Aug 14 2012 4:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Cost of Living”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”“Cost of Living”
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 5, Episode 20
Production episode 40275-220
Original air date: April 20, 1992
Stardate: 45733.6

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise shatters an asteroid that’s about to collide with Tessen III. However, some sparkly stuff sprinkles onto the saucer section...

Worf and Alexander have a session with Troi. Both of them are having trouble, with Alexander not performing his chores, and Worf being extra belligerent. Troi suggests they draw up a contract that spells out what both Worf and Alexander are responsible for, and how it must be done.

Before they leave, Troi tells Alexander that some day he’ll be grateful that his father cares this much about him, and that children often don’t appreciate their parents until they’re much older. The irony fairy then plunks Troi on the head, as her mother comes on board, and announces that she’s getting married, and wishes to have the ceremony on the Enterprise.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Troi wants to know who her prospective stepfather is—his name is Campio, and he’s the third minister to the Conference of Judges on Kostolain—and is rather surprised to realize that they haven’t actually met yet. Lwaxana brushes off the concern (surprisingly making no mention of the fact that Troi was all set to marry someone she’d never met back in “Haven,” nor generally that that seems to be a Betazoid tradition), and then is interrupted by Worf and Alexander, who are having difficulty drawing up the contract. That difficulty is magnified a thousandfold by Lwaxana, who sabotages all of Troi’s work by declaring the contract to be ghastly. She does, however, get Alexander to smile.

Picard is cranky on the subject of Lwaxana treating the Enterprise like her personal yacht, though he relents when Riker informs him that she wishes Picard to give away the bride, a notion he finds irresistible.

And again we fade to commercial with an image of the sparkly stuff from the teaser moving about the deckplates.

Lwaxana arrives at Troi’s office to find Alexander there. He’s early for his session with Troi because it got him out of his quarters before his father got back. Lwaxana decides to break a few rules, and takes Alexander to a holodeck simulation of the Parallax colony, a place filled with free spirits and fun and very few rules. There’s a wind-dancer, a fire-sculptor, a juggler, a pair of friends who constantly argue with each other (“Who else are you going to fight with if not your friends?”), and a pompous windbag. Alexander quotes the windbag’s droning as a way to get the two arguing friends to stop arguing. Then they all get into a mudbath, and a woman then dances for them—but it’s interrupted by Worf and Troi, who are both seriously pissed off.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

In Lwaxana’s quarters, Troi berates her mother, saying that she’s trying to teach Alexander responsibility, and Lwaxana’s not helping by sending him mixed messages. (Lwaxana’s response: “I exposed you to all kinds of mixed messages when you were that age, and you still turned out deadly dull. What are you so worried about?”) Troi is also stunned that Lwaxana has time to go to the holodeck with Alexander when her wedding’s in three days. But she’s got Mr. Homn handling the piddly details, like altering Campio’s mother’s wedding dress.

That gets Troi’s jaw to drop—she’s not going to have a traditional Betazoid wedding (wherein the participants are all naked)? Lwaxana brushes off her concern—and then is confused by the replicator putting large sausages in her tea.

That turns out to be a shipwide problem, as there are two hundred reports of food replicator malfunctions. Data and La Forge look into it, and find an energy fluctuation. La Forge says they’d better fix it before the captain orders dinner. They crawl into the Jefferies tubes, and find some negative ion charging—and a bunch of brown liquid goo.

Alexander visits Lwaxana as Mr. Homn is working on her wedding dress (she’s also wearing a hideous white wig) and apologizes for getting her in trouble. They talk a bit about her wedding in particular and marriage in general, and Lwaxana admits that she’s compromising because she’s getting older, and she’s afraid to be alone.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Data and La Forge report on the replicator problem, and in the middle of that, several other systems start malfunctioning, losing attitude control and inertial dampeners. Something is changing transfer conduits into the brown goo.

Campio arrives, and he and Lwaxana greet each other. However, when Lwaxana attempts to kiss him, his protocol master, Erko, puts a hand between their faces. They can’t be too familiar before the wedding takes place, apparently.

Lwaxana is surprised at the presence of a protocol master, but Campio would find it unpardonable to abandon oneself to the moment. Lwaxana agrees, to Picard and Troi’s surprise.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

La Forge and Data continue their analysis. Whatever’s affecting the ship, it’s consuming and metabolizing the nitrium in the systems, and leaving the goo behind as waste. So yes, the goo is excrement...

Alexander skips out on dinner because he promised Lwaxana that they’d go to the holodeck together. When he gets there, it turns out that this was also when Campio, Erko, and Lwaxana were to discuss wedding plans, and Lwaxana’s trying to duck out on that, as well. Campio and Erko try to get Lwaxana to stay, then Troi and Worf come for Alexander, and it turns into a farce: Lwaxana wants to go with Alexander, Troi and Worf want Alexander to go with Worf, Campio wants Lwaxana to stay and is willing to let Alexander stay, but both Erko and Worf object to Alexander staying, Erko additionally objects to Mr. Homn’s presence, and everyone’s going back and forth leaving Lwaxana and Alexander with the perfect opportunity to sneak out.

While trying to trace the malfunctions, La Forge and Data see the sparkly stuff move out of an access conduit, leaving the goo behind.

On the holodeck, Alexander notices that Lwaxana seems sad for someone about to get married. He also opines that Campio probably wouldn’t take a mudbath, and Lwaxana has to admit that he’s right about that.

Meanwhile, the sparkly stuff is spreading throughout the ship. La Forge and Data have identified it as a metal parasite that was probably feeding on the nitrium in the asteroid they destroyed at Tessen III. Picard orders the Enterprise back to the asteroid field that it came from, hopefully providing it with a better meal than the ship.

Unfortunately, the ship’s falling apart at the seams, with life support giving out at random intervals. By the time they reach the field, the bridge crew has collapsed from carbon dioxide poisoning. Data, though, is unaffected, and he uses the Bussard collectors to emit a particle beam with tons of nitrium in it. The sparkly things follow the beam out, and the ship pulls itself together.

Ten-Forward is redecorated for the wedding. Everyone and everything is ready—except for Lwaxana, who’s late.

And then finally she comes in—naked, as per Betazoid tradition. Erko practically has a heart attack, and insists that they must leave immediately.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Lwaxana retires to the mudbaths, along with Alexander—whom she thanks for teaching her the lesson that she had intended to impart to him—and Troi and Worf. Troi seems to also be enjoying the mudbath—though not so much that she doesn’t remind both Alexander and Lwaxana that you have to sometimes live in the real world—but Worf doesn’t get it at all. (“You’re just supposed to sit here?”)

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: The asteroid that the Enterprise destroyed had a metal parasite inside it, one that’s undetectable by sensors. Since the ship took away its food source, it moved onto the ship in search of nitrium to munch on. Said munching messes with many of the ship’s systems, including life support.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi attempts to help Worf and Alexander deal with their difficulties by suggesting a contract between the two of them. Lwaxana points out that contracts are for people who don’t trust each other—which is patently false, and it would’ve been nice if someone pointed out that marriage is also a contract. As is typical for a Lwaxana episode, Troi is reduced to being her mother’s “straight man.”

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf’s tenure as the worst parent ever continues unabated as he seems incapable of communicating with Alexander except by yelling. Alexander throws that in his face during the session with Troi by accusing him of yelling all the time, to which Worf loudly says, “I do not—” before catching himself, and then more quietly saying, “I do not yell.” Troi’s sarcastic response is lovely.

Worf also gets the single funniest moment in an episode that has quite a few of them. The wind dancer—a floating head in a bubble—makes funny faces at people as they enter the Parallax colony, and while Lwaxana and Alexander are charmed by it, Worf is singularly unimpressed, and after it continuously blocks Worf’s forward progress into the holodeck, he finally bats at it, bursting the bubble. Troi is unable to contain her amusement.

If I Only Had a Brain...: In the comments for “Cause and Effect,” regular rewatch commenter “JackofMidworld” said, “Without Data, the crew would have died a lot. Like, a lot-a lot.” This episode is a classic example, as he’s the only one who makes it to the asteroid field awake to implement the plan to get the sparkly things off the ship.

What Happens on the Holodeck Stays on the Holodeck: Lwaxana re-creates the Parallax colony on the holodeck, which seems a good place to relax—it’s half carnival, half spa.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

I Believe I Said That: “Nothing would please me more than to give away Mrs. Troi.”

Picard’s rather emphatic acceptance of the honor of giving away the bride.

Welcome Aboard: Lots and lots of guest stars in this one, starting with recurring characters Majel Barrett as Lwaxana, Carel Struycken in his final appearance as Mr. Homn, and Brian Bonsall as Alexander. There’s also Abie Selznick as the very Vorta-looking juggler (he’ll be back twice on Voyager in “Macrocosm” and “The Voyager Conspiracy,” and will also provide choreography for the Ventu movements in “Natural Law”), the delightful Larry Hankin as the clown-like wind dancer, Patrick Cronin as Erko, Christopher Halsted as the windbag (he’ll return as a Jem’Hadar in the Deep Space Nine finale “What You Leave Behind”), and veteran character actor Tony Jay being sufficiently pompous as Campio.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Trivial Matters: This episode won two Emmy Awards, for Costume Design and Makeup—both well-earned, as costume and makeup work for the Parallax colony was excellent.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Lwaxana’s lament that she was alone carried greater weight, as Majel Barrett had recently lost her husband, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who died only a few months before this episode filmed.

During filming, the set was visited twice, once by two kids from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, once by Good Morning America, which did a live feed from the set.

Though this is Mr. Homn’s final appearance on screen, he will continue to be mentioned. In your humble rewatcher’s “The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned” in Tales of the Dominion War, the valet is killed during the Dominion’s conquering of Betazed, sacrificing his life to save Lwaxana’s son (who will be born some time after the Deep Space Nine episode “The Muse”).

This is the second of three times that Lwaxana finds herself becoming attached to someone from a repressive society of some sort—first it was Timicin in “Half a Life,” and the next will be Jeyel in “The Muse.”

Make it So: “The higher, the fewer.” I never liked this episode much, and haven’t watched it again in years. So I had forgotten about its excellent pedigree—Peter Allan Fields will go on to write some of the best episodes of Deep Space Nine, and Winrich Kolbe is one of the best television directors in the history of the medium—and feared that this would be another “Up the Long Ladder,” where an excellent writer and director (in this case, the same director) would be wasted on a dopey story.

And—well, it is a dopey story, but it’s actually better than I remember it. For one thing, it’s genuinely funny, particularly in the first half. Majel Barrett and Marina Sirtis have their banter down pretty well at this point, and there are a variety of great lines (some quoted above at various points), plus the Parallax colony is genuinely delightful, from the wind-dancer’s wonderful facial expressions to Abie Selznick’s excellent juggling. The scene where Lwaxana and Alexander try to escape their mutual obligations to Campio and Worf while Campio, Troi, Worf, and Erko all bitch and moan is entertaining as all heck, too.

It’s also nice to see that TNG has evolved to the point where an episode can focus on two recurring characters. The intersection of Alexander and Lwaxana works rather nicely, actually, especially since it gets Alexander away from Worf and the tiresome yelling between the two of them. Worf really is the worst parent ever, and he not only hasn’t gotten any better at it, he shows no signs of the possibility of getting better at it. This makes every scene between father and son repetitive and shouty and tiresome.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: “Cost of Living”

Besides that, though, two other things really kill this episode. One is that, it’s yet another silly sci-fi B-plot that has nothing to do with the rest of the episode. In fact, it’s so completely removed from the A-plot that we never even see how the ship shaking and falling apart and life-support fluctuating for several hours affects Campio or Lwaxana. You would think that Erko would at least complain about it (since he complained about everything else). The B-plot is so lazily tacked on that it doesn’t feel like it’s part of the same episode, a problem that has only gotten worse as the show’s progressed (see also “In Theory” and “The Outcast”), and mostly makes one long for more episodes like “Family,” where the producers trusted the characters enough to let them carry the episode without tiresome technobabble.

The other is that for all that it’s cool to focus on recurring characters like Lwaxana and Alexander, the fact of the matter is that it’s focusing on Lwaxana and Alexander. Lwaxana has only had one good episode up until now, and this story does not add to that total, while Alexander isn’t proving to be much better.

Ultimately, it’s appropriate that the B-plot is about an entity that leaves the Enterprise full of crap...


Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido has written a surprising amount of Alexander and Lwaxana in his Star Trek fiction, given how little he likes either character. He’s not sure what that means.

Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
1. Lisamarie
I have noticed that, with the exception of the episode where the Ferengi kidnap them all, I have a soft spot for the Lwaxana episodes (even though I am pretty sure she would irritate the heck out of me in real life). So even though the episode was rather campy, I found it very amusing.

Also, it had TONY EFFING JAY! Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of my favorite Disney movies (and yes, I have read and enjoyed the book) so I kept hearing everything in a Judge Frollo voice, which just made it better.

Totally agreed on the B plot. I really would have rather seen more character interaction. I agree with you on Worf's overly rigid parenting, but I can't help but sympathize and I am also kind of stodgy and rule loving. And I thought Lwaxana and Alexander's interactions were rather sweet. Besides, that's not how microorganisms work. They are not ALL going to leave. Even if just a few stay behind...you're still screwed.
2. RaySea2387
I've never liked the whole idea that the writers need to shove in a sci-fi plot in an overwise character-based episode because "the show is sci-fi, damnit!" In my opinion, that was actually one of the few ways the later series improved upon TNG: relaizing that the show actually can be about characters, at least sometimes, and we don't always need to see some kind of phased inverse mutiplexing technobableon beam coming from the main deflector.
3. J.M.
“Quasarmodo” said, “Without Data, the crew would have died a lot. Like, a lot-a lot.”

Have you been keeping count of the times Data saves everyone vs. the times Data nearly kills everyone because of bad decisions or because his positronic brain is compromised? I'd be curious to see what the totals are.

Good review of an episode I never really liked.
4. John R. Ellis
I actually loved Alexander and Lwaxana instantly bonding. It's not too hard to see they were doing a shout-out to Auntie Mame, here. And there are far worse things a long-running SF franchise could do an homage to.

I agree completely on Tony Jay's awesomeness, even when playing a bit of a milquetoast. (I first knew him as the charmingly evil Paracelsus over on Beauty and the Beast.)

The rest of the episode is fairly mediocre and predictable, but it's watchable.
5. Christopher L. Bennett
I've always quite liked the character-focused parts of this episode. It's one of my favorite Lwaxana episodes and perhaps the only Alexander episode I care for. It's a lot of fun.

But I agree completely with the assessment of the ship-in-danger B plot. Of all the forced, tacked-on tech/danger subplots in otherwise character-driven TNG episodes, this is the most forced and the most tacked-on, and with the most laughably over-the-top danger. That need for a quota of action and peril really damaged what was otherwise a really enjoyable character comedy.
David Goldfarb
6. David_Goldfarb
Not long after this episode, Peter David did a novel in which Lwaxana Troi met Q. He put in this approximate dialogue:

Lwaxana: Life is a banquet, and most poor bastards are starving to death!
Deanna: I think I've heard that somewhere before.
Lwaxana: Yes, dear, I've said it many times.

So yes, more than one person noticed the Auntie Mame connection....
Alyssa Tuma
7. AlyssaT
I liked this one too. Maybe it's just me, but I think lots of viewers out there can probably identify with having a father who's a bit gruff/emotionally unavailable, a mother who's OD'ed on the new-agey parenting techniques (chore charts! parent/child "contracts"! gold stars! positive reinforcement!), and grandparents that amusingly frustrate both by spoiling the crap out of you. I had immense fun watching the dynamics between Troi, Lwaxana, Worf, and Alexander play out. Extremely relatable and well acted by cast members who now had a few years of experience under their belts to make the relationships effectively realistic. The B plot was horbs. No argument there.
Rob Rater
8. Quasarmodo
I can't take credit for the "Without Data, the crew would have died a lot. Like, a lot-a lot" comment. I was quoting another commenter from the responses of Cause & Effect, and responding to say Data was the reason they were in the loop to begin with. But I still enjoyed seeing my name in the recap! :)
Keith DeCandido
9. krad
Whoops! Thanks for that, Quasarmodo. I've adjusted it to JackofMidworld, who actually said that. *sheepish grin* Apologies to all and sundry....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido, who'd be totally hosed without the "edit" function
11. MvComedy
I will say one thing for the B plot: I do believe that the opening teaser had some of the best "Enterprise in action" special effects on TNG up to that time. Most of the time when we see the Enterprise doing anything combat-related, it always seems to just be sitting stationary in space or plodding along slowly. Kudos as well to the special effects for the weapons and deflector dish, meteor explosion, and even the parasites descending on the Enterprise, they have withstood the test of time, imo. The overall action in the opening teaser was much more reminiscent of something we would see later on DS9.

Speaking of the B plot, did it ever occur to anyone that it in addition to the fact that the crew was fortunate to have Data aboard to save the ship, that Data himself was remarkably fortunate not to have any of his systems partially composed of nitrium. I think that if it had been revealed that Data was infected with the parasites in addition to the ship, it would have given the B plot much more gravitas as far as creating a sense that the ship was ever in any danger.

Also, always good to see something with the late Tony Jay in it. I will always remember him as Megabyte from Reboot. And will not forgive Mainframe for ending the series on a cliffhanger prior to his death. Although they could recreate his voice digitally...
Joseph Newton
12. crzydroid
I was also kind of blown away by the teaser, and thinking they had blown the entire episode's effects budget on just that one part. Unfortunately, it was a part of a plot that didn't go anywhere...except to have Data execute the plan just in the nick of time while everyone was literally dying, and then have everyone pop back right away.

The only part I had remembered from this episode was the mudbath, and something about Lwaxana having a hippie-ish influence on Alexander.

It didn't strike me that the juggler looked like a Vorta...I will have to go look at a picture again.
Joseph Newton
13. crzydroid
Ok, just looked at a picture, and completely disagree about the Vorta look-alike thing.
14. Sean O'Hara
The only thing I like about this episode is that by having an Alexander/Lwaxana story, we were saved from having an Alexander episode and a Lwaxana episode.
15. Mike Kelm
I agree that the b-plot has to be one of the dumbest ones ever. " The ship is being eaten! Oh no, everyone continue your holodeck programs and weddings!". Apparently the ship eater only effects areas where the senior staff is.

Btw, once again the writers forget that the ship is repaired by more people than Data and Laforge. A simple throw away line or two about how Ensign Jones and Crewman Smith are one section over, or saw something suspicious or whatever reminds the viewer that Laforge is in charge of probably a hundred crewman who presumably are also crawling through Jeffries tubes.

But I do like the interplay between the trous and the Worfs (moghs?). Ultimately in a long series you can't have 100% heavy sci go episodes and the parent child theme is universal. I think Deanna should occasionally "win one" over her mother, but regardless Majel Barrett delivers as Lwaxana continues from a pure comedic character to a more mentor like role, similar to how we saw her in the first season of DS9 with Odo.
16. jlpsquared
No this episode is terrible. This is an attrocious episode with a couple funny throw away moments.

That being said, if they had thrown out the B-plot, and added another character piece, or more attention on the main plot, it could have really been a fine funny hour.
17. DianeB
Call me a sucker, but I loved this episode (even though I'd forgotten about the B-plot entirely). That could be because any episode with Lwaxana is, to me, a good episode. As Krad said, Majel and Marina have the banter down pat, and I thought the bonk on Troi's head by the "irony fairy" to be the perfect Lwaxana/Troi moment! I'm really sorry there wasn't at least one more Lwaxana/Alexander episode, because I think these two could've got up to some real good calculated mischief together. Worf up to his neck in the mud bath? Classic Klingon comedy. Plus I wish there really was a Parallax colony. How awesome would that be? Like I said, I'm a sucker. Oh, well. There are worse things to be.
18. Christopher L. Bennett
@6: Actually Peter David's Q-in-Law came out about seven months before this episode aired, and is set sometime between "Deja Q" and "Menage a Troi." This episode was hardly the first time Lwaxana had been likened to Auntie Mame. I remember an interview in which Majel Barrett called Lwaxana "the Auntie Mame of the galaxy" in connection with her debut appearance in "Haven." (It's from the second issue of Starlog's TNG magazine, and that quote actually appears on the cover.)

@11: No, even now there's no way to convincingly recreate a real person's voice digitally. The best you can do is edit recordings of their voice, or hire a living actor who can do a good impersonation of them. They are working on a prototype, specifically on behalf of Roger Ebert (who lost the power of speech due to cancer), that can let him communicate with a speech synthesizer that has the timbre of his real voice, but it still has the unnatural cadence and "accent" of a computer-synthesized voice and couldn't pass for the real thing.
Danis Brunet
19. Danis
I agree with 16.
I just want to know what was in those edible cups.
20. MvComedy
@18: Good point. In fact, ReBoot was plagued by (among other things) having to recast voice actors frequently, due to child VA's voices outgrowing the parts, losing adult VA's to payment disputes or other outside goings-on, and having to write characters out due to budgetary concerns. In at least one instance, a character was relegated to only being mentioned due to the death of a VA during an interval of years between the third and fourth season. But ReBoot was also one of the rare shows that could sometimes make that work to their advantage, often having the (notably different) voices for the same characters fit into the plot of the story. It was also the show that pretty much pioneered the idea that a regular CGI series could be a success, as up to that time CGI was mostly seen as a gimmick. So most likely a recast would be in order, but it would be interesting to see whether synthesizing Jay's voice using the current level of could be utilized on the show in some way, as that was an incredibly clever series when it came to technology and storytelling, for a cartoon. Of course, that assumes that the show ever comes back which looks unlikely at this point.
21. Christopher L. Bennett
Trying to recreate Tony Jay's voice with a speech synthesizer and get a "performance" out of it would be blasphemy. As rich as the timbre of his voice was, it was his performance and talent that made it truly impressive. So the way to "recreate" what he did is to find an actor of comparable talent with a comparably rich voice to take over the role. I bet Corey Burton (whose many animation roles include Count Dooku on The Clone Wars and Megatron on Transformers Animated) could do a pretty good Jay impression. Or you could just try to find another deep-voiced English actor without worrying about an impression. John Rhys-Davies? Benedict Cumberbatch?
23. Sean O'Hara
@ CLB: Go to YouTube and search "Hatsune Miku". "She" is a Japanese pop idol whose songs are created through a consumer-level voice-synth program called Vocaloid. It's no good for on-the-fly voice generation since if you just type text in and have her read it back, it sounds as artificial as any other voice-synthesizer, but Vocaloid allows users to adjust every single sounds. The best Vocaloid songs don't sound 100% natural, but they do sound like a real person who's been run through Autotune.
Jack Flynn
24. JackofMidworld
(no harm, no foul, Krad, but thanx for catching the mix-up, Quasarmodo :)

Sidebar on the recent comments - who ever would have thought that you'd have to consder, I dunno, 'copyrighting' your voice so it doesn't get used without your permission...
25. Christopher L. Bennett
@23: First off, Autotune is evil. Anything that sounds like an Autotuned voice is not something I can tolerate listening to.

Second, even if technology could credibly fake the sound of a human voice, that doesn't mean it ought to be used as a substitute for the talent and creativity of a live individual. Thinking in those terms is completely missing the point of what made Tony Jay an impressive actor, and it doesn't pay tribute to him to want to duplicate him with machinery. The way to pay tribute to his craft and his skill is to cast another real live human being and make the most of his craft and skill.
26. Heather Dunham
For all the flaws that do exist in this episode, it does have one of my favourite double-take lines ever: when Lwaxana first meets Alexander and starts waxing nostalgic about a "tall handsome warrior" she once knew also named Alexander, "oh he utterly adored me, and we went everywhere, simply everywhere! Have you ever been anywhere ye - Contract? What contract!?" nearly a full minute after the contract was first mentioned. Hilarious comic timing, pulled off with perfection by Ms Barrett Roddenberry.

I also get a kick out of her talking 'to herself' when she's interacting with the holodeck computer.

I had not put 2+2 together, before reading this recap, that this was so soon after she had in fact become alone after the death of GR. Extra poignant.
Brickhouse MacLarge
27. Midnightair
This episode was very entertaining. It was very well directed and acted, with the b plot unconvincingly added on, but overall very well crafted and written episode. Mrs Troi looked like Amadeus Mozart in her wedding gown and wig. Mr Woof had a number of hilarious scenes. I would have loved to have seen Guinan in this episode.
28. Eben Brooks
I must politely disagree with your assessment of this episode. I remember it very fondly as a delightful episode where two recurring but minor characters learn a great deal about each other and themselves. While it is true that neither Troi nor Worf are shown in the best light in this episode, I think the bond between Lwaxana and Alexander more than makes up for that.

One thing I always wondered, though. Did Majel actually get naked for that scene, or did they use a body double? My GF at the time was convinced that it had to be a double, but I'm not so sure. Do you happen to know?
29. uvuv
What I loved about this episode is that it shows that Lwaxana can actually be a great parent. When she interacts with Diana Troi, she comes across as lacking sensitivity and empathy (totally ironic for a Betazoid) and also pushy and intrusive. With Alexander she showed that she has this other side to her parenting - fun-loving, easy-going, let-a-kid-be-a-kid, and surprisingly sensitive and empathetic. So that was nice.
Keith DeCandido
30. krad
Eben: Pretty sure it was a body double.

uvuv: Agreed on Lwaxana's skills in parenting a child. It's parenting an adult that she has trouble with. :)

31. Alden O'Swine
Just so we have a complete list of guest stars in this episode, the guy whose head is in the floating bubble is 'Saved by The Bell' star Dustin Diamond, AKA 'Screech'. (The poor guy has probably never in his adult life seen his own name written down without 'AKA Screech' written after it.)

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