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Ser Scot A Ellison

Anyone watching "The Orville"?

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The most recent episode "About A Girl" took on a very, very difficult topic.  Whether it is proper for parents to choose gender for a child.  They present a very strong case that it was absolutely wrong to do so in an alien culture that was entirely male.  The character that was seeking to have his child's gender changed is from an alien race that is purportedly entirely male.  They presented "Mocklen" as sort of a joke in the first episode.  It is interesting that they now show why the Mocklen society is entirely male.  They change the gender of any females born at birth.  I was also surprised that after delving the ethics of changing a child's gender at birth they didn't shy away from showing that culture refusing to change and forcing the child to undergo the gender change.  

It was more than I expected from a Seth Macfarland show.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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Yup, there's been some discussion in the Star Trek thread (understandably), but certainly deserving of its own thread. I was on the fence for the first two episodes as I still hadn't quite pinned down exactly what it was setting out to be, a comedy? A drama? A Star Trek clone? A hybrid? The third episode was really a declaration of intent as to how seriously MacFarlane wants us to take the show. It's certainly the closest thing to 90's Trek that I ever thought I'd see, with or without the name. It's a very odd period where we have a Star Trek series that's moved on, and a series proving that maybe it didn't have to. 

I'm still not totally convinced it's found the right tone with its comedy. It's quite funny, but it too often resorts to making fun of the genre whilst simultaneously asking us to take it seriously. I don't think it can get away with it for very long. Some jokes can work (if you had a holodeck, you'd totally give your sparring partner fun personalities and reprogramme dance-offs into stories, and I don't think this detracts from the serious elements) but at the same time, I'm dragged out of the moment with all the pop-culture references. It all depends on whether they can find enough humour whilst simultaneously building up their universe in a plausible way.

I'll certainly stick with it, some part of my brain rebels a little at my attempts to believe in it the way I believe in Trek, but are these first three any worse than any opening three of any Trek series? Absolutely not. And this last episode is about as quintessential a Trek plot as you could imagine.

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Yeah... and I'm liking it... To me, it's a lot like a self-aware Star Trek show... almost like what Tom Servo and Crow would say if they were regulars on ST:TNG 

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Digging it as well. It's not quite as funny as I'd hoped (say like Galaxy Quest level) but it is way more Trek than I expected it to be. I don't know if Macfarlane is a fan of the old show, or if it's the writers or what, but it's pretty obvious to me that some key people creating that show are Trekkies of one stripe or another. Really good stuff.

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I like the style of the show.  These aren't the best of the best on a top of the line ship.  These are just regular people on an average ship.  I'm really enjoying it.

 

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Meh. Store-brand TNG with a heavy sprinkling of hit-and-miss comedy (I did like the Kermit joke) that frequently doesn't gel all that well. Entertaining enough, but so far I'm not going to care if it gets cancelled.

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8 hours ago, felice said:

Meh. Store-brand TNG with a heavy sprinkling of hit-and-miss comedy (I did like the Kermit joke) that frequently doesn't gel all that well. Entertaining enough, but so far I'm not going to care if it gets cancelled.

I agree the comedy is lowbrow (it is Seth MacFarland) and some of the acting is... off.  But the guy playing Bortus is doing a credible job.  I think I like him best of the entire ensemble cast.

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This is a good article on how stupid the Orville ep on trans assignment was.

Quote

If this episode had come out 10 years ago, it might have looked a bit more progressive. But in 2017, as thinking on gender continues to evolve, the episode comes off for what it is: a repetition of flat talking points that are too basic even for the “transgender” Wikipedia entry (which, as I’ve now realized, is obviously flawed but surprisingly thorough!). Hell, it’s not even clear if MacFarlane is trying to have a conversation about what it means to be trans versus what it means to be intersex — which are, of course, two completely different things. That’s how haphazard his terminology is throughout this episode.

 

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Dr. Finn insists over and over again that she won’t perform a “sex change,” a term that GLAAD specifically advises writers to avoid using. Kelly and one of the Orville’s female technicians, Alara (Halston Sage), try to convince the Moclans that girls can be strong too, which feels more like MacFarlane trying to prove his feminist bona fides than like a relevant argument concerning the topic at hand. (Kelly in particular gets fired up in this episode, warning the Moclans not to “start passing out penises” before she’s finished saying her piece.) And when Klyden reveals that he was also born female but underwent the same surgery being discussed for his baby, Bortus berates him, saying his partner “lied” and “withheld” information — a pernicious trope that’s often been used to paint transgender people as inherently deceptive.

 

Quote

That’s why, in the end, the most fascinating thing about the episode is also completely accidental. In Fox and MacFarlane’s eyes, “About a Girl” probably seemed like a daring way to take on a controversial topic, an unflinching examination of prejudices, a conversation made progressive by the mere fact that anyone was willing to have it at all. But while going through the motions might have been enough even just a few years ago, it’s not all that forward-thinking — or, frankly, all that interesting — to spit out musty talking points in order to boost your progressive cred.

 

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10 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Eh, how many shows that aren't specifically based on this subject ever bother to even address it? I suppose it could've been handled in a more sensitive manner, but this is a comedy/parody show. Not sure what the author of this piece could have realistically expected from this sort of show. 

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6 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Eh, how many shows that aren't specifically based on this subject ever bother to even address it? I suppose it could've been handled in a more sensitive manner, but this is a comedy/parody show. Not sure what the author of this piece could have realistically expected from this sort of show. 

Really, if you're not going to handle it well, don't handle it. I wouldn't expect Jackass or Family Guy to tackle it either, because they'll fuck it up. 

And Star Trek itself has done this before - sometimes well, sometimes really poorly. As the article indicates you can handle it well, and sci-fi can do it interestingly - but they didn't bother. Maybe your comedy/parody show shouldn't be the thing that is talking about transgender issues. 

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23 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Really, if you're not going to handle it well, don't handle it. I wouldn't expect Jackass or Family Guy to tackle it either, because they'll fuck it up. 

And Star Trek itself has done this before - sometimes well, sometimes really poorly. As the article indicates you can handle it well, and sci-fi can do it interestingly - but they didn't bother. Maybe your comedy/parody show shouldn't be the thing that is talking about transgender issues. 

Prep harder maybe, but don't bother trying? 

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Just now, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Prep harder maybe, but don't bother trying? 

If you're not going to handle it well, and you're not going to put in the legwork, yes - don't bother trying.

They didn't even bother talking with GLAAD, or talking with any trans activists, or even reading the fucking wiki page. 

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2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Except for the part that the episode didn't focus on transsexuality at all. I got the severe impression that the main point lay in showing a society with prejudice so deeply entrenched that they are incapable of accepting any kind of deviation from the norm. Gender identity never came into play, because the child in question is obviously too young to express herself and Clyden was too resigned in regards to "this is how it has to be" to allow himself to question his own life and body (which is the point I was disappointed the most by, aside from that really stupid Rudolf the red-nosed raindeer 180° instead of, you know, sound arguments of his crewmates). I think they only tried to imply a future identity debate in the last few seconds, when Bortus said "whatever he becomes", at least I interpreted into that that he still wants to give his child the choice to undo that operation.

Of course the writing is the major flaw. The arguments of both sides were indeed weak. Granted, I had the impression that Bortus' species has less of a problem with sexism and more with the fact that they don't know the female gender at all, that's why they struggled to come up with reasonable arguments (they seem like that female-only lizard species that only reproduces through cloning, so an opposite sex offspring really must come off as a freak accident of nature, a throwback into a time before their species evolved into a single-sex one).

The showcasing of Alara's strength was as self-defeating as it was promptly dismissed by the court, given that they were totally right on calling her out as being of a different species than the one in question. The woman writer however... at first I was annoyed by the cavewoman-image, then I was pleasantly surprised by the revalation that she's the best-selling author that was quoted before, but then I went back to annoyed when she was only show-casing her pride despite a position that would logically also involve a lot of resentment towards a society that forced her to literally hide under a rock while they praised her male pen name. Not calling them out on their fearfulness of being different really hurt these last minutes. And I try not to think about the veiled gender-coding issue, regarding that society being of ridiculously industrial weapon-fanatics when the best author turns out to be a woman...

But then again, this is a fucking MacFarlane comedy! A fucking MacFarlane comedy that attempted to pull of a "The Measure of a Man"-like episode and in spite of all hickups did a decent job with it! I am a TNG fanatic and I really fucking liked it, damn it! In general, the 'humor' may be stilted and awkward and decidedly unfunny most of the time (though admittedly, Mercer and Greyson roping in the enemy captain as a couple's councillor in the middle of a standoff and him being baffled enough to give an aghast "A marriage is work!" before snapping out of it, indeed was very funny). But in the end, when it just tries to be a light-hearted TNG, it really pulls all the strings it needs to pull with me. Damn it, a MacFarlane thing I seriously like? Really, if they manage to keep the quality of this episode, I'm all in.

Edited by Toth

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6 minutes ago, Toth said:

Except for the part that the episode didn't focus on transsexuality at all. I got the severe impression that the main point lay in showing a society with prejudice so deeply entrenched that they are incapable of accepting any kind of deviation from the norm. Gender identity never came into play, because the child in question is obviously too young to express herself and Clyden was too resigned in regards to "this is how it has to be" to allow himself to question his own life and body (which is the point I was disappointed the most by, aside from that really stupid Rudolf the red-nosed raindeer 180° instead of, you know, sound arguments of his crewmates). I think they only tried to imply a future identity debate in the last few seconds, when Bortus said "whatever he becomes", at least I interpreted into that that he still wants to give his child the choice to undo that operation.

Of course the writing is the major flaw. The arguments of both sides were indeed weak. Granted, I had the impression that Bortus' species has less of a problem with sexism and more with the fact that they don't know the female gender at all, that's why they struggled to come up with reasonable arguments (they seem like that female-only lizard species that only reproduces through cloning, so an opposite sex offspring really must come off as a freak accident of nature, a throwback into a time before their species evolved into a single-sex one).

The showcasing of Alara's strength was as self-defeating as it was promptly dismissed by the court, given that they were totally right on calling her out as being of a different species than the one in question. The woman writer however... at first I was annoyed by the cavewoman-image, then I was pleasantly surprised by the revalation that she's the best-selling author that was quoted before, but then I went back to annoyed when she was only show-casing her pride despite a position that would logically also involve a lot of resentment towards a society that forced her to literally hide under a rock while they praised her male pen name. Not calling them out on their fearfulness of being different really hurt these last minutes. And I try not to think about the veiled gender-coding issue, regarding that society being of ridiculously industrial weapon-fanatics when the best author turns out to be a woman...

But then again, this is a fucking MacFarlane comedy! A fucking MacFarlane comedy that attempted to pull of a "The Measure of a Man"-like episode and in spite of all hickups did a decent job with it! I am a TNG fanatic and I really fucking liked it, damn it! In general, the 'humor' may be stilted and awkward and decidedly unfunny most of the time (though admittedly, Mercer and Greyson roping in the enemy captain as a couple's councillor in the middle of a standoff and him being baffled enough to give an aghast "A marriage is work!" before snapping out of it, indeed was very funny). But in the end, when it just tries to be a light-hearted TNG, it really pulls all the strings it needs to pull with me. Damn it, a MacFarlane thing I seriously like? Really, if they manage to keep the quality of this episode, I'm all in.

^^^^

Yeah, I'm with you on the vast majority of this. Somehow this show twangs a Trekian chord that say none of the recent movies have managed. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I would bet good money that a fair number of the writers/directors/creative folks are bona fide Trek fans. 

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41 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

^^^^

Yeah, I'm with you on the vast majority of this. Somehow this show twangs a Trekian chord that say none of the recent movies have managed. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I would bet good money that a fair number of the writers/directors/creative folks are bona fide Trek fans. 

Most of the creators aren't Trek fans, they're Trek series regulars. It's being produced by Braga, has Frakes and Spiner as directors, and a number of older Trek writers as writers. 

It's less a parody of Trek and more of a Seth MacFarlane indulging in cosplay as the captain of a Trek series.

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Just now, Kalbear said:

Most of the creators aren't Trek fans, they're Trek series regulars. It's being produced by Braga, has Frakes and Spiner as directors, and a number of older Trek writers as writers. 

It's less a parody of Trek and more of a Seth MacFarlane indulging in cosplay as the captain of a Trek series.

Ah, that would explain it. Thanks for the info.

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Actually I'm enjoying it...the irreverence of it all, with them seemingly self aware and so much of the modern references, forgetting it's a coupke.hundred years in the future...there's a grounded nature to it all that works. 

For now.

The show needs to find it's own voice without continuing to play the TNG card.  There are enough Trek veterans involved, I'd like to think they will.

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Damnit, it's on episode three already? I keep forgetting this is on. Skimmed the posts so far trying to avoid spoilers, but it seems like the general consensus thus far is it's got potential. Looking forward to getting on board with this show in the near future. 

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Sophomoric but sincere comment:  thought about watching it because Palicki was in it, but the other side of the scale has won out so far.  

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12 hours ago, Triskan said:

Sophomoric but sincere comment:  thought about watching it because Palicki was in it, but the other side of the scale has won out so far.  

Let your Jimmy lead the way on this one. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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