Watch: IRS $60K Star Trek Video Earns Rebuke From Congress – Worst.Parody.Ever |
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Watch: IRS $60K Star Trek Video Earns Rebuke From Congress – Worst.Parody.Ever March 23, 2013

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fan Productions,Trek Franchise,Viral Video/Mashup/Images , trackback

This week a Star Trek controversy has been brewing – and it has nothing to do with Alice Eve’s undies. This scandal Star Trek scandal involves the IRS – yes the people that collect your taxes – spending $60,000 on a Star Trek parody video. Congress demanded to see the video and today the IRS released it. Watch the video below


$60,000 Star Trek Parody Gets IRS In Hot Water

On Wednesday Congressman Charles Boustany (Chairman of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee) sent a letter to the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to "inquire about videos depicting television or movie parodies" produced by the IRS production studio. The goal was to "determine whether and to what extend taxpayer resources were devoted to activities unrelated" to the IRS "core functions." Of particular interest was a Star Trek parody video which the IRS had admitted cost $60,000 to produce.

And so late on Friday the IRS complied with the request and released the six-minute long parody video, which was created for a 2010 training and leadership conference. The agency also said (via AP) it was a mistake to make the video because it "does not appear to have any training value."

After watching the video where the "Starship Enterprise Y" visits "Planet Notax," you may not agree that was the only mistake they made. Here it is.

Even though the IRS admitted it was a mistake, the agency tells AP the "Star Trek" video "was a well-intentioned, light-hearted introduction to an important conference during a difficult period for the IRS."

However Boustany isn’t impressed, saying "There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous. The IRS admitted as much when it disclosed that it no longer produces such videos."

The controversey still hasn’t ended. There is another video with a "Gilligan’s Island" theme which the IRS has not released. In this case the agency is saying it was a "a legitimate training video" with "an island theme provided filing season training for 1,900 employees in our Taxpayer Assistance Centers in 400 locations." According to the IRS "using a video saved the agency $1.5 million each year compared to the costs of training the employees in person."


1. Chain of Command - March 23, 2013

Holy badness

2. Chain of Command - March 23, 2013

That’s so terrible

3. LLAP - March 23, 2013

$60,000 and they couldn’t get the uniform/bridge combination correct? TNG uniforms on the TOS bridge? THAT is what offends me.

4. Capttravis - March 23, 2013

This offends me deeply both as a taxpayer and a Star Trek fan

5. Red Dead Ryan - March 23, 2013

C’mon, they spent $60,000 on a cheap-looking set with bad plastic wigs and those awful poor-quality Ruby’s TNG uniforms???


If they were going to waste SIXTY FRIGGIN’ THOUSAND DOLLARS, they should have just paid that money to James Cawley and borrow his set and costumes!!!

It’s not bad enought that a lot of money was wasted, but it happened be wasted in such an awful, awful fashion.

They could have done this on a couple hundred bucks at the most!

Heads need to roll (publicly, and on a giant screen at a Trek convention, no less) for what happened at the IRS.

6. CmdrR - March 23, 2013

Where to begin? Also, why?
It doesn’t matter who is in power. As long as gub-ment can spend without consequences, there will be waste on crap like this. Take this out of the salaries of the 6 highest-ranking beaurocraps who signed off on it.

7. Red Dead Ryan - March 23, 2013



8. CmdrR - March 23, 2013

sorry, got worked up there…

also, it’s still awful

9. Cre8tivguy - March 23, 2013


10. Devon - March 23, 2013

Now that is REAL Star Trek! Not none of that J.J. Abrams hulabalah aiming at kids with their fancy boomboxes and their ADHD MTV Lowest Common Denominator crap!


11. Marja - March 23, 2013

I think I’ll skip it … anytime I see a large gent with a plastic wig and ears playing Spock I’m just too, too offended

12. She Sucked Jeffries Tube! - March 23, 2013

According to Starfleet Intelligence, the video originally contained lensflares but the cost would bump to $100,000. :P I guess we should at least be thankful. :D

13. Daniel Broadway - March 23, 2013

I think for $60K I could have made 5 minutes of Trek that would blow your socks off. Seriously, how was this more than $600? Heh.

14. Kirk - March 23, 2013

Still better than Star Trek 5.

15. Keachick - March 23, 2013

Holy moly – where to begin. That was sooo bad. At least they could have got the uniforms right. Yikes.

16. Red Dead Ryan - March 23, 2013

Even the wrong uniforms were wrong.


Ouch! ;-)

17. Daniel Broadway - March 23, 2013

Come on. Star Trek V at least had some fantastic character moments. I also like that the “bad guy” isn’t just plain evil bent on revenge. Just a misguided soul to takes his passion too far.

18. Daniel Broadway - March 23, 2013

Just a misguided soul that takes his passion too far.*

19. AyanEva - March 23, 2013

I can’t figure out how a parody this bad cost the better part of $60,000 to make! LOL

20. Red Dead Ryan - March 23, 2013


One word: Stupidity.

21. Pensive's Wetness - March 23, 2013

LOL… i actually thought it was vaguely humorous… ive seen worse things that i suspected would have been possible fraud, waste & abuse items while in the Navy…

22. DiscoSpock - March 23, 2013

Nothing too different quality-wise from the Cawley stuff that so many people here fawn over all the time.

23. Anthony Thompson - March 23, 2013

Next Gen uniforms on a TOS bridge??? DISASTER!

24. - March 23, 2013

I demand a refund!

25. Capt. Roykirk - March 23, 2013

Wow, that was bad. From a Trek perspective there is a ton wrong, namely the uniforms. I wonder why the woman has the TOS and the others don’t. This is so poorly done in general, the lines are very badly delivered. And how on earth does this cost that much of Taxpayer money?

26. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - March 23, 2013

Holy smoke… that old KFC commercial with the TOS crew had better production values, and that was probably made with half that budget in 1990’s dollars!!

27. John Gill - March 23, 2013

It is bad, but at least it has good music and sound effects!

28. pepperoni56 - March 23, 2013

What was the ship? Some kind of flying B?

29. Gorn Captain - March 23, 2013

I get the feeling some unscrupulous video production company jacked their rates up just a tad when they saw those IRS rubes coming. Real life Ferengi!

The TOS parody Saturday Night Live did in 1975 had a better bridge set. ;)

30. Spockchick - March 23, 2013

Holy heck, I’m off to poke out my mind’s eye.

31. Archer - March 23, 2013

Having carefully weighed up both this and the international trailer released this week, I’m going to have to say I peferred the trailer more. Indeed, I think I’d prefer never watching this ill conceived footage again. Yes, lets go with that.

32. Mark Lynch - March 23, 2013

I just can’t bring myself to click on the video link… Probably for the best.

33. Mr. Holiday - March 23, 2013

24, I see what you did.

34. StephenH - March 23, 2013

I really hope this won’t stir up or cause bad/negative publicity for Star Trek just as STID is about to come out.

This is probably the last thing the new movie needs.

35. ALPTrekker - March 23, 2013

I have seen what it contains, and my mind is forever polluted by those images.

36. Clinton - March 23, 2013

#5 Totally agree. If they were going to bother making this at all, they could have done it for a fraction of the cost. Any fan who’s made a low-budget video could tell them that. Also, the script was horrible. I’ve seen plenty of intro videos for training sessions. That dialog was not helpful at all. Ugh. Just ugh.

37. Phil - March 23, 2013

@19. This is the IRS we are talking about. It probably cost $6 million, and they under reported the cost.

I could go on, but don’t wish to earn the ire of AP…. :-)

38. the dogfaced boy - March 23, 2013

The Rand character said there was a mixup with the dry cleaner. Doesn’t that explain everything?

At least they knew they had the uniforms wrong.

39. CmdrR - March 23, 2013

It would almost make sense if there was information in the video… But, do we really need a video to say “Money laundering is bad!” Really?? No poo, IRS.
Can’t wait to see what wisdom the Gilligan’s Island one offers. Maybe explaining that everyone who has ten coconuts must give 4 to Skipper so he can wage war on Muslims for a decade, then leave so they’ll never stop hating us.

40. Phil - March 23, 2013

Easy, guys…this is popping up on other hard news sites, so there are plenty of places to go to vent your spleen on the topic.

41. MDSHiPMN - March 23, 2013

@ # 22, lol.

All things considered, I thought the captain owned it.

42. Andy Patterson - March 23, 2013

“a new fangled disease….”

Gotta appreciate the effort, well no,…maybe the sentiment. But yeah, I’ve done more for a lot less money.

43. Bill Thompson - March 23, 2013

Had anyone in government ever SEEN an episode of Star Trek, or were they working exclusively from stills and fuzzy memories? The “bridge” is terrible. I cannot BELIEVE a herd of accountants tried to build one instead of just greenscreening the bridge in. Everything is wrong. Everything. Just….EVERYTHING. I can’t wrap my brain around the level of badness. It couldn’t have been worse if it was an intentional attempt to make the most egregious, crapilicious parody imaginable.

Every individual little detail about this is just half-baked, poorly done, sloppy, offensive, amateurish, and wasteful. There is not one redeeming feature at all. Not. One. But then again, this IS the government we’re talking about.

44. AJ - March 23, 2013

So, that was “Star Trek: Into Darkness?”

45. Barney Fife - March 23, 2013

CBS/Paramount needs to send the IRS a Cease and Desist order on this embarrassment for our government, country, planet and our beloved franchise!

46. NX-17000 - March 23, 2013

@44. Well, it definitely went somewhere… Hope it ends up in the Darkness of a dumpster.

47. SherlockFangirl - March 23, 2013


48. Mikey1091 - March 23, 2013

I love it when for apparently no reason my comment gets deleted. I’m guessing its because I swore (its not like half the other people here do the same thing) or because someone though I was a troll, which I’m not. In case it was the first reason, I shall rephrase what I said.

I agree with earlier people. How this thing was created for more than 600 bucks is beyond me.

49. The Chief - March 23, 2013

I want so much to believe that the “discovery” of this means that our leaders we charge with oversight are on top of things; unfortunately, the sad reality is that there is likely so much rampant wasteful spending that there isn’t enough oversight in the world to stop it all.

What a sad commentary on our government and it’s spending habits all the while, we’re “cutting back” by limiting White House tours for schoolchildren – something that actually HAS “training” value!

50. William Shattner - March 23, 2013

The only part I found slightly amusing was “Scotty” using a hair dryer on the engines. The dialogue was absolutely horrible, stiff, etc. not nearly enough real acting.

51. Red Dead Ryan - March 23, 2013


Yeah, but I don’t want to start getting political here….better to keep it about the Trek video.

52. Jack - March 23, 2013

It’s absurd, yes… but money on this kind of crap (less elaborate versions) all the time. But, come on, all you people complaining about inaccuracies on the sets and costumes or the acting, give me a break. It’s an internal video.

Heck, had it actually had real educational value, it would have been different.

Actually, they did a pretty decent job with the sets and details (the yeoman even jokes about getting the wrong uniforms back from the cleaners). As taxpayers, be annoyed. But as Trek fans, I think we should be flattered.

53. Spockchick - March 23, 2013

@47 Sherlockfangirl

Thanks for that! Awesome cover.

54. Plum - March 23, 2013

Yikes, it’s beyond ironic to see the IRS wasting tax money on a training video.

Note, when writing about politics one should always point out the party affiliation when any representative is named. In this case, Congressman Charles Boustany (Chairman of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee) should include at least this; (R-La) as he is a Republican representing Louisiana.

55. JohnRambo - March 23, 2013

Wait what?! Alice Eve’s undies was a controversy?

56. MJ - March 23, 2013

@22 “Nothing too different quality-wise from the Cawley stuff that so many people here fawn over all the time.”

LOL. Yea, there is that!

57. aligee - March 23, 2013

so did they pay the PRS rights for using the original theme and content?
What utter garbage!

58. Jack - March 23, 2013

50. “The dialogue was absolutely horrible, stiff, etc. not nearly enough real acting.”

So you’re saying they should have spent another $200,000 to hire real actors?

They have budgets to do these sorts of things, like training videos etc. They have to do these sorts of things, whether they’re the government or not. Here someone had a fun, albeit lame, idea. A goof for a convention. But apparently a waste of their budget — since it didn’t have a real point..

Heck, recreating TOS sets was too expensive to do for Relics, so they redid one panel and the console.

59. Wehms2 - March 23, 2013

RE: @47 Sherlockfangirl
Thanks for that! Awesome cover.

That was an awesome show……BUT, I was disappointed in that I felt this would lead to a completely new “re-do” of the original Series with the effectively “new timeline.”


60. Dee - lvs moon surface - March 23, 2013

Definitely hate that!

61. CAPT KRUNCH - March 23, 2013

I think Cawley needs to hire these guys,,the acting was certainly better!!HAHAHAHAHA….. Please people, 60,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to what these guys waste annually!…..TNG uniforms on the TOS set????? backwards stations???? it did bring a tear to me eye!

62. Khan was Framed! - March 23, 2013

Um..What about this cost $60,000?

I could have made a better video for free. It’s the cheapest looking piece of crap I’ve seen since America’s Funniest People went off the air.

If Revenue Canada spent our money on this, we’d exile them to Rura Penthe.

I suggest my American neighbours do the same.

63. Lynn - March 23, 2013

Hmmm … 60 Thousand Dollars???
Bet I could make a NICE film parodying the IRS for that. How about a Star Trek fan faction film with them cast in the role of the Borg? Klingons or Romulans perhaps? Or maybe I’ll just file for a 60 Thousand dollar refund and use it to start my own production company :)

Lynn in New Orleans, LA.
Filmmaker and Photographer

P.S. Oh yeah … if I make the remake in Louisiana, I can get a THIRTY PERCENT tax credit :)

64. LJ - March 23, 2013

So bad that it’s actually funny…in the way that I’m embarrassed FOR any of the poor acolytes that were forced to endure that in training. Glad to know it’s not just the UK government that wastes money on this kind of embarrassing professional development claptrap. And for a country built on protests against taxation, you sure became tax obsessed. How’s taxation without representation going for you guys? We still don’t have it: you can work, pay tax, die for your country at 16, but don’t get to vote until 18. I thought government was supposed to be there for us, not us for it. (Sorry AP: I know you don’t like politics on these pages, and I hope this is not too political – just trying to reflect the way the working majority feel).

65. LJ - March 23, 2013

I don’t mind paying a stipend for defence, law and order, fire, health and education, local services – but nothing else. I also resent the fact that governments define themselves by taxation and exert it as a method of control and compliance. Guess it’s an Anglo-Saxon thing: us Brits and Americans have staged many a ‘protest’ over taxation, and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. (And I’m not socialist in my political leanings by any means). All-in-all I like the economy of Star Trek: no money, but you get out what you put in. If you work hard, the galaxy is your oyster, as it were (starship captain, admiral, ambassador).

66. Bunkzzz - March 23, 2013

Probably paid 59,995 on the rights to use the TOS theme tune.

67. Captain Dunsel - March 23, 2013

48. Mikey1091 – “How this thing was created for more than 600 bucks is beyond me.”

The IRS once seized a legal brothel in Nevada for delinquent taxes. They operated the business after that, and lost money doing so. With the IRS able to LOSE money selling liquor and sex, it should surprise absolutely no one that this cost $60K.

68. Bela Okmyx - March 23, 2013

That production was worth less than 60 cents. Pass the brain bleach, please.

69. Captain Presley - March 23, 2013

How can I sue the IRS to get back 6 minutes of my life back? What a disgrace.

70. Bird of Prey - March 23, 2013

Okay…. That was weird…

71. PeterW - March 23, 2013

Looking at the production values, the only way this cost $6k to make is if they spent $5.5k on a license for Star Trek imagery and characters. Which they didn’t have to, because it’s a friggin parody.

72. Sonak - March 24, 2013

This bothers me less than the trailers for Into Darkness.

73. Captain Smirk - March 24, 2013

That’s it. I’m not paying my taxes this year.

74. Illogical - March 24, 2013

How do I get my 5:21 back?

75. lt1701e - March 24, 2013

Since when can the Government get anything right? or spend any sensible kind of money on it?

76. Captain Robert April - March 24, 2013

Maybe i should cite this video as justification for a refund…

77. Eagleman1969 - March 24, 2013

Somehow, I expected more from the “Enterprise Y”.

78. Dr. Cheis - March 24, 2013

I want to be angry at this expenditure of tax dollars. I really do.

But I’m too busy being angry over mixing TOS and TNG uniforms.

79. Penny Bach - March 25, 2013

Just more proof we are paying way toooo much in taxes!!

80. Schiefy - March 25, 2013

I guess this just proves there is something worse than Brannon Braga/Rick Berman produced Trek!! lol

But as a taxpayer, I agree…no matter how poorly (or well done it might have been done)…does our government (IRS) REALLY need to spend our money this way??!! And to “train” people to take more of our money!!!!!!

81. Schiefy - March 25, 2013

Let me clarify my last comment…

It was meant as a sarcastic observation…not intended as agreement with those who get caught up in the Braga/Berman bashing.

82. I am not Herbert - March 25, 2013

Wow… pretty crappy… LOL! =D

but bridge set and dialog are still better than JJ-trek! ;-)

still… someone at IRS needs to get bitch-slapped… LOL

83. Charley W - March 25, 2013

I’m writting to my Congressman requesting an investigation at the HIGHEST level looking into Alice Eve’s undies!!!! Anyone want to sign the petition?

84. - March 25, 2013

A-holes rubbing it in our faces now too “I dreamed one day of becoming rich and famous” .. “me too, that’s why I became a public servant” (fist bump). I have not had a raise or bonus is six years. In fact my pay got cut nearly 40 percent. Now I have to pay more taxes, lose my healthcare (thx bama) and suffer through this IRS crap? Aholes

85. - March 25, 2013

Freaking aholes, now I’m really pissed the more I think about it: If I had to serve on board that ship, with them ugly mugs and dry personalities, I would go John Harrison on them big time…

86. Smike - March 26, 2013

I don’t know what’s so bad about it… I’m a foreigner, so I don’t know what exactly the IRS is and supposed to do with “taxpayers money”, but from where I’m standing, governments waste 85% of all tax money al around the globe… heck, even fuel for most police cars are a waste of money as long as they’re just driving around all day long, putting themselves on display wherever they go… just to make us feel “save and sound”…

As long as there are states, governments, public servants or any other official body, taxes are wasted… please waste them on more bad Star Trek parodies instead of having police forces beat up innocent teenagers for supporting their local sports team.

87. CeeDub - March 26, 2013

84 – It’s a know, irony? Nobody’s getting rich being “a public servant”.
I agree 60K is steep for that little video, but the complaints about wrong costumes, etc., has no merit. It’s a simple, somewhat lame attempt at a humorous video to start off a conference. I’d wager some of the inside jokes had IRS stiffs laughing in the aisles.
Corporations spend many times more on video and production for conferences. Head-spinning amounts.

88. Moputo Jones - March 27, 2013

#84. I haven’t gotten a raise or bonus in six years either and I am a public servant.

89. - March 27, 2013

Too bad for you too, but you most likely get that golden retirement package. And your fancy healthcare. I have to wait until I die to retire. Then they will tax my estate some more…Where I live some of these “city engineers” (read waste disposal and garbage collectors) retire at six figures a year. SIX FIGURES??!! That’s why we are in the horrible state we are in. I say flat tax, and right now. No more class warfare from the Dems, no more protecting the rich that may or may not create jobs, no more inequality. Everyone pays their fair share no matter how much or how little they make, and the Gov’ment has to live within their means. Just like us ordinary folk.

90. Pastor Michael - March 27, 2013

I really don’t understand why everyone is so upset over the price tag, when you break it down it makes perfect sense:

uniforms: $178.95 – they went with TNG because it was cheaper
sets: $495.25 – lucky they went the extra mile there…
acting lessons: $0.00 – nuff said
camera: $199.99 – Best Buy special
Lights: $72.50 – good deal on those home depot work lights
1 hour of time for each cast member plus one camera man and editor: $59,053.31 – good thing it was not overtime!

total = $60,000.00

just do the math and stop getting upset! geez!

91. Keachick - March 31, 2013

#89 – “Where I live some of these “city engineers” (read waste disposal and garbage collectors) retire at six figures a year. SIX FIGURES??!! That’s why we are in the horrible state we are in. I say flat tax, and right now.”

I am not sure which country you live in, but this was a video made by the IRS in/of the United States. Countries have their own tax structuring. They may be similar but there are differences as well.

I would have thought that in a modern urbanized society, the “city engineers”, ie waste disposal/garbage collectors’ work has to be hugely important and we would quickly grind to a halt if these people stopped doing what they do. Same applies to public sanitation workers. I don’t know what the pay rates are for our garbage collection/disposal workers here in NZ, but I hardly think they are that high – very likely, they would be on the legal minimum pay level (NZ13.50per hour), however I doubt that any of these guys would receive anything more than $20 per hour.

I am hanging out for the rubbish collection day sometimes, given the amount of rubbish a family of four/five can make at times (excluding organics)…truly scary.

92. Joe - April 4, 2013

Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

93. Captain Crawford - April 19, 2013

You embezzle that much money to make a Star Trek film, at least get the uniforms to match the sets! Colossal waste of our money! is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.