I delight in life. Little joys, big triumphs, dancing a tiny jig in the bookstore when they play a song I like, a large grin on my wife's face when I crack some silly joke. One tiny pleasure I take is the small moments of unintentional hilarity in the sci-fi and fantasy shows and movies I watch. I'm not talking about something that's intended to be funny, nor am I talking about the so-bad-it's-good kind of joy I get from shows like The Cape. (BTW, we're having a Curtains for the Cape party at my house this Saturday, if you're in LA email for details.) Nope, I mean those minuscule moments in an otherwise quality program that make me laugh out loud at their absurdity. Often they require a moment to think about, but having trod that mental road it's impossible to not laugh at the absurdity.
Here's one that always gets me. I'm a huge fan of Babylon 5. It had so much potential, and though there were some issues towards the end it remains one of the most ambitious sci-fi undertaking ever attempted on television. This scene is from Infection, the fourth episode aired but the first one (post-pilot) produced. They were still finding their feet, and it's regarded as one of the weaker episodes. But there's one line in particular, that's delivered with such sincerity and zeal that I almost want Dr. Franklin's response to be something like, "well, you raise a valid point." I'll remember this scene the next time I'm doing a little bit of harmless smuggling.
I feel funny bashing B5 without taking a little poke at Star Trek. Now, to be sure, there's a ton of cheese in Star Trek. However, one line in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country made me chuckle then and has in fact entered my lexicon. Keep in mind that Scotty is supposed to be one of Kirk's very best friends in the universe, loyal to the point that he'd break the laws of the universe for this man. So, when Spock asks him to visually inspect some torpedoes to clear Kirk's name...
Is it just me or should the next line from Spock be a sarcastic, "well, then don't do it." My friends and I now use this phrase in a whiny voice when someone asks us to do something perfectly reasonable and necessary. "That could take hours!!!"
Finally, here's one from Batman: The Animated Series. The episode? The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne, where Hugo Strange gets video proof of Batman's secret identity and attempt to auction it off to the Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin. I'll admit that this might be a bit of a cheat. It's entirely possible that this line was SUPPOSED to be funny. However, the tone of the episode is so serious that that's not at all clear. Still, Strange's reaction is so wonderfully understated that it cracks me up every time. I'd certainly be less caviler if the Joker was given reason to believe I was trying to screw him!
Hope you enjoy! If there's some unintentional hilarity that you've found in otherwise quality sci-fi, please let me know and I'll check it out.
TO THE DEATH – TO THE END!
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