Space Academy  


Tee Gar Sume 

He's cute and a martial arts expert.  But, this cadet is much more than the strong, silent type with great hair.  You've just got to go a little deeper.  Tee Gar is often called on to escort the unfortunate to security or to arrest someone.  The only time he does both, Chris is always in the felon party.  Tee Gar has a gentle strength to match the obvious physical attributes.  A quick wit offsets his too vocal opinion-always at the wrong time.  But he is not afraid to speak his mind, admit his fear or confess his faults.  The physician doesn't get much respect.  Why?  Keep reading.

Brian Tochi's character IS a character.  We do not know if he is a Doogie Howser of the 37th. Century, but from various snippets of dialog the viewer might get the impression that:

A.  He is a bit spoiled or stuck on himself.

B.  He is in charge of sickbay.

C.  He walks around with Laura, but we never see him touch her.

D.  His dialog opportunities are as rare as Paul's.

 

Let's take this answer by answer. 

A.  He is a bit spoiled or stuck on himself.

Not necessarily.  Filmation writers gave him an attitude in the episode where the Blue Team finds a frozen Vegan, in "Countdown".  He complains that the team should be doing something a bit more heroic than clearing away debris from shipping lanes.  He makes another disparaging comment in "Planet of Fire" after Loki has just complimented him on his new invention, the Cryotron.  His comment is basically, "that's the best compliment I've had in a long time".  That two second look either reveals his character or Tochi's own feelings...

Does that mean that the good doctor is too good to be cleaning up garbage?  I don't think so.  If, in fact, Tee Gar has grown up very quickly with the medical degree/knowledge intimated in the series, it could be that he is thinking of much bigger deeds.  He could have developed an attitude, especially if he is not taken seriously by the adults in his life.  And Gampu can be severe at the oddest times.  But then, there is Loki's comment and Tee Gar's very cryptic response that I just cannot ignore. 

Okay, I'm going into the psychology psycho-babble...but I've got the degree so I can comment on this with relative certainty that he typifies someone who has been given the shaft. An example might be because of race, education (too much or little) or that individual was not graced with a gorgeous face or body.  This is not the same as entitlement.  I never got the impression after watching all the episodes that Tee Gar felt he was owed any laurels.  I don't think he was given many in general: too many expectations of him with little recognition of his accomplishments; no reward other than his own internal sense of duty.

And, I truly think Filmation set us up with a character they had to develop too fast.  Unconsciously, either they wrote the character this way, or the actor interpreted the character this way.  I have my opinions based on the television series, The Renegades, where Brian Tochi plays a streetwise former hood, and an insightfully acted Twilight Zone episode, "Wong's Lost and Found Emporium".  I believe Mr. Tochi really does have some deep seeded disappointment that he catharts through his characters.  Or, I could be wrong and the technique is called: acting.  Brian, I'd love to finish that conversation we started after 9/11/01... 

b.  He is in charge of sickbay.

This we can't really tell.  When Johnny Sunseed visits, Tee Gar takes care of a psychotic Adrian and later mentions that his patients are responding favorably to whatever he's prescribed.  When Paul is injured in "Life begins at 300", Tee Gar makes a comment about, "Doctor's orders".  In "There's No Place Like Home", Tee Gar is seen hovering over the former intruder, Kane, as he is wheeled in to speak with Commander Gampu. 

We do know that when someone is hurt, Tee Gar does a very quick examination ("Countdown", "Castaways in Time and Space").  And, a comment from Loki to Paul, whom he has just met, about how, "Tee Gar has the Commander doing exercises in the gymnasium", gives the viewer the impression that he is certainly active in medicine.  But in charge? 

Somehow, having only one physician who is away with the Blue Team much of the time seems irresponsible.  I can't buy that Tee Gar is charge.  One of a handful of doctors to treat the students at the Academy-yes.  In charge?  No.  But since I have no proof...you decide.

C.  He walks around with Laura, but we never see him touch her.

It's downright odd.  Laura throws him an apple and walks with him in the halls, but only in one episode she's got both hands on him ("Countdown"--while Tee Gar 'fesses' up his lesson of the day to Gampu at the end of the episode.).  On the other hand, HE is as touchy-feely with Adrian as all the other male cadets in the cast!  (Loki doesn't count.)   He does grab Laura's arm in "Johnny Sunseed".  But that's it.  Two girls, three boys... hum...We see a budding interest between Chris and Adrian, but I know a slew of girls that wanted Tee Gar to examine them...too bad Filmation didn't pick up on that angle.

D.  His dialog opportunities are as rare as Paul's.

Paul actually has the fewest lines, other than Peepo.  Tee Gar has his own episode, and of course when someone is hurt, Tee Gar steps in as healer.  But Tee Gar's forte is in his reaction shots--'The look'.  As someone speaks...Brian Tochi's eyes speak/react for him.  But again, Filmation didn't give him many opportunities to visually 'voice' a wide range of expressions.  We see him try to react in the very first scene of the series when the Blue Team is together ("Survivors of Zalon") and it seems to be a carbon copy throughout the next fourteen episodes.  Filmation just keeps Tee Gar compliant and silent or in trouble as a character.  Pity. 

Paul, Adrian, and Tee Gar

Go to Brian Tochi's page.


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