, lock the freaking door! Or do the holodeck doors not have locks? If not, why (in the name of God!) don’t they?

    That’s what angers me about this set-up. The writers didn’t put much thought into it and so Riker ends up coming across as a bully who disrespects other people’s private lives. But then, it’s not even a problem with just this episode. How many times (in TNG, DS9, and VOY) do people just enter someone else’s holo-program without permission? I can see how other fans find it aggravating.

    IMO the issue is that holodecks are not treated as private spaces at this point in TNG. If Reg was in Ten-Forward instead of at work, would anyone criticize Riker for barging in to look for him? OK, so people probably book holodeck time in advance usually. 1. Barclay probably doesn't do so in this case, because he's supposed to be at work; 2. if Barclay reserved a seat at a restaurant or mini-golf course or library or Mott's barber shop or something on the ship, Riker barging in would still not seem inappropriate, again keeping in mind that he's supposed to be at his job and it's a tiny community of just over a thousand which is also a Starfleet vessel. As far as whether the holodecks should be private, that's maybe a different matter, but the technology is still in its relative infancy (they're new as of "Encounter at Farpoint"), and so that they haven't developed norms around expectation of privacy in what is essentially a tech/service publicly available to the crew and civilians onboard isn't surprising to me.

    Finally, at this point that holodecks could be used for, er, non-wholesome reasons (not counting holodeck malfunctions) hasn't really been explored much, to my recollection. It seems to be mostly for doing PG holonovels, various planet settings, stand-up comedy practice, combat training, engineering help from designers, etc. Worf and K'Ehleyr used it for sex but that seems to have been more an impulsive Klingon drives thing than an indication that it's assumed in general that people are going to be doing things that need privacy. And again, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have a right to privacy, but some places in our society -- shops, libraries, restaurants, etc. -- are largely public and there isn't an expectation of privacy. I think the crew treats the holodeck like a kind of reading room in a library, or a study room at a college or something. Perhaps as people get more used to the holodeck and the awareness that it is likely to be used for things people would rather keep to themselves the norms will modify, or people will make explicit petitions to have rules in place to protect their privacy, but I think it's just that new technology often doesn't automatically come with a set of fully-worked-out codes of conduct that match the codes that will eventually develop.

    Regarding the over-the-top portrayal of Barclay, we know that he got along better with his last crew, so the issue seems to be that something went wrong early on between Barclay and the others, and then his nervousness compounded the issue, and this made the crew start to treat him badly, which made him more nervous, creating a cycle that we are now walking in on a fair amount in. Yes yes, by the 24th century people should be past lots of things, but I think the basic dynamic is very familiar to me and I've seen similar things happen to people (in fact, I've seen worse), and I think we are seeing Barclay at a low point after things have progressively worsened.

    I subscribe to William B's interpretation of the holodeck as a public/common space. Perhaps they can be reserved, like a pavilion at a public park (especially if you're the captain or other high-ranking officer), but that's probably not always the case, like here, where Barclay is supposed to be on duty. Perhaps this is also why DS9 called it a "holosuite" rather than a "holodeck," to indicate a more private space.

    I think it's also reasonable to remember that these are military officers, and Barclay has failed to report for duty. Under such conditions, I expect that when ignoring the comms is happening all person privileges are waived and a senior officer is fully within his rights to barge in anywhere to retrieve the wayward crew member. And especially being an officer, Barclay is pretty far out of line. I doubt that even in the future peacekeeping military a senior officer needs to knock politely when a junior officer is awol. It's more like Barclay is lucky he didn't get in bigger trouble.

    Now since we know Barclay a bit already we are (I think) rooting for him, but all the same I wouldn't expect his privileges (of which privacy is one) to remain in effect while missing from his post. Kirk would have been even more cross than Riker if Sulu was off playing games instead of at his post on the bridge.

    "But I do like the way the engineering team swiftly deconstructs the problem with simple logic to find the solution. These are smart people working a problem intelligently."

    Yes (although it was weird for a show like Star Trek that the engineering team was 6 white dudes) - it makes sense to have a highly-qualified staff working together to solve a problem.

    Unfortunately it makes all the other times when Geordi and/or Data has to work out a difficult technical solution all on his own. Where did all the other engineers and scientists go when Geordi had to call up Holobrahms for assistance instead?

    "although it was weird for a show like Star Trek that the engineering team was 6 white dudes"

    I don't think casting directors in the 80's were all that focused on hiring with diversity as an overt goal. It's arguable that given the mission statement of the show they had the opportunity to be ahead of the game in that respect, but it's hardly "weird" that they didn't. We are talking about a business, after all, and they no doubt did their weekly casting in the standard manner. And I think you're doing TNG a disservice to mention this point, in light of the fact that the *head* of this engineering team is not a white dude. Geordi may be a minority numerically, but his position says a lot.

    "Unfortunately it makes all the other times when Geordi and/or Data has to work out a difficult technical solution all on his own. Where did all the other engineers and scientists go when Geordi had to call up Holobrahms for assistance instead?"

    This is a budgeting issue primarily.

    I'm getting a little tired of seeing comments that reduce people to their skin color ("6 white dudes").

    If you're that fixated on race, YOU'VE got a problem.

    So when people were pointing out that there were only heterosexuals on TNG they were actually heterophobic?!

    Isn't Geordi the Chief Engineer? He's both African American AND blind.

    Some people just want something to complain about.

    "Isn't Geordi the Chief Engineer? He's both African American AND blind."
    In season 2. Before that it was LT. Cmdr. Argyle. Poor Geordie only started as a LT. junior grade, as did Worf. Like with Sisko starting as commander. I think there was some bigotry going on.

    "Some people just want something to complain about."
    so true. :)

    Now I'm reading a little on memory alpha.
    Dorn was hired because "Dorn's stage training, as well his lack of a "street accent", were some of the factors which led to Dorn securing the role."

    Burton, in the original writer/director guide:"His "specialty" aboard the Enterprise was the "starship school for children"."

    Another thing.
    it was also Gerrold who thought up the idea that Geordi La Forge be a black man. "I suggested that we didn't have any black people on the ship in terms of our regular characters,..."

    In Season 1, there was also a middle-aged female Chief Engineer.

    Let's not erase facts to create some kind of retroactive Trek-is-ignorant narrative.

    Argyle, MacDougal. I guess it had to be scottish.
    "Let's not erase facts to create some kind of retroactive Trek-is-ignorant narrative."
    She was white, though. I'm not arguing that it was ignorant. Just a little too monochromatic to be called groundbreaking. TOS was. DS9 was too.

    TNG had two black people in the main cast. It also had Guinan as a recurring character. There were also recurring Asian characters Alyssa Ogawa, Keiko (and Molly) O'Brien and Admiral Nakamura. There was plenty of diverse representation with the show's casting, much more so than most contemporary programs of the same time period.

    I’m reminded of a quote from the 1987 movie “Overboard” with Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn. I’m starting to think that because of all the nonsensical lock-downs and Corona restrictions some people around here are.... “so god-damn bored you got to invent things to bitch about”.

    A more relevant question to me is how different would the racial representation of TNG be from your average American military unit? I don't imagine it would be that different, though I could be wrong. If the show really wanted to be forward thinking it would have included ethnicities not known for participation in the late 20th century US military, and showed them fitting in perfectly.

    TOS did more (for its time) by including a Russian at a time when collaboration would have been unthinkable, giving us a sense of a united future Earth.

    They course corrected after season one in several aspects. I don't know the two other women but Keiko for some reason became the most hated character on Star Trek. Also Ogawa, Nakamura and Keiko are all Japanese. I guess Indians and Chinese all died in WW3. :)

    Oh I have serious Corona brain. In Germ any we are in lockdown for month now, messed up the vaccination so badly that the conservatives will be wiped out next election. One should mention though that German conservatives are very different from American conservatives. They would be leftist in many ways in the US. I guess the social democrats (junior partner) would be communists and the left party would be so left Americans wouldn't have a name for it.

    A more than 100 planets spanning galactic Federation should be a little bit more diverse than a US military unit or even earth. I agree with the rest of your points.

    This was a fun episode. Some of Barclay's holo programmes were interesting to say the least. I do wonder as to how many of the crew had a "Counsellor Troi" programme. It does bring up the case of privacy in terms of people just being able to walk in on your holodeck time. I get that Barclay had not turned up to a pre-arranged meeting though.

    Would have taught them a lesson had they walked in on him running a simulation of the engineering problem with holographic simulations of Albert Einstein, Spock and Data.

    I mean what was to have prevented them from walking in on the guy in the middle of a Menage a Trois with two holographic Trois?

    Good episode overall and good introduction of the Barclay character. I fully agreed with Picard and Geordi about the nicknames of him would stop immediately. To me that was the one thing that seemed odd since humans were meant to be above such petty snide behaviour - especially STARFLEET OFFICERS. If Riker was doing that, he should be dismissed as well. That's basically bullying. And Picard was ultimately right. Barclay did go on to prove himself a most able and capable Starfleet officer as per later episodes (even if we don't include Voyager). Had Picard actually not encouraged this, one wonders what would have become of the poor chap. Though I guess he had a career in holographic novels.

    Why is everyone going off on the lack of a lock on the holodeck? There's only like 6 of these on the entire Enterprise. It's not meant to be a private fantasy experience - it's a commonly-shared resource. Just like you wouldn't want some relieving themselves in a public pool. I'm sure their private quarters can be locked for their more intimate pursuits.

    The Bark.

    This episode has a proper Wesley moment, but by this point, the writers are aware and doing it deliberately.

    It's not just that Wesley was first season insufferable, he was downright rude.

    @Dave in MN

    “ I'm getting a little tired of seeing comments that reduce people to their skin color ("6 white dudes").

    If you're that fixated on race, YOU'VE got a problem.”


    I've always loved this episode , but there are so many highs and lows in it!

    - having someone who's not the model of Academy 'droid perfection, but someone who despite his social shortcomings, deserves to be in the crew for his own brilliance and expertise

    - the hilarious holodeck sequences: the initial fights with Geordi and Riker (which certainly had me fooled the first time I saw it)

    - "I am the goddess of Empathy"!!

    - the fact that the holodeck characters are not autonomous like Data, but simply perform their simple programmed roles to perfection


    - the ridiculously over-the-top scenario involving the Enterprise being 30 seconds from destruction. SO unbelieveable!

    - the 90s "how to deal with a difficult employee" advice thrown around, that's straight out of a company HR manual

    and some thoughts on the holodeck...
    - surely, NO-ONE should enter a holodeck in use unless specifically invited by the crew member in there? Or only - as in the second instance where Riker, Troi, and Geordi can't raise Barclay on the communicator - by invoking a manual override which would announce itself clearly to the crew member inside. I mean, if someone is engaged in a romantic or even initimate program, their privacy would be grossly violated by such an incursion.
    - and Riker was quite right: there should be a protocol preventing anyone from creating facsimiles of other crew members. Indeed, the computer should be programmed to prevent it, except on the authorisation of - for example - two senior officers.

    However, I did enjoy the episode , and agree it's a 3-star.

    One reason Barclay was such an enduring, beloved character is, a lot of atypical people can see something of themselves in him. There is much to admire in Roddenberry's futuristic utopia, but it's often rammed through a contemporary American lens, and thus the diversity of humanity is rarely seen as it might have been. Groundbreaking though Star Trek is, nervous network execs and times being what they were meant we often only saw token representation of traditionally marginalized people, and even that was largely by ethnicity. It took 6 series to arrive at anything like credible LGBTQ representation, and by that time, most mainstream entertainment media had surpassed Trek.

    So, comparatively, having a (likely) neuro-atypical character on TNG was a blessing, and many atypical people loved that Barclay struggled to "fit in," they way they did/do. Obviously, there were missteps and misrepresentations, and the way he was treated was at times pretty cruel, but there he was, on the Enterprise, a Starfleet Officer who was intelligent and capable (when given the chance to work through the challenges he faced). It's a shame that Dwight Schultz himself can't be the kind of hero to those people his character is, but if it's possible to divorce an artist's flaws from their work, Barclay can stand as a great example that being atypical, in the face of misunderstanding and even cruelty, doesn't mean you don't have value, or can't contribute to society, or the workplace, or whatever you might wish to do.


    "It's a shame that Dwight Schultz himself can't be the kind of hero to those people his character is..."

    It's funny how half a dozen people here said this over the years, yet nobody could provide any evidence. Sounds like baseless slander to me.

    Meanwhile, in the past year or two, many other veteran Trek actors became toxic loudmouths whose rhetoric is downright frightening. From Kate Mulgrew to Marina Sirtis to Patrick Stewart to... Well, let's just say that if we had a problem seperating an artist's flaws from their work, then Dwight Schultz would be the least of our problems.

    I do agree that Barclay is a great character though.

    From what I understand, Schultz is very "conservative":

    I can't find what he used to say on his "Howling Mad Radio" show because I can't be bothered to look.

    Sintek is entitled to his/her opinion. However, he/she certainly could have expressed it in a manner that actually made people respect such opinion, instead of dismissing it out-of-hand for being boorish.

    I admit when I find out an actor I really admire has political views so different from mine I am quite disappointed. Does that make me stop watching him/her? Usually not, but to each their own in that respect.

    All of that aside, I enjoyed this episode despite some of the flaws discussed above. Add me to the "I was very shy growing up" list (and still am in some situations) so I can identify with the social-awkwardness expressed in this episode.

    "I admit when I find out an actor I really admire has political views so different from mine I am quite disappointed. Does that make me stop watching him/her? Usually not, but to each their own in that respect."

    I've got to admit this kind of opinion never fails to alarm me. Sure, I get it if someone is a literal neo-Nazi and you just don't want anything to do with them. But if the issue is that someone is 'so different' from you, then I've got to tell you something: most artists are so much more different from you than you realize that a mere political difference in opinion is just the tip of the iceberg. If the expectation is that artists will have a point of view of life in common with you then I would suggest you might want to switch to reading books and playing backgammon.

    Just for the record, the 'you' in the last paragraph is not necessarily Pamelllllaaa, but more a general statement. Artists are typically *so* different from other people that an apples-to-apples comparison is really not realistic.

    I just love how the phrase "having political views that are very different from mine" has become the worst accusation you could possibly direct at a person. Yeah. How does an actor dare to disagree with me on political issues? It's like he thinks he has a mind of his own or something. The nerve of some people... ;-)

    "If the expectation is that artists will have a point of view of life in common with you then I would suggest you might want to switch to reading books and playing backgammon."

    Book authors aren't known to be any saner or less controversial than actors.

    Backgammon it is, then.

    @Peter G.

    I was specifically referencing actors I really admire, and I think it's only natural if you really admire someone's art you want to admire that person as well. So yes, I am taken aback when I find such an actor has very different political views (have made no expression as to what mine are) than I do.

    I really don't see how this is alarming (which is a rather provocative word) to you given I have limited it to politics. I find the comments on this website are often very political (subtly and not so subtly). I never said or implied to any extent that I expect "artists will have a point of view of life in common" with me and I think you read way too much into my post to come up with that one (yes, you tried to direct it to others as well, but it seems it was directed mainly at me). I never even said that they have to share my political views, just that I am disappointed when they are "so different from mine." Hell, my sister has political views so different from mine and I have every right to be disappointed about that. I am. I'd expect she feels the same way about me. Do I refuse to talk to her? Cut her out of my life? No and no. Granted, I know her personally and I don't these artists, but I don't think people apply vastly different standards to people they know and people they don't know, nor can they realistically be expected to.

    If you are implying "people should never judge others" I would laugh and say this isn't the 24th century and maybe it's time to beam back to reality. Judging is done to form opinions and we all have them. It's when those opinions cause us to discriminate and treat some people differently than others that it becomes a problem. With art it's tricky because it's usually about how we choose to spend our time and money. For example, is someone discriminating if they refuse to see a Tom Cruise movie because they don't like his religion? Do you find this alarming? What if they believe, rightly or wrongly, that this religion has actually done harm to many individuals and society as a whole? That by paying to see this movie they are de facto supporting this religion?

    Just as an FYI I came across that list of links on a different website and copied it over because there were may comments about the actor's politics, but no substance behind them on this thread. I thought people should have something to look at to decide for themselves. You can be alarmed that people are interested in and may be disappointed in or pleased by his politics, but in this current climate politics seem to touch everything. I don't see that changing anytime soon so those alarm bells of yours will probably never stop ringing.


    I would say as accusations go mine was pretty lightweight and I assure you I can throw much worse accusations at people...

    I certainly never said or implied that an actor shouldn't "dare to disagree with me on political issues." That's utter nonsense. Many do, many will and that's life. It does happen that when I learn an artist that I really admire has views I really don't admire, I go through a "say it isn't so" period and have to adjust my thinking. I assure you this can all happen in an instant because I really have plenty of other things to occupy my time. However, I am hoping I do find the time to take up backgammon.

    One final point, when I find out an actor I really admire has political views very similar to mine, I am chuffed and do a little happy dance in my brain. I guess that's alarming too....

    "Hell, my sister has political views so different from mine and I have every right to be disappointed about that."

    You have the "right" to be sure but the question is: why are you "disappointed" by the fact that not everyone, including your sister, has the same views as you?

    "If you are implying "people should never judge others""

    He is not implying that at all. He is merely suggesting that it is unhealthy to view a difference of opinion, even over something important, as some reason to cut people out of your life or as some kind of threat to your personhood.

    To your credit, you seem to value a relationship with your sister more than your disappointment over her views. But so what, if you found out your mailman had bad opinions, you'd suddenly be uncomfortable with him delivering your packages? He'd need to be fired from his job then?

    I have met a ton of people, some with whackadoodle views that I think are actually harmful (rabid anti-vaxxers, woke people, religious fundies...) but it never occurred to me that I needed to cut them out of my life or terminate my relationship with them because of their views. I am not "disappointed" by their views. Their views aren't a threat to me. Why the fuck are people so damned intolerant?

    If someone's views makes them dangerous to me, then sure I am going to protect myself. But beyond that when did "live and let live" become such a controversial thing? If I find out that the barista who served me coffee is a Nazi, so freaking what?

    “If I find out that the barista who served me coffee is a Nazi, so freaking what?”

    You might consider reevaluating the tip you give them.

    @ Pamellllaaa,

    "I really don't see how this is alarming (which is a rather provocative word) to you given I have limited it to politics."

    Interestingly, the fact that you limit it to politics is more 'alarming' to me than if it was a general statement. I say this because of the current state of politics in North America.

    "I never even said that they have to share my political views, just that I am disappointed when they are "so different from mine.""

    I would like to at least suggest to you that the reason art is valuable is precisely because we experience life through a point of view different from our own; and ideally *very* different from our own. No one who looks at a Monet should think "yes, I like this because it accords with how I see things." Rather the reverse is almost invariably true: wow, this is a unique expression of reality, one so alien to me that I need to expand my mind to even appreciate it rather than just see it as a bunch of splotches on canvas. Now sometimes you do that experiment and you do appreciate it, and sometimes you find it doesn't speak to you anyhow.

    The real issue here, I suppose, is whether mass-produced media like certain types of film and TV should really be considered as 'art' rather than just 'product.' That's a debate I've had many times, and while my default is to consider them all as art, there is a certain truth that to an extent many of them have no real point of view (or 'soul') beyond what makes dollars. So that's a discussion to be had. Viewing Trek as art, and the role of Barclay (let's say) as performance art, I personally default to actually hoping to get something outside of my experience that is exciting and new. And there is really no disentangling the artist from the art, so naturally in a field practically fueled by the people involved being uniquely expressive, weird, even bizarre, there should be no expectation that they are normal in any conventional sense. It shouldn't surprise or disappoint; it's a feature, not a bug. Does that make my point a little clearer?

    @ Jason R,

    "He is not implying that at all. He is merely suggesting that it is unhealthy to view a difference of opinion, even over something important, as some reason to cut people out of your life or as some kind of threat to your personhood."

    It's true that I would take this position, but in my message to Pamellllaaa I was especially focusing on the fact of hoping for artists to be 'like you' in some regard is a really counterproductive thing to hope for. If they were like you they wouldn't have much to contribute as artists and the world would be a really dull place. It is much more reasonable, by contrast, to hope for people from the same religious community as you, or maybe dinner party circle as you, to have views common with yours, since these are groups at least partially self-selected for desired traits.

    Oh, sorry about a confusing typo. 2nd paragraph above to @ Pamellllaaa should read:

    "I would like to at least suggest to you that the reason art is valuable is precisely because we experience life *via that art* through a point of view different from our own; and ideally *very* different from our own.

    @Peter G. I respect your well thought out and expressed comments, even if I don't agree with some of what you say or think some if it is too idealistic to be realistic. I don't have time for a detailed response right now, but liking when someone shares my political views (such as voting for the same person for president that I voted for) and expecting them to be like me are not the same thing at all. My political views make up such a small portion of who I am and who most people are. I don't pretend to "know" anyone based on their political views, but when people share similar views it's something they have in common. What in the world is wrong with liking that? It doesn't mean that I close my mind to other views at all. It doesn't mean that my mind is closed to change and growth. I think it's a natural human reaction and emotion to have.

    @Jason R. You go too far in your comments and are actually making points that digress so far from what I have stated as to be nonsensical:

    ""If you are implying "people should never judge others""

    He is not implying that at all. He is merely suggesting that it is unhealthy to view a difference of opinion, even over something important, as some reason to cut people out of your life or as some kind of threat to your personhood."

    First of all, I said "If," second of all, I don't think Peter G. needs you to explain what he said or means, and third of all, I never said a difference of opinion gives me a reason to cut people out of my life (though sadly I know too many families where just that has happened). Nor do I think I ever implied that it threatens my personhood.

    "To your credit, you seem to value a relationship with your sister more than your disappointment over her views. But so what, if you found out your mailman had bad opinions, you'd suddenly be uncomfortable with him delivering your packages? He'd need to be fired from his job then?"

    Again, this strays so far from my original point that I don't even know who you can think it is relevant to what I stated. I stated when "an actor I really admire has political views so different from mine I am quite disappointed. Does that make me stop watching him/her? Usually not, but to each their own in that respect." To jump from that to me caring about the views of the postal worker who delivers my mail is absurd. Some people might care, but it was neither stated nor implied in my post.

    You then go on with:
    I am not "disappointed" by their views. Their views aren't a threat to me. Why the fuck are people so damned intolerant?

    It is a huge jump for me to use the word "disappointed" when I find out that the views of actors I really admire are so different from my own (or later, that I am chuffed when I find they are very similar) for you to conclude I am threatened by them and am so damned intolerant.

    Disappointment to me would never equate to feeling threatened or being intolerant. Disappointment is an emotion one feels, a reaction to an event or discovery. It is often a short lived emotion but can be longer in duration as well. To deny it or to argue against it is akin to telling a person when they should and shouldn't feel sad (which is one element of disappointment).

    No one has sought clarification as to what I mean by "usually not", but instead jumped to some strong opinions about me and my character. I didn't originally add clarification as to when I may decide to stop watching an actor because it would force me to reveal my political views, which I really don't want to do in this context (quite happy to in others). I think it would color people's interpretation of what I am saying. I'll just say that it would have to be an extreme case of political views that I believed were harmful to society, especially given that actor's potential to influence others, for me to consider not watching them. Some may have a different standard than that and I don't tell them if it's right or wrong. I think in some respects a boycott like that is a small way of protesting those views, just like when someone won't buy products from a company that donates to political groups they disagree with. I guess that's not allowed either in a "must be completely tolerant, no difference of opinions allowed to be expressed or felt" society?

    @Jason R one last point. You state:

    "Hell, my sister has political views so different from mine and I have every right to be disappointed about that."

    You have the "right" to be sure but the question is: why are you "disappointed" by the fact that not everyone, including your sister, has the same views as you?"

    I am not disappointed that not everyone has the same views as me and I never stated or implied that. On the other hand, let's take an extreme example and say for the sake of argument that my sister is extremely racist and has no respect for any religions save her own. I do think this "difference of opinion" could actually lead me to not wanting her in my (or my son's) life. Especially as I am married to a man of a different race and religion.

    @Peter G

    I expressed I may give a more detailed reply when I had more time. Here is an imaginary conversation with my son. It’s tongue and cheek, but gets my message across and then some:

    Son: Mom, I was disappointed today when I learned that kid I really admire because he is such a great basketball player hates cats.

    Me: Why did that disappoint you? If he hates cats has nothing to do with his basketball playing.

    Son: I know, but I just love cats so much and my cat in particular. I just felt a little disappointed.

    Me: Well, you aren’t allowed to feel disappointment about something like that. You have to stop it.

    Son: How do I stop an emotion, when I felt it right away?

    Me: Somehow you must learn to. It isn’t allowed.

    Son: So when you said you were disappointed to learn that the owner of that company gives lots of money to that political group you don’t like and you weren’t going to buy any more products, was that wrong too?

    Me: Yes, that was wrong. I’m not supposed to feel disappointment about something like that. Therefore I have no right to stop buying products because of it.

    Son: And that artist whose work you really like, then you were disappointed to find out that he belongs to a political group that believes women should not have jobs or get educated, that was wrong?

    Me: Yes, that was wrong. We have to admire Artists no matter what they believe or support and can never feel disappointment about their political beliefs (or anything else for that matter). It is because they are Artists and should never be subject to any difference of opinion at all about their beliefs. We must admire and learn from their work no matter what because they are Artists.

    Son: I’m not sure I can turn off my emotion like that when I learn something new. What if I just feel disappointment for a minute or a few seconds even?

    Me: Sorry, you still aren’t allowed to feel disappointment because people may find it ALARMING and we may be judged to be people of poor character who don’t accept other people’s differences. So you must learn to turn off that emotion permanently, just to be safe. We don’t want the emotion police to come barging into our home, they are very mean to people who dare feel disappointment about others.

    Son, crying: No, we don’t want that. I’m so sorry I ever felt disappointment about someone. I’ll never do it again.

    Mom, hugging him: I won’t either my sweetheart, I won’t either.

    THE END, almost…

    Son: Mom, I’ve been thinking, would it be okay if I felt happy if I learned that basketball kid loved cats? Or is that wrong too?

    Mom: I’m not sure, but it’s probably safer if you don’t feel anything about him except admire that he plays basketball so well.


    @ Pamellllaaa,

    I think your example is right about the idea of telling a young child they should feel what they feel. Saying that might be a bit counterproductive depending on their age. But saying that to an adult is a whole different story. Take the well-known case in retail of the customer demanding something outrageous from the floor staff or person at the cash, and when they don't get it they get angry and start berating them for 'bad service.' This is quite common. To such a person I think we can probably all agree we ought to say that the feeling of upset and disappointment they feel at not getting what they want is entirely inappropriate. Now in principle they could offer the same answer as you mention in your dialogue: "are you telling me I should curb all my feelings and not have reactions to things that bother me?" But I think we can see that this cannot universally be a decent answer. To the guy yelling at the cashier, we should definitely insist that he needs to alter his perceptions about what he expects out of life, and whether certain reactions are in fact a problem. You may not want to pretend in a given instance you're not feeling something, but it might well be proper to take steps to change oneself so that you won't feel it any more. The guy going into the store might want to stop thinking of the staff there as their servants that must bow before their monarch; or maybe the change of attitude has to come from the increased understanding that even if something is legitimately wrong in the store, the staff aren't the actual ones at fault for it. So a change of perspective or wisdom. No doubt it depends on the individual in question to suppose which element of their life needs an adjustment.

    So fundamentally I disagree with the proposition that "these are my feelings, so therefore they are legitimate." I don't think that is right at all as a general rule. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Now how much any of this applies you to would, I suppose, but up to you, since I'm not trying to make it my business to judge you or anything like that. If your hypothetical child said they're excited when someone else likes a cat, that sounds innocuous; and if it's disappointment that someone else doesn't like a cat, maybe equally so. But what if the words coming out of the child's mount instead are "I'm sad that I find out my friend is a Muslim." Suddenly we're in a much more serious situation, and that feeling may not be ok at all. Or what if the feeling is greater in severity, and instead of being a little sad about someone being a Muslim (or a Republican, or whatever) it's that they're really angry about it, or feel the urge to hit them over it. You get the idea. The type of feeling, the severity of the feeling, and the context of the feeling, all matter. You may be right that it's natural in a way to feel pleased when you meet a kin in spirit, and disappointed when someone isn't what you hoped for, but I'm at least proposing that in theory this is not self-evidently a good attitude *to foster*. It may be normal to have it by default, but many times the default feeling is something that requires working on changing it (as is often argued about racism, for example).

    Please remember I'm not actually arguing that you're bad, or really anything about you since I don't know you. These are general propositions. All I'm reiterating is that in a 'cancel culture' where there really is huge anger and retribution against people who are different, it can't be taken in a vacuum when I hear someone say they are disappointed when someone has very different political views. For you it might be only 'disappointed', and for the next person it might be 'appalled', or even 'outraged'. Maybe worse. Jason R implied that wanting the person to be fired could be the next step, and I agree you never said that. But many people do say that, and unfortunately that's the social context we're dealing with. I think I got why Jason R made the quick conclusions about the end-result of hostility about political opinions, even though it doesn't apply to you.

    @Peter G.

    That's interesting, and I agree that with children (and even adults) feelings often need to be explored. Such as asking "why are you sad that your friend is a Muslim?" so the root cause of such feeling can be discovered and dealt with. However, I would argue that feelings are experienced and cannot really be "controlled". With a statement such as your example, I wouldn't try to teach my son to control that feeling as I don't think that would change how he actually felt deep down. He would just be burying it. I would try to understand why he has that feeling so we can work it through and change it. The goal would be the next time (or the time after that) his feeling would be different. This could take time and certainly would take effort.

    Also, extreme feelings would need to be dealt with such as "I was so mad at the boy for not liking cats that I felt like killing him." Again, the root cause of such a feeling would have to be explored. But I don't think anyone really learns to control feelings, especially those as quick and natural as happiness, sadness, disappointment, etc. What we can learn to control is the behavior that follows feelings/reactions. What we learn as adults (though many airline passengers seem to be be forgetting it lately) is that while we have many feelings during the day, we can't just behave any way we see fit due to those feelings. We are responsible for our behavior. To some extent I think you are treating feelings and behavior as one and the same.

    So, if my son said he was disappointed that this kid hate cats and then he started yelling at and cursing said kid, I would quickly teach him that while his feeling is understandable, his behavior was not acceptable. This teaching would include an exercise in understanding why that behavior was not acceptable and may include an apology to the boy, loss of some privileges at home, etc. Even young children learn that there is a difference between feelings and behavior. They are taught that it's okay to be frustrated/sad/disappointed that mommy wouldn't buy them the toy in the store, but it's not okay to have a tantrum about it.

    I would go so far to say we can examine our feelings if we don't like our reaction to something, and we can try to change those feelings in the future. We have to get behind the feelings and the reasons why we are having them. If necessary, there are courses we can take to help us (or we can be forced to take if our resulting behavior is illegal). Maybe that's what you mean by control, but I don't consider it the same thing.

    When all is said and done I still believe being disappointed in an artists political views is an acceptable feeling, but my behavior that follows may not be acceptable. If I jump on the internet and start spreading lies about this artist or worse, or try to find where they live so I can damage their property, both are unacceptable to me and society. If I decide not to go to the gallery that is displaying a collection of such artists work (or to not see a movie they are in, etc.) I believe this is acceptable behavior that follows an understandable feeling. I do not feel a need to change that feeling of disappointment I had or and I don't consider it to be of concern. You disagree with that, and that is your prerogative.

    (standard disclaimer: this discussion is about general propositions and current social trends. It is not about any specific poster).

    "So fundamentally I disagree with the proposition that 'these are my feelings, so therefore they are legitimate.' "

    I would have no problem with this proposition, as long as we agreed to apply it universally. The world would certainly be a better place if people took the feelings of others into account more often.

    What I can't agree with, is the "principle" that says:

    "The feelings of my folks are legitimate and deserve an infinite amount of consideration and understanding, while the rest of you subhuman scum can go screw yourselves".

    Unfortunately, these days, it is this hypocritical version that people are following when they make this proposition.

    And another thing to think about:

    Just because something is "legitimate" does not mean that it is healthy or mature or practical. Yes, you are certainly *allowed* to be disappointed by every single person who doesn't fit your exact expectations. But just because you're allowed to do it, doesn't mean that it is a good idea...


    I was 100% sure that I wrote "it is this hypocritical version that *most* people are following...". Not sure how that word disappeared.

    I did not mean to imply that every single person who makes the proposition in question is being hypocritical. And I *definitely* did not mean to imply that Pamellllaaa is doing this.


    I just saw this episode for the first time, and it’s a fantastic piece of television. The character of Broccoli—I mean, Barclay, quit that joke now (not)—is such an honest look into the kind of person I’d imagine a lot of Star Trek fans are like. Or maybe not, I have no idea, but at least the stereotype fits. For myself anyway, looking back on my life it almost felt like I was looking into a mirror at times. The dude wishes he could say the things he really means, but as soon as he’s in front of other people, he instantly becomes meek and quiet, and the nervousness just leads to one awkward scenario after the other. The friendless dude who never fit in, so he just sits by himself, on his computer all the time. Wow sounds exactly like me in high school.

    The Holodeck in this episode is obviously a metaphor for spending too much time playing video games (and probably watching porn). Well I’ve always seen the Holodeck as a stand-in for video games, since they’re both virtual reality essentially, but the Troi fantasy wouod indicate it’s also a metaphor for another common activity for males (especially those with social anxiety issues since they’ll never get any attention from real girls).

    Some people in this webpage call Riker too stern, but I think this directing is intentional. The episode is a Geordi-centered one, and it’s really from the point of view of La Forge and Barclay. To Barclay, his superior officers appear intimidating, irritating, always on his case, etc. Geordi is his immediate boss who cares (after Picard instructed as such), and Riker is akin to upper management wanting to crack down. It works well for him to play this role.

    Geordi’s assessment of Holodeck use is sound to me: what you do on your time is your business, so long as it doesn’t affect your responsibilities. Of course the crew members aren’t going to be delighted to see what Barclay does with their image, but that’s really kind of the point, isn’t it? That’s why it is a private fantasy, where you can let off steam without letting the darker side bleed into real life. It really *is* therapeutic for him. Of course there are other, arguably healthier, forms of release as well, but I’m with Geordi that the dude’s private life is no one else’s concern.

    Everyone points out the lack of privacy on the Holodeck, but let me frame it this way: to continue the metaphor of a video game, think of the Holodeck as a corporate computer lab. Obviously the system administrator can monitor and gain access to it. You don’t get real privacy when it’s not really your property to begin with. They don’t explicitly say as such, but I assume that the Holodeck is typically locked and privacy reserved, but the system admins (in this case senior staff) can unlock it if they choose, which they do because they need Barclay right now since there’s an emergency.
    Otherwise I don’t think a social anxiety freak like Barclay would dare dream of doing his fantasies in a public place. That’d be like jerking off to porn in a public library. I would think he would be terrified of getting caught, and his anxiety would shoot that down straight away—just see how he couldn’t bare to even be in the same room as Troi out of shame.

    As for the pussies in the comments crying about bullying, c’mon, really? Broccoli? That’s not even a pejorative! I half expected the man to become proud of the nickname by the end, a sort of ironic twist whereby he wears it like a badge of honor once he becomes more friendly with the coworkers. Obviously it was inappropriate to talk that way as the boss, and he does get reprimanded for that by Picard, and he tells those under him to quit immediately thereafter. I don’t think Geordi or anybody else acted out of line. Their reaction to the weak job performance and reclusivity of the man is perfectly understandable. (Also, social anxiety is not a sign of mental illness, for Christ’s sake. People love to over-diagnose everything today, it’s why so many kids allegedly have ADHD because they’re kids who naturally don’t want to focus in school)

    The ending was sweet, and it’s the Hollywood way of ending things, with the misfit having gained confidence from his usefulness in a time of crisis and actual praise from his boss for once, and on his way to becoming a more well-adjusted member of the crew. Realistically though, I think him leaving the ship would probably have been the more likely option. The guy really just did not fit in on a have to ask yourself what you’re doing here if you don’t like it, and nobody around you wants you either, why stay? But this is tv, and the character growth/resolution is justified, so I like the happy ending.

    As a final thought, it must have been fun for the actors to break character and play those outlandish Holodeck versions of their characters.

    I’d give it a full 5 / 5 stars. Science fiction storytelling can often go into the most abstract philosophical ideas about the meaning of life, etc. yet often the most compelling narratives are the simplest ones, the ones closest to the ground. This one really cut deep because it is such a fundamentally human-focused episode. I think anyone can find it relatable, no matter which side of the fence you align more with (the management or the disgruntled worker).

    Great review for a great episode. Barclay is such a great character, I wish he had more feature episodes

    Almost gave up on this one before I got to even the halfway point. Between dumb holodeck nonsense (fencing with Picard? why not jousting, squash, or lion fighting?) and Caryn "Whoopi Goldberg" Johnson, it was too much to take.

    Luckily, the main(?) story was interesting enough to keep me going. I'm glad it did. It was a pretty good episode after all, despite the above and despite that ultra-annoying "OMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE IN 30 SECONDS!!!!!!!! . . . Never mind, found a solution, LOLZ!" trope.

    This is a great episode and one I was looking forward to seeing again on my rewatch of the entire series.

    Barclay I find is very relatable. His problems fitting in with the crew is a very interesting way to phrase a story about how the crew need to work together. It's not enough that you live with these people on the Enterprise but you must find a way to work together. Afterall, if one cog in the machine isn't well oiled, the entire machine will not run as smoothly.

    Really the hero of this episode is Picard. How many times has Barclay been palmed off by captain to captain, ship to ship? Picard takes the initiative to try and fix the problem rather than pass it on. Despite the fact he slips up and calls him broccoli (in easily one of the funniest laugh out loud moments in the entire series which includes Data's follow up comments) he is the one who tells the other officers to nip the nickname in the bud. He is the one who tells Geordi to put his personal feelings aside and learn to find common ground with Barclay. If it wasn't for Picards insistence on doing the right thing, Barclay wouldn't have come out of his shell enough to suggest the solution to the problem and ultimately save the Enterprise from destruction.

    I did find the holodeck scenes a bit cringey but in an enjoyable way. I think my problem with the holodeck is that it's essentially a giant room. When they're looking for Barclay and moaning about how hard it would be to find him, or having to ask the hologangers (holographic dopplegangers) where he is, it would be easier and more efficient to just end the program. He would be a few feet away from them, being essentially in the same room.

    I agree that it would be an invasion of privacy to walk in on someone else's holo-exerience, it's just that he was in there when he should have been at work. Them barging in to find him is perfectly justified in this scenario and the only contrivance is them not stopping the program immediately. It must've been too intriguing to physically see his fantasies come to life. Almost like a modern day freakshow.

    Barclay reminds me of the sort of person who ruins something for everyone. The people in the 24th century are so puritanical that they couldn't even contemplate someone would use the holodeck to live out their own sick desires? If that's the case, if they didn't have rules before about replicating people they know, they will after this incident. Whereas if he kept his head down and was on time for work, nobody would know about his fantasies and everyone could just go on creating whatever programs they wanted. I reckon he gets a pass because he was integral in essentially preventing the Enterprise from blowing up and killing everyone.

    Another thought I had about the holodeck, because Barclay is an engineer, perhaps he has knowledge to write programs that the lay person doesn't. For example, Picard playing Dixon Hill is just an extension of something that already exists. Whereas Barclays programs seem like they are hand programmed by himself. So creating facsimiles of people he knows may not be something everyone can do because it requires specific programming skill. Not the same as say Riker creating Minuet, as she wasn't someone he new, she was just a computer approximation of a set of criteria. Just a thought.

    Overall 3.5 star episode.

    This one really brings back some memories. I remember when I first watched it, I was in my early twenties, and I was *more* socially nervous than Barclay, so I definitely had a lot of sympathy for him.

    I read through most of the comments, and there are some good points. I really like the double meanings and the symbolism pointed out. I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but I would certainly characterize cruelty to a socially awkward person as a hollow pursuit. And Data nailed it on shutting down that kind of nonsense.

    I loved Picard's order to Laforge to "make him your best friend." A very Picard order. A best friend will tell you the truth, and not feed your fears or illusions. I also liked that counselor Troi was doing some standard therapeutic procedures to help him; but I don't think the chest-hugging dresses are very good for a therapy session. And I thought it was a little weird that she didn't at least consider that he might have a lot of sexual tension, obviously her empathy superpower was taking the day off. Still, I've always liked Troi and we have similar personalities, I just wish that she had been a little bit more tactful. (I can certainly understand where why Barclay would have a crush on Troi, I sure did when I was in my twenties. It seems very silly now.)

    Guinan's scene is one of my favorites. It really hit home for me when she said that the idea of fitting in repulsed her. It was very inspiring for me at one time to hear that. Instant love for that character.

    My biggest criticism is one that I've seen far too much in American television: the setup where there's one introvert amongst a group of extroverts and everyone thinks the introvert is strange or defective. A little education will easily dispel this. It does seem a little bit ignorant for Starfleet officers. That doesn't excuse his dereliction of duty, but I would have liked to have seen handled a little bit more maturely.

    Troi's reaction to the Goddess of Empathy is good enough to watch at least twice. The special effects are flawless, and the entire scene is hysterical.

    I always remember this as the "four foot tall Riker" episode. I didn't even recognize Riker because Jonathan Frakes changed his voice so much in the holo version. Nice job, Jonathan.

    Great watch for sure.

    Dirk, I concur that Picard's admonishment of members of the crew (including senior officers!) of the habit to name call Barclay was excellent as was his encouragement to help this crewman realise his potential. It was actually surprising in the 24th century utopia that certain characters were in effect bullying this officer and behaving extremely unprofessionally.

    Whilst Barclay should not be late for duty repeatedly, and not in the Holodeck during his Duty time, I do agree with a comment above that it was incredible that the Holodeck is apparently "open" for entry despite already being in use. One would have thought at the very least that some sort of emergency situation would be required for the Computer to grant external access to an outsider into someone's personal programme, let alone whilst in use, or else require a senior officer officially using their command code to open the doors which would be noted on the official computer log.

    Does the Federation Charter not include the Right to Privacy?

    Troi's Goddess of Empathy was simply fabulous. Excellent taste. The reaction by the real Troi was also superb. The actual therapy session with the two in the real world seemed all right to me on repeat viewing. The show always seemed to show some sort of rapport between Troi and Barclay (e.g. the Nth Degree) which was interesting.

    If people can walk into other people's private Holodeck time on a whim, then it is surprising that Troi hasn't walked into more Holodecks that are in use and stumbled upon Troi versions of "Goddesses of Empathy", or Tatooine Troi slaves, more often. Reminds me of the FG skit with Troi going "That's not Lemonade!" when reading Picard.

    Would have actually been interesting if Riker and company actually found Barclay working on a simulation to solve the actual work problem that they were going to talk about at the meeting.

    Overall a very enjoyable episode that introduced a good character. Special effects were top notch in this one. Guinan's remarks about fitting in were excellent.

    Dwight Schultz seems indeed to be a political wacko, reading his posts. Going on about Obama's fake birth certificate. Outright anti-Muslim. Pro trump. Fully into conspiracy theories. Being critical about that isn't being critical about 'political views'; it is being critical at someone who goes head deep conspiracies and lies and spreads them; which is a dangerous thing.

    On topic: I do like this episode. The Picard/Brocoli incident was just perfect.

    My detective brain was at work listening to the episode again tonight. There are some things hidden in the text that I found interesting; maybe more so since I've never noticed them in umpteen viewings. This first one is a bit of a reach, but here goes anyhow:

    GUINAN: I don't want any trouble here, Barclay.
    BARCLAY: Trouble? Why would there be trouble?
    GUINAN: Because wherever you go, trouble follows.

    Could this be a subtle foreshadow at the plot resolution, since the system malfunctions were indeed caused by trouble following where the infected crewmen went?

    Then there are the repeated mentions that Barclay is always late. But why would his social anxiety make him late for meetings? Is he afraid to attend, and in the time it takes him to muster up the courage he becomes late? That seems extreme, even for him. Could he be in the holodeck every single time he's late? Again, that seems extreme, and in this episode we tend to see him there when something's gone wrong and he needs to 'blow off steam'. So here's an idea:

    GUINAN: Yes, I know him. He comes in. He stands at the bar. He doesn't say much. He orders a warm milk.
    LAFORGE: Figures.
    GUINAN: Warm milk helps you sleep, La Forge. You should try it.
    LAFORGE: Maybe I'm not make myself clear, Guinan. Barclay, well, he's always late. The man's nervous. Nobody wants to be around this guy.
    GUINAN: If I felt that nobody wanted to be around me, I'd probably be late and nervous too.

    I suddenly realize, Barclay probably suffers from insomnia. He doesn't order warm milk because he's a dork (as Geordi initially supposes) but because he needs it. Now I suppose he could just get that in his own quarters, although maybe not every officer has a replicator in their quarters? Anyhow having trouble sleeping because of his anxiety would make perfect sense, and moreover it would all by itself explain very nicely why he's always late. Supposing Barclay was always late to meetings at 0800, Geordi might not notice and would just assume he was 'always' late. Being on just a few hours' sleep would definitely explain lateness to early morning meetings. I don't know why I didn't see this before, it's almost handed to us.

    Now here's a big one:

    TROI: Why are you so hard on yourself?
    BARCLAY: You don't know. It's hard out there.
    TROI: I understand, but let go of it. You're here now.
    BARCLAY: You're right, of course.
    TROI: Of course. Let me help you relax.
    (She starts massaging his shoulders)
    BARCLAY: I'd like that.
    TROI: I knew you would.
    (They kiss)
    BARCLAY: That's nice, but I'm in the mood for someplace a little more unusual. Computer. Run Barclay programme fifteen.

    You might have to go back and listen to how he says the line or watch his face, but I am almost 100% certain he means he wants the sex that is about to follow to happen in a different setting. Something about how he says "I'm in the mood for" distinctly sounds like more is going on than just wanting a nature setting for relaxation. It's subtle enough that younger viewers would never get wind of this, but present enough that adults might at least perceive that more is going on than rated G roleplay. That's crafty fence-straddling in the writing and execution. And if you don't believe me, listen to this (and I mean *listen* to it):

    TROI: I know this is difficult for you. Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?
    BARCLAY: No.
    TROI: Have you ever been with a counsellor before?
    BARCLAY: Yes. No.
    TROI: Which one?
    BARCLAY: Yes, but she, it wasn't. It wasn't really a counsellor.
    TROI: Most people find a counsellor intimidating at first. It's okay if you feel that way toward me.
    BARCLAY: Not at all.

    She asks "have you ever BEEN with a counsellor before?" And he instantly answers yes, because of course he has, many times. Skeptics might say that what he meant was that he's had counselling sessions with fake-Troi in the holodeck before, so yes, he's been in therapy before. But frankly I don't really think his holo-sessions in Troi's office had anything to do with therapy. If he was seeking actual therapy from a holo character why would he still be so messed up talking to real Troi about it? So I think these were fantasy roleplay scenarios. And I don't think his inadvertent 'yes' was because he's had fake therapy, but rather because he had an ongoing relationship with a fake-Troi. If you hear this quick exchange as him accidentally admitting to his pornographic fantasies with her, I think it becomes evident why he's so freaked out after this and why he hurries out in such a flurry. Troi suggests counsellors may come across as intimidating, sure, but more so than Cdr Riker or Geordi? And Barclay can stay in the same room with them. But here he's more freaked out than we've seen him. I think it's the weirdness of facing up to the real person after having been using their likeness for so long. So there's more than just anxiety here, but shame as well.

    The holodeck stuff is great fun, watching Troi's look of shock when she sees the Goddess of Empathy, Riker chaffing at seeing short-dorky-Riker, and there's idiot-boy Wesley of course. But rather than this being about a holo-addiction, I think I see it more clearly now as a parallel to pornography addiction, and all that implies. It actually makes Barclay's problems more pitiable in the sense that it wouldn't just be embarrassing, but utterly humiliating to the core to have to face others when they become aware of it.

    I'm not sure if I've mentioned this observation before, but I also really like that the problem with the ship's systems isn't the ship but the engineering crew. It parallels nicely to Barclay's problem, because everyone is looking at him to figure out what's wrong with him, when I think the episode is suggesting that the problem is everyone around him not making him feel accepted and respected. His holodeck fantasy seems to not only help him blow off steam, but specifically to have Troi and Crusher console him, while the men admire him. It's not just that he kicks their butts, but that they think he's the best. He seems to actually want them to be his friend, rather than just his victims in revenge. Note the familiar "Jean-Luc" when he's addressing Musketeer-Picard. It sounds more like friendly familiarity (albeit from a superior position) than talking down to someone he doesn't like. The only holodeck character he seems to actually not like is Riker. But otherwise he's the D'Artagnon to the others, the best of them, rather than their nemesis. I think that says a lot about his secret desire to be included.

    All in all there's a lot to unpack in a viewing, and it's awesome that I'm still finding new stuff.

    ^^ Fantastic analysis, Peter G! I just watched this so the episode is fresh in my mind, and the insomnia is dead on. Barclay even looks sleepy half the time, and his drowsiness absolutely amplifies his already stammering speech patterns.

    I know Dwight Schultz is a nutjob, but he is superb in this episode. The awkwardness he embodies is so complete that you feel awkward watching him.


    I think, actually, that's why I find Barclay episodes kind of hard to watch, progressively more so as the character's arc carries into Voyager. The portrayal of mental illness (and let's face it, that's what it is) is so convincing that I really feel for the character's suffering, and it doesn't seem Starfleet has done him or anyone else any favors by continually putting him in settings he can't handle in healthy ways. In a place where he has unfettered access to a holodeck, he becomes a danger to himself and others.

    I'm with Jammer and many of the commenters: good but not great, three stars out of four.

    @stviater (2011): "Although I agree with Jammer that Hallow Pursuits was an entertaining hour of tv, the one thing that bugged me about the show that he didn't mention was the ease in which anyone can walk in while the holodeck is occupied."

    Yeah, I assumed they were able to do that because they were high-ranking officers.

    I have zero problem enjoying Barclay the character without any concern with what the actor is like. I might have to think about it a little more if it were the writer of the episode, but an actor? Nah.

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