This article originally was published on August 14, 2020
Confession— we were all extremely jealous when Ensigns Mariner and Boimler took a detour into Little Risa on this week’s Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Risa may not seem like such a huge Easter egg for longtime Trek fans, but for those of you just joining us because Lower Decks piqued your interest via animation, comedy, or creator Mike McMahan’s legacy of success with both on shows like Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites, Risa may be new! And that’s okay, we’re here for you.
One of the Alpha Quadrant's most well-known vacation spots is the Pleasure Planet, Risa. A popular Federation shore leave destination, Risa is canonically about six hours away from Deep Space 9 by shuttlecraft. The vacation plant is known for its breezes and rather, shall we say, free ideas of sexuality and the pleasure it is known for. Risa runs an elaborate weather control system that keeps the planet’s subtropical rainy weather at bay, and provides 24/7 (or, well, whatever the Risan equivalent is) sunny skies, cool and clear romantic nights, low humidity, and breezy beaches.
But, of course, Risa is perhaps best known for the Horga'hn, a Risan fertility totem. Those who hold one indicate that they are seeking Jamaharon, Risa's unique sexual rite. When you hear "Little Risa" on Lower Decks, think of it akin to New York City's "Little Italy" or any of the Chinatown or Koreatown locations in many major cities across the globe. It's not Risa itself, but an outpost where you can experience Risan food, culture, and Jamaharon. For those of us still sheltering in place due to Covid-19, Mariner and Boimler's brief Risan adventure seems like the vacation of our dreams, even if they didn't get to the Pleasure Planet proper.
If you want to learn more about Risa, The Next Generation’s “Captain’s Holiday,” is a great place to start. Follow that up with a DS9 chaser, and check out season five’s “Let He Who is Without Sin…” for a Worf-centric Risan romp. Enterprise also pays Risa a visit in "Two Days and Two Nights." And we have plenty on Risa right here on StarTrek.com, with deep dives on Risan fashion, the planet's origins, and what Jamaharon looks like from an LGBTQ+ perspective!
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.