I was working on a shitpostgenerator-post for Voyager but my imagination ran out so here, have this instead:
invaders from the fifth dimension beware, Proton Captain and Kincaid Buster are on the case!!
In the Rain
Tom Paris and Lidell Ren, in a promo pic from “Ex Post Facto.”
Jeri Taylor hated this episode. She didn’t like Tom Paris as a Kirk or Riker-style womanizer. Especially with a married person. The male writers, and Robert Duncan McNeill, loved it. They thought it showed Tom as being interestingly flawed: a man with a weakness. Taylor, OTOH, thought this particular weakness – adultery – was unforgivable.
Robbie McNeill really loved this episode. He said it was “one of the best scripts I’ve ever seen. It was so good I had to call Michael Piller and thank him for it.” (He really liked Tom as a Lothario.)
In the end, though, I consider this to be a Tuvok episode, not a Paris episode. Tuvok is the one who solves the problem. He’s the hard-boiled detective, while Paris is like the beautiful woman who walks into his office, needing to be rescued.
I think the irony is while RMN liked playing the darker, edgier side of Tom Paris…he wasn’t particularly effective in that persona. Every time Voyager tried that the episode feels a little off. That’s why after S1 that side of Tom really vanishes.
Interesting, I’d never heard it put that way before. I could see that maybe his looks don’t really fit the stereotype. Maybe it’s hard to play Rhett Butler when you look like Ashley Wilkes?
But I don’t know that I’d blame RDM’s acting talents. Rather, I think the problem was the writing. That, and the changing social milieu.
By the ‘90s, the womanizing types like Riker and Kirk were starting to be seen as kind of creepy, not as studs. That’s the problem they ran into with Tom. His “type,” which was fine for the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, was not a good fit for the ‘90s. That scene where he’s hitting on Stadi is downright gross by today’s standards, and was pretty icky even in 1995. (There was also a scene cut from “Caretaker” that showed Tom hitting on the female supervisor of the penal settlement. In fanfic, Tom was raped in prison. In the writers’ original view, Tom was sexually harassing the warden.)
There were also other gender issues. A big part of Tom’s character was supposed to be his rebel nature. But, as Ron Moore pointed out, the writers were afraid to let any of the male characters rebel against Janeway, for fear it would undermine her fragile female authority. So both Tom’s womanizing and his rebellion ended up going out the airlock. Not, I think, because of any deficit in RDM’s ability, but because they just didn’t fit the times, or the show as it ended up.
That’s why Tom went from being a Byronic hero to being Voyager’s class clown. They couldn’t think of anything else for him to do. I think that’s also why Tom had fewer episodes than any other regular. He got a ton of screen time, but as for actual episodes about his character…there were only four. (
“Vis a Vis,” “Thirty Days,” and “Alice.”) Everyone else had more that that, even Kes, who was there only three seasons.
So, yeah, I can totally understand why RDM wanted Tom to be darker and edgier. At cons, he was always clamoring for Tom and B’Elanna to break up, so Tom would be free to be a “romantic hero.” He complained that even Tuvok, who was married, got more girls than Tom did.
At one con in Australia, Robbie went on at length about what he was hoping for in season seven. He wanted Tom and B’Elanna to have a huge, dramatic, knock-down, drag-out fight that would end their relationship once and for all. By the timing, I figure the script for “Drive” must have been on his desk when he got home.
Paris and Janeway on the bridge.
I like to pretend that the the other 99% of this episode didn’t happen and that she actually banged B’Elanna and will never let Tom forget it
I’m a hardcore P/T shipper and I’d prefer this being Janeway taunting Tom for banging B’Elanna than what actually happened in the episode.