Real or Frakes: Remembering ‘Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction’

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If you grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation like I did, then you probably love Jonathan Frakes (AKA Commander William Riker). And if you love Jonathan Frakes, then you may have also been into his post-Star Trek docudrama, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which he hosted between 1998 and 2002. If you don’t know the show, it went something like this: Frakes comes out and introduces a scenario that seems far-fetched, which is followed by a dramatization/re-enactment of the scenario. At the end of each segment, he summarizes the story with an awesomely cheesy pun such as, “In this tale of trick or treat, have we opened the door of truth, or are we leaving you holding the bag?” He then promises we will found out which of the five accounts are true and which are false at the end of the show.

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So after waiting with baited breath for what seems like an eternity, but it’s really only an hour, we finally come to the end of the program. As promised, Frakes shows up again and begins to reveal which stories were fact and which were fiction in the same wry, pun-inspired fashion as before. But my favorite moments of these closing segments are when the confidently smirking Frakes says something like, “So what about the story of [blah blah… totally unbelievable premise… blah]? This story has to be fake right?” And you’re like, “Absolutely, totally fiction. Next please.” But then Frakes gets all serious and looks straight at the camera and says, “Wrong, this one is fact…” and then you’re all, “WWHHHAAAATT?” and he’s like “Umm Hmmm” and you’re like, “Oh no, he didn’t,” and he’s like, “Oh yes, I did–I’m Jonathan Friggin Frakes…Boom!”

That’s how I remember it anyway. It was a great show, but also a relic of a different time–a kind of cheesery that could only exist at the turn of the 20th century.

In honor of this awesome show, I’d like to take a poll to determine the greatest of Frakes’ many wonderful puns. So, which of the following puns from Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction are the best, and which are just pundits of mediocrity?

OK,  I may have made up that last one. So, did this article make you smile, or were we just pulling teeth?

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