A Day with the Writers

*File Description: A Day with the Star Trek Writers*

Filename: p.006
Category: Star Trek ™ parodies
Title(s): A Day with the Star Trek Writers
Author(s): Frank Mayhar, John Joseph

Newsgroup: rec.arts.startrek
Poster: Frank Mayhar
Date posted: 1987 11 05 06:25:42 GMT
First date published: 1987 11 05 06:25:42 GMT

Collector: Chuan K. Chee
Date collected: 1989 05 07
Date reformatted: 1989 09 24

A Day with the STAR TREK Writers

"Gee, guys, it's time we come up with a new script."

"Aw, do we have to already? I haven't gotten over last week's script yet."

"Yes, it's time. That's what we're getting the big bucks for."

"Oh, all right. Did Research come up with anything yet? Patricia?"

"Well, we did conduct the study suggested in last week's script meeting. The study suggests that our audience is not what we originally anticipated, and that we should adjust our scripts and content accordingly."

"That's fascinating, Patricia. You mean to tell us that our audience is NOT 12-year-old prepubescent American males that have never watched a millisecond of educational television, don't remember a lick of what they've learned in school, and do nothing but fantasize about middle-aged women in 'feety' pajamas?"

"I hate to say it, Richard, but it's true."

"Hmmm. That means that the first 12 scripts were all wrong."

"Yep. The first 9 of those are in the can, too."

"So, it's too late to change them. Rats. Well, we now have a monumental decision facing us. Do we go with the 'consistency' theme, or do we adjust our scripts to conform to the expectations of our audience survey."

"Well, Richard, I'm not so sure that would be wise. You see, the audience survey says that our current fans are 32-year-old postpubescent American male couch potatoes that have never watched a millesecond of educational television, don't remember a lick of what they've learned in school, own all three 'Star Wars' films on video cassette, and do nothing but fantasize about middle-aged women in 'feety' pajamas."

"That's even worse! That means that instead of Mattel sponsoring the show, we'll have to solicit advertising from Budweiser!"

"Spuds Mackenzie in space? Ack!"

"Never mind that now. Advertising is the responsibility of the individual station. Let's get down to what we're supposed to be doing…coming up with script ideas."

"Do they have to be original ones this week?"

"Who are you?"

"I'm Alan, the new writer."

"Like we needed another writer. Well, Alan, didn't you read the writer's guide? All we need is SINGLE original ideas, then we flesh them out with stuff from the original series, Buck Rogers (the Pamela Hensley one), Space: 1999, and Fireball XL5. Heck, if we can disguise it enough, we can convince Berman that the scripts are totally original. Plus, we gotta give all the regulars something 'regularish' to do. Wotta job!"

"Uh. Oh. Okay."

"Maybe you'd better sit quietly and watch this first time. Anyone have an idea? Jeannie?"

"Uh, well, Richard, I've got an idea."

"Let's hear it."

"Okay, it goes like this. The Enterprise is trapped in a wierd region of space that makes everyone hallucinate. Suddenly, some latex-faced aliens with stupid oral appliances appear and threaten them."

"You're not thinking about anything violent, are you?"

"Of course not. I remember rule 12-b of the writer's guide. 'Threats are more palatable than true confrontations…and cheaper.'"

"Okay, proceed."

"Well, the alien ship hovers out in front of the Enterprise while the captain decisively calls an on-bridge meeting.

"'I welcome opinions', he says.

"The Klingon says, 'I respectfully suggest that we blast them out of the sky, sir'.

"The security person says, 'I don't know why you're asking me, sir, but I agree with the Klingon.'

"Geordi says, 'Maybe they're bluffing.'

"The first officer says nothing, of course.

"The captain pivots to the Advisor. 'Well, Advisor,' he says, 'What's your opinion?'

"The Advisor says, 'I feel a strange sense of deja vu, Captain.'

"The Captain turns back to the screen, his hand on his chin. 'Hmmm. Well, it seems we have no choice. Anyone at a control panel, open hailing frequencies!'"

"Wait, wait, wait. This is absurd. We don't need this level of detail at a brainstorming session. Patty, simply note that we'll include the 'Captain of 600-meter Warp 10 Starship Gets Indecisive and Holds Pointless Meeting in'…. was that meeting on the bridge or in the stupid little room right off the bridge?"

"On the Bridge."

"Sorry, Patty, '…Meeting on the Bridge Scene'."

"Well, the Captain, of course, gets no comprehensible response to his hail of the alien vessel. So, he decides to send a bunch of people who never go down to Engineering until there's a crisis all down to Engineering because there's a crisis.

"What they find is that somehow the warp drive has been disabled, stranding the Enterprise in this particularly dangerous part of space."

"Aha! So, we get the misfit kid genius to repair it!"

"Far too simple. We get the misfit kid genius to figure out how it got disabled. Then we get Data to do some of that omniscient robot stuff and fix it."

"Got it. Okay, let's go over the checklist:

Yar: Said something violent.

Klingon: Said something violent.

Whiz kid: Did something brilliant.

Data: Did something robot-like.

Captain: Did something indecisive.

Advisor: Did something confusing.

First officer: Acted as set decoration."

"Gee that leaves the doctor out."

"Yah, can't anyone get hurt or something?"

"I know! We'll have her work on an antidote for the hallucinogenic effects found in this strange region of space!"

"Great! checklist:

Doctor: Does something pointless."

"What's left on the checklist?"

"Hmmmm. 'Violate commonly-held 20th century scientific knowledge'. That's always been a tough one."

"Well, what have we done so far?"

"Well, there's the single flaming meteoroid chunk of exploding star convenienly headed toward the Enterprise. Then there's the thing we threw in about Geordi being in constant pain. How about when the ship got really cold and the captain forgot how to face it toward the sun? There was the time Data fell into a holographic stream and ended up wet. One of the best was when we got all the women drunk on altered water and they jumped the bones of the nearest male."

"Oooh. Those were good ones. But I just can't think of any really stupid ones right now. "

"Okay, we'll have Research look something up in either 'Science Made Stupid' or one of Doug Adams's books."

"Yeah. Okay, how about the next item on the checklist. 'Violate commonly-held Trek lore'."

"Hmm. That's a tough one, too. We've already done the 'beam half the crew down to do something they should have taken a tricorder to do'."

"Yeah. And the transporter's worked nearly perfectly for four or five shows in a row. And, we've got families and kids on board, headed nowhere, while we continue to encounter unknown, possibly hostile, species. We could spend some time creating meaningless stress about that. Or we could have Yar punch out an alien dignitary."

"I dunno. We've already worked those to death."


"Okay, I'll roll the dice when I get back to my office. So, Patricia, how do we resolve this little difficulty?"

"Huh? You want me to do EVERYTHING? Okay, how about the whiz kid transforms some of Mom's expensive medical tools into a communications device that knows how to talk to the alien ship, an amazing feat, because the Captain locked him in the closet in Act I. Anyway, he convinces the alien ship to tow them out of the hallucinogenic region of space, where they find out that a fuse was blown in the warp drive that they couldn't have seen because they were all tripping. Then the whiz kid gets a pat on the head as the captain lets him out of the closet, and all we've wasted is an hour!"