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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When last we left our heroes…
Mercer runs over the blobby character voiced by Norm McDonald. Sure, why not? 1.0 laughs
Mercer throws a hissy fit at his commander. Not sure if this is supposed to be funny so I won’t give it a rating on the humorometer.
Malloy demonstrates his maturity and professionalism. 0.0 laughs.
Isaac, despite being a living computer and superior to humans, doesn’t know what the word “suck” means, so the crew has to explain that to it. 0.0 laughs.
Time for a tiff between the two divorcees.
Yes, he’s over it, that’s why he threw a hissy fit at the Admiral.
Grayson explains that her infidelity was a mistake, but now she’s going to correct it by becoming Mercer’s second-in-command! Makes sense right?
The first 20th century reference in the show, not bad for the pilot! 0.0 laughs. Does he call all blue aliens Papa Smurf?
Here we finally have a mention of what I was wondering about. Couples counselling! They needed it! I’m confused, though, why wouldn’t he call his wife’s brother-in-law simply “my brother?” And so I guess he dismissed the entire idea of counselling because they couldn’t come to an agreement on a suitable counsellor? Anyway….
A little bathroom humour to lighten the mood. 0.2 chortles.
Not a terrible joke. 0.9 chortles.
In this shot we see a dog licking itself. This will be fine and amusing, as long as nobody calls attention to it and explains the humour!
Damn. So close!
Here’s a thing I like abuot this series. No transporter beams! Just shuttles. Thumbs up. I wish that Star Trek: Enterprise had stuck with this concept.
A little passive-aggressive showmanship by Captain Mercer. 0.3 chortles just for the language.
I liked the delivery on this joke. 3 chortles!
The scientist explains they have a quantum field generator that affects time. They accelerate the age of a banana before the captain’s eyes. But this man who is described as “smart” and “top of his class” by other characters has no idea what he’s looking at. Joke rating: 0.9 chortles.
No rests are given to the passive-aggression.
Just a hard science thought – inside the bubble her head is aging rapidly (100 years within seconds), but outside her body ages normally. Is her body delivering blood and carbs and other chemicals that her brain needs for 100 years? If not, then she should die – to us – instantly, rather than screaming inside the quantum bubble for 100 years.
Aliens attack, but the crew just wants to get off work. 1.75 laughs.
The whole pizza party gag is spot-on. One full guffaw! Possibly the best jokes of the show.
The bad aliens come down to get the device. Hey, bad aliens! Make sure you destroy the Union shuttle that’s sitting there! Or sabotage it! Or be waiting on board when the crew returns!
Nice. Makes sense and we never see this sort of thing in sci-fi shows or TV shows in general. 1.2 laughs.
Again, the design department is rocking it. The makeup in this show is better than any Trek series. Yes I will go that far!
Ok soldiers, when in a firefight make sure you stand out in the open!
Malloy demonstrates his piloting prowess by “hugging the donkey.” I don’t know why it’s called hugging the donkey but that’s perfectly fine. 0.9 chortles
The commanding officer is insecure about his abilities. 0.3 chortles.
here we establish that Alara can do super-leaps, at least on Earth-like planets. Let’s keep this in mind for the future episode where she doesn’t do a super-leap when it would otherwise solve a problem.
So bad. 0.0 laughs.
Aha! The krill DID infiltrate the Union shuttle. But only one soldier? And he plans to take the device AFTER they all get into the shuttle? Weird.
Helmsman Malloy executes a whacky maneuver that he says will never work….and I believe him! Even if he did manage to get the hangar bay to line up with the out-of-control shuttle while he was “hugging the donkey” – at that speed the shuttle should be destroyed. But…it’s only a show, I should really just relax.
1 chortle for this joke. But more importantly, who is hugging the donkey while Malley abandons his control panel to deliver the line?
Great! 1.9 laughs!
Mercer has had a rough day. Also – they still use “friggin'” in the future!
Okay…how intensely stupid does he think the krill commander is? Surely the krill will send over an inspection team to recover the device themselves, because there’s no way they would trust a remote-controlled shuttle which will CLEARLY contain some kind of bomb.
Wait, what’s this? The two senior officers are working well together, perhaps even re-forging their bond in this crisis situation?
Tree gets big! Sure, apart from the idiotic decisions of the krill, this is a fine resolution to the time device story. And the joke gets a full 1 out of 3 chortles from me.
The debriefing, interrupted by the space welder guy. 3/3 chortles (not a full laugh)
Mercer relents his whining and sees the value of having Grayson on board. But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll see more infantile outbursts when things stop going his way in the next episode.
Just a re-affirmation here that Mercer is considered to be smart. Remember all the smart things he did this episode?
In conclusion, my main problems with this episode are:
- The infantile humour, which is out of place in an otherwise serious homage to Trek, and with very few exceptions doesn’t land. Compare this to Red Dwarf, which is a comedy series in space. It works because nothing about the show takes itself seriously.
- Mercer is totally unfit for command and does not show any of the intelligence the rest of the cast expresses on his behalf.
- The complete lack of awareness both by the Admiral and Commander Grayson that putting two ex-spouses in command together would severely compromise the safety of the ship and crew on any delicate or dangerous missions. But hey, it’s a comedy show, right? …Right?
As I said, there are good points to this show. It’s fun, the production values are set to 10, and it’s light (in contrast to the actual new Star Trek series which is the darker than the darkest mirror universe episodes from Deep Space Nine).
My only other quibble with the show is that the lighting is very bright overall especially on the Orville itself. It’s preferable to being dark of course, but it’s presently at the point of being a monotone wash, which makes the visuals a bit boring.
Also, I am very thankful there is no laugh track.
Thanks for reading this far! I didn’t think you would. Want me to do this for episodes 2 and beyond? Let me know and why not support me on Patreon?
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”
My goal is to find original tracks. Many videos can be found on youtube of these and other traclistks including the hard-to-find Ray Ellis originals, but they have dialogue and sound effects layered over top, since they are harvested from the cartoons.
If you have any information or tips please comment below!
Special thanks to JimmyRich and the other diligent folks at librarymusicthemes.boardhost.com
BOB HARRIS & PAUL FRANCIS WEBBER
“Spider-Man Theme Song”
What if I told you that you could meet The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets’ singer Toren in the Boston Wasteland and hear exclusive Thickets tunes on the radio in Fallout 4?
Thanks to our skilled superfan John Peacock and Dave Johnson, the “Musicians Mod” adds a radio station in the town of Goodneighbor. Once you complete the quests, including one given to you by Toren to find Mario’s guitar, you can listen to the new radio station which includes (among many other bands) four acoustic Thickets songs – both old and new – made exclusively for this Fallout mod, as well as the Spaceship Zero radio plays. You can also find Thickets clothing for your character to wear. Plus Toren provides a number of voices, both on the radio and in the wasteland.
Also, Three Dog is back! Check out this video to see what it’s all about and the cool features:
Check out that tentacular Thickets t-shirt!
The mod is available for Xbox 1 and PC. PS4 gamers will have to wait a bit longer. Crawl out through the fallout and follow the links below!
Bethesda PC (pending): https://mods.bethesda.net/#en/
You can also comment on Reddit: https://redd.it/5c9aj7
So you’re running a D&D game and you want some suggestions for background battle music? I’m here to help. I’ve been running D&D for decades and I think these will help.
Now these are not the songs that you play while the players are plotting their next move at the inn, or tending their wounds between battles. These are tracks to use when the dragon bursts out of the keep or the goblins start poring out of shrubs!
All Drums Go To Hell: “Barrage of Noise”
These are short!
See also “Norwegian Devil” “Armored Cars” “Code of Honor” “Death Came Early That Year” “Guerilla Raid” and “Images of Horror”
EQUINOX PART 2
Starfleet Captain Ransom, also stranded in the Delta Quadrant, is doing bad things and violated the prime directive. Janeway goes crazy koo-koo and prioritizes laying down the law on Ransom rather than defending her own crew from dimensional shamblers. Meanwhile, evil Doctor is over the top. 6/10
You thought Seven was the only borg separated by the collective! Because they keep saying that. However, by sheer coincidence she comes into contact with three other ex-borg who aren’t linked to the collective but are constantly nightmarishly linked to each others thoughts. Doctor severs their link but gives them only a month to live. The Bajoran ex-drone decides to spend her remaining days aboard the ship. We never hear about her again. 6.6/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 6”