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).
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.