This Side of Paradise
Spock’s in love, the plants are in bloom, and everybody is happy. But nothing lasts forever this side of paradise.
Tags: berthold rays, D.C. Fontana, drug, drugs, Eden, free will, Jill Ireland, Leila Kalomi, Omicron Ceti III, Ralph Senensky, Sandoval, Spock, spores, The Original Series, The Original Series Season 1, This Side of Paradise, TOS
“Oh happy day…”
Changes that maybe even a certain Podcaster would like?
“The Way of the Spores ” No?
Trivia. A Green Planet was seen only twice in Season One. This, and yep, THAT other episode ……
Late to the party, but I only just listened to this one. It baffles me that the guys (well, one of the guys…) got so caught up in the idea that the episode was trying to convey the message that happiness….just base happiness, a state of being…was bad.
While not always super well done (the healing quality was counterproductive to the point, I think), this episode always struck me as a pretty direct anti-marijuana ‘message’ episode. The whole “it may feel like your problems are gone, or that your pain is gone, or that you’re just so HAPPY all the time…but it’s all superficial. It’s actually just stagnating you.”
I just see the point as something like, “Using a plant to feel happy is not the same as living well.” And I don’t think for a moment that the writers intended to say that happiness in general is a problem, or is something that needs to be rejected. I know some of the template 60’s sci-fi fantasticism muddies it, but at the core the episode is more asking “is happiness that comes from outside or chemically manipulated conditions really happiness,” than it is saying “Happiness: yeesh, what a turd!”
Is happiness a state, or a symptom? Can happiness be valued if it’s constant, or do we need the ebbs and flows, the peaks and troughs, in order to fully appreciate it? Can happiness be real if it comes from a spore, or a drug, or a bottle?
When watching this episode, I wondered if it was inspired by/a retelling of the incident of the Lotus Eaters in the Odyssey. Only in this case, Odysseus sets out to save the Lotus Eaters from themselves.
I’d love to know which elements in the episode as we have it were in the first draft, and which were added during the script doctoring phase.
To me if people can DECIDE they want to be under the influence of the spores, then I agree with Ken, let that be their choice. The problem is this was not a choice they made, it was made for them by the spore because they were unaware of its existence. I think they were right to separate the people from the spore. At that point let them make the choice, while of rational, uninfluenced mind, if they wanted to be under its influence again. Would Spock have made the choice to feel “happy” had he known of the spore before landing? Probably not. Therefore he shouldn’t be under its influence without that decision of his own making.
I’m surprised that your podcast made no allusion to the obvious parallel. This is a modern retelling of the episode in the Odyssey where Odysseus and his men encounter the lotus eaters.