What About the Girl, McFarlane?

Seth McFarlane and the cast of Fox comedy Star Trek Spoof, The Orville

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

Seth McFarlane is a funny man, and his new comedy Star Trek spoof, The Orville, is off to a great start. In episode three they tackle the very serious topic of same-sex relationships while plowing into the controversy of child sex reassignment. Funny! Are they going to address the controversial topic of sexual assault on an employee by a boss or supervisor next? Are they going to be able to make that funny?

I’m a fan of Star Trek, and I actually liked the first episodes of The Orville, but episode three “About A Girl” has left me scratching my head. This is in light of the new allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who is a strong ally of the Clintons and Obamas.

In the episode, same-sex partners have a child, they laid an egg apparently, and it came out a girl. Not a problem under normal circumstances, but the species these two lovebirds belong to is predominantly only male. Females are frowned upon, only appearing once every 75 years or so, and are marginalized in their society. Babies born female are taken immediately to the doctor’s office and have their gender reassigned to the male. There is only one problem. The Orville is a Union ship and the doctor won’t perform the surgery for ethical reasons.

A ship is dispatched at the parents’ request from the homeworld and the baby girl is to go to that ship to have the surgery. Only Captain Ed, McFarlane’s character, is none too happy to release the child. He is duty-bound to “protect” the child, even though the culture of this child dictates that this surgery must be done. The Union officers intervein and there is a trial to determine whether or not the surgery should go forth. One of the parents, the second officer of the ship, actually has a change of heart and is willing to accept the child and not go through with the change.

All of this is terribly funny and sad at the same time. It makes one wonder about the priorities of Hollywood. They are willing to advance the topic of child transgender surgery, but are they willing to also go boldly into the realm of condemning sexual harassment of an employee by a boss? We doubt it.

We love Star Trek, we love this new series, but we wonder at the ever-changing morals of Hollywood and its writers. McFarlane himself is said to have written the script for this episode, and Brannon Braga, a Star Trek favorite who has directed many episodes, directed this one. Star Trek has always tackled tricky topics within the premise of their shows. Will they be reflexive enough to look at themselves in the mirror and talk about the topics within their own industry?

Apparently, the sexual deviance of Harvey Weinstein has been an inside secret in Hollywood for a long time. McFarlane jokes about it in a Hollywood award ceremony three years ago. You have to do more than make jokes, Seth, you have to take action. Your new wants to empower women. Great. How about talking about the real issue of sexual violence and harassment in the workplace! Try to make that funny! Just try!

In the real world, child transgender reassignment is not a laughing matter. Many of us are not opposed to same-sex unions as long as couples keep their relations to themselves. We libertarians don’t want to interfere with what happens in your bedroom. But what happens when same-sex parents try to change the gender of their adopted child? Is that abuse? We think it is. We doubt Hollywood agrees with us.

Will they agree that it is wrong for a rich, famous producer to sexually abuse women who want to work in the TV and film, using his power as a gatekeeper in the industry to get his way? Gauging the response of Hollywood to date, we doubt that the actors, filmmakers, producers, and writers will have much to say about how villains like Weinstein who take advantage of the young female stars they claim they want to empower.

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