Nerd Candy: Worf, Son of Mogh


Since I can't talk Tuvok and Sisko without saying something about the powerful man who preceded them both, my Star Trek kick now resumes.

Portrayed the suave, charismatic actor Michael Dorn,Worf was not initially intended to become a favorite character.  Dorn reports he played Worf in such a way that he intended the audience to roll their eyes every time he came on the screen.  And while Worf had a rough start on TNG, by DS9 he was outshining many of his castmates, and by the end of DS9, Worf was the longest running character in Star Trek history (he was on TV for 11 years and appeared in all the TNG movies).

If we succeed, there will be many songs sung in our honor.

I initially was apprehensive of Worf, just as I was of Geordi LaForge (hint hint).  As I recall, basically all black people were apprehensive because we weren't digging the idea that the only two black main cast members had to be "mutilated" in some way, while Riker, Picard, Troi, O'Brien, and the Crushers all got to look "normal."

However, Worf's overall awesomeness could not be denied.  He was a brave, clear-headed warrior who basically personified the very notion of honor.  And he was more than just a warrior; he was also philosophical man with a strong sense of identity.  Even more importantly, as a Klingon raised amongst humans, Worf exemplified the second-generation immigrant experience in America.  Though he had friends, Worf was alone in many ways, and though people admired him and were fond of him (mostly because of his linguistic and cultural assimilation), he still had to constantly explain things about himself to them.

On DS9, a sci-fi show for grown-up thinkers, Worf finally came into his element and got everything due him.  He got to be around more Klingons, he got to marry a woman with Klingon tendencies in a Klingon ceremony, and suddenly there was a lot less "explaining" and self-imposed (yet necessary) isolation.  Overall, his transfer to DS9 was just a gamble full of win...along with his taste for prune juice ("a warrior's drink").

Any other Worf fans in attendance?

Comments

  1. The only thing that bothered me about the Worf character is that they took too long to get his makeup right. In the beginning Michael Dorn looked more like a black man with a serious skin condition. The prosthetics appeared much too shiny under the glare of those stage lights. Also his hands appeared too smooth for the likes of a Klingon. But Worf has a presence onscreen one simply can’t ignore.

    Moreover, Klingons are the kind of people who fart in airlocks. That’s the type of arrogant disregard I expected from his character. Black men simply make more menacing Klingons. I honestly had a white trekky friend tell me this. His sentiments probably had more to do with how white men fear black males than anything else.

    Furthermore, there’s no denying the fact that Worf's brother Kurn (played by Tony Todd) demanded the utmost deference.

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  2. Worf was my favorite character! total badass. "A warrior does not complain of physical discomfort."

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  3. Black men simply make more menacing Klingons.

    You say menacing, I say best. With the exception of Martok, Kang, Kor, Koloth, and sometimes Gowron, I think that all the best Klingons were played by black actors. Avery Brooks made an exceptional Klingon when his character Sisko had to go undercover.

    And even young Gabrielle Union made a beautiful Klingon girl in the DS9 ep, "Sons and Daughters".

    This is why I prefer to focus on DS9 because by then, the artists got the makeup right, we heard more Klingon music and dialogue, and we gained a deeper understanding for their history and culture, ensuring their place as an all-time favorite species.

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  4. @ jas0n

    "Today is a good day to die."

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  5. "Any other Worf fans in attendance?"

    *Proudly raises hand!*

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  6. @ Neo

    What's your favorite Klingon quote? "Death before dishonor" (in the original Klingon) is probably mine.

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  7. "I am NOT a Merry Man!"

    One of the greatest line deliveries of all time! Classic.

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  8. Worf is a straight up Mack Daddy! I've loved him from the beginning. My father couldn't get behind TNG because he said all the black people were fucked up, but I couldn't help but like Worf. His gruff exterior hid a stalwart heart, and he was unintentionally hilarious. Also, he was ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat. You gotta love a man that's ready to scrap--and win--on cue.

    You already have my favorite Worf quote. Baddest Klingon in the universe.

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  9. My favorite Worf moment was one line in TNG. Q was suddenly human and asked what could he do to prove that he was no longer a Q and Worf deadpanned "Die"

    I agree that Worf's best development was on DS9 he got to be himself with little need for explanation which just made him amazing to watch. Though in all honesty my favorite Klingon was the half-Klingon Torres from Voyager...but her character had a whole different set of issues to it.

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  10. @ acidcookiegirl

    LOL - I remember that episode!

    I liked B'Elanna Torres too, especially when she got pregnant and didn't want her kid coming out Klingon. Lots of subtext there, talking about how things would be "easier" if her child looked completely human.

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  11. Worf was my favorite ST character of all time. I loved his character development, and the deepening portrayal of the Klingon race throughout both series. Klingon opera... =D They were deep, philosophical, poetic warriors, like samurai.

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  12. @ Keri

    They were deep, philosophical, poetic warriors, like samurai.

    And the problem with TNG is that they never properly explored Klingons in this manner. They made a few attempts but it wasn't until DS9 that they nailed it.

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  13. I loved the Worf character and the Klingons in general BUT...well... at the start of TNG I remember a scene when Q called Worf a macro head with a micro brain or something like that and then Worf growled like an animal at him. The arrogant and dismissive way Q delivered reminded me of a Klansman calling a black man boy back in the bad old days.

    Also in the mating scene with a Klingon woman where they were hitting each other and biting and growling and La forge says "Worf is that sex?!" or something like that, the white supremacist subtext was obvious to me - the idea of black people being semi-feral animals.

    I've always been uncomfortable with that. I blocked it out but I was aware of it. They put white supremacy in all entertainment shows and movies, I have to constantly block it out and ignore it, it is annoying.

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