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Lower Decks Creator Addresses Raunchy Sex Scene

Mike McMahan, the creator of Star Trek: Lower Decks, addresses the raunchy sex scene that offended some fans in season 2. Star Trek: Lower Decks is a half-hour animated comedy series geared toward adults. The show follows the lower deck support crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, a departure from franchise norms that highlight the bridge crew. The series stars Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells, Dawnn Lewis, Eugene Cordero, and Jerry O’Connell.


During the season 2 episode “I, Excretus,” Newsome’s Mariner stumbles into an orgy featuring much of the crew of the Cerritos. The images of her fellow crew disgust her and are ultimately shown to be a hologram, but it still upset numerous Trek fans who found the scene disturbing, pushing the limits of Star Trek too far. With McMahan’s background writing for Rick and Morty and creating Solar Opposites, both raunchy cartoons, the content may not be all that surprising to some audiences. However, those unfamiliar with the creator’s penchant for raunchy humor could have easily been taken aback by the crass scene, even with the comedy at play.

While speaking with THR, McMahan opened up about the Star Trek: Lower Decks orgy scene. He elaborates on the creative thought process behind the scene but mentions that the moment of Boimler being spread eagle on the table is where “it got away from me slightly.” McMahan continues by defending the scene with examples of other instances within the Star Trek universe where sex has been addressed in progressive and boundary-pushing ways. Check out McMahan’s comments on the raunchy Star Trek: Lower Decks scene below:

“The comedy has to be unexpected and has to be funny, right? I’m very often being like, “OK, if we’re going to do a raunchy joke, it has to be a raunchy joke that has its origins in Star Trek.” That one orgy scene in the show had to drive Mariner out of the room with shock because that was part of the plot, you know? I remember, for better or for worse, we got the animation of that scene in, and I was like, I don’t think it’s raunchy enough because I don’t believe that Mariner — a character who’s seen a lot of stuff — would get driven out of the room by that. In the first season, she’s making holiday programs of all nude gyms and stuff. So, what would cause Mariner to leave a room? I literally was like, “Put Boimler on the countertop spread eagle.” Of course, that’s the thing that everybody lost their minds over, but narratively, it made sense. That’s probably where it got away from me slightly. I just got too in the weeds on what we needed structurally to have happen there. … But you know, there’s TNG episodes of a whole orgy of frozen naked dead people, you know what I mean? It’s not something that hasn’t been in Star Trek before. It’s funny, the sex stuff — even if we’re being very careful about it — tends to ping people as not feeling like Star Trek, which I find to be crazy, because everybody was fucking on Star Trek. If you watch [Star Trek: The Original Series] you’re like, well, nobody here is wearing clothing. It wasn’t like I added that. Data is fully functional. That’s part of the DNA of Star Trek, no pun intended. At the same time, you don’t think of it being like that because everybody talks about Star Trek being this hallowed, important scientific reserve thing. But really, that’s not what Kirk was. That’s not what any of these characters were. They were human. They were characters, they had heart, they had problems. They were the best of us, they were ethical and moral, but at the same time, they had feelings, and they felt like real people to us.”

Star Trek Has Always Been Liberal With Sexuality

The Star Trek franchise has always been a series with an open mind toward sexuality. McMahan mentions a few moments, like that Data is “fully functional,” but the franchise has embraced sexuality throughout its run. Films like Star Trek Nemesis feature a Betazoid wedding, which sees all the attendees appear nude in respect of the tradition. Even Star Trek Enterprise had Dr. Phlox, a polyamorous character with three wives, each of whom had three husbands of their own, with all relationships depicted as open. The 1992 Next Generation episode “The Outcast” even saw Riker have an affair with Soren, from the androgynous J’naii species who view sex and gender as perversions, leading to Soren’s defense of love no matter the gender.

So while the Lower Decks orgy scene may have put off some audiences, long-time Star Trek fans likely weren’t overly shocked. Even going back to 1968’s original series episode “Plato’s Stepchildren,” which featured the first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura, the show has been pushing the boundaries for audiences. So while McMahan may be hesitant to push things again in the future due to the backlash, Star Trek: Lower Decks still offers excellent opportunities for the Star Trek universe to play with that status quo.

Source: THR

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