Friday, January 11, 2013

There should be a word

If you are, let's say, re-watching two television shows more or less concurrently, you might experience a weird sort of conversation taking place between the two shows. Especially if the show come from a similar corner of the pop-cultural universe.

Now watching Star Trek The Next Generation's second season, I got to the episode "Contagion." Quick recap to save you the effort to remember a very forgettable episode: the Enterprise responds to a distress call from the USS Yamamoto in the neutral zone to find her sister ship stricken with mysterious equipment failures. Right after the captain of the ship waves off Picard's suggestion to evacuate the ship, the Yamamoto suffers a core containment malfunction and violently explodes. Subsequently, the Enterprise begins to suffer similar equipment failures throughout the ship, a problem Geordi eventually traces to what amounts to a computer virus. The problem nearly destroys the Enterprise until Geordi tries...

Cut to IT Crowd, which I'm also watching, and Roy's catchphrase: "Have you tried turning it on and off again?"

Which is EXACTLY what solves the problem on The Enterprise. Sigh, the 80's were a weird time. I'm going to cut Star Trek a little slack and say the episode was filmed during a time where popular culture hadn't really internalized the concept of computers. Apparently Roddenberry only green lit this episode when someone explained what a computer virus was. So the idea of rebooting the Enterprise's mainframe from an uncorrupted file must have seemed somewhat exotic. Or something.

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