Lwaxana Troi, the psychic diplomat and frequent guest star of ST:TNG, is controversial. She is described on the Star Trek Wiki Memory Alpha as “one of the more colorful Federation diplomats”. She is known for brash, opinionated stances and running hard at anything (or anyone) who might bring her warmth and joy. The podcast ‘The Greatest Generation’ often debates skipping episodes she is in, but also once named her an episode’s ‘Drunk Shimoda’ (the character on the episode who show the most pure delirious spirit) for inappropriately touching another character.
And I get why people have that reaction to Lwaxana. In a military world of skin-tight primary color jumpsuits, replicator comfort food, and hot date nights at Ten Forward with non-alcoholic beer to watch ANOTHER classical music recital, Lwaxana stands out. Lwaxana is pushy and brash and needy. She demands constant attention and stimulus.
Lwaxana is a lot.
She is also, most importantly to the show, a mother.
Lwaxana is fiercely protective of her adult daughter Deanna, survived the death of another daughter, and has another child well past what we humans would call a ‘geriatric pregnancy’. She is an attentive caretaker, nurturing those who are sad, and pushing people towards what she thinks they need.
I understand why many don’t like Lwaxana, but as a counselor, I think she’s amazing. As someone who has worked with caregivers recovering after the loss of loved ones, Lwaxana is doing what I hope she would. She’s recognizing her needs, and going after them. She values herself enough to push boundaries. She acts as a friend and advocate for the downtrodden.
Lwaxana is a caretaking force of nature, and as a counselor, I love seeing her do exactly what she was born to do.
Except for the inappropriate touching, Lwaxana. That one has to stop.
Io9 – “Remember the Time Lwaxana Troi Beat the C— Out of Q in a Star Trek Book?” by Katharine Trendacosta