Data’s contractions were a contradiction on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Data was the loveable android on Star Trek: The Next Generation who served as the series “Spock” replacement. He was often around the Captain of the Enterprise and his idiosyncrasies were constantly causing problems within the crew as a whole but in a loveable way.
That said, one of his more defined traits was his inability to use English contractions. Words like “aren’t”, “can’t”, “won’t” “I’m” were supposed to be his downfall. The loan thing that would keep the android from being human (well, that and you know, not being a human). The problem is, that depending on who was writing the script, Data’s inability to use contractions was either a major plot point or completely forgotten. It didn’t change that often, especially after season one, but it still wasn’t completely adhered to.
In the video below, YouTube user Matthew Mansfield completed an entire montage of Data using contractions, which, especially after season two, became a contradiction.
Data’s contraction contradiction isn’t an issue for Star Trek: The Next Generation fans.
While some will think it’s nit-picky to focus on something as simple as contractions in a science fiction television show, it’s more about exploring and highlighting just how complex and difficult it is to put a show together across seven seasons and a hundred plus episodes.
Data’s contraction contradiction doesn’t take away from the show, more so it shows how difficult it is to keep such a major character point consistent across so many seasons with so many scriptwriters.
That’s often something that people tend to forget about or not even realize, while three or four names will often be associated with the show a majority of its run, roles that are more revered in films (directors, writers, various crew positions), are often a revolving door in a television series.
The fact that such a character descriptor like not using contractions is only seen as often as it is after season two is actually quite a testament to the quality of the show.