Star Trek: Lower Decks Creator Responds to Controversy Over Episode's Racy Content

The fourth episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks' second season drew some attention from fans due to its relatively racy content. The episode "Mugato, Gumato" features the creatures first seen in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Private Little War." Lower Decks goes into the mating habits of the creatures, revealing that two males might fight for dominance and the right to mate with a female and that one of those males may choose to watch while pleasuring their own horn. Some fans felt like this was a little too sexual for a Star Trek episode, even an adult comedy like Star Trek: Lower Decks. Series creator Mike McMahon disagrees.

"Oh my god, watch five minutes of Solar Opposites, and you'll see there are limits in Lower Decks,"  McMahan told TrekMovie after the Star Trek Day event earlier this month, referring to the other animated series he runs. "You know, I've never seen Star Trek as celebrating puritanism. I think that Star Trek has always embraced sexuality, humanism, and all sorts of great stuff. When you're making shows like this, you're trying to find those limits. Even in TNG, you've got people tugging on Ferengi ears. There's always been that kind of stuff.

"I think the moment that everybody has been all whipped up about has a Mugato yanking on its horn, which, comedically, is funny. It was one of those moments where the artists kind of pushed for it and they made me laugh. And at the end of the day, we're trying to make a show that's Star Trek, but also makes you laugh. And I've got to be honest, for people that are pearl-clutching and freaking out because we had a suggestive moment in an adult animated show, it's just falling on deaf ears. It still felt like Star Trek to me. And if you're putting your six-year-old in front of Lower Decks, like, there's been other stuff. There's been other violence, there's been other complex stories that you're trusting them with. I think a Mugato yanking on its horn is not the most adult thing we've done."

McMahan says that he hopes to continue surprising fans with what they find in Lower Decks. "I think none of us make TV looking to make something that people expect," he says. "We look to make something that people are surprised by. I think sometimes you're not going to like stuff. Sometimes you're going to love stuff. There's a lot of different people watching these shows, and we're just doing our best to bring something into the world that makes us all really happy."

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What do you think? Let us know in the comments. New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks debut on Thursdays on Paramount+. In the trailer released on Star Trek day, you can get a glimpse of what's to come from the remainder of the season.