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View Full Version : The Fabulous Disappearing Dr. Crusher


Catamount
05-14-2005, 10:04 AM
I wandered in the living room last night while SpazMan was watching his season 2 DVDs of ST:TNG. It was the first episode of the season and Picard was asking about Dr. Pulaski. It reminded me of a question I've had for a very long time.

"Why was Gates McFadden not in the second season?" I asked SpazMan.

"I don't know. She just wasn't," he replied, engrossed in Picard stalking off to Ten Forward to yank the new doctor away from her drinks.

I realized that if I wanted an answer to my long-unanswered question, I'd have to ask someone who wasn't, like me, all of eight years old during the second season of TNG. So I bring it to you, Cafe Society denizens: Why was Gates McFadden not in the second season of TNG?

Otto
05-14-2005, 10:37 AM
Per IMDB she was on All My Children during the time she was off Next Gen. Whether her absence from Next Gen was her choice or not (the trivia section just says Crusher was "written out" but not by whom) I don't know.

Strinka
05-14-2005, 11:21 AM
OK, but is there a reason given why the character Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise for a year?

Ike Witt
05-14-2005, 11:22 AM
OK, but is there a reason given why the character Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise for a year?

She was at Starfleet Medical doing research or teaching or something like that.

Otto
05-14-2005, 11:34 AM
She was actually the head of Starfleet Medical.

What she did to get busted from head of the entire branch to being CMO on a starship again is not, I don't think, explained.

Dewey Finn
05-14-2005, 11:59 AM
Practically speaking, though, life on the Enterprise would certainly be more interesting than being back at Starfleet Medical HQ.

Mr. Blue Sky
05-14-2005, 12:03 PM
And we all suffered through a year of the crotchety Dr. Pulaski. I saw it as an attempt to bring Dr. McCoy back.

FilmGeek
05-14-2005, 12:27 PM
It always angered me that Pulaski insisted on calling Data "it".

Mr. Blue Sky
05-14-2005, 12:28 PM
It always angered me that Pulaski insisted on calling Data "it".

...and that she hated to use the transporter (until it saved her bacon in the ep where got the aging disease).

Baraqiyal
05-14-2005, 12:37 PM
My memory is that the producers thought her character wasn’t going anywhere so the writers were instructed to write her off.

I remember in an interview Gates McFadden being very angry about the official press release, which said she wished to persue other interests, when in fact she had no desire to leave.

alphaboi867
05-14-2005, 01:28 PM
OK, but is there a reason given why the character Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise for a year?
More importantly, why did she leave her son on Enterprise?

Terminus Est
05-14-2005, 01:57 PM
More importantly, why did she leave her son on Enterprise?
She knew her son was gifted, so she left him behind so that he could help them if ever the Enterprise got in a jam.

JThunder
05-14-2005, 02:01 PM
So she left her son behind, knowing full well that the vast majority of fans hated him.

Nice move, Momma.

Mockingbird
05-14-2005, 03:36 PM
More importantly, why did she leave her son on Enterprise?

She was hoping that in her absence a mysterious accident would befall Wesley leading to him being fired out a photon torpedo tube.

Otto
05-14-2005, 03:36 PM
Yeah, but people hated her almost as much as they hated Wesley.

And by "people" I mean "I."

I liked Pulaski. I thought the character had potential, which was squandered almost completely.

Stranger On A Train
05-14-2005, 04:03 PM
The official explaination (for why McFadden's contract was not renewed) was that the producers "wanted to go in a different direction", blah blah blah.

The real explaination seemed to be that McFadden made a few, relatively reasonable requests as far as perusing other projects in parallel with her work on TNG and having a child that didn't set well with the very controlling producer. Similar issues were involved in the kill-off of Denise Crosby's (admittedly grating) character, and the later reduction of Wil Wheaton. Wheaton has a sob story about how they forced him to bow out of a film project (Valmont) on the strength of needing to develop his character more deeply, and then basically hanging him and the character of Wesley Crusher out to dry. Pretty shitty, really, but that sort of thing goes on all the time in television production, from what I've heard; it's a very narcissistic, ego-driven business, as much so (or perhaps even more) for the people behind the camera as those in front of it. Note the treatment of the above characters in the Next Generation films; they barely even register when they do appear.

At least they brought her back and even occasionally gave her a central role in an episode; she was, aside from Stewart and Spiner, the only one of the main cast who was a capable thespian, as opposed to a line-reading hack. (Okay, LaVar Burton is competent.)

And I have to admit that I watched the show not because I was a Trekkie or Trekker, or whatever you call people who go to conventions in spandex jumpsuits, but because I thought Gates McFadden was about the sexiest woman on television. ;) I haven't had much use for the entire medium since.

And am I the only one who thinks that, as annoying as Wesley Crusher was, it was a result of the way the character was developed rather than something especially wrong with the concept or the actor? There was a lot of potential, almost completely wasted by the need to utilize him as a fulcrum for the technobabble solution of the week resolution to the plot.

Stranger

jayjay
05-14-2005, 04:24 PM
And am I the only one who thinks that, as annoying as Wesley Crusher was, it was a result of the way the character was developed rather than something especially wrong with the concept or the actor? There was a lot of potential, almost completely wasted by the need to utilize him as a fulcrum for the technobabble solution of the week resolution to the plot.

Stranger

Oh, absolutely. I don't know many Trekkers (at least the ones who don't live in their parents' basements) who hate Wil Wheaton. I know MANY Trekkers who hate Wesley Crusher. The character (and thus the writers) was almost entirely at fault.

pool
05-14-2005, 04:36 PM
I have to second that Gates Mcfadden was absolutely gorgeous!

There was one scene in particular where Her and Counselor Troy were doing stretches in spandex leotards or something similar. It was quite pleasing to the eye.

jayjay
05-14-2005, 04:45 PM
I have to second that Gates Mcfadden was absolutely gorgeous!

There was one scene in particular where Her and Counselor Troy were doing stretches in spandex leotards or something similar. It was quite pleasing to the eye.

I thought Troi's uniform WAS a spandex leotard...

RealityChuck
05-14-2005, 04:50 PM
I also thought Pulaski was much more interesting that the terminally bland Dr. Crusher. Like many of the other characters, she was badly underwritten and had nothing about her that was even slightly interesting.

As for Wesley, I have had a great deal of respect for the character and Wil Wheaton after Wheaton got online on GEnis during the first season and said, basically, "all the actors think the show and characters suck, but until the fans aren't willing to accept any crap released by the ST franchise, the producers aren't going to do anything about it."

carnivorousplant
05-14-2005, 04:50 PM
It always angered me that Pulaski insisted on calling Data "it".
It always annoyed me that he gave a shit, being an emotionless it, er, machine.
^ :dubious: ^

AncientHumanoid
05-14-2005, 05:05 PM
"If nothing's wrong with me, there must be something wrong with the Universe."


Should've done that episode nude, let me tell ya. I mean, hey, I was nude...

DocCathode
05-14-2005, 05:06 PM
I have to second that Gates Mcfadden was absolutely gorgeous!

There was one scene in particular where Her and Counselor Troy were doing stretches in spandex leotards or something similar. It was quite pleasing to the eye.

OTTOMH, that would be the episode in which aliens from the planet of people with funky metal barrettes on the corners of their mouths discover a stable wormhole. Troi falls for an agent of one of the interested parties, a guy named Debonani Rahl(Played IIRC by that guy who played Lloyd Braun on Seinfeld in the episodes after Braun returned from a mental institution). There was a follow up Voyager episode, which had less curvy goodness.

Pushkin
05-14-2005, 05:47 PM
I have to second that Gates Mcfadden was absolutely gorgeous!

There was one scene in particular where Her and Counselor Troy were doing stretches in spandex leotards or something similar. It was quite pleasing to the eye.

Or the episode the Naked Now (the remake of the TOS episode) when she became all hot, sweaty and restless round Jean Luc :)

ouryL
05-14-2005, 05:48 PM
Yeah, but people hated her almost as much as they hated Wesley.

And by "people" I mean "I."

I liked Pulaski. I thought the character had potential, which was squandered almost completely.

Pulaski is also redited with restoring Geordi's sight.

panache45
05-14-2005, 06:05 PM
OK, but is there a reason given why the character Dr. Crusher wasn't on the Enterprise for a year?
She really, really, really needed to get away from her son. And who could blame her?

And by the way, I think Dr. Pulaski was far more interesting than Crusher, especially when she called Data "it" or mispronounced his name.

AncientHumanoid
05-14-2005, 06:31 PM
She spent a year dead for tax purposes.

carnivorousplant
05-14-2005, 06:38 PM
she called Data "it" or mispronounced his name.

Captain Picard called him "Dayter". :)

Stranger On A Train
05-14-2005, 06:43 PM
She spent a year dead for tax purposes.I was hoping she'd fall to her death down a turboshaft, personally.

Stranger

Peter Morris
05-14-2005, 06:59 PM
And am I the only one who thinks that, as annoying as Wesley Crusher was, it was a result of the way the character was developed rather than something especially wrong with the concept or the actor?

I thought Wil Weaton was a good actor from his role in Stand By Me (he was the kid that told stories, and grew up to be a famous author.

As for Star Trek, I thought he did a good job of playing a smug bratty smartarse.

Bryan Ekers
05-14-2005, 07:26 PM
Captain Picard called him "Dayter". :)

That's okay, George Bush called him "Ducular."


I kid, I kid.


Pulaski is also redited with restoring Geordi's sight.

I remember that episode in which she offered La Forge a set of replacement eyeballs that would look normal and have nearly the same function as the VISOR, and wouldn't give him headaches, but I can't recall why he turned them down.

kushiel
05-14-2005, 10:33 PM
Being about 6 years old at the time, the most I can remember from the Star Trek watching ritual in my household was that I was a really, really big Picard/Beverly shipper. And it still lingers 12 years later. I really wanted them to get together, with all the tenacity of a 6 year old who played out love stories with Barbies.

Oslo Ostragoth
05-15-2005, 01:20 AM
She was actually the head of Starfleet Medical.

What she did to get busted from head of the entire branch to being CMO on a starship again is not, I don't think, explained.
I am not a veteran of the navy, but...

I have always heard that a true salt would take a job out in the water over a landside desk job any day, regardless of rank, pay, whatever.

Same thing ought to apply times 10 in the Star Trek universe.

GuanoLad
05-15-2005, 01:36 AM
Interesting trivial note. Gates McFadden, using the name Cheryl, was the choreographer for Jim Henson's The Muppets Take Manhattan and Labyrinth.

AncientHumanoid
05-15-2005, 01:41 AM
I am not a veteran of the navy, but...

I have always heard that a true salt would take a job out in the water over a landside desk job any day, regardless of rank, pay, whatever.

Same thing ought to apply times 10 in the Star Trek universe.


Like James T Kirk going from an Admiral back to Captain in the TOS movies. Not much of a punishment to him.

Ranchoth
05-15-2005, 03:54 AM
It always angered me that Pulaski insisted on calling Data "it".

Didn't Data outrank her, to boot? Isn't that insubordination?

Derleth
05-15-2005, 04:16 AM
Like James T Kirk going from an Admiral back to Captain in the TOS movies. Not much of a punishment to him.Yeah. It's hard to get it on with office supplies. ;)

("I believe you bonked my stapler.")

friedo
05-15-2005, 06:33 AM
Didn't Data outrank her, to boot? Isn't that insubordination?

No, both Pulaski and Crusher were Commanders. (I imagine you would have to be in order to be CMO of a starship.)

I don't think Crusher was ever head of Starfleet Medical, that would be an admiral's job. She was just there, doing stuff for a year.

RickJay
05-15-2005, 04:56 PM
At least they brought her back and even occasionally gave her a central role in an episode; she was, aside from Stewart and Spiner, the only one of the main cast who was a capable thespian, as opposed to a line-reading hack. (Okay, LaVar Burton is competent.)
Michael Dorn was at least as good an actor as Patrick Stewart - who is given a lot of acting credit for having a British accent - and was certainly better than Gates McFadden or Levar Burton.

I will be the first to agree that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis are dreadful actors.

It's hard to gauge Wil Wheaton's abilities based on Star Trek; his character was so silly, and the situations so ludicrous, that I don't know anyone could have pulled that off. He's been very good in some other roles.

Loopus
05-15-2005, 05:18 PM
No, both Pulaski and Crusher were Commanders. (I imagine you would have to be in order to be CMO of a starship.)
But Data was still second officer; that is, third in command of the whole starship. Wouldn't that still make him her boss?

Tuckerfan
05-15-2005, 05:22 PM
I don't think Crusher was ever head of Starfleet Medical, that would be an admiral's job. She was just there, doing stuff for a year.
IIRC, Crusher was to be the head of a research dept. when she left, but when she came back the explaination was that she'd been teaching or studying. (Continuity was never one of Trek's strong points.) Personally, I find the episodes from the first couple of seasons to be nearly as bad as Enterprise (note I said "nearly"), so I avoid them like the plague.

Also, Wheaton my have gotten stuffed into a painfully stupid role, but he's also defended his character with some pretty absurd statements. In one interview he claimed that his character had only saved the ship once, which is total BS. Damn near every episode he was in, revovled around him whipping some kind of technobabble solution out of his ass.

Bryan Ekers
05-15-2005, 06:05 PM
Damn near every episode he was in, revovled around him whipping some kind of technobabble solution out of his ass.

Heck, there was one episode where the technobabble wasn't even necessary, and he out-ass-whipped it, anyway! He and Picard are dying of thirst but the only source of water is a small fountain around which some apparantly too-much-time-on-its-pseudopods aliens put up a forcefield. Wes gets all technobabbly instead of just using his tricorder to find the underground stream that must be feeding the fountain (as well as the channel which must be draining it) and using his phaser to excavate it.

Future geniuses are dumb.

alphaboi867
05-15-2005, 06:15 PM
But Data was still second officer; that is, third in command of the whole starship. Wouldn't that still make him her boss?
Yes, doctors aren't line officers (neither are counselors); Dr Crusher, on her own, took the bridge officers test, but there's no indication that Pulaski ever did. Medical personel are li

Mr. Blue Sky
05-15-2005, 06:17 PM
Medical personel are li


Yeah, yeah, that's her excuse for everything.

:D

Chronos
05-15-2005, 08:41 PM
I remember that episode in which she offered La Forge a set of replacement eyeballs that would look normal and have nearly the same function as the VISOR, and wouldn't give him headaches, but I can't recall why he turned them down.Easy, because that would mean changing the status quo. God forbid that anything about the show actually change. That's also the reason why Riker turned down independent command of his own ship (which in any real fleet would have landed him planetside for life, the next time the Enterprise stopped at any friendly port).

And I think that most of what Wil Wheaton says about his part in Star Trek isn't meant to be taken seriously. Certainly, he has a healthy supply of sarcasm on hand, when talking about it.

DocCathode
05-15-2005, 09:20 PM
I remember that episode in which she offered La Forge a set of replacement eyeballs that would look normal and have nearly the same function as the VISOR, and wouldn't give him headaches, but I can't recall why he turned them down.

IIRC The mechanical eyeballs would have had only 80% of the range of his visor. Geordi decided that being able to watch gamma rays or whatever was too useful to give up.

Spatial Rift 47
05-16-2005, 08:10 AM
Geordi decided that being able to watch gamma rays or whatever was too useful to give up.

Mmm, gamma rays .... [/Homer]

Catamount
05-16-2005, 09:58 AM
Eighteen years later, I be informed as to why my favorite doctor (and half of my favorite ST relationship next to Dax & Worf) was booted off for a season. I haven't seen enough of Season Two to form an opinion of Pulaski, but I can honestly say I didn't like her as much. Nobody can out-McCoy Deforest Kelley.


I always had a crush on post Season 1 Wesley. I was laughing too hard at the orange sweater to like him much in the first season, but MAN that boy could fill out an ensign's uniform!

toadspittle
05-17-2005, 11:51 AM
More importantly, what happened to Pulaski to allow Dr. Crusher to return? Did she fall down another elevator?

D_Odds
05-17-2005, 12:31 PM
Easy, because that would mean changing the status quo. God forbid that anything about the show actually change. That's also the reason why Riker turned down independent command of his own ship (which in any real fleet would have landed him planetside for life, the next time the Enterprise stopped at any friendly port).
However, Star Fleet is not a military organization* :dubious:; the normal happenings within a Navy do not apply to this fleet. Therefore, one is able to turn down a command assignment so that one can get the Enterprise in the future. Nothing like putting a first-time captain at the helm of your flag ship. :smack:

*Or so I was told when I asked why there weren't any marines on the fleet's flag ship.

Push You Down
05-17-2005, 12:52 PM
I liked Dr. Pulaski. She was a fun character.

But..... I loved Dr. Crusher.. The hottest MILF on TV at the time.

DocCathode
05-17-2005, 01:22 PM
I loved Dr. Crusher.. The hottest MILF on TV at the time.

I disagree. I say Troi was hotter. Some of you may claim that she was not a mother. I point to the episode in which an alien spark impregnates Troi in order to be born humanoid, play with puppies, and burn itself on soup. I point also to the episode in which Whorf keeps jumping into alternate dimensions, in one of those other timelines he and Troi are married and have children.

Robot Arm
05-17-2005, 01:41 PM
I say Troi was hotter. Some of you may claim that she was not a mother.No, I just claim that Dr. Crusher was hotter.

Ike Witt
05-17-2005, 03:23 PM
Did she fall down another elevator?

That would have been a classic TV moment, if she had.

photopat
05-17-2005, 08:33 PM
That would have been a classic TV moment, if she had.


Data: Doctor! The turbolift is malfunctioning! Do not enter that shaft!

Pulaski, falling down the turboshaft: Daaammnn iiiiit! Noooot agaaaiiiin! thud

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