How Social Media Saved the World

It cannot be understated that we are living through a history-making difficult time. Hundreds of thousands of people are falling victim to a global pandemic and everyone is else either staying home or acting brazenly stupid. It shouldn't be surprising, though, that one of the upshots of all of this is that there has been a rise in meme-making.

First defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 as a cultural idea that takes on a life of its own and is passed down through generations much the same way that genes are, the word "meme" has itself taken on a life of its own to define pictures made and passed around on the Internet that often lampoon various aspects of life. I don't think I've seen any new memes in the past few days that weren't about the COVID-19 epidemic. But this isn't the first time a global catastrophe has been made fun of in what could be described as a "childish" fashion. In fact, one of the memes I've seen compared the uptick in Cor…

Star Trek: Asterisk "A Night in Sickbay"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S02E05
Air Date: October 16, 2002
Written by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: David Straiton

After Porthos picks up a deadly virus, Phlox determines that Captain Archer is sexually frustrated. The two are not related.

This episode starts out where all the best Enterprise episodes start out: The Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber! T'Pol, Hoshi, Archer and Porthos are cleaning up after a failed diplomatic mission to acquire some plasma injectors. It's never really clear why Porthos came along. Let's just say... Archer thought dog diplomacy (that is, sniffing butts) may be appropriate. In any case, Phlox calls out all the humanoids, but says that Porthos may still be infected with something. Well, after sniffing so many alien butts, I'm really not surprised.

The aliens to whom they had gone were the same ones who were previously offended by them having eaten in front of them. This is clearly an easily offended race, so it's no surprise, though it is quite frustrating, that they were offended once more. But, just like before, the reason for their offence is a mystery. Archer has had it with these guys, but Trip explains to him that the plasma injectors that they make are awesome and Enterprise really needs two or three more. So Archer is going to have to apologize.

Meanwhile, Phlox has discovered that the virus Porthos picked up is behaving oddly and might just be life-threatening. Wait, WHAT?! NO! Porthos is the best crewman! He can't die!
Should never have accepted that red collar.
With Porthos down for the count, Enterprise short a couple plasma injectors and an annoying alien race refusing to cooperate, Archer is royally peeved. T'Pol eventually tells him that she contacted the aliens and apologized on his behalf. His offense: Porthos had peed on a sacred tree. PORTHOS. PEED. ON AN ALIEN TREE.

Let's go over what we know happened on this mission. Enterprise was low on plasma injectors, so Archer probably consulted Trip who told him that these aliens had awesome plasma injectors and we should get some from them. Archer probably wasn't thrilled about the idea, but he went ahead and took orbit around their planet anyway. When they're finally invited down, Archer thinks something along the lines of "WELL, AT LEAST I HAVE PORTHOS." So, without thinking any better of it, he brings a beagle to a sensitive diplomatic mission. T'Pol apparently doesn't bother to protest, citing logical fallacies. Porthos proceeds to pee on a sacred tree. And they are sent away without any plasma injectors. When they get back, Trip says "I'm really not comfortable running on just three plasma injectors." We can't slog it back to Jupiter station to get our own plasma injectors or help treat Porthos, so Archer sucks it up and has to apologize for Porthos. In this one mission we have demonstrated that T'Pol is no Spock, Trip is no Scotty, and Archer is neither Kirk nor Picard. I am so glad that Q didn't decide to test the NX-01 to decide if humanity was worthy.

One more reason Archer is no Kirk: not being able to sleep, he goes into sickbay to keep an eye on Porthos. He tries to settle in to a medical bed, but keeps getting interrupted by Phlox who doesn't sleep until hibernation time. He then goes to work out along with T'Pol who is there because Vulcan sleep cycles are different. Archer finds that for some reason he values T'Pol's opinion and when he goes back to sickbay to talk to Phlox, Phlox asks him when the last time was that he was intimate with a woman. Kirk would have said "why, just last night. Unless you count this afternoon in the Jefferies tube." Archer, on the other hand, resents the accusation that he's sexually frustrated, and leaves in an inhibited huff.

Unfortunately, there's a more pressing issue at hand in that scene. Porthos went into anaphylactic shock. I don't know what that means, but it always seems to happen in medical shows when the patient gets worse. The treatment that Phlox is giving this poor pooch is failing. Fortunately, Phlox is able to stabilize him and work on another treatment.

After a delightful little incident with an escaped bat, Archer finally gets to sleep, but when he awakens he wishes he hadn't. He had dreamed about Porthos dying and about being intimate with T'Pol in the Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber. Seriously, the only reason the decon chamber was invented was for sex. That's all. Say all you want about not using the transporter and, therefore, not being able to wipe out contaminants at a molecular level thereby necessitating an area specifically designed for decontamination. The decon chamber is for porn.
I can't imagine why a Vulcan never previously stayed on
a Starfleet ship for more than 2 weeks.
After this somewhat insightful dream, Archer learns that Porthos' treatment is going well, but only partially. The immune system is stable, but the pituitary gland is almost completely destroyed. Phlox wants to replace the gland with that of a lizard. After making the joke that Porthos will be able to blend into his surroundings, Phlox and Archer get to work on the pooch's surgery. While the poor beagle is submerged in some kind of magical medical fluid that minimizes the shock to his pulmonary system, Archer decides it's the right time to open up about his feelings. We learn that Phlox has several wives, all of whom have two other husbands besides him and each have several children at total of 720 relationships, 42 of which have romantic possibilities. With this new information, Archer apologizes for calling him insensitive earlier... and then realizes he really is capable of apologizing.
Let us count the ways in which this apologetic ritual is amazing! If any of my friends ever wrong me, I am having them cut up a tree into many circles and setting them up in a large pattern while topless and bowing before me, arms stretched, saying, IN LATIN, "I apologize, my liege, for betraying your trust and friendship." I don't even know how that translates into Latin, but it will certainly stop anyone from wronging me! If I were Archer, I would never seek help from this alien planet ever again.

And then loose knots are tied up with T'Pol and he brings Porthos back from sickbay and Phlox breaks out his fancy, schmancy CGI smile, yadda yadda yadda the end.

Overall Thoughts
This episode is the most cracky episode I have yet seen. I don't even know what the writers were on when they made it. I don't even know if there was ever a real plot. They just mashed together a bunch of Archer-being-sexually-frustrated imagery and called it an episode. Congratulations, Night in Sickbay, for being eligible for an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000!