On December 29, 1967, the fifteenth episode of Season 2 of Star Trek aired on NBC, and it introduced us to a strange, cuddly alien species that were little more than fluffballs... but fluffballs that reproduced at an alarmingly fast pace.
Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) was captivated by the Tribbles, sold by a smarmy huckster named Cyrano Jones (Stanley Adams), who failed to mention that particular downside, and soon the U.S.S. Enterprise is overrun with them, but the humans aboard don't seem to mind much, because they make a pleasant trilling noise that makes them happy. Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) certainly took a shine to them, although Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) found them "disquieting." It turns out they don't much care for Klingons, and they become instrumental in sussing out one of their spies.
"The Trouble With Tribbles" is one of the most famous episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series — so much so that 29 years later, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had an adventure entitled "Trials and Tribble-ations," where their crew traveled back in time to be on the Enterprise during this episode.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.