Star Trek’s Most Totally Awkward Moments

It’s March 18, and you know what that means! Wait, you don’t? Whoops. Um, that’s a little awkward…

For those not in the know, March 18 is National Awkward Moments Day, a chance to recognize and celebrate those awkward and embarrassing moments we all experience from time to time. In honor of the day, we at TrekMovie thought we’d remind you of some of our favorite awkward moments — as experienced by Star Trek characters, not by us personally.

Where’s the logic in offering me a ride home?

Who among us hasn’t found themselves possessed by the katra of their dead friend, trying to book passage to a forbidden planet, only to be confronted by a guy from security? In her excellent novelization, Vonda McIntyre captures the moment beautifully.

“McCoy swung around, panicked, and grabbed the man at the vulnerable point between neck and shoulder. He squeezed with all his strength and turned to flee without even waiting to see what happened.

Nothing had happened at all.”

Awkward.

Bones attempts a Vulcan neck pinch

Ah, youth

Talking to your kids about the birds and the bees isn’t easy for any parent. But when you’re a busy starship captain unwillingly playing father figure to an omnipotent alien teenager, well, that brings a whole new level of awkward to the situation.

CHARLIE: Well, in the corridor I saw…When Janice, when Yeoman Rand was…(slaps Kirk’s bottom) I did that to her. She didn’t like it. She said you’d explain it to me.

KIRK: Me. I see. Well, um, er, there are things you can do with a lady, er, Charlie, that you er. There’s no right way to hit a woman. I mean, man to man is one thing, but, er, man and woman, er, it’s, er, it’s, er. Well it’s, er, another thing…

Never has an emergency communication on channel D been more welcome.

Charlie X - TOS

Charlie says hello.

Don’t ask, Don’t tell

Time travel: It’s not all fun and games. Sometimes it creates a deadly and heartbreaking paradox, sometimes it can just bring buried truths to light.

Take, for instance, the DS9 crew’s romp through history. Sitting in a bar at space station K-7 came naturally to our friends, and had the added bonus of letting their chief suspect come to them.

But.

It also caused a bit of an awkward moment for Worf.

BASHIR: Those are Klingons?

WORF: They are Klingons, and it is a long story.

O’BRIEN: What happened? Some kind genetic engineering?

BASHIR: A viral mutation?

WORF: We do not discuss it with outsiders.

Anybody up for a quick bar fight as a distraction?

Trials and Tribble-ations - Deep Space Nine

The most perfectly retconned moment in the series? Discuss.

Oh, um, hello

Dude, you are the captain of a galaxy class starship filled with families. The least you can do is figure out how to receive a hug from a little girl.

When The Bough Breaks - TNG

“I don’t like children.”

Welcome Aboard

Ah, your first day at the new job. Those feelings of apprehension when you arrive and meet your co-workers. Are you smart enough? Are you really ready for this? Was it a mistake for me to take this job? Did they really mean to pick a full Vulcan? Will anyone like me? Whatever you do, though, relax and remember not to grab your boss’ butt if you get trapped in an elevator with her.

Q&A - Star Trek: Short Treks

Maybe it would help if we sing a song?

What is it with you?

Trapped on an icy prison planet, the odds are against you and the situation is grim. But allies sometimes appear in unexpected guises. Sometimes delightfully attractive guises. Such was the case with Martia, the lovely, cigar-chomping alien who decides that James T. Kirk is the best candidate she’s seen in years. Candidate for what, you might ask? Well, how about a nice kiss to start with.

Awkward when the next morning she transforms into a hairy alien brute. And, later, into James T. Kirk himself.

KIRK: I can’t believe I kissed you.

MARTIA: Must have been your lifelong ambition.

This is one that will come back to bite ya.

The Big Reveal

Your villain is named John Harrison, as the production team has made all-too-clear in interview after interview. You are not Khan, you are John Harrison. You don’t know why anyone would ever think this movie would have anything to do with Khan. Ha ha, it is laughable to even contemplate such a thing.

Oh, wait, right, yes, I am Khan.

Who are you, really?

Good morning, from Q

There’s nothing like waking up next to your lover stroking your earlobe, only to find out it’s not your lover. Thanks to Q, Jean-Luc Picard went from delight to awkward dismay in record time, in “Tapestry,” when he thought he was awakening next to Marta Batanides. Nope!

tapestry

“Morning, darling.”

Signing in the new captain, one finger at a time

You finally get to meet your new captain, but even THAT gets awkward. Tilly figures out why Captain Pike’s handprint isn’t accepted into the system quickly enough, then stammers and stutters her way through the rest after having to adjust a very specific one of his fingers, explaining, “It’s really weird to say pinky to a captain.” (Even weirder when you point it out, Tilly!)

Star Trek: Discovery - Tilly and Pike

“It’s not a very authoritative finger.”

“What do you do for fun down in Cargo Bay 2?”

Looking for an opening line? Don’t use that one.

When Harry Kim starts developing feelings for Seven of Nine, he tries being nice to her, but even a Borg can tell he’s not just making small talk. “I see the way your pupils dilate when you look at my body,” she tells an extremely uncomfortable Harry. He insists he doesn’t wish to copulate—awkwardly, of course—but she knows otherwise.  “I am willing to explore my humanity,” she tells him.  “Take off your clothes.” The look on his face is one even she can read.

Harry and Seven - Voyager - "Revulsion"

“Don’t be alarmed. I won’t hurt you.”

Unexpected indeed

Hard to pick the MOST awkward moment from Trip’s pregnancy, isn’t it? Runner-up is when he has to show the Klingons (and everyone else on the bridge) that he’s pregnant, but the winner has to be when Trip is having dinner with Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox, and they start discussing his “post-natal responsibilities.” The crewman serving their dinner has just returned with more Chicken Tetrazzini for the hungry father-to-be just in time to hear Phlox say, “You may very well be putting those nipples to work before you know it.”

Trip Tucker in Star Trek: Enterprise "Unexpected"

Oh great, I can use my new nipples…

What are your favorite awkward moments? Tell us in the comments!

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TG47

Thanks for this!

Some levity just when I needed it. ;)

Vulcan Soul

My most awkward moment: the world as we know it is ending and Trekmovie makes a funny post!

SCNR ;)

JRT!

And I hope they keep it coming! This media induced hysteria has to frickin’ end already,and the world isn’t ending just yet,not even as we know it,lol!

Vulcan Soul

Wow, a denialist. Increasingly rare breed ;) I know what is real though because I come from your future!

JRT!

lol! Nah,never been that. Just sticking to facts and calling it what it actually is. And throwing in some fun along the way,lol!

'Drew

I mean, the world as it was then known didn’t end in 1918. It’s a little early to be making that call now.

Danpaine

Thank you. Rational heads will prevail.

Vulcan Soul

Huh, wanna learn some history laddie. That’s an awful precedent you are setting there.

Everyone else, wait and see! I’m watching from the cheap seats ;)

Yeah, we’re all gonna wake up tomorrow, and wonder why Patrick Duffy is in our shower….

Garth Lorca

“This media induced hysteria has to frickin’ end already,and the world isn’t ending just yet,not even as we know it,lol!”

Whether you deem the “hysteria” justified or not is up to you but that hysteria is happening, and it has been answered by politics all over the world and those decision will most certainly put an end to the world as we know it. The virus itself is dangerous enough but the economic implications are beyond anything we’ve ever seen, not even in 1929.

Tourism, gone. Cinemas, dead in the water. Pubs and restaurants, irreparably damaged. Sports, non-existent. Hundreds of thousands of companies, clubs, movie theatres, private schools, artists will be gone after that half-year lock-down that’s upon us – in the best case scenario.
This event isn’t limited to certain aspects of life – it will change life as we know it for good. It’s not the end of world, but it most certainly is the end of the world as we know it.

The only “good” thing about it Trek-wise is that Star Trek does have some sort of a neat symmetrical structure after this. BEGINNING – LINK – ZENITH – LINK – END

– Classic Trek (TOS + TAS)
– the movies 1-4 as a link
– The Grand Era of Modern Trek (TNG-ENT) as the center
– the KT movies as another link
– the short Postmodern Revival (DSC + PIC + LD)

LOFC_Ed

‘Suggest you stick to the civilian clothes. Seems to help hide the…..bulge….’

Loved it 😁

Andrew

The entirety of Star Trek V.

Danpaine

That was fun! Appreciated the rail on STID – that film was incredibly bad.

Corylea

Thanks for the amusement! Most communications are dripping with anxiety these days, so it’s nice to have some weird Trek moments to contemplate.

Sam

How did you miss Spock’s creepy episode tag with Rand in The Enemy Within? Soon as I saw this headline I thought for sure that would be the first thing included.

I always hated that moment! Felt it was more awkward for the viewers than anything… yeesh.

Corylea

It was bad writing that put that statement in Spock’s mouth; you know the REAL Spock — and we all know Spock IS real :-) — isn’t mean enough to have said that.

Creepy and awkward aren’t necessarily the same thing….

Agree.

Snugglepuffxlz

That’s got to be Harry Kim’s single biggest regret of his life.

ML31

Just want to say that I really loved the non explanation Worf gave about the Klingons.

Nachum

And then they had to ruin it by trying to actually explain it.

Someone once suggested that the second they time traveled, Worf should have changed to a TOS Klingon and no one would say a word. :-)

FASAfan

ENT totally ruined it and then double-downed on it later. Augment virus = stoopid.

YKeeg

Then Enterprise tried to explain it via retcon, and then Discovery retconned the retcon.

ML31

This is a message just to see if the highlight for new messages will return. The name and email windows seemed to forget me…

ML31

But Pretty much all of The Voyage Home was awkward for everyone. Including the audience.

PaulB

TVH was hugely popular with fans and the general public, but…yeah…whatever.

GarySeven

TVH was wonderful. Whatever.

Who cares

I’ve never been that fond of TVH but facts are facts and that film is one of the most financially successful of all Trek films.

ML31

True but STID was the most financially successful of the KU films, too. Doesn’t make it good.

Who cares

I don’t have a problem with Into Darkness.

ML31

Like me with TVH, you are in the minority on that one.

fan

This article discusses awkward moments, not awful.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Nope. Pretty much just for you.

ML31

This very thread proves your comment is incorrect.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Not really. You are the only one dissing it.

ML31

Then you haven’t read every post.

McCoy’s Salt Shakers

“There are some games I don’t play yet” — Wesley, the committed teenage virgin, on the planet of skantily clad sexaholics.

Just Another Salt Vampire

I am irresistibly attracted to your comment, Shakers.

More Wesley awkwardness: his infamous rainbow sweater.

Tiger2

LOL great list! I guess it proves while humans may be more enlightened and wiser in the future, it doesn’t mean we will learn to handle uncomfortable moments better.

Mike P.

What about many of the episodes with Lwaxana Troi? First episode with her and a few others had awkward moments. And how about poor Odo the first 2 times she came to the station?

Cmd.Bremmon

It had to be a little awkward for Chekov in Star Trek II. “Botany Bay! Oh no!!” “This is Ceti Alpha V?!?!” What the… guess I should have paid just a little more attention to that scan of the solar system given Ceti Alpha VI is gone! Oops!! My bad!!! Sorry!!!
Or Star Trek Picard when the viewer starts watching thinking “Picard was the greatest” only to find out Picard screwed up on Mars then become a hermit who self isolated himself from his “friends”. Then you really think about your fav episode in Best of Both Worlds where Picard was pretty much the bad guy and you were cheering for Riker to nav deflector him. Keep thinking.. Picard never played cards or really interacted with his crew and under his watch the Stargazer was abandoned and the Enterprise-D lost to a 150 year old BOP. And then you really wonder why the guy is obsessing about Data and AI vs. Crusher/Yar/failure at Mars/loss of the Ent-D and remember his greatest moment in First Contact.. when he knew EXACTLY where to target a Borg Cube but forgot to report that to Starfleet and/or must have been in communication with the Borg. Shady and awkward!!!

I believe you’re confusing awkward with incompetence….

France

How can Any scene between Narissa and her brother Narek from ST: Picard NOT be an awkward moment? Should of been in the list somewhere I should think.

Scott Patterson

I can’t recall the episode, but on Deep Space Nine, Rom had said something about his ears being irritated from too much oo-mox. Leeta asked, “Who’s the lucky female?” and Rom said, “No female, just me.”

FASAfan

Wow! Talk about kid gloves! Those aren’t Trek’s most awkward moments!! How about:

– “Why not just /pew/ waporize them?” – Chekov, CHIEF OF FREAKIN’ SECURITY, TUC

– “Hardly conclusive, Mr. Scott, since Klingons don’t have tear ducts.” – Spock, TUC

– “It’s Colonel West!” – (?) – TUC

– “Arrest yourself!” – Spock (?) – TUC

– “Since you’re all going to die anyway, why not tell you? His name is… /pew, pew!/” – Klingon warden – TUC

– “I should have _stood_ (emphasis added) in bed.” – McCoy, TUC

– Any historical or literary allusion in TUC (just how much original dialogue was written for that crap-fest?) – especially by General Chang… and especially in the “original Klingon”.

– “I’m takin’ the stick!” – paraphrased from Riker – ST: Insurrection

Oh, how I could go on…

JoeTrekFan

When I saw the Star Trek III posting of McCoy’s Spock gesture, I almost flipped. I looked through the rest of the postings and came to the conclusion that awkward moments in Trek do not mean they are cringe worthy.

That bar scene with McCoy was one of the lighter moments in what is a very dramatic movie. From what I recall experiencing it in theaters, it brought the house down with much laughter. Awkward for the character, but the scene itself is a great character moment that was very well acted and received very well by audiences.

The Picard scene with the child I remember well. Prior to that, probably the premier episode, it was established that Picard had some trepidation dealing with children to the point he mentions it to Riker.

My initial reaction to the scene was quite positive. The little girl’s appreciation to Picard for saving her, with the gift of flowers, was touching. Picard not reciprocating is very much in character given the fact he wasn’t used to being around them. The scene, to me, played quite well.

Don’t get me started on Into Darkness and Khan. I think the acting is quite good, actually, but rehashing TWOK is awkward being that the writers couldn’t come up with anything original for the Kelvin crew in its second adventure.