Monday, February 25, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 41: Janice Rand

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, our subject is Janice Rand from TOS.

Janice Rand served as yeoman for the Enterprise under Captain Kirk. Despite being on the show for only the first season, Rand remains one of the most popular characters from the original series, likely because she was one of the nicest people serving on the ship and a love interest for Captain Kirk.

The role of yeoman was a personal or clerical assistant for the commanding officer, and this role largely disappeared beyond The Original Series and its movies. Gene Roddenberry envisioned the role being filled by an attractive young woman, which may be reflective of the times in the 1960's, but Rand is the only major character featured in this role that is a female.

Indeed, Captain Pike and Captain Kirk both make comments that indicate that the role of yeoman is more typically filled by male crewmen. However, Rand brings some further diversity to the bridge crew, something that was highly valued in the process of making Star Trek TOS.

Although Rand clearly has feelings for the Captain, Kirk cannot reciprocate those feelings openly due to his supervisory role on the ship. His true feelings were perhaps revealed during the episode The Enemy Within, in which an evil duplicate of Kirk forcibly tries to make love to Rand while noting he has suppressed his feelings for too long.

Rand transferred off the ship after the first season, but that was not the last seen of the character. She reappeared as an officer during the movies, eventually taking the role of communications officer aboard Excelsior when Sulu captains the ship.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Corbomite Maneuver:
Dr. McCoy: [Rand enters the bridge carrying a tray] I thought the power was off in the galley?
Yeoman Rand: I used a hand phaser, and zap! Hot coffee.
Actor: Grace Lee Whitney played Yeoman Rand. Whitney played small roles in a lot of television series from the 1950's and 1960's, including 77 Sunset Strip. Whitney began her career as a vocalist, opening for acts such as Billie Holliday and Buddy Rich.

Until next time, live long and prosper...


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