*** (3 stars out of 5)
A century after the PSI 2000 virus struck Kirk's Enterprise with diminished inhibitions, it strikes Picard's Enterprise with some broad strokes character insight as well.
"The Naked Now" starts with science ship Tsiolkovsky throwing one of those wild starfruit and shower-in-your-clothes parties that ends in 80 people dead. (It was the eighties.)
Transporter was set to full decontamination, but the intoxication got loose.
Lt. Geordi La Forge wanders around feeling hot and melancholy, but thankfully he doesn't reach for the butterknives.
He infects Wesley Crusher, boy genius. Wes has built himself a handheld tractor/repulsor beam and made recordings of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's intercom orders. He is manifestly as unfamiliar with girls as I was for many, many years.
Geordi infects Lt. Yar, too, while begging her to help him see. Or barring that, get off. Both requests- denied.
Yar gets Troi intoxicated while rifling through her closets. Fashion advice from Troi sounds like a fine idea, except the new bun and grey duds seem like a severe step away from sexy. Or maybe 'severe grey shrink' is better than 'frizzy hair cheerleader shrink'. I'm not the final arbiter of such things. I just liked the 'Farpoint' uniform with the short skirt better. Just sayin'.
Wesley channels Kevin Riley and seizes control of Engineering to demand desserts for all.
(No girlfriends are forthcoming.)
Lt. Cmndr. MacDougall, the Chief Engineer is A) a woman with Scotty's job B) adept with a sonic 'driver C) a Time Lord? Hint: not C.
Yar tells Data something of her shitty upbringing: abandoned at age 5, she learned to survive and avoid the rape gangs until her escape at 15. Horrible stuff, kids. I have to admit that phrase went over my head at the time, since I knew nothin' about nothin'.
The intervening years have apparently given Yar the ability to style her hair while drunk. And some interest in Data's abilities: he's "fully functional" and "programmed in multiple techniques, a broad variety of pleasuring".
So she jumps his duranium bones.
Troi is so drunk she calls Riker "Bill" for the only time ever. Thank God.
It's not fair- Geordi has never seen a rainbow. Not even a reading rainbow.
The star is collapsing, and so is Data. I've never decided: is he intoxicated or so desperate to fit in that he's pretending?
Beverly Crusher seems intimately familiar with alcohol intoxication, and tries to be familiar with the Captain as well. Bev and Jean-Luc make a great drunk comedy team even minutes from fiery death.
Wesley's repulser beam throws the derelict Tsiolkovsy into the star fragment and buys them moments to live. It may be because everyone's drunk that this seems so innovative: repulsion was a function that beam had a century ago.
Speaking of repulsion, Yar tells Data 'it never happened'. Scorch! Pow!
"I think we shall end up with a fine crew- if we avoid temptation."
Whenever and wherever kissing and butt-wiggling breaks out, leave it to Picard to wet that blanket.