Friday, April 10, 2020

Star Trek: The Outrageous Okuna

Episode: "The Outrageous Okuna"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 4
Original Air Date: December 12, 1988


The Enterprise picks up Okuna (William O. Campbell), a freighter captain with a twinkle in his eye - imagine a Han Solo-type who is more forward, and more successful, with women.  Charming as he is, he manages to put our friends in the middle of an interplanetary feud - shades of Romeo & Juliet, happier ending thankfully.  Meanwhile, Data is learning about humor from a holodeck comedian played by Joe Piscopo.

This one's fun - nothing spectacular but fun.  Okuna is likeable and even admirable by story's end.  Campbell was actually one of the original candidates to play Riker but he was thought to be too "soft," therefore better suited to this role.  Teri Hatcher, she of a later, more famous Seinfeld episode, also appears, though un-credited, by her own request after much of her material was cut.  Good development for Data, too.  His one inadvertant joke is genuinely funny:

Guinan: You spoiled the joke.  It could have been your timing.
Data: My timing is digital.


Acting Notes

Image result for joe piscopo
via Wikipedia

Joe Piscopo was born June 17, 1951 in Passaic, New Jersey.  In 1980, he signed on with Saturday Night Live.  He was part of the ill-fated cast that followed on the heels of the legendary originals.  The replacements were received so poorly that most were let go after one season.  Only Piscopo and Eddie Murphy survived.  Piscopo built his reputation on impressions, most famously of Frank Sinatra:



I remember his Miller Lite commercials fondly:



Jerry Lewis was the original choice for the holodeck comedian but his schedule didn't work out.  In tribute, Piscopo did his routine, mostly ad-libbed, in Lewis's style. 

Piscopo is referenced in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Jammin' Me":



These days, Piscopo has a daily radio show, Piscopo in the Morning on WNYM.

12 comments:

  1. Another one I don't remember.
    Never a big Piscopo fan. Not not a fan, but he's never been someone I followed.

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    1. I can't say I'd given him much thought over the past 30+ years. I do like the beer commercials, though.

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  2. Sounds like a fun episode.
    By the way... I belong to a Scotty Instagram, I really have not started to post on it yet. One of the Scotties I follow is called "squid the scotty dog" so very cute ! He lives in Devon.
    parsnip

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  3. Great episode, my one criticism though was that I was never sure if the two warring planets were colonies of Earth or yet another example of a humanoid species evolving in other star systems.

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    1. Memory Alpha classifies the inhabitants of both planets simply as humanoids. I sense no implication that they are colonists, simply Montagues and Capulets in the stars...

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  4. Happy Easter and I hope you are all safe and well.
    parsnip

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    Replies
    1. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed the holiday, too.

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  5. Replies
    1. Not exactly a highlight but not exactly awful either - firmly mediocre.

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  6. I recently watched this episode with Okuna. Love the quote-Data is the best. :) ~ Jess

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  7. It's definitely a good Data episode.

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