Monday, June 19, 2017
Cult-TV Theme Watch: Picnics
A picnic is an excursion or occasion in which a meal is prepared for outdoor consumption, usually in a pastoral or scenic location. The word picnic is a 17th century French word, and one still in use today.
Today, we have family picnics, which can be raucous affairs, and romantic picnics, which boast other aims.
In cult-TV history, both sorts of picnics have been featured.
For instance, in Irwin Allen's Lost in Space (1965-1968), Maureen Robinson (June Lockhart) technically prepares a "picnic" at virtually every meal, setting up a table, chairs and meal outside the landed Jupiter 2, for every occasion. In some cases, the picnics occur on chariot trips.
In Star Trek (1966-1969), by contrast, Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) imagines a romantic picnic with Vina (Susan Oliver) in the pilot episode, "The Cage." The episode is an exploration, actually, of Pike's sexual fantasies, exploring whether he would want to breed with a damsel in distress, a girl next door, or a wild, Orion slave girl. The picnic scene involves the girl next door, and an Earth setting.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) share a romantic picnic on Betazed, until the event turns into a family affair, with the arrival of Troi's mother, Lwaxana (Majel Barrett Roddenberry).
A family picnic turns murderous in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's (1997-2003) episode, "This Year's Girl." Here, Faith (Eliza Dushku) experiences a dream in which she is sharing a picnic with her father-figure, the Mayor (Harry Groener). The picnic is rudely interrupted by Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who then kills Mayor Wilkins in cold blood.
Picnics have also appeared in Space:1999 ("The Last Sunset"), American Horror Story, and The Vampire Diaries.