Ever since Paul Kinsey excitedly mentioned The Twilight Zone to Peggy in Season 1, (Ladies Room) I just knew he’d be a future Trekkie. But after he was passed over for SCDP, I figured we’d never know his reaction to that new show, Star Trek. Boy was I delighted have him back for an episode, (Christmas Waltz) and see that my prediction proved right!
Star Trek premiered on September 8, 1966. Many argue that the first season was the best, and I agree completely. It was well written, often by lauded sci-fi writers, engaging, and hadn’t yet become ‘Kirk’s alien lay of the week’.*
But when it first came out, many critics pooh-poohed Trek as just another Lost in Space. This is understandable, since the first aired episode featured a salt vampire. But its fans knew better, and you can see how quickly Paul picked up on Trek‘s blueprint of telling a moral tale disguised as science fiction.
The Mohawk strike begins on December 9, 1966, which was just a day after the Star Trek episode The Conscience of the King aired. …King was a story about former Governor Kodos, now masquerading as Karidian, a respected actor. And why would a governor so drastically change his identity? To hide the fact that he had authorized mass murder.
Masquerade is a continuing theme in Mad Men, where characters try to pass as perfect when they’re all hiding secrets. As noted here by posters, Paul has often masqueraded as a somewhat inflated fantasy version of himself. Initially he just seemed like a smart-ass frat boy, and then as a snobbish intellectual. By the time he was sneaking weed at SCDP, we realize he was, as Joan noted, a phony, even faking an accent to hide his Jersey roots. We suspect that Paul has always been an outcast, (a sadly familiar trait among we nerdy Trekkers), and like any outcast, you have to learn to adapt.
But Trek gave lonely nerds a social outlet and presented a utopia where all different races (and even aliens) could live in harmony. I’m sure Paul loves this, and when blended with his Krishna identity, it further improves his self-esteem, for he feels welcomed and loved by the community. As ‘Paramatma’, he’s delightfully happy and unstressed, but doesn’t realize that Mother Lakshme is just using him to recruit new members.
Paul’s ego is so full now that he’s convinced he’s written the greatest Star Trek episode to date. He can’t see that it’s total crap. Thankfully, Harry gently brings him down to earth, still letting him believe in his genius while dissuading him from submitting his actual script . Harry becomes Paul’s truest friend, sending him off to a new life in LA.
So what will become of Paul now? Well, I’m sure he could freelance for Gilligan’s Island, or maybe start an L.A. chapter of Krishna, and he’d make a great comic book store owner, like the guy on The Simpsons. And I have no doubt Paul will be shoulder-to-shoulder with Bjo Trimble, the iconic Star Trek fan, who led the ‘Save Star Trek’ campaign of 1968 that prevented its cancellation that year. And I could easily see him in full Spock drag at a 1970’s Star Trek convention. Live long and prosper, Paul. Maybe you’ll find nirvana after all.
*See season 3, Season 2 wasn’t too bad.