Okona is to be given "limited access" to the ship, but apparently he's free to roam wherever he wants to have dalliances with female crew members? Someone's not doing their job, Worf. *pointed look*
IMDB lists numerous really little details under "Goofs", but beyond Okona's apparent freedom, the only one I think worth mentioning is that Worf goes to Deck 10 to get Okona, enters crew quarters through a door marked "07", and takes Okona back to the Bridge via boarding a turbolift marked "11 | Turbolift". Since those first two digits on each door should be the deck number, there must be some trippy non-Euclidean stuff happening on the Enterprise that nobody has noticed yet.
The strongest element of this script is Data's quest to understand, "What is funny?" Having the two alien ships show up demanding custody of Okona is, well… mediocre. Okona himself isn't much of a character, either. Not very "outrageous" at all.
I will say that the "Take my Worf, please" bit wasn't at all how I remembered it. (I thought it happened on the holodeck, not the bridge.) But even though it was the high point of this script, I would much rather have had a bottle episode of just Data learning about humor, without the lame second (primary) plot that felt ripped from a 1960s sitcom.
Quite a weak story here I thought. Even in the 24th century women seem to be all too easily swept off their feet by a guy with a nice smile
[5.7/10] For a long time, the dream among nerds was to speculate about what it’d be like if Star Trek met Star Wars. Who would win, the Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon? Could Captain Kirk defeat Darth Vader? Could Picard? What would Data make of C-3P0?
Well, if “The Outrageous Okona” is any indication, it’s the sort of crossover best left to our imaginations. This is as close as we’re going to get to an official mix-and-match where Starfleet boldly goes to the Galaxy Far Far Away. Picard’s Enterprise runs into an embarrassingly obvious ersatz Han Solo, deals with a pair of “used future”-style ships, and runs into a surprising parentage reveal as the icing on the cake.
It’s all dull and dumb. The titular Okona is an annoying presence throughout who gets the most screen time as an ostensibly lovable scamp. The local dispute between two planets who each claim priority to punish him over how he wronged them is standard issue, without any interesting new dimension or new moral complication. And the character story they try to jam in at the very end feels tacked on and uninvolving.
Now look, maybe this isn’t a direct Star Wars reference. It feels like that with a rakish smuggler-type on an old freighter. To be frank, it plays like a dig at Star Trek’s Imperial competition with the remarks about their “pitiful lasers”. But best case scenario, it’s still The Next Generation pulling from the same Han Solo archetype, to incredibly irritating results.
Okona seduces every woman he comes across. He waxes rhapsodic about following his own path and living life on his own terms. He has a flippant dismissal or smart remark for anyone and everything he comes across. It’s a definite type, and the episode means to deconstruct that a bit, or at least demonstrate that it’s not as fulfilling or sparkling a life as it seems on the outside. But it also spends a lot of time on Okona’s antics and clearly means for them to be charming when they’re anything but.
But you know what is charming? Data trying to learn how to be funny. I seem to recall fans not particularly liking this storyline, and I both do and don’t get it. I understand, because it’s not really plot relevant, and it’s admittedly a little cheesy. But that is, frankly, what I like about it.
It’s more of a slice of life subplot than anything else, centered on Data’s low-stakes quest to become a richer being and his fumbling attempts to get there. At the same time, it’s fun to match Brent Spiner’s tinman routine with the comic stylings of comedy pros like Whoopi Goldberg and Joe Piscopo.
When push comes to shove, I probably prefer Data’s scenes with Guinan. The humor there is a little drier, and there’s a little more insight into how ineffable what it means to be and find things funny can be. Goldberg has great comic timing and her sort of bemused, sarcastic, but still encouraging responses to Data when he tries to tell jokes or do schtick are delightful. It clicks because Guinan is defined by her intuitive understanding of people, something necessary for good humor to snap into place, and it’s the very thing that Data lacks and which holds him back from getting a laugh.
But god help me, I enjoy the Joe Piscopo scenes almost as much. There’s a lot of yuks to be wrung from an extroverted performer like Piscopo (who’s ratcheting up the cheap seats comedy here) paired with the ultimate straight man in the form of Data. Spiner does stellar work trying to imitate Piscopo’s Jerry Lewis impersonation to diminishing returns, and the very image of Data mimicking the classic bits of the likes of Groucho Marx, Bob Hope, and Rodney Dangerfield gins up the laughs from the contrast. These are assuredly silly scenes, but they’re also endearing to see someone as comically inept as Data try his hand at one of the slipperiest of arts.
It’s also leagues better than the other half of the episode. Beyond Okona’s irksome presence, he’s just a useless, depthless character. We only see him do the most cartoonish things, followed by folks like Troi and Riker reading off of his character sheet to make sure the audience gets it. It’s tiresome as hell.
The meat of this one is supposed to be Okona learning the error of his ways through, who else, Wesley Crusher. Wesley initially seems to admire Okona and his natural way with people. But eventually he decides that “using up a place” like that must eventually be lonely, and a life he doesn’t want. This statement seems to inspire Okona to make things right with the competing factions who each wants to capture and punish him. Only he finds a sly way to wriggle out of that too, revealing that there’s a Romeo and Juliet situation between the kids of the warring planets’ leaders, with their escapades blamed on him. It’s a dull resolution to the diplomatic snarl Picard finds himself tangled in.
That’s honestly the only redeeming part of the actual Okona-storyline. There’s a comic level of exhaustion from Captain Picard, not only at having to deal with a clownish trouble-maker like Okona (who looks oddly like Mac from IASIP), but from having to unexpectedly resolve this diplomatic dispute between two relative “gob flies” that he doesn’t actually care about. As always, Patrick Stewart does good work here, conveying the sense of someone who’s professional but deeply annoyed by this stupid situation.
The only connection between the two halves of the episode is that a big part of Okona’s success and ability to “lovable rogue” his way through life comes down to his bent toward greasing the wheels with humor. Data seems to envy that, or at least aspire to it. It’s charming, then, to see him stumble onto a good joke and start imitating George Burns and Gracie Allen. Is it corny? Without a doubt. But there’s something sweet and amusing about a total stiff trotting out broad humor.
Were that the same could be said about Star Trek’s efforts to invoke its Rebel Alliance-type brethren. If the results of mashing the two up result in dull characters like Okona, and tepid diplomatic tangles with ersatz Rebels and Imperials like this one, then it’s probably for the best that the two franchises keep their distance.
This episode is interesting because it reminded me of, What if a Star Wars Character were in Star Trek?
This episode feels like a remnant from season one. In fact it feels more like something from the sixties. A good looking swashbuckler type that has women melting through his fingers just because he smiles at them doesn't feel much like 24th century. Then again it is only natural that you have lighter themed episodes during the course of a seasons and ones that keep the budget in check.What makes this episode watchable are Datas attempts at understanding humor. Something that adds very much to the depth of the character. And it displays Spiner's acting talents. Little easter egg: althought only being referred to as "The Comic" keep your eye on the Display when Data looks ar the selection. If you own the HD version as you probably won't see it on the SD.
Best thing about this episode really is, getting a glimpse of what it would have been like had they chosen Billy Campbell to play Riker.
Because, you're a droid and I'm annoyed!