The “Marsh melon” Debacle


SPOCK: I am preparing to toast a ‘marsh melon’.

McCOY: Well, I’ll be damned. A marsh melon. Where did you learn to do that?

SPOCK: Before leaving the ship I consulted the computer library to familiarise myself with the customs associated with ‘camping out.’


It’s been over 25 years since Star Trek V came out and bombed so badly that even today it remains the butt of numerous jokes. There was even a scene in The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon and Raj are arguing over which was the worst movie; Star Trek The Motion Picture or Star Trek V. The truth is it was a film that had everything against it ranging from Gene Roddenberry’s own dislike of the premise, ILM being unavailable for the effects work and William Shatner’s galactic sized ego at the helm. With all the mistakes and goofs in this movie one seems to stand out more than any other and yet it is the one that makes Trekkies least angry. Rather it has long been a source of curiosity and discussion. 

“Why does Spock call masrhmallows “marsh melons?”

The truth is this line was what was left of the original script which consisted of a scene in which Dr McCoy plays a joke on Spock and reprograms the computer he accesses to learn what to do while camping. McCoy makes the computer call them “marsh melons” with the idea being he and Kirk would spend the evening laughing at Spock’s mispronunciation. While these scenes were never shot somehow the result was retained in the final script and McCoy’s glee is immediately obvious although now it appears that he is simply amused by Spock making a genuine mistake.

Stepping away from this a moment I think most people will agree that while the rest of the movie wasn’t up to much the campfire scene itself was a touching moment. It was tender, emotive and well acted offering a deep insight in to their friendship which had carried the series for so long. So if we don’t take anything else away from this movie (which a lot of people now even refuse to accept as canon) we can take this simple yet touching moment.

Thanks for reading….


One thought on “The “Marsh melon” Debacle”

  1. I just happened to have watched that particular episode of The Big Bang Theory and it always makes me laugh. Star Trek V, even though it falls short of what II, IV & VI are is not an unwatchable movie. I do have to agree with Sheldon, The Motion Picture is a worse movie.

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