Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hologram Doctor's (EMH) "Real Life" Family

Star Trek's Voyager NCC-74656 "Real Life" episode is the chance to see the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) starring Robert Picardo having a life with a cheerful hologram family based on the good doctors's fatalistic understanding of humanity.

Filled with fun, engaging family rows, sci-fi exploration of astral eddies, emotional outbursts and a twist at the end, Real Life will elevate your blood sugar levels to a state of happiness and leave you wiping away the tears when its over.

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The EMH designed a family Holodeck programme to begin an experiment aimed to help the Voyager medical man better understand his patients and what motivates their human minds. Unfortunately theres an unexpected side effect. The EMH photonic family Charlene (wife), Jeffrey (son), and Belle (daughter) develop devotion towards their Holodad and Holohusband which has psychological consequences for the good doctor. Happiness has arrived at long last or so it seems.

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In the opening scene the kids even argue amicably over who says goodbye first to Holodad Medical man. Charlene referee's.

"Now children little birds in their nest get along!"

"Your right mother, I'm sorry Belle you can go first" apologises Jeff.

"No it really is your turn. I did go first yesterday" declares Belle coming clean.

"Here he comes" roars Jeff in excitement.

"Alright now bright happy faces" Commands Charlene cheerfully and everyone lines up beaming! It's happy families! The EMH Holodad comes down the stairs with compliments for Charlene about his coffee and says goodbye to his loving family. Look at that image, now I ask you how often does the EMH smile like that? Real Life is full of fun lines. Heres one from the doctor.

"In fact the little woman has been asking me to bring some colleagues home for dinner! "

It came as a big surprise when B'Ellanna Torres didn't take offence picture perfect family reception which for a Klingon took restraint to endure. Fortunately Medical man EMH was spared the whiplash of her tongue. Kes was present too and Doc was only being friendly which was a pleasant change from his horrendous bed side manner aboard Voyager! Interestingly enough I wonder who would win a warring battle of the tongues. B'Ellanna or the EMH Doctor? The Klingon just didn't have the heart to tell the medical man what to do with himself so she gave in to her curiosity.

"Well Doc, tell your wife to haul out the good china. You're having company!"

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B'Ellanna Torres, Chief Engineer of Voyager gets invited to dinner. Oh No! Remember she's a Klingon with a cranky temper! Still, the Hologram doctor was eager to show off his new family. Charlene had high praise for hard working "Kenneth" and Torres was not impressed. The family turned out to be intellectual geniuses devoted to making the good doctor happy. How revolting for a Klingon!

The sugar sweet family life B'Elanna witnessed was so sweeeeet it nearly made all her teeth melt in her head. She freezes the programme, stands up and completely loses it at first but offers to help. All the EMH Hologram family need are a few personality adjustments which the doctor figures he is well equipped to deal with.....ehm....No way doc! You haven't got a prayer. If only he knew what B'Elanna really had in mind.

"It just needs a little tweaking to bring it closer to real life"

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So why not?.......When Voyager's Chief Medical Hologram Officer returns to his holo-home after a hard days work on Voyager, shock sets in . B'Elanna's little tweaking has drastically altered husband "Kenneth's" family life. Doc's adoring, tidy, stay at home wife Charlene is now rushing about the neglected house frantically searching for a lost item, so she can race out and give a talk at the Bolian Embassy.

Belle his happy little one, keen on solving Algebra problems with her father is now interested in playing Parisses Squares with older children. (Parisses Squares is a dangerous sport which even experienced players like Commander Riker can get seriously injured in.)

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Jeffrey has been transformed into a rebellious youth with an interest in loud headbanger music. He has made new, bad attitude Klingon friends, eager to prepare him for the kut'luch ceremony, a Klingon ritual that involves bloodletting in preparation for becoming a warrior.

The EMH programme tries to rectify the "B'Elanna Sabotage" by imposing "House Rules" much like a military commando and even chides Charlene when their united front weakens in front of the children. Jeffrey is furious when his holofather tells him to stop seeing his Klingon friends.

"You can't just decide who my friends will be" erupts Jeffrey angrily. Charlene agrees with this. and Jeffrey sees his chance. "Right this whole meeting is a "Vulchey" idea and you can have it without me."

Later an argument explodes between father and son. Holodad doctor Kenneth was severely creeped out over the kut'luch Ceremony knife business and confronts his son.

"Did they (Klingon friends) talk you into some kind of ritual violence?" demanded holodad EMH

"They didn't talk me into anything. I asked them. Its an honour to get to perform the kut'luch. They don't just let anybody do it. They trusted me. Now you've made me look like a human!!" Jeffrey's eyes burn furiously with blazing Klingon hate.

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These actors Robert Picardo and Glen Harris put on a show that is just soooo fun to watch along with the adoring wife Wendy Schaal and daughter Belle, Lindsey Haun Voyager's EMH programme is skillfully played by Robert Picardo as always.
The Emergency Medical Hologram is a 3D projection of light and energy. His photons are held together by force fields and the energy matrix is projected by holoemitters located in Voyager's sickbay and Holodecks. The doctor has a 29th century mobile emitter which allows him free movement throughout the ship but like a 21st century laptop computer its technology can destabilize.

The EMH program contains a medical knowledge of 3000 cultures but unfortunately despite all this he still suffers from a curt bedside manner. Over the years the crew of Voyager have helped the doctor. The Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Voyager is a smart computer simulation with adaptive programming but unlike most holographic lifeforms Voyagers EMH has a sensitivity to being ignored with feelings and a mind of his own. It is these unique qualities, intelligence, self awareness and randomized behavioural algorithms that make this Doctor special.

Live Long and Prosper Trekkers! Enjoy Your Star Trekking!


Edward Ott said...

this was a great episode. i am so glad that spike is rerunning voyager now.

Nova Dove said...

At the risk of sounding like a total Trekkie ;), I think the Doctor got his mobile emitter in the second oe third season from a guy who stole it from a 29th century time-traveller.

I see the Doctor as the Voyager's Data, though Seven also took on that role in part. This role has the qualities of being intelligent and expert but naive, sometimes insensitive, but always interesting and somehow likeable.

Spacerguy said...

I am too, Edward. It will keep all us spacehappy trekkies glued to our screens provided they keep all those reruns coming!

Spacerguy said...

He sure did, Nova Dove. How interesting, Data and Seven and don't forget Spock from the classic series starship U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701. These guys were without question the brainy ones.

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