12 Romantic Trek Pairings that make me go ‘Ergh’
As much as Trek is concerned with social behaviours and humanoids interacting with each other, there are some pretty horrible relationships in the franchise canon. Might be because writing realistic and organic romantic relationships against the backdrop of ‘space future’ in largely stand-alone episodes requires either 42-minute relationships (Kirk-Whoever) or gradual, piecemeal sub-plots over the long term, to say nothing of the Roddenberry Doctrine of denying the possibility of deep interpersonal conflicts (until his death, Ro, DS9, Maquis…). ‘Fling of the Week’ style relationships dominate the franchise (not many penicillin-resistant space STIs, as it would turn out), but even when major characters shack up, this viewer gets the feeling it’s very cold in space indeed. Can’t always put the blame squarely on actor chemistry or writing, but there’s something very amiss in the following 12 romantic pairings. (Multi-episode couples only. Kirk-Odona, Crusher-Ronin would crush this list. Pre-apologies to slash fans, I know nothing of your culture. )
12. Wesley Crusher - Robin Lefler
- The Boy and Ashley Judd. She finds him intriguing through nothing of his own volition, she’s so quirky and cute that she’s a dreamy indie rock montage away from the title of Enterprise’s resident MPDG.
11. Archer - T’Pol
- Sexy Trek’s exploration of the ‘opposites attract’ trope doesn’t make no sense, but Archer’s inter-office lechery isn’t particularly evolved for a show taking place 190 years after Mad Men.
10. Picard - Vash
- Nothing good comes out of going to Risa.
9. Garak - Tora Ziyal
- I’m all for Andy Robinson’s suggestion that Garak was a pansexual epicurean, but that makes it even more bewildering that he’d have any interest in Ziyal, whose third actress was still twenty years younger than Robinson. (That, and Garak only truly had eyes for Bashir.)
8. Kira - Odo
- Written strongly enough, and an interesting relationship to think about in context, but hard to watch. Kira’s ‘intimate, happy’ voice is the worst thing.
7. Kes - Neelix
- I don’t care how quickly Ocampa mature, this one’s creepy. Their behaviour once they get onto Voyager illustrates clearly that when Neelix can’t hold the power in their relationship, Kes would prefer him as a protector-friend, not a protector-lover. Again, interesting, but ookie.
6. Dr Bashir - Leeta
- Bashir’s frustrations with Dax culminate in a surprisingly resilient relationship with a bubbly Dabo girl. I picture a lot of Julian either dominating conversation or insisting on silence in a passive-aggressive way. Bashir needs someone to keep him in check, lest that air of arrogance lead to some gentle misogyny. Risa, it’s no good for you.
5. Jadzia Dax - Worf
- Again, it makes sense. The pansexual, wise-to-the-cosmic-joke Trill gets down with the dour Klingon. But damn it if, even in the 24th century, putting the wild woman in a relationship doesn’t just settle her right down. Of course Farrell lost interest in her character. They also go to Risa (and there are gold underpants).
4. Vedek Bareil - Kira
- Kira’s got to lighten up somehow. We’ve got to see that she’s not all barbed wire, but I really don’t know what makes this relationship tick. It seems like at least half of Kira’s criteria is ‘experienced the occupation, now has some clout.’ Keeps pragmatism in her character, but leaves chemistry on the sidelines.
3. Chakotay - Seven of Nine
- Seven’s playing around in the holodeck, trying to make up for the fact that her experience of humanity was stunted at age six, and attempting to understand ‘stirrings’ and navigate around other developmental holes… and holo-Chakotay seems nice enough. That Real Chakotay goes along with what is one of her first ‘crushes’ and gets right in there… Errrgh.
2. Will Riker - Deanna Troi
- Yeah, yeah, Imzadi. Riker is a documented creep. Troi is.. grating, to say the least. Also, there’s
that horrifying bubble bath shave Tom Riker getting in there. Your transporter clone shouldn’t eat where you shave, or something.
1. Deanna Troi - Worf
- Nothing can dethrone this one. What the blue hell. Worf is annoyed by most everybody, but the soothing voiced ship’s counsellor gets in there? She isn’t exactly built to last… and all the fun (horror) he had picturing a life with Troi in Parallels is what precipitated this? That it happened once in the whole general mishmash is enough to plant the seed?