STILL Everything's Nice!
Yes, folks, I think we can ALL give a big Vulcan Salute to Star Trek's costume designers over the years! Yes, yes, Roddenberry loved his lovely women, including his own main squeeze (and soon to be wife) Majel Barrett! Barrett has the distinction of playing the first ever "First Officer" of the Enterprise in the original pilot "Star Trek: The Cage"! When that didn't work out, Ol' Splicin' Gene kept sweet Majel on (with a newly blonde coif) as Christine Chapel, the one officer of Sick Bay that was sure to make you cry out "HELLO NURSE!"
Early experimental episodes of the show focused more crew members than the standard Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mister Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley), sometimes to great success, sometimes... well, less so. Nurse Chapel's featured episode was the 10th produced and the 7th aired on NBC's original run of the show. Called "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", this episode was the first to introduce several key concepts that would go on to become staples of the venerable franchise, from the moral implications of playing God to the question of what defines humanity to, of course... Star Trek's first ever Androids!
And let me tell you, True Believers, Data never looked nearly as good as the (Not So) "Little Girl" the episode's title alludes to. But I digress!
It's Stardate 2712.4, as our episode kicks off, the Enterprise is en route to Exo III, a planet so cold it makes Hoth look like the French Riviera! Might I say the odds of anybody surviving on a planet like that are somewhere in the Fenway of Skinny to Nada? Might I add, well DUH!
This is why both Kirk and Spock are somewhat dismayed in their quest to find Starfleet Hero and exobiologist Dr. Roger Korby (Michael Strong) whose last known whereabouts were about where Exo III happens to be... and the last three expeditions can't find scale nor tuft of the man! Kirk and Spock actually give a Tribble's Ass, because Korby was far from just some exobiologist, he's required reading at Starfleet Academy and has become known as the "Louis Pasteur of archaeological medicine"!
Nurse Chapel gives a Tribble's Ass for a very different reason, that being that he happens to be her long lost fiancÚ. And, Sports Fans, Christine isn't the slightest bit dismayed at all. (This is partially because the Nurse is confident in her love for and connection to this man, no matter how far away he is... and partially because she's still trying to get her a piece of that Spock!)
Dr. McCoy actually gives a Tribble's Patootie because... well, I don't know... he wasn't in this episode. Huh. Anyway...
Well, if the Alpha Quadrant was Atlantic City and Exo III was 27 Black on the Roulette wheel, Christine would be on a winning streak and the Kirk/Spock DUO would be going home with parting gifts because Korny Korby's voice pops up on the hailing frequencies right that minute. Quel Chance, man! Christine is overjoyed as is ol' Rog'! In fact, he simply cannot wait for Kirk and "Hello Nurse" to beam down forthwith... provided they come alone.
This proves to be a Dick Move because Korby himself is not alone... not by a super-longshot as Sneaky Kirk's clandestine tag-along "Red Shirts" soon discover. Yep, we soon meet a very angry looking (and huge) Android named Ruk, played by the original Addams Family's "Lurch", Ted Cassidy!
Where that may well be the BAD news, the unquestionable GOOD news is Korby's other Android accompaniment... that being his incredibly hot Lab Assistant named Andrea played by the super sexy (and hardly "Little") Sherry Jackson! Well, it's good news for us, though Nurse Christine Chapel is a little put off at first... because Andrea is hotter than she is, man. I really mean that, too, True Believers! Andrea is the answer to the question I've had concerning all later Star Treks that dealt with Robotics... that being, if one were to make Androids (or Gynoids, as the case may be), wouldn't one make them to look like Sherry Jackson? I mean... I sure would! Well... her or "Hello Nurse!"
It isn't long before Korby, Andrea, Ruk and fellow scientist Dr. Brown (Harry Basch) are preventing both beaming and communication between Exo III and the USS Enterprise, effectively making Kirk and Chapel their prisoners. Some fiancÚ, huh?
But that may well be only the tip of Korby's Iceberg, because his plans may well be... Titanic in nature. This is made especially evident when Korby reveals that he isn't only able to create super-hotties in revealing suspendered jumpsuits... no, he can actually create duplicates of Starfleet Officers... starting with Captain Kirk himself... and ending with... well, who knows? With great power like this... The Federation is the Limit.
If only this innocent blonde sweetie hadn't happened upon this friendly nightmare in her travels! You know, her worst crime was falling in love, she abandoned a career in Bio-Research and she comes across a gaggle of homicidal robots bent on Federation Domination! Damn, dude... who comes up with this stuff? Well, there's the rub, isn't it? The answer is none other than Psycho-creator Robert Bloch! Yes... Robert Bloch... AFTER Psycho! Need I say that gives us quite a pedigree? Need I add, Star Trek is all about the writing... especially at its most experimental.
Speaking of the creative staff, it's notable that the usual cast and crew of Star Trek was joined again by director James Goldstone, director of Trek's second pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as well as a little telefilm called The Sun Also Rises! Not bad, not bad.
But it all pales in comparison to Sherry Jackson's Andrea. Hello GYNOID, baby! Let me tell you, my Positronic Net was thinking some pretty impure thoughts when she told Christine that she was now programmed to PLEASE her too! I was like... REALLY? Naturally a great many of the later developments about robotics and android creation that were explored in Star Trek: The Next Generation have a bit of a hard time fitting in with the puzzle pieces laid out in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", but hey, this one is packed with firsts, am I right? Let me save you a guess... yes... I am.
We've got the first Androids (and Gynoids) in Star Trek, the first mention of Jim Kirk's brother George Samuel Kirk, some of the first of the first-season adventures that dealt with the heady questions of what makes a man a man and... speaking of which... we get our first ever "Red Shirt Deaths" in Star Trek! You know how in virtually every episode some security guard in a red tunic beams down with the main guys and gets introduced to his MAKER before you can say "Walk On"? Well that tradition started right here, folkarinos! That's right, Amigos Y Amigas, the appropriately named Vince Deadrick, Sr. has the dubious distinction of playing Crewman Mathews, the first of the infamous "Red Shirts" to buy the farm... or in this case, the Bottomless Pit! How's that for a filling episode of Star Trek? What's that? You want SECONDS? Well, the SECOND ever "Red Shirt" to be offed on Classic Trek was just a few moments later when Budd Albright's Crewman Rayburn was suffocated to death. Damn it. I guess we can't all be Androids, huh?
But we can enjoy Android episodes from any generation of Star Trek! And, so, in tribute to WorldsGreatestCritic.com's 2009 Dead Woman of the Year award winner, the never Red-Shirted Majel Barrett, we proudly present Three and One Half Stars out of Five for Star Trek: The Original Series's Seventh (or Tenth) Ever episode "What are Little Girls Made Of?"... and not just because Sherry Jackson is so hot! There is the inherent dated-ness about this original series episode and the plot does resolve a little obviously and conveniently toward the end, but this is nonetheless a classic episode of classic Star Trek worthy of the signature of Robert Bloch himself. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to slide on my Red Shirt and say "HELLO NURSE!" one more time... and if that's not met warmly, I'll just say "See you in the Next Reel... NURSE!"
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