“The Enterprise Crew members are infect with a virus that causes them to behave as if they’re intoxicated.”
I consider The Naked Now a fundamental character building episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact, it’s the foundation for most, if not all, the character building for the main characters. in the series The virus affects them in such a way that we get to see all of their inner most desires.
These desires, shown by the intoxication effects, are the basis for many of the character building moments throughout the series. For example, Gordi’s desire to know what its like to see with his eyes is brought up several times in one form or another.
One notable exception is Worf, he is never effected by the virus. This shows us two things. One, he avoids touching people and the second thing I think it shows is that Worf wasn’t as important as the other characters.
I once read that at the start of the show there was evidence that Worf wasn’t considered a main character, but later developed into one when Tasha left the series. I I wonder if this is why he wasn’t given any real character hooks in this episode.
Then there are moments between characters that build up the relationships in the episodes and seasons to come. One notable interaction is between Picard and Crusher, when there is more than a little hint at an attraction between the two.
There are also starts to important storylines. One example is Wiseley; it shows off his ingenuity and talent for technology. Both of those play a huge role in his character develop and overall story.
There are even starts of an going story conflicts. One such example is professional versus personal. This is highlighted in another interaction between Picard and Crusher. They discuss how they to refer to each other as Captain or Doctor or Jean-Luc or Beverly and how it changes the tone of the conversation.
All in all, an important episode to the series as a whole, at least when it comes to the foundation of the series.