heiligekuh: (Default)
[personal profile] heiligekuh
Ok, so that DS9 episode deserves a little bit more thought.

I had stopped watching DS9 by the time this episode aired, although I do
vaguely remember the hullaballoo around it. It was 95/96, so I was
officially a straight boy dating a nerd girl, but after giving up on
Voyager in the first season (and a good year before Brad brought be into
the B5 fold) I didn't watch much TV.

I remember the feeling of manufactured controversy around it - it was
the era of Skipowitz's ass, and queer kisses on any major show generally
got at least a month of free press and angry letters to the editors. I
remember knowing, without watching the episode, that they were going to
cheat their way out of it. It involves a Trill, after all.

So I watched it today, about half of it at 2 am while the baby was
having her freakout, and then the rest around 9 when she was up and
having breakfast. And I was right, in a sense. They do cheat the
genders of the kiss a bit, as it's the resumption of a hetero
relationship from a prior set of hosts. But actually, the kiss itself
and the emotion that Dax shows through the episode is top notch.
Although it's a cheat in terms of the mid 90's hair pulling, it's good
SF. I thought it was a nice touch that they had Kira and Bashir have a
plot-dump conversation about Dax resuming the relationship without
mentioning gender. It's the closest that I've seen Trek get to actually
mentioning that same sex couples exist throughout the Alpha quadrant.

Unfortunately, the episode and the relationship are hamstrung by Trek.
While it's fair to say that Trek
avoided same sex relationships for far too long, and generally played
conservative with most topics relating to gender, the truth is that Trek
doesn't play well with relationships. Sisko's developing relationship
with the freighter captain (more fuel of the B5 v DS9 flamewar, no
doubt. Although certainly it's a logical pairing for a station
commander from a budget and plotting perspective) is the only
relationship I remember from this period of Trek that doesn't end in
fire (heh). One of the reasons I wanted to watch DS9 is that I've never
seen any of the Worf/Dax relationship, and I want to see how they do an
actual relationship between two primaries (as opposed to the Worf/Troi
mess on TNG).

So Trek needs to put a bunch of social pressure on the Dax/whatsherface
relationship, both for plot reasons and to set up a tension to mirror
the RL queerness factor. Viola! Apparently Trills' are banned from
"reassociating" with principles from their former hosts. Big hairy
social taboo, with phenomenally steep penalties. Considering the
lengths we see people go to to save symbionts (sp?) in other episodes,
thee notion that resuming relationships from prior hosts will get two
trills (essentially) executed is a huge plot hammer. And it completley
avoids the fact that we've seen Trills develop rituals about
"reintegrating" the memories and experiences of their past lives, *and*
Dax has a multi-lifespan friendship with Sisko! Ugh!

But all that is just part of watching Trek. It's wildly inconsistent.
The larger universe, especially alien cultures, always seems like a
napkin sketch. But it kicks B5's ass up and down the tarmac someday
becuase when you put two women on screen with the hoary SF premise that
they're reincarnated lovers, they can both pull it off. Imagine
Leta and Talia trying to pull off the same scene and weep.

Date: 2008-09-17 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chasbrown.livejournal.com
Actually, the subject came up a long time ago in TNG when Beverly Crusher started up a relationship with a symbiont in a male host. Well, fast forward to the death of the host, and transfer of the symbiont into a new host body, and first, shock, it's in Riker's body, and somehow that's ok, but then, the final host ends up being a woman, shock, scandal. The symbiont wants to continue, but dear Dr. Crusher chickens out.


Ever read Ursula Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness"?

Date: 2008-09-18 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usernamenumber.livejournal.com
Was just thinking of that as I read this (the TNG ep, not Left Hand of Darkness, though that's a good comparison from what I remember).

As for the rest of the post...

But it kicks B5's ass up and down the tarmac someday
becuase when you put two women on screen with the hoary SF premise that
they're reincarnated lovers, they can both pull it off. Imagine
Leta and Talia trying to pull off the same scene and weep.

*sigh*, ok ok, so acting has not always been the strong suit of Bab5. But then nobody, but nobody, says "slash us!" with top-notch theatrical acumen like Londo and G'kar, so there. I choose to believe that's a valid counter-example. =;)

In closing: Yay! An excuse to use my horribly-done Narn Bat Squad icon!

Date: 2008-09-18 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
Zo I Zays to Him, Znice Ztation!

Date: 2008-09-18 10:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
Bah. LJ ate my response to this.

I remember that TNG episode - it introduced the Trill concept, even though the species changed drastically between then and DS9. And, once again, they're still a tool the writers used to tell a "play funny with gender" story. With a classic Trek 1-episode relationship.

Yes, I've read LHD. I actually have a soft spot for Queer SF of that period, which includes leGuin, Joanna Russ, and my unnatural Delaney love.

Date: 2008-09-18 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mazeyminda.livejournal.com
You know, I just finished reading 'Left Hand of Darkness' a couple weeks ago. I loved it! And I especially loved that, while the hype around the book is only about the gender issue, the book itself is much richer. LeGuin weaves in the politics and cultural shock just as deftly.

Date: 2008-09-19 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heiligekuh.livejournal.com
There's a deep sexism within fan communities that tends to take deep, multi-faceted work (that happen to include gender) and reduces them to single issue polemics. LHD's reputation certainly suffers from this.

I think what I love so much about The Female Man is how Russ' postscript acknowledges this. I swear I've typed that into my LJ before. . . .


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