“Quark”

La comedia y la ciencia ficción ciertamente no son elementos incompatibles. Ejemplos haymuchos, como “Mork & Mindy” (1978), protagonizada por un jovencísimo Robin Williams; “3rd Rock from the Sun” (1996), extraordinaria comedia a cargo de John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston y Joseph Gordon-Levitt, entre otros; y la impecable “Galaxy Quest” (1999), que exploró con humor y respeto el universo de “Star Trek” de la mano de un reparto en el que destacaban Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman y Sam Rockwell.
Sin embargo, a fines de la década de 1970 una extraña y particular comedia se lanzó por este camino. Estamos hablando de “Quark” (1977), comedia nacida de la mano de Buck Henry, co-creador de aquel hito de la comedia televisiva que fue “Get Smart”, mejor conocida en Chile como “El superagente 86”.
La referencia obvia de “Quark” era “Star Trek”, aunque también hubo guiños a “La guerra de las galaxias” y “2001: Odisea del espacio”. Eso quedaba claro desde el comienzo, cuando al ver el episodio piloto descubríamos que la serie estaba ambientada en 2226, dentro de los vastos territorios de la Galaxia Unificada (clara cita a la Federación de “Star Trek”).
Allí, la acción transcurría a bordo de una nave perteneciente a la Patrulla de Sanidad de la Galaxia Unificada, comandada por el capitán Adam Quark. ¿Su misión? Recolectar toda la basura que iban lanzando al espacio las grandes naves de transporte o de defensa.
Sin grandes efectos especiales, la historia trató de captar televidentes a través de tramas llenas de chistes rápidos y de un humor absurdo que finalmente no tuvo buena recepción. Prueba de eso fue que la serie no llegó a superar los ocho episodios.
Entonces, ¿cuál fue su atractivo? Fundamentalmente su alocada tripulación, encabezada por el comandante Quark (Richard Benjamin), quien sueña con el mando de una nave espacial de verdad.
Junto a él estaban Betty 1 y Betty 2 (interpretadas por las rubias Cyb y Patricia Barnstable), dos chicas en hot pants exactamente iguales. Lo único que sabemos de ellas es que sienten una insólita devoción por Quark y que una es el clon de la otra. El detalle es que ninguna de las dos reconoce ser el clon, ya que Quark afirma estar enamorado de Betty, aunque sin especificar cuál.
Otro de los tripulantes es Gene/Jean (Tim Thomerson) una criatura de apariencia humanoide cuya estructura genética combinaba cromosomas masculinos y femeninos. Esto hacía que Gene actuara como una especie de Rambo espacial, siempre usando la violencia como primer recurso, pero que súbitamente podía adoptar la personalidad de Jene, delicada y femenina.
Ficus Pandorata (Richard Kelton) era el oficial científico de la nave; también de apariencia humana, aunque realmente se tratara de una criatura de origen vegetal. Carente de emociones, racional y de gran inteligencia, era una clara parodia del señor Spock.
La tripulación se completaba con Andy (Bobby Porter), un robot que parecía ensamblado con piezas y partes sobrantes, que además tenía una personalidad absolutamente cobarde y neurótica.
Vale la pena mencionar también Otto Palindrome (Conrad Janis), el burócrata a cargo de la estación espacial Perma Uno y quien es el encargado de asignar las misiones a Quark.
Si bien duró apenas ocho episodios, es probable que los mejores haya sido precisamente aquellos inspirados en “Star Trek”, como cuando la tripulación comenzaba a envejecer. O aquel en que tras cruzar por un agujero negro, aparecía una versión malvada de ellos mismos que comenzaba a causar todo tipo de destrucción.
Es probable que “Quark” no pase a la historia como una gran serie de televisión, si no más bien como una excentricidad propia de fines de los ’70, con trajes plateados, los cuellos anchos y todas esas escenografías “onda disco”.

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