Star Trek Character
Christine Chapel is a fictional character who appears in all three seasons of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Original Series, as well as Star Trek: The Animated Series and the films Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Portrayed by Majel Barrett, she was the ship's nurse on board the Starfleet starship USS Enterprise. Barrett had previously been cast under her real name as Number One in the first pilot for the series, "The Cage", due in part to her romantic relationship with the series creator Gene Roddenberry. But following feedback from network executives, she was not in the cast for the second pilot.
The character made her first appearance in "The Naked Time" following a re-write of the script by Roddenberry. He had been inspired after Barrett read a proposal for the episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and bleached her hair blonde to better fit a role in that episode. The change of color caused Roddenberry to believe that NBC executives might not notice that Barrett had returned against their wishes. However, the executives immediately recognized Barrett. The character was featured in several episodes covering several broad themes, such as showing her feelings for Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and why she joined Starfleet. By the time of The Motion Picture, Chapel was a doctor and during the events of The Voyage Home, she was stationed at Starfleet Command.
Executive producer Robert H. Justman was initially critical of Barrett's performance as Chapel, but recanted this opinion after her appearance as Lwaxana Troi in the Star Trek: The Next Generation. Barrett herself was not fond of the Chapel character, and David Gerrold felt that she only served to demonstrate Spock's emotionless behavior. Critics saw the character as being a degradation for Barrett compared to her first character. While the position of nurse was seen as a stereotype, the character's promotion to doctor was praised. Certain episodes featuring her were criticized, such as "Amok Time" where the plot prevented her from having a relationship with Spock, and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" where it was suggested she was featured to the detriment of other characters. Among fans, she was initially unpopular due to her feelings for Spock, but prior to the 2009 film Star Trek, there was a desire to see her return.
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