Warning! The following contains spoilers from the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "I, Excretus.” Read at your own risk!
Paramount+'s animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks frequently walks the line of absurdity with its episodes, so it was only a matter of time before one gag or another caused some controversy. And yeah, I guess an orgy sequence will be the one to do that of thing, with some of the franchise fans were up in arms on both sides of the argumentative coin after the latest episode delivered the series' raunchiest scene yet.
In “I, Excreus,” the senior and junior officers swapped roles temporarily in holographic simulations. Mariner failed her first two attempts and then deliberately failed her final one while inside a simulated version of the Cerritos in which a giant orgy is happening in the Mess Hall. The scene wasn’t as sexually graphic as that set-up sounds, but fans did get to see members of Starfleet command in compromising positions, which led to some outrage from fans like the one below:
Sorry but I still have enough self-respect left to NOT watch #StarTrekLowerDecks (not even for research), so can anyone tell me what the context behind these images is? Is it artistically justifiable? Or has @MikeMcMahanTM just left his knob out and turned Trek into cartoon porn? pic.twitter.com/q4dIisUK17October 2, 2021
This tweet and many others from similarly offended viewers evoked the classical New Trek vs. Old Trek debate, for which there are fans on every side of the discussion. Many took the latest episode as the latest proof the Star Trek franchise has lost its way, and that shows like this have only done the franchise a disservice. (Even if, to be fair, there aren't really any other Trek shows quite like Lower Decks.) Beyond assertions that this series isn't faithful to Star Trek, certain naysayers found other ways to describe things, much of which were unflattering. Though the person below may not even realize Star Trek: Lower Decks' Mike McMahan was a former member of the Rick and Morty creative team.
They turned Star Trek into a discount Rick and Morty. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/M3SEll6JwGOctober 3, 2021
For every criticism Star Trek: Lower Decks received for the taint-tastic image seen above, however, it seemingly also earned just as much support. In the face of the complaints, many fans stepped up to support the show and its brand of humor, which is so rarely seen in the franchise. Others also pointed out this is hardly the first time the franchise has embrace nudity or had some risque storylines that were sexual in nature.
Is this what star trek has become? Naked people? In MY star trek? All over the ship? Barely censored??#StarTrekLowerDecks pic.twitter.com/kuXgsCMcCcOctober 2, 2021
Star Trek fans are no strangers to in-fandom fighting, so we all know the drill. Some fans point out something in a new series that’s “not Trek,” and other fans come back with evidence of the complaint's source coming up in a previous series. Ultimately, time will tell what kind of legacy Lower Decks and the other Paramount+ Trek shows will have, but there’s no denying this cheek-spreading moment won’t be remembered by all fans for quite a while.
Future Trekkies will be like. These are the four most iconic scenes in Star Trek. pic.twitter.com/mrOLINVsc8October 2, 2021
I’m not sure if this will help or hurt the cast to bring the Star Trek: Lower Decks cast to live-action, but if Jack Quaid ever appears as Boimler, I’m sure many will ask if he’s going to recreate that pose. He’s already agreed to appear in costume as Boimler, and he's been on The Boys for going-on three seasons now, so this would be the next logical step.
Star Trek: Lower Decks airs new episodes on Paramount+ Thursdays. For more on Star Trek, read up on what James McAvoy had to say about playing Jean-Luc Picard recently and how he thinks that window may be closing.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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