One fan’s original Star Trek memes make reruns rib-tickling.
If you’ve ever joined the live-tweeting fun during MeTV’s Saturday night broadcasts of Star Trek: The Original Series or the TOS portion of H&I’s #AllStarTrek block, you’ve probably noticed the same scenes you’re seeing on screen showing up in your feed, but with speech balloons added.
These tweets look like panels from the old Star Trek “Fotonovels.” But look closer, and you’ll see the characters “saying” things they never did—and probably never would!
You’ll find snarky comebacks, groan-worthy puns, “meta” musings on the action, double entendres, laugh-out-loud punchlines, and pop culture references.
It’s as though the Trek characters are giving themselves and their exploits the MST3K treatment.
All this moment-by-moment merriment is courtesy of faithful #MeTVStarTrek and #AllStarTrek viewer @FredCFO.
A self-described “semi-retired Chief Financial Officer” who’s enjoying the free time he has for creative pursuits, Fred (he prefers to keep his full name to himself) has been making Star Trek memes since 2005.
Having enjoyed Fred’s witty take on Trek for a few years, I contacted him via Twitter and email to find out more about this unique pastime he shares with his fellow fans.
Making Star Trek memes to laugh at the show with love
Any fan who sees Fred’s work will see he’s laughing at Star Trek with love.
He remembers his mother watching the show’s first episode on September 8, 1966. “I walked past the TV around 9:25 PM right near the end of the show on my way to bed,” he writes, “and said, ‘Who’s that guy with the ears?’ I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Fred’s meme-making came years later. He actually first gave his tongue-in-cheek treatment to all 43 episodes of the 1967-68 TV sci-fi series The Invaders.
In 2005, Fred found an online bulletin board for Star Trek fans on the website for the fan film series Starship Exeter. Inspired by fond memories of Mad magazine’s Star Blecch parody stories, Fred decided to create and post memes to the bulletin board. Instead of captioning cartoons, Fred captioned screen caps from the original episodes.
Fred starts preparing screen caps the week before MeTV airs a given episode. Here’s how he described his process to me:
It’s hard to say how long it takes to do an individual meme. Some just pop into my head, others I have to think about. Sometimes I feel like I barely have enough for an episode, other times there seems to be too much. I’ve seen each episode so many times I think my subconscious works on them in the background continuously.
Usually, Fred tweets out his memes manually as the episode airs on MeTV or H&I, although he sometimes schedules them ahead of time. He says fans have generally reacted positively, although a meme “riffing on William Shatner and James Doohan’s bad relationship” caused some blowback.
Fred has completed memes for not only all TOS episodes but also “most” episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series and “half of the TOS movies.” He’s also meme-ified select episodes of The Time Tunnel (1966)—fittingly enough, “those involving space and aliens.”
I asked Fred if he had a favorite among his Star Trek memes. He said the meme below, from “The Immunity Syndrome,” “just seemed to flow right.”
You can find all of Fred’s Star Trek memes as “meme movies,” set to selections from the original scores, along with his non-Trek content, on his YouTube channel.
Browsing the episodes by their alternate titles alone is quite a treat. Who would pass up the chance to watch “The Squirrel of Gothos,” “The Enema Within,” or “It’s the Great Pumpkin, James T. Kirk”?
The next time you feel like having some good-natured giggles at Star Trek’s expense, beam over to Fred’s YouTube channel.
Even better, tune in to MeTV’s or H&I’s TOS airings and search #MeTVStarTrek and #TOSSatNight, or #AllStarTrek, to laugh along with him and his fellow Trek live-tweeters in real time!