Does swearing belong in the Star Trek universe?

By: H&I Staff     Posted: October 17, 2017, 12:25PM

Image: CBS

A huge part of Star Trek’s charm is the relative innocence of it all. Though there are conflicts and problems that must be solved, it takes place in a time where most of humanity’s major issues have been resolved. Because of this, most of the Trek series take on a family-friendly vibe, free of overly raunchy humor, and even some swear words. That is, until this past Sunday night.

That’s right, Sunday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Choose Your Pain,” featured the first censorable swear words in franchise history — and came in swinging. Two f-bombs in a single episode got mixed reactions from viewers. Some liked that Trek was seeming to gain a bit of an edge, while others thought it seemed way too off-brand for the franchise, despite more and more Trek characters uttering words that would cause your mom to wash your mouth out with soap.

Inverse made an interesting point about Trek’s first f-bomb, stating, “By having the nicest, most idealistic character on Discovery — Tilly — drop the f-word first, the show played this move smartly. Tilly represents the wide-eyed idealism most fans associate with Star Trek, meaning, if she swears, we’re okay with it.”

The word was used for emphasis when Cadet Tilly excited exclaimed how cool it was that they had just discovered how to use mushroom spores to transport humans anywhere in the universe. 

Star Anthony Rapp, who plays science officer Paul Stamets, approved of the approach, telling Variety, "I’m glad that it was done in that way and not just somebody saying, 'Go f*** yourself' or something like that. It was funny and also felt very truthful. I would imagine there’s plenty of scientists who in the moment of a breakthrough might have that moment where they turn to their partner and say, ‘That’s f***ing amazing that we just did that.’ I could be wrong. But it seemed like it made a lot of sense.”