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The top 10 Captain Picard moments from “Star Trek”

Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Generations

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By Jordan Hoffman

While the 1960s were a bit more reliant on a boozy machismo, the 1990s were all about diversity, intellect and the cultured enrichment of the mind and spirit. At least that’s my takeaway from comparing the two great captains James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.

This is not to imply that Picard couldn’t (or didn’t) kick ass. He simply did it in a slightly more dignified way (oftentimes simply dispatching Riker, Worf and Data to the away team.) Picard’s memorable moments were usually a cutting line, delivered in his stage-ready British accent (even though he was French…go figure.) Part of the Picard method was to solicit advice from each of his senior officers, then usually ignore them and do what he wanted to do in the first place. In this spirit I offer the top 10 Picard moments, and invite you to argue with me in the comments below. I won’t change my mind, but at least you won’t slink back to Ten-Forward feeling ignored.

(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 and click here to see our airdates for the nine “Original Series” and “Next Generation” films.)


10. Having A Drink With Scotty

One of the nicer aspects of Picard’s personality is his respect for his elders. It comes, no doubt, from his studies as an archeologist (his road not taken) and on more than one occasion it manifested itself in the most fan-friendly way possible. More than his mind-meld with Sarek or political intrigue with Spock, I dig his his after-hours libation with “Captain” Montgomery Scott.

See, Scotty’d been held in emergency stasis outside a Dyson Sphere for just long enough to pull a tremendous guest shot on the season 6 episode “Relics.” As the two sit on a holodeck version of the NCC-1701 (“no bloody A, B, C or D!”) and discuss leadership, duty and old friends, I defy any of you not to start blubbering. It’s Scotty’s moment, but Picard leads him there, and has enough character to know when to take a back seat to a legend.


9. Who You Calling A Taar’Chek, Targ?

Picard’s zest for learning and respect for other cultures isn’t just good for drawing room conversation. It can come in handy when the usual channels of diplomacy don’t seem to cut it. It takes a lot of sand to look a Klingon military governor in the eye and call him. . . well . . . this surely isn’t the type of place to translate the vile, Klingon curses that Picard spews forth. That Patrick Stewart can do this with such resolve (and without laughing!) proves he really earned his paycheck that day. Below, behold this awesome moment from the season 4 episode “The Mind’s Eye”


8. Starship Mine

I have now firmly established Jean-Luc Picard as a scholar and an aesthete, so I feel compelled to point out that the man can kick ass when needed. In season 6’s “Starship Mine” he single-handledly triumphs over a band of marauders who attack the Enterprise when it is empty. (It’s basically getting sprayed for bugs, in the form of a deadly red beam that, silly though it may be, works as a nice ticking clock.)

The best part, clearly, is when Picard sneaks up behind one of the terrorists and lays him out with a Vulcan Nerve Pinch. (Note: Kirk once remarked to Spock “you’ve got to show me how to do that” but he never did.) For fans it is especially exciting because the actor that Picard lays low is none other than Tim Russ, who would later play the Vulcan Tuvok on “Voyager.”


7. The Line Must Be Drawn HERE!

There’s some more of the physical Picard in “Star Trek: First Contact,” without question the best of the Next Generation-era films. But before he swings above toxic fumes to break the spine of the Borg Queen, he unleashes some pure (and very dramatic) rage at Alfre Woodard in his ready room.

She accuses him of letting his previous encounters with the Borg (see below) dictate his refusal to set the Enterprise to self-destruct. She calls him obsessed, like Ahab hunting the whale. No! Picard shouts. Noooooooaoaawawwawwawwooawww! And he smashes a display case of model starships. “They invade our space and we fall back! They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back! Not again!”

It’s a powerful moment (and a reminder that Patrick Stewart is a real actor) but, of course, he soon realizes that Woodard is correct. He makes preparations to blow up the ship, and then fate steps in the way.


6. The Ressikan Flute

No one said all of these moments had to be fraught with action or conflict. They do, however, need to be rich in drama.

At the tail end of season 5’s “The Inner Light” (frequently selected as the best TNG episode ever) Captain Picard has to somehow try and shove aside the emotional earthquake that the past forty-years of his life has only been an implanted experiential hallucination. And yet, he lived a rich life, had a family he loved and watched a civilization die. He also learned how to play a small flute and, in the solitude of his quarters, accompanied only by the rumble of the warp core, he plays a few notes that show that he isn’t going to just turn his back on his other life. It’s a simple moment, but it is enough to bring tears to any true fan’s eyes.

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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.