Friday, December 19, 2008

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry Passes Away

I have fond memories of discovering the original Star Trek (ST) when I was about 12 or 13 years old. It was something new and probably more interesting that those eps of one of the orignal series' spin-off The Next Generation (TNG) which I also discovered at that time. In fact I discovered TNG first before the original series.

I just found out last night that the lady who played Nurse Christine Chapel on the original series has passed away. When I started watching both incarnations of Star Trek I had no idea that Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was the wife of the man who created Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry. My only thoughts about her revolved around the two main characters she playes on the series Nurse Chapel and Lwaxanna Troi (who's the eccentric mother of USS Enterprise counselor Deanna Troi). Also she was the voice of the computers you might hear on both the Original series and the spin-offs up until Enterprise. She's even the voice of the ship's computer in the new Star Trek film coming out next summer.

Mrs. Roddenberry was a beautiful lady especially in her youth as during the course of the original series she seemed to care for Mr. Spock. There was an episode, "The Naked Time", where it seemed as if things could become serious between the two of them. Spock seemed to be a man, in fact he was a Vulcan man devoid of emotions seemingly and very alien, who probably has no use for romance. Still he contracted a virus from Chapel that seemed to have caused his emotionless veil to become more than lifted and was running around the corridors of Enterprise sobbing just after Chapel expressed her feelings for Enterprise's first officer.

Another memorable episode, "Amok Time", was when Spock was experiencing pon-far. Vulcans aren't much different than salmon they have to return home to mate and this has a lot of ritual to it. Of course what this means is that ST fans will see a lot of emotinal outbursts that are generally not expected from Vulcans. At the very beginning of the episode Chapel attempted to give Spock some soup and was thorougly rejected with Spock throwing the soup out of his quarters. Unfortunately both Dr. McCoy and Capt. Kirk were right outside in the corridor when it happened because McCoy was increasingly concerned about Spock.

These two scene illustrated how I feel about Nurse Chapel and it was unfortunate that no other episodes addressed anything between the characters. Perhaps the writers never intended to go there, but I saw the possibility of a storyline where Spock might have a relationship with the nurse. It never materialized and I must say that I never thought much about it until I saw the news of Mrs. Roddenberry's passing.

Memories of her other famed character Lwaxanna Troi well they aren't as fond. Perhaps it's because I grown to not care for The Next Generation as much as I grew to care for the original series. Still her character has yeilded some memorable moments. She often embarrassed Capt. Picard, especially by constantly hitting on him or forcing Picard to carry some heavy luggage when it turns out that her helper can move it with ease.

Also she made an appearance in a Roddenberry series that was produced posthumously, Earth: Final Conflict. I grew to loathe that show, but her appearance was a connection to the man who created that program. Plus she was also an executive producer for not only Earth: Final Conflict but also Andromeda which was another series produced postumously that was created by Gene Roddenberry.

Anyway to me Nurse Chapel will always be the Majel Roddenberry I would recognize. Especially the one that appeared in the original series. That character was a favorite and I think that Mrs. Roddenbery has done well as not only Chapel, Lawaxana, but also as the First Lady of Star Trek. May she rest in peace!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She was also "Number One" in the Star Trek pilot episode!

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