To mark the show’s finale, its fans at the United Nations — people whose nonfictional jobs involve wrestling with similar issues day in and day out — invited the cast and producers to visit the U.N. for a two-hour panel discussion and talk-back.
On Tuesday, some 500 people took seats in the chamber, a stiff, formal space with miles of dull, blonde wood. Whoopi Goldberg, a UNICEF ambassador as well as an Oscar-winning actor, served as the panel’s moderator. U.N. representatives joined actors Edward James Olmos, who played the commander of the show’s title warship, and Mary McDonnell, who starred as President Laura Roslin, his civilian superior.
Let’s get something out of the way quickly. The average UN official does not wrestle with a job comparable to piloting a star cruiser carrying the last humans across space pursued by Cylon people-robots. On trips to the UN HQ canteen, I rarely spot anyone wrestling with anything (except a rubbery panini) but let’s go along with the spirit of the thing: UN officials do work for the good of humanity, and are duly in need of a bit of fun.
But that doesn’t mean you should let them do the entertaining. The UN-Battlestar convention seems to have gone a bit awry:
Dave Howe, the Sci Fi Channel’s president, declared that, like the U.N., “great science fiction forces us to look at who we are and ask the tough questions: Where are we going? . . . And what can we expect to find when we get there?” The U.N. officials were a little fuzzier on the analogy. One admitted to never having seen the show, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, the special representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said she had hastily watched a few episodes in preparation. (“It was really nice to see not just special effects,” she said.)
Genius. Just genius. If the UN arranged a day of celebration for The Joy of Sex, they’d probably manage to find a eunuch to give the key-note address.