Every longtime Star Trek: The Next Generation fan is familiar with”the Picard Maneuver.” And no, we’re not talking about the in-story, canonical Picard Maneuver. That was a battle tactic a young Jean-Luc Picard employed fighting the Ferengi on board the Stargazer. The Picard Maneuver that fans are usually referring to is something Patrick Stewart does in nearly every episode of TNG— tugging at his shirt. Usually right before making a speech. And definitely before standing up and sitting down. It’s his signature move.
Now, we’ve discovered a Trek fan, via Laughing Squid, with a Facebook called account Spock Pointy-ears Vulcan. They cleverly edited several of these Picard Maneuver moments. And they’ve made it so that the Captain’s communicator badge pops off every time he does it. It’s extremely silly, but also totally hilarious. They uploaded the first video a few years ago. But it was so popular, they’ve now uploaded a sequel. And the second video is somehow funnier than the first one. If only for that comm badge landing in poor Deanna Troi’s face. Priceless.
So why exactly did Patrick Stewart always tug on his Starfleet uniform like that? Was it a character choice, or were those Enterprise pajamas just that ill-fitting? Turns out, it was more of the latter. The original spandex Starfleet uniforms from TNG seasons one and two were extremely tight, by all the actors’ accounts. So Stewart was always fussing with them to make them more palatable. Other actors occasionally did it too, but not as much as our good Captain.
The cast got new uniforms in season three. And those uniforms stuck around through the end of the series. But by then, the Picard Maneuver was just a part of the Captain’s character. He couldn’t not do it anymore. New, comfier uniforms or not. The fans would be too disappointed. So it stuck. And thankfully, some thirty-five years later, Star Trek: TNG is still mined for comedy gold all the time. And we’re all the better for it.