The Simpsons – Star Trek – tape 1347

This is quite a full tape, mostly The Simpsons from early Sky One.

In Bart Gets Hit by a Car, Bart gets hit by a car. This is, I think, the only episode which ever had an on-screen title.

Bart Gets Hit by a Car

The car was driven by Mr Burns, so Homer thinks he can squeeze money out of him, Unfortunately he hires Lionel Hutz as his lawyer. In a connection with the previous tape, Hutz is voiced by the still much missed Phil Hartman.

In One fish, Two fish, Blowfish, Bluefish, Homer thinks he’s dying because he ate Blowfish toxin at a sushi restaurant. He makes a bucket list.

Homer's Bucket List

Next it’s Homer’s Odyssey. This was one of the early ones, where Smithers was black.

Smithers was Black

Next episode is There’s No Disgrace Like Home. Homer is embarrassed by the family on a company picnic.

After this, a break from The Simpsons with an episode of Star Trek called What are Little Girls Made Of? Nurse Chapel waits nervously on the bridge for news about her boyfriend, Dr Roger Corby, lost for five years.

Majel Barrett

They pick up a signal from Corby, and when Chapel talks to him, the whole bridge crew are all gooey-eyed – check out the two unnamed crew in the background.

Romantic Crew

When they beam down, one of their red-shirt security guards ‘accidentally’ falls down a bottomless bit. Could it possibly be something to do with the strange looking man lurking around?

Scary person

Pretty soon, the second redshirt has been similarly dispatched by the lurking man.

When Kirk and Chapel finally get to the living quarters of Corby, they’re greeted by Andrea.

Andrea

Chapel is a little surprised, having not heard about Andrea from Corby, but when Corby appears, he’s extremely pleased to see her.

But Corby’s assistant draws a phaser on Kirk to stop him contacting the ship, and when Kirk stuns him, we learn he’s some kind of android.

Dead Android

The lurking android reappears and subdues Kirk. He’s Rok, and he can impersonate anyone, as we see when he reports back to the Enterprise as Kirk, to allay their suspicions.

Rok

Corby also explains that Andrea is also an android, leading to a pointed conversation with Christine Chapel as to whether he ‘loved’ Andrea. It’s like when your girlfriend find your stash of porn, or (in more modern terms) your pornhub login.

Soon it’s time to see how androids are made – naturally they demonstrate on Kirk.

Kirk Being Androided

The machine spins around so fast that I’m surprised the androids don’t come out covered in vomit.

It wouldn’t be a duplicate episode without two Kirks in the same scene.

Two Captain Kirks

Corby has even bigger ambitions – he thinks he can transplant the whole of a person’s consciousness into an android. Kirk naturally doesn’t take to the idea. He escapes, with Rok in hot pursuit. So he arms himself with the most unfortunate looking stalagtite.

Is that a Stalagtite in your pocket

Kirk is recaptured, and the duplicate Kirk is sent up to the Enterprise. But Kirk has sabotaged the duplication process – when he was duplicated, he snarled, apropos of nothing at all, “Mind your own business Mr Spock. I’m sick of your half-breed interference” just as the cortical duplication is starting. So when Kirk encounters Spock, he snarls the same thing, tipping off Spock that something is amiss.

Naturally, Kirk has to teach the android Andrea all about love.

Smooching Android

Kirk also has a heart to heart with Rok and learns that the logical androids had destroyed the people who created them because they were disordered. I bet Elon Musk saw this episode when he was very young, and that’s why he’s terrified of strong AI.

Rok, under Kirk’s goading, turns against Corby, who kills him with the phaser. But when Kirk scuffles with Corby, the truth is revealed – Roger is also an android.

Corby version 2.0

Andrea, completely confused by Kirk’s lessons in love, kills the Kirk duplicate when he refuses to kiss her again, then finally kills herself and Corby in a Phaser-fuelled embrace of disintegration.

This episode was written by Robert Bloch, writer of Psycho, and is a very good exploration into the meaning of who we are, themes the series (in its various incarnations) would explore for years after.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th October 1992 – 18:00

After this distraction, it’s back to Sky One for more Simpsons. Next it’s Moaning Lisa. Featuring Bleeding Gums Murphty.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Next, it’s The Telltale Head which contradicts my earlier statement about on-screen titles, because this one also has an on-screen title (as do the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes) although this one doesn’t have an episode number.

The Telltale Head

And finally on this tape, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, not a reference to the Coen Brothers’ movie, but a reference back to the Preston Sturges movie Sullivan’s Travels – the same movie the Coens used.

Homer discovers he has a brother (voiced by Danny DeVito) who runs a car company, and his brother has the brilliant idea to design a car that’s exactly what Homer wants. “Whatever Homer Wants, Homer Gets”.

Homer - The Car Built for Homer

Recording stops just after this episode, and underneath there’s a bit on an episode of E Street, another one of those seemingly endless Australian soaps that filled the 90s TV schedules.

Then, there’s the start of an episode of Family Ties, then the tape ends.

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