“Star Trek: Lower Decks” finds much of its humor in the odd banality of existing among the Lower Decks. Sure, they occasionally encounter new alien species and go on crazy adventures, but they also do a ton of heavy lifting and take care of most of the jobs that senior officers don’t want anything to do with. It’s a workplace comedy, and sometimes the funniest bits of workplace comedy are just about pointing out how bad the job can be. It’s hard enough being a lower deck and cleaning up after the rest of the crew, but job fair duty is a new low. Like, low enough for Mr. Rules and Regulations himself, Boimler, to absolutely flip his lid. Not only do he and Mariner have to deal with the nerve of the archaeologist manning the booth next to them, but they also have to deal with the heckling of almost everyone else.
A scientist at the outpost makes fun of the uniforms, and Boimler doesn’t realize at first that she’s being sarcastic. I had immediate flashbacks to my own itchy woolen ROTC uniform in the hot summer sun and immediately understood Boimler’s shame and frustration. Sometimes the thing you love is really hard and not for everyone, like Starfleet, but it’s irritating when others are dismissive. Joining Starfleet could mean adventure and exploration, or it could mean almost certain death on an alien planet. It could mean years of staring at the warp core or translating alien languages, or it could mean one day commanding your own spaceship. Starfleet rewards those who fight for their dreams, and the truly aimless don’t need to apply.