It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are not also stage names for strippers

Remember when you had some huge project due in middle school, and you really didn’t want to do it, so you just kept putting it off? Then, when you finally get to work on it, it’s actually more fun than you thought it would be and you wonder why you didn’t want to work on it in the first place?

Welcome to me, working on The Last Outpost. Yes, the episode is still tedious and the Ferengi are so fucking lame if they were horses we’d have to put them down, but once I decided to just relax and not worry about making the damn thing something it’s incapable of being, I found some amusing bits.

BEHOLD:

Picard asks Troi is she’s sensing anything from the Ferengi ship. That’s good, since it’s kind of her whole job and everything. She says she’s sensing nothing, so maybe they can block their thoughts and emotions. That’s bad.

Data says that we don’t know that much about the Ferengi, which is bad, but we do know a few things about them that seem to be reliable, which is good. Data says the Frogurt is also cursed.

Riker tells Data to just get on with it already, so Data says Ferengi are like Yankee traders from 18th century America. This indicates that, in the 24th century, the traditional practice of using 400 year-old comparisons is still in vogue, like when you’re stuck in traffic on the freeway, and say, “Man, this is just like Vasco de Gama trying to go around the Cape of Good Hope!”

And…

Tasha, Worf, Geordi, Data, and Riker all head to the transporter room, where the writers try to make us believe they’ll be in real danger on the planet, but we know it’s pretty safe when they beam down, unaccompanied by even a single Red Shirt.

The planet looks really cool, and it’s one of the first times we can see the difference in budgets and technologies available to the original series and the Next Generation. It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are not also stage names for strippers. We discover that energy in the atmosphere has messed up the transporter’s coordinates, and Riker’s been beamed down alone. He quickly finds Data, who again uses the word “intriguing” to describe things. He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

Riker and Data scout around, and find Geordi suspended upside down when – oh! here come the Ferengi! Holy shit! The evil Ferengi! They’re finally here, in person! We can see more than just their moderately scary faces, and they are…uh…short. And bouncy. And they wave their hands over their heads a lot. And they don’t like loud noises. And they carry whips…and wear Ugg boots. Um. Wow. How…intriguing.

Oh, and one more bit, which – I’m not going to lie to you, Marge – was the part I had the most fun writing, for reasons which will reveal themselves momentarily:

Back on the Enterprise, we discover that, like the script, things have gone from bad to worse. The lights are out, the ship’s heating is nearly gone, and Picard has had the remaining power rerouted to the family decks, where he asks Doctor Crusher how Wesley is doing.

Now, listen, fan fiction writers: It’s not because Picard is actually Wesley’s father, as many of you will argue on Usenet over the coming seven years; it’s because Picard knows that Wesley could totally figure a way out of this, and he’s right. Off the top of my head, I can suggest that Wesley would generate some sort of Enterprise-enveloping control field with one of his science projects, using an electro plasma system energy converter, to reverse the polarity of the Navigational Deflector to emit an inverse tachyon pulse through a subspace beacon, while rerouting the power from the impulse engines through the Okuda conduits to the forward sensor array’s antimatter pod, using the auxiliary fusion generator to turn the power back on and save the day.

Sadly, we learn that Dr. Crusher left Wesley in their quarters to stare death in the face alone, without even the benefit of a sedative. Picard reassures her that leaving Wesley alone and fully conscious was great parenting, because he has the right to “meet death awake.” Legions of Trekkies agree, then curse Picard for getting their hopes up.

It truly is one of the most tedious episodes of the first season, but I realized while working on the rewrite that I’d somehow managed to spread some funny bits fairly evenly throughout the synopsis, so even though it’s not slap-your-knee funny, it’s not boring, which was my primary concern.

I don’t include many bits that aren’t in the synopsis, so here’s part The Bottom Line:

TNG’s struggle to find its way continues with this episode. Obviously, it fails spectacularly with its introduction of the Ferengi, who were intended to replace the Klingons as a terrifying and worthy adversary to the Federation, but were a total joke until Armin Shimmerman brought Quark to life on DS9, and repaired much – but not all – of the damage.

However, If you take away how outrageously lame the Ferengi are, this episode has some cool elements to it. The planet looks great, and the effects that lead to the revealing of the Portal, its point of view about itself, and its interaction with Riker are straight out of classic Star Trek. In fact, the entire story of the titular last outpost would have been a very strong one, had the Ferengi not been so weak and laughable. Imagine, for example, the relationship between Kirk and the Romulan Commander in Balance of Terror, and put them into this situation, where they are forced to cooperate.

See? It’s not all jokes and snark. I manage to sneak some semi- thoughtful stuff in there between the facepalms.

When I send this to Andrew, I’m done with the bulk of the work on this book. All that’s left is transcribing some interviews I did with friends from the show so I can include a few of their thoughts (I’m not saying who I talked to, nyahh nyahh) and then I have to put everything together in one big tile and read it all, looking for jokes or phrases that I repeated and areas in the behind the scenes stuff where I can add additional material.

Yep, this is dangerously close to being finished.

82 thoughts on “It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are not also stage names for strippers”

  1. I am not normally one to squeal but I want to squeal like a little girl now!
    My question is this: Do you know if this will be available by PAX?

  2. Very nice. I am ridiculously excited about this book.
    And in the “for what it’s worth” file, I never thought Wesley was all that bad. Of course, when I came to TNG in ’91-’92 (reruns and regular season episodes) I was in middle school, so depending on what season I was watching, Wesley and I were of an age. And being the shy geeky type, I was too envious of the kid that got to fly the frickin’ Enterprise to care much about how well-written the character was. :)

  3. Well I, for one, am terrified of the Ferengi because of their UGG boots (But I do love what Armin Shimmerman, Max Grodenchik, and Aron Eisenberg did with their characters, and what the DS9 writers did with the Ferengi culture, to make the Ferengi three-dimensional people and not nearly so… bouncy).
    This sounds like so much fun. Again, as everyone keeps saying, I’m so excited for this book because you actually are taking the time to provide some thoughtful commentary on the episodes instead of just getting snark all over everything. Thoughtfulness and snark can live happily with each other and you make them cooperate well.
    Also, while the frogurt might be cursed it DOES come with toppings.

  4. Ahh I always liked Wesley’s character and I was a lifetime older than Wes. I’m also very excited about the book, Wil. It sounds freaking awesome. Love your sense of humor and your writing. Keep it coming, please. :-)

  5. I loved this segment, especially all the Star Trek jargon about Wesley figuring it all out. Ohhh, do I love star trek and the tachyon bursts, whatever the hell that is. Thanks for posting, this is great stuff.

  6. Having just transcribed seven hours of interviews, it’s a terror I wouldn’t wish on someone I’m mildly displeased with. In fact, I almost gave up halfway through the first one–but I found a nice, free, Mac-friendly program that helped tremendously: Express Scribe. So you might already have what you need for the job, but if you don’t, give it a try.

  7. Riker tells Data to just get on with it already, so Data says Ferengi are like Yankee traders from 18th century America. This indicates that, in the 24th century, the traditional practice of using 400 year-old comparisons is still in vogue, like when you’re stuck in traffic on the freeway, and say, “Man, this is just like Vasco de Gama trying to go around the Cape of Good Hope!”
    That’s it, I’m suing you. You caused me to laugh so hard I lost my balls. There they are, on the floor. Expect to hear from my attourney

  8. Awesome – I shall add this to my collection of Wil Wheaton tomes!
    Hey, Wil – do you know yet if you’ll be going to SDCC?

  9. I never got all the Wesley hate. I have to admit I didn’t always love the character (though I think it was the jumpsuit that threw me off more than anything–I didn’t much like Deanna until she became a full-fledged bridge officer either), but I didn’t want him to die as much as I wanted him to grow up and go to the Academy and come back to the Enterprise as the smartest person in Star Fleet and have to deal with the fact that everyone else is always a few steps behind.
    Then again, I didn’t even mind Dr. Pulaski. I must be an extraordinarily easy-to-please fan, except for the unnatural hatred of jumpsuits. They’re just so uncomfortable looking!
    Anyways, I know you’ve probably been over this all ad nauseum Wil, but I just wanted to throw my two cents in.

  10. HA! That’s awesome! I do agree it is very hard to make this episode funny because there was literaly no humour in it. But your doing awesome Wil. And you know what? I actually read about Vasco de Gama’s voyage around the Cape Of Good Hope about a month ago lol. Can’t wait until it’s all done! =]

  11. Holy Flurking Schnit, do I want this book! Somebody do that time travel thingie so we can just get to the point where I can give Wil my money and then I can get the book. There has to be a working flux capacitor out there somewhere.

  12. The da Gama/traffice comment is exactly the kind I WOULD make! I guess it’s comforting to know that in the future, everyone will be just like me!!!

  13. My husband uses that Frogurt reference all the time but I’ve never heard anybody else use it in regular conversation. I almost spit coffee back onto my keyboard it made me laugh so hard. And I somehow suspect my evil overlords would have frowned upon that, so thanks :)

  14. Oh okay thanks =] I haven’t got to see Wil at a convention yet and I don’t think I’m gonna be able to make it to this one either. Oh well, eventually.

  15. I never minded Wesley,, mostly because by the time I started watching NG my son was early teens and in the awkward know it all stage.. like Wesley. Figured there had to be hope for him :). Loved the comment about redshirts.. you are right!! no one to kill off so there couldn’t have been much danger.

  16. Jumping Jehosephat! I am impresses by your work. Just read your Sunken Treasure book and got hooked.
    “until Armin Shimmerman brought Quark to life on DS9″ I couldn’t agree more. He was my favorite character on that show.

  17. Wil, the Vasco de Gama & Red Shirt bits, plus the whole technobabble bit, literally made me LOL. Thank you for that! In fact, I read the technobabble out loud to hubby ‘cuz I thought it was funny, & just to see if I could get through it without screwing up. I have earned my captain’s pips! :-D Great job, Wil, & I can’t wait to have that book in my hands!
    -Alicia (@AliciaWag)

  18. I am so excited about this project. I was just describing it to my roommate, who then declared that when it is published, we need to have a “TNG Season 1 with Wil Wheaton” marathon, wherein we shall watch the episode, then read the review, eat snacks, and so on. This is something I am looking forward to very much.
    Thanks for the laugh today, I needed it. :-)

  19. That’s awesome. I hope other people do that, and I hope that my silly little scribblings add something to the experience.

  20. That is awesome.
    Would turning it into a drinking game be totally uncouth? We did a trek marathon before seeing the new movie, and the game included such things as, “drink when you see stars, when you see aliens, when people get transported… and when data says, “Intriguing.”
    Hehehehe.
    -mimi

  21. Wil
    woohoo I finally bit and got an acoount so I can yak ya.
    Such great stuff you do…really!!! But you are of course going to proof read…………..sorry I’m such a geek!
    Take care and ya Star trek movie was way awesome…way way way awesome! Take care…. :>{]
    PS great idea katie…hmm how many trek friends do I have?

  22. “Off the top of my head, I can suggest that Wesley would generate some sort of Enterprise-enveloping control field with one of his science projects, using an electro plasma system energy converter, to reverse the polarity of the Navigational Deflector to emit an inverse tachyon pulse through a subspace beacon, while rerouting the power from the impulse engines through the Okuda conduits to the forward sensor array’s antimatter pod, using the auxiliary fusion generator to turn the power back on and save the day.”
    AWESOME!

  23. Not that I am questioning you…but let me question you:
    Misty and Stormy *are* stage names for strippers. I’m quite sure of it. It’s an awesome line and I see what you are trying to do, but shouldn’t it be either:
    1. It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are stage names for strippers
    or
    2. It’s misty and stormy, and other words that are not only stage names for strippers.
    Just my unsolicited advice…I’ll slink quietly away now. :)

  24. Now, listen, fan fiction writers: It’s not because Picard is actually Wesley’s father, as many of you will argue on Usenet over the coming seven years; it’s because Picard knows that Wesley could totally figure a way out of this, and he’s right. Off the top of my head, I can suggest that Wesley would generate some sort of Enterprise-enveloping control field with one of his science projects, using an electro plasma system energy converter, to reverse the polarity of the Navigational Deflector to emit an inverse tachyon pulse through a subspace beacon, while rerouting the power from the impulse engines through the Okuda conduits to the forward sensor array’s antimatter pod, using the auxiliary fusion generator to turn the power back on and save the day.
    *iz ded*
    Just…iz ded.
    Thank you for this! I seriously needed it!

  25. I see what you’re saying, but Wil was correct in the way he said it. He was differentiating those 2 words, Misty & Stormy, from other words that he didn’t mention but would use, by saying that Misty & Stormy *are* stage names for strippers, but the other words (that he didn’t actually utter aloud) aren’t. Read the sentence out loud to yourself, & put the emphasis on the word “not”. It makes sense.
    -Alicia (@AliciaWag)

  26. Oh, those Ferengi and their whips. Too bad they didn’t realize that whips and Ugg boots are a fashion disaster. What a shame.

  27. Nitpick:
    “Riker tells Data to just get on with it already, so Data says Ferengi are like Yankee traders from 18th century America. This indicates that, in the 24th century, the traditional practice of using 400 year-old comparisons is still in vogue,…”
    If it’s the 24th century, and they’re talking about 18th century America, wouldn’t that be a 600 year old comparison?

  28. Ah, I see your point. My objection stands withdrawn.
    See, this is why Wil is an internationally beloved writer, and I am still in the process… :)

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