(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise crew rescue a "roguish" freighter captain whose ship is malfunctioning, but his presence drags them into an interplanetary feud.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 42402.7. We are traveling in the Omega Sagitta system, traversing between the twin planets that form the Coalition of Madena. Both worlds are populated by a humanoid race which colonized the planets two centuries ago and which now coexist under a precarious but successful treaty."
The USS Enterprise-D, while traveling in the Omega Sagitta system between two twin planets inhabited by humanoids who have created a pact called the Madena Coalition, stumbles upon a Class 9 starship with one humanoid detected inside. The ship is the cargo carrier Erstwhile commanded by Captain Thadiun Okona, who has problems with the guidance system. The Enterprise offers Captain Okona help repairing his faulty guidance system. Deanna Troi establishes that he displays rogue-like characteristics, making him a suspicious character who should not be taken lightly.
Upon materializing in the transporter room of the Enterprise, Okona meets Riker, Data, Worf and Crusher and also the transporter chief, Lieutenant Robinson, and begins to display characteristics of a scoundrel and a rake, charming Robinson. While the others observe this, Okona soon leaves the transporter room and he accompanies Data and Wesley to main engineering to observe the repairs to his guidance system.
In engineering, Okona observes while Lieutenant Geordi La Forge inspects the damage to the guidance system. The system's zelebium contacts are fused so La Forge will be replacing it with tricellite. Okona informs La Forge that there is absolutely no tricellite located in the system, but La Forge assures him that he will not have to replace it anytime in the near future. La Forge also asks Okona why he pushes his vessel so hard, as stress tests have indicated that he has put his ship far past its operational capabilities. Okona tells La Forge that he is often forced to add zeal and flamboyishness to the doldrums of his life.
Later, while walking with Data in a corridor, Okona questions his ability to comprehend humor and other Human characteristics, apparently finding the concept of an emotionless android fascinating. He then goes to spend time with Robinson in her quarters. Data sees the two of them begin to get intimate and then the door to Robinson's quarters closes.
In engineering, Riker asks La Forge how the repairs to Okona's guidance system are going. La Forge tells him they are still working on it. Wesley Crusher asks Riker while working at the master systems display table what he thinks about Okona. Riker explains to the young man that Okona is an interesting individual who knows how to operate his ship about as well as he knows how to operate people. He further explains that Okona is a man who lives his life by his own rules and does what he does by his own choice. Riker tells Wesley he will one day make his own and the acting ensign tells Riker that he already has.
Data is inspired by Okona's questions and insights about humor, and goes to Ten Forward to seek counsel from Guinan regarding his difficulty grasping the concept. Data then travels to the holodeck to view a comedy show by a holographic comedian. Data inquires about a series of comedic acts and performances to further his understanding of comedy. They begin a series of improvisations which include 20th century Jerry Lewis, and continue to list examples of stand-up comedy, which Data views at maximum speed. Data then returns to Guinan to try out his new comedy material, but his first attempt fails miserably. His second attempt is abruptly interrupted by a call to the bridge: an unidentified ship is approaching the Enterprise.
Debin, the captain of the ship, warns the Enterprise that they are entering their territory. He orders the ship to heave to and prepare to be boarded. Debin establishes that Okona is, in fact, a rogue who committed crimes on the planet Atlec. While the entire confrontation is occurring, another ship of similar classification is approaching. This ship is commanded by Captain Kushell from the planet Straleb, who also states similar issues relating to Okona.
Jean-Luc Picard calls Okona up to the bridge to understand what crimes he has committed. After brief deliberation, Okona hedges his response, stating that he isn't aware that he committed any crime on either world. A skeptical Picard asks Debin what crimes has been committed. Debin, infuriated, explains that Okona had impregnated Debin's daughter, Yanar.
- "Captain's Log, supplemental. Some of the mystery surrounding this ancient morality play we've been dragged into has been revealed. One of Captain Okona's pursuers is an outraged father with a heartfelt, if archaic, sense of righteousness."
Kushell has claimed that Okona stole the national treasure, the Jewel of Thesia. Picard and Okona discuss the matter at hand. If Okona is handed to Debin, the Thesians will use the slight to declare war, while if Picard gives him to the Thesians, the same result will occur. Picard and Okona agree that the only way to resolve the situation is to let Okona continue on the Erstwhile and find a place of refuge.
After a long talk with Wesley Crusher in engineering, in which it's revealed that Okona has become tired of living the nomadic lifestyle and just wants the entire mess surrounding Yanar and the Jewel to be settled, he has made a decision to "take a stand."
Okona tells Picard he decided to voluntarily turn himself in. This choice allows Picard to use the Enterprise as a neutral meeting place for both parties to settle their claims. The two families are antagonistic towards each other, both claiming that Okona has infringed their laws and both expressing an equally valid claim on the wayward freighter captain.
The story unfolds when they discover that Kushell's son Benzan has actually impregnated Yanar, rather than Okona, and that Okona was the go-between for Yanar and Benzan's courtship (which was disapproved by both families). The jewel was stolen to be used in the wedding between Yanar and Benzan, who agree to marriage, and their fathers continue their quarrels in a more light-hearted manner (this time about the details of the wedding) as Picard invokes the Prime Directive as an excuse to make a discreet exit from what has now officially become an internal matter of the respective families' governments.
Data and Guinan participate in a comedy show with the holo-comedian. They resolve the issues of Data's ability to deliver a joke by giving Data an audience. Unfortunately, Data discovers that the holographic audience is programmed to laugh at anything he says or does, regardless of whether or not it's actually humorous, and that his comedic delivery is still very much flawed. Data asks the computer to erase the audience as well as the comic. Guinan assures Data that being able to laugh or to make people laugh is not the final result to becoming Human. Data agrees, but notes that there is nothing more "uniquely Human."
Later, on the bridge, the crew sees Okona off. Data inadvertently delivers a joke that causes the bridge crew to break into laughter, but later the crew gets annoyed after Data begins to make bad joke after bad joke, and Okona (having resolved his differences with the Thesians and Yanar's father) continues on his way.
"You spoiled the joke. It could have been your timing."
"My timing is digital."
- - Guinan and Data
"You're a droid and I'm a 'noid."
- - Guinan, telling a joke to Data
"A Klingon security officer?"
"No wars available, eh?"
- - Okona and Worf
"Wesley, Wesley Crusher."
"Nice to meet you, Acting Ensign Wesley Wesley Crusher."
- - Wesley Crusher introducing himself to Thadiun Okona
"You have the majestic carriage and loveliness that could surely be traced back to the noblest of families."
- - Okona, to B.G. Robinson, the Enterprise's female transporter chief
"Say goodbye, Data."
- - Wesley Crusher and Data
"Now, that's sex appeal!"
- - Okona
"Captain, they are now locking lasers on us."
"Lasers can't even penetrate our navigation shields. Don't they know that?"
"Regulations do call for yellow alert."
"Hmm, a very old regulation. Well, make it so Number One. And, reduce speed… drop main shields, as well."
"May I ask why, sir?"
"In case we decide to surrender to them, Number One… "
- - Worf, Riker, and Picard
"So… if you put funny teeth in your mouth and jump around like an idiot, that is considered funny!"
- - Data
"Guy walks into the doctor's office. The doctor tells him you need an operation. Guy says, "I want a second opinion." Doc tells him "Okay you're ugly too". Badoom Boom!
- - Data, telling his first joke to Guinan
"Life is like loading twice your cargo weight on to your spacecraft. If it's canaries and you can keep half of them flying all the time, you're all right."
- - Okona, making a joke to Data
"Take my Worf… please!"
- - Data, making a bad joke
- Final draft script: 4 October 1988 
- Final day of production: 1 November 1988. ("Lost & Found", Star Trek Magazine issue 148)
- Premiere airdate: 12 December 1988
- First UK airdate: 24 April 1991
Cast and characters
- According to Joe Piscopo, he was allowed to improvise much of his own jokes and dialogue as the holographic comic, including the Jerry Lewis impersonation. 
- Jerry Lewis himself was approached to play the comic, but there was a scheduling conflict caused by Lewis' guest role on Wiseguy. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 70))
- This is the first of two second-season episodes in which Dr. Pulaski doesn't appear. The other is "Q Who".
- Teri Hatcher asked for her name to be removed from the credits, as many of her scenes were cut.
Sets and props
- The holodeck terminal lists the name of the comic as Ronald B. Moore, a reference to Visual Effects Supervisor Ronald B. Moore, who helped assemble the graphic. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (1st ed., p. 54)) He is not to be confused with writer and producer Ronald D. Moore, who had not yet joined the staff.
- The window or display "frame" behind Debin while speaking on the Enterprise viewscreen is a slightly modified re-use of the battle bridge viewscreen of the Enterprise-D.
- Okona's freighter is the Talarian freighter model reused from "Heart of Glory", which itself was cobbled together from models used in the V miniseries and Captain EO.
- The Atlec vessel is a reuse of the Merchantman spaceship model from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- When Okona asks Data if he's ever been drunk, Data claims "not from alcohol," a reference to "The Naked Now", in which the polywater intoxication acted on his programming like alcohol would on a Human brain.
- A mission report for this episode, by John Sayers, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 6, pp. 11-14.
- The damaged prop guidance system from the Erstwhile was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 15, catalog number VHR 2468, 3 June 1991
- US VHS release: 31 May 1995
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 2.2, catalog number VHR 4738, 12 April 1999
- As part of the TNG Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 2 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- William O. Campbell as Thadiun Okona
- Douglas Rowe as Debin
- Albert Stratton as Kushell
- Rosalind Ingledew as Yanar
- Kieran Mulroney as Benzan
Special guest stars
- Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Juliet Cesario as science division officer
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Teri Hatcher as B.G. Robinson
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Randy Pflug as Ten Forward waiter
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
20th century; 1932; 2165; 23rd century; 2364; accusation; acting ensign; advice; alcohol; Allen, Gracie; amphibian; android; anger; annoyance; arbitration; arm; Atlec; Atlec vessel; audience; audio; authority; bar; bastard; bird call; bon mot; bowling; bow tie; brazen; briefcase; brother; "brought the house down"; burnout; Burns, George; cad; call sign; canary; car; cargo; cargo carrier; cargo hold; cargo ship; case; channel; charm; Charnock's Comedy Cabaret; choice; cigar; Class 7 vessel; Class 9 cargo vessel; clone; colloquialism; comedian; complaint; Coalition of Madena; Coalition of Madena species; computer; conference room; context; conversation; course; craftsman; crew complement; crew quarters; crime; criminal; custody; danger; daughter; Denkir II; dictionary; dilemma; doctor; doctor's office; dog; dress; Earth; embarrassment; emergency assistance; emotion; engine; Erstwhile; evening; existence; exploration; family; farmhouse; Federation; feeling; Ferengi; fired; fish; fraction; French language; friend; funny; gag; Galaxy class decks; gender; gesture; glob fly; godfather; grandson; Greek; guest; guilt; Gulliver's Travels; hailing frequency; heir; "hello"; heritage; hired; holodeck; home; homeland; honor; Human; Human cannonball; humanoid; humor; idiot;inertial guidance system; innocence; instruction; intercept course; investigation; Irish; Jew; Jewel of Thesia; jewelry; joke; judge; juggling; juxtaposition; kidney; Klingon; knave; language; laser weapons; laughing; legal right; legation; Legation of Unity; Lewis, Jerry; liar; libido; life sign; lion; love; main shield; main viewer; malevolence; marriage; mercy killing; message; microphone; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; mister; monk; month; morality; mosquito; mouth; mystery; name; navigation shield; neck; nephew; New York City; night; nudist colony; number one; O'Neill, Tip; obligation; office; Omega Sagitta system; operation; operator; opinion; order; owner; parrot; performer; phaser; pilot; place; plan; planet; play; politician; pork chop; prestige; procreation; problem; programming; prop; quantum mechanics; quarrel; race; rake; rascal; reason; repairs; reputation; Riga, Stano; road; rogue; robot; room; Roxy Theatre; rule; Saint Peter; seat; secretary; sector; security officer; sensor; sentence; sex appeal; sexual attraction; shopkeeper; show; size; sound; spacecraft; speed; Starfleet Regulations; sector; shame; smuggling; son; star; status; stealing; sting; store; Straleb; Straleb security vessel; stress test; subject; surrender; talent; Teaneck; teeth; thief; thing; tone; tool; towing; town; tractor beam; transporter chief; transporter room; traveling salesman; treasure; treaty; tricellite; truth; valise; victimization; villain; vision; voice; war; warmth; weapon; "whoa"; wife; wild element; witticism; word; year; yellow alert; zelebium; ZIP code
- Erstwhile graphic: fusion propulsion; gross vehicle mass; megawatt; metric ton; tritanium
- Holodeck programming simulations (original version): Burt Armus; Daryl Baskin; Dan Curry; Monty de Graff; Farouk El-Baz; Sharyl Fickas; Sam Freedle; Mike Gray; Merri Howard; Maurice Hurley; Gary Hutzel; Heidi Julian; Jon Koslowsky; David Livingston; Terri Martinez; John Mason; Robert Metoyer; Ronald B. Moore; Wendy Neuss; Ernie Over; Diane Overdiek; Gene Roddenberry; Scott Rubenstein; Michael Schoenbrun; Adele Simmons; Tracy Tormé
- Holodeck programming simulations (remastered version): Ryan Adams; Daryl Baskin; Phil Bishop; Dan Curry; Monty de Graff; Doug Drexler; Sam Freedle; David Grant; Douglas E. Graves; Mike Gray; Jim Hardy; Merri Howard; Gary Hutzel; Jon Koslowsky; David Livingston; John Mason; Ronald B. Moore; Wendy Neuss; Ken Ross; Scott Rubenstein; Wendy Ruiz; Adele Simmons; David Takemura; Tracy Tormé; Steve Wiener; Craig Weiss; Jayme Wing
- "The Outrageous Okona" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Outrageous Okona" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Outrageous Okona" at Wikipedia
- "The Outrageous Okona" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
"Elementary, Dear Data"
|Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Loud As A Whisper"