The single greatest cliffhanger of all time.
Try to imagine it. It’s the spring of 1990, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” has been on the air for three seasons - and is about to break the Original Series’ record by having a fourth season.
Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar) left the show before the first season was over. Gates McFadden was summarily fired and replaced for season two, only to return in season three at the insistence of Patrick Stewart. So change had always been a possibility.
There was no internet. Which meant no spoilers like we now know them. No set reports. No speculation amongst the fans outside of conventions or groups of friends. Which meant no way to cope with the anxiety, no bulletin boards to post “AHHH! WTF?” on while you waited.
We may know now how it all turned out, but back then? I’ve got friends who where trekkies in the day, and the summer of 1990 was full of anxiety!
“I’ll be on the bridge”
An Ode to Commander Riker’s Beard
Hold it right there, back right the fuck back
I’m about to serve you all a heart attack.
In the future, far out in the recesses of space
is a beard that sits on Will Riker’s face.
But first, be warned and keep in your mind
staring directly at it will make you go blind.
We first encountered Will at Far Point,
wearing thin pajamas that did not disappoint.
Something was missing, something inconclusive,
something to make my horniness conducive.
In fact, we had to wait all the way ‘til Season Two
to see that magnificent beard’s debut!
It’s okay, don’t look so blue
we all find your chin creepy too.
There on his face it sat, full of pride and glory
well-trimmed and making me feel kinda whorey.
That beard’s glorious halo just won’t subside,
I wanna hop on and take it for a ride.
Find the nearest Class M planet to rest
I’ll treat you like my gyno, gimme a pap test!
I’ll even pretend like I don’t mind
that you’ve tapped all sorts of alienkind;
that other females can’t feel the pull
of that facial hair so thick and full.
But, before we both get too invested,
I’m going to need your beard to get tested.
Yes, I promise I’ll ignore
every past space whore.
Now we’re all feelin’ hot and naughty,
allow me to make your beard my imzadi.
Don’t worry about your curly-haired Betazoid,
I’ll point her toward a fully-functional android.
Since it’s fantasies we now discuss…
maybe that bald captain can join us?
I dunno which one to blame…
but I’m pretty sure I just came.
Command me, commander, do your worst,
it doesn’t take much to get me coerced.
You’re an explorer, a true space pioneer,
go ahead and explore my Final Frontier.
Okay, I promise, this ode is now done,
for that beard’ll always be my numbah one.