When The Doctor decides to experience family life by experiencing a holographic wife and children, B’Elanna is disgusted by how simpering and perfect they all are. Determined to inject some realism into the simulation, B’Elanna reprograms The Doctor’s family to be more independent and rebellious. Can The Doctor handle this upgraded family?
This is one of those episodes that it’s a bit too melodramatic for its own good. I actually quite liked it back in the day as a comedic episode with a serious twist, but it’s not one you can watch very often before it wears a bit thin.
The episode begins with a sickeningly ‘perfect’ family who are all devoted to The Doctor – so much so that it’s a relief when B’Elanna reprograms them to be more realistic. Well, it’s nice for his holographic wife to have more of a personality than being a doormat, anyway – his children turn into nightmarish brats. Naturally, The Doctor finds himself out of his depth with his new family, with hilarious – or not very hilarious – results.
And then tragedy hits, when the Doctor’s fake daughter is fatally injured in a sporting accident, and he must deal with the loss of someone close to him. Except, even if this does have a lesson to teach him, it’s a painfully superficial one. Ever since I first saw this episode, I always wanted it to end with The Doctor trying to reset the program to undo the accident, only for the data to corrupt and lose his family forever. As it stands, it’s just as if he got a bad ending to his video game – there’s nothing to stop him from reloading an old saved game.
The episode also features a B-story about Yet Another Unique Space Phenomenon, which a pretty cut and paste affair that seems to only exist to fill up the time available. There’s also a slightly painful exchange between Tom and B’Elanna – it would be nice not to feel that Tom’s just going to be pursuing an uninterested B’Elanna until she’s finally worn down enough to say yes to him.
Points of Note
- Why does the ‘ideal’ 24th century human family seem to come straight out of the 1950s?
- Isn’t it a bit racist for The Doctor to tell his son that he can’t have Klingon friends? Aren’t we all enlightened these days?
- I really wanted B’Elanna’s novel to be hot lesbian fiction.
- When The Doctor is operating on Belle (with Dr Finlay no less), he talks of unstoppable haemorrhaging, and then says blood clots kept forming. Surely that’s what you would want to stop the haemorrhaging, at least temporarily.
- Paris has so few replicator rations left that he has to eat Neelix’s casserole for days, but he still manages to have French toast for breakfast.
- B’Elanna has a one-off hairstyle in this episode – a single braid.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 7
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 5
Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1
Summary – Real Life: In which The Doctor plays unhappy families.