Didn’t You Kill My Mother In-Law?

I’m just reading an excellent book at the moment – the aforementioned Didn’t You Kill My Mother In-Law? – about 80s alternative comedy. Written by Roger Wilmut and Peter Rosengard, very good it is too – not that I agree with all the opinions in there, but that’s hardly the point.There’s not much about Red Dwarf, but sadly the paragraph there is about it annoys me:

“Shortly after the second series [of Don’t Miss Wax] began Lovett also appeared in the BBC2 comedy series Red Dwarf, starting on 15 February 1988. Written by Rob Grant and Bob Naylor it starred Chris Barrie and Craig Charles as the inhabitants of an almost empty spaceship marooned in the far future by an accident; Lovett played Holly, a super-intelligent computer with no time for whinging humans (‘I’m a computer with an IQ of 6000, not your mother’).”

I mean, FFS. Getting DOUG Naylor’s name wrong. It’s not like Dwarf is the only thing he contributed to in the 80s; Three Of A Kind, Spitting Image, loads of Carrott stuff. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s even wrong in the index! It’s the kind of mistake that worries you about the rest of the book – what other dodgy mistakes are there in there?

The other one is the constant paraphrasing of lines. The way the Holly quote is paraphased takes away the entire rhythm of the comedy. Just compare:

“I’m a computer with an IQ of 6000, not your mother.”

with:

“Look, I’m a tenth-generation AI hologrammatic computer. I’m not your mum.”

This happens throughout the book – and seems to indicate a complete lack of understanding of how comedy works. You could rewrite a complete script of Dwarf like that, and completely take out every single last bit of humour.

Despite all that, well worth hunting down a copy of. Recommended if you spot it anywhere.

One Response to Didn’t You Kill My Mother In-Law?

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  1. I’ve got that book out of Crosby library many times, it’s well worth a read. Despite glossing over a lot of stuff, it’s particularly worth reading if you’re a fan of The Comic Strip Presents…, as it has pretty detailed sections on each series, and the feature films.

    Amusingly, when I started going to my library again earlier this year (or maybe last year, I can’t remember), after years of neglect due to oweing hideous amounts of money, I had a look for that book and couldn’t find it – turned out it had been sent down to the bookstack due to people not getting it out enough, and they had to request it to be brought up for me. GRRRRRR.

    That reminds me, though. I downloaded Didn’t You Kill My Brother? MONTHS ago, and have still to watch past the first ten minutes or so. At this rate, I’ll have got the nine-disc boxset before I get round to finishing it…

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