Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today in dubious casting choices...

Huh...April Fool's Day has come and gone and this is apparently real. Yeah, buckle up nerds, because I'm about to use the internet as God intended: as a forum for voicing my opinions about Star Trek.
Pictured: Star Trek fans are the very bedrock of
the internet. Well, trekkies and porn. Ok, mostly porn.
At this point, their super power
is not being able to take a hint.
So if you didn't click, I'm explain. Rainn Wilson, the actor probably most famous for playing Dwight on U.S. version of The Office has joined the cast of Star Trek: Discovery. And yes, if you haven't already heard there's going to be a new Star Trek series. And I say it's about time, it's just not right that we live in a world where they've brought back Twin Peaks, X-Files, 24, Prison Break and even goddamn Heroes for some reason, but we haven't seen a new Star Trek episode since 2005.

Pictured: That time Kirk and Spock
teamed up with with Abraham Lincoln
to fight Genghis Khan. No, seriously.
Anyway, Wilson is more than just Dwight, but an actual actor with a long and successful career so if I sound a little incredulous about his role on Discovery understand that it's because of his part and not because of him as an actor. Ready? Brace yourself, because Rainn Wilson is playing Harcourt Fenton Mudd. I'll take your stunned silence as either confusion or-well, probably confusion, so I'll explain. Harry Mudd is a character from the original series and was probably one of the campier elements from that show's short, camp-filled, three season existence.

It's a wacky romp through the
funny side of human trafficking. 
Mudd is sort of a space conman, who despite living in the money-less economy of the 23rd century Federation, makes his living bilking people out of their space credits or whatever. He shows up twice on the show, and both appearances are the stuff of 1960's TV misogyny legend. In his first appearance he's delivering some mail-order brides to lonely miners and pumping them full of future pills that make them pretty. In the end we learn that the pills are bullshit and that confidence is all women need to land a man. Oy.

"Women, right? Can't live with'em,
can't shove in a stasis tube."
-Star Trek's writers circa 1968
He shows up again in season 2 having become the ruler/prisoner of a planet full of androids which he uses to capture Kirk and his crew. In the end, Kirk defeats him and as punishment strands Mudd on the planet with five-hundred robot versions of Mrs. Mudd to nag him for all eternity. Holy shit Star Trek, I mean, holy shit. Mudd even pops up on the animated series hawking some kind of love potion which he tricks Nurse Chapel into using on Spock. So despite being a medical professional and a highly trained Star Fleet officer, Chapel is powerless to control her irrational female urges and ruffies Mr. Spock. Because women.

Again, no beef with Rainn Wilson, but holy shit what are they thinking bringing back Harry Mudd? I'm sure he would be great at playing him sleazy, but I'm also not sure they could have found a more dated, problematic character to reboot particularly given the criticism the series has already attracted. Anyway, I guess we'll just have to wait (indefinitely) to see. Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I kind of predicted this back in 2011:
Above: proof that I'm a goddamned prophet.

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