Patrick Stewart “Deeply Shocked” By Profanity In ‘Star Trek: Picard’; Felt It Was Time To Joke With Jean-Luc

Sir Patrick Stewart has done another round of interviews in support of the FYC Emmy campaign for Star Trek: Picard. We have gathered together some of the highlights.

Shocked by the swearing, but understands the world is changing

One of the more controversial elements of the first season of Star Trek: Picard was the use of profanity on the show. And it turns out that the star felt the same way, at first. Stewart recalls his initial reaction to the swearing to TV Guide:

I think that Picard had actually taken an active decision not to abuse language that would be unpleasant for people to hear whether it is abusive or offensive in some way, and he stuck to it. Even if he wanted to say, “Damn, blast,” or whatever, he would, for the most part, manage to deny himself that pleasure. When I came across the first swear word in the first script, I can honestly tell you, I was deeply shocked. I grew up in a family where swearing was second nature. Every other word was a swear word, and yet when I read… it might have been the F-word that I read and I was shocked and unsettled by it. I think I did have a conversation with Michael [Chabon] about this use of language and how comfortable were we with it. It was something that had never been a part of previous Star Trek.

But here’s the other thing. The world we are living in has changed. It’s changing. My wife showed me some videos on her phone of some of the violence aimed by police at protesters. African American people, women, young teenagers, old men. In one instance, a white old man. It is horrifying, so we have to look at this world and ask ourselves, “What can we do to make it better?” And that was always the theme of Next Generation and yet, in a different context, it’s also the theme of Picard.

Becoming closer and closer to Picard, and ready to have fun with him

Another new thing for Stewart with Picard was his role as an executive producer of the show. In a Variety  Actors on Actors discussion with The Witcher’s Henry Cavill, Stewart said this new role gave him a “hand in the directive of where the narrative would go and being able to contribute personal private feelings about the character.” The actor also talked about how he became to fully understand the character over his time with the franchise:

During the seven years that we filmed Next Generation and the four feature films that followed it, without intending to, Picard came closer and closer and closer to me, to Patrick. After a while, there was no place that I could identify where Jean-Luc left off and Patrick Stewart began. They became one. I didn’t have to sit and brood about what kind of breakfast I had before as that character before I went on the set. There was so much already at work within me.

Stewart also talked about how he offered some of these character insights in the writers’ room:

I am not a writer. Although as an executive producer, I was allowed into the writers’ room, but I would just sit there with my mouth open listening to these great ideas that would flash backwards and forwards across the table, and then be thrown out the window. And I would go, “Oh, no, no!” That was wonderful. I loved being in that room. I wish I could have recorded every moment that I sat with our writers.

But the only things that I think I actually contributed in terms of dialog were jokes. Like we had one of the other characters reading a very famous [Isaac] Asimov book, and as Jean-Luc Picard I said, “You know, I can never really get into science fiction, it didn’t mean anything to me.” To have Captain Picard talking about science fiction as though it was an alien concept, was something I really enjoyed. And “Tea, Earl Grey, decaf” was my idea because I thought it was time to have some jokes with the character.

Later in the same chat, Stewart talked about how he knew the character of Picard was very important to many people and this factored into why he wanted to inject some humor:

He was going someone somewhat unlikable at the very beginning of Star Trek: Picard. I think in a way, that is why the jokes became important to me. As well as being able to communicate why [Jean-Luc] was in such bad shape when we first met him, depressed and anxious and guilt-ridden.

Patrick Stewart and the Picard show writers room (Photo: Twitter/Patrick Stewart)

Overwhelmed saying goodbye to Data

Speaking to IndieWire Stewart talked about the final scene Picard had with Data in the season finale, and how he was so moved by it, he bought the chair used in the set to take home as a reminder:

That scene was so powerful an experience for Brent and myself. To the extent that when I began to walk through the door and then turned back and said, ‘Goodbye, Commander,’ we had to do it several times because the emotion overwhelmed me every time. And as you can probably hear, it is doing so right now. The chair faces my desk in my study, so I see it every day. At times like this conversation, I’m able to sit in it and enjoy the memory of playing what I think was one of the most important scenes that I’ve ever had to play on film or television.

While he may have said goodbye to Data, Stewart has also indicated that Brent Spiner will be back in season two, something also hinted by executive producer Akiva Goldsman.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Brent Spiner as Data in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”

Watch Stewart

Variety has also made the full video Actors on Actors interview between Cavill and Stewart available.

Last weekend we reported on Patrick Stewart’s appearance as part of Deadline Hollywood’s Contenders Television series of panels. Deadline has since posted a clip on Twitter and the full video of that event on their site.


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news, reviews, and analysis at TrekMovie.com.

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Even though I rated the first season fairly high, there were certainly a few misses. The one thing however I did really like was that penultimate scene with Data and Picard in front of the fireplace. IMO it was the type of scene we didn’t get in Nemesis – so I agree with those who felt it was a proper farewell. If Stewart is to be nominated for an Emmy this year, to me that is the one scene from S1 that really stood out – just like the “little ships” scene in First Contact or the “four lights” scene in TNG..

You didn’t get it in Nemesis because the situation did not allow for it. I rather liked how they handled it. Data knew JL would not allow him to make the sacrifice. Data knew he had pretty much grown as much as he was ever going to. There was nowhere else for him to go. He wanted to allow his Captain to survive and go on. I thought it was very well done.

I followed the link and read the whole article and found it both fascinating and heart-warming that both actors talked about how playing iconic good guys made them want to make themselves the best people they could be, in order to be worthy of the men they were playing.

I can only pray that there is no more swearing in future seasons of Star Trek. It was out of place and crass.

The F word for emphasis is reserved for losers like me in my daily life. It is completely unnecessary for the Star Trek brand.

Were all those pretentious writers giggling in the writers room meeting when they had a Starfleet admiral tell JLP to “shut the F up” ?

Seriously, grow up. Spend more time getting a meaningful story down then trying too hard to make the show fake-edgy.

If they want their message to reach under 13s, they need to reconsider the language. It definitely was a conversation point in our family in watching Picard season 1.

I find that it adds nothing, and isn’t reality in the way the writers in their bubble may believe.

it would earn a reprimand for executives in my organization, and if it happened in a superior-subordinate situation would be sufficient grounds for dismissal…and has.

Though I did find the swearing strange it didn’t bother me TOO much but there were far too many occasions. Are the under 13’s the target audience though? I find this to be aimed for adults and TNG fans that watched the show on TV. Other Trek shows will be used to bring in the next generation of fans (no pun intended).

Last edited 1 month ago by LOFC_Ed

It didn’t bother me but it was unexpected. And certainly felt out of place the way they used it. In a professional environment it didn’t feel right. Now if Rios dropped it on his ship while ordering people around, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it beyond it happening in a Trek show.

It didnt bother you, but it felt out of place. I’m unsure of how you reconcile those two statements. In any case, from my perspective, the new times we’re living in, compared to the ancien regime of series going back from Enterprise is a ridiculous argument and justification for the language’s appearance. 25% difference or not, the issue isn’t about our society, but the characterization of an ST universe.

So, because there is disillusionment, ennui, and dysfunction in this iteration of the franchise, language that hasn’t been used in centuries, for all we can attest to, is apparently looked up in linguistic databases, to be employed by characters bearing some grudge or other, or just to he casually used on the fly. Right. That makes manifest (non)-sense. If people want to fool themselves into believing that it’s just one more element than makes CBS Trek more credible, well, there are certainly many fools among us.

The swearing felt forced and not necessary. Hope they’ll tone it down in future seasons.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kelly

I don’t agree, the instances it was used felt very natural.

I just don’t like the “normalization” of this kind of language. Yes, maybe there are certain situations where we use it instinctively, but as a teacher, especially as a language teacher, I can never condone the use of this kind of language. I don’t think it should be “normalized” either. No, if we want to make ourselves better speakers, we can use more creative language instead of resorting to cursing, which is basically just the easy way out.

As a different kind of teacher I think respectfully you should chill out dawg. Things are said every day now in polite conversation that would be unthinkable 100 years ago.

I don’t appreciate that kind of language, especially if it is in the context of “polite, everyday language”.

Me neither. Just because this sort of language is used in nowadays’ colloquial speech does neither mean it should be used nor that it will be used 400 years from now in some sort of utopian future. There are a few things that shouldn’t be “normalized”. It is even worse when it feels forced and gratuitous, just done for the sake of it…

This. You have expertly nailed this issue on its head. Kudos, for looking past the illusory connection to our own society, that makes such language’s inclusion hip for ST, when it’s genuinely an absurd albatross to tie around the neck of CBS Trek, one of many.

Exactly. I looked at the lack of profanity in early Star Trek as more evidence that humanity was improving and “bettering themselves” as they liked to say. The modern shows are basically saying humanity isn’t improving as much as they liked to claim.

The early shows also feel more timeless because the dialog wasn’t trendy based on the decade they were filmed in.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff

I think there’s a place for swearing in drama, I’m just not convinced that place is Star Trek. The franchise has been able to tackle mature themes in the past but still remain accessible for younger viewers.

I think they are missing out on the family audience and some long term new fans by making Discovery and Picard so hard edged when it comes to language and violence (and that infamous sex scene in Discovery). Every parent has his or her own judgment and standards, but one thing that still endears Trek to me so deeply is how I was always watching TOS-Voyager with my mother. Had the shows been as explicit as Discovery and Picard have been, I don’t know that I’d have watched them as a 10 year-old and become a loyal adult fan as a result.

Ian, I totally agree.

The library of 90s Trek series has been one of an unfortunately small number of television offerings that I’ve been able to watch with our kids as they traversed the 10-13 year age range. There really isn’t all that much out there to watch as a family.

In a market of fractured niches, Trek has consistently demonstrated that it can take on complex social stories at multiple levels that can hold the attention of viewers from 10 to their 90s. It’s one of the strengths of the franchise that seems not to be fully understood by those leading brand strategy both at Secret Hideout and ViacomCBS. Instead we see adult-targeted niches shows attempting to marketed across all age ranges.

Voyager in particular is a hit with that 10-13 ‘onboarding’ age group that has been classic for the franchise, and Voyager continues to hold our kids interest in repeated viewing as our kids edge into high school. It really has that TOS market building impact that it wouldn’t have if all the creatives and actors had been allowed to do as they wished.

So, while I appreciate the strategy of having a menu of Trek offerings to appeal to different viewers, there also needs to be new Trek content that can cover the mass market across ages.

Picard was a natural for that given the established base for the character. I’d thought that the choice to exclude a preteen audience had been to a significant extent determined by Patrick Stewart’s desire for his character to evolve and face new challenges. Now we have confirmation that he was uncomfortable with the choice of language, and that the writers room didn’t really listen to Patrick on that.

It seems to me that the writers have got themselves in a groupthink bubble that prevents outside voices, even Patrick’s.

As much as we’ve heard complaints from all the 90s series writers and showrunners about barriers to creativity, Berman definitely had his eye on the market.

Writers live in a bubble of their own sociological subniche. Individual writers spread out nationally and internationally tend to rely on research to write beyond their own experience, but it feels like the writers room as a mechanism tends to reinforce the limited writers cultural bubble, especially when all the writers are physically located in one small region in SW California.

Bringing diversity into the writers room can help, but the writers are still limited it seems to then experience of writers. The hierarchy in that room seems to really reinforce that.

Witness Michael Chabon’s determined belief that successful senior managers outside the entertainment industry use the F-word to subordinates while in the real world it would be cause of removal in the large organizations that I work in and have worked in. Or his determination to make Picard a product placement for smoking (perhaps to validate his own experience), which Roddenberry resisted despite network sponsorship pressure in the 1960s.

SH and ViacomCBS need to do better market research that reaches beyond the United States. If it’s writers don’t know their audience or how society works beyond their own experience, they need a challenge function from outside the room that can open up their thinking.

Even if I were wrong and the truth is that organizations in Canada and Europe are different than the United States in demanding better comportment of their leaders, is Star Trek only supposed to reflect current American society?

At $ 8-10 million an episode for production, investment in large international consumer surveys and focus groups are more than justified. A research team, with leads from outside the United States, that can come in and make presentations to TPTB and the writers room, with enough status to be heard is needed. A junior researcher or intern is not going to be able to challenge deeply held inaccurate perceptions or beliefs.

Last edited 1 month ago by TG47

I’m no fan of Berman, though I do wonder at what point he was able to leverage his position into being able to ride herd so dominantly on the creatives. Specifically, I remember an interview Frakes gave to GALACTIC JOURNAL (blink and you miss that mag!) early in TNG s1 about what I supposed was the second Q episode, where he wonders about the language extremes for a family hour show, mentioning how he was called upon to tell Q he was a ‘son of a bitch’ — something we know did NOT make it to air, even though it apparently did make it to stage and got shot. Did Berman nix that or was it higher-ups at studio?

The episode aired with Ryker calling Q, a son of a bitch. I don’t recall people losing their minds over it. Of course we didn’t have social media like today.

I remember watching Enterprise and thinking the occasional mild swear felt out of place partly because it was rather too timid (you could almost see the network censors arguing how many times someone could say TV-14 words) and partly because Scott Bakula and the writers couldn’t really sell most of them naturally. Kirk and Spock dabbling in colorful metaphors and Data saying, “Oh, sh*t!” got the laughs they were supposed to, but generally it just didn’t seem necessary and actually contributed to that (perhaps elitist) feeling of how humanity was above having to use bad language all the time – after all, these shows are mostly about highly competent professional people in the workplace.

And yeah, while I think the franchise has room for both kiddier and more adult iterations, that family viewing sweet spot IMO has always been vital to the franchise’s appeal and longevity. And that’s true for most big properties from Star Wars to Doctor Who to Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. If you want adult, you can have Blade Runner, Alien or Game of Thrones, but their approaches don’t work for everything.

We may have all grown up and developed more adult tastes, but our kids haven’t yet, and we still happily go back to watch the old shows without lamenting that there wasn’t more gore and that Sisko didn’t swear like a sailor whenever he got mad. Actually, now that I type that, I kinda would like to have seen Sisko do that. Hmm…

Even GOT didn’t use swearing gratuitously or awkwardly. Game of Thrones’ initial seasons were some of the most compellingly written dramas I’ve ever seen. Picard’s dialogue sounds like it was written by teenagers. It’s really hard to point to any dialogue in the whole series that isn’t ham-fisted, cliched, or hollow. It’s my least favorite series by far.

My child adores Trek, loved Beyond, loved Chris Pine as Captain Kirk He’s 11 now. A couple of years ago we watched a You Tube video interview with Chris Pine filmed about Beyond and he threw out the F bomb several times. I shut it down. I was shocked to say the least. So no more CP interview videos. I previewed several ZQ and Zoe Saldan You Tube videos about Beyond, and both spoke about the film with no cursing at all. I let my child watch those. It may be the new “normal”, but I don’t like it and it’s so unnecessary in Trek or interviews about Trek.

Agreed.

Patrick said after seeing the profanity in the script he had a conversation with Michael Chabon about how comfortable they were with using that in the show. I wonder what the justification was. Did they actually believe it made the show better somehow?

There are so many failures and missed opportunities about this series that one hardly knows where to start. This is not Star Trek. Patrick Stewart can’t explain away the wrong direction this disaster has taken. You can’t bribe me by having former Next Generation alumni join in from time to time. Star Trek goes much deeper than cameos. The Great Bird of the Galaxy Gene Roddenberry is surely spinning in the afterlife as Picard and Discovery aren’t even in the same ballpark as Gene’s vision. I for one will not watch either of Kurtzmans just pulled it out of my arse nonsensical series.

Last edited 1 month ago by Randy

I agree with you Randy Gene would not approve. There was no bad language, no black white yellow pink hatred, no gay or bisexual people. Being set in the future I thought we were past all that, maybe not the gay issues but the rest. For god sake people get over it, not everyone swears or hates different skin colours or gays.
Let’s just keep Star Trek as it was meant to be.

I apologise sincerely if I’ve misread your comment but it reads as if you’re saying the inclusion of gay or bisexual people in star trek is a bad thing

I will always respect Roddenberry for what he created. But there’s a tendency to exalt him when he seemed to become rather problematic as the franchise progressed. He actively interfered with productions when he didn’t get his way, and some of those have turned out to be fan favorites (Khan, Undiscovered Country). Hell, people said DS9 was “not Star Trek” back in the 90s, and now it’s beloved. Trek has morphed and changed so much, and I think that’s part of what makes the franchise keep ticking. I won’t defend everything Picard did in regards to story, but these “not Star Trek” claims are pretty empty.

I agree with this fully. People may have issues with DIS and PIC (and I think they are VALID issues), but people put way too much emphasis of what Roddenberry would consider ‘Star Trek’. As you said Star Trek has changed a LOT over the decades and while I think most shows has tried to adhere to his basic values they all probably did things he would not approve of. People point out the Meyer movies (the most ironic of all since they are beloved by the fanbase but seems to be the most hated by Roddenberry) but as you also pointed out its not clear if he would’ve loved DS9 much since it went so far away from the TOS/TNG model. I’m not even convinced he would’ve still loved TNG later on because that ended up taking liberties he was totally against in its first two seasons, especially characters having conflict. That was basically thrown out in third season and it only increased in later seasons.

I’m trying to really imagine what Roddenberry would’ve thought of groups like the Maquis and definitely Section 31. These groups went directly against a more united Federation/Starfleet he envisioned. We saw plenty of people outside the Federation make problems for our heros but we rarely saw more internal struggles until after he was gone outside of a rogue admiral gone bad.

Even the MACOs would probably be an issue for him to even suggest a private military still existed when Starfleet did.

So yeah I understand people have issues with how DIS and PIC are presenting versions of Star Trek he may have hated, but let’s not pretend they were the first to go against the grain. That’s been happening for literally decades now.

Completely agree Tiger2.

I’d also add that Roddenberry’s own concept of the franchise was very mutable. He was very frank in the 80s that TOS was what he could sell to the network rather than actually being his ideal concept.

Thanks for the good convo, friends. Agree with you. I’m more favorable on Picard than most, but I’m a “brooding existentialist” who has long read Chabon’s novels. So the blending of this with Picard worked for me. But I won’t defend all aspects of the story. There were decisions they made that were baffling. And those deserve criticism and further conversation. I make the claim that the broader story of Picard IS absolutely Star Trek, but that’s for another time.

I think Trek needs to change. One of the core elements of Trek is that it’s a response to the societal/cultural circumstances in which it airs. As the world changes, so too does Trek. That does not necessitate that a specific film or television iteration will be successful, of course. But I applaud it for trying.

Roddenberry simply took the core of “Forbidden Planet”, added Spock and updated it for the 1960s. FP and TOS are interchangeable.

As for drifting from his vision… in what way?

I don’t recall anything about GR badrapping BOBWpt1 and yet Shelby is pretty near ‘contemporary scheming woman’ mode in her attempts to curry favor and get Riker’s job — something that really stood out to me on first viewing, as I was trying to figure out how they got this character past all the restrictions on these better more evolved humans.

I don’t know if Roddenberry had issues with that episode or character. But I also don’t think he was too involved with TNG at that point. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on that one, though.

Okay but what draws you to Star Trek — is it the imagination? The sense of wonder? The world building? The stories? CBS Trek has none of these things. There was nothing original about Picard; it’s derived and borderline plagiarized from other works. There’s nothing wondrous about its story. It actively tries to undo or completely ignore the established canon and characters, much like Discovery did with the TOS era. And to call it a story is a stretch — season one is a mess, with no coherent themes or lessons, no interesting characters, no real set-ups or payoffs, just some sad string of muddy images on a screen, with juvenile dialogue [shut the f up] and shallow acting. It’s depressing as all hell and despite the universe-ending stakes, is boring and slow.

Are these opinions? Sure. But I think it’s easy to see how what’s being branded as Trek today resembles only in the most superficial way what we came to know as Star Trek as it was.

You won’t ever hear me defend Discovery. I can’t stand that show. Every little thing about it bugs me. I understand some like it, so I’m not going to go out of my way to hate on it. There’s enough people who do that.

I’ll disagree with you on what Picard does to established canon. When I think about the last time we saw this universe, it was after the calamitous Dominion War, the Borg invasion, and the show set up a galaxy-changing event with the destruction of Romulus. To me, it makes sense that the once orderly nature of things is pretty disturbed, and rightly that elements of it go backward. I enjoyed that. Was it jarring? Sure, but to me the season worked because as we saw Picard find his sense of self again, we see him trying to repair elements of the chaos in the stars. This is a deeply personal, existential story for Picard. So while I agree it significantly lacked the sense of wonder while traveling the stars, it left me clamoring for the sense of wonder in this character and it was heartening to see him become himself again. And I saw a lot of that sense of wonder in the Soji story, as well.

So is it different? Sure. But hell, they have been saying it would be different since Patrick Stewart announced the show at STLV in 2018. It was never going to be TNG again. Trek works best for me when it comments on the time a series airs. Things are dark in the world right now. While I would enjoy a 45 minute adventure away from that from time to time, there’s something interesting to me to see our beloved Captain navigating similar feelings that I am right now. That gives me hope — and despite whatever else Star Trek may be, THAT is what defines Star Trek to me. And while it looked drastically different, I saw it along in Picard, and I’m thankful for this unique journey.

Well, you couldn’t have put up a better defense! I think that’s wonderful, and I’m so glad you like it :) the fact is that Kurtzman & Co made the series for fans like you, and they delivered. A true fan enjoys something for what it is, which I guess is what the producers tried to explain from the get go. Their approach didn’t please everyone, but it was still definitely worthwhile for the fans that enjoyed it.

Thanks for not shaming me for this! I’ve been trashed for defending the show elsewhere. I totally understand why some people don’t like it. And there are certainly issues I have with the series.

If I can give Kurtzman a little bit of credit for something… he seems to want to diversify Trek with different iterations coming out. If Picard isn’t for you, maybe one of the other series will be. That’s how I feel about Disco. I hate it, so I don’t really engage it too much. But I enjoy Picard. They are both different from one another (though share some stylistic similarities). I really am looking forward to Lower Decks, too.

Did Picard being a mewling punching bag for all manner of illogically conceived characters and their contrived angst, forward the life journey of this icon, made to appear imbecilic and at fault for events outside of his control? How about his ending up as a synthetic? However well realized they may be, should we even consider Picard as meaningfully existing any longer, rather than being prey to yet more depredations that may even more easily be doled out on him, now that he’s separated from humanity? Oh, yes he was going to die soon, so now he’s been given another chance. For what, exactly?

Yes. And even Gene himself changed his tune on what Star Trek was. Just look at the differences between TOS and TNG. It’s a mistake to bow to the Roddenberry alter. I, too, appreciate what he created. But his is not the only way to make a Trek show.

Perhaps but that doesn’t mean Trek cannot be good if one doesn’t follow GR’s “vision”. Reportedly he was no fan of WoK but that was the best Trek movie ever.

That said the problems I had with Picard had nothing to do with GR’s “vision” or other such hogwash. It was just that it wasn’t a well made show.

What a shame they decided not to use any of the “great ideas that were flashing back and forwards across the room”

As a producer, maybe Patrick should have spoken up and endorsed the supposed “good ideas” that were discussed in the writer’s room.

Yes profanity was a bit much. Swearing is not necessary under any circumstances unless it is okay to swear out loud. I enjoyed Picard very much and profanity is not something that gets under my skin.

Hearing people say the F word in every conversation does start to get really annoying by the way.

Last edited 1 month ago by Faze Ninja

It was, I believe, three times. That’s hardly “every conversation.”

I honestly don’t understand the issue with the swearing. Maybe I’m simply used to it from other shows/films. Trek used more tame versions of curse words in the 90s (damn, hell, etc). I have a hard time thinking the DS9 creative team wouldn’t use an F-word or two along the way had it been created in a different context. I don’t know. The first F-word by the admiral seemed out of place. But the rest seemed more natural for the dialogue and context.

Picard said “merde” in, I believe, the very first episode.

Merde does not have the same status/valence in French that sh*t has in English.

In fact, the big taboo words in French can be headscratchers for Anglophones. Up until relatively recently they were all religion-based.

This was a challenge for me as an Anglophone (native English speaker) when I first worked with Francophones.

For example, in high school when my school band went to a French-language high school for a performance, the Francophone students yelled “Merde!” as a way to wish us well. Their teachers assured us that it was cool.

Swearing is fine. Swearing, when done appropriately, is smart, in fact, and adds realism. Can you imagine if every “frak” in Battlestar Galactica was replaced with the real deal? They never overused that word, I thought, or used it out of context. Star Trek absolutely should treat swears like that, as exclamation points, as emphasis, not as some juvenile “oh look we can swear in Star Trek now” shenanigan [see “shut the f up,” Tilly in Disco season 1 with Stamets] that’s awkward and embarrassing. I never felt awkward or embarrassed or uncomfortable watching GOT or BSG or shows that “swear” a lot. But watching Disco and Picard….I want to cringe, waaay toooo often

I’ll agree on a couple of these cases. The F-word from Tilly was a joke. It was awkward and unnecessary (but so are a lot of things in Disco. I cannot personally stand that show).

I actually think the “shut the F up” in Picard worked. I didn’t think the “sheer f-ing hubris” line did. When Clancey said “shut the F up”, it was sort of a double play… her admitting that Picard was right and she didn’t want to hear more of his reasoning. And it felt like the writers having a little fun with the backlash against her first F word. I enjoyed that one. But the other cases, I’ll agree with you. Maybe not necessary. :)

I agree with you, Disco is UNIQUELY irritating and it’s just hard to endure, which is why I haven’t watched all of S2

So bsg never overused the frak?
are you kidding?

They used permanently and it was a simple placeholder for fuck….

Right but again they didn’t gratuitously use frak, or use it for the sake of being edgy. It was always motivated by a situation, inserted in a way that it felt natural, not forced.

I think one of the differences in the early shows was the curse words fit with their meaning. So saying damn-it when you mean the situation or phrase should be damned, or using hell as an actual place.

But then with modern shows we have shut the f*** up. Technically that doesn’t make sense and potentially means it will be a fleeting version as the centuries pass.

I don’t have an issue with the cursing in general, but yes some of it felt a bit forced.

But honestly, cursing is very far down the list in terms of the problems this show had first season.

I don’t care if they brought in Samuel L. Jackson to play a really foul mouth Vulcan but love of Kahless just get some BETTER WRITING on this show, period. That’s all I care about and I think most fans will overlook the cursing if they were getting a well thought out story with it.

Unfortunately, we didn’t fucking get one!

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

The swearing was great. Real. Human. Not fake TV pretend nonsense. Glad it’s not the 80s anymore.

Shut the F up.(quoting Star Trek)

‘Real human behaviour’ in what workplace?

That kind of performance feedback in a power relationship would be considered harassment and abuse of power in labour law. Don’t kid yourself.

Using a female flag officer as the one implying abusive language is just a facile attempt to divert or obscure the abuse by having someone who is in a discriminated group being the abuser.

By the way, I am aware of senior executives who have been removed (after lengthy legal processes) for just this kind of behaviour – both female and male.

Personally, civility and respect have been important to me in my own choices about where to work. Like Patrick Stewart, I grew up somewhere where the F-word all manner of foul language was around me on the street. I have had to learn not to use it.

More, I’ve had to learn to be aware of and avoid entire range of nonverbal cues that can also be viewed as showing contempt of colleagues and subordinates, and coach junior managers out of these bad behaviours myself. These are well-known and pretty standard issues. Leadership and executive training courses cover them.

Last edited 1 month ago by TG47

Yeah, that’s what we come to Star Trek for, the dark and gritty hard-hitting reality of a Scorsese movie. Sure. Because I know the last thing I want from a fictional universe with cybernetic space zombies and angry green-blooded space elves is to come across as the least bit fake.

Last edited 1 month ago by AllenWrench

I am ok with the swearing.
Its not that picard himself used the Words. And it makes sense, that Not all if the trek Universe is a Universe of manners.

im on the third round of watching picard… i keep loving it more and more…crazy… i never thought i’d love these new characters as much as i do… flaws and all… even those two romulans living with picard damn i miss them…

the humor and action are really super fun, the fx is theatrical like and i love how the pacing builds as it goes along. i remember some complaining there was not enough space after 3 eps but as well know that’s not an issue. seeing it in it’s whole vs one ep at a time is refreshing. the score and almost everything is so awesome. i would have liked to have seen more on the synth planet… the finale should have been longer it felt rushed and the artifact scenes with the brother sister were a tad much… but omg the ending was so perfect and beautiful and was so happy data had a better ending. the song was glorious.

i really wish it had been a few more eps to explore more things. freecloud was awesome and i know stardust city rag started with that powerful gory moment but IMO it’s the best episode that captures everything action humor story emotion and anika is so great. nepenthe a close second… and most everything else a close 3rd.

everyone’s gonna nitpick about minor moments but i’d give a 8-9 out of 10.

and yes the language is sometimes shocking but we can’t pretend they didn’t curse in the original… just not as bad but it was there in the movies.

season 2 can’t come soon enough

Personally, I didn’t think the Patrick Stewart’s joke about Picard not getting science fiction was funny or true to the character. Picard in TNG was a space explorer. Of course he would like science fiction. I get why it’s supposed to be funny, in that ha ha Picard the Star Trek guy doesn’t like science fiction. But to me this seems like a cheap joke at the expense of the character and everything he stands for. What’s next, Picard loves shampoo?

LOL

I actually agree with this. It was a bit out of character. We know he always liked to look out at the stars and looked out at the stars. I find it hard to believe a person like that, someone who wants to use his imagination more than anything, could be closed off to science-fiction.

I didn’t even consider this remark any sort of “joke” at all. It seemed like a natural way of expressing the idea that all you see on Trek, from Picard’s POV, is reality and not SciFi anymore. A never thought of it as being an actual joke on anyone’s expense.

It was joke for them, for Patrick himself and his peers. After saying that, I was expecting Patrick to look at me at the eye, right at us at the camera, like Ken Pile or Ferris Bueller…that’ll be funny, and weird at the same time.

Gary, to me it was a joke at the expense of the fans, Treks own audience.

Jay’s likely correct that the joke was for Stewart and his peers, not for us.

If the writers and actor believe themselves so arch that they laugh at their audience instead of with them, they really need the feedback.

I’m kind of missing his connection between profanity and ‘the world is changing, so let’s make it better.’ The need to use profanity in any context, especially heated conversation, belies an inability to fully express yourself using other words, and possibly a deficiency in emotional regulation. I would hope that the human race moves past that by the time a Federation exists.

Exactly my thinking as well. I love Star Trek and I am disappointed they thought they had to go there at all. Better writing means you dont need to use profanity. I wont watch this.

Same here. The writers for modern Trek definitely seem inexperienced or else poorly trained.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff

Right?
I’m not uncomfortable with profanity. But in Trek it just seems tacked on for edge-factor. It just makes me cringe and feels unnatural.

Stewart, I love ya man, but I am totally unable to follow the connection between the difficulties in our changing world, and Trek characters needing to say “F*cking cool” in order to cope with it.

The needless swearing (c’mon, didn’t we get over that in 4th grade, about how swear-words are “cool”?), the dark, dystopian atmosphere, the street crime, the drug use — all of these things make Picard NOT genuine Star Trek. Yes, these are things we find in the real world of today, but that was the WHOLE POINT of Star Trek — which the writers utterly missed, either due to ignorance or arrogance — to portray a future world where these types of things had been overcome, and left behind in the past. The foul language and frequent F-bombs also makes it unwatchable as a family — again, something Star Trek has always had as a great feature, entertainment that could be enjoyed, and learned from, together. And let’s not even get into the utter emasculation of the Picard character by just about every other character he comes in contact with. Fiery Jean-Luc was replaced by feeble JL. Pass on Season 2, thanks.

Last edited 1 month ago by BobT

no profanity tv world doesn’t exist. the original crew cursed. so did tng just in that fake tv world. there were probably 10000 words spoken on picard and a few curse-words. i think we can get over this right?

I’m in complete agreement. Watch the RedLetterMedia Plinkett review of Picard and there’s a great montage of the moody, depressing shots of all the characters drinking and talking about suicide, and it really sums up just how dreadful it all is. The writers made a point that the world needs Star Trek right now — so they made a show that isn’t Star Trek, and instead is just a sad reflection of how bad the world is in 2020. Maybe make some real Star Trek and we’ll see things improve, not this sad sack of…crap

OR they showed characters that are flawed and that found meaning and purpose and Resurrection (literally)… do you remember ds9? addiction, murder, war, disease, hopelessness…? but they fought all that and persevered. hey it’s not meant for you… voyager wasn’t meant for me since it sucked… everyone has their preferences…

Well, I’m glad the characters worked for you. I’m definitely not saying characters can’t be addicted to things, commit murder, be hopeless; I’m just saying these characters, to me, weren’t engaging. So their hopelessness and eventual revelations mean nothing to me, because I don’t care about the characters, and the main characters I was familiar with — Picard, Seven — weren’t anything like I remember them or even how I want to see them. Seven in particular was my least favorite character transformation. I don’t even think you can call it “growth,” because these people act so immature and sulk so hard they’re like teenagers. It’s not fun to watch, it’s not compelling, it’s not Star Trek — to me, at least.

and honestly I should say I know it is Star Trek and I accept that, but it’s not “my” Star Trek lol as in it’s not the series for me, apparently

Spot on. I wouldn’t watch it if I were paid to, well, unless the remuneration was in the range of the production cost of a Discovery episode, so I would be able to move to where I want to be, for whatever years are remaining to me.

Seriously, the 25% distinction, doesn’t come close to covering the inanity of introducing a show that highlights a character from the franchise’s past, who embodies so much of its ethos, only to be subjected to degradation and shaming, by ludicrous angst filled simulacrums (even 7 of 9), whose realistic presence in that time frame, not an ineptly stand-in for our own, is bilge that one can be satiated by dipping one’s toe into social media. No need to invest oneself in admiring this actor or that’s efforts, when what they’ve been employed to portray, is less than a waste of one’s time.

Sorry for the super long sentence, but, you know, reasons.

Wait, wait – did I really just read Patrick Stewart citing police brutality as one of the reasons why profanity was used on Star Trek Picard?!

He says we need to look at the world today and ask ourselves what can we do to fix it, which is totally fair enough. But what exactly has that got to do with using fuck, piss and bullshit as part of the dialogue used in every other sentence on Picard?

No sir Patrick, just no. Don’t do that.

That’s a “Look over there!” type of defence for the really awful dialogue if ever I heard it.

Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind, trying to express itself forcibly.

Almost any workplace , today, would have policies governing speach etiquette or proper workplace language. I would hope that in our future, the human race would advance enough to leave profanities and slang behind. To me this just demonstrates a regression in social behavior. If I laced my comment here with swears, moderators would likely strike my comment from the discussion, true?

I grew up with Star Trek, starting with reruns of the original and tuned into TNG on day 1. I always percieved Star Fleet as the future of the Navy, with a much more humanitarian role. The lack of profanity would be the correct depiction of a well educated and trained crew (specially an Officer) aboard a Star Fleet vessel.

I must admit, I have not yet watched Picard or Discovery. Picard is high on my binge list (and just been bumped to the top) while I was still on the fence about Discovery. Maybe have to give it a watch then decide. I just had to offer my opinion to the discussion because Star Trek has been near and dear to my heart for so long. Hence, I will avoid adding how this attempt at edginess, IMO, is a disservice to the late, great Gene Roddenberry and his vision of
the future. Oops! I think I just did.

I can agree that there are some intense situations where one might drop the odd F*bomb and it be overlooked or forgiven. Profanity just has no place in clear, intelligent communication. Even Klingons refrained from using profanity, although some can be found in the Klingon dictionary.

Sex would be more permissible as it is at the heart of the human condition and, let’s face it, Captain J.T. Kirk was getting more a** than Mick Jagger in the 60’s, even if some of it was green lol.

The swearing itself is not the issue per se, it’s the forced way it was done. It felt so oddly out of place to have this mid-sixties Admiral dropping the F-bomb on Picard twice for the mere sake of it. With Tilly it felt natural. But that Admiral… she served as an Avasarala stand-in but it didn’t work.
It’s that kind of forced staff room decision: “Man, they have an elderly lady on Expanse who’s famous for dropping the f-bomb in every other line… we should do the same on Picard.”

Man, I had no idea so many Trek fans are so prim and proper and Puritanical…and elitist about language.

So, I’ll just leave this here: no, swearing is not for the uneducated or those with limited vocabularies. No, it’s not just for 4th graders trying to sound cool.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-swearing-a-sign-of-a-limited-vocabulary/

:)

That study’s conclusion would have been more believable if participants were asked to use a swear word in a sentence and then replaced the swear word with as many non-taboo words that kept most of the meaning of the sentence. Seeing how many taboo words someone can generate isn’t really an indication of verbal fluency if they can’t also correlate it to non-taboo alternatives.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff

This isn’t the only study that finds similar results. There are tons!

Profanity is only acceptable when in excruciating pain, when at the absolute limits of one’s anger and when trying to reach the comments of these articles with these BLOODY adverts pushing them further and further down. Sort it please Trekmovie. I’d expect that kind of amateurism from a Kurtzman production, not one of yours.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sully

With all that potty mouthed characters it doesn’t give you the feel of a Star Trek show. Profanity just doesn’t go along with Star Trek. Writer seems to think that profanity is necessary for an intense scene and is necessary for the emotions. We all remember how Capt. Kirk screamed “Khaaaaaan”? Intense anger and hatred and it was all conveyed without an F-Bomb. Picard got everything; we have incest and throat cutting like GOT, you have a feeling of expanse and add some gay love. characters smoke, drink and inject with drugs etc. You got the mix of all the modern hit shows, but is not Star Trek.

The profanity bothered me a lot, for several reasons. One is that, having grown up with Star Trek myself, I now like to watch it with my young children. For me, F-bombs mean I won’t do that with this show, and that’s a shame. Second, the issue of swearing was already deal with (effectively!) in Star Trek IV, where it was made clear that by the 23rd century, the use of “colorful metaphors” (to us, swearing) was a quaint thing of the past. Are we to now believe the situation changed back completely by the 24th century? That’s possible, but seems wrong. Third, as in real life, swearing doesn’t really add anything to conversation other than as a general proxy for mood. When the Admiral in ST:P is angry, we can *see* that she’s angry. And she should be able to express why she is angry. What does her use of the F-bomb actually accomplish in that situation? Forth, ST doesn’t do this sort of thing very well. While a series like GOT can sometimes use swearing in a way that furthers the objective, the swearing in ST:P felt forced, much like the semi-erotic decontamination scenes in ST: Enterprise. Things like that don’t wear well over time.

The writers of the early shows were able to achieve an almost timeless dialog that doesn’t really have anything trendy from the decade they were filmed. I have a feeling Discovery and Picard are going to fail in that regard.

As I have said this before. I am very sad they keep trying to add more violence and profanity, little by little we almost ended up with the idea of a Tarantino film. There is no need for this to make a better show. Now, I need to view everything first before watching it with my kid, with my family. I know I am NOT the only one. Most of us were kids, when we started watching Star Trek.

It is very selfish. When I was single, in my 20-30s I didn’t care. Now with kids, its a different story.

Definitely Jay.

I prewatch for our family. That means that I see each episode alone for the first time as my spouse isn’t likely to watch more than once.

There definitely have been episodes that we have omitted for the kids, and others that I had to think through before watching with the kids.

It actually makes me sincerely sad to have been denied the joy of seeing new Trek content with our kids.

Bluntly, every time one of the principals for the new series talks fondly of childhood memories of watching new first-run Trek with a parent, older sibling or sitter on the official site, I want to very pointedly ask the marketing folks why they think that this is a good message when we can’t do this with our own kids. (And the videos of a 7 year-old watching new Picard episodes are enough to head my language to the unprintable.)

that is the one scene from S1 that really stood out – just like the “little ships” scene in First Contact or the “four lights” scene in TNG”

I’ve never understood what the meaning of that scene was — why did Picard have an epiphany when Lily said, “You broke your little ships”?

I thought it was the Ahab comparison that caused Picard to have his epiphany, to make him realize he was after revenge. The broken ships could possibly be a visual shorthand for showing us that something inside him is broken in that moment.

Last edited 1 month ago by AllenWrench

Exactly. It wasn’t the “little ships” line. It was “Ahab has to hunt his whale” that gave him his epiphany.

During the seven years that we filmed Next Generation and the four feature films that followed it, without intending to, Picard came closer and closer and closer to me, to Patrick. After a while, there was no place that I could identify where Jean-Luc left off and Patrick Stewart began. They became one. I didn’t have to sit and brood about what kind of breakfast I had before as that character before I went on the set. There was so much already at work within me.”

Exactly this has been the problem with Picard all along. Picard was NOT Stewart. When they let Picard become more Stewart the role got more and more out of character and worse with a climax in the horrible dune buggy chase in Nemesis (Stewarts idea since he likes driving and cars). Let the writers make the character, not the actors!

True. In this case, the character was beautifully written for Sir Patrick. But some characters, because of the actor, were developed way better than originally intended. Among others, Robert Picardo is a perfect (recently discussed) example.

Next month, Picard will be 80. With age, experience, and his fortune, I think he really wanted more power in this production, in order for him to accept the role (to play Picard) one more time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jay

There’s nothing elegant or mature about the way swears were handled in this show, or in Discovery either. The writers are incompetent at writing swearing in Star Trek. But that doesn’t mean swearing has no place in Star Trek. I can see it happening in certain contexts, and in fact I would welcome that, because it can add realism in my opinion. Human beings — hey, we swear sometimes. It’s not a moral failing at all, and anyone who tries to imply that swearing is somehow “lower” or “something to evolve beyond” are frankly just wrong. You might as well say humans should evolve past anger and despair. Maybe in the future we’ll have better mental health services and we’ll be able to control our emotions better, and swearing would certainly be discouraged in most professional contexts that we’d see depicted in Star Trek, but it’s not like it wouldn’t exist, and it’s not like it’s a bad thing in any way for it to exist. Swearing is a thing, people, very human, always has been, always will be.

A strategically placed word of profanity can be funny or have great impact. But ST: Picard should probably rethink its strategy. It was #%*ing clumsy, man.

Usually when I think of Trek actors injecting humor, I think of the cringey stuff in “Insurrection,” but in this case I Stewart was right on the money with those additions.

Last edited 1 month ago by Eric Z.

After I heard the F word. I stopped watching, Patrick Stewart or no Patrick Stewart. There’s so much vulgarity in TV and Movies these days, I surely don’t have to endure it on a Start Trek series.

I personally don’t like the swearing in the show especially the f word not needed.

He sounds absolutely unbearable, Picard could never be shown at tea time like TOS,
neither does it have the skill in writing or spirit of adventure. Netflix are NOT interested.

The very emotional removal of Data, was well written, but with the obvious new techs with Androids, wheres “the bro.” Or is it too far fetched that Lor may be lurking in the shadows. It is ST.
I don’t like the new JL moniker. I find it a bit…umm?…too weak for his many great things. Picard, cool, Jean-Luc, really cool
Maybe just Captain, even tho” really is admiral.

Oh, and the F bomb, too much. My self wife, child and 4 teenage grand girls find it way off “Star Fleet Regulations”.

I stopped watching when the f-bomb dropped. Why put it in there? “The world is changing”. What kind of dumb garbage is that? Seriously. There is no argument that could hold up as to why it couldn’t have been left out. I am furious. I had been waiting for it to come out with such anticipation. I teared up when I saw the trailer I was so excited. They stole that from me. Dirt bags.

I agree. Writers have run out of intelligent ideas and have begun to scrub the bottom. In Star Trek it was always about how “enlightened” the world had begun; yet, seems it’s come to the lowest depth of intriguing ideas and the use of trash-language; a repeat of lackluster ideas cloaked in filth. And did Stewart’s wife show him photos of the “peaceful protestors” killing a black retired policeman; robbing children of their parents ability to make a lawful living by looting and burning down businesses….”give me a break” – be a part of making things better – how, by getting in the gutter with them – filthy language and all!