Monday, April 23, 2012

Imaginary Friend

** (2 stars out of 5)

Troi is counselling Ensign Sutter's young daughter Clara, who has an imaginary friend named Isabella.

In the FGC-47 Nebula, yet another tiny Tinkerbell hops aboard, eavesdrops on Geordi and Data speaking fluent nerd for as long as it can stand, then listens in on Dr. Crusher matchmaking Nurse Ogawa until it rolls its non-existent eyes, and finally cruises through Clara Sutter's head and manifests as Isabella.

Turns out Isabella is a bossy-boots. She tries to get Clara into a mild amount of trouble, running in the halls, filling up on too much replicated juice, and taking down the Forehead of Security with tiny fists to the groin.

Sutter, worried about how much he has moved Clara around, thus depriving her of lengthy friendships, talks to Geordi. La Forge was also bounced around the fleet with either his exobiologist dad or his command officer mom. He mostly saw those tough transitions as adventures. Much like this conversation, nothing was resolved, but time was filled!

Now a nascent bad-ass hanging around in bars, Clara talks to Guinan, who relates the wonder of her imaginary childhood friend, a Tarkassian Razor Beast with spiny wings, a terrifying smile, and a furry belly to curl up on. Also irrelevant, but darn, can that Guinan spin a yarn!

Isabella gets Clara in trouble in the Children's Centre, by invisibly wrecking Alexander's clay chalice in ceramics class. Pottery! The skill of a warrior born! No wonder he's such a jerk to Clara today. Poor Alexander's probably bored silly most of the time.

Isabella, briefly left unattended in favor of a corporeal Klingon boy, has bypassed 'miffed' and settled on murderous fury toward Clara as a reasonable response.

While Troi makes a condescending closet search for the Isabella Monster, it blasts the counsellor in the heart. More of the plasma strand beings attack the ship from outside. They demand an end to nap-time and all the crayons they can eat!!!

Picard makes a plea to Isabella for understanding. He attempts to explain how the apparently unfair world of the parent is restrictive only for the child's protection. (You know, because Picard's a wizard at parenting.) Somehow, this is good enough for the plasma beings, who elect not to kill them after all. (What's with these bodiless light bulbs and all the rage?)

"Isabella" and Clara hope to see each other again one day. But you know they'll only lose touch, periodically poke each other on FriendFace, and occasionally chatter on Chitter.

 "Imaginary Friend" was credited to at least five people. Maybe that's a bad sign. Too Many Cooks Shift the Blame, and so forth. They also say 'never work with kids and animals', but the fact is, kid shows work just fine if you respect your characters and your audience. This one just isn't a great example.

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