“What I’m saying, Dave is, it’s better to have loved and lost than to listen to an album by Olivia Newton-John”
Holly, Stasis Leak
What’s Happening, Dudes?
So Red Dwarf turned 29 on the 15th of February this year and I thought here’s another chance for me to babble on about one of my favourite things on the internet for a few hundred words and share some fond memories.
Red Dwarf (like many things it seems) has been a staple of my television watching life for as long as I can remember and probably longer, my old man watched it since its original air date back in 1988 so I was always aware of it and now that it is back on our screens I get an excuse (not that I needed one) to keep watching the mad sci-fi adventures of the boys from the “small rouge one”.
Now a few years ago they tried to export Red Dwarf to America and it failed miserably and I can see why. Red Dwarf is quintessentially British, if Star Wars is futuristic 1970s America then Red Dwarf is futuristic 80/90s Britain and while I won’t claim that our humour is more sophisticated/better than the States’, it just doesn’t translate well.
My father always joked when I was younger that Lister was my older brother, me and my brother tortured our little sister emulating Kryten’s laugh and to this day if someone says “it’s cold outside” I cannot help but reply “there’s no kinda atmosphere” and if you don’t get that, then I’m afraid we cannot be friends. Red Dwarf means something to me that I suppose a lot of people won’t get, it’s been there for as long as I can remember, it’s always made me laugh and smile and I’ll probably watch it forever.
So here we go again, with another Top 10 of my favourite moments, this time with “The boys from the Dwarf”.
10. Lister To Red Dwarf, Holoship (1992)
Although this clip is from series 5 of Red Dwarf I can’t think of a better clip to use to introduce people to the show. The intruding hologram sums up the crew better than I ever could and Lister’s response tells you everything you need to know about him.
Obviously this is a take the piss of another space faring show, so good in fact that it even made Patrick Stewart nearly call his lawyer to sue until he realised what was going on.
9. Now I Know Why Dogs Lick Their Testicles, Marooned (1989)
When they re-released Red Dwarf on Special Edition DVD’s a few years back, I was unaware of them and the first one I spotted (and bought) was Series 3 (which this clip is from). When I first saw this episode I was around 6-8 years old, when I bought that DVD I was around 14-15 and this episode is one of the first ones I can remember taking on new meanings with age, from Rimmer talking about losing his virginity (but caring about the car more) to the testicle licking.
It’s one of the things I have loved about watching Red Dwarf all my life, I have noticed new jokes that weren’t there the first time round (the Clitoris joke from “Polymorph” springs to mind) and that gave it such a sense of discovery both times round.
8. Wilma Flintstone, Backwards (1989)
This scene/joke is just pure British humour as far as I’m concerned, you start watching them talk about how sexy Wilma Flintstone is and think “there’s something wrong with them” but still can’t help but agree that “they’re probably right mind, she’d never leave Fred”.
Also this is the first thing you see in Series 3 of Red Dwarf, probably just to show you how much this ‘traveling alone through deep space’ stuff is getting to the boys. Or it’s just a joke and I need to stop over-analysing TV shows. Either way, it’s hilarious and never fails to make me laugh.
7. Tongue Tied, Parallel Universe (1988)
A song emulating the 1950’s, filmed in the 1980’s, being watched in 2017 about a crew of idiots 3 Million years in the future. Wibbly Wobbly doesn’t cover it really.
Fun fact, my brother was born Tongue-tied and could barely stick his tongue out as a kid and had to have an operation to get it fixed. I used to sing this at him to annoy him, I am a great older brother.
I have no idea why this was included and quite frankly don’t want to know. What I do know is that I still know every word and quite frequently play this song just to listen to it to this day.
6. So What Is It?, White Hole (1991)
Imagine the film Memento was mad by a sci-fi nerd who could think of two jokes, that is pretty much exactly what this scene is. It also creates a random paradox later on… Allow me to explain.
To sum up the events of the episode, a “White Hole” is spewing time into the universe (the opposite of a black hole) and the crew try to block it by playing Pool with planets and “pocketing” one of them and thus erasing the time the White Hole created in the process cos… I don’t actually know, shut up.
Anyway in the next series episode “Demons and Angels” Lister and Cat board a “perfect” copy of Red Dwarf and test its perfection by eating a Pot Noodle from a vending machine. Apart from a frankly unnecessary joke about the quality of Pot Noodles (students need something to eat guys, as do lazy people), Lister goes on to comment on how he once played pool with planets. How does he remember? Maybe he is God after all.
5. Something That No-One Should Have To See, Meltdown (1991)
One of my absolute favourite episodes of all time, the guys end up on a Theme Park style world of wax work people from Earth’s history and hilarity ensues. They evil people are fighting the good guys (who are all useless) and the crew are caught in the middle of it.
The thing I love about this is how brilliant it is despite us seeing anything except Lister and Cat talking. It doesn’t need to all be in your face after all, and let’s face it, did we really want to see Winnie The Pooh being shot? I don’t think I could take it.
4. Double Polaroid, DNA (1991)
Hehehehe…. Penis jokes. (Really REALLY tempted to just leave it at that).
Another great scene where the guys get to flex their acting muscles (apparently Craig and Rob have some) and we don’t need to see the um… pictures. Instead we get Lister’s reaction which is perfect.
But the line “taking pictures of it and showing to your mates” in reference to it not being normal hasn’t really aged well… The human race worries me, Kryten was better off where he was.
3. Kryten’s Evaluation, Back In The Red (1999)
Now I know this scene is probably a relic of its age (the 90’s were weird) and is probably offensive with the Psychiatric Counsellor being all “AH! CRAZY PERSON MAY ATTACK” and everything but fuck me is it funny. Robert Llewellyn can just do “Robot doesn’t quite get human” so well and he always steals the show. When he runs into the room and punches Lister in the face in Samsara in the latest series (at time of writing) me and my partner pissed ourselves.
Now as a mentally ill person I am not offended by this and you really shouldn’t be, yeh it’s probably a bit on the nose with its crassness but I think (and really hope) that no offense was meant here and it was just another “Kryten is strange isn’t he?” scene. It gets a pass from me anyway and it’s my list so… I win?
2. The Rimmer Experience, Blue (1997)
When Rimmer left at the beginning of series seven, I was sad and we were left with a gap that was filled by the wonderful Chloë Annett as Kochanski (still want her to come back at some point). But at the time I was eight years old and suddenly there were a lot of jokes about bras and sex that I just didn’t get (it was a simpler time).
I missed Rimmer’s cowardice, stupidity and… wonder.
But he was only gone for a couple of episodes before returning for this masterpiece. A not so subtle reference to Chris Barrie’s time on “Spitting Image” and is topped by fantastically stupid/silly song.
The strange thing is, the whole thing was meant to help Lister stop missing Rimmer but it just made me miss him more.
1. It’s A Banana, Camille (1991)
It couldn’t be anything else could it? If you know Red Dwarf you know this scene. Lister teaching Kryten to lie might just be (for reasons I’ll never be able to explain properly) one of the funniest things I’ve seen on TV.
Kryten really did steal the show with his antics of trying to be more human and no other clip shows it better than this one. It’s even referenced in a later episode and receives a massive applause from the audience.
In Computer Jargon, My Plans Have All Gone Tits Up
This list has been a nightmare to write and I wasn’t quite expecting it. If a show isn’t popular oversees it seems it is almost impossible to find a good collection of clips to look through. God knows what it must be like trying to find clips from “Last of the Summer Wine” or something.
I do love the internet but the BBC really need to pull their finger out and stop just putting clips up that the rest of the world might watch. I did originally want to do a “Top 5” from each of the cast, but the clips just aren’t there. Holly doesn’t even feature on the list and that pains me somewhat.
Red Dwarf has countless classic moments and some of which would’ve definitely made this list if I could’ve grabbed them (without breaking the law) but alas. The ten clips I’ve got are still brilliant fond memories from three million years in the future so I guess there’s still that (I will get a “Top Ten” list done right one day I promise <3).
Oh and if you’re wondering why I just didn’t wait till next year for the 30th Anniversary? That’s probably when I’ll look at the new series’ since it got renewed and also… Fuck knows.
As always thank you for reading and I’ll see you guys next time.
An extended version of the theme with a second verse that hardly anyone seems to know about. No clue whether this is official or not, but I love it nonetheless.