Season 6, Episode 14 “The Host” (TNG) with Matt Baume

We’re asking big questions about love, sex, and identity as we consider “The Host”!

Writer, podcaster, and YouTuber Matt Baume joins the show this week to discuss an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that presents a personal and ethical dilemma for Beverly. Doctor Crusher has fallen in love with visiting diplomat Odan. But when Odan is revealed to be a symbiotic creature and is implanted into Riker, Beverly will have to decide if her new relationship is worth the cost of one of her oldest friendships!

The liberal future of Star Trek was created in our idealistic but often short-sighted present and many times even our favorite utopia isn’t as progressive as we’d like it to be. In “The Host”, Beverly is presented with an almost unbearable burden: to remain in love with someone who not only swaps bodies but identities and genders as well. It’s presented as an unsolvable sci-fi problem, but in reality, people coming out or transitioning is something we don’t need space aliens to write stories about. All too often, the protectors of “Gene’s legacy” stood in the way of real representation on Trek and making Gene’s true dream, the dream of infinite diversity, something inconvenient and undesirable. On this episode, we talk about how the Trill stand in for LGBTQ representation, how Trek has lagged behind, why it’s important to see queer people on TV, loving who you want, getting “trapped” in your well-intentioned metaphor, what it is that we love when we love, the way that Trek presents sex, and being “limited in ability to love”.

We also discuss the fight for marriage equality, being a positive critic, the “gatekeepers” of Trek, media being a Queer 101, “Where’s the bisexuals?”, the Enterprise salon, the “Great Man Theory of TNG”, Odan is party Trill, debasing the Library of Congress, the Book of Telepathic Consent, Cool Riker, locking the holodeck door, and Nurse Ogawa!

Oh, you kids!

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Listen to “Season 6, Episode 14 “The Host” (TNG) with Matt Baume” on Spreaker.

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