7) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Profit and Lace" (season 6, episode 23)
"Profit and Lace," the infamous sixth-season episode of Deep Space Nine, is often regarded as the series' low point, a painful achievement in a show celebrated for its depth and complexity. This episode is an attempt at ridiculous comedy, centered around Quark, who undergoes a temporary sex change to impersonate a female Ferengi.
The plot revolves around Quark's efforts to help his mother regain her financial rights in a male-dominated Ferengi society. The execution, however, could have been done so much better. We ultimately got a balancing act between humor and message that ends up plummeting into the abyss of poor taste, and it makes me wince just remembering that this episode exists.
The episode's main issues stem from its handling of gender and identity themes, which come off as awkward and insensitive by today's standards. Imagine a slapstick comedy where the slapstick is made of lead – heavy, uncomfortable, and likely to leave a mark. The portrayal of transgender and cross-dressing experiences is so poorly and distastefully done that it makes a Ferengi’s love for profit seem subtle.
Instead of offering a thoughtful commentary on gender roles, the episode indulges in cringe-worthy stereotypes and cheap laughs. It just doesn't mix very well. The result is an episode that many fans would love to erase from their collective memory, much like a bad holosuite program that you can’t believe you spent Latinum on.