(written from a Production point of view)
A dispute over control of a planet brings the Enterprise to a space station, where they must deal with Klingons, edgy Federation officials, and a previously-unknown species of small, unbearably cute, voraciously hungry, and rapidly-multiplying furry creatures.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Log entries
- 3 Memorable quotes
- 4 Background information
- 5 Links and references
The USS Enterprise is en route to Deep Space Station K-7 for assistance with an important assignment regarding a disputed planet. One parsec from the nearest Klingon outpost ("Close enough to smell them," as Chekov puts it), the post is near Sherman's Planet, which is claimed by both sides.
In the Enterprise's briefing room, Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and Ensign Pavel Chekov review the area's history: twenty-three years after the inconclusive Battle of Donatu V, the Organian Peace Treaty is set to grant control of Sherman's Planet to the party that can demonstrate it can develop the planet's resources most efficiently.
The Enterprise arrives at maximum warp, ready for a fight, only to find no battle. beaming over with Spock, Kirk demands an explanation from station manager Lurry, but is told he was ordered to do so by Nilz Baris, a Federation undersecretary in charge of the Sherman's Planet development project.
Baris and his aide, Arne Darvin, fear that the Klingons might try to sabotage the Federation's best hope to win control of the planet – a high-yield grain known as quadrotriticale, the only Earth grain that will grow on the planet. Tons of the grain are stored at the station, and Baris demands from Kirk security and protection. Kirk still believes they have misused the Priority One designation, but assigns only two guards to the station, and allows shore leave for the Enterprise crew.
On leave, Uhura and Chekov meet a dealer named Cyrano Jones, who is trying to wholesale to the skeptical bartender various rare galactic items, among them, spican flame gems and furry little creatures that Jones calls tribbles. While they bicker over the price, Chekov notices a tribble has eaten a quadrotriticale sample left on the bar and Uhura is enchanted by it. Jones gives the tribble to Uhura, a move the bartender claims will ruin the market but Jones claims will help spur more sales.
Back on the Enterprise, Kirk receives an order from Starfleet Admiral Fitzpatrick to render any and or all aid that Baris may require. The admiral informs Kirk that the safety of the grain – as well as the project – is the captain's responsibility. Kirk is exasperated, and just then learns from Uhura that a Klingon battle cruiser has arrived within a hundred kilometers of K-7. Kirk orders the ship to go to red alert and for Lurry to be notified. Lurry, however, discounts a possible attack, as the Klingon ship's captain, Koloth, and first officer, Korax, are sitting in his office. Kirk orders the red alert canceled.
Kirk beams over with Spock and the Klingons assert their rights to shore leave under the terms of the Organian treaty. Kirk reluctantly accedes, but sets limits of twelve at a time, with one guard from the Enterprise for each Klingon soldier.
In the recreation room aboard the Enterprise, Uhura's tribble gives birth to a litter. The sounds the tribbles make seem to have a soothing effect on Humans. Dr. McCoy takes one of the offspring to study it. Meanwhile, Kirk argues with Baris about the adequacy of the security Kirk is providing, until Kirk claims he is getting a headache. Going to sickbay for treatment, Kirk sees that McCoy's tribble has also produced a litter. McCoy reports that almost 50% of their metabolism is geared towards reproduction.
Kirk tells crewmembers beaming over to shore leave on K-7 to avoid trouble with the Klingons. Montgomery Scott declines shore leave, but Kirk, concerned for him getting too wrapped up in his technical journals, orders him over to keep an eye on the others and to enjoy himself.
At the bar aboard K-7, Jones tries to sell more tribbles. The Enterprise crew aren't interested, and the tribbles and the Klingons react to one another with loud hostility. The bartender is uninterested in more tribbles either – the one he acquired earlier is already multiplying. Korax starts insulting the Enterprise crew, first by comparing the Humans to Regulan bloodworms. He then tries to provoke Chekov by repeatedly insulting Kirk, but Scott restrains Chekov. Korax then turns his attention to Scott by insulting the Enterprise itself, first calling it a garbage scow, then just garbage, provoking Scott to punch Korax in the face and start a brawl between the two groups. The barman retreats and Jones dispenses himself some drinks in his absence. Security officers from the Enterprise arrest the brawlers and restore order, and shore leave for both ships is canceled.
Kirk interrogates the crew involved in the brawl, but none are forthcoming about who started it. Kirk orders that they are all confined to quarters until he determines who started the brawl. After Kirk dismisses his officers, Scott confesses to Kirk in private that he started the fight after Korax insulted them, recalling some of the more colorful examples. Kirk presses further and is perplexed to find that Scott didn't start fighting until Korax insulted the Enterprise but realizes it was due to an engineer's sensitivities. Kirk restricts Scott to quarters, to which Scott happily complies, anticipating time off to catch up on his journals.
In sickbay, Spock and McCoy have a characteristic debate on the aesthetics and utility of tribbles, Spock in particular, notes to McCoy their one redeeming characteristic – they do not talk too much. The question soon attracts Kirk's attention. There are tribbles all over the bridge, including one in his chair. McCoy reports this is because they are "born pregnant" and are swamping the ship with their rampant reproduction. Kirk orders Uhura to call for Jones to be detained on K-7 – and to "get these tribbles off the bridge."
On K-7, Spock berates Jones for removing tribbles from their natural predators and letting them over-breed. Jones counters with excuses and insists that, at six credits each, they're making him money. Then Baris confronts Kirk on the insufficient security detail for the quadrotriticale. Baris claims Jones is "quite probably a Klingon agent," but Kirk is unconvinced by the evidence and finds that Jones has done no worse than disrupt activities on K-7, which is not unprecedented. "Sometimes, all they need is a title, Mr. Baris", Kirk pointedly concludes, and he and Spock return to the Enterprise.
Back on board, the tribble problem has worsened. Kirk can't even get a meal, as tribbles have gotten into the food synthesizers. Scott reports that the tribbles are circulating through the Enterprise's ventilation ducts, ending up in machinery all throughout the ship. Spock points out that there are comparable ducts aboard K-7 that lead to the grain storage tanks. Realizing the implication, Kirk orders all the tribbles removed from the Enterprise and rushes to K-7, gaining access to one of the storage compartments, but when he opens the overhead door, an avalanche of tribbles buries him.
Kirk finally climbs out from the pile of tribbles – a population Spock estimates at 1,771,561 – and Spock discovers that they are gorged on the grain. Baris claims Kirk's orders have turned the project into a disaster and that he will call for a Starfleet board of inquiry against Kirk.
But Spock and McCoy notice that many of the tribbles in the pile are dead or dying. Kirk orders McCoy to find out why they died, though McCoy protests that he doesn't yet know what keeps them alive.
Kirk assembles all the principals in Lurry's office. Koloth demands that Kirk issue an official apology to the Klingon High Command, though Baris says that would give the Klingons the wedge they need to claim Sherman's Planet. Koloth also asks that the tribbles be removed from the room. The guards do so, but they pass Darvin, at which point the tribbles shriek just as they did around the Klingons. With his medical tricorder, McCoy reveals Darvin to be a Klingon. He poisoned the grain with a virus that prevents its victim from absorbing nutrients, which is how the tribbles died. "They starved to death. In a storage compartment full of grain, they starved to death!" Kirk summarizes. Darvin is arrested, the Klingons are ordered out of Federation territory within the next six hours, and Kirk says he could learn to like tribbles.
In K-7's bar, Kirk and Spock then give Jones a choice: twenty years in a rehabilitation colony for transporting a harmful species, or pick up every tribble on the station (which Spock calculates would take 17.9 years). Jones accepts the latter. Back aboard the Enterprise, Kirk is happy to find the ship has been swept clean of tribbles, and asks Spock, McCoy, and Scott how they did it. They all deflect Kirk's questions until Scott reluctantly replies that before the Klingons went into warp, he beamed all of them into their engine room, "where they'll be no tribble at all." The crew share a good, long laugh at this.
- "Captain's log, stardate 4523.3. Deep Space Station K-7 has issued a Priority One call. More than an emergency, it signals near or total disaster. We can only assume the Klingons have attacked the station. We're going in armed for battle."
- "Captain's log, stardate 4524.2. A Klingon warship is hovering only a hundred kilometers from Deep Space Station K-7 while its captain waits in the station manager's office. Their intentions are unknown."
- "Captain's log, stardate 4525.6. A small disturbance between the Klingon crew and members of the Enterprise crew has broken out aboard Space Station K-7. I am forced to cancel shore leave for both ships."
"One parsec, sir. Close enough to smell them."
"That is illogical, Ensign. Odors cannot travel through the vacuum of space."
"I was making a little joke, sir."
"Extremely little, ensign."
- - Chekov and Spock, as the Enterprise heads for Deep Space Station K-7
"Wheat. So what?"
- - Kirk, upon first seeing the quadrotriticale
"I have never questioned the orders or the intelligence of any representative of the Federation. Until now."
- - Kirk, to Baris, on the matter of the protection of the grain.
"Is that an offer or a joke?"
"That's my offer."
"That's a joke."
- - Cyrano Jones and the K-7 bartender, as the bartender offers him four credits per tribble
"Once this lovely little lady starts to show this precious little darling around, you won't be able to keep up with them."
- - Cyrano Jones to K-7 bartender regarding a tribble Cyrano has just given to Uhura
"Its trilling seems to have a tranquilizing effect on the Human nervous system. Fortunately, of course … I am immune … to its effect."
- - Spock, as he strokes a tribble (before becoming the subject of amused looks from Uhura and Freeman)
"Kirk, this station is swarming with Klingons!"
"I was not aware, Mister Baris, that twelve Klingons constitutes a swarm."
- - Baris and Kirk, as Baris lodges a complaint
"Do you know what you get if you feed a tribble too much?"
"A fat tribble."
"No. You get a bunch of hungry little tribbles."
- - McCoy and Kirk, on a tribble's metabolism
"When are you going to get off that milk diet, lad?"
"This is vodka."
"Where I come from, that's soda pop. Now this is a drink for a man."
"It was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad."
- - Scott and Chekov, at the K-7 bar
"Oh…I just remembered: There is one Earth man who doesn't remind me of a Regulan bloodworm. That's Kirk. A Regulan bloodworm is soft and shapeless. But Kirk isn't soft. Kirk may be a swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood, but he's not soft."
- - Korax, looking for trouble
"Of course, I'd say that Captain Kirk deserves his ship. We like the Enterprise. We, we really do. That sagging old rust bucket is designed like a garbage scow. Half the quadrant knows it. That's why they're learning to speak Klingonese."
"Laddie… don't you think you should… rephrase that?"
(Mocking Scott's accent) "You're right. I should." (Normal voice) "I didn't mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage."
- - Korax, Chekov, and Scott, just before the fight begins
"What's the matter, Spock?"
"There's something disquieting about these creatures."
"Oh? Don't tell me you've got a feeling."
"Don't be insulting, Doctor."
- - McCoy and Spock
"I see no practical use for them."
"Does everything have to have a practical use for you? They're nice, they're soft, they're furry, and they make a pleasant sound."
"So would an ermine violin, Doctor, yet I see no advantage to having one."
- - Spock and McCoy
"They do indeed have one redeeming characteristic."
"They do not talk too much."
- - Spock and McCoy, as Spock compares him to tribbles
"Too much of anything, Lieutenant, even love, isn't necessarily a good thing."
- - Kirk to Uhura, on the love of a tribble
"In my opinion, you have taken this important project far too lightly."
"On the contrary, sir. I think of this project as very important. It is you I take lightly."
- - Baris and Kirk, on the security measures for the grain
- - Kirk and Spock, after Kirk is served tribbles by the food processor
"I want these things off my ship! I don't care if it takes every man we've got – I want them off the ship!"
- - Kirk, determined to rid the ship of the tribbles after discovering them in his food
"Well, until that board of inquiry, I'm still the captain. And as captain, I want two things done. First, find Cyrano Jones. And second …" (A tribble lands on Kirk's head) "… close that door."
- - Kirk, after an avalanche of tribbles falls on him
"They don't like Klingons. But they do like Vulcans. Well, Mr. Spock, I didn't know you had it in you."
"Obviously tribbles are very perceptive creatures, Captain."
"Obviously." (Carrying tribbles, Kirk walks over to Baris) "Mister Baris, they like you. Well, there's no accounting for taste."
- - Kirk and Spock, using tribbles to uncover a Klingon spy
"I gave them to the Klingons, sir."
"You gave them to the Klingons?"
"Aye, sir. Before they went into warp I transported the whole kit and kaboodle into their engine room, where they'll be no tribble at all."
- - Kirk and Scott, discussing what happened to all the tribbles that were aboard the Enterprise, after which, everyone burst into hysterics.
Story and script
- This script, one of Star Trek's most popular, was David Gerrold's first professional sale ever. His working title for the episode was "A Fuzzy Thing Happened to Me…". Writer/producer Gene L. Coon did heavy rewrites on the final version of the script. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p 333)
- While the episode was in production, Gene Roddenberry noticed that the story was similar to Robert Heinlein's novel, The Rolling Stones, which featured the "Martian Flat Cats". Too late, he called Heinlein to apologize and avoid a possible lawsuit. Heinlein was very understanding, and was satisfied with a simple "mea culpa" by Roddenberry. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp 333–334)
- According to Bjo Trimble, the story for this episode is based upon the short story, Pigs Is Pigs. ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- The line in which Spock says that Kirk heard what Baris said, but could not believe his ears, was lifted directly from a Mad Magazine spoof of Star Trek (titled Star Blecch) that had just been published.
- Chekov quips that Scotch whisky "was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad." That Russian city, originally St. Petersburg, had its name changed to honor Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Communist revolution in 1917. The name St. Petersburg was restored in 1991, after the breakup of the USSR. Some versions that summarize this episode claim Chekov drinks whisky; in fact after Chekov drinks his Vodka, Scott then gives Chekov the full glass of their companion Freeman while Scott drinks his whiskey.
Cast and characters
- George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) does not appear in this episode. For much of the second season, he was filming The Green Berets. Many scenes written for Takei were switched over to Walter Koenig. ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- William Shatner recalled the great enjoyment all the cast had filming this episode. He noted, "The trouble we had with 'Tribbles' was [to] keep your straight face. It was just a lot of fun." ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- Guy Raymond (the bartender) also played a bartender in beer commercials during the '60s, in which he commented on the strange occurrences in his bar.
- Michael Pataki is another actor who guested in two series of Star Trek, appearing as Karnas in TNG: "Too Short a Season".
- Some of the extras in the bar are wearing turtleneck uniforms from "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before", another couple of extras are wearing colonist jumpsuits from "The Devil in the Dark". The gentleman who seems to be enjoying watching the fight and another man are wearing Finnegan's and his stunt double's uniforms from "Shore Leave", another one is wearing a uniform of the Antares worn by Ramart or Tom Nellis in "Charlie X". A woman is wearing Aurelan Kirk's costume from "Operation -- Annihilate!".
- Ed Reimers, who plays Admiral Fitzpatrick, was the TV spokesman for Allstate Insurance in the 1960s. In a funny sequence from the blooper reel, he catches a tribble thrown at him from offstage and, proffering it to the camera, says, "Oh, and Captain: you're in good hands with tribbles" (a play on the Allstate motto, "You're in good hands with Allstate.")
- William Schallert later guest starred as Varani in DS9: "Sanctuary".
- James Doohan insisted on doing his own stunts in the barroom brawl. Jay Jones only doubled for him in a few brief fight sequences.
- This is one of the few episodes in which Doohan's missing right middle finger (lost due to injuries sustained during the invasion of Normandy in World War Two) is apparent. It can also be noticed as he carries a large bundle of tribbles to Captain Kirk, complaining that they've infested Engineering.
- This is one of the few times in the series that Scott and Chekov have a conversation with one another. (However, in "Friday's Child", when Scott remarks, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," Chekov quips that the saying was invented in Russia.) Along with Kirk, they would be featured together in Star Trek Generations.
- Paul Baxley is credited as "Ensign Freeman," but is wearing lieutenant's stripes, as pointed out in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" when Miles O'Brien mistakes Freeman for Captain Kirk and Julian Bashir questions his rank insignia.
- William Campbell (Koloth) and Charlie Brill (Arne Darvin) both reprised their roles in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine more than 25 years later: Campbell in "Blood Oath" and Brill in "Trials and Tribble-ations".
- Wah Chang designed the original tribbles. Hundreds were sewn together during production, using pieces of extra-long rolls of carpet. Some of them had mechanical toys placed in them so they could walk around. ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features) The original tribbles became sought-after collector's items, and quickly disappeared from the prop department. According to Gerrold, 500 tribbles were constructed for the episode and the tribble-maker, Jacqueline Cumere, was paid US$350.
- In a 2016 interview, Christopher Doohan recalls being on set during the production of this episode: "My father would often bring my brother and I along with him to the set when the show was shooting," Chris recalled. […] "He would park us in the shuttle craft and tell us to stay put."
"Of course "staying put" is a difficult assignment for seven year-old twin boys… and one day they couldn't resist leaving the confines of the shuttle… and going where no child had gone before. As it happened, the day they chose coincided with the shooting of "The Trouble With Tribbles", one of the series' stranger – and enduringly popular – episodes… Chris and his brother, Montgomery, crept around the set, keeping away from the active shooting, until they came to three tall cabinets with doors just out of reach."
"We were curious to know what was INSIDE," Chris recalls. "So my brother got on my shoulders and slid the cabinet open. Instantly, more than 200 tribbles came tumbling out, nearly burying us. Not only did it scare us, but we knew we would be in big trouble if Dad – or anyone else – found out. So we rushed back to the shuttle. Five minutes later Dad appeared… and praised us for being so well-behaved!"
Thirty years later Chris mustered up the courage to tell his dad the real story. "And he got mad at me," Chris said with a bemused shake of the head. "It was like it had just happened yesterday!" 
- During production of the "buried in tribbles" scene, it took up to eight takes (a considerable number) to get the avalanche of tribbles to fall just right. Gerrold wrote in The Trouble with Tribbles, "If Captain Kirk looks just a little harried in that shot, it's not accidental. Having… tribbles dropped on you, eight times in one day, is NOT a happy experience." DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" later established that the continuously falling tribbles hitting Kirk were in fact thrown by Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax, frantically searching for the bomb placed by the future Darvin. In reality, the tribbles kept falling out of the hatch because members of the production crew had no direct line of sight with William Shatner during the filming of the scene and could not tell when there were "enough" tribbles; a barrier in the set separated them from the storage compartment, which was filled with prop tribbles. In order to set up the avalanche scene, crew members kept throwing tribbles over the wall to ensure that the bin remained as "full" as possible; when the compartment was empty, these tribbles then fell onto Shatner's head as the crew tossed them one by one. Near the end of the scene, a perplexed Shatner – already chest-deep in tribbles – can clearly be seen turning his head toward the wall behind him, wondering when the prop men will stop. (The Trouble with Tribbles; "To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- Spock's estimate of how many tribbles there are in three days, dead or alive, starting with one tribble producing a litter of ten every twelve hours is exactly correct, assuming that every tribble always has a litter of ten. Tribble reproduction is exponential, starting when one tribble makes ten. In twelve hours the total number is eleven. twelve hours later, each of the eleven tribbles produce ten, making the count 110 babies. Include the original eleven tribbles, and the total is 121. The formula for tribble reproduction is x=11n/12, where x is the total, and n is the number of hours. Given three days (72 hours), the final result becomes 116, which equals exactly 1,771,561.
- According to David Gerrold's The World of Star Trek, tribble props were misplaced about the set and were being found for several months after the production of the episode.
- Sound effects editor Douglas Grindstaff combined altered dove coos, screech owl cries, and emptying balloons to create the tribble sounds.
- The Enterprise miniature seen out of Lurry's window doesn't move, but if it was orbiting at the same speed the station was rotating, this would make sense.
- The miniature is actually one of the plastic model kits that AMT was selling at the time. In the 1970s, AMT produced a model of the K-7 space station itself, complete with a tiny Enterprise. SCTV blew up a Klingon ship with phaser blasts from some of these K-7 model kits in a low-budget effects spoof of The Empire Strikes Back in 1981.
- Footage of K-7 was recycled in "The Ultimate Computer".
- According to Michael and Denise Okuda's text commentary on this episode for the second season DVD set, the last fresh footage of the Enterprise was done for this episode. In every episode to follow, the shots of the ship were all stock footage. It is possible that the last of the footage of the Enterprise was filmed during this production of this episode as it is true that they did not film any shots of the Enterprise after season two. But there will be five more episodes going by production order that have previously unseen shots of the Enterprise. "Journey to Babel", "The Gamesters of Triskelion", "The Immunity Syndrome", "The Ultimate Computer", and "That Which Survives" all have new shots of the Enterprise. 
- The bar set, including the bartender's costume, is recycled from "Court Martial", with slight modifications, mostly in decoration.
- Star Trek returned to the events of this episode in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" to celebrate the franchise's 30th anniversary.
- "More Tribbles, More Troubles" is the TAS sequel to this episode.
- Tribbles were seen in the bar scene (wherein McCoy is apprehended by "Federation security") being petted by a couple patronizing the establishment, on an adjacent table in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- Mr. Scott is glad to be confined to quarters-it would give him time to catch up on enginerring technical manuals; later in "Relics" Scott admits that he can't catch up with current technology.
- Bantam Books published a series of novelizations called "foto-novels," in which took photographic stills from actual episodes and arranged word balloons and text over them, to create a comic book formatted story. The third installment was an adaptation of this episode.
- The Organian Peace Treaty mentioned by Chekov in the teaser is a reference back to the first season episode "Errand of Mercy".
- Despite McCoy and the Enterprise crew being ignorant of tribbles, later productions indicated that they were already known to Starfleet by this time, having been used as a food source for lab animals, as pets, and even at one point being considered as a possible food source for an entire colony ("The Breach", "The Trouble with Edward", and Capt. Gabriel Lorca kept a tribble in his ready room aboard USS Discovery).
- Although Kirk comments in the episode on the irony of tribbles in a grain storage bin dying of starvation, in James Blish's novelization of the episode, Spock also remarks on the elegant symmetry of the respective misdeeds: the poisoning of the grain eliminated the tribble infestation before it exhausted the cargo, whereas the tribbles disclosed the poisoning with no loss of Human life.
- In the Star Trek: Myriad Universes story The Chimes at Midnight, which explores the timeline from TAS: "Yesteryear", the Enterprise's first officer Thelin discovered Darvin's role in poisoning the quadrotriticale. Darvin remained a Federation prisoner for several months until a prisoner exchange was arranged with the Klingons.
- A cat version of "The Trouble with Tribbles" was featured in Jenny Parks' 2017 book Star Trek Cats.
- This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1968 as "Best Dramatic Presentation", but lost to the version of "The City on the Edge of Forever" that was actually shown on-air.
- In a 1985 interview, director Joseph Pevney named "The Trouble with Tribbles" as the best episode he directed. He added that they couldn't do an episode like that anymore, because the franchise has become "deadly serious" (interestingly enough, one year after the interview took place, the light-hearted, comedic Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home premiered in theaters, and in 2019 the tribbles would be featured in the comedic mini-episode "The Trouble with Edward"). 
- Pevney also commented that he "Fell in love with that show. I really enjoyed doing it, and I enjoyed working with Leonard and Shatner to make them think in terms of typically farce comedy. The show was successful and I was happy about that. I was proven right that you can do a comedy if you don't kid the script, and if you don't kid Star Trek. If you stay in character, you can have wonderful fun with Star Trek, and the kinds of things you can do with it are endless – if you don't lose the whole flavor of Enterprise discipline." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)
- Despite the broad popularity of this episode among fans, series Co-Producer Bob Justman wrote in his book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story that he never liked this episode, as he felt the characters parodied themselves, and that the episode's over-the-top humor lacked believability.
- Third season producer Fred Freiberger also disliked the show. David Gerrold recalled that when he pitched a sequel for the episode, Freiberger replied that he didn't like the original because "Star Trek is not a comedy." Gerrold's pitch later evolved into the Animated Series episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles". (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 97)
- Writer Samuel A. Peeples was another individual who worked on the original series but found this episode to be problematic. "I thought that the one with the fuzzy little creatures wasn't my idea of what the show should be," he remarked. "It was awfully cute and awfully nice, but it covered an area that I felt was unnecessary for that particular type of series." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 120)
- Gene Roddenberry also disliked "Tribbles" and the overall tendency for more comedy-oriented episodes, which became prominent under Gene Coon's tenure as producer, feeling that it deviated from his image of the show, opting for the much more serious approach which dominated Star Trek during his time as line producer in the first half of season 1. As Pevney put it, "This was the first out-and-out comedy we had done on the series, and Roddenberry was not in favor of it too much. He didn't cotton the idea of making fun on this show." Eventually these disagreements between Roddenberry and Coon became one of the major reasons why the latter left the series mid-season 2. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)
- Roddenberry's opinion of the episode seemed to have changed over the years as he later picked it as one of his ten favorite episodes for the franchise's 25th anniversary. (TV Guide August 31, 1991)
- William Campbell (Koloth) recalled that, after this episode was aired, his neighbor's son consequently addressed his wife as "Mrs. Klingon". (The World of Star Trek)
- This was voted the best episode of Star Trek by viewers of Sci-Fi Channel's Star Trek 40th Anniversary Celebrations.
- It was also voted the best episode by Empire magazine when they ranked the series #43 on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time." 
- The book Star Trek 101 (p. 18), by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of "Ten Essential Episodes" from the original Star Trek series.
- Having been a big fan of the original Star Trek series during her youth, Diane Warren – the songwriter who wrote Star Trek: Enterprise's theme tune, "Where My Heart Will Take Me" – cited this installment as her favorite episode of TOS, upon being interviewed shortly after the start of Enterprise. She went on to say, "That's one of the episodes that, even after all these years has stayed in my mind." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 57)
- Doug Jones, who avidly watched Star Trek: The Original Series as a child along with his family, also selected this as one of his favorite Star Trek episodes. "As a youngster, that was a fun episode […] I like happy endings, I like low-stakes stories myself, and so that was kinda like, 'Oh, there's the fun episode.'" 
- "The Trouble with Tribbles" was the ninth episode of the remastered version of The Original Series to air. It premiered in syndication on the weekend of 4 November 2006 and featured significantly enhanced shots of the K-7 space station, now including the orbiting D7-class IKS Gr'oth. The Enterprise can now be seen more often from Lurry's office, moving toward the left side of the window as it orbits K-7. The remastered episode is marked by the introduction of a revised digital model of the Enterprise, allowing for more detailed and accurate shots of the ship to be created.
- None of the special shots from the DS9 tribute episode was included in the remastered version. Furthermore, the Gr'oth's design is different from the Greg Jein model seen in the Deep Space Nine episode. That ship is greener, with an avian pattern on it, where this version of the Klingon ship is grey and does not bear that pattern, bringing it more in line with TOS counterparts.
- Coincidentally, the episode that aired after this was "Mirror, Mirror". Scenes from both episodes were used in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations".
- The next remastered episode to air was "Mirror, Mirror".
- Treatment "The Fuzzies" by David Gerrold: February 1967
- Story outline "A Fuzzy Thing Happened to Me": 13 June 1967
- Revised story outline: 23 June 1967
- Second revised story outline: 26 June 1967
- First draft teleplay "The Trouble with Tribbles": 30 June 1967
- Second draft teleplay: 19 July 1967
- Revised draft by Gene L. Coon: 21 July 1967
- Final draft teleplay by Coon: 25 July 1967
- Revised final draft: 1 August 1967
- Additional page revisions: 15 August 1967, 16 August 1967, 18 August 1967, 21 August 1967
- Filmed: 22 August 1967 - 29 August 1967
- Day 1 – 22 August 1967, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, Sickbay
- Day 2 – 23 August 1967, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Briefing room, Transporter room, Admiral Fitzpatrick's office (redress of a wall in Transporter room)
- Day 3 – 24 August 1967, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Recreation room (redress of Briefing room); Desilu Stage 10: Lurry's office
- Day 4 – 25 August 1967, Friday – Desilu Stage 10: Int. Lurry's office, Storage corridor
- Day 5 – 28 August 1967, Monday – Desilu Stage 10: Int. Storage corridor, K-7 Bar
- Day 6 – 29 August 1967, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 10: Int. K-7 Bar
- Score recorded: 5 October 1967
- Original airdate: 29 December 1967
- Rerun airdate: 21 June 1968
- First UK airdate: 1 June 1970
- Star Trek Fotonovel #3: 1973 - ISBN 055312689X
- The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode paperback: 1973
- The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode paperback: 1976
- The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode paperback reissue: 12 April 1987 - ISBN 0345347889
- "Trials and Tribble-ations", incorporating "Trouble" footage: 4 November 1996
- Remastered airdate: 4 November 2006
Video and DVD releases
- US RCA CED Videodisc release: 1 April 1982
- Original US Betamax release: 1986
- US LaserDisc release: 11 October 1986
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 22, catalogue number VHR 2357, 2 April 1990
- Japan LaserDisc release: 25 March 1993
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- As part of the UK VHS Star Trek: The Original Series - Tricorder Pack collection: catalogue number VHR 4373, 3 June 1996
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 2.5, 5 May 1997
- UK LaserDisc release: 11 August 1997
- As part of the US VHS Star Trek - Tribbles Gift Set: 6 October 1998
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 21, 24 April 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Klingon DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: The Original Series - Origins Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- William Schallert as Nilz Baris
- William Campbell as Koloth
- Stanley Adams as Cyrano Jones
- Whit Bissell as Lurry
- James Doohan as Scott
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- Michael Pataki as Korax
- Ed Reimers as Admiral Fitzpatrick
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Charlie Brill as Arne Darvin
- Paul Baxley as Freeman
- David L. Ross as Guard
- William Blackburn as Hadley
- Dick Crockett as Klingon brawler 1
- Frank da Vinci as Vinci
- Steve Hershon as security officer
- Roger Holloway as Roger Lemli
- William Knight as Moody
- Jeannie Malone as
- Bob Miles as Klingon brawler 2
- Bob Orrison as Klingon brawler 3
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Joe Paz as Sciences division lieutenant
- Unknown actors as
- Human civilian
- Human colonist
- Human waitresses 1 and 2
- Human workers 1 and 2
- Starfleet cadets 1 and 2
- Starfleet officers 2, 3, and 4
- Command lieutenant 1
- Command lieutenant 2
- Command crew woman
- Crew woman 1
- Crew woman 2
- Crew woman 3
- Operations crewman
- Sciences crew woman
- Sciences lieutenant 1
- Sciences lieutenant 2
- Security guard 1
- Security guard 3
- Phil Adams as stunt double for Michael Pataki
- Richard Antoni as Klingon (stunts; unconfirmed)
- Jay Jones as stunt double for James Doohan
- Jerry Summers as stunt double for Walter Koenig
20th century; 2067; 2245; 2261; 2285; agriculture; air vent; all hands; "all right"; amount; analysis; ancestry; animal; Antarean glow water; apology; area; assistant; assumption; asteroid; asteroid locator; astronomer; "at the time"; "at will"; authority; average; baby; background check; bar; bargain; battle; battle cruiser, Klingon; battle stations; Bible; bisexual; bloodstream; board of inquiry; body; body temperature; "Bones"; bottle; breeding; bucket; Burke, John; Burkoff, Ivan; Canada; chance; Channel E; charge: chicken sandwich; code 1 emergency; coffee; commander; communication channel; computation; computer analysis; confined to quarters; contact; cork; Cossack; course; creature; credit; criminal; day; deal (aka transaction); death; declaration of hostilities; Deep Space Station K-7; defense alert; delusion; Denebian slime devil; development project; dictator; diet; diplomatic incident; disaster; disaster call; dissection; Donatu V; door; ear; Earth; effect; emergency; engineering; environment; ermine violin; evidence; "excuse me"; experience; Federation; Federation law; Federation territory; feeling; field; figure; French language; friend; food processor; garbage; garbage scow; genie; general quarters; generation; government; grain; Gr'oth, IKS; habitat; hair; harassment; headache; heartbeat; hip; history; home; honesty; hour; Human (aka Earther or Earthman); Human characteristic; hybrid; inert material; "in fact"; "in my opinion"; instruction and maintenance manual; insult; intelligence; intention; "in that case"; invention; irons; job security; joke; Jones' spaceship; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon agent (agent); Klingon Empire; Klingonese; Klingon High Command; Klingon agent; Klingon outpost; knowledge; lab; Leningrad; lily; litter; "little old lady from Leningrad"; logic; love; machinery; maintenance crew; market; markup; maternity ward; metabolism; milk; Milky Way Galaxy; million; minute; money; month; morning; mutual admiration society; mutual understanding; national; nature; nervous system; nourishment; nursery; observation; odor; "of course"; offense; offer; "off the record"; Old Britain; "on the contrary"; opinion; order; Organian Peace Treaty; organism; parasite; parsec; penalty; Peter the Great; percent; perennial; persecution; plan; planet; poison; polishing; pouch; predator; pregnancy; price; pride; priority 1 distress call; priority A-1 channel; profit; proof; prospector; pun; punch; purr; quadrant; quadrotriticale; question; rate of reproduction; recreation; red alert; Regulan blood worm; rehabilitation colony; relationship; representative; reproduction; result; robber; Royal Academy; Russian; rust bucket; rye; sabotage; sample; Scotch whisky; Scots language; scout; search; security guard; sensor; Sherman's Planet; Sherman's Planet freighter; shipment; shopping; shore leave; sitting; soda pop; solar year; soldier; space; Spacematic; space station; sphere of influence; Spican flame gem; spy; "stand by"; Starfleet Command; starship; starvation; station manager (manager); station manager's office; stock; stone; storage compartment; subspace distress call; subspace silence; surveillance; "take it easy"; technical journal; teeth; "thank you"; "The whole kit and caboodle"; thief; thing; thousand; tin; title; ton; tone of voice; transporter room; treatment; tribble; tribble homeworld; triticale; undersecretary; vacuum; virus; vodka; volume; Vulcan; warship, Klingon: week; wheat; year
|ENT: "The Breach" • ST: "The Trouble with Edward" • TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles" • TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles" • DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations"|
- "The Trouble with Tribbles" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Trouble with Tribbles" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Trouble with Tribbles" at Wikipedia
- "The Trouble with Tribbles" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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