In the TNG episode The Naked Now, the crew of the Enterprise come across a strange contagion which they discover is almost identical to one found by the Enterprise under Captain Kirk:

RIKER: Historical. That's it. I remember I was reading a history of all the past starships named Enterprise.
DATA: Enterprise history. Aberrant behavior. Medical cross reference.
RIKER: Captain, I believe we've have the answer to what happened over there.
PICARD: The Constitution class Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk commanding.
RIKER: Similar conditions. They were monitoring a planet that was breaking up, not a collapsing star as in this case. But there were the same huge shifts in gravity ...
PICARD: Which somehow resulted in complex strings of water molecules which acquired carbon from the body and acted on the brain like alcohol.

Out of universe, this is obviously a nod to TOS, but is it a nod to a specific episode/event from TOS, or just to the Kirk era as a whole?

What specific TOS episode, if any, is this a reference to?

  • Annoying that chat has that time delay - I could've answered this in a jiffy! Mar 18, 2016 at 1:22
  • @N_Soong Saw this comment in my inbox, knew it was you ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:23
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    I didn't realize this when I was a kid, but it seems that TNG and later Star Trek series "copy" themes for episodes a lot. Mar 18, 2016 at 1:24
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    @T-1000'sSon : A good example is "Lower Decks" (TNG) and "Good Shepherd" (Voy).
    – Praxis
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:39
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    Memory Alpha has a ton of background information on, among other things, every episode of the show; many similar questions are answered there. memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Naked_Now_(episode) Mar 18, 2016 at 2:39

1 Answer 1


It's a reference to The Naked Time, which featured an earlier epidemic of the same disease based on strings of water molecules. From the transcript:

MCCOY: McCoy to Bio. We've isolated it. Start preparing serum.

HARRISON [OC]: What, Doctor?

MCCOY: It's water. Somehow on this planet, water's changed to a complex chain of molecules.

HARRISON [OC]: What's that, Doctor?

MCCOY: That's how we missed it. It passed from man to man through perspiration. Once in the bloodstream, it acts like alcohol, depresses the centres of judgment, self-control. Now get someone to the lab. Tell them the serum works, and start preparing more.

  • Good work Hypnosifl! Mar 18, 2016 at 1:22
  • Ah, those Naked Trekkies ... [shakes head]
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:39
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    Where does the title The Naked Time come from, I wonder? (I'm guessing it doesn't mean it was "naked time" for the intoxicated crew. :) )
    – RobertF
    May 6, 2016 at 15:48
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    @RobertF - Yeah, it's a strange title, might be worth posting that as a separate question. It could be that it has something to do with the usage of "naked" in the context of revealing some truth that people to hide (a usage that was more common then than now), as in the phrase "the naked truth", or books from that era like The Naked Communist or Naked Lunch (whose title was explained in the introduction to refer to 'a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork')
    – Hypnosifl
    May 6, 2016 at 16:59
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    Reminds me of another TOS episode, Amok Time, which also has a somewhat unclear title. Is it a time travelling adventure where the crew runs amuck through time? No - instead the title refers to the specific time (the pon farr) when Spock runs amuck.
    – RobertF
    May 6, 2016 at 17:31

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