Star Trek Episode So Raunchy Writer Demanded Their Name Be Removed

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Most people consider writing for Star Trek an honor, and some of the biggest movers and shakers in Hollywood (including Battlestar Galactica reboot creator Ronald D. Moore) owe their careers to their time working on The Next Generation. In the early days of TNG, though, the show was very stressful for writers, and one episode got rewritten by Gene Roddenberry so aggressively that its writer, an Original Series veteran, had her name removed. That episode was “The Naked Now,” Roddenberry added so much raunchiness that screenwriter D.C. Fontana didn’t want to be associated with the script.

The Naked Now

For the most part, Star Trek: The Next Generation was never considered a raunchy show, but “The Naked Now” was not your usual episode. It was written as a follow-up to The Original Series episode “The Naked Time,” and the newer ep features a virus that makes anyone who contracts it (including, weirdly enough, the android Data) act like a drunken frat bro. Perhaps because it was a followup to Captain Kirk’s adventures, Roddenberry asked veteran TOS writer D.C. Fontana to tackle this script.

Claims Roddenberry Wanted More Raunchiness

While we don’t know the exact details of her original story, it’s clear that Fontana didn’t want “The Naked Now” to be a raunchy sex romp. According to her, Roddenberry extensively rewrote her script, adding two “scenes of sexual content” she objected to. She also alleged that the Star Trek creator added “other scenes which…debased the female characters of the series.”

The Awkward Data And Yar Pairing

One example of this was almost certainly the infamous scene where Tasha Yar seduces Data (the virus infects both of them). After Yar asks, Data confirms that he is “fully functional…in every way” and that he is “programmed in multiple techniques” for “a broad variety of pleasuring.” Keep in mind this was the first episode of TNG after the pilot, and fans were stuck watching the fiercely independent new female character act like a horny teenager at the thought of turning the galaxy’s most advanced android into a glorified sex toy.

Roddenberry’s Issues With Women

Fontana claims that what Roddenberry did to her “Naked Now” script was standard operating procedure and that after a writer turned in a second draft, “no matter how good a script appeared to be, it would be rewritten by Gene Roddenberry.” Furthermore, she said that “if possible, scenes of sexual content would be inserted into the script.” That may sound like a shocking fact about the Star Trek creator, but keep in mind this is the guy who wanted Deanna Troi to have three boobs and for the Ferengi to have canonically huge genitals.

Hidden Shame

Standard procedure or not, Fontana wanted to let Roddenberry and others know how much she hated what her script for “The Naked Now” became. To that end, she sent a “frankly worded memo of content” to the powers that be, but her comments were completely ignored. After that, she made sure that her name was removed from the script and that the onscreen credit for “J. Michael Bingham” was actually a pseudonym she had chosen to use.

Picard Finally Gave Dr. Crusher More To Do

star trek doctor

While some fans have learned to embrace the cheesiness of “The Naked Now,” Fontana is correct in that its overt raunchiness makes for some cringe-inducing scenes. There may also be substance to her accusation that Roddenberry’s added scenes “debased” the female characters: notably, the show never seemed to find much for Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi to do, especially given how many great storylines their male counterparts received. Fortunately, the writing for everyone got better over the course of TNG, and Crusher, in particular, belatedly got her due in the final season of Picard.

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