December 16, 2007


Nobody Knows the Tribbles He’s Seen (THOMAS VINCIGUERRA, 12/16/07, NY Times)

BY any reasonable definition David Gerrold is a major figure in science fiction. He has published some 50 books and won many of his genre’s highest awards, including the Hugo and the Nebula. John Cusack and Amanda Peet starred in “Martian Child,” which was inspired by his novella “The Martian Child” and opened last month.

But Mr. Gerrold seems destined to be forever remembered as the guy who gave the world the alien race of cute, lovable, rapidly breeding fluff balls known as tribbles.

You know, tribbles — the star characters of “The Trouble With Tribbles,” probably the most famous episode of the original “Star Trek.” Initially broadcast 40 years ago (on Dec. 29, 1967), the segment was Mr. Gerrold’s first professional sale. Most Trekkies love it.

For Mr. Gerrold that’s been a mixed blessing.

“I wouldn’t call it frustration,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Northridge, Calif. “But I kind of like people to notice that I’ve done other things. You have a billion people who know ‘Tribbles’ and only half a million who know my novel ‘The Man Who Folded Himself,’ which is one of my better-known books.”

Interesting to note that just as the Mudd episodes, which play the Star Trek conventions for comic effect, are the best in the series, so too is Darin Morgan's comic triumvirate of X-Files episodes--Humbug, Jose Chung, and Clyde Bruckman--the pinnacle of that series.

Speaking of which, there's a scene in the final episode of Life on Mars that makes our All-Time Best TV Moments, and here are a few other nominees:

Moulin Rouge (Crime Story, 1988)

Torello: He's with Walter

Did You See the Sun Rise? (Magnum, P.I., 1982)
Thomas Magnum: Ivan?

Ivan: [turning back to Magnum] Yes?

Thomas Magnum: Did you see the sunrise this morning?

Ivan: Yes, why?

Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (X Files, 1995)
Clyde Bruckman: You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation.

Mulder: Why are you telling me that?

Clyde Bruckman: Look, forget I mentioned it. It's none of my business.

The Big Kiss-Off (Cheers, 1988)
Woody: Hmmm?

Sam: Hmmmm?

Turkeys Away (WKRP in Cincinnati, 1978)
Mr. Carlson: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2007 10:00 AM

Really, a great list. I agree with four of the five and the fifth I haven't seen...yet.

My own list would also include:

"Jim, The Psychic" (Taxi, 1981)
Louis: "Ignatowski's a Boob!"


"The Germans" (Fawlty Towers, 1975)
Manuel: "Ohh, he hit me on the head."
Major Gowen: "No! You hit him on the head. You naughty moose."

Posted by: Kevin Bowman at December 17, 2007 11:30 AM