Date: 01/17/2014 4:55 AM Title: Chapter 2
I really like your essay. I can tell you did a lot of research before writing it.
You can point out that perhaps the S/U was waning in various scenes throughout Into Darkness. The first one was inside of the volcano. Here he was accepting of his fate when Jim did everything he could to save him. The second scene was right after Jim met up with Spock after his demotion. Spock was perfectly fine with transferring off the Enterprise to a new ship though he was confused by Kirk's frustration with him.
Then there was Uhura's rant in the shuttle. She kept demanding that Spock show emotions until finally (probably out of frustration) he did tell her why he didn't say anything. I find it fascinating (no pun intended) that the writers have her demanding emotions from a Vulcan. Yet for all her ranting, demands, scowling, and stances on the bridge, it was Jim who manged to get a strong reaction from Spock. And he didn't demand it, it was through his actions.
The Into Darkness section is certainly a stump right now, as I said I haven't really had a chance to think it through in detail (or time to write it up for that matter). The part about Spock being perfectly fine with transferring off the Enterprise is certainly a good point, I've had another reviewer also express some annoyance with the domestic Uhura chose to have in the middle of a mission despite saying she was fine to work with Spock. Thanks for your review and I shall probably add to this essay evenually :-)
Date: 10/19/2013 4:27 AM Title: Chapter 1
Just thought the speach tell Uhura I ....... Is not followed by sure man, Kirk's reply is that it will work. (You will live). Will love to see what you make of the comparisons between Spock's 'death' in the volcano vis the Uhura relationship and his reaction to kirks death
The brilliant bit here is that it is the greatest confirmation of what transferred in the mind meld on Delta Vega. Kirk knows exactly what the epic friendship is all about. The hand on the glass it's not about the words he knows that Spock will be able to sense the unsaid the emotion even without touching directly. Now the Kahn cry becomes one of vengeance for the death of T' hy'la.
Date: 04/12/2013 6:48 AM Title: Chapter 1
Re you response to my above comment (As "OzTrek"), I'm surprised that Kirk/McCoy is more popular than Kirk/Spock on Archive of Our Own. Is that true? According to Fanlore even in 2009 fandom Kirk/Spock is still the most popular pairing. That's interesting though. A lot of people who argue against K/S will feel it necessary to reassert that he is exclusively heterosexual (According to them) yet here were have another popular pairing which pairs Kirk with another male. And particularly if people are doing Spock/Uhura and Kirk/McCoy together you have a situation which is slash inclusive and S/U. Interesting.
I wanted to comment on Peramia's review. That's an interesting thought although I always figured Spock to be largely asexual apart from when he's under Pon Farr, and that does fit his characterisation. I always figured that if anything Spock would be more likely to show somebody romantic affection which isn't necessarily sexual, rather than the other way around. Plus, if Spock is sleeping with Uhura purely for sexual release that seems fairly casual a relationship for a Vulcan.
Well taking a look at the reboot tag: http://archiveofourown.org/tags/Star%20Trek:%20Alternate%20Original%20Series%20(Movies)/works under 'relationships' (when I last looked anyway, the number are probably increasing daily) Kirk/McCoy is at 2331 and Kirk/Spock is at 1420. I mean, I (obviously) am a pretty big K/S fan but I do see where Kirk/McCoy comes from and I'd say that it's more prominent in reboot than in canon. Though I've never seen a K/Mc vs. K/S shipwar like you get K/S vs. S/U (or a K/Mc vs. S/U but mainly because I don't run in either of those circles so they might exist), and I generally find you get less tension between slash pairings then between the main slash and main het pairing. I'm completely fine with K/Mc shippers. It's just some S/U ones that I've found get rather nasty.
Oh, and about Spock and sex... I personally believe that he isn't asexual outside of Pon Farr, but merely doesn't have much of a drive. That is, he enjoys sex as much as any human if it's offered but also has no problem living without it. Usually with Kirk I imagine love coming first then sex being as much about intimacy as it is about pleasure. But that's just what's in my head.
And I have no idea about that "maintains" thing. Seriously, and people say the slash fans are reaching? Ship Spock/Uhura in TOS by all means but there is no way it's canon. I've said this about a million times and I'll say it again: why does everyone seem to forget Scotty?
Date: 04/12/2013 6:12 AM Title: Chapter 1
This is my confusion over the alternative reality. I understand a different set of events created a different set of circumstances and thus an alternative reality. One of these differences is apparently having Spock be in a relationship with Uhura. But on Memory Alpha it uses the phrase "Spock maintained a relationship with Uhura". Abrams may have created the alternative reality to avoid continuity issues, but is he saying here that Spock already had a relationship with Uhura BEFORE the timelines split? And that the difference is that he MAINTAINS a relationship with Uhura in the reboot reality. So, basically he's saying that Spock and Uhura before the first season of TOS were in a relationship. That still seems like he's messing with the original timeline to me. What part of Uhura going up to Spock in The Man Trap and attempting, unsuccessfully, to flirt with him indicates that they were ever even that close? Not to mention she says something along the lines of "Kirk is the closest thing you have to a friend". Doesn't really seem like ex-girlfriend talk.
Date: 04/03/2013 5:18 AM Title: Chapter 1
This is awesome and so very well thought out. I agree 100% with your conclusions on K/S. I do disagree on you're opinions about Spock/Uhura, though.
Personally, I believe Uhura and Spock had a sexual relationship, but I don't think romantic feelings had much to do with it. I think they care for each other, but not romantically. In the movie, when the cadets are being asigned their ships, Uhura was asigned to a ship other than Enterprise. When she confronted Spock about it he basically said he did it because he didn't think it appropriate for him to be her superior officer due to their sexual relationship. This also explains why Uhura felt comfortable enough to kiss him, and him to accept it. He didn't feel comfortable sharing his emotions with her, though, because their relationship up to that point was all about two logical and consenting adults releasing tension with each other. That's also why she backed off so quickly, she doesn't know him well enough to know when or even how to help him so she fell back on respecting him and his culture. That's my take anywho, what do you think about it?
I generaly am not too sure about the idea of Spock having a sexual relationship without emotions behind it, but that's more to do with my preferred headcanon than actual characterisation. On second thought, your interpretation actually makes a lot of sense. Hmmm...
Date: 03/20/2013 4:25 AM Title: Chapter 1
Alas, I think Abrams has decided to stick with the Spock/Uhura thing in the sequel, judging by some of the stills and a comment by Abrams (Can't find a link). I find it really lame and cliche, despite good chemistry between Quinto and Saldana. There's nothing particularly creative or daring about matching one of the male leads with the only predominant female character, except that it makes Spock's character to the point where he ceases to be Spock. I could buy the whole "Spock needed a hug and wasn't friends with Kirk" yet thing (Although I'm not sure why comfort from Uhura neccessarily has to mean kissing) and Abrams could have easily discontinued the relationship in Into Darkness yet apparently he has added a whole subplot about the difficulties of being in love with a Vulcan from Uhura's perspective. I also find the idea of a strong female character pining over a guy who is apparently emotionally cut off (yet she keeps going back to him) a little insulting. Especially if Spock is going to return to Star Fleet for someone else.
I haven't actually figured out how popular the pairing is. Some claim that it's very popular and part of "pop culture" already and it's only the "wishful thinking slashers" who are against it and yet I have seen many surprised reactions to the pairing and various reasons why people didn't like the pairing. Apparently in 2009 fandom it's the most popular opposite-sex pairing but still pales in comparison to Kirk/Spock not to mention that TOS Kirk/Spock pairing still remains hugely popular. Consider that Facebook has a Kirk/Spock page with over 2000 'likes' while the largest Spock/Uhura page has about 40 likes. The weird thing is that Nichols said that her character looked up to Spock but never said she thought they were in love and Nimoy never said it either and yet suddenly Nichols says she liked the pairing and Nimoy joked about being jealous of Zachary Quinto. And apparently Chris Pine wants Kirk to "have a shot" with Uhura and Zachary Quinto likes the romance as well. And Zoe Saldana says that she wants Spock and Uhura to bond. So, they're going to bond and repopulate New Vulcan? Seems kind of lame.
I'm not even sure if I'll watch Into Darkness. I mean, I suppose I might just to find out what happens, but the whole reboot series doesn't really appeal to me that much. I'm a TOS-er through and through :-)
I feel there's quite a bit of wasted potential in the reboot. Not only have they forgotten the social commentary Roddenberry wove in and gone for straight bang bang action, they've also gone for the completely pointless romantic subplot. Just about all the love interests in TOS were directly involved in the plot (Lenore Karidian, Miri, Lelia Kalomi to name a few) and I seem to have an allergy to unnecessary romance. S/U wouldn't be my cup of tea even if I wasn't already into K/S.
And about the popularity--well, slash tends to be generally more popular than het. Taking a quick look at archiveofourown pairing numbers K/S is way more popular than S/U (and that's not even taking into account the stories marked as S/U which are actually other pairings but mention the canon pairing just to break them up), though Kirk/McCoy is also way more popular than K/S (I think the double pairing of Kirk/Bones and Spock/Uhura is pretty common). But then taking into account independent archives like this one...I'm not so sure either.
Anyway, thanks for reading!
Date: 03/04/2013 10:12 PM Title: Chapter 1
This one sure has a lot of interesting, and in my opinion valid points- lots of food for thought, and I liked the focus on the creator's intentions. I should bookmark it, it had many good counter-arguments for the next time I get into a discussion about K/S. :) For example, the one about human and Vulcan kisses- you wouldn't believe how many times I've heard "Yeah right, you must think Spock is copping a feel whenever he grabs a turbolift handle" and suchlike. *eyeroll*
...Would you mind terribly if I added this one to my LJ reclist? ^^;
Thank you, glad you liked. I'd be honoured if you added this to your reclist!
Date: 10/28/2012 10:15 AM Title: Chapter 1
Lets look at this simply homoerotic subtext sells. Conan Doyle knew it. Nimoy and Shatner had worked it out by season two and one could say it was Paramount and Genes idiocy in season three which removed it from scripts that altered ratings. The entire movie arc for TOS is predicated on it. Boston Legal centres on it Now ah have movie and BBC Sherlock not even subtle. Even Bond in Skyfall declares his bisexuality.
If 2013 is not K/S they will have missed the boat. Mmh why the total absolute secrecy on content are paramount capable of quantum change in movie history. Can they go where no movie has gone before and move from gay caricatures to love being love regardless of the genders involved.
Date: 09/27/2011 11:54 AM Title: Chapter 1
Wonderful writing, and very good points! :)
Also, out of curiosity, is the Turnabout Intruder blooper actually a video or audio clip somewhere? Because if so, that'd be awesome...
Author's Response: Thanks! Unfortunately I don't think it's available. It actually came from the book Star Trek Lives, co-authored by a women who spent six days on the set while Turnabout Intruder was being shot. It's the tenth point here: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Turnabout_Intruder_(episode)#Background_Information.
Date: 04/13/2011 9:57 PM Title: Chapter 1
Fascinating stuff. I discovered K/S kind of by accident (I was always sort of aware of it, but had dismissed it in a high-handed manner that I'm not proud of now) and am absolutely converted now. I'm going back to watch the movies all over again now! Just wanted to say thanks for providing a very clearly explained argument in newbie-friendly detail - it was a joy to read. Would LOVE to see K/S become official canon in the reboot!
Date: 02/17/2011 9:35 AM Title: Chapter 1
Hey, I think your paragraph breaks got eaten when you copied and pasted onto this website.
I disagree with you on a few points. First of all, Roddenberry was pushed out of having much creative control over the Star Trek movies after TMP, which the company considered to be a disaster. He had a heavy hand during the first year of TNG, which stumbled and the studio brought Rick Berman in to straighten things out. Roddenberry became sicker and passed away. In short, Roddenberry's conception of Kirk and Spock is not relevant to the intentions of JJ Abrams and the other creators for STXI.
The scenes with Uhura ARE somewhat ambiguous. Spock does not finish his statement to Kirk precisely for that reason. They imply that Spock and Uhura are in a relationship, perhaps one that is quite physical, but they don't state things straight out. However, perhaps most damningly, Spock is somewhat compromised by this relationship with Uhura, whatever the nominal nature of it. This is why he attempts to assign her to something other than his ship. It is not a very proud moment for Spock.
If you are interested in the creators' intentions, I would direct your attention to the special feature commentary on the DVD. The writers refer to Spock as Uhura's "boyfriend". They lay out the story arc where Kirk meets "the girl", but, unlike in a typical action movie, he doesn't lose the girl and get her back: as they state it "he lost her before he even had a chance". Part of Kirk's story arc is facing the cosmic unfairness of discovering that Spock, the unsympathetic guy who holds the keys to his future (via the academic hearing), has already gotten to the chick that he's been unsuccessfully chasing for four years.
The key to the SUBTEXT of STXI--and it is subtext--is that in the typical action/adventure movie, Spock would be the obstacle (or enemy) that Kirk has to overcome. But instead, there's a more important arc, the one where Kirk and Spock meet, can't stand each other, yet somehow come to find out they're perfect for each other. This is--naturally--the romantic comedy trope. To this one adds a rather blatantly homoerotic physical confrontation as well as Spock Prime's casual undertaking of extreme intimacy with Kirk. From the standpoint of story structure, Kirk and Spock are the important couple, while Uhura, like Bones, is a supporting character.
Could you dismiss the canonicity of the Spock/Uhura relationship? Sure. The writers gave themselves some leeway because they were pushing the limits of what they could do with Spock as a character. But to say there's nothing there at all requires a tortured reading of the movie. Kirk discovering Spock and Uhura kissing is part of Kirk's story arc.
Do we have to like it? Of course not. I can live with the new version of Kirk (as annoying as he is) better than the new version of Spock. Personally, I related to the introverted, socially inept, furtive, lonely, nerdy, but very, very ethical Spock of yore. I dislike this arrogant, pushy, rude, violent, distractable, pussy-whipped Spock. Sure, I got some yuks seeing him order Kirk around, but he wasn't very good at it, so that kind of spoiled the fun. They even changed his backstory, making both of his parents super supportive when we know very well that they didn't always say the right things even though they were trying their best in the original version.
The original Sarek wanted Spock to be accepted as a Vulcan, so he raised him to be tough because he knew the world was going to be tough. But the new Sarek has decided to accept Spock whatever he chooses to become, and so, despite Baby!Spock battling the bully kids, he isn't tough. Actually, it's more proof of it. The original Spock walked away from the kids who tormented him. He was mentally and emotionally stronger. He certainly would not have allowed himself to get into an inappropriate emotional relationship with a subordinate or student. In fact, emotional control was such second nature to him that he was unable to feel anything for Leila Kalomi until he came under the influence of the spores. (Ha, now if you want some canon K/S, check out Laura Goodwin's essay on THAT episode.) He met Kalomi on Earth at about the same age as he is in STXI.
I'm sure there's a master's thesis in changing attitudes towards child-rearing and personal fulfillment in North America in the blatantly reworked relationship between Sarek and Spock (for cripes' sake, they actually lifted lines that SPOCK delivers TO HIMSELF in the TAS episode "Yesteryear"--the one GWR declared canon--and had Sarek deliver them).
Nobody would be more pleased than I if they went ahead and made K/S overt. Clearly they want Spock less repressed, so why not? I think they're sweating the commercial viability issue. The younger generation doesn't care, but is JJ Abrams prepared to come out and suggest two beloved cultural icons are gay?
When Joel Schumacher tried to revive the ol' camp in the Batman movies, it went over like a lead balloon. Even though everyone knows Batman is fucking gay. So what are they going to do? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge with the bromance aspect (which audiences in the US respond well to) but CYA with overt displays of heterosexuality. Expect to see Kirk in bed with more green alien women in the next movie. (Oddly enough, in STXI, Kirk's alleged heterosexuality is played like a joke and he and Gaila don't even take all their clothes off, even though there's really no good reason I can think of to play that so ironically... except that apparently someone with their head up their posterior thought the Tucker Max vibe was a GOOD thing. Tucker Max' box office states otherwise.) I do not expect them to play out the Spock/Uhura thing into an LTR because it ruins the episodic, no-strings vibe of the ensemble. It also interferes with the more important Kirk/Spock relationship. So expect her to be downgraded. I bet Spock has a Vulcan love interest, instead, but it won't work out. They'll have to do something with Bones--without distracting from the main plot--because Kirk and McCoy were apparently too slashy (I really didn't see it) the last time. His being divorced is a pretty flimsy fig leaf in this day and age. (Heh, actually I could slash Kirk and McCoy if he's wearing the Eomer hair. Hahaha.)
I hope they at least have the crew act more professional, like a James Bond flick, irreverant, perhaps, but competent, and I really, really hope Kirk is less fratty. The obnoxiousness was toned down by the very end and I hope it stays that way. Again, STXI made way more money than I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL. There is no real reason to target the 11-14 year old insecure-about-their-sexuality male demo. Most of them would watch generic action anyway. Duh.
Oops, yeah, fixed that.
I am aware that G.R left the creative team, but I believe that while he had no direct or official influence over the intentions of his sucessors, he did design the characters and leave a legacy of their epic relationship which was honoured. There are numerous romantic scenes in TMP's sequels and, well, I just made a lot of points about why I believe it was honoured by ST:XI creators.
I am also aware that the writers seemed to be fully behind the Spock/Uhua relationship. However, that does not seem to be consistent with its ambiguity. On this I can only speculate, perhaps some supported and some didn't? Perhaps they personally supported, but kept it open to honour G.R's legacy? Maybe they tried to fully support but in the end developing Kirk and Spock's relationship (and Spock and his father's relationship for that matter) took preedence? I don't know, but just because they refer to Spock and Uhura's boyfriend doens't make it full canon.
Also, when I said that Spock/Uhura does not exist, I didn't mean that their relationship did not exist at all, but that the deep passionatie serious love that they supposedly share that is speculated at by fans, does not exist. They definitely had something going on, that's obvious, but I have made points as to why that something is not serious, probably lasting, and ultimately not as important as Kirk and Spock's relationship. I also realise that there is not much K/S love, but it's only the beginning of their relationship, and the fact that Spock effectively chose Kirk over his "girlfriend" is a start.
I don't really like the Spock/Uhura subplot in general, that is, because such a plot exists and not because it is Spock with Uhura. I know the Spock/Uhura/Kirk triangle was part of the story, but it annoys me and seems a bit superficial for Star Trek, which has never in the past fallen to the "main character saves the planet and get's the girl" clicke (it's not Kirk, but Spock's still a main character). In fact, most Star Trek romance plots are more complex, such as Edit Keeler's moral dillema, and Spock choice between his old life and Zarabeth. But this is more of a personal opinion than a real complaint.
I can't say I'm crazy about the reboot characters, but I do like the enemies turned reluctant friends turned lovers trope, even if it is a cliche. I also like Sarek, since i guess you could argue his wife's death changed his perspective. Funnily enough, what would really develop Spock's character would be having him reveal that he has no romantic interest in Uhura and just took advantage of her interest in him, showing his weaknesses and that he can sometimes be selfish. Not that I expect this to happen, however.
But anyway, Spock and Uhura's relationship was ambiguous, probably deliberately, and the focus is on Kirk and Spock's relationsip. I don't think K/S will be official canon since there are a lot of homophobes and people who aren't homophobic but don't want to see their heros as flaming poofters. However, it seems that the subtext and subplots which promote the relationship will be there, hidden, but ultimately pushing past the contrainsts of fcinematic sexuality and modern action audiences who expect a hetero love story. Plus, I also like the idea of the destiny of TOS pushing the XI characters.
I think that ST;XI had a serious romantic subplot, but one that was executed in a way that did not suggest that the relationship itself is serious or lasting. They are together in some way for now, but I doubt it will last. Or rather, I doubt that it would last were the characters real. In terms of sequel production decisions, well I sincerely hope it will not. Kirk and Spock's relationship, whatever it is, was monogamous (well it was after TMP when Spock finally fully came to terms with his feelings for Kirk) and I sincerely hope they don't sacrifice the K/S dynamic in favour of the romance most action movie goers expect. Plus I like Scotty, and Uhura and Scotty works must better than Uhura and Spock, and is canon.
Date: 02/09/2011 8:48 PM Title: Chapter 1
Great essay! You make me look at the 2009 movie in a different light. I'd always thought that the filmmakers included the relationship between Spock and Uhura to refute the Kirk/Spock pairing, but maybe the characters had other ideas...
Thanks, glad you like it. I was thinking of Spock/Uhura as a serious discouragement, but then Miss Car pointed out in her story "But I Thought You Were Straight" the fact that he left Uhura in Starfleet and returned for Kirk, and I started to think there was more to it. Guess the filmmakers (or some of them, at least) weren't against K/S after all.
Date: 02/09/2011 11:41 AM Title: Chapter 1
Interesting essay. I'm not a Spock/Uhura fan, but I do think there is a lot of evidence in TOS to suggest that Spock and Uhura developed a close, affectionate friendship (despite the rocky beginnings in 'The Man Trap') and even enjoyed playful flirting occasional. For this reason I don't agree that the filmmakers only put in S/U to downplay the 'Kirk getting the girl' stereotype, or that Uhura was guilt-tripping Spock. However, I certainly agree that they were never romantically involved and that there is no evidence that they were. Personally, I am firmly convinced that Kirk/Spock are the one true pair.
Thanks for writing this essay!
Cose and affectionate friendship, sure, but I doubt any more that that. Because deny Kirk and Spock all you want, but that doesn't stop Uhura from being with Scotty! I'm not sure about the filmmakers introducing S/U to break the badass getting the girl stereotype (it was a general stereotype, I think, not just Kirk), I've also heard that they only introduced it because they needed someone to comfort Spock and his relaitonship with Kirk wasn't up to it yet (not very good comforting, still, but he did have someone to say goodbye to on the transporter pad). And yes, I think K/S are undeniably the one true pairing, so long as you have eyes, that is.