Where No Parody Has Gone Before
When writers of sitcoms, whether they are animated or live action, are creating an episode that will contain elements of Science Fiction
and/or the culture that follows it, they will try to show that they are just like us
by cramming in references to every known science fiction television show and movie, especially Star Trek
(particularly Star Trek: The Original Series
, the first and best-known part of the franchise
). When dealing with a parody of Star Trek
, the elements most commonly found are:
- People in Rubber Suits, Rubber-Forehead Aliens or Human Aliens make up the majority of the extraterrestrial populace; these are usually male characters.
- Very incomprehensible Technobabble
- A Red Shirt who will always die, no matter what.
- A pointy-eared, emotionless, alien who warns about the situation being "illogical".
- An extremely hammy captain who can only act on impulse and speak in long, drawn-out sentences.
- Very, Very, very bad visual effects.
- An uplifting musical intro, followed by the Captain's Log.
- A very surly, pessimistic medical officer, typically in his mid-forties or early fifties.
- A morbidly obese Scotsman with a sometimes incomprehensibly thick accent.
Compare May the Farce Be with You
, which is the same thing, but with Star Wars
. May involve Critical Research Failure
if done painfully bad.
A subtrope of Stock Parodies
Anime & Manga
- What is likely the first-ever parody of Star Trek, imaginatively titled "Star Bleech", was published in the December, 1967, issue of MAD Magazine. A joke used in that issue (Spock saying "He could not believe his ears"), was actually re-used in the show itself (in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles").
- MAD continued doing parodies of all 6 original cast movies, the Star Trek musical, and sequel series.
- Star Trekkin across the universe.
- The Big Bang Theory takes this Up to Eleven.
- In "The Codpiece Topology" Sheldon attends a Renaissance fair as Spock exploring a planet based on Earth in the 1600s.
- Sheldon and Leonard occasionally play three-dimensional chess.
- The gang dress as the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in "The Bakersfield Expedition". They are on their way to the Bakersfield Comic-Con when they decide to stop over at Kirk's Rock, and are stranded when their car is stolen.
- In "The Transporter Malfunction", Sheldon dreams that a Mr. Spock action figure (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) asks him to play with it. Later, Sheldon has another dream in which he and the action figure are on another planet, wherein Sheldon is attacked by a Gorn.
- Community, aside from having a semi-regular parody of Doctor Who, also has a number of Star Trek shout-outs. Pierce dressed as Captain Kirk for the second Halloween Episode, and Troy and Abed's Dreamatorium is basically a low-tech Holosuite. Troy is also known to be a long-standing admirer of LeVar Burton, albeit more for Reading Rainbow.
- The earliest known televised parody of Star Trek was on the December 4, 1967, episode of The Carol Burnett Show, in which Leonard Nimoy appeared as Mr. Spock in a sketch (during the show's original run). One of the many revivals of the show did another, more conventional parody in 1990-91.
- Saturday Night Live famously parodied Star Trek in its first season (1976), in the celebrated "Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise" sketch, where NBC executives come on the ship and announce that the show has been canceled, with all the actors (except for William Shatner as Captain Kirk) leaving. John Belushi played William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) and Chevy Chase played Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.
- In addition to the "Get a Life!" sketch the episode is well known for, the William Shatner episode of SNL also features a straight Star Trek parody (Star Trek V: The Restaurant Enterprise) with Shatner as Kirk, Kevin Nealon as Spock, Phil Hartman as McCoy, and Dana Carvey as Khan (who tries to get the restaurant shut down by a health inspector). Features a nice subversion of a classic Trek trope:
Kirk: *indicating a choking customer* Dr. McCoy, this man needs medical attention!
- The Two Ronnies parodied Star Trek in this 1973 sketch. Corbett played Kirk and Barker played Spock.
- In Living Color! had a Star Trek parody sketch called "The Wrath of Farrakhan", with Jim Carrey as Kirk and David Alan Grier as Spock.
- The first "mini-myths" episode of MythBusters featured a myth from the Original Series episode "Arena", where Kirk improvised a cannon from raw materials found around the area. There were several points where they parodied elements of the series, generally at Tory's expense—Tory's communicator never got reception, and Tory also got "teleported" without some of his clothes at one point.
Tory: Gosh dang it! That's the third time this week!
Grant: He needs to get a new service provider.
- The "Pigs in Space" segments on The Muppet Show are mainly generic Space Opera parodies, but elements of Star Trek are present, including the name of the spaceship (Swinetrek) and the theme music. The Muppets Tonight update, "Deep Dish Nine, The Next Generation of Pigs In Space" is more overt in referencing Star Trek.
- Season 5 of Breaking Bad has this hilarious scene where Badger and Skinny Pete are discussing Star Trek, which includes Badger's idea for an episode featuring a pie eating contest.
- An episode of The Suite Life on Deck takes place in a Star Trek-style future. Complete with a Lampshaded Redshirt death in space.
- Space Quest usually throws a handful of Star Trek jokes into a game, but Space Quest Five sent up nearly every Trope in the classic show's playbook.
- Futurama is loaded with references to Star Trek, from the obscure to the well-known, to the point it is the Trope Codifier and Trope Namer. For example, the sliding door technology that was commonly used in ships in the Star Trek Universe had been adapted for everyday use in the Futurama one, although it doesn't always quite work.
- Another example comes from the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". In that episode, the fanbase for Star Trek had grown into a full-blown religion, getting to the point where Germany recreated the planet of the Nazis. In the end, all the episodes and movies, along with all mention of the phrase "Star Trek", were banned to a distant planet.
- Recurring character Captain Zapp Brannigan has been described by David X Cohen as "half Captain Kirk, half actual William Shatner." The character makes several references to Captain Kirk, including a Captain's Log (just him dictating his experiences to his second in command Kif).
- On an early episode of Family Guy Peter became obsessed with watching television, to the point it interfered with any chance of Meg getting her driver's license and caused the destruction of Quahog's television satellite. One of the shows Peter was watching was an extremely watered-down version of Star Trek. It came as a neat bit of foreshadowing too, when in that same episode William Shatner tried to convince Peter to watch television again after Peter had experienced a life-changing event.
- In the episode "Road To Rupert" Stewie's teddy bear is accidentally sold at a yard sale, prompting him and Brian to go retrieve it. At one point Stewie thinks that his bear is dead and imagines his funeral being similar to that of Spock's at the end of The Wrath of Khan, complete with Stewie and Brian playing "Amazing Freaking Grace" on the bagpipes.
- Animaniacs has an episode parodying Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Duck Trek" features Plucky as Captain Kirk and Furrball (in his only speaking role) as Dr. McCoy.
- Littlest Pet Shop (1995) and Littlest Pet Shop (2012) have both done Trek parodies.
- One episode of The Chipmunks at the Movies parodied the Star Trek movies.
- The VeggieTales short "The Gourds Must Be Crazy", which introduces Jimmy and Jerry the Gourd twins, and Scooter the Scottish carrot.
- The Garfield and Friends episode "Swine Trek".
- This trope is abused to hell and back in The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, particularly whenever the main cast travels between planets. Their uniforms have a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Star Trek: The Next Generation 's Starfleet insignia on their uniforms, which also share the same color scheme. Squash inexplicably gains a hairstyle that makes him look like Spock. And, to top it all off, they travel in a spaceship that is basically a souped-up U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701 model).
- Eek! The Cat episode "Star TrEek," complete with a Green-Skinned Space Babe and Red Shirt bashing.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, there was an episode in which Numbah Two's little brother Tommy is stuck in a giant bathtub. He then finds himself with the crew of a ship that are expies of characters from Star Trek: The Original Series. (A couple of other episodes have Sector V using a spaceship that, while made out of their standard 2X4 tech, heavily resembles the Enterprise.)
- In the Trapped in TV Land episode of Kim Possible, the main heroine finds herself in a show like Star Trek. She even lampshades how she in a red shirt.
- The episode "Unconventional" of Dexter's Laboratory, which focuses on Dexter and his group of friends attending a convention of the universe's Show Within a Show parody, "Star Check". It even opens with a one-and-a-half-minute fantasy sequence of the titular character and his friends in full expy roles of the characters from the original series.
- ReBoot often had many references to Star Trek, but the episode "Where No Sprite Has Gone Before" really took the cake. Written by original Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana and mixing in superheroes, several characters were patterned after original series characters: Rob Cursor for Kirk, Pixel for Spock, Gigagirl for McCoy, and Booty for Scotty. Also featured several lines and allusions to other Trek lore, such as "AndrAIa's log" or "the next generation."
- Duckman's penultimate episode was "Where No Duckman Has Gone Before." Main characters made up the Enterprise crew (except for Mambo, who Duckman calls "Sulu"), as they faced off against Khan Chicken. References were made to everything from Red Shirts to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. James Doohan and Marina Sirtis also did voice work for the episode, and Leonard Nimoy appeared As Himself in a live-action segment.
- The Simpsons had a parody of the Star Trek movies in the form of Star Trek XII: So Very Tired, which features the original cast as elderly men and women.
- Space Heroes, a recurring Show Within a Show on the 2012 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is a parody of Star Trek: The Animated Series.
- An episode of Johnny Bravo includes a parody of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain." As well as Bridge Bunnies for Johnny to drool over.