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DID YOU READ

The top 10 Captain Kirk moments from “Star Trek”

William Shatner as James T. Kirk in Star Trek

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By Jordan Hoffman

When John F. Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon by the close of the 1960s, this is the man he had in mind. James T. Kirk is an adventurer, explorer, lover, fighter, diplomat, balance between reason and passion and the type of guy who jumps up off a wall to clobber a blue-skinned alien in a hallway fight (see episode 39, “Journey to Babel.”)

While William Shatner’s recent antics as a low-fare travel pitchman and factory for cheapo basic cable docs may have dulled some of his luster, we can never forget that it was his energy, enthusiasm and charisma the first boldly took us beyond the stars. As such, we opened a few bottles of Saurian brandy and tried to pin down Captain Kirk’s top ten moments. Your outraged comments concerning omissions can be sent to us care of Starfleet.

(Are you a Kirk fan or a Picard die-hard? As part of IFC’s “Trek Week” we’re pitting the two baddest Enterprise captains in town against each other. Chime in with your favorite at #TrekWars on Twitter.)


10.– “Risk is Our Business”

Shatner’s legendary dressing-down to Dr. McCoy in “Return to Tomorrow” (episode 49) pretty much sums up the Camelot-era optimism of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. A briefing room conference turns into a lecture about man’s inherent need to climb a mountain because it is there. Yes, there are dangers, but that comes with the territory. “The potential for knowledge and advancement is equally great! Risk. Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”

Alas, he was discussing the transference of consciousness from glowing orbs onto some of the key players on the show, leading to some really dopey scenes with miserable acting. If only the rest of this episode were as great as this memorable speech.


9.– Intergalactic Ladykiller

There’s much talk about Kirk’s interplanetary dalliances. Some of this is more myth than truth, but the facts remain that Kirk could win over just about anyone (or any. . .thing?) with his smile.

Never is his swagger more present than in the (in my opinion) oft-overlooked episode “The Conscience of the King” (episode 13,) in which he woos a young actress to help determine if her father is, in fact, a long sought-after war criminal. “The Conscience of the King” isn’t just the first episode of Star Trek to feature a 23rd Century cocktail party (and, oh, man, the music that’s playing is fabulous!) but also shows that the Enterprise comes equipped with an observation deck perfectly suited for makin’ out. Alas, in this specific case the woman in question later tries to fry Kirk with a phaser at show’s end, but no one said romance is without danger.


8. Kirk vs. Spock

Much of what makes Kirk great is his relationship with his two best pals Mr. Spock and Bones McCoy. With these alternating angels and devils on his shoulders his true, great personality really shines through. There have been times, though, where his relationship has been challenged, and none so much as when he volunteered to take place in the koon-ut-kal-if-fee ritual when his first officer was in the midst of a Vulcan pon faar. (If these words mean nothing to you, just let them roll over you, it’s easier that way.)

Turns out the battle had to be to the death, and soon the two were fighting with some oddball weapons to arguably the greatest action music ever written for television. With the aid of Dr. McCoy, Kirk was able to survive while still honoring Vulcan tradition, but it was still a close call. This lack of foresight explains why this iconic moment (from “Amok Time,” episode 30) isn’t a little higher on the list.


7. The Gorn

There are still many moments of Kirk fisticuffs to celebrate. While the Internet often likes to joke that Shatner versus the giant lizard monster is an “epic fail,” they couldn’t be more wrong. “Arena” (episode 18) is a carnival of great thrills. It opens with a siege on a colony, followed by a high-warp chase, until both the good guys (Kirk) and the bad guys (the Gorn, a/k/a the lizard monsters) end up on the doorstep of some really high-strung pacifists. Now the two species’ leaders must duke it out in the sand using only their cunning as aid. Luckily, Kirk is able to construct a mini-bazooka out of a log, dirt and some Liz Taylor-sized gemstones to best his superior-in-strength foe. If you don’t cheer along with the Shat as he mixes up his homemade space gun powder, there is clearly something wrong with you.


6.– “What Does God Need With A Starship?”

What’s a top 10 list without some controversy? In the truly wretched film “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (directed by William Shatner, in pretty much the only time anyone ever let him near a budget this big) there’s still a moment that ranks as one of Kirk’s best. Perhaps it is so great because it comes at the cost of mocking the rest of the film. Either way, when Spock’s evil half-brother puts the Enterprise in a trance and makes them travel to the Galactic Core to visit God (don’t ask), Kirk still has the sand to look the Almighty in the eye and say, “hey! I’ve got a question!”

Turns out this 1989 sci-fi flick didn’t have the answers to all of life’s mysteries, and the floating blue alien wasn’t God. But it took a little Kirk chutzpah to get that out there.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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