By Ciarán McNulty
Okay lads, set your drinks down coz I’ve something I wanna say and you’re probably not going to like it. I hate Worf.
Yeah, I know. He’s the most popular Klingon of all time and has so many funny/awesome moments but at the heart of it, people, face it…he’s a prick. An honest-to-Kahless prick. For every “I’m not a merry man” moment that you chuckle at and love about him, I guarantee you there’s 2 moments of him being an arrogant, self-involved, hypocritical and even sexually-violent arse.
Now, this doesn’t mean I think he’s a badly realised character. On the contrary. My reaction to him is a testament to the acting of the wonderful Michael Dorn and to the scribes of Star Trek writing a very effective and astute observation of an intergalactic curmudgeon, particularly in DS9. Coz, surely having a character who’s that big a pain in the hole all the time, must be intentional, right?
As far back as the early days of TNG, Worf exhibited an attitude and behaviour which has me scratching my head as to how he became so popular. From the get-go, this miserable bollocks would make one rule for himself and another for all those unfortunate enough to be around him. He defied Klingon tradition to don a Starfleet uniform and yet, once in said uniform, would spend most of the time blathering on about his Klingon traditions instead of working. He would also say that he wouldn’t betray those ideals and beliefs, which occasionally put him in direct conflict with orders and basic Starfleet protocol.
Indeed, in episodes like ‘Rightful Heir’ (an otherwise decent episode for exploring Klingon ritual and intrigue, only let down by it’s centering on old Misery-Ridges himself), Picard gets quite appropriately pissed off with the sheer frequency of Worf’s Klingon junk interfering with his duties. Yet Picard still manages to let the useless lump away on leave in order to…I dunno, find himself or some other Worf-centric nonsense. If I’m Captain, he gets canned right there. “G’way and find yourself, lad. And wherever it is ya turn up, feckin’ stay there!”
Which brings us to the next problem- everything always has to be about Worf! This personality vacuum isn’t content to just be rubbish at being a Starfleet officer because of his Klingon baggage, nor to also be rubbish at being a Klingon due to being a dull, non-committal fence-sitter with one foot in another culture. He must also be the centre of attention in both worlds. Now this may be where the writing is at fault, with the script-writers perhaps bowing consistently to those fans who so inexplicably wanted more of this eejit on screen. But I got so fed up of there being major crises in the corridors of Klingon power and then for some weak reason (like an ambassadorial role or something), Worf frowning his way onto centre stage and taking a huge, Empire-defining role in the process. Think about it- Worf helps establish the new Chancellor, Worf is present at the emergence of a cloned Kahless, Worf becomes leader of the Empire! Enough! Why always him?
And even when it isn’t about him, he tries to make it as such. His sense of entitlement when the Klingon female, with links to Quark’s past showed up, he simply assumed that she would want to be with him. He acted as if her very presence on DS9 was to serve as this week’s love interest in the Worf Show.
Similarly, when O’Brien, Bashir and Quark wanted, very kindly, to assist Worf on a mission to supposedly send Jadzia’s soul to the afterlife (and satisfy some religious nonsense which she herself wouldn’t have given a tuppence about), he was an abominable wanker about it, refusing to let anyone share in his grief and accusing them all of being in love with her and, naturally, not worthy of her at the same time. What. A. Twat.
Then comes my biggest grievance. Worf’s attitude to women. Klingon culture be damned, this guy is just a rapey arsehole. His traditions might say that violently grabbing a woman and forcing yourself on her is all good fun, but the women we see him do that with usually aren’t Klingon!
It’s pretty convenient that whenever he did lay on the smooth, seductive Worf moves (or sexual assault, to give it another name), the women usually fought in terror for about 5 seconds before deciding they liked it. Now, this probably is one area where the writers want a stern bloody talking to. You might be Klingon, Worf, but these women aren’t and I’m sorry but ya can’t be going around Roger Moore-ing it in the 2370s, especially whilst wearing a Starfleet uniform.
In Jadzia, it could be argued, there was a strong woman who somewhat expected it and, as previously demonstrated, could handle the brutish wanker anyway. However when he did it to tiny, little Ezri, was I the only one in the audience who was uncomfortable? And of course, when she wakes up after the successful rape-seduction, Worf acts like a controlling bastard. Who knew! I won’t even start on the Troi thing.
Lastly, we come to poor Alexander. Can you imagine having Worf as a dad? Considering the account I’ve given of him so far, you might think he’d be a pretty crap father, right? You’d be spot on.
When an (inconsistently) older Alexander showed up in Klingon garb aboard a warship, we saw a feckless, occasionally incompetent young man who didn’t seem to know his place in the universe.
If, upon your mother’s death, you were left aboard a Starship with a father who claimed to be a good true-blue Starfleet officer, yet insisted on letting archaic space religion and the blood-drenched ideology of the battlefield constantly get in the way of that, you’d be confused too, right? And then when that dogmatic warrior code was used as an excuse to be an uncaring, over-demanding arse to you before finally shipping you off to live with your granny and granda in Russia, ya might just give up. Have you been to Russia? It’s cold!
Again, Michael Dorn is awesome. His performance must’ve been tough for him, and he did it for well over a decade and buried under makeup to boot. So I really like the actor but not who he plays, which again, is a credit to his and the writers’ work through the years.
In general, I love the Klingons as a Star Trek species and episodes like ‘A Matter of Honour’ and ‘Blood Oath’ are amongst my favourites, so it might seem odd that I have such disdain for a character that is effectively the personification of, even cultural window to, the Klingons in the Star Trek universe. But hopefully, some of the above rambling might clue some in as to just why someone wouldn’t like Worf. Or why, in fact, they might bloody well hate the obnoxious, boring shitbag.