Picardo: Holodoc Not Intended As Another DataBy Christian
June 22, 2001 - 11:22 PM
On first sight, TNG's Data and the Holodoc would seem to have a lot in common. But according to Robert Picardo (Holodoc), his character was actually intended to be the opposite of the Enterprise's android officer.
"I think that the fact that [the Holodoc] was a technological being with a major attitude was really the source of a lot of the humor," Picardo explained to the Star Trek Magazine (via Voyager's Delights). "Technology isn't supposed to complain; you don't think of a device as saying 'Gee, I'm really sick of making your toast every morning; you cram things in me and I gotta pop 'em up, this is really a drag...' So I do think that a lot of the humor was just the cleverness of the writers saying, 'We've done, one artificial intelligence with Data, who is childlike and agreeable and enthusiastic; let's take it the absolute other direction!'"
A lot of this was due to the Doctor's completely different background to Data. While Data had been around for decades and was accepted by the Enterprise crew, this often was not the case for the Doctor - but Picardo saw this as one of the most interesting aspects of the character. "I think the Doctor showed the soft underbelly of someone who just wanted to be accepted and appreciated for what he could do and what made him special, and when the crew was treating him more like a machine than an individual that was also the source of a lot of his apparent superiority."
Picardo said that the Holodoc did share one aspect of Data's character: his sometimes child-like behaviour. "Oh, I think the Doctor often displays a child-like enthusiasm," he said. "In 'Someone To Watch Over Me,' when he decides to teach Seven how to behave on a date, he's very excited. He was excited when Kes wanted to learn about medicine. He loves sharing his actual or imagined expertise in whatever the field is. Look at 'Body and Soul,' when he discovers what it's like to have organic experience when he's in control of Seven's body. That was a fun show. And if you have to be done by someone, you might as well be done by Jeri Ryan!"
In the full interview, Picardo talks more about his experience working on 'Body and Soul,' as well as on several other of his favourite episodes. The interview is available in the new issue of the Star Trek Magazine, on sale now. A transcript of the interview can also be found online here at Voyager's Delights.