In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Family, Captain Picard meets his nephew René when he visits his home on Earth. René says,

You're my nephew Jean-Luc.

It is seemingly a joke, though when Picard responds in kind with,

then you must be my uncle René.

René corrects him, saying that it is the other way around.

This dialog always confused me. It seems likely that it is just intending to show René joking around in a way that a young kid would be likely to do. But if this is the case, why did he immediately correct Captain Picard when Picard attempted to continue this joke?

The dialog is referenced again near the end of the episode, when Captain Picard calls René "uncle" again.

I am probably just trying to read more into it than is there; but is there any reasonable explanation for why René first calls Picard his "nephew" and then also corrects him when Picard responds in kind?

  • 2
    This is literally something a child would say...bizarre and backwards things, making jokes they themselves forget or don't even understand. There isn't anything beyond simple good writing on fleshing out the kid compared to a real one. Sep 18, 2019 at 23:52
  • It is always possible that an as yet unborn nephew, a son of Jean-Luc or of an unmentioned sister, could have visited the Picards via time travel. If he looked a lot like Jean-Luc, Rene might have thought Jean-Luc was that nephew before remembering that he wasn't supposed to say anything about time travel. Sep 19, 2019 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


I never fully understood that episode but from reading in Memory Alpha, Picard is recovering from his assimilation with the Borg. The vacation on Earth is about Picard reconnecting with his family, his past and his traditions.

I believe René initially made a mistake and Picard jokingly accepted him as his Uncle. René must have realized his mistake when he said it's the other way around.

At the end of the episode, when Picard refers to him as an "Uncle" it is a call-back joke.

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