Ad Space – The Erotic Adventures of Archer & T’Pol

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Star Trek: Enterprise (specifically, the episode “A Night in Sickbay”)

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
This ep’s gonna be nothing these two boinking. We promise. Would we lie to you?

I sympathize with whoever had to make this promo.

If you’ve ever seen “A Night in Sickbay”, you know it doesn’t have much to entice a prospective viewer. None of Star Trek’s signature high concepts. No action setpieces. No dramatic reveals or intriguing conflicts.

It’s just an hour of Captain Archer watching over his sick dog and getting pissy when people expect him to do his job. And at one point, he chases a bat around. That’s about it.

With what this episode gave them to work with, I totally understand the promo designer seizing on the scene where Archer has an erotic dream about T’Pol, and building the whole ad around these two getting together. It’s something to hook people with, at least.

But, man alive, they went about it in the crassest, horniest, most juvenile way possible!

Putting aside the way it straight up misleads the audience (even if you haven’t seen the episode, you can probably guess it’s not the non-stop f***fest this ad makes it out to be), this promo is stuck in the middle-school mindset of “heh heh, they’re talking about sex!”.

I mean, that “doing the breast … the best I can” joke, that was lame enough in the actual episode. But not only does the promo decide to feature it (heck, to lead off with it), they go one step further by drawing it out and editing in bemused reaction shots and goofy sound effects, making it just so, so, so much more groan inducing.

It’s hard to believe this was anyone’s idea of a good episode promo. And yet, whether because of or despite this promo’s efforts, “A Night in Sickbay” ended up being the most watched Enterprise episode of the season.

Of course, “A Night in Sickbay” is also widely regarded as one of the worst episodes Enterprise ever produced. So maybe the show would have been better off if fewer eyeballs tuned in for this trainwreck.