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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Dec 23, 2018

In-Jokes and Easter Eggs in Star Trek.

When Joe Menosky began writing for Star Trek in 1990, he brought with him a peculiar relic from his university days: an obsession with the number 47. This unassuming digit soon found its way into unofficial Trek lore, popping up with increasing frequency and creativity. Before long, Star Trek scripts were replete with the references to 47. Even the art department got in on the act, dotting PADDs, corridors, and weapons lockers with the designation. As the not-so-random inclusion of the number grew throughout the 1990s like a subliminal infestation of Tribbles, spotting them became a fan-favorite activity—the ultimate Star Trek Easter egg hunt.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook are joined by Carlos Miranda from for a look at in-jokes and Easter eggs in Star Trek. We consider the origin of such carefully hidden nuggets in Warren Robinett’s 1979 Atari 2600 video game Adventure, and how cleverly hiding references has become a familiar part of pop culture. We also look at some of Star Trek’s most popular running in-jokes, as well as the use of self-parody and quotation—in Deep Space Nine in particular—and consider what such creative gestures say about the unspoken contract between Trek’s producers and fans.

Intro (00:00:00)
Pomona College and the original 47 (00:03:47)
Robinett's Egg (00:11:04)
Okudagrams (00:19:03)
Cetacean Ops (00:33:21)
Recurring (non-) characters (00:42:20)
Quotation and parody (00:47:10)
Flirting with the viewer (00:53:07)
Fan silver-service (01:01:47)
Final thoughts (01:13:00)

Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook

Carlos Miranda

Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)