Friday, December 16, 2011

Classics: DS9 6:23 - Profit and Lace

Overall Rating: 0.5 read that right.  Zero.  Point.  F***ing.  Five.  This is hands down the worst pile of crap that Deep Space Nine ever produced.  Worse than Melora, worse than Meridian, worse than Let He Who is Without Sin...worse than all of them.

Plot Synopsis:

You really don't need to click this link to get the basic plot.  All you need to do to get this one the most sexist, clumsy, unfunny possible interpretation of Quark in a fraggin' dress and you've got it.  This...right the ultimate reducto ad absurdem for when staff writers get so comfortable with their jobs that they stop caring in the least what their audience likes or whether their ideas make sense as long as they themselves think what they wrote was funny.

The Skinny:

Oh let me count the ways that this episode is horrendous.

  1. The ridiculous notion that the Ferengi could ever exist and be space-faring people with an advanced economy and culture that has the notable flaw of NOT MAKING ANY DAMNED SENSE has never seemed so ludicrous as it does after watching this episode.  How can a race that supposedly survives on intelligence, guile, and acquisition be SO F***ING STUPID??  I mean REALLY...come ON now Behr and you really think Americans (who you say the Ferengi represent) are that dumb?  How disgustingly elitist can you get?
  2. While you're touting your progressive view that capitalism is innately illogical and its practitioners are literally so dumb that they can't figure out what gender everyone is, you manage to set progressive goals like feminism and gender equality back a good two centuries.  Look down your noses at us stupid capitalists in America all you want, but your script is fundamentally IDIOTIC, as well as fundamentally SEXIST.  Let's START with the notion that gender change - real, substantive character change driven by gender - can be achieved simply with surgery and hormones.  Every feminist in America ought to be hunting you down so they can slap the crap out of you for such stupidity.  Even I...who believes what progressives do not (that the genders are biologically, psychologically, and emotionally different and are endowed with different statistical strengths and weaknesses, different but roughly equal)...know that gender is not created by hormones and dangling vs. concave sex organs, but by the fundamentally different brain wiring that COMES from those different hormones IN THE WOMB, not to mention the years of social conditioning, the wholesale physical differences (far beyond the sex organs themselves), etc that come from different genes.
  3. While we're working on the stupidity of this script...and its inherent sexism...let's stop and think about what some of these lines imply about women and men.  Even if you were to accept the dubious notion that organs and hormones controlled gender, the suggestion is made by the ham-handed writing and acting that takes place throughout the story that female Quark is considerably more irrational, more emotional, less capable of taking care of herself, and less confident than her male counterparts in the story.  They play her for the unwitting (and lucky) fool...using the male Quark's knowledge of finance and her female sex appeal to convince the Sluggo Cola magnate to back Zek's pro-female agenda.  That's right...male Quark is smart...female Quark is only good for getting f***ed on the first date and whining like an idiot.
  4. But the fun don't stop there.  Behr apparently does not understand politics at all.  Since WHEN does convincing ONE person of the wisdom of a radically different political agenda - no matter how influential that person may be - ever produce a lasting political change on this scale?  If things really worked this way, there would have been no civil war.  Lincoln could have convinced Lee mano a mano that slavery was doing his Southern states no good and BAM...instant civil rights!  Well hot damn!  I guess Martin Luther King Jr. is still alive too, eh?  Since no one could possibly kill one soda magnate who backed the wrong side...could they?
This is just...AWEFUL.  There is NOTHING redeeming about it...not one damned thing.  The plot makes no sense, shows the kind of open contempt for the characters, the audience and the continuity of Trek that becomes much more common on Voyager and Enterprise, achieves a goal that it shouldn't achieve, and is quite frankly an ugly expression of both elitism and moral bankruptcy...and all tied to abject ignorance and stupidity.  This one episode is great cause for me to lose my respect for the ENTIRE CANON that is DS9. If it weren't for the fact that it produced largely episodes far far FAAAARRR exceeding this in virtue, style, substance, and character...if I'd seen this one bad episode in any other genre, I'd never have watched another.  Ever.  And I wouldn't regret it.  It is THAT awful.

Writing: 0.0

Find any writing in this episode that demonstrates the skill of, say, a high school freshman in creative writing class.  Go on, I dare ya.

Acting: 1.5

It's funny, really.  All of these actors are actually really good normally...but in this episode, they all put in hilariously over-the-top amateurish high school drama class performances as a unit...I've never seen so many good actors perform so poorly all at once.

Message: 0.0

Not only does this episode intentionally try to be meaningless...but it FAILS at being meaningless and is instead full of twisted, ignorant meaning that illustrates the monstrous lack of character in Hollywood today.


As I typically do with horrendous episodes of a classic canon, I'm going to preserve the unforgivably terrible dialogue for posterity with my jeers attached.

(Cut for length.)

Aaaand...we'll start at the beginning, with Quark literally propositioning his perfect employee for sex in the cheesiest way EVER.
QUARK: The customers love you!  Your fellow Dabo girls love you.  Even the Ferengi waiters sing your praises.  And you know why?  Because you're nice!
ALUURA: I try to be.
QUARK: And it shows!  You're nice to the customers, you're nice to the Dabo girls, you're nice to everyone.  Well...almost everyone.
ALUURA: Do you mean there's someone I've offended?
QUARK: Look closely, dear.  Can't you see the pain in my eyes?
ALUURA: But I'm always nice to you.
QUARK: I could be nicer.  ( know the worst thing about this?  WE LIKE QUARK!  He's not like that!  He may CLAIM to be a typical Ferengi, but he almost never actually acts like one!  What the hell, Behr?  You work so hard to make him the devious little bastard with a heart of gold and then you do THIS?)

QUARK: She's probably off visiting the Negas.
ROM: I tried the Tower of Commerce - no answer there either!
QUARK: They're probably off on vacation!
ROM: Brother, you don't understand!  I can't get through to anyone on Ferenginar.  Not Gala, not Lek...I tell you something is very wrong!
QUARK: Alright!  We will continue this at a later time.  In the meantime, you have some reading to do.
ROM: Hi, Lora!
LORA: Hi...(smiling uncomfortably)
ROM: She's so nice...
QUARK: We'll see. ( is going to hurt)

ROM: The Negas, our moogie, Gala...they're all dead!
QUARK: We don't know that, Rom...but something is definitely wrong on Ferenginar.
SISKO: We'll see what we can find out.
DAX: Captain a conveniently timed Ferengi ship is approaching the station and requesting permission to dock.  It's Grand Negas Zek...and you're mother is with him.
ROM: THEY'RE ALIVE!!!!!!! (oh GOOOOOODIE!!!!) Nice work! (really...really, Rom?)

ISHKA: Tell 'em, Zekkie...
ZEK: No no, you go ahead.
ISHKA: No, it should really come from you. (GET ON WITH IT and stop this completely hideous attempt at cutesiness!!)

ZEK: Three days ago, I added an amendment to the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities granting females the right to wear clothes.
QUARK: In public...?
ISHKA: Anywhere we want.
QUARK: That can't be the good news.  If females can wear clothes, then they can leave their homes.  If they can leave their homes, they can go to work.  If they can go to work then they can earn profit!
ISHKA: What's the matter, Quark?  Afraid of a little competition? (cue chicken clucking noises)
ZEK: Face it, Quark.  It's good business.  For thousands of years, the Ferengi Alliance has ignored a vaaaaaaaast resource! (said all "cutely" again)
QUARK: Females?  A valuable resource? (*headSLAMdesk*)
ZEK: Females comprise 53.4% of the population and contribute virtually nothing to the planetary income.  I think it's time they started pulling their weight!
ROM: Well it sounds good to me!
ISHKA: See, there's a reason I like him better. (what a horrible taught Quark the Rules of Acquisition...he grew up believing what he does now in part because of you...and you hate your own son for it...go to hell, Ishka)
QUARK: Better tell me the bad news.  It might cheer me up.
ISHKA: I seriously doubt it.
ZEK: As soon as clothed females started appearing on the streets of Ferenginar, financial chaos erupted. (hey...realism!...but don't won't last)

QUARK: Who's gonna replace you?
ZEK: Who do you think?
QUARK: Brunt.
ROM: Grand Negas Brunt?
ZEK: (ready?) ACTING Grand Negas Brunt. (yeah...get used to that's gonna get said about seven billion more times)

QUARK: I still can't believe it. Brunt is the new Nagus? 
ZEK: Acting Nagus.  (ugh)
QUARK: For three more days. Then it becomes official. 
ZEK: I'm not worried. I have a secret weapon. Your mother. Now here's the plan. One, we contact every FCA Commissioner and invite them to the station for a meeting. Two, Ishka runs the meeting. 
QUARK: Oh, they'll love that. 
ZEK: Maybe not at first, but she'll win them over. Using her vast financial knowledge and her keen instinct for profit, she'll prove once and for all that allowing females to wear clothing is the first step toward a healthier and more prosperous Ferengi economy. And three. What was three again, my dear? 
ISHKA: The FCA Commissioners reinstate you as Nagus. (really...that's the part he forgot????)
ZEK: And who can ask for a happier ending than that. 
ISHKA: But that's only the beginning, lobekins. I predict that one day, a female will enter the Tower of Commerce, climb the forty flights of stairs to the Chamber of Opportunity, and take her rightful place as Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance. 
QUARK: Don't look at me. It was your amendment. (uuuuugh!!!!)

ISHKA: Well, the news isn't all bad. The Commissioner who's agreed to come. It's Nilva. 
QUARK: The Chairman of Slug-o-Cola. 
ISHKA: He's a very powerful and influential voice within the FCA. 
ZEK: Unfortunately, he's a influential voice for the status quo. 
ROM: I don't think Slug-o-Cola has changed it's advertising slogan in three hundred years. Drink Slug-o-Cola. 
ALL: The slimiest cola in the galaxy. (alright...THIS...was actually kind of funny)

ZEK: Well, it's a start, at least. 
ISHKA: See? I told you it was too early to panic. 
BRUNT: Care to place a wager on that? 
(Enter the new Nagus with his own Hupyrian servant.) 
ROM: Grand Nagus Brunt. 
ZEK: Acting Grand Nagus Brunt. (*sigh*)
ISHKA: Now you can panic. (really...just because he showed up??)

BRUNT: I'll take an Eelwasser. No ice. 
ZEK: What are you doing here, Brunt? 
BRUNT: That's Grand Nagus Brunt. 
ISHKA: Acting Grand Nagus. 
(Uri'lash and Maihar'du glare at each other.) 
BRUNT: Would someone please tell that female to take off those clothes. It's disgusting. 
ISHKA: Get used to it, limp lobes. This is the future. 
BRUNT: Over my dead body. 
ZEK: If that's what it takes. 
ROM: I don't suppose you're here to reminisce about the time you helped my brother and me rescue Moogie from the Dominion. 
BRUNT: You're right. That's not why I'm here. Though I find it ironic that helping to rescue your mother was the first step on my road to becoming Nagus. 
ISHKA: Don't remind me. 
ZEK: I never should have given you your job back with the FCA. 
BRUNT: But you did. And as a Liquidator, I was able to bribe my way back into a position of power. 
ROM: That is ironic. 
BRUNT: Face it, Zek, it's over. You're finished. Bankrupt. I'm going to liquidate you. Cancel that Eelwasser and get me a Slug-o-Cola instead. On second thought, I'll just wait till Chairman Nilva gets here. I'm sure he'll be happy to provide his new Nagus with all the Slug-o-Cola I can drink. 
ROM: How did you know Nilva was coming here? 
BRUNT: Because it's my business to know. Go on, have your little meeting. Whatever you offer Nilva, I'll double it. 
QUARK: That's it. Get out of my bar. 
BRUNT: You dare threaten your Nagus? 
QUARK: Acting Nagus. You may liquidate us tomorrow, but right now this is still my establishment. Now get out before I kick you out. 
BRUNT: I'm going to make you a pauper. Uri'lash, we're leaving. Say goodbye to these poor people. 
QUARK: Out. (this is arteries can't take it...)

ISHKA: What's the matter, Quark? Are you afraid you picked the wrong side? You can always go crawling to Brunt, beg his forgiveness. 
QUARK: I don't want anything to do with Brunt. I want my old Nagus back. 
ISHKA: Do you. 
QUARK: I want Zek to be the way he used to be, before he met you, before you twisted his thinking with your feminine wiles. 
ISHKA: Before he met me, Zek was a lonely, unhappy man. 
QUARK: But he was rich. He was the most powerful Ferengi alive. Now what is he? A puppet. And you're the one pulling the strings, making him dance to your evil, feminist tune. You're the worst thing that ever happened to Zek. You're the worst thing that ever happened to me. In fact, you're the worst thing that ever happened to the entire Ferengi Alliance. 
ISHKA: Maybe I am, but at least I'm not like you. A selfish, spineless, ungrateful 
QUARK: Don't forget miserable. 
ISHKA: Miserable excuse for a son! 
QUARK: Is that the best you can do? 
ISHKA: I haven't even begun. You should be ashamed of yourself. Why, you are nothing but a. Why, you are, you 
QUARK: Go ahead. Say it. 
ISHKA: You're a 
QUARK: I'm still waiting. 
ISHKA: You're a. You're a. You're a 
QUARK: A what! 
(Ishka suddenly falls backwards onto the floor.) 
QUARK: Moogie. Moogie? Moogie! Moogie. Moogie. Moogie! (sooo...cornball...)

ROM: Doctor, how's Moogie? 
QUARK: Will she live? 
BASHIR: Oh yes, she'll live. She needed a new heart and it's functioning normally. But she's going to need a few days complete rest. And she'll need to be kept far away from him. 
ZEK: And why is that, Doctor? 
BASHIR: I'm not sure exactly. All I do know is that she keeps repeating the same phrase over and over. It's all Quark's fault. It's all Quark's fault. (wow)

ROM: We're doomed. 
ZEK: No, we're not. You think if Ishka were here she'd give up? 
ROM: If she were here, we wouldn't have a problem. 
ZEK: That's not my point. Your mother would never accept defeat. If she couldn't find another female, she'd, she'd, she'd 
ROM: She'd what? 
ZEK: She'd make one. 
QUARK: You mean a hologram? 
ZEK: Better than a hologram. 
QUARK: What could be better than a hologram? 
ZEK: You.

ROM: Doctor Bashir certainly did a wonderful job on you. I'd call the operation a complete success. 
LEETA: It must have been a very delicate procedure. 
QUARK: (soft voice.) Tell me about it. 
LEETA: There. 
(Now Lady Quark is revealed.) 
QUARK: Well, how do I look? 
LEETA: You look nice. 
QUARK: Nice? That's all? 
ROM: Very nice. 
ZEK: You may look like a female but you have to do something about that voice. 
QUARK: I'm trying! I mean, I'm trying. 
ZEK: Well, try harder. 
LEETA: And stop looking down. 
QUARK: I need to see what I look like. Someone get me a mirror. 
(Maihar'du gets a cheval mirror from behind a curtain.) 
ROM: You see, brother? You look lovely. 
(Quark bursts into tears.) 
LEETA: There go his hormones. 
ROM: You mean, her hormones. 
QUARK: Take it away, take it away. I'm sorry. I just feel so different. 
LEETA: Would you stop staring at your chest. 
QUARK: I'm not staring at my chest, I'm staring at my hips. Aren't they too big? (oh good lord!...the INSTANT he's female...he can't control his emotions, he cares only about his bodily appearance, and he affects a lighter tone of voice?  What kind of women does Behr know in real life?!?!)

QUARK: Female apparel for a new source of latinum for a new Ferenginar. Hypicate cream for smooth skin and healthier profits. All these facts and figures. They're too much for me to remember. (oh my GOD!!...not only is he an emotional wreck...he acts like a f***ing bimbo??????????)
ZEK: Oh, nonsense. You just need a little time to practice your presentation. 
LEETA: And while you're at it, we need to practice your walk. 
QUARK: What's wrong with my walk? 
LEETA: You're lumbering. 
QUARK: This is never going to work. 
ROM: Don't cry, Brother. Here, let me show you. Watch carefully. (does a ladylike walk) You see? It's more of a glide. 
LEETA: That's good. 
ROM: And when you sit, make sure your knees are touching. And don't forget to relax your shoulders, but keep your bottom tight. (again...what the hell kind of women does Behr they really still emphasize the way they walk?!?!)
(Leeta looks worried.) 
ROM: What? 
QUARK: He's the one who should be wearing the dress. 
ROM: Why me? 
LEETA: You're so adorable, and complicated. (oh SPEW)

QUARK: I can do this. Its only one meeting. I can be a female for one meeting, can't I? (really?  No confidence either, ey?)
LEETA: Not if you're lumbering. 
QUARK: I'll conduct the meeting sitting down. 
ROM: Tighten your bottom. 
ZEK: (stroking Quark's thigh) I think you're doing wonderfully, my dear. I'm proud of you. (slap) I'm sorry. You know, you may walk like a man, but you make a very attractive female. Confusing, isn't it? (it sure as hell is...what guy has ever been INSTANTLY attracted to a woman they KNOW to have had gender change surgery?)

ZEK: You'd better start memorising those notes. 
LEETA: First, we need to practice your walking. 
ROM: And your sitting. 
ZEK: And you'd better work on that voice. 
QUARK: Any other comments? 
ZEK: Has anyone ever told you that you have lovely eyes? (Can I please curl up and die now instead of continuing this??)

I have one technical question...why does Nilva, immediately after arriving, seem to know where he's going?  He tells Nog to lead the way to Zek and then barges into corridors as if he knows the station backwards and forwards?)

LEETA: Let's try it again. 
(Quark enters, glides across the floor and sits nicely.) 
QUARK: My name is Lumba. You must be Chairman Nilva. Zek has told me so much about you. Ow. 
LEETA: What's wrong now? 
QUARK: It's these earrings. They're killing me. Do I have to wear them? 
ROM: No woman is complete without earrings. Why does everyone keep looking at me? (um...because you are being played both as gay (which we know you're not...and a chauvinist - no woman is complete without earrings??)

NILVA: Oh, a clothed Ferengi female. And with your approval, no less. Either you've been inhaling too much beetle snuff or you're the greatest visionary ever to sit atop the Tower of Commerce. 
ZEK: Well, why don't you and I have dinner tonight and try to figure it out. We can go to Quark's and get some nice, juicy snail steaks. You can meet with Lumba tomorrow. 
NILVA: I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, I have to leave first thing in the morning. I'm due back on Ferenginar for an important stockholders meeting. Oh, but those snail steaks do sound tempting. I know. Why don't I have dinner with Lumba? 
QUARK: With me? 
ZEK: Won't you feel uncomfortable being seen in public with a clothed female? 
NILVA: Well of course I will, but you and I have made a lot of latinum together over the years. That should be worth some small discomfort. But Lumba better be all you claim she is, or I'll have to liquidate you myself. Let's eat. (and they send Quarkina off to be a sex slave for fun and profit...what a touching moment)
ROM: Have fun.(yyyyyyyep...and if you do, that'll make ONE of us)

NILVA: Let me see if I understand. Giving females the right to wear clothes allows them to have pockets. Once they have pockets, they're going to want to fill them with latinum. 
QUARK: Which means they're going to need jobs. 
NILVA: And once they start earning latinum, they're going to want to spend it. 
QUARK: Which means Ferenginar will be expanding its work force and its consumer base at the same time. 
NILVA: There will be plenty of profit for everyone. 
QUARK: When it comes to profit, I'm your girl (I'm pretty sure I just threw up a little bit)

QUARK: Let me see. Slug-o-Cola contains forty three percent live algae, right? 
NILVA: In every bottle. 
QUARK: Well, how about something like, Drink Slug-o-Cola and keep your teeth a sparkling shade of green. 
NILVA: Oh, Zek was right about you. You're very intelligent. 
QUARK: For a female? 
NILVA: I think it's time for dessert now. 
QUARK: Good idea. (Nilva stands and offers his hand.) I thought we were going to have dessert? 
NILVA: Oh, we are. In my quarters. (oh yes...not only is Lumba intelligent...for a female...she knows how to f*** her way to the top...because what liberated woman WOULDN'T want to do that...)

NILVA: It's so good to finally be alone. Without all those people staring at us. 
(Quark takes off his heels, backing away.) 
NILVA: Although I must admit, I did find it someone stimulating. 
(Nilva chases Quark round the table.) 
QUARK: Maybe a little too stimulating. 
NILVA: Can I help it if my lobes burn for you? If you don't believe me, just touch them. Touch them. 
QUARK: I'll take your word for it. 
NILVA: You said you'd do anything for me. 
QUARK: I lied. (I we're almost the same)

NILVA: Marry me!
QUARK: I don't think your wife would approve. 
NILVA: Who cares? She hasn't touched my lobes in months. 
QUARK: I can tell. 
NILVA: Oh, I need you. 
QUARK: What you need is a cold shower. 
NILVA: What a good idea. Why, you can scrub my back. 
QUARK: What if 
NILVA: Yes? 
QUARK: I told you 
NILVA: Yes? 
QUARK: I hate Slug-o-Cola. 
NILVA: So do I. 
(Nilva gets the chair off Quark.) 
NILVA: Oh, you torture me. 
QUARK: Stay away. 
(Quark climbs on a table.) 
NILVA: Stay away or what? 
QUARK: Or I'll jump. 
NILVA: I'll catch you. (this has to be seen to be disbelieved oh my is this stupid)

NILVA: Is this true? You're a man? 
QUARK: Do I look like a man? 
BRUNT: Nice try, Quark, but it's not going to work. He's the station's bartender. 
QUARK: Don't listen to him, hot lobes. I'm as female as they come and I'll prove it to you. 
(Quark kisses Nilva.) 
QUARK: Well? 
NILVA: Well, I'm not sure. 
QUARK: Oh, all right. 
(With his back to us, Quark opens his dress to show Nilva his full monty.) (completing the horror that is this episode from the perspective of a complete the deal, they must all see your vagina)
QUARK: Now are you sure? 
NILVA: Oh, completely. 
BRUNT: I tell you that is not a female. 
NILVA: Well, she's close enough for me. Come, my dear. Let's go tell Zek that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure he remains Grand Nagus. 
BRUNT: But why? 
NILVA: Because that's what Lumba wants. (I'm actually insulted as a man...ignore the feminist's torment here...they really think men are that penis-whipped?  Their brains turn off at the mere SIGHT of a smart, attractive?...woman they just met?)

ODO: Interesting ring. 
QUARK: It was a gift. Poor Nilva. Such a lovely man, but so lonely. 
ODO: Really? 
QUARK: There was a sweetness to him, and also a strength. Sometimes he'd get this little glint in his eye. You know what I mean. 
ODO: Not really, but I'm glad you had a pleasant evening. 
QUARK: You're mocking me, aren't you? 
ODO: And you're being a little overly sensitive. 
QUARK: I've only been a male again for six hours. My hormones must still be out of balance. My emotions are raging out of control. 
ODO: Is there anything I can do? 
QUARK: Would you mind giving me a hug? 
ODO: A hug? 
QUARK: Just a small one. 
(Odo nods, Quark rushes into his arms, crying.) 
QUARK: Thank you. (just wow...)

ALUURA: I read the book. 
QUARK: What book? 
ALUURA: You know, Oo-mox for Fun and 
QUARK: You shouldn't be wasting your time reading that kind of trash. 
ALUURA: But you told me to. 
QUARK: Forget what I told you. It was wrong and I apologise. You are a wonderful employee and I'm lucky to have you working for me. In fact, as of today, I'm giving you a raise. Another two slips of latinum a week. 
ALUURA: Really? 
QUARK: It's the least I can do. 
ALUURA: That's too bad. 
QUARK: All right, make it three. 
ALUURA: No, it's not that. 
QUARK: Then what? 
ALUURA: It's just that Oo-mox sounded like fun. The tympanic tickle, the eustachian tube rub, the auditory nerve nibble. But if that's the way you feel about it. 
QUARK: That is exactly the way I feel about it. 
(Aluura leaves him.) 
QUARK: What am I saying? Aluura? Wait. (aaaaand...status quo returns...such as it is...I can finally go and find that shotgun I've been saving for this review...when you think of me...try to remember me fondly...goodbye cruel world!!!!)

1 comment:

  1. This one is in my bottom 3 Trek episodes ever produced. Wretched.