From worst to best:
Unseen (As of Yet):
For episode 1 critique – click here
Due to unpopular demand, I’m going ahead with episode 2 joke critiques and other observations for The Orville.
Time to explain the Laughometer
Make sense? O on the left, full guffaw on the right. Chortles and full laughs in between.
Here’s a promo scene to start us off:
Let’s take a closer look at episode 2, “Command Performance”
20th/21st century reference #1… at the 7 second mark!
Bortas, the straight man, tries to understand Mercer’s relationship with Kermit the frog. This works! 3 full chortles. One point though – Mercer says Kermit “always keeps his cool in a crisis…” – I’m not sure if that’s part of a joke but it took a moment for me to realize that’s not even remotely true:
And the audience breathes a sigh of relief. Mercer makes a couple of bad egg jokes. The real puzzler is, how could he not know the basic details of his second officer’s species?
Bortas leaves and now Mercer wants to eat eggs. This joke works. 3 Chortles. Doing better than episode one so far!
Really? I mean I get that the Orville is crewed by “everymen” but come on. 0 chortles, 2 head shakes.
This is not a joke note, but to me the ship looks perfectly fine when Commander Grayson comments otherwise. A little plasma venting into space would have fixed that scene.
A viewer question: why is it “weird” that the other ship scans the Orville? In space etiquette is that a rude thing to do? Or wouldn’t it just be standard procedure whenever two spaceships meet? If it wasn’t by now, it should be after the end of this episode.
20th Century reference tally: 2. Also, barely amusing. 1 chortle.
Two butt jokes in 3 minutes! 1 chortle. I will note at this point though that I am so glad this show has video transmission and not holograms.
Because Grayson is going to visit with her ex-parents-in-law, she decides to replicate a cannabis edible for herself. One half a chortle, I guess? Maybe there’s a payoff down the line with this?
Okay, remember in the last episode when I said I’m waiting for Isaac to show his superior intelligence? Here’s a scene that leaves me still waiting. The captain told him to scan the ship. Did he do it? Was there any unusual result? He never gave the captain a report of any kind. Seems important, especially since the other vehicle scanning them was declared “weird.”
I like this. 1.4 laughs.
And then she barfed. That’s fine, serves the story. 2 chortles, because the sound effect was good.
The two commanding officers were kidnapped, leaving Alara in command, which she isn’t suited for. I like this line and this kind of humour. The timing wasn’t spot on but a full 3 chortles. Also Alara has eyebrows this episode, did you notice?
20th Century reference tally: 3
20th Century reference tally: 4!
Captain Ed “Top of His Class” Mercer tries to force open some doors with his shoulder. 0 chortles.
Even the aliens are blue collar North Americans.
I’ll say it again – great design and makeup on this show!
Isaac uses his superior intellect to analyze and use the alien technology to project a holographic image over the ship. As he should. And now the Planetary Union has ship holographic technology which they will remember to use in subsequent episodes when it would be very useful…right?
20th Century reference tally: 5
I’m surprised they didn’t go for a scene where Mercer goes to the bathroom to take a pee and the aliens are watching him and he can’t go because he’s got a shy bladder.
Hands up if the domestic bickering on this show is something you look forward to.
Good. 3 full chortles.
The “euthanasia sweep” from the super advanced species is a few lasers that don’t even target the living creatures. STUPID! How about sucking out all the air, or poison gas that floods the entire apartment, or a disintegration wall, or incinerating temperatures?
Elvis Presley’s last words. 20th Century reference tally: 6!
20th Century reference tally: 7
Reality television joke: 1 chortle.
Bortas’ egg hatches – and it’s a female. IMPOSSIBLE?!?!
Summing up, there was no payoff to the pot brownie.
At some point I’d like to do a little more analysis on Mercer compared with other douchey/unqualified command officers in space. Interested?
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Hi, I’m Toren, a Star Trek nerd.
Despite the sour taste that Seth McFarlane’s projects tend to leave in my mouth-brain, it turns out that I care about this show. I didn’t expect to like it based on the trailers, but despite the sophomoric humour — which I feel does not fit in with this clearly Star Trek homology and weakens the overall experience — there is a lot about The Orville that makes it worth watching.
Let’s explore, shall we? Episode 1: “Old Wounds”
In this episode Captain Mercer (Seth McFarlane) walks in on his wife Kelly (Adrienne Palicki) having sex with an alien. He is upset about this and goes into a downward spiral for a year until his now ex-wife (spoiler) arranges for his command of a vessel on which she will serve as second-in-command, in a perverse manipulation both on a personal and professional level.
Ejaculation joke! Rating: 0.5 chortles. I found the “chirp” sound that follows to be better, at a rating of 1.0 chuckles.
Not a joke – but a character observation about Captain Mercer. Sure, I get it. – he’s upset, so he doesn’t want to talk at the moment. But it’s apparent in this pilot that he has no interest working through his relationship. Which is just the kind of guy he is. Does this make him a sympathetic character? Sure, his wife “cheated” on him, but does he ever try to do the right thing? Stay tuned…
The visuals in this show are very good for the most part. Kudos to the design department!
I choose this moment to illustrate that Mercer is not qualified to be the captain of a Union ship.
The marbles not minds joke! Not bad, I give this a full 3 chortles – not yet a full laugh.
This line tells us that Mercer is very smart. Right?
3 minutes, 34 seconds in: First dick joke (if you don’t count the forehead ejaculation scene)
The ogre is super friendly. An amusing joke – 1.0 laughs.
To illustrate that helmsman Gordon Malloy is a roguish chap, he tricks the ogre and beheads him. 0.1 laughs.
Malloy also drinks beer while he’s flying a shuttle. The joke falls flat but there is charisma in the delivery.
The music in this show is excellent and kind of catchy. Another positive mark for the show in general.
Lt. Alara is young, inexperienced and super strong. If I was casting this show, I would have cast her even younger, like maybe 13 or 14. I think that would have made the contrast more ripe for comedy, and then the writers (McFarlane) would have to come up with jokes that steer clear of sexism, which I think would be a nice challenge for them/him.
Slightly amusing. 0.1 laughs I guess?
If the entire species is male, then there is no female and there is no male, because there is no gender differentiation. Are they hermaphroditic like banana slugs? If they lay eggs (we are shown later that they do) then rather than male, wouldn’t they all be female just like whiptail lizards?
This one gets 0.0 on the humorometer.
It’s the acting on this joke that gets it 2.0 chuckles.
I note that the doctor has a degree in psychology because Mercer and Commander Grayson really need a qualified counsellor if they are going to work together in a professional relationship on a Union starship. In fact, if any Trekesque series needed a Counsellor Troi, this one does much more so than Star Trek: The Next Generation. What are the policies on crew fraternization on Union ships, and more importantly, the mental fitness of a commander who has an extremely volatile relationship with his second in command? Are we to believe that the Union would send this ship on important missions while the two highest officers have a dysfunctional if not hostile relationship?
A testicle joke! 0.1 chortles.
I want to point out that Isaac is supposed to be “objectively superior” to humans. Sure, it’s his own claim and nobody else’s, but let’s put a pin in this and come back to it in a future show.
Lt. Malloy has a little fun with navigator John Lamarr. 0.0 laughs.
Minor Quibble Department: Am I the only one who thinks that the bridge is too large?
Again, great visual effects on this show. Really nice.
Delivery on this joke is excellent. 2.0 laughs!
Continued (and concluded) in PART TWO – click here!
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Here’s a quick glance at 1983 for players of the Call of Cthulhu adventure “The Shadow Over 1983”
It’s, like, the list, that I made, right? For you
I think Early Man will be gone by this weekend 🙁
A Fantastic Woman shows at Tinseltown (Intl Village)
Game Night shows at Metropolis Metrotown.
I, Tonya shows at Tinseltown (Intl Village)
Jumanji screens at Tinseltown
Call Me By Your Name shows at Tinseltown
If none of these suit your fancy I could be talked into re-watching Annihilation and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri