KM: I’m terrific, and I’m equally delighted because something sparked between us when we did that radio show.
TS: That was fun, wasn’t it? I was down there tonight talking to Robert Duncan McNeill.
KM: Well, otherwise known as…
TS: No, don’t say it.
KM: I can’t say it? (laughing)
TS: Don’t say the nickname. We talked about that. We were talking about the beginning of the new Star Trek series and the feeling that people had. You know…Could America be oversaturated with Star Trek, and I said “no” because it is like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July and Mother’s Day, and America is always going to want to know about the many flights to places where nobody has ever been before, and I’m sure you found this to be true when you saw the response to this program. Your first week’s ratings were incredibly high.
KM: They were incredibly high. Well you know, this network of fans are pretty extraordinary, and they’re ardent fans. And they’re bright. And I think they’re always reaching forward. And the particularly marvelous thing about Voyager is that it is very unique. I hear it is not the Next Generation, and it isn’t the first thing. It stands on its own two feet. And I think it has a very special excitement about it.
TS: You have been quoted as saying that this is the part that you’ve waited all your life to play. That you feel a certain responsibility about playing this part.
KM: I do feel a responsibility which transcends the role itself. I’m not talking about merely the role. There are many layers and levels here which I have to pay a great deal of attention to.
TS: Layers and levels meaning?…
KM: My ensemble. My company. I mean… this may sound a little Pollyanna and I don’t really care. I feel that I have to set a tone there. I have to set a level of discipline. If they’re unhappy, I want them to come to me. This also goes for the crew. And upstairs.
TS: By the way, it’s the same around here. You know, I set the tone here. (They both laugh.)
KM: I noticed that you set a very interesting tone here, doesn’t he gentlemen? (They both laugh again.)
TS: Exactly right.
KM: Very, very interesting tone.
TS: We march to one band here… (They both laugh again.) …and it be MY band.
KM: And me, too. I’ll set the triangles…ding a ling.
TS: So you don’t view it so much as you are the first woman captain to command a ship, but that you, after all, carry on the traditions of others before you who have commanded the starships through various galaxies as we journey to places where people have not gone before.
KM: I have to view it like that, and I think I’d make a big mistake if I thought it as totally gender-oriented. It’d be wrong. And it’d frankly be rather boring and it’d be a little too modern for words, wouldn’t it? Just because I’m a woman.
TS: By the way, I was talking about this with your costar downstairs…downstairs, folks, being radio.
KM: Downstairs, they need to know what you mean when you say downstairs. (They both laugh.) It sounds very provocative. Downstairs, yes? (She says it very provocatively.)
TS: (Laughing) Downstairs to the Spermatory. (They both laugh.)
KM: Okay. We really need to get off that.
TS: By the way, tell them about the radio studio downstairs.
KM: Well, that was fascinating. And you were such a delightful surprise. And I loved your capacity for listening. We got into something quite interesting…your Jesuit background.
TS: I think that was it, yes.
KM: Which interests me a great deal. Can I ask you a question?
KM: I’m not trying to be condescending here. In fact, I expect to hear, “let’s get to the serious part.”
TS: No, I’m done here anyway, so…
KM: Ralph Reed was talking to you and you said something clever and very astute, which was: if Christ were alive today, would he espouse us politically? What would his political movement be? That’s fine, and he answered it in his own political fashion. I would ask you, as a Jesuit tradesman, in some area of vision, if not a great area of vision, I would like to come back to… if Jesus Christ were alive today, in your opinion, tell me, and he were talking to the woman at the well…you know that parable very well…she slept around and he gave her what’s for but in a very compassionate way…and she said, “you know, Jesus, I’m pregnant and I don’t have a husband, and I’ve got three or four kids at home to raise, and I really want to get rid of this kid, what do you think Jesus would say?
TS: Man, don’t put that one on me because I can’t begin to fathom it.
KM: But you asked him what he thought Jesus would do.
TS: Yeah, but that would be in a political situation. In a personal situation…(a very long pause)…I would like to think that Christ might well say, “you know, you want to think about this. And if you come to a decision that is not the decision that I might offer you, which is to carry this child to term, that that decision is between you and your Creator.” I think when Christ said on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” I don’t think he spoke only to his tormentors. I think he spoke to all of us who would commit things he might view as sinful, but understanding that we have a free will, that we are mortal, and that it is between us and the Creator, and “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That’s my answer.
KM: Absolutely. And if the world will forgive me, I think the scary word in all this is “morality.” What is “morality?” Who imposed this term on our society? What is morality?
TS: But don’t you understand. There are…you see…you know I was brought up by those guys back there, those Jebby guys, and like a lot of people who might see, and you’re a Catholic kid so you’ll know this…Folks, we’re going to be onto the funny stuff soon. (Both laugh.)
KM: Or maybe not. Go ahead.
TS: I was taught that Catholicism was not something that should restrict me. It was always something to expand me. That it would open up and deepen, and that it involves sacrifice, and that it involves thinking about things, and it involves making choices that you don’t necessarily like. But aside from that, it would help you think your way to the best solution in your life.
KM: Exactly. Some sort of mysticism. Correction: the whole thing of Catholicism can’t be confused for blanket Christianity, wouldn’t you agree?
TS: Yes, I would.
KM: Mr. Reed is fond of using “morality.”
TS: Well, Mr. Reed is not here. Also, Catholicism would not dictate that women wear “black-patented, leather shoes that reflect up.” (Both laugh.)
KM: You stole my line! No “black-patented, leather shoes that reflect up.”
TS: What was that great book? John Roberts, I think. He said, “do black-patented, leather shoes reflect up?” And it’s all about the stuff we go through as Catholics. Let’s not turn off the Lutherans in this crowd, God knows.
KM: Oh, God no.
TS: Back with Kate Mulgrew on CBS TV…after these messages…
(There is a video clip between Neelix and Captain Janeway, regarding the scene over Neelix’s substitute for coffee.)
TS: How can you not laugh when you look at him with all that make-up on? (Of Neelix.)
KM: He’s so divine. I have to tell you that I’m so immersed I believe them all. He’s really a klingon. He’s really a vulcan. It’s true. After awhile, it becomes second nature.
TS: We are with Kate Mulgrew. The first caller is from Kentucky.
C: I was wondering how she felt about being the first Star Trek female captain and whether she was a trekkie?
TS: Whether or not you were a trekkie.
KM: Had I been a trekkie before? No, I had never been a trek fan. But I had watched a lot of the “Q” episodes. John Delancie is a great friend of mine. But I am a great fan now. And regarding Janeway, I feel very happy…terribly privileged…honored…if such a word can be used that way.
TS: The next caller is from New York.
C: I wanted to know how much pressure, Kate, do you feel, not only as the first female captain, but also with all the successful, past episodes and off-shoots of Star Trek before this? Is there any pressure that you and the whole crew and cast feel?
KM: A wonderful pressure. But comparisons are odious.
TS: (interrupting) What are you doing? (to Kate.)
KM: Why am I jiggling my feet? Another Catholic trait. We do this instead of praying sometimes. (They both laugh.) Stop, it, Tom. See, he is a Jesuit. (Both laugh again.) She wants to know how I feel. I feel there are no comparisons to myself and Kirk or to Picard. She’s on her own, Janeway. She’s unique, and I think she’s superb and a marvelous person in her own right, and I don’t think of those gentlemen, and I’m impressed with what they’ve done, but certainly, don’t have them in my thoughts.
TS: They were of the past, and you are going forward. By the way, do you watch the new program?
C: Yes, I do watch it.
TS: On the starship, do they have any place to where you can use the restroom?
KM: I think that’s a question that Genevieve Bujold asked.
KM: Yes. She was on the Bridge and asked, “where would I use the bathroom?” I don’t think anyone had a quick or appropriate response to that. Of course, we do go to the bathroom. I think this is a fantasy play or something. I don’t think we have a segway or anything.
TS: Well, I was just thinking…You know, Ozzie and Harriet never went to the bathroom. Ricky and Dave never used the bathroom.
KM: Take a good look at Ozzie and Harriet. Maybe they didn’t need to. Everybody has to go to the bathroom.
TS: The next caller is from New York.
C: What do you think Voyager will bring that’s new to the Star Trek universe? The Original had a Shoot ‘Em Up quality and the Next Generation dealt with intellectuality, and Deep Space Nine has its spirituality.
KM: Well, it will bring a lot of new things but foremost to them will be my hands-on quality. She’s a mover, Janeway is. She’s a doer.
TS: You’re really into that.
KM: I’m totally into it. So I will go on the away teams. I want to visit the planets. I want to explore the other alien races. I want to be right in the middle of the conflicts and the resolutions as the case may be. This is a Captain who is totally, to pardon the expression, engaged in every way. So I think the possibilities are endless. Are you watching it?
C: Yes, definitely.
KM: So what do you think of it?
C: I love it. I think Deep Space Nine sort of got to a slow start, but Voyager started out guns blazing.
KM: It did. Are you watching as it goes on?
C: Yes, absolutely.
TS: Why don’t you ask her what her favorite episode was?
KM: Yes, which episode did you like? (Both laugh.)
C: Out of all of Voyager, or out of everything?
KM: Out of Voyager.
C: Well, obviously the first episode.
KM: The pilot?
TS: Yes, all guns blazing. Well, I’m down to time here. Well, Kate, I’m glad that I met you at the radio station, and you come back here sometime, and we’ll go more into Catholicism.
KM: I’d love to, Tom.
TS: Were you Francescan Nuns or Aposolet Fathers? Who taught you?
KM: The Presentation. Yes.
TS: Okay. Kate Mulgrew, folks, on the new Star Trek Voyager on UPN on Monday nights at 8.
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