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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.