Episode 51: The Crying Child

Hutch’s lady, Carol, a schoolteacher, enlists their help to try to save a battered child from further parental abuse.

Carol Wade: Dee Wallace, Janet Mayer: Linda Dano, Sgt. Peterson: Rosalind Cash, Guy Mayer: Meeno Peluce, Eddie Mayer: Michael Lane, Franklin: Al White, Vikki Mayer: Nancy McKeon. Written By: James Schmerer, Directed By: Georg Stanford Brown.


Even though the series as a whole has always tackled difficult subject matter, Season Three is marked by more “big picture” episodes and socially relevant themes, perhaps after gaining enough popularity to establish itself as a cultural lighthouse of sorts and perhaps, I’m guessing, in reaction to the criticism of its violent content (criticism that is, and was, damaging to the series’ artistic integrity). Followed by millions, respected by few, producers may have felt it was time to inch out onto the limb of Controversial Subject Matter, possibly in the hope of gaining credibility. Gay rights, child abuse, political asylum, African-American injustice, divorce fall-out, global pandemics, and the powers of the media are just some of the topics tackled head-on. All this points to a more external focus that results, in many ways, in a lessening of emphasis on Bay City and its gritty, often eccentric street life. 

There are many instances during this series that make us realize what a dynamic and changing time the late 1970s was. Youth culture may have undergone its transformation a decade earlier, but this series is set in the rigidly institutional old-boy world of the police department, judges’ chambers, city hall and criminal emperors who wear a suit and tie at nine o’clock in the morning. Things here are slow to change and the prevailing politics are conservative. But now things are shifting, and Guy Mayer’s case nicely illustrates this. Like the gay-themed “Death in a Different Place”, even acknowledging the existence of domestic battery is a triumph of sorts. There is a strong element of frustration with the way things are, politically, socially, and legally. The show makes it clear an abuser can also be a victim. Family members are either absent or unable to speak; Carol fears being fired if she accuses a parent and is somehow proven wrong. The child himself has withdrawn into self-blame and silence. The rising divorce rate and its attendant custody battles have added fuel to the fire. The whole episode is about the gray areas of life, things being more complex than previously thought, even down to this detail: the detectives’ surprise that macho Eddie Mayer is a potter, a predominantly female-oriented art-form. Times are changing, and fast.

The fact that this episode begins – nonsensically – with the scene from “Nightmare”, including the apropos-of-nothing comment about Lisa’s birthday party, emphasizes how ad hoc and lazy this series can be.

In “Tap Dancing”, Starsky complains about stopping a robbery while dressed in their disguises as cowboy and an “Arab with funny shoes.” This time, Hutch is the one who crabs about stopping a robbery dressed as Laurel and Hardy. The guy they arrest – a single dad with two kids, pulling a sad snatch-and-go from a local shop to feed them – sets up the theme of this show: what people will do to save their family, even at the cost of dignity, legality and community standing.

The guys process this arrest and go on to their appointment at the school. But on the way they’re talking enthusiastically about pulling out milkshakes, hamburgers and fries – one assumes this is for the children of the arrested father at the convenience store. Another example of things not being as they seem: the shoplifter as victim of the larger, more nefarious crime of economic deprivation.

This is the most overt depiction of the Oliver Hardy-Stan Laurel routine we see during the series. Of course it’s Hutch who plays the bossy, clueless Hardy and Starsky as the intelligent, put-upon Laurel.

Hello, script continuity person: Guy calls Hutch “Ken” when he hasn’t been introduced to him. 

Funny how Starsky and Hutch are about to do a play for third graders – not the most discerning of audiences – and yet take practicing so seriously they do it when left alone for a few minutes, even though it seems this is a much-loved, much-honed performance already. All the little nuances are there, no need to go over it again. And yet they do – and it all involves a formalized, stylized version of their actual relationship, being grabby with each other, teasing, taunting, and setting each other up for maximum derision which ends in a torrent of giggles.

What’s the point of the rehearsal at the school? I understand how much visual appeal it adds to have two cops who “look like clowns”, as Guy succinctly puts it, but on a practical, narrative level, why go all the way to the elementary school to practice in an empty classroom, days before the actual event? And why in costume?

Do Starsky and Hutch have a moment of contemplation as they remember Hutch’s play backhanding of Starsky in front of Guy before they knew of his abuse?

Hutch’s relationship with Carol is non-romantic to the point of being chaste. They have zero chemistry together. What, with her sweet little scarves and earnest uprightness, is she too goody-goody for Hutch’s liking? When we come to the later episode “Hutchinson for Murder One”, you can see how far to the dark side he’s willing to go.

More “seventy-five per cent” material: Dobey jokes, “I thought you wanted to get an early start on that two-day leave to Tahoe.” Hutch says to Starsky, with maximum guilt, “Maybe next month, huh?”

Gold star for direction: Georg Sanford Brown’s camera shows Starsky and Hutch approaching the house from behind the lacy curtain, emphasizing their journey behind the veil of suburban oppression.

When Starsky looks around the living room, he very carefully lifts the lid on the decorative container and looks inside. You just know he’s looking for evidence of drug use.

Janet Mayer misdirects suspicion in a series of clever ways: she immediately condemns child abuse as “vile”, then preempts suspicion by naming herself as a suspect by saying “why would I work, so I don’t have to put them in a daycare center, if I were abusing them?” (although this statement makes absolutely no sense, the children spend so much time alone after school, which has become more or less a daycare, because she works.) Add to that the giant crucifix in the living room, and the obvious, needy love Guy displays as he runs in and hugs her. Then, when Guy’s marks are revealed, she enlists the children’s help in pointing the finger at their father and dissolves into attractive tears. Notice how Starsky and Hutch keep looking at each other throughout this scene to gauge the relative truth of the matter and to see how the other is processing the information. How many of us have someone we trust so completely as to be both mirror and magnifying glass during the tense negotiation through life?

You can excuse Hutch for the fundamental mistake of questioning a child in front of a parent. Procedures for this sort of delicate interview are not well understood, even to this day. There’s a lot going on here, from guilt and shame to an older sibling’s complex peacemaking tactics, including a child’s ability to fabricate, a psychological minefield.

Both child actors are good in this episode but Nancy McKeon’s glassy silence is pretty incredible.

There’s an interesting dynamic at work when Starsky and Hutch return to the school a few days later when Guy has suffered even more horrendous physical abuse. Starsky bolts from the room and Hutch, after reassuring the children, follows him out. They don’t talk a lot, and from the outside their interaction seems both brief and bitchy. But how it looks is not how it is. Rather than stay behind strategizing with Carol, which would be the practical thing to do, Hutch is compelled to solidify, or coalesce, the experience with his partner. Even if nothing overtly happens, it’s only when they sit together can both understand what is happening and gather the necessary energy to put it to rights. It’s an unconscious act and one Hutch would vigorously deny, if you asked him.  

The best line in this episode is when Starsky says, “we have a lot to learn.” It’s a humble admission from someone used to being in charge and having firm opinions about how things are.

Lazy set dec: we are forced to conclude these are a bunch of pretty slow third graders because the same lesson is on the board every time Starsky and Hutch are there.

What is Starsky and Hutch’s knowledge of “Juvenile Hall” based on? In “Little Girl Lost” Hutch can’t stand the thought of Molly being there, and here they can’t stand the thought of Guy and Vikki there, to the extent they put Carol in potentially troublesome or even illegal situation by having her take the children to her house.

It’s great when Starsky says they might have to give Mayer “a polygram test”. What, and see what kind of music he likes? He actually says “polygram” twice. It’s a Glaser miscue and nobody cares.

Interesting that throughout this terrible case, Starsky is preoccupied with finding Franklin, the hapless shoplifter with the two kids, a job.

The arrest of Eddie Mayer involving the over-the-shoulder toss is a lovely bit of choreography, and look how relaxed they are when they do it. Mayer is at least four inches and a hundred pounds bigger than they are.

The truth is discovered, as it often is in this series, in a long silent look between Starsky and Hutch. When Mayer’s work records show he must be innocent of the first beating, Hutch murmurs, “well, who else?” and the two of them stare into each other’s eyes – time itself seems to stop. It’s a great moment with real magic – you can almost hear them speaking to each other – and often repeated throughout the episode.

Why do they take Eddie Mayer to the child welfare office rather than the police station if they’ve arrested him? This may be a procedure issue I’m not aware of, but it seems to me he should be taken down to the station and booked, and then questioned in an interrogation room with the requisite recorders in place, rather than taken to this rather informal environment.

It’s extraordinary how both Glaser and Soul are able to change their body language – and by doing so change the atmosphere in the room itself – when they learn the truth about their combative prisoner. Both turn from powerful adversaries to gentle allies the moment they turn back to Eddie and Sergeant Peterson. Look how Hutch lowers himself into the chair, carefully, cautiously, like a man facing a wounded lion he wants to help. Starsky is even more subtle than that: he changes his demeanor completely just by standing there. Emmys all round!

When Eddie explains why Janet is abusive to the kids, we believe it when he describes her nightmarish childhood. But when he draws the conclusion that she “hates all men”, which is why she focuses her rage on her son rather than daughter, why does this seem wrong somehow? I’m no child psychologist, and I certainly don’t claim to understand why mothers abuse their children, but it’s difficult to see how Janet would punish her young son for the crimes of her father. He’s a baby, still, prepubescent and unthreatening. If I were Eddie I’d suggest she lacked control as a girl and now seeks to exert that as a woman in the only way she knows how. Maybe she suspects her ex-husband favors his son and so hurting that son is a way of exerting revenge. Maybe Guy reminds her of herself at that age. Whatever her reasons, I don’t think hating men has anything to do with it.

Does Starsky tell Janet Mayer she’s going to be charged with felony child abuse and “attempted murder”? Glaser slurs the line and it’s hard to hear. If so, this is a dramatic charge and one they’ll find nearly impossible to prove.

It’s ironic this episode is called “The Crying Child” when Guy doesn’t cry, not even once, and Vikki doesn’t either. The only person crying is the abuser.

While filming, one of the child actors became upset during a scene, and natural-dad Glaser ended up taking it upon himself to reassure all the children and make sure they were okay during the rough shoot. The original script included in the tag the bit the guys practice at the beginning, performed at a party for Guy where it’s also revealed that his father is engaged and will get custody of the children.

Tag: it’s fun to watch Glass-Half-Full Starsky try to cheer up Pessimist Peterson. He displays a typical cop’s attitude at the close of a case: it’s over, move on. And Starsky is particularly good at compartmentalization; it’s Hutch who’ll lie in bed that night and worry. A police officer’s job is done when the handcuffs slap on, but for social workers, lawyers, psychiatrists and correctional workers the work is just beginning. Peterson and Starsky seem to have a little thing going and perhaps it led to dinner and drinks that night. 

Clothing notes: Hutch looks great in his khakis and green leather jacket with the puka-shell necklace. Starsky wears the same thing in two back-to-back episodes: plaid shirt (unusual for him), black leather jacket and jeans, plus his Chinese coin necklace. Hutch appears to have borrowed this shirt in later scenes.


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16 Responses to “Episode 51: The Crying Child”

  1. Shelley Says:

    Your comment on the title reminds me of our discussion on the title of “Tap Dancing,” an episode in which there’s no tap dancing.

    A particularly weird aspect to beginning this episode with that scene outside the toy store — in addition to them mentioning Lisa’s party — is that Starsky’s hair is an obvious different length when the next part of the episode begins.

    • King David Says:

      I have the horrors, these days, when I see how Hutch lifts the shirt of the boy and sees the welts. There are so many layers of beaurocracy these days that S&H would probably get a worse reprimand for stepping over the line than the mother with her assaults. The bit in the bin is sad.
      I do like the conversation S&H have out on the dinner table; poor Starsky, you’d think, would’ve seen it all by now. Perhaps he’s the crying child.
      (That ridiculously incorrect opening scene from Nightmare was so disconcerting; what were they thinking?)

  2. Dianna Says:

    I expect that the introduction to this episode was tacked on just because it involves Starsky and Hutch thinking about a child. (I admit I don’t mind watching the laundromat bust again.) I wonder whether the scene with the shoplifter was originally intended to be the intro.

    Carol seems to be a friend rather than a girlfriend. He calls her “honey” once, but doesn’t even pat her on the back for reassurance when she is crying. He touches Sgt. Peterson more than he touches Carol.

    Thematic detail: Both of the parents who are arrested in this episode — not just the shoplifter — are themselves, in Merl’s words, victims of a more nefarious crime.

    There appear to be two kinds of religious people in Bay City: Catholics and cultists, and the Catholics are either fakes (Silence, Little Girl Lost, Murder on Stage 17), hypocrites (this episode), or idiots (Terror on the Docks).

    Signs of the times: Carol is afraid of losing her job if she reports this abuse. In the modern day, a teacher can lose his or her job if they don’t report the slightest suspicion of child abuse.

    Merl questions why Eddie is brought to Peterson’s office for questioning. I agree that it’s strange they don’t take him to an interrogation room, but this Child Welfare Office appears to be part of the police department. Sgt. Peterson says they have only ten “men,” and later refers to them as cops. This is another oddity, because today, there would be a separate office run by the state (with a name like Department of Social Services, or Child Protective Services, etc.) and it would be staffed almost completely by (female) social workers.

    Clueless scripting: In Peterson’s office, Hutch rejects the idea of a foster home, saying the children will be better off with their mother. Then, talking to Carol, he says the only alternative to her taking them home is Juvenile Hall. What happened to the foster home? How is it that Carol isn’t afraid of being charged with kidnapping? I hate to side with Mrs. Mayer, but she is right that Carol did not have a right to take the kids home with her.

    Eddie’s girlfriend does not seem to know that Guy has been abused. It seems odd that Eddie would not have mentioned his concerns to her.

    Continuity: When Hutch throws Eddie over his shoulder, it rips Eddie’s sleeve, but in Sgt. Peterson’s office, his shirt is intact. When Guy is lifted out of the trashcan, there are no marks on his back.

    Reused sets & footage: is the exterior of Mrs. Mayer’s house the one used for Lonnie Craig’s mom’s house? And there goes the striped tomato, making that same roaring left turn at the 76 station again. I think that footage is in about every third or fourth episode!

    I think it is sweet that Starsky is hugging a Teddy Bear all through the tag.

    Speaking of hugging bears, how many episodes are there where Huggy Bear does not make an appearance?

  3. merltheearl Says:

    As far as I know – and technicalities like this aren’t my strong suit – Huggy doesn’t appear in fifteen episodes: here, “Captain Dobey, You’re Dead”, “Murder Ward”, “Class in Crime”, “Murder on Stage 17”, “Satan’s Witches,” “Silence”, “Foxy Lady”, “Velvet Jungle” “Deckwatch”, “Foxy Lady”, “Rosey Malone”, “The Shootout”, “Manchild”, and “The Specialist”.

    As for Carol, I admit it never occurred to me that Hutch wasn’t involved with her romantically. But can you blame me?

    • Dianna Says:

      Well, I didn’t expect such a specific answer about Huggy Bear! I’ve seen eight of them so far. Some episodes where he appears, it seems like the writers had to work really hard to get him in there, such as in Murder at Sea.

      Since one or the other of the guys is almost always romantically involved (or trying to be romantically involved) with almost every non-overweight female they meet… no, I don’t blame you a bit for assuming there was a romance! I know I was trying to detect one.

  4. Anna Says:

    I never know quite what to think of this episode because I don’t have a sense of what the issue of child abuse was like in the ’70s at all. So the episode made me go “this is SUCH a wrong/naive thing for them to do but wait maybe it was really like that in the ’70s?” several times.

    While the PSA-ing from Peterson was a tad eye-rolling it was also very genuine and memorable. And the bit where Starsky is so appalled at the idea of hurting a child that he has to leave the room is heartstring-tugging — for all his savvy and street-smarts he’s got a few blind spots where he’s overly trusting of other people (I’m thinking of the Pilot, when he can’t believe that his fellow cops tried to get him bumped off, and Nightmare, where he can’t believe how the defense lawyer tried to screw Lisa over). He must’ve had a pretty loving, if not particularly happy, family life. Notice Hutch doesn’t have the same reaction at all — he’s extremely pained and angry but not shocked or bewildered. I wonder what that says about his life experiences.

    • Dianna Says:

      Yes, Starsky’s street-smarts and the trust certainly make an intriguing combination. Maybe his blind spot is in assuming that good guys will always be good guys. The examples you mention are where people who are supposed to be on his side are betraying their to-him-sacred trust. To your list, I would add Sharon Freemont in Starsky and Hutch are guilty, Lt. Fargo in The Committee, and, in a slightly different way, John Blaine in Death in a Different Place, who did not turn out to be a bad guy, but certainly had secret characteristics Starsky never suspected.

  5. Mary Anne Says:

    Alright, if Starksy is from Brooklyn, NY how did he grow up with Elmo’s Toy Store in Bay City? There many instances of Starksy talking about his childhood in Bay City that I can’t figure out. He always talks about taking shortcuts when he was a kid and where he played baseball, etc. Bay City is a country a way from Brooklyn.

    The beginning of this episode throws me off because it is the same beginning as “Nightmare.”

    I like watching the kids in these episodes because I figure they are all around my age now.

    • Anna Says:

      Mary Anne, from what I’ve seen other fans speculate based on the information given, one theory is that Starsky had relatives who lived in Bay City and he visited them frequently as a kid (he has at least an Uncle Al in Bay City who knows Merl the Earl, from the episode “JoJo”). The other theory is that he moved to Bay City when he was a young teenager or something like that, and lived with his relatives there. I don’t remember if there’s anything definite to support this in the show, but it has some support I think, because Starsky’s younger brother Nick whines that the reason he became a criminal was because Starsky wasn’t around to keep him out of trouble when he was younger.

      The real explanation, I’m sure, is that the writers were lazy, but what’s the fun in that? 😀

  6. Sharon Marie Says:

    In regards to this season’s reach-out to social issues, I don’t remember my parents ever having anything negative to say about the show’s portrayal of such. Of course, these are the same parents who took me, age 10, and my siblings, ages 12 & 14, to Europe in 1973 as my father – a geographer/cartographer – studied and did research for several months. During that time they wanted us to experience the different corners of society, starting with Picadilly Circus in London. They wanted us to see the hippies smoking weed. Then in Amsterdam it was the Red Light District. Don’t worry. It was just a walk through! The Berlin Wall, homeless in Utrecht, and war protesters here in DC. At the Anne Frank House it was barely under way as a museum with, at least in my memory, just glass cases on the walls holding artifacts. Nothing in Europe creeped me out. Not the ancient castles, displayed torture chambers, guillotines, cemeteries. Nothing, until I walked in that small sanitized room with not much to see but clean walls (I understand now it is totally restored). I ran out of there only to have the docent come out and see if I was OK and tell me I was the spitting image of Anne Frank. I hadn’t read her diary yet. Didn’t even know who she was. Had not seen her picture. Until then. And I was. that has haunted me. I digress!

    I wonder, though, as season 3 progressed (with many more episodes than today’s drama series have per season), if the audience was drawn away from the social justice awareness the show was going for. At first it was timely. Then I assume it could have become a wedge for some viewers who wanted the old Starsky & Hutch buddy cop show with car chases and stereotypical bad guys. CBS was going gang busters with 60 Minutes by then. Charlie Manson trials were getting a lot of attention. Patty Hearst kidnapping was in 1975. Equal rights and Latino rights were being fought throughout the decade. And then Abortion and contraceptives. Watergate and the ensuing trials had been plastered all over the TV. War protesters finally got their air time by the mid 70’s, and when this season was airing, Viet Nam POW’s were coming home. Next up – the gas crisis. Perhaps in the age before 24 hour TV news and internet, viewers were fed up with the coming of age of the airing of social injustices on TV and magazines and just wanted good old fashioned crime dramas.

    Certainly, airing social justice issues wasn’t new to TV. Room 222 airing from ’69 to ’74 was well known for it. However, they did it from the beginning. The shows that diverted from what initially drew viewers over to these issues tended to start to ‘jump the shark’ at that point. The same thing happened to The White Shadow which ran from ’78 to ’81.

    Since, at least for the first 3 seasons, I had to sneak from bed to watch it, I have to look and see what the other dramas were doing at that time. What drew people away from S & H I believe was a combination of events, not the least of which was the occasional stinker episode, the best example being the two part season opener “Voo-Doo Island”. That’s one way to lose viewers in a time slot to a competing network. Slick work that one was.

    Episode – Is there anything tackier than recycling already aired scenes from an old episode? The Laundromat scene was epic, even back then. I remember my parents talking about it… Starsky in sneakers, towel and shoulder holster. The toothless granny screaming. I would think if you are going to recycle a scene it wouldn’t be one as recognizable as that.

    Perhaps they weren’t thinking ahead to, what at that time, we knew as re-runs. Then Syndication came into being. And now, DVDs. Who would have ever thought that we would be sitting in front of HD TVs and laptops in 2014 scrutinizing episodes and clearly catching them in their lapses. Then again, maybe they thought it was such a popular scene that it should be given to the people again! More likely, they ran short of material and needed filler.

    The teacher and two kids – This is one reason mandatory reporting became law. Teachers were losing their jobs because they reported signs of abuse that many times couldn’t be proven by the time officials had investigated.

    Fast forward to 2014 and we still don’t have enough people to investigate and manage cases.

    Sometimes David Soul’s eyes are so strikingly blue!

    That little boy and his deficient dental count is such a heartbreaker!

    I don’t remember this episode as a young teenager. I spent most of my free time babysitting and knew I would be a teacher. I think if I had seen it, it would have left an impression. It did this time around. Though as a mother of 3 boys the effect is certainly deeper on me than it would have been as a 14 year old.

  7. stybz Says:

    This episode was on Cozi last night, so I switched the captions on.

    When Starsky is arresting Janet he says, “You’re under arrest for felony child abuse. Attempted murder.” He doesn’t say “and attempted murder.” My guess is he was expressing his own opinion of what she should be charged with. I think the reason is two-fold. First, the idea of harming a child is just so unthinkable. Second, she stuffed poor guy into the garbage can. She didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. When Starsky and Hutch bring him inside the house, she’s disappointed that they found him. The idea that she would do something so horrible is just too much, and that’s why Starsky says it.

  8. Blunderbuss Says:

    I always thought it was a bit unrealistic that Starsky would get so upset and shocked at the sight of the scratches on Guy’s back. I’ve heard that to audiences back then, child abuse was not spoken of, and a lot of people in the audience might have reacted similarly, and obviously Starsky was meant to be an audience surrogate in this moment, but realistically, I’m sure a cop who’s been on the streets as long as he has, in such bad areas, would have known about and seen a lot more child abuse than run-of-the-mill people, even in those days.

    However, maybe there’s some interesting characterization here. Usually, Starsky seems somewhat less visibly shaken by displays of cruelty and suffering than Hutch, and reacts in a more grim and short manner. Here, it is the opposite, he is so rattled he has to leave to get a grip on himself, and when Hutch comes to find him, he rants very emotionally and rhetorically, and almost plaintively, about how incomparably awful it is. He also says “I thought I’d seen everything” and rattles off all the other shit — rapes, murders, drugs, etc — that he says he’s gotten used to.

    I might guess that Starsky may always be just as badly upset by cruelty and suffering as Hutch, but is more skilled, or more practiced, at absorbing it quietly, not reacting too much. In this scene, though, he sees something that he isn’t “used to” and doesn’t have the tools to manage properly, and so he is unable to modulate his reaction or keep it inside because he wasn’t expecting it. The things he says here might be things he feels frequently but usually doesn’t express.

  9. Kit Sullivan Says:

    When the guys are first introduced to Guy, she says “this is Kenneth and David”, so Guy calling Hutch “Ken” is not really a continuity error.

    As much as we all love this show and all things connected to it…it can sometimes be a bit of a let-down to realize that by this time in the production everyone involved, including messrs Glaser and Soul, were just “going to work” each day. Glaser and Soul’s professionalism shines through mundane writing, but the spirit and enthusiasm of seasons one and two are noticeably absent in many later-season episodes.

    The red/blue/black plaid shirt that Hutch wears late in the episode is not the same shirt as worn by Starsky early in the episode.
    The guys each wore these same shirts at the same time in “The Heroes”, setting up a minor sight gag that seemed to have no payoff or reason for being in that episode.
    The size disparity between near-gigantic Eddie and dimunitive-by-comparison Hutch makes the shoulder-flip during Eddie’s take-down look preposterously phony. Just another example of lackadaisacal directing and set-up by the director.

    The very careful reveal of each character’s true motivations during this episode smacks of an untalented or lazy writer’s poor skills in presenting a narrative that flows smoothly and believability. Far too many all-too-convenient character actions and plot-points unconvincingly lead the episode to an unlikely and improbable conclusion.

    The re-use of the laundromat teaser is just more evidence of the quick-and-dirty nature of television production…back then as well as today. A quicker product is many times more desirable than a quality product.

    • merltheearl Says:

      I’m going to approve this comment, but I do so with reservations. I may approve your other earlier comments as well, because they are thoughtful and well written, and you do care about this subject. My reservations have to do with the acrimonious tone and the fact they are wholly excoriating. Of course, you have every right to make these points, and the arguments themselves are undeniable. But I just don’t want to open the door to this type of comment. I have refused other commenters in the past whose only reason for writing is to vigorously disparage the show, and me personally for “excusing” bad episodes or “ignoring” political incorrectness, and I wonder – what’s the point of writing about something you so obviously dislike? You, Kit, are not in this camp. You are obviously a fan of the show and care about its ups and downs. I respect that. But I’ve said it before and I will again: it is not the purpose of this blog to be unrelentingly negative. Rather, I have tried to make it constructive, empathetic, fun, and intellectually curious. We can and should point out problems and disappointments, but to dwell on them at length is editorial content for another place.

      • Kit Sullivan Says:

        I appreciate your honest and respectful reply. I can assure you that I never intend to put down the show, or anyone involved in its production in any way!
        Indeed, this show as well as the original Star Trek have been my two pleasurable obsessions for most of my life.
        I think it is easy too easy to intuit a different tone or attitude from someone’s writing than what may have been intended by the writer.
        Although I may critique elements of the show, I am not criticising it!
        I will certainly endeavor to make future comments of a more supportive and appreciative tone!

      • merltheearl Says:

        Thanks Kit. I’m relieved to read this.

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