January 18, 2007

Hippies in space

Dragnet was not the only 1960s television series to include at least one episode in which the plot involved hippies and the counter-culture. Somehow, such things managed to show up in the 23rd century and deep outer space to be included in an episode of Star Trek, as well!

hippies of the future

"The Way to Eden" was broadcast in February of 1969, and it is considered to be just slightly above "Spock's Brain" in terms of worst episode. It is, in fact, laughably bad. Taking the tack used by the writers of the Dragnet hippie episodes, "The Way to Eden" involves characters and situations designed to appeal and pander to the deepest, darkest fears, insecurities, and ugly stereotypes of the "Silent Majority".

From the moment a perplexed Scotty beams them aboard the Enterprise, rescuing them from their overheated vessel, the space hippies get all uppity, and defy authority by staging a sit-in.

They even defy Captain Kirk(!!!), whom one of them laughably refers to later in the episode as the "great white captain upstairs." They all but call Kirk a "honky" or "the man."


Which Enterprise crew member do they respect? Why, Mr. Spock, of course, who somehow knows how to speak "their language." Spock knows all the hip lingo.


an oval "symbol of peace"

When I was a kid, I thought they were wearing sliced eggs. Now that I'm an adult, I know that's what they were in fact wearing - sliced eggs. Makes perfect sense...

During the 1960s, some in "the establishment" felt rock and roll was the counter-culture revolution's means of "getting to" America's youth, brainwashing them into all submission, much like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. So obviously the space hippies used the same tactics to try and overthrow the crew of the Enterprise.
Charles Napier in a part he would probably like to forget

But the silly musical sub-plot of the episode did allow Star Trek viewers several opportunities to see Spock cut loose on his axe, or Vulcan Lyre.



Here, are all of those awful, awkward musical moments wrapped up into one cringe-inducing video (yes, you will cringe):


There's a riot goin' on...

7 comments:

Becca said...

Space hippies...how very frightening.

Chris said...

Yes, and of course in space no one can hear you scream...

Lisa said...

It jsut doesn't get much better than this, does it? TV-wise.

Becca said...

"Yes, and of course in space no one can hear you scream..."

God that thought just makes this all so much worse. All I can hear in my head is Nimoy's version of If I Had a Hammer while hippies run around the Enterprise and I stand off in a corner next to the turbo lift screaming as they attempt to convert me to space peace.

Chris said...

And just as they're attempting to convert you to space peace, Shatner walks up doing his version of "Mr. Tambourine Man." The...horror. The hor....ror....

Anonymous said...

We like the video....alot!

http://thewikipediahallofshame.blogspot.com

NINE9INCHE STUD said...

Space hippies...how very frightening.
Now,I'm supposed to hate this,because it's hippies in Star Trek and that seems to bother all you coke bottle glassed eyed fat boys,but sorry I like this one.Ok.Charlie Mansion/Timothy Leary in space,but this the only time in the history of the old series,we get to see anything outside of the federation or star fleet.Besides the songs are cool and you gotta like Adam.Charles Napier often plays the heavy,but here he not.Just misguided and nieve,that got him in the end.
This isn't worst.Thats a toss between Spocks Brain-retards need a brain to run city and Let that be your last battle field-killer,racist mimes in space