3

I found this blooper reel, transcribed below:

PICARD (gesturing to DATA): The admiral and I were worried about you.
(beat, either TROI stifles a laugh or SIRTIS briefly corpses, unclear which*)
DATA: Captain, I do not believe you have the authority to promote me to the rank of admiral.
(beat, several glances exchanged)
Everyone BREAKS CHARACTER and begins laughing.
SPINER: Good take. Good take!

* It might have been clearer if the video had not frozen for most of this beat.

The scene is obviously taken from the closing minutes of episode 2x22 "Shades of Gray." What is less clear to me is whether Data's line (in bold) was in the original script, or if Stewart messed up and Spiner ad-libbed a decent response.

Both lines do appear in the final episode, and are immediately preceded by Riker joking that he thinks he's Picard, so it's entirely plausible that this was planned from the beginning. But as I recall, Riker's line is delivered in a close up, so it could have been recorded afterwards to make the joke work.

Was this an ad-lib? If not, what were they laughing at?

6

Based on the original screenplay it appears that this was not an ad-lib, but was, in fact, scripted.

RIKER: Of course I know who I am. I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.

PICARD: Delighted you're feeling better, Captain. (re: Data) The admiral and I were worried about you.

[Data gives Picard a confused look.]

DATA: Sir, I do not believe you have the authority to promote me to the rank of admiral.

As for what they were laughing at, your guess is as good as mine.

  • I've taken out the speculation about the provenance of the scripts. I've never seen any reason to doubt that they're original and they entirely match the ones I've seen in the (purchasable) scriptbooks. – Valorum Nov 4 '17 at 22:47
  • @Valorum: Fair enough. I try not to give too much trust to random sites I found on Google, but if you want to vouch for them, that's up to you. – Kevin Nov 4 '17 at 22:56
  • 1
    "As for what they were laughing at" ... well, it's a funny line. I don't think there's any great mystery there. – Harry Johnston Nov 5 '17 at 6:13

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