Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 2, Episode 3

The Practical Joker (21 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  |  TV-Y7  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 141 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

The computer of the Enterprise gains partial sentience and starts playing practical jokes on the crew.


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Title: The Practical Joker (21 Sep 1974)

The Practical Joker (21 Sep 1974) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode cast overview:
Capt. Kirk (voice)
Mr. Spock (voice)
Dr. McCoy (voice)
Sulu (voice)
Uhura (voice)
M'Ress / Computer voice (voice)
Scott / Arex / Search party 7 Crewman (voice)


To avoid a confrontation with Romulans, Kirk orders the ship through a unknown energy field. They escape the Romulans, but the energy field has changed the ship's computer into a prankster. It begins pulling more and more complicated practical jokes on the crew, finally to the point of endangering McCoy, Uhura, and Sulu on the Recreation Deck. Besides those three's lives, the Romulans re-appear and threaten the ship. The practical-joking computer actually helps distract the Romulans for a short while, but then the ship is once again set upon. Kirk tricks the computer (using reverse logic) into re-entering the energy field, which restores the computer to normal, but makes the Romulans' computers into pranksters instead. Written by Tony-B4

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Release Date:

21 September 1974 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first appearance of a holodeck - called a Recreation Deck - in the "Star Trek" universe. See more »


Kirk orders a heading of 902 Mark 6. All headings must be between 1 and 360/000. They mark the points of the compass which has 360 degrees with 360 headed to the galactic center. The "mark" covers the "vertical" plane of the galaxy. See more »


Scott: You bloody big scatterbrain! Make up your monumental mind!
See more »


Featured in Drawn to the Final Frontier (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

kid's stuff.
12 April 2015 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

As I always point out, the animation for this show is pure crap. Low cell counts (with jerky, robotic movements) and ugly drawings are the norm for this series--and this one is unfortunately no exception. Even by 70s TV cartoons, this one is butt ugly.

The show begins with Romulans attacking Enterprise. The Captain takes the ship through an energy field to avoid them and in the process the computer aboard the ship is affected--becoming goofy and with a bad sense of humor. Dribble glasses, pies in the face graffiti on the Captain's uniform and other simple-minded pranks start occurring and everyone aboard laughs like crazy. Mostly, however, it looks like stuff most children watching the show would have laughed at instead of adults. Well, they eventually discover that the computer is behind all this.

This episode is clearly one that kids would love--because they would have thought the computer's jokes were funny. As for older audiences (and it's amazing that adults really embraced this show), it's harder going due to its silliness--which grates on you after a while. My verdict is an 8 for kids and a 5 for adults.

By the way, it is interesting that this show debuts the holodeck-- something I incorrectly assumed was created on "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

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