Star Trek 433: Profit and Lace

433. Profit and Lace

FORMULA: Ferengi Love Songs + Turnabout Intruder

WHY WE LIKE IT: Nilva's energy.

WHY WE DON'T: Everything else.

REVIEW: Quark's sexual harassment of his dabo girl Aluura is, played so straight as it is here, rather offensive, but since it serves as a prelude to forcing him to walk a day in a woman's shoes, you might be given to forgive this. He's gonna learn his lesson, after all. Well for an episode which is supposed to be about women's rights (Ferengi female emancipation), it objectifies women more than anything TOS might have produced.

Once Quark has had "The Operation" (which makes me ask questions I really don't want to know the answers to), which is more than cosmetic and more than drag judging from all the "hormonal" talk, Quark becomes a terribly ill-considered caricature. S/he's vain and crying all the time, and despite knowing the truth, Zek can't help but be aroused by him/her. Ultimately, everything hinges on a date with the head of Slurm... I'm sorry, Sluggo Cola, played with energy by Henry Gibson, and a bedroom farce becomes inevitable. There's nothing inevitable about the "heroic moment" involving Quark flashing his/her breasts however. Ugh.

But did Quark learn his lesson? Nope. At the very end, nothing changes, even when he rebuffs Aluura's offer of oomox. Cuz yeah, she's into it, poorly written sex object that she is.

Of course, it's a Ferengi episode, so it's all played as broad comedy. The ever-grating Cecily Adams as Ishka in a more and more blindness-inducing attire bitching at Quark without a hint of Andrea Martin's initial tenderness and having a pratfall heart attack. Brunt shows up as acting Grand Nagus (the mention of which breaks the Rule of Three - after three times, it's no longer funny) for no better reason than he is one of those recurring Ferengi characters. Only Rom's "sensitivity" ever tends to amuse. The direction tries hard (beetle snuff at the camera, the montage of fruitless calls to commissioners), but the material just can't be saved.

LESSON: Girls will be girls. And sometimes, boys will be girls as well.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: Though it probably means well on paper, Profit and Lace only manages to insult and offend. My patience with Ferengi comedies has finally worn out.


Matthew Turnage said...

I normally like the Ferengi episodes, but even I can't defend this one. Supposedly a lot of it's problems stem from conflict between writers Behr and Beimler, who wanted a Some Like It Hot style comedy, and director Siddig and actor Shimerman who wanted something more dark and serious. I don't know, the episode just stinks. Although I'd be curious to read the original draft, since Michael Piller's note on it apparently said it was destined to be a classic.

Siskoid said...

I read that too.

Of course, I think the producers had an inflated impression of a lot of Ferengi episodes.

De said...

The eyes! They do nothing!!!

Anonymous said...

It was another low moment in Ferengi "comedy" episodes.

Unsurprisingly, Piller was wrong.

It's the Ishtar of ST:DS9.


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