6. Riker and Soren (Star Trek: The Next Generation - "The Outcast")
Imagine tuning into Star Trek: The Next Generation, excited for some space exploration, and you get... a love story. Not just any love story. This one's about Commander William Riker, our extremely tall, handsome, charming, beard-sporting first officer with a knack for sitting down in funny ways, falling for Soren, a member of the J'naii, an androgynous race that looks down on gender specificity.
It's like going to a theme park on a date, expecting rollercoaster rides but ending up on the teacups (based on a true story). The episode "The Outcast" tries to wade into the waters of gender identity and societal norms, but with the grace of a Gorn on a dance floor. It's the '90s trying to be woke, but hitting the snooze button instead.
The cringe factor comes in with the heavy-handedness of it all. Riker, bless his heart, tries to navigate this complex issue with all the subtlety of a photon torpedo. The relationship between him and Soren was meant to be groundbreaking, tackling issues of gender and sexuality in a way that was rare for TV at the time. But the execution? Awkward. The dialogue's stiffer than a starched uniform, and the chemistry between them? Let's just say you'd find more sparks in a damp matchbook.
Fans couldn't help but wince as the show, with the best of intentions, stumbled through this well-meaning but ultimately ham-fisted attempt at social commentary. It's a classic case of "nice try, but no cigar," making Riker and Soren's love story more of a facepalm moment in the Star Trek universe.