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Lack of Married Main Characters

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 4:46 am

The ratio of single characters to married characters in Trek is pretty large. At launch of all the series, only O'brien and Tuvok were married. There were widows/widowers as well as long term relationships and as the shows progressed, some characters got married but marriage was still in the minority.

We've discussed Trek being partial toward heterosexuality and humans but has it been inclined against this most core of human institutions? Does the Starfleet lifestyle just encourage singleness? Are married relationships not as interesting and dramatic as the single lifestyle? Has the franchise failed to properly represent and explore married life?

Ezri Janeway

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Report this May. 16 2011, 5:35 am

Meh glitch! Attempt 2 (which is never as good as the first attempt is it? Sigh).


To get too deeply into marriage and close relationships may have turned Trek into a soap. Allthough Trek is about human relationships, they mamaged to explore this without the bubbles.


A career in deep space is probably not condusive to marriage as most people would already be married to the job and as it would be very difficult to have this type of career and a family life, most choose, consciously or otherwise, their career.


Interestingly those getting engaged or married in Trek tend to already have established their careers, you dont see many 20 somethings tying the knot, so it does reflect real life for many career orientated people now.


 

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 5:55 am

With the D having families, shouldn't at least one main character have had a traditional nuclear family?

I would also say single relationships are more soap opera-y

Ezri Janeway

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Report this May. 16 2011, 6:38 am

Im sure many had traditional families, just not so much in Starfleet and those that did often felt the family had been sacrificed due to the career.


True and getting too deep into the nitty gritty of any family relationships, whatever they may be, is going to creep into soap.

parrothead117

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Report this May. 16 2011, 7:28 am

You're right, Matthias, and I think it's unfortunate.  This is one reason why O'Brien is my favorite character in the franchise.


"We must strive to be more than we are, Lal. It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards." - Data, "The Offspring"

Treknoir

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Report this May. 16 2011, 8:15 am

Quote: Matthias Russell @ May. 16 2011, 4:46 am

>The ratio of single characters to married characters in Trek is pretty large. At launch of all the series, only O'brien and Tuvok were married. There were widows/widowers as well as long term relationships and as the shows progressed, some characters got married but marriage was still in the minority. We've discussed Trek being partial toward heterosexuality and humans but has it been inclined against this most core of human institutions? Does the Starfleet lifestyle just encourage singleness? Are married relationships not as interesting and dramatic as the single lifestyle? Has the franchise failed to properly represent and explore married life?


I'n going to try and keep this light as I could write a damn thesis on the matter. But I think the main reason was simply to keep the main actors (mostly males and then later females) open for single arc flings. It is one of the few pet peeves I have about ST. Now, one could argue that during the ENT and perhaps TOS era that singleness was probably a given since SF was still "new", more dangerous, and warp was slower (i.e., officers and crew could be gone for YEARS). But by TNG forward, that shouldn't have been a problem. I enjoyed the few characters who were married like O'Brien and Tuvok. I wish there could have been more balance. And ST creeped into soap territory often. As long as there wren't whole episodes devoted to who left the toilet seat up or something along those lines. LOL


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 10:00 am

Crusher and Picard as well as Riker and Troi were set up as love interests from the beginning but producers wanted them available for "flings". Peter David wrote Imzadi 2 with Riker and Troi getting married at the end, them he had to change it because the editorial figures didn't like the idea of main characters marrying.

Face it, there is potential for all relationships to get soapy but with most people getting married in life, a huge portion of the audience was ignored. Not only that, it could have led to wonderful social commentary and lessons on martial fidelity, balancing work and family, etc. A marriage doesn't have to be less exciting than single life, either.

With all the social representations we would want in a future show, I think a married central figure should top the list. Just look at the books, the variety of married characters are quite enjoyable.

Treknoir

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Report this May. 16 2011, 10:39 am

Quote: Matthias Russell @ May. 16 2011, 10:00 am

>Crusher and Picard as well as Riker and Troi were set up as love interests from the beginning but producers wanted them available for "flings". Peter David wrote Imzadi 2 with Riker and Troi getting married at the end, them he had to change it because the editorial figures didn't like the idea of main characters marrying. Face it, there is potential for all relationships to get soapy but with most people getting married in life, a huge portion of the audience was ignored. Not only that, it could have led to wonderful social commentary and lessons on martial fidelity, balancing work and family, etc. A marriage doesn't have to be less exciting than single life, either. With all the social representations we would want in a future show, I think a married central figure should top the list. Just look at the books, the variety of married characters are quite enjoyable.


Exactly. But then again, I have an overall issue with ST's portrayal of sex as being mostly consequence free. I attribute some of this to the 60's sexual revolution when TOS first aired. And I'm pretty much open-minded about sex. If you're an adult and everyone consents, have at it. However, the notion that humans and aliens COULD just BANG away all willy-nilly without concern for disease, negative cultural consequences, pregnancy, DISEASE (LOL), strikes me as irresponsible post-TOS. Not that I'm advocating celibacy or unrealistic portrayals of adults not wanting to get it in.


I think marriage/family/sex are subsets of ST's skewed portrayal of relationships. I know that coworkers can become as close as family, but come on. Folks had a life off the ship.


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 10:47 am

^Another good point.  Definitely would have been interesting to see the doctors battling crazy alien STDs.  I think Harry Kim was the only person to contract one.

Treknoir

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Report this May. 16 2011, 11:17 am

We have pretty nasty STD's right now that a condom can't control (herpes, warts, hpv, etc.). Even if humans find a cure for those, can you imagine what kind of "love bug" Species X might be harboring? A disease to which we have no natural immunity. A young man could go to Risa or Delta IV looking for a good time and come back with something like this exploding out of his genitals:



It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 11:34 am

That's, uh, pretty gross but a good argument for abstinence.

Sooooooo, yeah, I feel disenfranchised.

Treknoir

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Report this May. 16 2011, 11:49 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Sisko was the only married captain, right?


I know Kirk and Picard had regrets about family.


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 16 2011, 12:06 pm

Yes. However, if you consider the books, Picard, Riker, and Calhoun are all now married. Sisko is now estranged or separated from his wife. Spock and Saavik are also married but have never lived together.

Treknoir

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Report this May. 16 2011, 12:33 pm

Well okay then, but I would still like to see some balance on the big and little screen.


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

JosephVasta

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Report this May. 16 2011, 2:20 pm

If I remember, Only Sisko was a widower. Janeway was married after the series but kept her maden name when she became an Admiral. But Troi and Riker did get married.


God bless Gene Roddenberry

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