March 13th, 2022
Many years ago, a friend told me the ‘Can I smoke while I pray?’ story. For those unfamiliar, it’s a lesson in how to ask a question. There are many variations: A man asks two priests the same question rephrased, a man asks the same priest the rephrased questions, and so on.
Man: Father, can I smoke while I pray?
Priest: Of course not! It would be an affront to God!
Man: Okay, then. I’m going out for a smoke. (turns around at the door Columbo-style) Oh, father?
Priest: Yes my son?
Man: If I get the urge while I’m smoking, can I pray?
Priest: Of course my son. God is always listening.
So, what does this have to do with Star Trek? Seth MacFarlane
I was upset when Star Trek The Next Generation(STTNG) was canceled, and apparently, so was Seth. The story goes, that he pitched a very similar straight-up space adventure show to FOX but was rejected because - well, he’s the comedy guy right? So, Seth made a spoof of Star Trek, got it past the narrow-minded decision makers that, at least in my mind, dominate every network, and bided his time.
I watched as each episode of The Orville added more serious SciFi elements, less slapstick, and fewer cheap jokes. Seth was getting to smoke while he prayed.
Let’s not forget that STTNG tried to be funny occasionally too. It usually fell flat, and like the occasional soap opera episode we all had to endure, they were worth it because we eventually got space battles with The Borg. So, for all of you who think SciFi shouldn’t be funny(looking at you Steve Gibson) and turned up your noses at The Orville, I say, watch Season 2 Episodes 8 & 9 “Identity” and “Identity part II” This two-parter is straight up space warfare against an enemy that seems invincible.