Watched the original series Star Trek episode "Catspaw" this past weekend, for the
first time in decades. Actually, it's the first time I've watched a TOS episode in God knows
how long. I realized for the first time that:
If you're not a Trek fan: the series frequently contains scenes where William Shatner's
character uses his musky man-charms to get information out of an alien woman, nuzzling her
while she utters breathless lines like "Why? Why do I react so strangely when you touch
me?" and he says, "Because I am a man...and you...are an attractive woman." Then he
starts asking her about, I don't know, the head alien's powers, things of that sort. James
Bond of course did stuff like that all the time, but he's a spy; lies, manipulation, and
betrayal are all in his job description. But I wonder if many ship's captains in this day
and age have to resort to these strategems? I have a hard time picturing Admiral Poindexter
rubbing himself up against some South Seas native girl to persuade her to give him the keys
to the hut where his men are held captive.
Unintentional hilarity came in the scenes where we are inexplicably treated to lengthy
reaction shots of henpecked villain Korob in very, very tight close-up staring directly
out at the viewer. His eyes would bulge, his face would shake, and he'd bellow things like
"I HAVE THE POWER!" in this weird off-kilter way that doesn't seem to connect with anything
else. Like it's obvious he's alone on a sound stage and his instructions are to stare into
the camera and act really upset, then yell his line after a few seconds.
Oh yeah, plus Chekov's wig.
Catspaw has never been an episode I particularly liked, not even when I was nine. But now I wonder if even the
ones I remember as being good were actually lame and I just don't know it yet. I'm almost
afraid to watch the show now lest I find out that "Balance of Terror" is just as