(written from a Production point of view)
|"The Outrageous Okona"|
|TNG, Episode 2x04|
Production number: 40272-130
First aired: 12 December 1988
|←||29th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||29th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||135th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
Les Menchen Lance Dickson David Landsberg
The Enterprise crew rescue a "roguish" freighter captain whose ship is malfunctioning, but his presence drags them into an interplanetary feud.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 42402.7. We are traveling in the Omega Sagitta system, traversing between the twin planets that form the Coalition of Madena. Both worlds are populated by a humanoid race which colonized the planets two centuries ago and which now coexist under a precarious but successful treaty."
The USS Enterprise-D, while traveling in the Omega Sagitta system between two twin planets inhabited by Humans who have created a pact called the Madena Coalition, stumbles upon a Class 9 starship with one humanoid inside. The ship is the cargo freighter Erstwhile commanded by Captain Thadiun Okona, who has problems with the guidance system. The Enterprise offers Captain Okona help repairing his faulty guidance system. Deanna Troi establishes that he displays rogue-like characteristics, making him a suspicious character who should not be taken lightly.
Upon entry to the ship, Okona charms the transporter officer, Lieutenant Robinson, and begins to display characteristics of a scoundrel and a rake. Okona and Robinson leave the transporter room, and Okona accompanies Data to main engineering to observe the repairs to his guidance system. Okona questions Data's ability to comprehend humor and other Human characteristics, apparently finding the concept of an emotionless android fascinating.
Data is inspired by Okona's questions and insights about humor, and goes to Ten Forward to seek counsel from Guinan regarding his difficulty grasping the concept. Data then travels to the holodeck to view a comedy show by a holographic comedian. Data inquires about a series of comedic acts and performances to further his understanding of comedy. They begin a series of improvisations which include 20th century Jerry Lewis, and continue to examples of stand-up comedy, which Data views at maximum speed. Data then returns to Guinan to try out his new comedy material, but his first attempt fails miserably. His second attempt is abruptly interrupted by a call to the bridge: an unidentified ship is approaching the Enterprise.
Debin, the captain of the ship, warns the Enterprise that they are entering their territory. Debin establishes that Okona is, in fact, a rogue who committed crimes on the planet Altec. While the entire confrontation is occurring, another ship of similar classification is approaching. This ship is commanded by Captain Kushell from the planet Straleb, who also states similar issues relating to Okona.
Jean-Luc Picard calls Okona up to the bridge to understand what crimes he has committed. After brief deliberation, Okona hedges his response, stating that he isn't aware that he committed any crime on either world. A skeptical Picard asks Debin what crimes has been committed. Debin, infuriated, explains that Okona had impregnated Debin's daughter, Yanar.
- "Captain's Log, supplemental. Some of the mystery surrounding this ancient morality play we've been dragged into has been revealed. One of Captain Okona's pursuers is an outraged father with a heartfelt, if archaic, sense of righteousness."
Kushell has claimed that Okona stole the national treasure, the Jewel of Thesia. Picard and Okona discuss the matter at hand. If Okona is handed to Debin, the Thesians will use the slight to declare war, while if Picard gives him to the Thesians, the same result will occur. Picard and Okona agree that the only way to resolve the situation is to let Okona continue on and find a place of refuge.
After a long talk with Wesley Crusher, in which it's revealed that Okona has become tired of living the nomadic lifestyle and just wants the entire mess surrounding Yanar and the Jewel to be settled, he decides to voluntarily turn himself in – to both sides.
Okona's choice allows Picard to use the Enterprise as a neutral meeting place for both parties to settle their claims. The two families are antagonistic towards each other, both claiming that Okona has infringed their laws and both expressing an equally valid claim on the wayward freighter captain.
The story unfolds when they discover that Kushell's son Benzan impregnated Yanar, rather than Okona, and that Okona was the go-between for Yanar and Benzan's courtship (which was disapproved by both families). The jewel was stolen to be used in the wedding between Yanar and Benzan, who agree to marriage, and their fathers continue their quarrels in a more light-hearted manner (this time about the details of the wedding) as Picard invokes the Prime Directive as an excuse to make a discreet exit from what has now officially become an internal matter of the respective families' governments.
Data and Guinan participate in a comedy show with the holo-comedian. They resolve the issues of Data's ability to deliver a joke by giving Data an audience. Unfortunately, Data discovers that the audience is programmed to laugh at anything he says or does, regardless of whether or not it's actually humorous, and that his delivery is still flawed.
At the end of the show, Data inadvertently delivers a joke that causes the bridge crew to break into laughter, and Okona (having resolved his differences with the Thesians and Yanar's father) continues on his way.
"You spoiled the joke. It could have been your timing."
"My timing is digital."
- - Guinan and Data
"You're a droid and I'm a 'noid."
- - Guinan, telling a joke to Data
"A Klingon security officer?"
"No wars available, eh?"
- - Okona and Worf
"Wesley, Wesley Crusher."
"Nice to meet you, Acting Ensign Wesley Wesley Crusher."
- - Wesley Crusher introducing himself to Thadiun Okona
"You have the majestic carriage and loveliness that could surely be traced back to the noblest of families."
- - Okona, to B.G. Robinson, the Enterprise's female transporter chief
"Say goodbye, Data."
- - Wesley Crusher and Data
"Now, that's sex appeal!"
- - Okona
"Captain, they are now locking lasers on us."
"Lasers can't even penetrate our navigation shields. Don't they know that?"
"Regulations do call for yellow alert."
"Hmm, a very old regulation. Well, make it so Number One. And, reduce speed... drop main shields, as well."
"May I ask why, sir?"
"In case we decide to surrender to them, Number One... "
- - Worf, Riker, and Picard
"So... if you put funny teeth in your mouth and jump around like an idiot, that is considered funny!"
- - Data
"Guy walks into the doctor's office. The doctor tells him you need an operation. Guy says "I want a second opinion." Doc tells him "Okay you're ugly too". Badoom Boom!
- - Data telling his first joke to Guinan
"Life is like loading twice your cargo weight on to your spacecraft. If it's canaries and you can keep half of them flying all the time, you're all right."
- - Okana, making a joke to Data
Story and script
- The final draft script was submitted on 4 October 1988.
- According to Joe Piscopo, he was allowed to improvise much of his own jokes and dialogue as the holographic comic, including the Jerry Lewis impersonation. 
- Filming for this episode took place in late October 1988, with the final day of the shoot on 1 November 1988. ("Lost & Found", Star Trek Magazine issue 148)
- Jerry Lewis himself was approached to play the comic, but there was a scheduling conflict caused by Lewis' guest role on Wiseguy. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 70)
- This is the first of two second-season episodes in which Dr. Pulaski doesn't appear. The other is "Q Who".
- First UK airdate: 24th April 1991
Sets and props
- The holodeck terminal lists the name of the comic as Ronald B. Moore, a reference to visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore, who helped assemble the graphic. (Star Trek Encyclopedia 1st ed., p. 54) He is not to be confused with writer and producer Ronald D. Moore, who had not yet joined the staff.
- The window or display "frame" behind Debin while speaking on the Enterprise viewscreen is a slightly modified re-use of the battle bridge viewscreen of the Enterprise-D.
- The damaged prop guidance system from the Erstwhile was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- When Okona asks Data if he's ever been drunk, Data claims "not from alcohol", a reference to TNG: "The Naked Now" in which the polywater intoxication acted on his programming like alcohol would on a Human brain.
- The Agony Booth website featured this episode in their "The Worst of Trek" section. In their recap, they wrote, "Frankly, it seems like the writers brainstormed the idea of "a slightly colorful character comes aboard the Enterprise and shakes up the lives of the crew", and the story conference ended there. Little did they know that this same worthless plot template would be the model for loads of bad fanfiction, mostly of the Mary Sue/Marty Sam variety, where the author imagines himself or herself as the colorful character who does the shaking. As we'll soon learn from this episode, this type of plot rarely works. And the only thing lacking in "The Outrageous Okona" is the main character being named after the writer." 
- They concluded, "It may not be "And the Children Shall Lead", but this episode was pretty damn excruciating. I suppose you could make the case that there were some relatively talented guest stars, even if they weren't given anything interesting to do. And I suppose if you like Data and his story arc, there's a chance you might find something redeeming here. For the rest of us, however, it's 45 minutes of sheer pain. Thankfully, a major shakeup in the TNG writing staff was right around the corner, and things would rarely get this bad again. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said for Joe Piscopo's acting career." 
- A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 6, pp. 11-14.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 15, catalog number VHR 2468, 3 June 1991
- US VHS release: 31 May 1995
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 2.2, catalog number VHR 4738, 12 April 1999
- As part of the TNG Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 2 Blu-ray collection.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- William O. Campbell as Thadiun Okona
- Douglas Rowe as Debin
- Albert Stratton as Kushell
- Rosalind Ingledew as Yanar
- Kieran Mulroney as Benzan
Special guest stars
- Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Juliet Cesario as science division officer
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Teri Hatcher as B.G. Robinson
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Randy Pflug as Ten Forward waiter
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- James G. Becker - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Wil Wheaton
1932; 2165; 2364; Allen, Gracie; Altec; Altec vessel; bird call; Burns, George; call sign; canary; cargo carrier; cargo hold; Charnock's Comedy Cabaret; cigar; class 7 vessel; class 9 cargo vessel; comedian; Coalition of Madena; Denkir II; dog; Earth; Erstwhile; Federation; Ferengi; glob fly; godfather; Gulliver's Travels; holodeck; humor; inertial guidance system; Jewel of Thesia; joke; juggling; laser weapons; Legation of Unity; Lewis, Jerry; lion; Milky Way Galaxy; navigational shields; New York City; Omega Sagitta system; procreation; quantum mechanics; O'Neill, Tip; parrot; pork chop; Riga, Stano; Roxy Theater; Starfleet Regulations; Straleb; Straleb security ship; Teaneck; tricellite; tritanium; yellow alert; zelebium
Library Computer References
- Holodeck Programming Simulations (Original Version): Armus, Burt; Baskin, Daryl; Curry, Dan; de Graff, Monty; El-Baz, Farouk; Fickas, Sharyl; Freedle, Sam; Gray, Mike; Howard, Merri; Hurley, Maurice; Hutzel, Gary; Julian, Heidi; Koslowsky, Jon; Livingston, David; Martinez, Terri; Mason, John; Metoyer, Robert; Moore, Ronald B.; Neuss, Wendy; Over, Ernie; Overdiek, Diane; Roddenberry, Gene; Rubenstein, Scott; Schoenbrun, Michael; Simmons, Adele; Tormé, Tracy
- Holodeck Programming Simulations (Remastered Version): Adams, Ryan; Baskin, Daryl; Bishop, Phil; Curry, Dan; de Graff, Monty; Drexler, Doug; Freedle, Sam; Grant, David; Graves, Douglas E.; Gray, Mike; Hardy, Jim; Howard, Merri; Hutzel, Gary; Koslowsky, Jon; Livingston, David; Mason, John; Moore, Ronald B.; Neuss, Wendy; Ross, Ken; Rubenstein, Scott; Ruiz, Wendy; Simmons, Adele; Takemura, David; Tormé, Tracy; Wiener, Steve; Weiss, Craig; Wing, Jayme
- The Outrageous Okona at Wikipedia
- The Outrageous Okona at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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