Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Profit and Lace” (part 5 of 6)
When we return from commercial break, it’s time to put on makeup, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to get things started on my torment tonight. There’s a close-up on dangling earrings being put on (relatively) small Ferengi ears, and we pan down to a massive, paisley-covered bosom. You see, they’re slowing working their way up to the big reveal. Because you definitely have to build up to something this hilarious. (Either that, or they’re desperately trying to blunt the shock and avoid sending every child watching into therapy.)
We hear Rom’s voice complimenting Dr. Bashir’s work. From offscreen, Leeta comments that it must have been a “delicate procedure”. Er, exactly how invasive was this procedure, anyway? Or do I really want to know?
The finishing touches are complete. The camera pulls back to reveal Quark transformed into a woman, standing wobbly on high heels. Quark asks what they all think, and everyone quickly lies that he looks nice, which is certainly something I couldn’t manage to do in the same situation. I think my bloody, erupting, flaming eye sockets would probably give away my true sentiments.
Zek grumps that Quark’s voice is still a dead giveaway, leading to the expected comic bit of Quark trying to sound like a woman. Hey, if Jodie Foster can convince people with that voice of hers, Quark should have no problem.
Quark then sees himself in a mirror, an experience only slightly less repugnant than the big reveal at the end of every episode of The Swan. Quark actually begins bawling, which Rom and Leeta attribute to “hormones”.
Yeah, that’s right, as will soon be seen in gory detail, Quark had a sex change. Not just a little makeup or a little plastic surgery or anything like that, a full blown sex change operation. And I really don’t need to bring up the last time we saw a sex change operation in the Agony Booth and how nauseating that was, do I?
You know, it’s almost like someone dared the writers to make this episode even more appalling than it already is, and now we have to deal with the mental image of Dr. Bashir cutting off Quark’s nads. Have you no decency, sirs? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
Leeta yells at Quark to stop staring at his own chest. Yuk, yuk. He says he’s actually staring at his own hips because they’re “too big”. People, this is what I’m reduced to. Critiquing lame “gender cliché” gags that wouldn’t be out of place on any CBS sitcom starring Jami Gertz (I think they have two or three of those, right?). Quark wobbles on his heels across the room to Zek, and Zek hands him Moogie’s notes for the meeting with Nilva. Quark looks them over, then leans over Zek seductively [?!] and says it’s too much for him to remember.
Zek says he only needs to practice. Leeta says Quark also needs to practice his walk, because he’s “lumbering”. Rom steps up to show Quark exactly how to walk like a woman. See, this is hilarious because Rom is… well, he’s not a woman! How funny is that, huh?
Leeta stares wide-eyed, both stunned and impressed with Rom’s walk. Ha ha! Rom even goes so far as to show Quark how to sit like a woman. And from the way he sits, I’d say Rom learned everything he knows about women from Showgirls. Leeta reacts by happily telling Rom he’s “adorable… and complicated!” And I think she means “complicated” like Anne Heche, if you know what I mean. Truthfully, I’m not sure where all this is coming from. Are we about to learn something about Rom?
After witnessing this display, Quark says that Rom should be the one pretending to be a woman, not him. Yeah. Maybe that’s something you should have thought of before having your dick cut off, genius. He says, “Maybe it’s not too late!” No, I think it’s a bit too late. A couple of bits, as a matter of fact. Zek nixes the idea, because only Quark has the necessary financial shrewdness to pull off the meeting with Nilva.
For no reason really, Quark instantly warms to the idea. Leeta again cries he’s “lumbering”, to which Quark says he’ll just sit down the whole time. Rom immediately runs up to say, “Tighten your bottom!” That’s always good advice, especially when Rom is in the room standing behind you.
Zek sits down next to Quark, calling him “my dear” and stroking Quark’s thigh [??]. Oh boy. Is everyone on the planet of Ferenginar a bi-curious freak? Quark smacks his hand away, but Zek continues to declare that Quark makes a “very attractive female”, adding that this is “confusing, isn’t it?” Um, nope, no confusion over here, trust me.
Soon, Nog runs in to report that Nilva has arrived one day early. Quark is terrified, saying he’s not ready and he’s “still lumbering”. Zek tells Nog to take the chairman to his quarters and inform him he’ll be meeting tomorrow with Zek’s new female financial advisor. He pauses to come up with a female name for Quark. I guess “Quarkina” won’t do, so he spits out, “Lumba”. Oh, the pain. Is that the best you’ve got, writers?
After Nog leaves, the gang pounces on Quark, preparing him for the meeting. For some reason, Zek takes this opportunity to comment that Quark has “lovely eyes”. Dude, why don’t you just give up the hetero act? Just slip into some leather hot pants and put on a construction worker’s helmet, already. (But please, do it offscreen.)
At one of the station’s docking tubes, Nog greets Chairman Nilva, a diminutive Ferengi holding a bottle of green goo. He offers it to Nog, asking if he drinks Slug-O-Cola. Nog emphatically repeats that it’s “the slimiest cola in the galaxy!” and says of course he does.
Nog tries to stick to the plan to lead Nilva to his quarters, but ruh-roh! Nilva demands to be taken to see Zek immediately. The oompa-loompa tubas start up again, so I guess this is comical. (Nilva, by the way, is played by tiny little comedian Henry Gibson, who you might recognize from Laugh-In or his role as the head Illinois Nazi in The Blues Brothers.)
Some time is wasted watching Nog run after Nilva as he hurries to meet Zek. However, Nilva stops when he somehow happens upon Brunt [?]. Why is Brunt just standing around in a random corridor? And how did Nilva know he would be here (Nilva doesn’t appear the least bit surprised to see Brunt, and even waves to him)? And why did Nilva say he wanted to see Zek, when he was clearly coming here to meet Brunt?
Regardless, Nilva kisses Brunt’s staff (man, does that sound filthy) and cries, “Grand Nagus Brunt!” A distant Nog yells, “Acting Grand Nagus Brunt!” Okay, that does it, you piece of shit episode. I was trying to be nice, but now the kid gloves are coming off. Left kid glove, off. Right kid glove, off. I now slap you in the face with both gloves and curse your family and spit on your children. Your mother is a whore, dear episode, and don’t you forget it.
Nilva says, “I had a feeling I might find you here!” Oh, so that explains everything. Brunt gleefully tells Nilva that the female he was to meet with is currently sick in the Infirmary. Nog runs up and interjects that this is why the chairman will be meeting with another female financial advisor named “Lumba” instead. Brunt is suspicious, but Nilva declares he wants to meet this “Lumba” right away.
In Quark’s quarters, Quark is practicing walking and talking like a woman, but he gripes about the earrings. Rom quickly explains, “No woman is complete without earrings!” And they all stare at him. Because, I guess, anything is better than looking at the she-Quark-thing. Quark wants to head for bed, but there’s a chime at the door.
It turns out to be Nilva bearing Slug-O-Cola for everyone, and Quark looks petrified. Nilva introduces himself to a nervous “Lumba”, amazed to see a clothed Ferengi female. He says Zek must have either been inhaling “too much beetle snuff” or he’s “the greatest visionary ever to sit atop the Tower of Commerce!” I definitely vote for too much beetle snuff. I believe the writers had too much beetle snuff, as well. Assuming, of course, that “beetle snuff” was the nickname of choice around the DS9 set for “ganja”.
Zek says they can discuss it tonight at Quark’s over some “nice juicy snail steaks”, and then Nilva can meet with Lumba tomorrow. But, again, it’s a no go. Nilva has to leave tomorrow morning for a “stockholder’s meeting”. Gosh, darn the bad luck, huh? Once again, Quark’s in a tight spot. I guess this will make all those impending wacky hijinks even wackier! And hijinkier!
Nilva says he has a better idea: He’ll have dinner with Lumba… alone. Wow. Congratulations, episode. I can now smell the zany. The hills are alive with zaniness. Zek asks if Nilva won’t be embarrassed being seen in public with a clothed Ferengi female, but Nilva says it’s the least he can do for his old friend Zek. He takes the Quark-thing by the arm and leads it to dinner.