This week, it feels like Star Trek is everywhere. I've read more about old characters and new characters and new actors playing old characters, whether the new movie counts as even-numbered or odd-numbered, and various other lists and updates and theories.
But Trek references have been all over the place for a very long time, with parodies perpetrated by everyone from Carol Burnett to Miss Piggy to Beavis and Butthead. The Internet has a wealth of home-grown mash-ups and spoofs and fan fiction. I like the bunnies doing Wrath of Khan in 30 seconds, myself, but I just saw Khan for the first time last month so I'm enjoying all the jokes related to that movie more than usual.
Here's a list of seven of the most memorable Star Trek spoofs and parodies from film and TV over the years. I've even included a few video clips. I'm sure there are more out there that I don't know about, so feel free to share them in the comments.
1. Galaxy Quest
This is the most obvious Star Trek parody in mainstream film. My favorite moment is Sigourney Weaver's character, who like Uhura is the ship's communication officer, losing her temper and shouting, "Look, I have one job on this lousy ship, it's stupid, but I'm going to do it." Also, I'm very fond of Alan Rickman. And Sam Rockwell. And it's one of the few Tim Allen movies I actually like.
Fanboys focuses on Star Wars fans, but of course that means that Star Trek fans are seen as the enemy, or at least worthy of snark and mockery. The groups encounter each other in battle more than once during Fanboys. The film as a whole is unevenly funny, and I'm not sure how Trek fans will like the way they are portrayed. However, they might enjoy the Trek-related cameo later in the film, shown below. If you haven't seen it yet, Fanboys will be released on DVD on May 19.
3. Robot Chicken: "Two Kirks, a Khan, and a Pizza Palace"
This little skit is very short and very silly. The title says it all, really. If you watch the video below, be forewarned that it's followed by a spoof of Japanese game shows that some people might find offensive. If you want to find the whole episode, it's from "The Deep End" in Season One.
4. The Muppet Show: "Pigs in Space"
"Pigs in Space" actually references a number of goofy space TV shows and movies -- Gonzo plays Darth Nader in one episode -- but the spaceship is called the Swinetrek for good reason. Also, I love Muppets and will use any excuse to insert them into any list. I like the following episode, where the Swinetrek approaches the end of the universe -- I don't think the Enterprise would have taken this approach.
5. In Living Color: "The Wrath of Farrakhan"
Jim Carrey boldly hams up the Captain Kirk role as the Enterprise is invaded by ... Louis Farrakhan (Damon Wayans), who is disgusted at the way the white man is oppressing his crew. The sketch is part of Season One, Episode Two if you want to watch a higher-quality version that the one below.
6. Family Guy
This TV show is full of Star Trek references, parodies, and music clips. IGN has a nice Top Ten list. I just watched a very funny clip where William Shatner, performing in a version of "Fiddler on the Roof," suddenly starts his legendary "Khaaaan!" bellow. (We could probably fill a list with Khan spoofs alone.) Shatner, George Takei, and Majel Barrett Roddenberry have all done voice cameos on the show. The clip below includes most of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast.
7. South Park
South Park is another show that enjoys slipping in the occasional Star Trek reference, although nowhere near as overtly or frequently as Family Guy. One episode in Season Two was titled "City on the Edge of Forever," after a well-known episode from the original Star Trek series, and features a kid in a red shirt. You can guess what happens to him.