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Friday, December 19, 2008

She made a mean plomik soup

Majel Barrett 1932 - 2008.

Adding, although Barrett was there from the very beginning, playing the Executive Officer, Number One, to Jeffrey Hunter's Captain Pike in the first pilot before playing Nurse Chapel in ST:TOS, it was the recurring character Lwaxana Troi, the amorous and unpredictable mother of Ship's Counselor Deanna Troi that really won Barrett a place in all Star Trek fans' hearts. The episode where she gets Worf to soak in a mud bath, for instance, and shows up at her wedding nude, is classic.

Go boldly.

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4 Comments:

  • I believe Barrett was also the voice of the computer in the original Star Trek series.

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 9:49 AM  

  • Such sad news. She was also the Federation computer voice across all the different Star Trek series, but her best role was that of Troi's wacky mother. I'm glad we'll get to hear her one last time as the voice of the Enterprise computer in the new movie.

    By Blogger weege, at 9:59 AM  

  • Great link and clip! Thanks. I had no idea about Rodenberry's original plans for a female Number One.

    The return engagement as Wacky Mom is interesting, too. I didn’t see but one or two episodes with her in it, but I find the “wacky parent from another TV generation” to be a particularly interesting if not always appealing character. (John Ritter in Scrubs. Sally Field in ER. Sally Struthers in the show whose title I can’t remember. )

    More broadly, I am enjoy seeing actors take on different roles (of different sizes and styles) over the decades. I like how it helps me put time in perspective, and how it helps me visualize lives evolving (even if I'm seeing people's pieces of work more than people, really).

    But back to TNG: unfortunately, Deanna Troi made me want to throw up. Always. Every time. I think it was something about the way TNG simultaneously did her up as sexy, sexualized, wise, compassionate, but also emotionally distant/even that added up to me going – oh, gag me. I found her unattractive, and her sexualization made her more unattractive (not to mention it seemed kind of tacky to put her in that skin suit). Her wise words were always sensible, but she delivered them with such a saccharine tone. Oh, and I think one of my housemates (whom I didn’t really care for) loved the hell out of her.

    Are you going to see the new ST movie? I saw the previews which make me think I’d want to see it on the big screen, but only if I had a remote control. The first preview I saw (back in July) started with a welding close up and then moved back. The whole preview was about construction and I thought DAMN, that’s going to be a cool movie. But the second preview (that I saw this month) looked like some cheap-ass Melrose Place meets Too Fast Too Furious XVIII. So, bleah.

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at 10:39 AM  

  • the original ST pilot The Cage is available on DVD, i think. I know SCI-FI trotted it out a couple of years ago to show it in its entirety for the first time. Bits and pieces of it got chopped up and used as filler in the TOS episode The Menagerie. NBC suits apparently were even more uncomfortable with the idea of a woman as second in command than they were with an alien with green blood and pointy ears.

    I imagine that if the show were being written/produced today, that the Nurse Chapel role would have gotten a little more meat on the bones. TOS had a way of chewing through minor characters who just kind of disappeared without any explanation (Yeoman Rand, or Transporter Technician Kyle, for instance), but the ensemble way of doing TV has gotten much better over the generations. I think Lwaxana appeared in about half a dozen episodes of TNG all told. Agreed about Deanna Troi, although her character improved a bit when they put her into a uniform and got her out of the bathrobe.

    RE: the new movie. I'm torn. The idea of revisiting Kirk and Spock before the series began appalls me.

    But it's a new Start Trek movie, so i may have to see it anyway.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:27 PM  

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