Hollow Pursuits

Not fitting in is hard enough. Not fitting in to the extent that it’s hurting your career while you escape into a holodeck fantasy needs some serious intervention. Lt. Barclay makes his debut this week as we put “Hollow Pursuits” into the Mission Log.

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  • Durakken

    I think it’s a bit of a reversal… Barclay is and continues to be treated poorly, regardless of how good he is which seems to me to indicate that the problem is with the others, not Barclay. Furthermore, the fact is, he’s on the Enterprise which means he has to have performed well elsewhere. He doesn’t get to be on the Flagship as a Lieutenant with a poor record.

    Another issue is that given the problem is with the poor treatment of Barclay by others which makes him nervous, not wanted, and not listened to… because he is not wanted and not listened to the problem can’t be fixed nor should it be fixed by just addressing Barclay.
    He’s doing nothing wrong. He is putting in good input.
    They are ignoring him. They are insulting him.
    This causes him to feel dejected and begin to not care which results in slightly poor performance which are then, we can read between the lines to see that they are inflated.
    This being the case it should be falling more on Picard to be putting a stop to these things actively and reprimanding all those people involved, including Deana.

    What’s sorta unfortunate is that we get an opposite message from Tin Man where it was “You’re good as you are” this show’s message is “You better change to fit in, cuz you not changing is not good enough”


    As far as the relationship with Wes and Riker. You gotta remember Riker has taken on the role of Mentor at this point and can be seen as big brother/father figure in Wes’ life so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume Wes would be at ease and joke with Riker like that… which makes it all the worse that he spreads it around and other start doing it too.


    Deana not picking up on Barclay’s problems can be explained because the problem is coming from nervousness about how others are reacting to him, and not from an inherrent problem and in that specific case he’d be nervous about Deana thus it would be covered up by that as specific rather than general.


    To the story about getting the wrong impression of people and shyness. i’m fairly certain most people have the wrong impression of me from when I was in high school and such because I was there to learn, not goof off, so most other people annoyed me, but outside of a class setting where it was time to listen or do work, I’d always be perfectly willing to talk and such. I’m sure people think I’m shy, but really in all those circumstances it has a lot more to do with other things that results in similar action than me ever being shy.

    • great points..Yes, Riker sets a terrible example in this episode. Troi’s empathic nature seems very limited here. For a Romulan, seems like she can determine duplicity in negotiations, but w Barclay doesn’t feel his sexual attraction/embarrassment about fantasizing about her….great points!

    • Good notes – especially like the contrast with “Tin Man.”

  • listening to podcast now…after watching episode on Netflix I make a list of things I noticed….(prior to podcast)
    1. lack of enlisted ranks….too many officers. Just seems like damn near everyone on the ship is an officer and it’s bizarre. Would have been easier to explain Barclay’s entrance into Starfleet as an enlisted crewman. They established crewmen later in …(I wont say 🙂 ) and of course Chief O’Brien..ugh, who they have wear officer rank…hahaha-retcon
    2. PORN- this episode now in 2015, to me is all about porn addiction..hahaha, podcast comment about “escape button” “ESC”- put your clothes on Barclay…Geordi just barging in on Barclay…hahaha, getting caught
    3. Aspergers syndrome. I never knew about anxiety disorders in 1990. also, the geek otaku mindset that comes w our overly tech’d society. E online life has spawned a lot of social misfits or should I say socially awkward types that would not have been as acute if born in 1920. Just too much free time and seductive distractions.
    4. Saucer separation is too rare. They mention it, but don’t do it. Should have at least done it a 2-3 more times in the 7 year run. oh well, mayyyyybe it’s coming up..hahaha
    5. Lt Duffy /Charley Lang reminded me of Matthew Broderick
    6. USS Zukhov- hmmmm guess I better google- Georgy Zhukov, bad ass Russian/Soviet general WWII 1896-1974. Cool!!
    7. not everyone needs to be high speed to get on an aircraft carrier in the US Navy…yes, I know the Enterprise is the “flagship”, but there will be average types as well…see item 1, enlisted ranks really should be 75% of the crew for crying out loud…too many officers makes a ship tip over and sink..hahaha
    8. was that crewman, Russell “the mute” from “Tin Man”? in Geordi’s engineering brief
    9. episode highlights lack of fleshing out supporting cast…glad they fixed this on a certain Bajoran station…
    10. episode 100% holds up. electronic addiction, social anxiety, fitting in, bullying. Be nicer, unplug…..

    • Durakken

      With regards to #7. We can do a little reverse engineering to figure out a federation compliment via Voyager which we have decent numbers for.

      Forgive me if this isn’t exact or i get something backwards, but it was years ago now that I looked into and counted this…

      Voyager has a senior crew of…

      001. Captain
      002. Executive Officer
      003. Opperations Officer
      004. Science Officer
      005. Chief Engineer
      006. Chief of Security
      007. Chief Medical Officer
      008. Conn Officer
      009. Comm Officer
      010. Tactical Officer

      And there is at least 3 shifts so multiply that considering that Comm and Conn are officers are junior officers usually, but we have 2 specific for this flight so that’s 26 bridge officers.

      Voyager has a crew of 141… subtract those 26 and we have 114 left that could and would be non officers for the most part in military craft of modern day.

      Those are split up into roughly the following based on what we see, know, and can assume from what probably was the case from a practical stand point…

      The 1st # is known and the 2nd is the presumed if i remember right…
      18 / 35 Security Officers
      28 / 28 Engineering Officers
      16 / 30 Operations Officers
      12 / 17 Science Officers
      17 / 30 Command Officers
      1 / 1 Medical Officers

      Given this we know that roughly, at least 52% of a federation ship is staffed with Officers or Officer equivalent rank standing, because all Command has to be Officers and all Science & Medical has Degrees that equate to some rank on board the ship…

      So out of 1000 crew, at least 520 of them are officers… Further… the 250 Security crew probably have their own ranking system that they refer regardless of their federation rank. And the remain Operations and Engineering crew probably are just so surrounded by all the ranks they have their own coded equivalent ranking and its easier to just use the same rank names to not cause confusion.

      • WoW! You really put some thought into this I am very impressed overall though I still think the balance or imbalance just is too much. Great analysis though!!

        • Durakken

          Not really ^.^ It just takes more words to explain than to think it out from previous knowledge. I went and looked at this a few years ago as an attempt to figure out what is a “realistic” compliment from whatever I could find for a space ship and I had the numbers still lying around.

          • I really think they need another doctor on board…2-3 even…then mid level clinician type…hahaha, still impressed w your numbers!

          • Durakken

            In the case of Voyager it seems there was only 1 or 2. I forget if there was another doctor/nurse on board in the pilot, but it is made clear that every ship has a medbay and every medbay has a doctor stationed on board.

            You’d think there would be at least 6 for 3 shifts, but apparently not.

            But the reason, at least for Voyager, that there are so few doctors is because Voyager’s crew was for a police action and not a long journey or mission. The assumption was that they’d be back in dock within a few weeks and they need more of other crewmen for the particular activity they were doing so the doctors were only on board as protocol rather than seen as necessities.

            As far as how many should be on board, if I remember right, which I likely do, there is a ratio that is used for hospitals that pretty much gives the number of 20 people for 1 Doctor. Voyager had 140 crew so should have had a minimum of 7 doctors. Enterprise-D has around, iirc, 1000 crew which says they should have around 50 doctors. The funny thing is, at most, no ship I know of has had more than 3, if we count nurses, holograms, and assistants. You could also count the EMTs but they are never given names and are only ever on screen for like 6 seconds… and could be just scientists that really can’t be running experiments while the ship is being attacked or people are getting shot and are least important to the integrity of the ship so act as EMTs when needed.

            The only other times we see a lot of doctors is during Warf’s back injury thing and Picard’s Heart replacement surgeory on that station briefly… I believe I remember there being several doctors there in both those cases…. Also in that station with the super humans that are frozen, but those are more scientists than doctors per se.

          • I think 7 physicians for a ship of 140 is too many. I think for a ship of 1000, 2-3 physicians would be enough as long as you have some sort of advance practice nurses or physicians assistant types (maybe a hologram, though I never liked that concept) to give some padding to staffing. Another reason there needs to be more enlisted ranks is for medic, med techs or corpsmen types who would go down w away teams or carry out orders of the doctors. More nurses and med techs needed to be identified on the show, because the “blue” just isn’t enough to know who is who. Another thing is they really needed nametags!! hahaha, what is everyone supposed to have photographic memory!!?!? Often times those “high stakes” medical scenes, need to have some surgical?OR techs- seems unrealistic to just have 5-7 doctors just gawking, lol. good stuff though.

  • Dwight Schultz “Lt jg Reginald Barclay

  • Gail Gerard

    I am SO looking forward to listening to this. This is one of my favorite “Oh god this is so bad it’s actually kind of good” episodes. 😀

    • lol..yes an episode that definitely holds up. Wayyyyyy ahead of it’s time as lots of great Trek is! enjoy! Did you just recently re-watch episode via Netflix perhaps?

      • Gail Gerard

        Netflix is my go to. Although we also have Hulu (where TNG is available as well) though I don’t know if the Hulu version is different from the Netflix version. I imagine they’re the same.

        • Yup…I am enjoying the cleaner images or HD type clarity that TNG has now…

  • CmdrR

    Trek is always at its best when the focus is on relatable characters (with or without latex brow wrinkles) instead of the tech. That being said, tech’s job is usually to provide a plot point… or a whole plot. I like this ep, but the tech-driven plot is just kinda hanging there. OF FLIPPIN’ COURSE the new guy must save the day, especially if he’s got something to prove. OK, fine. Watch the ep to see everyone having fun on the holodeck. Holo-Beverly looks utterly stoned, btw. And, what? Am I the only one laughing at “invidium?” Sure, it’s on the periodic table, right next to “unobtainium” and “upsidasium.”

    • Invidium? hmmm I only recall the Invid from Robotech….

  • Lou Dalmaso

    Great show this week. this one has a lot to chew on.

    Regarding Wesley’s casual attitude.. I think it’s more of a “hey, we’re the bridge crew” type of thing rather than a rank thing. He seems a lot more chummy with his co-workers than he would be with strangers of similar rank. also “my Mom’s the CMO and maybe the Captain’s girlfriend”..

    It’s also interesting to get a crewman’s perspective on the command crew rather than what we as viewers have. Probably the closest Reg had been to rubbing shoulders with the top brass would be working with Geordie or possibly seeing Data visit engineering. He was more likely doing the odd jobs on third watch for a lot of his time so his version of Riker is colored by his limited interactions. I’m surprised his “Picard” wasn’t just a disembodied voice 🙂

    I never saw Reg as a stand in for “Trekkies in the basement” as much as I saw him as representing anybody who spent too much time watching TV or reading a book instead of playing outside. The concept of preferring the company of fictional characters over real people ( which is perfected with the invention of the holodeck, where you can literally make your own friends) . I think the lesson for him at the end is to go outside and play.

    Yes it was very rude of Geordie to burst in on Reg, but I wrote that off as the chief of engineering having the clearance to open any door without permission (something I would imagine the Captain, CMO, and
    security Chief also having) and not a ship wide condition.

    I can see what the producers were trying to do in introducing a “flawed” character into the core group of flawless superbeings. it not only showed us that there is still a place for the oddball, but it also made us take a look at the regular characters and maybe see their petty or intolerant sides in the process.

    definitely holds up

    • Agreed, Lou!

    • YES, really holds up in light of our current holodeck/laptop/tablets/iphone…oculus Rift VR- hahah,PS4/Xbox1, so many diversions!!, so many toys…I wonder who has “The Most Toys”? !!!

    • on the “Reginald Barclay” Wikipedia article, it states the writer of episode did intend a bit of a dig at Trekkies/Trekkers…oh well, I love my Trek no matter what…hahaha

  • Muthsarah


    But enough about the technobabble B-plot. On to the good stuff:

    Yes, even though this episode was a WEE bit more boring than I remember, the stuff that works makes it work. Reg Barclay is TNG’s best re-occurring character. Or maybe Q. it’s that close. Schultz is fantastic in every appearance, and it’s so refreshing to have such a troubled character in a world – perhaps a future – of geniuses (EDIT: And right on the heels of Tam Elbrun…). It is a little unconvincing how he managed to make it as far as the D while being so unreliable and awkward around people. He never came off as a genius (naturally, at least), just a guy with an extra set of problems that other people had to deal with at least as much as he did. But his crippling self-confidence came off just this side of endearing, because it was clear he was, deep down, a really nice guy who meant well but just couldn’t get past himself or his anxieties about literally everyone around him. It would be maddening to know the guy on a daily basis, I suspect (if you actually had to rely on him for anything – I’m more sympathetic to the rest of the crew’s plight than most here, I suspect), but in small doses, he’s a great character for how he hopelessly and inadvertently pushes other people’s buttons and just makes for a fun time.

    Oh, and then there’s that other great, non-Q guest character, I nearly forgot to mention him: HoloReg. Who will also (sorta) be back. It’s delightful to watch him strut around like a teenage boy’s id, as imagined by a teenage boy. I kibbitzed plenty last week, but I have the same complaints this time: We didn’t need the B-plot here either. You don’t need external conflict from random tech when Barclay is a living, breathing, neurotic conflict monster. Ken, John, one of you mentioned something about the writer submitting six scripts, and the writers making this episode out of them. Did they glue two completely disparate scripts together? There must have been more organic, or at least more interesting, ways for Reg to complete a one-episode arc. At least trap everyone in the Holodeck again; you wouldn’t have to introduce anything new for that, that’s expected by now. And that way, we might have gotten still more HoloReg.

    Anyway, a pretty good episode overall, a huge mixed bag, more disappointing than I remember it being. It’s a 6/10. I like it still, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a noob.

    All this will be tackled so much better in his next episode, which is a Top Ten for me.

    • I think having the ship about to be destroyed unless Barclay figures it out is a bit much. Would have been more realistic if a more mid level failure were occurring. I like to think the Enterprise isn’t going to blow up w every mechanical hiccup.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        The ship is ALWAYS about to blow up. That or the enemy is able to shut down warp drive with their first shots.

        • lol,true…”Acting!!” -Jon Lovitz SNL, drama…gotta build it up…but really I enjoyed some lower key episodes like “Data’s Day” and “Lower Decks” to show life onboard ship w more mundane matters….

          • Dave Steph Taylor

            To be fair, I am not looking to spend the day with John and Ken as they are peeling Potatoes.

          • Yes, the job of potato peeling would be boring, but the conversation whilst peeling would make it quite a worthy visit. ^_^

          • We’ve got to pass the time somehow.

        • Muthsarah

          Yes, but if the ship’s latest peril is a key part of the A-plot, that’s OK. Contagion. Q Who. Cause and Effect. It’s usually well set-up, they usually make it interesting, find something slightly different to do with it, make it genuinely a little exciting at least.

          But if it’s just shoved in there to distract from the actual point of the episode, because character drama isn’t as exciting as BS technobabblish non-suspense….well, that’s bad. Obviously.

  • Konservenknilch

    A very weird episode (of TNG). Barklay clearly has some kind of Social Anxiety Disorder, which is usually associated with Depression. And instead of being helpul, Riker/Geordi/Wesley just shout at the poor dude. Bad form. Picard excuses himself from the whole affair.

    When I was a teen, the whole “we are young and awesome” thing was great. See Wesley. As an Adult nowadays, I realize the value in mediocrity. You don’t always have to be the best at everything.

  • CmdrR

    If you set your phaser… for 6:30 a.m., you suck at Starfleet.

    If you flush the matter-anti-matter waste chamber… into Captain Picard’s fishtank, you just might suck at Starfleet.

    If you have a working deflector dish… sitting on top of a non-working deflector dish, you definitely suck at Starfleet.

    • Gail Gerard


  • This episode reminded me of a great Elton John tune. You know the one…

    “Hold your saber tiny Riker
    Count the swordsmen in the glade
    Laying down on the lap of Crusher
    I had an awkward day today”

  • Stiv40

    This is one of my favourite episodes. I relate to it. Barclay
    is a hero of mine. I have social anxiety disorder. I feel no one likes me, I’m inadequate
    at work and all that. The first time I saw this episode, years before I was
    declared with social anxiety, I found it exciting because I understood it so
    well. It’s a myth and it works. To work it has to deal with social anxiety as a
    real thing, which for me it is. Of course, for example, Riker has to be played
    a bit heavy. He is the superior, the manager who I, as an insecure worker, has
    to work under. He has to expect perfection from his staff, not because a real
    life Riker would do so, but because I, the insecure worker, thinks my manager
    expects perfection that I can never deliver, hence I always feel anxiety. I can
    never be good enough, because I think he expects perfection and everyone else
    is perfect except for me. Of course that’s nonsense, but to deal with it in a
    myth you have to treat like it has some creditability. If the episode didn’t do
    that, then emotionally, I wouldn’t connect with it. Yes, the Riker here is not
    the Riker we see in other episodes, but in order for the myth to work, Riker
    has to be as he is. I get that perfectly, and appreciate that this show was

    • Muthsarah

      “Yes, the Riker here is not the Riker we see in other episodes, but in order for the myth to work, Riker has to be as he is. I get that perfectly, and appreciate that this show was made.”

      I like that Riker has had a…n…interesting season so far as his character does. He’s the show’s Alpha Male. Tall, handsome, well-groomed. Authoritative, but still more of a direct guy than Jean-Luc the philosopher king. Ladies’ man. That was all set up back in Season One.

      But thus far in Season Three (we have one more character curveball coming), Riker:

      – Fully became “Commander Horndog” by swooping in on Yuta like he was James Bond. Connery’s Bond.
      – Somehow convinced Manua Apgar that he was sexually aggressive, even predatory. She could be delusional, or suffering from shock, or just misunderstood him given likely different cultural norms, but all the same, Troi believed Manua was being honest when she painted Riker as forcing himself on her, and those who knew her seemed to have no trouble believing it.
      – Commander Horndog rode again in “The Offspring” the INSTANT he laid eyes on Lal, who, while pretty, does not at first sight appear to be the “come hither” type. Then again, maybe he just has a thing for short-haired brunettes. At bars.
      – Tried to get PIcard….some company…in “Captain’s Holiday” by giving him a sex idol and having him display it for all to see. Without telling Picard what he would be doing.
      – has the effect of being an overbearing bully, at least to Barclay, a nice guy prone to flights of fantasy but not dishonesty.

      Quite the track record. But not internally inconsistent at all. Riker’s clearly a confident, intelligent, charismatic, successful man. And probably used to getting what he wants. But it’s easy to see how he could maybe get overly-confident at times. Not suggesting he did anything wrong, but there’s a track record in this season alone that suggests he may come off very differently to others at times. Or like the trendy serialized anti-heros of today’s TV, and not quite the squeaky clean “boy scouts” of Trek of yore.

      • if we are to be fair, I think if Troi or Crusher or any female has a libido, we should not really knock Riker for having one as well.

        • Muthsarah

          Except that Riker’s libido tends to get him, or someone else, in trouble. Repeatedly. In this one season alone.

    • I like it when Star Trek is able to get people who relate to an issue to know they are not alone. Good stuff, good science fiction. A memorable character who should have had 5-7 more appearances over the series imo.

  • Important note that hasn’t been mentioned here but this was a hologram episode without it being a “holodeck episode!” And that made it all the more enjoyable in my book!

    • agreed. I really got tired of the malfunctioning holodeck theme….

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    I love it when they show Crewmen/women that are not the perfect example. And that certain crew members would not get along with others and even have silly names for others. He will always be Lt. Broccoli to me.

    When Troi, Riker and Geordi go on the Holodeck their reactions are just awesome.

    Now, would not there be a “Do not Disturb” note to put on the Holodeck doors.

  • Peter Tupper

    One of my favorite episodes. Reg’s anxiety makes him either avoid the other crew, or fantasize about dominating them, defeating all of the men and turning all of the women into sex/maternal objects. He can’t handle the middle ground of just being part of the crew.

    Yes, Reg saves the ship by providing a key insight, but he doesn’t do it alone. He’s just one of many doing what they can. That’s what allows him to overcome his fear of the crew and be a part of it.

    (A good companion piece to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Superstar”, which also explores male insecurity and fantasy.)

  • Endocrom .

    That “You’re just shy” line really hits home.