Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek: validation for George W. Bush?

They are both constantly called “cowboy” as a derogatory term. They both have a father named George. They both are portrayed as party guys who can’t seem to grow up, and there are other similarities between President George W. Bush and Captain James T. Kirk.

In JJ Abrams latest movie “Star Trek” Kirk is very much a cowboy. He drinks, womanizes and gets into bar fights. It’s like he’s looking for trouble. He keeps finding it.

President George W. Bush was a known partier in college; he too seemed to find trouble. He’s even been known to pick a fight (with other countries).

Is Kirk based on Bush? It would almost seem so, if the Kirk character was not created in the 60’s. But this latest incarnation has traits that are hard to ignore.

It would almost seem so given the media hype trying to compare current President Obama with the cerebral Mr. Spock. One thing to point out about this comparison as it pertains to the movie: Mr. Spock was wrong!

A key debate in the film involves Kirk and Spock clashing over weather they should rejoin the fleet and seek assistance from the invading enemy, or fight them head-on. Without making too much of a stretch this is exactly the debate Bush had with the democrats in congress and the UN before invading Iraq. Only Kirk truly understood the motives and malicious intent of Nero's threat to Earth, and his solution was to fight.

Bush, after 9/11 knew that stopping terrorism inherently involved stopping the funding of terrorism by anti-American governments. This his validation of the Iraq war.

Opposing Kirk is Spock, who follows regulations to the T. His adherence to Starfleet code is logical except that there is no regard for the rules by the forces of evil in the film.

That being said, terror must be fought with the rules of terror, not by the rules of civilized people. Thus to save Earth, Kirk must take the enterprise to fight the evil Romulins instead of going back for more capable support, and leaving Earth defeseless.


It is not a perfect analogy, but it does work on multiple levels, especially here. When Kirk finally offers to negotiate with Nero, the act of benevolence is not received. Instead Kirk must execute the only option he has left and kill the bad guy.

The analogy ends here. While Kirk is praised for his maverick actions and his cowboy attitude and thusly rewarded. Bush was hated. That is a strong word, but is very accurate. His opponents never come around to his way of thinking the way Star Fleet does in the film. Instead, even as the Bush Administration has come to an end, the attack on now private-citizen George W. Bush is not without pause.

[ End Spoiler ]
Rewards are all to often given to those who seek them, that doesn’t make the real man less of a hero than the man of fiction.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My favorite Moments

Tonight, after eight years, two networks and a writer’s strike TV’s “Scrubs” came to an end.

While I was less than an occasional watcher of the series in it’s first few years, when the show went into syndication around 2006 I quickly fell in love with it and caught up with the history of the show.

Scrubs follows John “JD” Dorian (Zach Braff), he is a young doctor at Sacred Heart hospital. JD is prone to an inner monologue as well as fanciful daydreams, portrayed as cut-scene flashes on screen. In the first episode of the series JD going into his first day as an intern where he is informed by the chief of medicine that he is “just a large pair of scrubs to me.” Thus naming the show.

Scrubs was highly under-rated. Not only for it’s comedy, but also for being a show that actually openly discussed the issues in modern medicine. Not necessarily from a left or right perspective, but from the perspective of the doctor. It is a comedy in a hospital, but it had a sense of legitimacy.

That being said, here are my ten favorite moments/episodes from the run of the series in no particular order.

My Overkill · Season 2, Episode 1 – Aired: 9/26/2002
This episode features a great opening sequence in JD’s Daydream where he is avoiding Dr. Cox after it is learned he slept with his ex-wife, as well as other strained relationships after the end of the previous season. The avoidance sequence is set to the song “Overkill” by Collin Hay, formerly of Men at Work.

My Lunch · Season 5, Episode 20 – Aired: 4/25/2006
J.D. asks Dr. Cox out for lunch but runs into annoying former patient Jill Tracy, who unexpectedly teaches him something about responsibility. Jill dies and her organs are used to treat three of Dr. Cox’s other patients. Unfortunately the disease that kills Jill is passed on to the organ recipients and Dr. Cox takes it very personally. In the follow-up episode Dr. Cox is in deep depression and drinking heavily. It is up to the rest of the cast to get him back to work.

My Musical · Season 6, Episode 6 – Aired: 1/18/2007
A new patient at the hospital wakes up and sees everything happening around her as a musical. The music is catchy, and the story is a bit silly, but we finally get an explanation of JD and Turk’s relationship in the number “Guy Love”

My Way Home · Season 5, Episode 7 – Aired: 1/24/2006
In a "Wizard of Oz" homage, J.D. is trying to go home, Turk searches for a heart donor and Carla worries that she doesn't have the courage to become a parent. Meanwhile, Elliot doesn't believe that she has the brains to lead a question and answer session. The Janitor is painting color coded lines throughout the hospital for easier navigation. The episode ends with Ted’s band singing a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

My Screw Up · Season 3, Episode 14 – Aired: 2/24/2004
Dr. Cox learns that his brother-in-law Ben (Brenden Frasier) hasn't visited a doctor about his cancer in the two years he has been gone traveling the world. Ben dies after the first commercial, but the episode is set up so that all scenes with Ben are actually a mental breakdown suffered by Dr. Cox. It is not until the final scene that the viewer realizes exactly when Ben died.

My Monster · Season 2, Episode 10 – Aired: 12/12/2002
The episode ends with Elliot and JD hooking up, albeit for the second time. But it is a great sex scene, for a comedy, for TV, with some great music behind it.

My Choosiest Choice of All · Season 3, Episode 19 – Aired: 4/20/2004
Actually not one of the best episodes, but the musical number at the end, "Light & Day" by The Polyphonic Spree, inspired me to use the same song in my own engagement announcement (http://adventuresofandy.blogspot.com/2008/08/great-moments.html)

My Best Friend's Baby's Baby and My Baby's Baby · Season 6, Episode 2 – Aired: 12/7/2006
I love this episode because in one of JD’s daydreams he ends up debating abortion with a statuette of Jesus come to life. The statuette wins!

My Long Goodbye (2) · Season 6, Episode 15 – Aired: 4/5/2007
In an episode that has the emotional depth of a series finale we see Nurse Roberts pass away after a car accident. The rest of the cast must reflect on her influence on them.

My Finale, Part 1/2 · Season 8, Episode 18 – Aired: 5/6/2009
It is rare than any series finale of a long-running show makes the list anyone’s top episodes, but while it was stretched out to a full hour, it was well worth it. Three things make this episode great. First, and most importantly was Dr. Cox giving a touching speech on what JD actually meant to him. Next was the farewell walk of JD as he left Sacred Heart forever. Current and former cast members greeted him, including former patients and deceased characters. Finally as a farewell to the fans Ted’s band (affectionately knows as “The Worthless Peeons”) performs the show’s theme song a capella. Few shows have finales that life up to the reputation that gave them such a long run. For Scrubs this finale surpassed it!