DeFlip Side #9: Kirk’s Conquests

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Welcome everyone. This is DeFlip Side.

Seventy-one years old… Can you believe William Shatner has lasted this long? One would think he’d long since be crushed under the weight of his own ego. But he’s 71 today and the old bastard is still going strong, working alongside the likes of Robert DiNero, writing fiction and non-fiction books, making regular guest appearances on top-rated shows, pitching for Internet companies—a diverse and enviable career spawned by a three year stint on a campy 1960s TV show.

Meanwhile, the Star Trek franchise isn’t doing nearly as well. The onetime model for progressive storytelling has degenerated into a predictable bore-fest, mired in its own political correctness. It’s odd that such inspired ideals can lead to such uninspiring programming.

A lot has been made of Gene Roddenberry’s original concept for Star Trek, how it presented a future that included everyone, its farsighted approach to the questions of the human condition, blah blah blah. What a bunch of crap.

The real reason the original Star Trek became such a cult hit in the 70s was because it served as wish fulfillment for every dorky guy who didn’t stand a tribble’s chance on Qu’O’Noos of ever getting near a woman. All of them were living vicariously through Kirk, the handsome captain with his rakish pompadour and devilish smile, his form-fitting green or gold uniform tunics, who steered the Enterprise to many exotic ports of call and had himself all manner of babes, human or otherwise.

Put simply, Kirk got laid. A lot. With the help of my trusty Star Trek Concordance I was able to tabulate just how much. His conquests are sizable. Kirk had more sex in the first season of the original series than Captain Picard did during the entire run of the Next Generation. And season one was the by far the tamest when it came to portraying Kirk’s dalliances.

It started in the right in the pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” when Gary Mitchell mentions the pretty blonde lab tech he pointed Kirk’s way. Kirk retorts that he almost married her. It’s been supposed by many that Mitchell was referring Carol Marcus, who of course gave birth to Kirk’s only son—at least the only one he knows about. Even if it wasn’t her, it’s safe to assume the two had sex.

In “Conscience of the King,” Kirk seduces Lenore Karidian, daughter of Kodos the Executioner, to try and wrangle more information out of her about her genocidal father. “Dagger of the Mind” introduced Dr. Helen Noel, a subordinate whom Kirk seduced after the ship’s Christmas party. From there we were introduced to Ruth, the old flame featured in the episode “Shore Leave,” Areel Shaw, another old flame who turned up in the episode “Court Martial,” with the season ending with perhaps Kirk’s most famous love interest, Edith Keeler from Harlan Ellison’s episode, “City on the Edge of Forever.”

In all, season one left six notches in Kirk’s bedpost. Not to mention the ongoing tension he had with Yeomen Rand, or the possibilities that presented themselves when Mudd’s women came on board. Still, this was the tamest season because the majority of Kirk’s conquests were presented as some part of his distant past, and all of them were human.

Not so with season two. It was here that Kirk’s sexual exploits became integral parts of the storylines for some episodes, more and more readily used as a tool help Kirk get what he wants.

His first season-two encounter happened in “Mirror Mirror,” with Lt. Marlena Moreau, the self-proclaimed “captain’s woman” serving aboard the I.S.S. Enterprise. And since the Alternate Universe Kirk was doing her as well, does that count twice?

The next sexual encounter represents a Star Trek milestone, because it was the first time Kirk bagged an alien. It was Shahna, the gladiator thrall in “The Gamesters of Triskelion,” who Kirk seduced with the noble intent of showing her that there was more to life than fighting in the arena. I’m sure her double-Ds had nothing to do with it. Incidentally, Uhura gets raped in this episode, and it is barely acknowledged. Talk about a different cultural mindset…

Next episode up is “Return to Tomorrow,” where Kirk and Dr. Ann Mulhall agree to lend their bodies to the entities Sargon and Thalassa. A sexual encounter was not explicitly implied, but I’d say it’s a safe bet, since Sargon and Thalassa were lovers, deprived for eons of physical contact. So even when Kirk’s not in control of his own body, he still manages to get lucky.

We get more alien sex in “By Any Other Name,” an episode where Kirk purposely uses sex to manipulate Kelinda, the female Kelvin who is holding the Enterprise captive. Finally, Kirk wraps up season two with probably the most blatant display of his sexual prowess ever featured, in the episode “Bread and Circuses.” Sentenced to fight, and probably die, Kirk is offered the favors of Drusilla, a blond slave woman, so he can pass his last night as a captain should. The scene dissolves from Kirk’s first kiss to a shot of him sitting on the edge of the bed the next morning, putting his boots on. What subtle message do you suppose that was supposed to convey?

Season two tally: Five sexual encounters, two human, three alien, all of them happening in real time. And this doesn’t take into account two episodes where Kirk most likely had sex somewhere off in the wings where we weren’t privy to it.

Now comes season three, where Kirk’s appetite for exotic sex seems to be boundless.

We begin innocently enough with Miramanee, the Native American-like squaw from the episode “The Paradise Syndrome.” It marks the first time Kirk has had sex for love since Edith Keeler. Of course, she conveniently dies by the end, along with Kirk’s unborn child, leaving him with nothing but a future filled with mindless sex to help him mend his broken heart.

Kirk is back up to his old tricks in the episode “Wink of An Eye,” where he again uses sex to manipulate a female captor, this time the hyper-accelerated Deela, Queen of the Scalosians. He follows this up with another royal coup, Elaan of Troyius, the Dohlman of Elas. She starts out as a complete bitch, but she soon mellows out after a dose of Kirk’s strong medicine. That’ll teach her.

Next in line for a little loving is Odona, in “The Mark of Gideon.” The tables are actually turned on Kirk in this episode, where someone seduces him to get what they want. Turns out, Odona was just looking to get sick so she could spread disease on her overpopulated world. Looks like all that unsafe sex finally paid off, eh, Jim?

The last sexual encounter of the third and final season of Star Trek represents yet another sexual milestone, when Kirk has sex with an android. Yep. The flesh and blood type female is getting blasé, so Kirk opts for Reena Kapec, an android built by the mysterious Flint in the episode “Requiem for Methuselah.” Okay, so he didn’t know she was a robot at the time. But even after he finds out, he still can’t manage to shake his amorous feelings towards her. Talk about a total degenerate.

So season three leaves Kirk with five sexual encounters, four alien, one android. And there were three additional episodes where he probably had sex we didn’t see, most notably with Uhura after the pair shared television’s first interracial kiss in “Plato’s Stepchildren.” And we certainly can’t forget the series finale, “The Turnabout Intruder,” in which Kirk switches bodies with Dr. Janice Lester. While it might not technically be sex, I can’t imagine that Kirk didn’t find a spare moment to avail himself of his new plumbing, if you know what I mean…

The final tally? Out of 79 episodes, Kirk has definite sex in sixteen and implied sex in five. Eight of his partners are human, seven are alien and one is android. Jesus Christ! They didn’t need antimatter to drive the original Enterprise. All they had to do was use the dilithium crystals to channel Kirk’s rampant libido!

Kidding aside, this is a real part of what made the original Trek great, and a large part of what’s missing from the Trek franchise today. People have sex. Sometimes for love, sometimes to get what they want, sometimes for the sheer hedonistic thrill of a new experience. Kirk did it for all those reasons. He was good and bad, doing things both noble and selfish. And it is this very human dichotomy that has given the character such an enduring legacy. Is it any wonder that, even at age 71, Shatner continues to reap the benefits?

Happy birthday, Bill. Now take it away!

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