What started as an intense desire to draw Shanelle from Beverly Hills Teens exploded into a full-on celebration of some of my favorite black 80’s cartoon gals including Netossa from She-Ra Princess of Power, Shana from Jem & the Holograms, Diana from Dungeons & Dragons, and Orange Blossom from Strawberry Shortcake.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, 110 (Nov. 28, 1987) - “Haven”
In this episode we find out that Deanna Troi is ‘genetically betrothed’ to some dorky space-nerd named Wyatt, as per Betazed tradition (even though Wyatt is human) overseen by her Mom (Lwaxana). Apparently Betazoid marriages also come with the expectation of the wife leaving her career behind, which Deanna doesn’t seem too happy about. To make matters even more awkward, Wyatt is coming to the ship with his family (and Deanna’s mom) to meet Deanna for *checks notes* the very first time? Yep. That’s right, this is the first time they’ve ever even laid eyes on each other. In addition to this awkwardness Lwaxana’s arrival makes matters only worse as she proceeds to ridicule everyone who isn’t a telepath for being so obviously inferior. But she’s definitely not being rude, because this is just *checks notes* how Betazoids are… which I guess makes it not bigoted or xenophobic at all.
While Lwaxana makes every effort to be offend anyone she talks to, we find out that Wyatt is more-than-a-little surprised that Deanna isn’t how he imagined. You see, apparently he’s had a vivid-life-long-dream about some random blonde woman he’s never met (haven’t we all?), and so naturally concluded he was accurately imagining Deanna the whole time. Chalking up his mystery woman to nothing more than a silly fantasy, Wyatt decides to settle for Deanna since she is very pretty, and that has to count for something. Unfortunately, just as the two love birds are warming up to each other, Wyatt’s mystery blonde woman arrives on a refugee ship and immediately recognizes him; as it happens, she’s also had life-long dreams about him, which is a pretty remarkable coincidence!
And the explanation for all this… *checks notes* spontaneous space telepathy. Yep, that’s what we’re going with. According to Lwaxana, apparently we all have some kind of universal telepathy deep down inside of us. At any rate, that’s enough of an explanation for Wyatt, who packs up to follow the hot blon- er- his destiny.
One would think that ‘Haven’ might offer a decent opportunity to flesh our Deanna’s character, but nah. Why do that when there are still male guest stars, and love interests to focus on? I do genuinely try to find the good in these old episodes, but this one is a dud. My biggest points of contention are in the portrayals of Lwaxana (specifically), and the Betazoid’s (generally).
For starters, Lwaxana is exceptionally rude; she’s condescending, hostile, and has no regard for anyone else’s feelings. I don’t care that “She’s telepathic and therefore thinks differently,” she’s completely bigoted towards anyone who isn’t Betazoid, and it’s clearly spiteful. The episode tries to play it off as comic relief, but based on this episode alone Lwaxana exhibits more potential for becoming an arch nemesis than the Ferengi ever will.
Secondly, Betazed may have a unique culture, but perhaps the federation should think twice before inducting other civilizations with such draconian marriage practices into their ranks. It would all be one thing if Deanna was happy with the arrangement, but she clearly doesn't want to get married. So why must she? Why such pressure? Shouldn’t freedom of choice weigh in to all federation cultures, without risking ostracization or criticism? Even Picard is like “hey, this seems kinda questionable. I wonder if this should be allowed” but that’s as far as we’ll explore such topics, because we have a LOVE TRIANGLE to get back to! Yay! (more on that below)
1 star (out of 5)
This is Lwaxana’s first appearance. My familiarity with this character is mostly from DS9, where I found her occasionally amusing, if exasperating, so I never quite understood the hate she got from other fans. Now I get it.
Space love triangle: Riker is too busy feeling jealous of Wyatt to consider how this may be affecting the woman he supposedly loves. Deanna even calls him out by stating “YOU’RE the one who wanted to focus on a career,” to which Riker essentially retorts with “Yeah, but this is hard on ME!” Real mature, dude.
This season really has a fixation for alien races that are just hot white people in revealing clothing. Which leads as a nice segway into my next point…
This show is VERY horny, but repressively so. The crew all seem to have a “live and let live” mentality towards others (which is usually good), but are very restrictive and emotionally stunted in their own self-expression.
On the other hand, Lwaxana talks about her naked body and sex life WAY too much. She’s obviously making the crew uncomfortable, and it’s clearly intentional.
Data’s fascination over “petty squabbling” cracks me up though. Solid comedic performance from Brent Spiner.
"You can't be strong all the time. Nobody is. Not even me."
I put a lot of love into this soundtrack + fan playlist! Shuffle it!!
(if anyone knows who made the meme cover image so I can credit them and/or change it, please lmk!)
I have BritBox for a month so I've been binge-watching Robin of Sherwood. Haven't seen it since I was a kid. I thought it would seem dated, but it's aged rather well!