Red shirt, blue shirt, gold shirt, no shirt

Oh captain my captain, what has time done?

Now there’s a Dr. Suess book I could get behind.

Poor, poor redshirts. They never stand a chance.

If I was a gal going in to Starfleet Academy in the year 2267, I would request a job that required a blue or gold uniform.  Why were the redshirts always the first to go?  I could give you the technical answer about how red uniforms are worn by Engineering and Security personnel and one or more of them would be required to go on away missions to protect the Captain or go in first to investigate.  But let’s be honest.  It’s the “black dude dies first” rule but since Star Trek is so enlightened they had to find another way of going about it.

You know it’s true.

At my first Star Trek Convention in San Francisco we were treated to some short films produced by fanboys.  One of them (and by far the most popular) was one about redshirts.  I don’t know if this was the exact one but it is equally as humorous:


The term “redshirt” has embedded itself in pop culture.  Anyone expendable is now a redshirt.

Personally, I like to think about how Ensign Ricky would have felt about all this.  I’m sure his mama would be proud that her brave young son will always be remembered for taking one for the (away) team.

By 2364 the red and gold uniforms had been swapped. I think this was a good move.  Red is more regal and commanding than yellow is.  It demands respect.  The Next Generation understandably didn’t want to become a joke by continuing the redshirt joke.  But they still needed a way to show that the bad guy was bad without killing off the main characters (Tasha Yar being the exception, but hey, she wanted out).

*bitch slap* "Don't you know who I am? I am the borg! Resistance is futile, A**HOLE!"

This is where The Worf Effect comes in to play.

Worf is the biggest and most badass of the good guys so if a bad guy can throw Worf across the room (which they often do) they MUST be really bad!  Of course, Worf is a Klingon so he never really gets hurt (they leave that to falling cargo containers – far more deadly than the Borg apparently – but wait! He’s got back up organs!)

So the goldshirt never really took off like the redshirt did.  Which is probably for the best.

The blue uniforms have always been for Medical and Science personnel.  Let’s face it.  They are far less interesting.  Sure Dr. Crusher and Councilor Troi were hotties but Crusher covered hers up with a lab coat and Troi ditched hers altogether after the first two episodes in favor of cleavage.  If it wasn’t for Spock, the blueshirt wouldn’t even be purchased by fanboys for ComicCon and Halloween.  It’s a fact.

And lastly, the no shirt. Made famous by Captain James Tiberius Kirk.  Whichever Orion slave girl made his uniforms had an ulterior motive because there is no reason for his uniforms to fall apart at the seams during every episode while everyone else’s stay intact.  Even while battling Spock in “Amok Time” Spock’s uniform manages to stay in one piece while Kirk’s is ripped to shreds.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that shirt shredding should be equal opportunity amongst all of the handsome men…

…and maybe some of the women.


9 responses to “Red shirt, blue shirt, gold shirt, no shirt”

  1. You bring up a subject which I’ve kind of sort of vaguely intended to look into but never got around to: Did Worf ever actually win a fight?

    1. He fought and killed Duras after K’Ehleyr was murdered. I’m not sure if it counts as a “fight” since it was mostly exposed treachery, but he helped Gowron defeat the Duras Family. He fought in many battles against the Dominion on DS9 and fought and killed Gowron at one point (making Martok chancellor). That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are other fights that he’s won.

      1. Thank you. Though DS9 was likely my favorite series within the franchise overall, I missed much of such after Worf’s arrival. Each of these you mentioned were DS9 victories, yes? I’d thought I’d seen pretty much every episode of Next Generation, yet don’t recall a single Worf victory there. :\

        1. Killing Duras and helping Gowron were both during TNG. Dominion and killing Gowron were during DS9. You seriously need to catch up on DS9!! It’s more episodic and soap opera-ish than TNG but also darker and grittier which I was a big fan of. You need to watch the whole series from the beginning so you don’t miss anything. Netflix!!

  2. Pete Sauber Avatar
    Pete Sauber

    Also : TNG “Heart of Glory” (Season 1, Ep 20) Three Klingons rescued from disabled freighter, they arm themselves and try to take over the ship. After much fighting & shennanigans, Worf kills the last one and perfroms the Klingon Death Ritual for him (“mmmmmmmmmRAAAAAAUGH!”): yelling to Sto-Vo-Kor to let the dead know that a Klingon Warrior is coming.

    1. An early episode while Worf was still clad in red. Thanks for the reminder Pete!

  3. Steve Bush Avatar
    Steve Bush

    I think it is interesting how the uniforms, according to Star Fleet 23d century chronology, went full circle from very conservative (Enterprise), to more colorful (Star Trek and TNG), and then back to conservative (DS9 and Voyager). Although I know it was not planned that way, one could say it is realistic, considering how 20th century fashion went in cycles: 1900’s to 1950’s – conservative; mid 1960’s to late 1980’s – more flamboyant in one manner or another; 1990’s to presnt – back to conservative. Anyway, it would be nice if they could just keep one Trek series going, like how ER kept going all they way from 1994 to 2009.

    1. I agree Steve! The longer the better as long as the series doesn’t get stale. Although TNG, DS9 and VOY all ran for 7 years. That’s not a bad run in TV Land.

      Which of all the uniform styles was your favorite?

  4. […] connection to it, decided that volunteering was exactly what he needed. That, and wearing a red shirt under his sweatshirt. He joined Geek Outlaw and I for the afternoon shift. It was awesome to hang […]

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