Red Dwarf X: Fathers & Suns review

fathers-featured

Fathers & Suns could have been a classic episode of Red Dwarf. It’s got two intriguing, interweaving plots that bring with them danger, pathos and a whole bunch of quality comedy. There’s a superb guest performance, exciting levels of peril, and there’s one stand-out scene that embodies everything that made us fall in love with this programme in the first place. However, there’s also a few unnecessary and excruciating elements, featuring some of the worst guest performances we’ve seen for some time, that drag the episode down and leave me struggling to fully fall in love with an otherwise extremely enjoyable show. These two extremes of quality make for a complex and confusing episode, that will take quite a lot of words to summarise…

First broadcast: 11th October 2012, 9:00pm, Dave

Written by: Doug Naylor

Directed by: Doug Naylor

Main Cast:
Chris Barrie (Rimmer)
Craig Charles (Lister)
Danny John-Jules (Cat)
Robert Llewellyn (Kryten)

Guest Cast:
Rebecca Blackstone (Pree)
Kerry Shale (Medi-Bot/Denti-Bot/Taiwan Tony)

Synopsis:
Every year Lister sends himself a Father’s Day card to celebrate the fact that he is his own father; but when Rimmer points out he’s been a lousy father to himself, Lister decides to do something about it. Meanwhile, Rimmer and Kryten install a new computer: the beautiful – but lethally logical – Pree.

Set Report | Discussion Thread | Dwarfcast

We start the episode with a now-traditional ‘status quo’ scene of Lister playing a video game (presumably reverting to physical controllers having got bored of AR) and having a quick chat with each of his fellow crewmates. Unlike the rather unconnected pig-racing opener of Trojan, this scene seeds a lot of elements that will be important later in the episode, from Lister’s toothache, to his stock of GELF hooch, to Rimmer reminding us all that Lister’s his own father. The humour is a little broad at times – the far-too-loud-in-the-mix gunshots and Cat’s tow-rope-flossing mime spring to mind – but there’s a lot of laughs to be had, and Lister’s reaction when he receives the card is sweet and neatly sets a tone for what is an epic acting performance from Craig.

A lot of people seem confused as to what the whining sound that Rimmer hears is; it’s clearly not his own voice, for starters. It’s not explicitly stated, but I figured it was there to set up the fact that the ship – and B-Deck in particular – is in a state of disrepair, and as such the mechanics are behaving unusually. The tour of B-Deck in the next scene confirms this theory, and also sets up the troublesome Chinese Whispers sub-plot. While I’m pleasantly amused by the notion that Kryten and his fellow artificial life-forms are friends in their downtime, it’s here that we encounter the first real problem with the episode. The way Rimmer decides to take exception to Kryten’s use of the phrase ‘Chinese Whispers’ is jarring in a way that I initially found it hard to put my finger on. Having talked it through, I think it boils down to the fact that race has never previously been an issue in the Red Dwarf universe. The fact that two of the four main characters are black has never once been commented on, which makes you optimistically hope that racism might just be a thing of the past in a couple of hundred years’ time. To have Rimmer explicitly use the word ‘racist’ is a shock to the system, which puts paid to this long-standing feeling of optimism, in quite a disappointing way.

I have no real issue with Rimmer’s initial discussion of the Chinese. It’s a very pompous and Rimmer-ish thing to do to declare that someone is wrong to think in the way they do, whilst subsequently demonstrating your own ignorance and prejudices. It’s not the voice of the author that struggles to fill a list of Chinese achievements without resorting to “laundry” and ” pointy hats”; it’s Rimmer thinking that he’s more intelligent than he is, and falling short. The faux-pas on Rimmer’s part isn’t my problem with the episode; that comes much later, in a way that undermines this subtlety of characterisation.

We then go straight into another problematic scene, with Lister visiting the Medi-Bot. The concept of the Medi-Bot itself is sound; an automated system with an artificial intelligence, much like the one we see in the lost episode Bodysnatcher. That aspect is fine, as is Craig’s performance, proudly and wistfully bigging up his son, in an endearingly chummy and loveable manner. But it’s the execution of the Medi-Bot that lets it down, with Kerry Shale turning in a baffling and embarrassing performance. It’s overtly wacky, which Red Dwarf should never be, and it makes you wonder why on Earth anyone would programme a machine to speak like that. The reliance on a zany look and a comedy voice puts one in mind of the Data Doctor in Back In The Red, and that’s never a good thing. There was a scene shot with this character on the audience night for Trojan, but mercifully it was cut from the final episode.

There follows a short sequence of vending machine business, which exists to seed the later return to the Chinese Whispers thread, but adds little other than Kryten acknowledging the existence of the garbage crushers that will end up playing a part in the denouement. It’s a reasonably tight sequence, and it displays an ability to seed plot elements in a non-intrusive and economical way; I only wish that it’d been spent setting up something better!

Fortunately, when we return to the main thrust of the episode, the quality takes a dramatic upward turn. The drive room scene that introduces Pree is very funny stuff, with Chris doing his usual trick of shining through in an episode that’s supposed to be all about Lister. He’s a joy to watch while Rimmer and Kryten are working through the preferences menu. switching very quickly between his “it doesn’t matter” tone and his more determined “use this option” tone to drive home every single gag. Particular highlights include the line “I order you to select 36D as the breast size for this computer”, his genuine lack of interest in the personality of the computer, and on Robert’s part, Kryten’s heartfelt delight at his choice of frame size.

The subsequent dialogue with Pree introduces a fantastic guest performance from Rebecca Blackstone. Her acting choices will have been limited by the fast-talking computery nature that the part required, but you can see flashes of personality and intriguing ambivalence regarding Pree’s nature throughout. Her comic timing is spot on, and I find myself disproportionately amused by her repetition of the word ‘conversation’. The concept discussed in this scene is also superb; there are strong parallels with Series VIII’s Cassandra, but the twist of the crew not even bothering to attempt to participate in the discussion themselves is what makes the execution significantly different. Pree makes predictions, while Cassandra has premonitions, which means that there’s a lot more potential for both the crew and the computer to take control of their own destiny, in a way that a pre-ordained future does not allow for.

This scene feels very Red Dwarf, with its strong sci-fi concept and jokes derived from the situation the crew find themselves in, rather than stock one-liners or unrelated flights of fancy. But this is even more true of the following scene, which we reach via the excellent reveal of Lister being asleep in a shopping trolley. The video message from ‘Lister Snr’ being on VHS is a nice touch, but it’s Craig’s performance in two distinct roles that makes this scene the stand-out success that it is. There are so many little touches from Craig that make you genuinely lose track of the fact that ‘father’ and ‘son’ are the same person. The tone that Lister Snr takes rings so true, with details such as using his son’s full name when he’s in trouble, to the “I’m not angry, just disappointed” nature of his argument, and the well-chosen “you’re living under my roof” type clichés, which show that Lister understands the tropes of being a dad, and is trying his best to make up for lost time by employing them in a slightly bungled way.

Lister Junior also contributes significantly to the establishment of the father/son dynamic, veering between petulant, disrespectful and ashamed. I also love his hissy fit at the end, with an unexpected but extremely amusing “bastard!” almost hidden under the laugh. The most memorable moments of the scene are the reveal of what’s happened to Lister’s guitar and the superb slapstick of Lister Snr falling off his chair – not once, but twice. The progression of the video messages is expertly judged, with each iteration getting progressively funnier. But overall, what separates this scene from the rest is the way that the two main elements of the episode – Pree, and Lister being his own dad – are brought together and intertwined so beautifully. A lot of people seem to miss the connection, but it’s clear, both from Lister telling Pree “I’ve got a job for you” and the coherence of the conversation between father and son, that Lister is acting with the assistance of Pree. It’s not just the fact that Lister knows himself so well, Pree has clearly told him exactly how he’s going to react when he sees this sober, and he tailors everything that he says, even down to leaving pauses for the response, to these instructions. It would be wrong to say that it’s the kind of scene that only Dwarf can do, especially when you consider Doctor Who‘s Blink, but it’s exactly the type of scene that Red Dwarf *should* do. It’s a pretty dark concept, given that the nature of Lister criticising himself means that he has to look deeply into his insecurities and issues, but it’s packed full of enough gags to make it a pure comedy piece with depth to it, rather than a mismatched comedy-drama.

After the break, we immediately get a nice bit of foreshadowing from Pree, predicting that Rimmer’s evening will be a “nightmare”. It’s a little touch that prompts the viewer to speculate as to the nature of Pree’s character, with Blackstone displaying suggestive nuances that flesh out what could otherwise have been a far more straightforward and uninteresting character. The gag about Pree deleting Rimmer’s favourite TV show is funny, and offers further details of the consequences of living with a computer that predicts your every move. Again, there’s flashes of a previous episode, with the tone of the conversation bringing Queeg to mind, but this time it’s not so much with the concept of Pree, but more in how Rimmer reacts to having a new computer forcing him to live his life in a far more energetic and worthwhile while than he’d like to. It’s consistent characterisation across a 24-year-period, and also the line about how he loves the busty heroine with no personality mirrors the superficial attitude shown when selecting Pree’s appearance.

We’re then introduced to the fantastic concept that Pree aligns herself with the mindset of the ship’s senior officer, and as such cocks things up in a way befitting of Rimmer. Again, it drags yet another strand of amusement out of the central concept, and tells us a lot about one of our central characters. You also get the bonus gag of Rimmer being informed that he’s inevitably going to blame Kryten, and as such dismissing him with an aggressive point of the finger and threatening nod, before walking off confused. Pure Rimmer and pure Barrie. So at this stage in the episode, things are very much on course. Each scene is relevant to what’s before and after, we’re constantly learning more about the situation, and laughing along too.

However, the balance of the rest of the second part is weighted too heavily towards the less successful Chinese Whispers strand, and the good bits start to become less frequent. They’re still there, of course, but up until now they’re by far in the majority, and that’s not the case from this point on. There’s a lot to like about the subsequent scene in the waiting room, not least Cat acting catty whilst reading Morris Dancer Monthly, but at this stage we want to hear more about Pree and/or Lister’s interactions with himself, so a return to the much less interesting Chinese Whispers strand is not exactly welcome. The reveal of the name ‘Taiwan Tony’ is amusing, and it’s a shame that it’s ruined by the later characterisation. The phrase “Taiwan is a bit Chinesey” is potentially troublesome with the knowledge of what’s to come, but in isolation it’s fine.

It’s certainly better than the subsequent scene, with the atrocious Denti-Bot. I understand the need to differentiate the performance from the earlier Medi-Bot, but the problem is that the performance becomes even more wacky and O.T.T. than the already too-bloody-wacky character from earlier. It leads to a confusing and unnecessarily sinister characterisation, that seems even less well suited to the machine’s function than before. The raspy Papa Lazarou inflections utterly destroy any comedy that could have been wrought from a scene that’s relatively sound on paper. But just when you think two terrible performances from one actor was as low as it could get, we meet Taiwan Tony.

I have serious reservations about Taiwan Tony, and I can’t see an in-story excuse to dismiss them like I can with Rimmer’s speech near the start of the episode. If you’re dealing with sensitive issues in comedy, such as the portrayal of race and racism, it’s very important to keep the intentions of the creator clear and well-defined. Rimmer’s initial objection to the term ‘Chinese Whispers’, followed by a display of his own ignorance, is there to tell us something about the character. The writer doesn’t agree with what Rimmer’s saying, and it satirises a particular characteristic that the audience recognises from the real world. However, this entire point is undermined the second we’re introduced to Taiwan Tony, with his ridiculous and borderline offensive exaggerated Chinese accent.

It’s so, so jarring, and comes out of nowhere. Of all the machines that Lister’s got curry out of at some stage, none of them have spoken to him via a white actor doing a comedy Indian accent. The characterisation of Taiwan Tony isn’t making any sort of point, and it’s not there to tell us anything about the character – this is genuinely the way that vending machines serving Asian food talk on board Red Dwarf. And the joke seems to be: isn’t this accent funny? And no, it’s not. It’s detrimental to the writing; it distracts the viewer so much that they’re taken out of the action, and it makes his lines unclear and hard to follow. There’s no reason whatsoever why the accent should be so over-the-top; it adds nothing to the humour other than uncomfortable connotations. In the later scene with Kryten, we’re introduced to what could have been an amusing concept – the fact that Taiwan Tony hates Dispenser 55 because he serves microwavable food. Individual vending machines having feuds with each other? Yes! That’s the kind of idea I love seeing in the show. But because the characterisation is so overwhelming, and indeed makes the lines so difficult to comprehend, it’s a detail that gets completely buried when it should be pushed to the forefront.

I’ve moved discussion of that Kryten/Tony scene up a bit so that I can deal with it in line with the Cat/Tony scene, and this leaves us with a solid collection of decent scenes for the remainder of the episode. But the whole Taiwan Tony thing is so much of a shock to the system that, for me, the episode has to start again from scratch to re-establish the quality that we saw in the first half. The second double Lister scene is a treat that does as much as it can to perk the episode back up. The resigned and shameful demeanour that Lister Junior adopts while admitting to his dad that he’s not done as asked shows Craig at his best, as does his attempted explanation to Pree about who exactly it was that resigned from the JMC. We’ve got more grey area with Pree’s character; on the one hand, she’s only doing what she’s programmed to do, but then she displays a lot of crafty cunning to lure Lister out of the bunk room by projecting a Kochanski-like voice into the corridor.

A quick note on a related topic – this episode is the first of the series to directly reference the ‘missing’ crew members in a significant way. Holly is given an affectionate name-check from Kryten, and Rimmer’s line about the quality of cock-up could be seen to reference both his and the audience’s thoughts on the matter. Later, Lister Snr tells Lister Jnr that one of his top priorities should be to go out and find Krissie. It reconfirms that what Lister learnt in Back To Earth was true – that Kochanski isn’t dead, but she’s out there somewhere, and was probably added to the script to foreshadow the planned, but eventually abandoned, later episodes which featured the character.

Back to the action, and Lister is being chased into an airlock by those garbage crusher things we saw earlier. It’s not a bad concept, but the execution would be a little better if the movement of the trucks wasn’t so precarious. Luckily, the impact of Lister being flushed in to space is superb, even if it’s slightly undercut by the huge audience laugh over the top. This segues into a very nice Drive Room scene, which brings to mind the fast-paced gags in a perilous situation vibe that was perfected in Series VI. For the first time in this episode, it feels like the Cat has a purpose. This isn’t a great episode for the Cat or Danny, but it’s nice to show that he still has piloty-type buttons that he knows how to push. The main woofers come from Rimmer, however, in particular the phrases “leg gravy” and “mad goth bastard”.

This scene more than most emphasises the villainous aspects to Pree’s character. She seems to take pleasure in informing her senior officer that he’s going to die, sarcastically giving him two options that will both result in death, smiling as the utters the words “operation sizzle” and that slightly odd thing when she accidentally-on-purpose informed the crew that they’d be dying in 90 years rather than 90 minutes. This, coupled with the later “your attempts to defeat me are futile” line, strongly hints that Pree is a fully-fledged baddie, but as we’ll see, it’s still ambivalent by the end of the episode.

Before that, though, there’s a superb showcase for the visual effects team, Howard Goodall’s music and the ingenuity of cost-cutting production methods. A lovely shot of the menacing sun is interrupted by Lister jetpacking his way into view, and straight into Red Dwarf’s ramscoop. It’s a fan-pleasing but worthwhile moment; that scoop has been a prominent feature of the ship since day one, but we’ve never been anywhere near it before. It makes total sense that it’s a possible point of entry to the ship, and the interior shot of Lister making his way through the huge vents is superb. We’re also treated to a swelling, heroic version of the main theme, which shows that as with last week, Goodall is doing a fantastic job of taking existing scores and using them to maximum effect to deliver brand new feelings and emotions. And then a small but lovely touch – some stairs up against the wall of the studio doubling as the stairs from the ramscoop down on the main ship. The show has been taking us to lighting gantries and whatnot right from Series 1 up to Back To Earth, and it really helps to make the ship feel much bigger than the cost and time constraints of set building can allow.

The crew are reunited in a scene that also reunites peril and comedy, as indeed it did for the denouement last week. But whereas in Trojan the comedy in the gun-toting-simulant scene relied on integrating the phone plot, it’s more successful in Fathers & Suns because the new laughing gas element can be judged on its own merits, rather than whether you’ve enjoyed a particular plot thread for the previous 20-odd minutes. I for one loved the laughing gas stuff, as it allowed the actors a chance to exercise some of the broader aspects of their comedy capabilities, in a way that made sense within the story. Kryten being amused at the vent being sealed is a particular highlight, as is Rimmer’s “here comes the wall” when the garbage crushers hone into view.

As with their earlier appearance, the crushers don’t quite convince, and I think the direction could have been a little clearer during this sequence. We’re never quite sure of how far away the trucks are from the crew at any given point, and we don’t see enough of the spikes in the earlier shots, so their size and prominence seems a little odd later on. I’m also not convinced that Lister being reminded of the pending medical file by the word ‘stasis’ quite rings true. It’s a reasonable attempt to bring the Chinese Whispers thread in line with the rest of the episode, and offer it some sort of resolution, but it seems a tad too contrived. It could have been anything that triggered Lister’s memory – if indeed it needed anything at all – and the lack of real laughs for any of the mangled iterations of the Chinese Whispers phrase means that the conclusion to this thread is nowhere near satisfying enough to justify its existence.

However, Lister subsequently defeating Pree by putting his plan into action is superbly done. There’s an unusual amount of long speeches for Craig in this episode, and he handles it superbly well, even without the subsequent knowledge that he was in bed with the flu for the entirety of the rehearsal period. The logic in the writing is faultless, and it makes perfect sense that Lister’s words should lead Pree to terminating herself. This is the point that confirms that we’ll never be truly clear on Pree’s nature – she’s pretty calculating towards the back end of the episode, but she offers no resistance to the pure logic that leads to her demise. Self-preservation was clearly never in her interests – don’t forget that flying into the sun would have killed her too – but perhaps she’s not quite as murderous as other aspects of the performance would indicate. It’s possible she takes a perverse pleasure in following logic and programming to the absolute letter, which can lead her to extreme things such as depriving people of oxygen, setting the ship on a suicide course, or even shutting herself down, but she’s not doing it out of malice or bloodlust.

After a slightly-unnecessary moment of smug celebration, justified by Rimmer’s self-concious shuffle, we end on the traditional coda scene, establishing a pattern on all recent Dwarf output of starting and ending with the ship and crew in a state of normality, waiting to be livened up with another exciting incident the following week. The scene itself is not particularly amusing, but not it’s not bad either. There’s very little to say on it, which is in stark contrast with the rest of the episode, which I shall now make a vague attempt to summarise.

It’s difficult to avoid getting bogged down in the negative aspects of the episode, despite there being so much that it does just right. But the fact remains that the show is so wildly inconsistent, that each memory of something funny, dramatic or clever is weighed down by a simultaneous memory of something jarring, irritating or embarrassing. This is despite the fact that the good bits do outweigh the bad bits by a very decent ratio, and that I’m spending each viewing of the episode laughing far more often than I’m shaking my head. The problem is that each soaring high is matched by a proportionately sinking low.

And the most frustrating thing about this is that it’s so avoidable. The Medi-Bot and Denti-Bot could have been fixed with a more controlled performance, which perhaps would have been enabled by some stricter direction. But there’s no reason whatsoever for any of the vending machine stuff to be there at all. Every single moment with Pree on-screen is a joy, and it leaves me longing for far more. There is no shortage of ideas in this episode, so why does it have so much crammed into it? Lop out the entire third plot and not only do you get an extra five minutes to deal with the possibilities of Pree or further explore the Lister/Lister dynamic, but you also avoid all the distracting and troublesome elements that stop me from putting this episode on a par with the golden years of Series 1-VI.

As I’ve said, I can’t fully love this episode, but I want to make it clear that I do like it. It makes me laugh a lot, I adore the concept, I admire how the two main plots fit together so well, and the double Lister scene is perhaps the most inventive and unpredictable sequence we’ve seen in Red Dwarf since 1993. There’s so much to love here, but unfortunately, there’s so much to dislike. At its best, Fathers & Suns holds its own against the impenetrable bubble of perfection I’ve built around the first 36 episodes. Its worst elements – the medi-bots and Taiwan Tony – belong in the same bin as  dancing Blue Midgets, the Data Doctor and Kryten’s penis.

Put simply, Fathers & Suns needed its big fat butt kicking at times. It could have been so much more, and it knows it. And it most definitely could have done with a bit of Dougy discipline.

TINY TEASER: Taiwan – oh, that gobshite

ACTUAL SCENE COUNT: 23 (Total so far: 47)

ACTUAL SMEG COUNT: 3 (Total so far: 5)

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200 Responses to Red Dwarf X: Fathers & Suns review

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  1. Well that’s just nitpicking, isn’t it?

  2. The ram scoop scene made me so very, very happy.

  3. Agreeing with pretty much all of this. Watched it again earlier this evening and I found myself laughing more than I did on initial viewing. I came away feeling quite conflicted after first viewing, but after the second time I’ve settled on liking it.

    I’d probably have loved it if the Chinese Whispers/Taiwan Tony stuff could have somehow been entirely excised from it. Quite frustrating considering the Lister and Pree stuff really is very good indeed.

  4. Did Cat whistle the theme tune in the waiting area? I’ll digest the points raised here of course but that is my belated small point.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed so thoroughly with a review of 21st Century Dwarf on Ganymede and Titan so I think you nailed it, Ian.

    That said, I think you definitely found the more successful bits more enjoyable than me as I still think this is a near-clunker. The “Double Lister ” scene (which manages to comment on father/son relationships, Lister’s self-esteem issues AND be consistently amusing) , Howard Goodall’s music and Rebecca Blackstone’s performance are the saving graces.

    >we’re introduced to what could have been an amusing concept – the fact that Taiwan Tony hates Dispenser 55 because he serves microwavable food

    I’ve seen this episode three times now and this has passed me by each and every time. I guess I’ve been distracted by SOMETHING each time.

  6. G&T Admin

    i’ve just watched this episode again, and something weird happened. The chinese whispers things hasn’t annoyed me as much as I thought it might’ve done. This episode does throw a lot of new things at you, but it’s overridden Trojan as my fave episode so far and may be my favorite of the series.

    I got that feeling watching it first but was wondering whether the machine thing will ruin that feeling on subsequent viewings. if anything the Pree and Lister thread seems stronger, and because the C-plot is so inconsequential, I’m able to let it go much easier…

  7. I have since looked up Kerry Shale on IMDB and he did voice acting for Just Cause 2. Now his performance makes complete sense. It’s a shame that this guest performance was so poor after how good the performances for Howard, Crawford and Pree were. Who did the voice-over for the other vending machines? They were good – I imagine the female one will be involved in Dear Dave.

  8. I know exactly what you mean about it being to easy to get caught up in the negative Ian. When I was talking to you guys last night I was all to conscious that I was getting bogged down in the negative when in fact I still really do enjoy the episode. There are so many good ideas and great bits of comedy that I’ll keep on coming back for things like the scene of Lister talking to himself. I think the reason I keep thinking of the negative points is that if they were gone it would have been an episode i would have loved unconditionally.

  9. People know Kerry Shale was also in Day of the Moon, right?

    He was quite good in that.

  10. He also did a fantastic reading of The Education of Hyman Kaplan on audiobook. Hilarious stuff that was.

  11. >Who did the voice-over for the other vending machines?

    I actually assumed the female vending machine was Rebecca Blackstone again. I further assume that to be wrong, as I guess it makes sense if it’s reprised for “Dear Dave”.

  12. I wonder if TT’s accent could simply be re-recorded; similarly the OTT bots. If they were toned down to a normal voice, maybe that would improve the mood of the episode in a simple and easy way?

  13. I’m going to buck the trend and say I found Kerry Shale funny, even Taiwan Tony. I agree with the point made in the Dwarfcast about targets in comedy, but for me, no lines were overstepped. Taiwan Tony is a piece of futuristic tat, a novelty item designed to sell noodles. For me Taiwan Tony is to Taiwan what Taco Bell is to Mexico. A cheap cynical money making machine. That’s what I think Doug was getting at. I think the idea behind it was that the Dwarfers are too unsophisticated to make this distinction or have a sensible conversation about race. Why that kind of point needed to be made (assuming of course I’m right. I’m aware of a bit of straw clutching here) I don’t know but that’s all I think it was. Yes the episode would be tighter without it, yes more Pree or Lister/Lister would have been the preferred option, I just don’t think you need to feel too bad about it.

  14. You wouldn’t be bending over backwards to excuse such a horrible fucking thing, if you had been the victim of that kind of shit while growing up.

    I’m really ashamed of Red Dwarf for doing this. I get it, what it’s supposed to be. But it isn’t done well. Which sums up the last two episodes quite well. Good ideas, really poorly executed, where you have to sift throught the wreckage to find anything actually good.

    And I don’t know where the three plot, ‘sitcom’ rule has come from, but it’s a bad idea.

  15. G&T Admin

    I broadly agree with Ian; some really great moments, but it falls down badly in the execution, which is pretty much what I felt about Trojans, too. It makes watching Red Dwarf X a frustrating experience. Rebecca Blackstone is the standout performer, and it seems to me that Pree’s the best written bit of the whole episode.

  16. I personally enjoyed the brief celebration bit after Lister defeats Pree. It felt rather reminiscent of the ending to ‘Gunmen’. The sheer relief at having outsmarted the baddie and surviving the ordeal being enough for even Rimmer to let his guard down and party with the rest of them.

  17. > I actually assumed the female vending machine was Rebecca Blackstone again.

    It certainly sounds like her. That’s another botch-job if so, because we get to hear her voice BEFORE we even see Pree. On second viewing I was even wondering whether I’d missed something and there was a connection between Pree and the vending machine.

    I would like to see Doug’s face as he reads Ian’s (fairly spot-on) review. His expression should amount to ‘wtf have I done??’ I suppose the big positive here is that no-one’s having anything approaching a ‘meh’ reaction to F&S. He’s left us with plenty to digest and discuss, which definitely puts it leagues ahead of 90% of VII and VIII which, for me at least, gets nothing more than ‘it’s shit, let’s move on’ type of response.

    ‘Fathers and Suns’ is very much gives the vibe of a lost, good, VII episode, with elements of 1 and 2 in there with the Lister plot, finished off with a huge dollop of VIII for good (bad) measure. It would have sat quite nicely between ‘Tikka’ and ‘Stoke’ (though obviously ‘Ouroboros’ would technically have to come before it…but then you’ve lost Rimmer so you can sod that for a game of Chinese Whispers…).

    An overriding feeling I know I’ll always have about this one is disappointment that Pree didn’t make it into a better episode. I want to see Rebecca again! (and not in a pic which I need to crop to remove Ian ‘oh look at this lucky lucky sod’ Symes…;))

  18. > Rebecca Blackstone is the standout performer, and it seems to me that Pree’s the best written bit of the whole episode.

    Yep. I don’t get how she can be in the same episode as the dodgy vending machines and bots.

  19. This whole thing is (stupidly) making me think of this – http://youtu.be/fPx7CNT2aVs?t=50s

    Dwarf didn’t need its ‘racist door’ opening. It’s strange to go from being proud of race never being mentioned on the show to suddenly having the characters actually talking about racism (which, in itself, should just have been a single line from Rimmer, not an entire plot thread), and then to create a situation where the studio audience are laughing at an exaggerated Chinese accent – and let’s face it, they’re not laughing at the lines themselves, seeing as you can hardly hear them due to the accent and laughter.

    Yesterday I was thinking ‘don’t be hasty’ in commenting on this but I reckon, in time, it could be the only thing people are discussing. It’s a shame what amounts to a small, dodgy directorial decision (what Ellard is saying points to this, rather than it being in the script) is leaving such a sour taste.

  20. The three plots per episode up to now is almost making me wonder if the episodes were written not knowing if they would get a 40 or 30 minute slot, so were written with scenes that could be easily removed without damaging the main meat of the episode.

    I really enjoyed this episode, but the Chinese whispers stuff did fall short. It’s basically 2/3 a great episode (Pree and the Fathers Day stuff) with 1/3 not so good mixed in.

  21. Excellent review.

    I definitely think the C-Plot should have been cut, but this episode as a whole really, really rewards subsequent viewings (which of course I have partaken in because I spend my free time wisely). The brilliant Lister/Pree bits only get better with time, and the Chinese Whisper stuff gets a little less bad with time and doesn’t really take up too much of the episode. I disagree that every good memory of the episode is matched with a bad one; as mentioned in the dwarfcast, it’s more of an 80-20 sort of ratio (at worst).

    Now I will say that I really didn’t mind the Medi-Bot but yeah, the Denti-Bot (which I didn’t realize was supposed to be a different character as the Medi-Bot at first because it’s so obviously the same person) and Taiwan Tony are a little unfortunate. What partially redeems the C-plot for me are two things:

    1. In its own silly way, the change from racist to braces to stasis, contributing in the end to Lister remembering the file is sort of clever really. No, it doesn’t justify the C-Plot’s existence, but it’s still I minor thing I appreciated.

    2. I don’t know Doug’s intentions although I’m sure they were good. It seemed like the whole point of Taiwan Tony is that he is an embodiment of the sanctimonious ignorance expressed by Rimmer in the early scene. It’s the JMC being ignorant and racist this time. Rimmer expresses his faux-concern about racism while maintaining ignorance, and through the existence of Taiwan Tony and the characters’ interactions with it, we see that everybody misses the point too, not just Rimmer. The Cat asking Taiwan Tony if whiskers are racist seems like its meant to be ironic because the machine itself is far more racist than the thing Cat’s talking about. It was mentioned in the Dwarfcast that the bit with Rimmer talking about the whispers being racist was a go at people who are preemptively PC. I also think the whole Taiwan Tony arc as a whole might be a go at people who are ignorantly, selectively PC as well. Of course, I’m probably over-thinking and over-rationalizing it. And I’ll definitely agree that even if the C-plot had totally worked, the show shouldn’t have brought up race anyways, since it hadn’t before, and it does weaken the notion of the future that had evolved beyond racism.

    For those reasons, I kind of forgive the C-plot, because I think I get what it was going for. Could it have been better-executed? Yeah. Should it have been excised entirely? Probably. But it doesn’t drag down the episode for me that much. It’s way out-shined by the brilliant Lister and Pree scenes and for me is just as good as Trojan in different ways. I think time will be more kind to this episode. Overall, I think it was great. The Lister scene is a classic-series-quality scene, in my opinion. And where Trojan had sort of a Series IV vibe to it, this one had more of a I-III vibe, and that’s much appreciated.

  22. The one thing that I will say in defence of Kerry Shale is that he must have been directed to perform like that. Doug obviously likes to do zany sometimes as the OTT stuff like Tony Slattery`s performance, Birdman and the Data Doctor from Series VIII testify. As writer and director Doug has to take ultimate responsibility for the medi-bot, denti-bot and Taiwan Tony.

    Watching these first two episodes makes me wonder whether Doug is scared to commit too fully to the drama. Maybe he felt that if he were to introduce a computer who would play things straight that he needed to have some wacky comedy to balance things out. I think in reality it just detracted from the good ideas though.

  23. …I want to see Rebecca again! (and not in a pic which I need to crop to remove Ian ‘oh look at this lucky lucky sod’ Symes…;))

    There’s still plenty of time to register for Dimension Jump, which Rebecca will be attending ;-)
    http://www.dimensionjump.info

  24. The phrase “Taiwan is a bit Chinesey” is potentially troublesome with the knowledge of what’s to come, but in isolation it’s fine.

    I dunno, I thought it was on dodgy ground what with the whole Republic of China/Taiwan and People’s Republic thang.

    And as I said typed on Twitter, I believe Denti-Bot is doing Peter Lorre. Or at least channeling Mel Blanc doing Peter Lorre.

  25. Racist or not, Taiwan Tony was shit, and it really brang down the whole episode. Sure it had some great moments, but on a whole I didn’t really like it, and then it makes me realize just how much I don’t really like Trojan, even though I previously loved it. I mean look at the storyline… it’s a SHAMBLES! even for Red Dwarf. I’ve got a mixed opinion on the series now and I too fear in a months time we’ll all turn around and go, hang on that was a bit shite wasn’t it?

  26. >And as I said typed on Twitter, I believe Denti-Bot is doing Peter Lorre. Or at least channeling Mel Blanc doing Peter Lorre.

    I agree – that’s what he’s doing. Next up: why the hell is he doing it? I don’t want “zany”, I don’t want “kooky”, I just want character performances that are true to themselves and the situation.

    Is it too much to ask that, if they were originally present, the completely unrelated plots B-Z of Lemons were disposed of at the script stage?

  27. I hadn`t noticed it but on another forum they point out that Taiwan Tony was selling `Endangered Panda Stew`. Can`t blame the voice actor for that one… A bad idea badly executed.

  28. G&T Admin

    I thought the point with MED-I-BOT was that that kind of wacky behaviour was what JMC thought was reassuring to patients. I quite like that idea.

    DENT-I-BOT, maybe less so, though it could have just been a sadistic engineer.

  29. There were lots of programming options available for Pree. We also know Holly can change his image. Maybe the medi bot/denti bot was programmed by one of the crew as a joke to the others. 10 years is a long time to get bored

  30. I quite liked Denti-Bot; the concept of a sinister, ominous dentist is pretty humourous and makes it more understandable why Lister legs it every time he goes there. Just like the resentment crashes in Trojan, it’s just on the right side of silly to still be funny, to me.

    If you view it as standalone I think it’s easier to digest, but when you have already seen the bloody ridiculous Medi-Bot beforehand, you’re judging it on the same level. In isolation, the Denti-Bot is a very short performance which is amusingly threatening. Out of interest, do you still think you would hate Denti-Bot, if you hadn’t just endured the Medi-Bot earlier in the episode? I only ask because I randomly ended up watching only the second half of F&S earlier today and the Denti-Bot made me smile, whereas the last few times I watched F&S in its entirety it didn’t.

    Lister’s ‘Scooby Doo’ exit was shit, though. Has Doug been watching a lot of Scoobs lately? Between that, and the Cat corridor/map scene last week, there have been a couple of nods.

  31. However, this entire point is undermined the second we’re introduced to Taiwan Tony, with his ridiculous and borderline offensive exaggerated Chinese accent.

    Just don’t read Frankie Boyle’s tweets……

  32. G&T Admin

    Just don’t read Frankie Boyle’s tweets……

    I preferred the original version of this comment.

  33. Just don’t read Frankie Boyle’s tweets……

    I preferred the original version of this comment.

    I did as well but I don’t want to get into a shitstorm. Maybe I will wait until the thoughts of next weeks episode airs……

  34. I noticed this in the episode and since you screencapped it I’ll mention it. In that shot of Kryten, Rimmer and Pree (and I believe it’s only one shot in the show) Kryten’s arm has been cut off by someone during post.

    I honestly think the Taiwan Tony thing is supposed to be that people are asking a racist stereotype if something is racist due to their own ignorance which has already been displayed in early scenes. However, the way it’s written and executed means that this joke REALLY doesn’t come across and it appears as if the “funny” voice and the mutation of the original question are the sole jokes which is a real shame. The fact that there is no satisfying ending to the thread or SOMETHING to make this joke more obvious is it’s real downfall.

    Compare this to South Park. It’s full of episodes where all the townspeople act in a completely idiotic and inappropriate manner to overcome a problem. No one is there to point out this fact but we as viewers watch it and laugh at the characters as they respond to an influx of homeless people as if it’s a zombie takeover or send their children into the wilderness because they hear a news report say that most abused children are abused by close family. None of the adults in town realise how unsuitable their responses are but we do because, with South Park, they use extremes to make the joke work and sometimes even demonstrate the point they’re trying to make. In F&S the joke wasn’t signposted enough and was perhaps overshadowed by more obvious jokes in the same thread (whether they were funny or not). The fact that this element of the thread flew over most peoples heads means the execution was inappropriate as a way of getting this joke across so we aren’t laughing at the irony of the situation, we were just watching a question about Chinese Whispers become a game of Chinese Whispers and cringing at a comedy show which used a totally inappropriate accent for no apparent reason.

  35. G&T Admin

    Just don’t read Frankie Boyle’s tweets……

    I won’t, because I think he’s shit.

    I resent the implication that I’m a prude, though. There’s always room in comedy for controversial or sensitive topics, and there’s plenty of things that could cause offence to some people that I think are justified in doing so. It’s all about the intentions of the creator and the points that are being made. To use a couple of examples from Frankie Boyle – he got a lot of complaints for using the word “pakis” in a routine on his Channel 4 show. But in context, his use of the word was justified, as he was using it to satirise a perceived racist bias in the media. Elsewhere, he made gags about Harvey Price (Jordan’s disabled son), but wasn’t making any kind of point at all, other than to laugh at a disabled child. One I found offensive, one I didn’t.

  36. I noticed that the problem I mentioned isn’t actually in that Kryten shot as I think that’s just his shoulder pads jutting out. The actual problem I was thinking of is at 8:45 on the itunes download. Kryten’s chair merges with Pree’s monitor in an odd way. It happens again a bit later in the scene as well.

    And I really love this episode now. Better with each watch. Blackstone is incredible and the stuff I really despised on first viewing I don’t find anywhere near as bad and, at the end of the day, can easily overlook given how much great stuff there is in comparison.

  37. Just don’t read Frankie Boyle’s tweets……

    I can’t, he blocked me a few weeks ago.

    In regards to the episode – I couldn’t rewatch yesterday, so I’ve had another look this morning, and while I still think the Lister/Father stuff is brilliant, as is Pree, I do think my initial rating of 8 or 9/10 may have been a bit much. Lots to love in the episode, but not, I think, an episode to love. :/

    Though give me a day or two, and a few more rewatches, and I’ll probably be back with a different view altogether.

  38. G&T Admin

    I can’t, he blocked me a few weeks ago.

    You’re just too offensive for Frankie Boyle.

  39. You’re just too offensive for Frankie Boyle.

    I guess. I wouldn’t mind, I was only agreeing with a joke about Madonna.

  40. First time G&T’r long time Dwarfer.

    I have to say I am not surprised race is still an issue, or was before Lister was put in stasis, in the dwarf universe.

    When I heard the dwarf cast there was a comment on the races of the main actors. However in the context of the world, there are really only two humans in the episode. Lister and Rimmer. The Cat isn’t really a big enough sample size to tell if there was any racism in that culture.

    We have certainly seen that the dwarf universe is just as full of stupidity, ignorance, classism (perhaps more) than our own world. Remember Holograms were treated with contempt by many humans. Lister has the least privileged background and subsequently is the lowest rank on the ship.

    Even Mechanoids are seen a lower order than simulants, and in the previous episode that simulants want to throw of the shackles as well.

    So the bringing up of race, or the right nobby background is far from a suprise.

    The awful, chinese whispers comment by Rimmer and the even worse Taiwan Tony voice are not excusable. However it has been estabilished with Talkie Toaster that cheap tat appliances often have bad accents. Like wise the thh-errible ‘scottish’ droids on the phone in Trojan.

    The sad thing is Taiwan Tony could have been much funnier with a bad regional accent from the UK. Flipping your expectations much like the Cat did by interrupting Rimmer in Trojan.

    Whilst I love Red Dwarf, even the very best series have their duff moments. Both episodes though have managed to have about 2 out of 3 good threads going to help me through.

  41. G&T Admin

    Ian’s mention of the racism issue even being brought up as feeling disappointing reminds me in a lot of ways about how I felt about the Bent Bob material in Duct Soup. I liked the idea that homophobia had ceased to be an issue in the Red Dwarf universe. To have it then brought up as something Lister – the moral compass of the crew! – suffered from, made me feel uneasy. For whatever reason, I didn’t feel it here, but I understand why it would jolt people.

    The above does bring up questions in that the Red Dwarf universe has never been a particularly idealistic one – but that’s probably worth an article in itself.

    I personally didn’t find Taiwan Tony offensive, in that the idea of asking a machine which is a racist stereotype about racism legitimises it as a genuinely ironic construct (not just LOL I WAS BEING IRONIC LOL). If it hadn’t been for that, I would have felt rather more uncomfortable.

  42. >Dwarf didn’t need its ‘racist door’ opening.

    My God. There is a racist door onboard as well?!

    You sure it’s not Jade Goodys Stage Version of HitchHikers your thinking of?

    “Shilpa and enjoy.”

  43. For those who are Fans or indeed aficionados of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Kerry Shale did an Audiobook way back in the 80’s and his talents with that was brill.

    I tweeted him about it yesterday and he said that it was his first Audiobook recording. :)

  44. That is a brilliant review dude.

    I dont fully hold the same reservations, but you get across the quality levels and your viewpoints perfectly, im pretty close to agreeing with it.

  45. I tottally missed the Pree helping lister thing, and also the call back to whispers mentioning stasis. I’ll have to catch them on rewatching, but both just make the show even better to discover they are in there as well. Makes it make more sense. But I didnt need either to enjoy the threads first time round.

  46. > I thought the point with MED-I-BOT was that that kind of wacky behaviour was what JMC thought was reassuring to >patients. I quite like that idea.

    This. And it’s a fine tightrope to play an annoyance and be funny, rather than just annoying. To me he was just annoying, based on only one watch though. I dont know if he will always grate yet like george the hologramme in The End.

  47. Did a Fathers & Suns rewatch and found it to be a LOT more entertaining second time around. Couple of minor niggles here and there. But overall, it was actually quite good. A lot better than I initially thought. The Chinese Whispers is the weakest thing about the episode by a long shot. They should have come up with some better alternate interpretations of the original question for it to work. Although, ideally, I think they should have dropped that bit and had some kind of comedic resolve to the Rimmer’s whining gag and/or more Pree

    I didn’t mind the medi-bot and the Denti-bot too much. These weren’t too bad and weren’t in the main plot enough to be a problem. But at the recording we had Chris Barrie voice these….that was funnier.

    Both the Pree and the Father storyline are actually really quite clever with the intertwined conclusion. I think Pree works a lot better on second viewing. It was too easy to lose track of her logic with her super fast speech. And that was from someone who was at the recording! But this time around, it’s fairly flawless….She is just an uber logical computer carrying out her JMC duties to the best of her abilities in accordance with the crew.

    Didn’t like the laughing gas bit. And I think the “wall” garbage bot things could have backed off a little once Lister begins to out-logic Pree.

    Much better than I initially thought.

    Tell you what. I don’t think I’ve ever swung back and forth so much with my opinion on any TV show episode before now. I wasn’t sure after the recording thinking it could be anything between awful and terrific. After seeing Trojan I could see exactly how brilliant F&S would work. Then was really uncertain again after watching it…and now back in love with the episode!

    Note: Terrific has become an underused word. I have wearied of keep using the word ‘awesome’ and will try to use terrific instead. Not important, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

  48. G&T Admin

    Couple of minor niggles here and there.

    Racist.

  49. Rewatching. Ha ha ha The popadom must be 12 months old! and the groan it gets from the audience of digust is brilliant. If you were there, and they you groaned in the audience. Well done you. :-)

  50. Those that saw the recording. Did Lister the son appear in front you live, and lister the father you saw back on monitor screens in time with the recording?

  51. I was trying to remember today actually, and I wasn’t really sure. I have the memory of a brain damaged goldfish.

    But I surmised that it must have all been a VT as hungover Lister had stubble in the scene.

  52. G&T Admin

    Those that saw the recording. Did Lister the son appear in front you live, and lister the father you saw back on monitor screens in time with the recording?

    The whole sequence was pre-recorded.

  53. After watching a second time, i must say i’ve re-evaluated my opinion of Pree, more specifically Rebecca Blackstone’s performance. Watching her a second time, i found myself enjoying her performance a lot more. Especially the very subtle smile and other facial expressions she occasionally pulls.

    Still haven’t changed my mind on Taiwan Tony though. I liked the whole Chinese Whispers bit. I don’t get what all the fuss is about personally. Shows like ‘The Simpsons’ have done accents and characters like this for years. It’s not as if the British get left behind in the stereotypes either. It’s not exactly the black and white minstrel show yet!

  54. G&T Admin

    After watching a second time, i must say i’ve re-evaluated my opinion of Pree, more specifically Rebecca Blackstone’s performance. Watching her a second time, i found myself enjoying her performance a lot more. Especially the very subtle smile and other facial expressions she occasionally pulls.

    I came out of that recording thinking it was one of the best guest performances I’d seen in Red Dwarf. I still think that, even if I’m not keen on the episode as a whole.

  55. The whole sequence was pre-recorded.

    I thought we saw half of this performance acted out in front of us with Craig Charles acting to an already pre-recorded ‘drunk father’ on screen. Where he strops out of the room I remember being slightly concerned that he had over done the whole physical comedy stereotypical Kevin the Teenager routine.

    Please don’t tell me that my memory is that flawed!! Although, I think this is the point that I was absolutely bursting for a pee and was trying to catch Ray Peacock’s attention and ask to use the loo!

  56. Yeah the dentist is way more petter lorre than the lazoo thing people are saying. Lorre is more in dwarf lore as well. It works as not evil, and more the kind of menace lorre has, unerving, and it fits that you would hate a dentist to be like that, so it’s supposed to be funnyscary. it’s joke over logic. It’s a bit little shop of horrors. i dont mind it. You need a reason for Lister to be running away.

  57. Couple of minor niggles here and there.

    Racist.

    LMFAO

    But seriously the latest episode of R&D has made G&T go a wee bit P&C……

  58. The whole sequence was pre-recorded.

    I thought we saw half of this performance acted out in front of us with Craig Charles acting to an already pre-recorded ‘drunk father’ on screen. Where he strops out of the room I remember being slightly concerned that he had over done the whole physical comedy stereotypical Kevin the Teenager routine.
    Please don’t tell me that my memory is that flawed!! Although, I think this is the point that I was absolutely bursting for a pee and was trying to catch Ray Peacock’s attention and ask to use the loo!

    That’s what I was struggling to reconcile. The logical part of my brain and my fuzzy memory was telling me that it MUST have all been a VT, but I too remember the strop differently. Of course, they may have reshot it. Or shown a different edit on the VT.

  59. The whole sequence was pre-recorded.

    I thought we saw half of this performance acted out in front of us with Craig Charles acting to an already pre-recorded ‘drunk father’ on screen. Where he strops out of the room I remember being slightly concerned that he had over done the whole physical comedy stereotypical Kevin the Teenager routine.
    Please don’t tell me that my memory is that flawed!! Although, I think this is the point that I was absolutely bursting for a pee and was trying to catch Ray Peacock’s attention and ask to use the loo!
    That’s what I was struggling to reconcile. The logical part of my brain and my fuzzy memory was telling me that it MUST have all been a VT, but I too remember the strop differently. Of course, they may have reshot it. Or shown a different edit on the VT.

    I think it was a VT, mainly because I remember Lister stomping off down the corridor still doing his stroppy teenager bit and where I was sat I couldn’t see down the corridor… although I guess I could be remembering what I saw on screen at that point.

  60. “Shilpa and enjoy.”

    Oh my god, I lol’d.

  61. But seriously the latest episode of R&D has made G&T go a wee bit P&C……

    C&U&N&T.

    There, normal service resumed. Feel better now?

  62. I hadn`t noticed it but on another forum they point out that Taiwan Tony was selling `Endangered Panda Stew`. Can`t blame the voice actor for that one… A bad idea badly executed.

    So it does! I guess that must’ve been a jokey one put in by the set design team… but yeah, odd choice for the top row! Not just Panda Stew either, Endangered Panda Stew. Poor future Pandas!

  63. But seriously the latest episode of R&D has made G&T go a wee bit P&C……

    C&U&N&T.
    There, normal service resumed. Feel better now?

    Not really. Let’s see if you get on your high horse about some of the subject matters featuring in next weeks episode….

    L&O&L.

  64. Poor future Pandas!

    At least we know they’re still around in a couple of centuries. ;)

  65. G&T Admin

    I think it was a VT, mainly because I remember Lister stomping off down the corridor still doing his stroppy teenager bit and where I was sat I couldn’t see down the corridor… although I guess I could be remembering what I saw on screen at that point.

    The main bulk of the scene was definitely VT, but I can’t remember whether they went into a live bit at the end. They could have done.

  66. G&T Admin

    Not really. Let’s see if you get on your high horse about some of the subject matters featuring in next weeks episode….

    I’m afraid you’re starting to fuck me off, now. Instead of flapping your arms about and dribbling on about political correctness, why not spend some time actually reading Ian’s reasoning and then, if you still disagree, actually explain why.

  67. I’m afraid you’re starting to fuck me off, now. Instead of flapping your arms about and dribbling on about political correctness, why not spend some time actually reading Ian’s reasoning and then, if you still disagree, actually explain why.

    I think that the above review is a very fair discussion of the appearances of Taiwan Tony. I do though think that the Dwarfcast casually mentioning Benny Hill and stating that certain shows, `shouldn`t be on TV` was unfair.

  68. Not really. Let’s see if you get on your high horse about some of the subject matters featuring in next weeks episode….
    L&O&L.

    You seemed very negative about this episode in the other thread, Cack. Did you like the Taiwan Tony stuff?

  69. Nice game of accusation comedic Scrabble there. Not sure GG&T is a high horse, on the evidence i find them more My Little Pony.

  70. Bit indulgent of the JMC back some 3 million few hundred and 10 ish years ago to have that as a vending option yeah. Though surely any Pandas left in the universe now, should be saving the humans! Therefore being a stew might well be a noble act in the timeline of the current show!

  71. Not really. Let’s see if you get on your high horse about some of the subject matters featuring in next weeks episode….

    I’m afraid you’re starting to fuck me off, now. Instead of flapping your arms about and dribbling on about political correctness, why not spend some time actually reading Ian’s reasoning and then, if you still disagree, actually explain why.

    Fucked off? Well I’m fucked off about the throw away Benny Hill comment – I don’t remember if you said it in the podcast but you all seemed like you agreed with that comment.

    I do disagree with that part of Ian’s review. I wasn’t offended and nobody I know was and judging by the reaction else where not many people where. But it only take one PC numpty to come along and say something and then people end up second guessing first thoughts. The question is would you have been offended if Kryten’s friend ‘Garby’ spoke with a Scottish accent?

    Why not as your special guest for next week get a Taiwanese guest on and ask them if they were offended?

    Ironically at school years ago we had a Taiwanese girl in our tutor group. Nice legs.

  72. Not really. Let’s see if you get on your high horse about some of the subject matters featuring in next weeks episode….

    L&O&L.
    You seemed very negative about this episode in the other thread, Cack. Did you like the Taiwan Tony stuff?

    I liked the idea of Taiwan Tony in that a vending machine you could have a chat with – reminded me of the vending machine with a lisp from series 1…..anyone offended by that? But the Chinese Whispers thing was a good idea but it kinda ending up having a series 8 feeling about it and the pay off wasn’t that good.

  73. I think that the above review is a very fair discussion of the appearances of Taiwan Tony. I do though think that the Dwarfcast casually mentioning Benny Hill and stating that certain shows, `shouldn`t be on TV` was unfair.

    That’s ignorance for you sadly.

  74. G&T Admin

    Fucked off? Well I’m fucked off about the throw away Benny Hill comment – I don’t remember if you said it in the podcast but you all seemed like you agreed with that comment.

    I don’t even remember it, I’ll have to listen back. Why does it fuck you off, though? Are you actually Benny Hill?

    I do disagree with that part of Ian’s review. I wasn’t offended and nobody I know was and judging by the reaction else where not many people where.

    I wasn’t offended. I can’t speak for Ian, but I’m willing to bet he wasn’t either. My main concern was that with something as charged as a comedy Taiwan accent, it needs to be damn clear if you’re being ironic or trying to make a point, and this episode failed on both counts.

    But it only take one PC numpty to come along and say something and then people end up second guessing first thoughts.

    You keep using the term PC as a pejorative. Please explain why you think it’s a bad thing, and why it’s even slightly relevant to this discussion.

    Also, I doubt very much that anyone who initially had no problem with TT would then be swayed the other way. I’ve seen tonnes of people say they enjoyed the plot (including John) and that’s not something I have any issues with because I don’t believe there was any racist intent anywhere in this episode. I just thought it was unjustified and poorly realised, on top of the fact that I didn’t find it funny.

    The question is would you have been offended if Kryten’s friend ‘Garby’ spoke with a Scottish accent?

    No, but then considering I wasn’t offended by Taiwan Tony that’s hardly relevant. But even if I was, if you don’t see the difference between a British show featuring a comedy Asian accent and one featuring a comedy Scottish accent then you’re either being deliberately obtuse, or a moron.

    Why not as your special guest for next week get a Taiwanese guest on and ask them if they were offended?

    I would be genuinely interested to hear the thoughts of a Taiwanese Red Dwarf fan. I don’t know any, though, so we might just get a Scottish fan on instead.

    Ironically at school years ago we had a Taiwanese girl in our tutor group. Nice legs.

    Alright, Alanis.

  75. I’d like to think the stew as more a novelty name, a joke on the behalf of the machine constructors rather than actually being Endagered panda Stew*. (I.e. it’s probably actually beef or some kind of future meat substitute thing.) With their choice of ‘voice’ programming the engineers of Taiwan Tony are obviously a bit over the top. To put it mildly.

    *When I was in Canada I once had grasshopper pie. It actually turned out to be a rather nice mint pudding tart thing. There wasn’t an ex-jumpy insect in site.

  76. I’d like to think the stew as more a novelty name, a joke on the behalf of the machine constructors rather than actually being Endagered panda Stew*. (I.e. it’s probably actually beef or some kind of future meat substitute thing.) …

    Mystery meat!

  77. Mystery meat!

    Maybe they actually used Space Weevil!

  78. Maybe we’ve done such a good job of saving the pandas, that is a period where they try to take over the planet, by sitting about everywhere important, and blocking power stations by inserting bamboo in the wrong places, so we have to eject a large mass of pandas into space, after which they become the easy to farm meat of choice.

  79. I’m all for eating pandas, the smug furry fuckers.

  80. Taiwan Tony doesn’t offend me. Unlike plenty of people who are, bafflingly, cursed with a conscience and/or integrity of any kind, I usually get a kick out of the idea of comedy pissing off prudes, or the Ofcom speedial brigade, to their very core. It gives me a warm feeling that could only be matched by, say, the merciless extermination of pissed-up crowds shouting Kasabian guitar lines (but that’s another story…)

    What does get to me is wasted opportunity in comedy. I just think everyone involved with the show is capable of so much better (than the Bots too). It’s proof that the very worst parts of VII and VIII, contrary to popular belief, AREN’T as low as things can go. ‘Fathers and Suns’ is the only instance, aside from the likes of ‘Ouroboros’, ‘Epideme’/’Nanarchy’, ‘Pete’ and ‘Only The Good…’ where I feel like skipping scenes of Red Dwarf.

  81. G&T Admin

    By the way, did anyone else get the ‘serious reservations’ joke in the review?

  82. To be honest. I was in two minds about the Chinese Whispers side-story. On the one hand I was shocked to find out that racism still exists in the Red Dwarf universe, same as you. However, I kind of liked how the whole thing became a game of Chinese Whispers if only for the stupidity of it. However, the other main storyines (Pree and the Father/Son stuff) was done a whole lot better, and seemed far less forced. I definitely liked this episode better than Trojan, which I still liked. Some of Trojan seemed like a bad Red Dwarf fanfiction (and as someone who has written bad Red Dwarf fanfction, I know them when I see them).

    Also, I actually like the Dancing Midgets… what is it that people have against them? I get that it’s a parody of Men In Black, but I think it’s kind of fun to watch. I guess it kind of looks like filler when you forget that Back In The Red was supposed to be one long episode. So it would have seemed less like filler if that had happened.

    And yes, Taiwan Tony’s accent was over the top.

  83. I thought T.T. was Fucking Hilarious! It’s a Fucking Comedy Show! If you are offended by anything on RD you shouldn’t be watching it! Let me say Fuck a few more times so this site can keep its Adult rating! Ah my Panda Burgers are burning!

  84. …here’s H from Steps.

  85. The question is would you have been offended if Kryten’s friend ‘Garby’ spoke with a Scottish accent?
    No, but then considering I wasn’t offended by Taiwan Tony that’s hardly relevant. But even if I was, if you don’t see the difference between a British show featuring a comedy Asian accent and one featuring a comedy Scottish accent then you’re either being deliberately obtuse, or a moron.

    Well, thanks for calling me a moron I suppose….. but seems that there are people with Scottish accents that are British, and there are people who have Chinese accents who are British and there are comedy versions of both of these. Are Chinese-British people somehow less British than Scottish-British people?

    I think the Chinese Whispers sub-plot was rather weak, but the joke seemed to be that Rimmer is ignorant of his views of race, as is Lister assuming the JMC stereotype themed machine will know about Chinese whiskers by being “chinesy”, and Cat agreeing. The joke is about them being ignorant of being racist.

    There is a joke about sexism with Rimmer saying he can’t believe they still ask it, while continuing to be highly sexist. It’s the same style.

    The earlier comment that racism won’t exist anymore in the future for Red Dwarf – seems a bit like Star Trek to me.

  86. I watched the repeat last night and this time not looking for anything to pick on and just enjoy it. I love it! It does benefit from multiple viewings. I didnt like pree at first but as i watched it again and again i think shes great! Im not offended by T.T either. The Dave/Dad chat still makes me laugh!

  87. I watched the repeat last night and this time not looking for anything to pick on and just enjoy it. I love it! It does benefit from multiple viewings. I didnt like pree at first but as i watched it again and again i think shes great! Im not offended by T.T either. The Dave/Dad chat still makes me laugh!

    Agreed. I had no idea what to expect from Trojan and went in and loved it. Fathers & Suns I had seen recorded and though I had enjoyed it I had so many questions about what the final product would be like that I think I spent a lot of the time worrying about stuff getting cut out, whether the climax would work and Kerry Shale’s performances rather than just enjoying the show. With subsequent viewings I really enjoyed it. I saw Lemons recorded as well and I hope I don’t have similar problems with my first viewing of that.

  88. Exactly :) Im not normally a fa of the location episodes (i like my Red Dwarf a space comedy on spacey things). Which is why i never was a fan of Meltdown, Timeslides or Backwards. But ive loved this series so far so im looking forward to it!

    BTW, which is the episode thats meant to have the contraversial word or joke in? is it Lemons?

    Also, NoFro, as you went to see the recordings (and providing its now ok to talk about this epidodes recordings now) , were there any scenes you seen that didnt appear in the final show?

  89. THE controversial word that seemed to divide opinion was in episode 4 or 5. Think it might have been 5. It wasn’t one that I went to.

    And F&S seemed to remain relatively intact. The only cut I noticed was that at the start of the last scene we saw Lister applying for the course on the computer with a close up of the screen as he enters in his details. Can’t remember if there anything more to it than that. I don’t think anything else was cut. It didn’t feel like anything was missing when I watched it. The medi-bot scene felt shorter but again I don’t know if that’s just my memory.

    Also, those who went to the recording… does anyone else remember Craig Charles’ repeated smegging up of the “12 months later on Father’s Day” line whenever they hear it in the episode?

  90. I don’t even remember it, I’ll have to listen back. Why does it fuck you off, though? Are you actually Benny Hill?

    I stopped reading there……because obviously you’ve ignored the fact I am Willy Wonka with a shocking incontinence problem…….I am most offended. :(

  91. BTW, which is the episode thats meant to have the contraversial word or joke in? is it Lemons?

    It’s ep 5 – Dear Dave.

  92. lol Benny Hill was THE shit.

    That’s better.

  93. G&T Admin

    Well, thanks for calling me a moron I suppose…..

    To be fair, I wasn’t addressing you directly and I also gave you the choice of being obtuse.

    but seems that there are people with Scottish accents that are British, and there are people who have Chinese accents who are British and there are comedy versions of both of these. Are Chinese-British people somehow less British than Scottish-British people?

    I didn’t even come close to saying this, so no obviously. The difference is a comedy Scottish accent would be performed by someone British but Taiwan Tony was played by a white Canadian, so the accent is so un-natural and contorted, it’s much closer resembles unpleasant caricatures of the past, even if that wasn’t the intent.

  94. By the way, did anyone else get the ‘serious reservations’ joke in the review?

    I presume it’s a Vic and Bob Tony Baron reference.

  95. G&T Admin

    The Benny Hill comment in the Dwarfcast was one of mine, and wasn’t particularly thought through, given that the instant reaction casts are basically just us articulating our initial thoughts for the first time. The point I was making though, wasn’t that Benny Hill was necessarily shit or offensive (that’s a far longer argument that I don’t want to get in to), but that this sort of humour “belongs in the past”. I think I stand by that.

    Incidentally, I’m quite happy to be called a PC numpty, as I don’t see how the notion of trying to avoid causing unnecessary offence is a bad thing. Political correctness boils down to treating people respectfully and courteously, and the deliberate misuse of the term in the right wing media is a great shame.

  96. >Well I’m fucked off about the throw away Benny Hill comment

    It stands to reason that if you’re listening to a podcast about comedy, sooner or later you’re going to hear an opinion that you don’t agree with. I don’t know why you should be “fucked off” about it, though. I must have missed the bit where they said “Benny Hill is shit and anyone who likes him is a moron”.

  97. Well, thanks for calling me a moron I suppose…..

    Well, given that he wasn’t directing his comment at you, I don’t think he called you anything.

    but seems that there are people with Scottish accents that are British…

    You realise that Scotland is part of Britain, right?

    The earlier comment that racism won’t exist anymore in the future for Red Dwarf – seems a bit like Star Trek to me.

    The hope that racism won’t exist in the future? Yeah, what a silly thing to wish for, eh?

  98. Incidentally, I’m quite happy to be called a PC numpty, as I don’t see how the notion of trying to avoid causing unnecessary offence is a bad thing.

    It depends on the circumstances of course. On occasions (not here) I think trying to avoid causing offence to one group ends up causing offence to another. This then leads to increased hostility, frustration and intolerance. A drama has been made out of a crisis (though the press can obviously exaggerate these things).

    Casually mentioning stuff on the Dwarfcast about `there`s a lot of shows that probably shouldn`t be on TV` was foolish imo. Especially when some of them seem to be things the contributors had seen very little of. That`s the sort of comment, especially made without any sort of reasoned debate, that will have people using the PC term in a perjorative sense and could understandably cause frustration to some. I doubt anyone on this site would be happy if people started making the comment, `Red Dwarf probably shouldn`t be on TV` without giving a decent argument why.

  99. G&T Admin

    Again, those comments weren’t thought through, but I think I was trying to say that specific aspects of those shows (any racist or anti-disabled bits) don’t belong on TV, rather than the shows themselves. But in the light of day, I regret using that phrase. I’m not one for censorship, and I don’t think that you can broadly declare “this shouldn’t be on TV” about anything, as there’s always shades of grey. I just wish sometimes that comedians/producers/broadcasters think some more about *why* they’re putting things on television, and making sure their intentions are clear.

  100. Again, those comments weren’t thought through, but I think I was trying to say that specific aspects of those shows (any racist or anti-disabled bits) don’t belong on TV, rather than the shows themselves. But in the light of day, I regret using that phrase. I’m not one for censorship, and I don’t think that you can broadly declare “this shouldn’t be on TV” about anything, as there’s always shades of grey. I just wish sometimes that comedians/producers/broadcasters think some more about *why* they’re putting things on television, and making sure their intentions are clear.

    A good post and I can understand that but maybe it would have been better not to mention any other sitcoms unless they specifically had used Chinese characters/caricatures. Bringing in something like Derek I didn`t like as there isn`t really any comparison and it is very debatable whether that character is disabled at all. No more disabled than Frank Spencer imo (many others have commented the same) and the thought that a classic like Some Mothers Do `ave Em might not be made today due to concerns like that is, I guess, the sort of thing that the non-PC brigade are afraid of.

  101. G&T Admin

    In general, I find it irritating that people are picking out little things I said in an instant reaction chat, rather than the much more considered and balanced versions of my opinions that are displayed in the 4000-odd words at the top of this page. Maybe we’ll need to re-establish the nature of the instant reaction casts at the top of each show from now on, but to paraphrase Ellard: don’t assume that the first thing we say on each topic is our only and defining thought on the matter.

  102. It’s also annoying that all of this discussion is happening in the comments for said review, rather than the comments for said podcast.

  103. Benny Hill shouldn’t be on TV anymore.

    He’s been dead for 20 years. Give the guy a break.

  104. G&T Admin

    I’m also exasperated that one throw away comment has rather hijacked any other discussion about the episode. In a live podcast, there’s not time to construct a water-tight point that satisfies everyone. In any case, Benny Hill wasn’t above using racial stereotypes in a way which wouldn’t be used today, so I think Ian’s reference is relevant, even if I’m not convinced that Taiwan Tony is racist. Examples can be disagreed with, but not to the extent where they dominate everything else.

  105. Does anyone else think that if the machine wasn’t called ‘Taiwan Tony’ that would have made things a whole lot easier to swallow?

  106. Does anyone else think that if the machine wasn’t called ‘Taiwan Tony’ that would have made things a whole lot easier to swallow?

    I can`t really think of any way that the idea could have worked.

    If they`d done it with the character called `Taiwan Tony` but using a fairly normal accent (as was maybe the original idea) then would it have got any laughs? Would it have been clear that it was ironic? I doubt it.

    If they hadn`t called it Taiwan Tony but had kept the accent the same then I think it would have seemed even more of a surprise when they went to speak to the vending machine. The same complaints would still be made.

    If they`d made the character even more of a ridiculous caricature then it would have been more obvious that it was ironic but it still would have seemed out of place in the show.

    I think the most `offensive` thing about it is just that it wastes a huge amount of time in the episode, doesn`t move the plot along and isn`t remotely funny.

  107. I just watched the episode again with my brother, and showed him this thread. He chuckled and moved on with his life. Can’t we do the same? Okay, so it wasn’t funny. We’ve all accepted that, except those who think it is funny (are there any?), and they’re welcome to have opinions too. If it makes anyone feel any better I’ll ask my friend who is a huge Red Dwarf fan and also is Chinese what he thinks. If that doesn’t settle this, then I don’t know what will.

  108. >He chuckled and moved on with his life.

    At least he found something about it amusing.

  109. To be fair, this whole debate, from the point of view of someone who’s not involved in it, is pretty… not funny, but certainly odd enough to elicit a sort of bemusement that can be expressed via a chuckle.

  110. I didn’t like this one so much or, rather, there were a couple of shit bits. But it was alright.

    Also, i watched it on Dave’s iplayer type thing, and they have a really badly designed website.

  111. Also, i watched it on Dave’s iplayer type thing, and they have a really badly designed website.

    its the 3 minutes of bloody advertsyou have to wade through that annoys me..

  112. Also, i watched it on Dave’s iplayer type thing, and they have a really badly designed website.

    its the 3 minutes of bloody advertsyou have to wade through that annoys me..

    Try Adblocker that may work?

  113. Those that saw the recording. Did Lister the son appear in front you live, and lister the father you saw back on monitor screens in time with the recording?

    The whole sequence was pre-recorded.

    Not so. Although it did start that way for some reason, for the most part it was done live with Craig playing Son Lister and Father Lister on VT. It was my favourite part of the entire recording so I’m a little surprised that others are misremembering it. I also remember seeing Craig stomp through the door and down the corridor at the end (by which point this was being shown live on a few monitors too). Very cleaverly put together right before our eyes (I was sat right in the middle by the way, back row next to the sound tech guy).

    The TT scene with Danny was live too. I mention that because I’ve seen a few others claim otherwise.

    I really enjoyed the episode by the way. Both on the night of the recording and when broadcast. Never liked the Taiwan Tony bit though, I cringed and felt very uncomfortable when the audienced laughed so loudly too, but then began to feel that it must have been intended in an ironic sense…which certainly doesn’t come across very well, which is a shame really.

    I agree with Ian’s review for the most part too. t’was a good read. Love the Dougy discipline line :)

  114. G&T Admin

    Not so. Although it did start that way for some reason, for the most part it was done live with Craig playing Son Lister and Father Lister on VT.

    I am almost certain that the whole conversation was a VT. When that finished they went straight into the live scene of Lister being trapped in the corridor and chased by the crusher.

    The TT scene with Danny was live too. I mention that because I’ve seen a few others claim otherwise.

    Hmm, I remembered this as a VT, too. It would’ve been odd if it was live because it would’ve involved Danny interacting with a pre-recorded TT, as Kerry Shale wasn’t present for the recording, only the pre-record.

  115. One thing that seems apparent from reading people’s comments around the first two episodes of this new season is that a lot of people are missing or misunderstanding some of the basic plot points on first watch. Lister using Pree to predict his reaction to the video seems to be the most glaring example of this. Far from this being the fault of those watching, it suggests Doug isn’t really executing his ideas all that well this season, doesn’t it?

  116. G&T Admin

    To be fair, I think this is something that has happened with previous episodes, it has certainly with me (cannot think of any off the top of my head right now, will get back to you on that one) In the case of F&S, i just thought it was Lister knew himself very well and knew how he would react to those situations even though he was completely arseholed, which worked anyway, even if I misunderstood it.

    On later watches, when it became apparent that Pree was responsible for that, it still didn’t break the idea, if anything it strengthened the idea. And what’s wrong with watching and episode and getting a new ‘thing’ each time? :)

  117. I guess there are some things that I haven’t picked up on first time around but I don’t think we needed anything more for the Pree/Lister scene, for example. Red Dwarf episodes can be very pacey so it makes sense that people may miss a couple of things on a first watch. It’s worth noting that quite a few people didn’t notice the link between Rimmer hearing a noise and the ship being in bad shape despite one being mentioned straight after the other so I’d say it may be a bit of both. Can’t say I’ve had a problem. The only thing I’ve missed is getting the full jist of what Kryten said about the Quantum Rod. I heard what he said but it didn’t fully compute (specifically the time factor) until the second viewing.

    EDIT: And I agree with Danny. It’s nice to rewatch things and get something new. When you don’t know the whole plot it’s easy to dismiss things as insignificant when, on a rewatch, you may realise it sets up or relates to something that crops up later in the episode. And I definitely have also had problems with some of the classic Dwarf stuff first time round, as simple as some of those stories may seem to me now.

  118. Not so. Although it did start that way for some reason, for the most part it was done live with Craig playing Son Lister and Father Lister on VT.

    I am almost certain that the whole conversation was a VT. When that finished they went straight into the live scene of Lister being trapped in the corridor and chased by the crusher.
    The TT scene with Danny was live too. I mention that because I’ve seen a few others claim otherwise.
    Hmm, I remembered this as a VT, too. It would’ve been odd if it was live because it would’ve involved Danny interacting with a pre-recorded TT, as Kerry Shale wasn’t present for the recording, only the pre-record.

    Hmm, Not sure what to say to that to be honest. You’ve got me questioning my own sanity now, lol. I either have false memories embedded in my head or you’re mixing your scenes up. I do remember there being an occasion or two when a VT went straight into a live shot, but I could’ve sworn I’d remembered seeing Craig performing some of that scene on the set.

    I’ve got…what certain seem to be memories of seeing a scene with TT too…hmm. I suppose it’s possible that being caught up in the moment caused me to somehow get the visuals mixed up in my head as the scenes were playing out. Ha, bit concerning if that’s the case. Man, perhaps I shouldn’t have had so many beers before hand..;)

    The doctors waiting room scene, that was live though, right? – at the bottom of the corridor set? If not then I really am in trouble as I remember having to point that out to my friend at the time who was busy watching the monitor.

    ..Are you absolutely certain Craig didn’t do any of that scene live? As all jokes aside I do feel like I have a very vivid memory of him doing so. How strange if if remembered it so wrongly.

  119. Lister/Lister was VT. The scene with Lister and Pree was VT but Lister exiting the room and getting chased by Garby or one of his crew was shot live.

    The corridor scene with Cat and Lister was live though. I remember them having to repeatedly add smoke. Oh and there was an extended cat exit which didn’t make the cut.

    I was watching that scene with Lister and the Cat yesterday and was thinking how much more smokey stuff there was floating about in that scene than in the scene where they’re actually being gassed.

    Also the scene where Lister gets ejected. Pree’s line just before she ejects him is so brilliant.

  120. I liked the use of the old keying in sound effect when Kryten and Cat used the keypad, shame they didn’t use the old emergency siren for B Deck as well. Also noticed the use of one or two samsung tv’s across the ship.

  121. G&T Admin

    NoFro’s recollection matches mine, Mr. X, but I’ve had similar moments when I’ve misremembered what was VT and what was live so I know how you feel.

    I can’t be 100% sure about the TT scene as I can’t remember and I’m making an assumption based on the fact Kerry Shale was only available for episode 2 pre-recordings.

  122. Random observation – both eps so far have had a scene where Rimmer pulls rank on Kryten to force him to obey an order when the others aren’t around. Maybe just coincidence.

  123. I hear this was Colin Baker’s favourite episode of the series so far.

  124. I liked the use of the old keying in sound effect when Kryten and Cat used the keypad, shame they didn’t use the old emergency siren for B Deck as well. Also noticed the use of one or two samsung tv’s across the ship.

    Ha heard that. Also been liking the old Starbug and door sound effects still being used. Though i think Blue Midget sounds like it has a new sound effect.

    I’m just waiting for the Star Wars crashing sound to be used again. Haven’t heard it yet.

  125. The Taiwan Tony stuff was all pre-recorded VT.

  126. Just had my third rewatch and even though I liked the episode first time round, it definitely gets better each time. The Chinese whispers stuff isn’t comedy gold but I do really like the way it ties in with the other strands. My friend who has detested every Red Dwarf episode since 1997 stands by his 8/10.

  127. One thing that seems apparent from reading people’s comments around the first two episodes of this new season is that a lot of people are missing or misunderstanding some of the basic plot points on first watch. Far from this being the fault of those watching, it suggests Doug isn’t really executing his ideas all that well this season, doesn’t it?

    To be honest there is a fair bit of it. There is “finding new things” and then there is “having to go back afterward and have a big conversation to explain the story cos some things were left vague or even entirely unsaid”.

    I’ve enjoyed both shows but both the scripts seemed like they could do with an extra draft or two, frankly. Well written Dwarf makes even the most complicated concept, like Future Echoes, immediately understandable. That is lacking here.

    In F&S the Pree/Lister thing was very vague, to me (we *assume* the job was predicting his reactions, but we shouldn’t have to assume this stuff – the job could’ve been processing his resignation, or even flushing the guitar away). In Trojan the rod was a neat device but things about it were left unexplained; did it pull Howard through space *and* time? This is never made clear, and the fact that there have been reactions on this site for both explanations (he’s moved through time, no he’s “been around for three million years”) prove that really.

    It all reminds me a bit of the end of Cassandra, where the whole resolution is vaguely waved away with “Kryten figured it out”. I think Doug could do with another couple of passes on these details.

  128. One thing that seems apparent from reading people’s comments around the first two episodes of this new season is that a lot of people are missing or misunderstanding some of the basic plot points on first watch. Far from this being the fault of those watching, it suggests Doug isn’t really executing his ideas all that well this season, doesn’t it?

    To be honest there is a fair bit of it. There is “finding new things” and then there is “having to go back afterward and have a big conversation to explain the story cos some things were left vague or even entirely unsaid”.
    I’ve enjoyed both shows but both the scripts seemed like they could do with an extra draft or two, frankly. Well written Dwarf makes even the most complicated concept, like Future Echoes, immediately understandable. That is lacking here.
    In F&S the Pree/Lister thing was very vague, to me (we *assume* the job was predicting his reactions, but we shouldn’t have to assume this stuff – the job could’ve been processing his resignation, or even flushing the guitar away). In Trojan the rod was a neat device but things about it were left unexplained; did it pull Howard through space *and* time? This is never made clear, and the fact that there have been reactions on this site for both explanations (he’s moved through time, no he’s “been around for three million years”) prove that really.
    It all reminds me a bit of the end of Cassandra, where the whole resolution is vaguely waved away with “Kryten figured it out”. I think Doug could do with another couple of passes on these details.

    A very interesting, well-written post and again I do think a lot of comes down to having too many plot ideas crammed into each episode. A curious thing is that Andrew Ellard agreed after Back to Earth that Doug likes to move the plot on too quickly to get to the next thing sometimes. So presumably the script notes are pointing this stuff out. Either the early drafts of the scripts are even more confused or not enough changes are being made imo.

  129. In F&S the Pree/Lister thing was very vague, to me (we *assume* the job was predicting his reactions, but we shouldn’t have to assume this stuff – the job could’ve been processing his resignation, or even flushing the guitar away). In Trojan the rod was a neat device but things about it were left unexplained; did it pull Howard through space *and* time? This is never made clear, and the fact that there have been reactions on this site for both explanations (he’s moved through time, no he’s “been around for three million years”) prove that really.

    And yet if this had all been thoroughly explained, people would have been complaining that they’d spent too much time over explaining things they could have worked out for themselves.

  130. Agreed to a point, Jo. There definitely is a sweet spot though between VIII-style over explaining and X-style “fuck it…it just happened.” I’d say most of 1 – VI fit right into that sweet spot.

  131. How DID the developing fluid mutate and cause the photos to come to life in Timeslides? More to the point, why the fuck do I care?

  132. Random observation – both eps so far have had a scene where Rimmer pulls rank on Kryten to force him to obey an order when the others aren’t around. Maybe just coincidence.

    Hmm – I didn’t notice that on my own, but you’re right …

  133. What does VT mean? It sounds like a venereal disease

  134. Nothing in this series has been as hand wavey as ‘Kryten figured it out’! And nothing has jarred as much as the mirror universe machine appearing from nowhere either. I definitely warch more for the comedy and I’m not especially looking for plot holes, but it makes enough sense for me to enjoy it all.

  135. How DID the developing fluid mutate and cause the photos to come to life in Timeslides? More to the point, why the fuck do I care?

    How it happened doesn’t matter, that’s the type of thing that happens in the Red Dwarf universe. It established the premise, it’s restrictions, and potential uses well though.

  136. >How it happened doesn’t matter, that’s the type of thing that happens in the Red Dwarf universe. It established the premise, it’s restrictions, and potential uses well though.

    And that isn’t true of Series X?

  137. How could an explanation of how Pree helped Lister help the episode? He doesn’t need to tell her what he needs help with because she already knows, having such a discussion detailing his plan would totally lessen the impact of the following scene and Lister doesn’t remember what happened the night before so can’t say it after the fact. He could stand there stroking his chin and work it out in the scene, telling the audience in precise detail what must have happened the night before, or Lister Snr. could brag about it on the tape, but I feel that Lister totally understanding the situation wouldn’t have worked so well. His surprise at being outwitted by his drunken self is where part of the comedy comes from. The “How the smeg did you know I was going to swear?” felt like a subtle way of telling the audience what had happened, signposting that Lister clearly asked Pree for help in predicting his sober self’s reaction to the tape.

  138. >How it happened doesn’t matter, that’s the type of thing that happens in the Red Dwarf universe. It established the premise, it’s restrictions, and potential uses well though.

    And that isn’t true of Series X?

    Howard, three million years old or not?

  139. >Howard, three million years old or not?

    Arnold Rimmer, dead as a result of a radiation leak or as a result of an exploding crate?

  140. Both I’d say, in fact I’ve always liked that joke at the end of Timeslides because I imagine Holly bringing him back as a hologram and Rimmer not telling any of the others that he was briefly alive out of embarrassment.

    That’s a different situation though because they didn’t make an effort to explain it. With the quantum rod there was obviously an attempt to explain a mechanism, they laid clues to what sort of thing to expect with Rimmer rubbing it.

    Something happening with a good explanation = good.
    Something happening with no explanation whatsoever (just a “Wow, what are the odds of running into you!” thing) = good
    Something happening with a confusing explanation = bad

    I liked Trojan, but some bits of it did have a first-pass feel to it. Fathers & Suns however did feel a lot tighter.

  141. Agreed! Also I know they’ve already done the joke in Queeg, but any in-character excuse to have Rimmer play the other characters is welcome to me.

  142. I would like to see an episode with Lister as a mechanoid, or he comes face to face with a mechanoid replica of himself.

  143. I’ve just discovered that Kerry Shale played Mr Beaver in the BBC’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

    [Mind blown]

  144. Don’t know what I hate more the word “Throbbo” or Craig’s delivery of the line.

  145. Don’t know what I hate more the word “Throbbo” or Craig’s delivery of the line.

    I loved both.

  146. Cack clearly doesn’t enjoy day trips to Liverpool. ;)

  147. I loved that picture too. Such a wonderful model. Very much hoping we get at least one more shot of the bug. Maybe in Entangled we will. Would love a more dynamic flying shot where we can really benefit from seeing the model in HD. The Trojan shots felt like a bit of a tease!

  148. It’s the one of Blue Midget on the asteroid that I love. Finally seeing the legs used in a good way that makes sense.

  149. Cack clearly doesn’t enjoy day trips to Liverpool. ;)

    Probably because there was quite alot of cack there already. No wonder The Beatles left so quickly.

  150. Don’t know what I hate more the word “Throbbo” or Craig’s delivery of the line.

    I loved both.

    That’s because your greedy.

  151. That’s because your greedy.

    You should meet the Hitlers, they’re an absolute hoot.

  152. That large-windowed ‘bug makes me smile. VII can piss right away.

  153. Don’t know what I hate more the word “Throbbo” or Craig’s delivery of the line.

    I loved both.
    That’s because your greedy.

    His greedy what?

  154. Those models look great, we need more slow model porn shots!

    Also from those Lemons preview images…the last one has me very curious!

  155. Not as good as Trojan, but some very nice ideas in it. Liked how it picked up ideas from Series VII

  156. Oh, I mourn the sad decline of the apostrophe.

  157. That’s because your greedy.

    You should meet the Hitlers, they’re an absolute hoot.

    I heard they aren’t fans of porn mainly due to the circumcised dongs.

  158. >Oh, I mourn the sad decline of the apostrophe.

    Oh, shush and try and enjoy Lemon’s.

  159. This episode reestablished that Kochanski is still alive and out there somewhere.

    Why then, did Lister clearly and pointedly refer to himself as ‘the last human being alive’ in the previous episode? (He definitely said ‘human being’ and not ‘man’ – I already went back and checked). Lister, who’s driving force in life is basically to get together with Kochanski, temporarily forgot she exists?

    I’m sorry, it’s the little things.

  160. G&T Admin

    He’s the last human being from his universe alive. Kochanski is human, but not from this plane of reality.

  161. >Kochanski is human, but not from this plane of reality.

    Lister sure is getting picky about what qualifies as a human being.

  162. You have to remember that in Red Dwarf land, a book called “Last Human” features no fewer than four major human characters.

  163. True – I wouldn’t have thought much of it if anyone other than Lister had said it (that is, referred to him being the last human alive). Considering he was the last human for series 1-6, then one of two humans in series 7, then one of thousands (or however many crew members were supposed to be resurrected in 8, I forget), it’s understandable that they’d get confused.

    Just the fact that any purpose or hope Lister has is derived from the fact that he knows he isn’t the last human and that Kochanski’s out there makes it a strange thing to say.

    Also I would have taken Lister’s statement to also imply that the resurrected crew from Series 8 are presumed to be dead – but if he’s not counting Kochanski as a human, who knows.

    In before ‘ever had a girlfriend?’

  164. Watched the episode again and enjoyed it loads more than the last two times. Maybe cause I wasn’t over-analysing it. Maybe it was sight of Rebecca Blackstone’s gorgeous green eyes in 1080p…(her real colour?) There’s tons to enjoy here, and I’m already becoming desensitized to the annoyance of Medi-bot. Such a shame that it’s a couple of little tweaks away from being a very good episode.

    Chris’s delivery of ‘that’s your day?’ is epic. There’s some of the best Rimmer/Lister interaction in years casually thrown into that scene. That’s what happens when Doug lets those characters just BE who they are, as stupid as that sounds.

  165. G&T Admin

    I’m really looking forward to getting the Blu-Ray of this so I can pause and bask in the details of the set and such stuff :)

  166. This episode reestablished that Kochanski is still alive and out there somewhere.

    Yeah – and this one clearly doesn’t want him any more than the original did. So why is it still a motivation? I’m not still pining for the guy who dumped me back in college, and we dated a hell of a lot longer than she and Lister did. Aside from anything else, it’s kind of beginning to sound like Lister’s one of Those Guys – the kind who thinks he’s due a certain woman due to sheer persistence and in his case, desperation – which is really out of sync with the character’s liberal attitude otherwise. No fellow is entitled to a girl and babies with her, Doug, no matter how nice he is; sorry.

    This is just one of my peeves about storytelling. Lister’s original primary motivation was to find Earth – no reason it can’t still be. It’d be a lot more palatable than being 50 years old and chasing the memory of an ex who dumped you. /grumble off

    Otherwise, I really mostly like everything in this series so far.

  167. I’m not sure that’s totally fair. For one thing, BTE established that the “new” Kochanski and Lister had evidently started up a relationship at some point. And yeah, okay, she may have chosen to end that – but she ended it out of frustration with a Lister who had lost all drive and motivation, who’d stopped being the man she once loved. Indeed, it’s implied that she basically did it to give him a kick up the arse and try to get the “old” Lister back. Having had said kick up the arse, it could be argued that it makes sense for him to try and find her to show her that he has become the man she wants again.

    It could also be argued that although she stormed off out of a fit of pique, it doesn’t necessarily follow that being alone in a hostile universe is the best situation for her to be in – or that she’d want to be alone once she’d got over the initial impulsive reaction. The mission could be as much a rescue mission as an “I want to get laid again” mission.

    I do get what you’re saying about the dreaded NiceGuyism, but I’m not necessarily sure it applies to Lister in this instance.

  168. I’m not sure that’s totally fair. For one thing, BTE established that the “new” Kochanski and Lister had evidently started up a relationship at some point. And yeah, okay, she may have chosen to end that – but she ended it out of frustration with a Lister who had lost all drive and motivation, who’d stopped being the man she once loved. Indeed, it’s implied that she basically did it to give him a kick up the arse and try to get the “old” Lister back. Having had said kick up the arse, it could be argued that it makes sense for him to try and find her to show her that he has become the man she wants again.

    It could also be argued that although she stormed off out of a fit of pique, it doesn’t necessarily follow that being alone in a hostile universe is the best situation for her to be in – or that she’d want to be alone once she’d got over the initial impulsive reaction. The mission could be as much a rescue mission as an “I want to get laid again” mission.
    I do get what you’re saying about the dreaded NiceGuyism, but I’m not necessarily sure it applies to Lister in this instance.

    To be fair, I probably should’ve made my comment in the next episode’s review post, dangit. I don’t want to spoil readers here. All I’ll say about Lemons is the Kochanski reference felt really shoehorned – literally last minute, like Doug said to Craig from behind the camera, “Oops, didn’t write her in – say something about her here!”

  169. Didn’t feel shoe-horned to me.

    You always get people asking with Sci-Fi shows about people being lost in space when they manage to get back to earth why they don’t stay, even if it is in the past. Of course the obvious answer is that the show would end. Here we had a nice quick line that added to the feeling of continuity through the series and also hand waved away suggestions of them just staying in AD23 Britain.

  170. Didn’t feel shoe-horned to me.

    You always get people asking with Sci-Fi shows about people being lost in space when they manage to get back to earth why they don’t stay, even if it is in the past. Of course the obvious answer is that the show would end. Here we had a nice quick line that added to the feeling of continuity through the series and also hand waved away suggestions of them just staying in AD23 Britain.

    I’m referring to the Kochanski reference, not them wanting to leave. I wouldn’t want to go back 2200 years and live. Seems a good reason to me to want to leave, on its own.

  171. Didn’t feel shoe-horned to me.

    You always get people asking with Sci-Fi shows about people being lost in space when they manage to get back to earth why they don’t stay, even if it is in the past. Of course the obvious answer is that the show would end. Here we had a nice quick line that added to the feeling of continuity through the series and also hand waved away suggestions of them just staying in AD23 Britain.

    And, we just did spoilers for a succeeding episode here. Shit. Sorry, all!

  172. Plus they have the huge responsibility to have Lots of Sex and Make Baby Humans. Then again, that wouldn’t save the human race for longer than a generation without their children resorting to incest. Or am I missing something here?

  173. Plus they have the huge responsibility to have Lots of Sex and Make Baby Humans. Then again, that wouldn’t save the human race for longer than a generation without their children resorting to incest. Or am I missing something here?

    That’s my understanding. :-D

    I just have a problem with this feeling of inevitability of them getting together because it’s what one of them wants, is all. Contrast them with – I don’t know, Will and Elizabeth from “Pirates of the Caribbean” for example. Those two crazy kids keep getting separated by all manner of ills, but they clearly both want to be with the other person, so I have no problem with Will making “gotta find her, gotta find her” his motivation (since we see she thinks similarly). There’s no evidence Kochanski wants to be with Lister – her Dave, sure, but not this one. (And I may be among a minority, but I dislike the idea you can just swap ’em out for one another. I always have. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate Kochanski in S7 and S8 – I liked version 2.0 just fine as a character. I wouldn’t mind seeing her again in her own right – not as a plot device so Lister can make babies.)

  174. Not having a go or anything but I’m just wondering, what do you think Lister SHOULD do?

  175. Not having a go or anything but I’m just wondering, what do you think Lister SHOULD do?

    About …?

    If you mean motivation, his original motivation was to get back to Earth (“the slime is coming home!”) – now he’s been there via time travel a few times, but always left, presumably (I thought) because no time was his own. Which I can understand and agree with. I think he would accept showing up in the time from which he left, or physically getting there in the present (i.e., 3 million years forward). I understand motivations can change; that’s not my problem. It’s just – he wants someone who clearly doesn’t want him all that much, after several tries and two versions. Maybe it’s time to switch gears to the original motivation again? I don’t know.

  176. So why is it still a motivation? I’m not still pining for the guy who dumped me back in college, and we dated a hell of a lot longer than she and Lister did.

    Are you 3 million years in the future and (as far as we know) the last human being of your gender alive? No? Then it’s not really a fair comparison is it? You have literally millions of men in the world to fall for… who does Lister have?

  177. G&T Admin

    It’s never obvious in the show, but is more apparent in the books, that Lister once he gets back to Earth, he realises that what seems more comfortable to him is Red Dwarf….

  178. So why is it still a motivation? I’m not still pining for the guy who dumped me back in college, and we dated a hell of a lot longer than she and Lister did.

    Are you 3 million years in the future and (as far as we know) the last human being of your gender alive? No? Then it’s not really a fair comparison is it? You have literally millions of men in the world to fall for… who does Lister have?

    The question is, will any of those millions fall for ME? And if they don’t, should I expect them to?

    Let me just say, these are my opinions after a number of years – I don’t expect anyone to agree. I don’t want to start a war over a key plot point of the show just because I don’t agree with how it’s done. I don’t mind if someone else doesn’t have a problem with it, I just wanted to put a different POV out there.

  179. So why is it still a motivation? I’m not still pining for the guy who dumped me back in college, and we dated a hell of a lot longer than she and Lister did.

    Are you 3 million years in the future and (as far as we know) the last human being of your gender alive? No? Then it’s not really a fair comparison is it? You have literally millions of men in the world to fall for… who does Lister have?

    The question is, will any of those millions fall for ME? And if they don’t, should I expect them to?
    Let me just say, these are my opinions after a number of years – I don’t expect anyone to agree. I don’t want to start a war over a key plot point of the show just because I don’t agree with how it’s done. I don’t mind if someone else doesn’t have a problem with it, I just wanted to put a different POV out there.

    I don’t think that *is* the question, because Lister doesn’t have millions of women to obsess over. He has one. He had a crush on Kochanski when he was put into stasis and now millions of years later, it turns out that she’s the only living woman in the universe (again, that we know of), so if he doesn’t think about her, who does he think about? If you were to fall for someone who didn’t fall for you, you’d be gutted, but you’d eventually move on because – hey, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, right? Lister’s only fish is Kochanski. Does that mean that she *has* to be with him? No, of course not. But what’s wrong with him holding out hope that the woman he loves may one day love him again? You’d rather he just accept the current situation and fall into a depression at the thought that he’s going to be alone, for the rest of his life?

    Who’s making a war? I thought we were just having a discussion?!

  180. Who’s making a war? I thought we were just having a discussion?!

    Maybe it’s just me with the flu and no good sleep for three days, but a little less finger-in-the-chest at me and fewer exclamation marks might make it feel less warlike on this end. :-P

    At any rate, that was more to demonstrate I know it’s not a serious matter – I’ve been in fannish discussions before that went ugly and the common thread was that I kept discussing, so for now I’ll hush. Until I’ve had some sleep at least.

  181. Who’s making a war? I thought we were just having a discussion?!

    Maybe it’s just me with the flu and no good sleep for three days, but a little less finger-in-the-chest at me and fewer exclamation marks might make it feel less warlike on this end. :-P

    Hey, my fingers were nowhere near you, I’ve got witnesses. Fewer than one? ;)

    At any rate, that was more to demonstrate I know it’s not a serious matter – I’ve been in fannish discussions before that went ugly and the common thread was that I kept discussing, so for now I’ll hush. Until I’ve had some sleep at least.

    Feel better soon.

  182. Who’s making a war? I thought we were just having a discussion?!

    Maybe it’s just me with the flu and no good sleep for three days, but a little less finger-in-the-chest at me and fewer exclamation marks might make it feel less warlike on this end. :-P
    Hey, my fingers were nowhere near you, I’ve got witnesses. Fewer than one? ;)
    At any rate, that was more to demonstrate I know it’s not a serious matter – I’ve been in fannish discussions before that went ugly and the common thread was that I kept discussing, so for now I’ll hush. Until I’ve had some sleep at least.
    Feel better soon.

    Thanks dear. :-D

    I hope I didn’t sound too like an ass; I try not to even when I don’t agree, but I’m not the most impartial judge of myself. Sort of like the Cat, LOL.

  183. I like to think that on G&T we can disagree with one-another without it turning into personal affront. It’s unusual as far as the internet goes, I know, but there you go. The regular posters here are immature in lots of ways, but I like to think we can have sensible, mature discussions at the same time.

    So yeah, just because some of us don’t necessarily agree with the point, it doesn’t mean we think you’re an ass. It’s a debate! It’s interesting!

  184. I like to think that on G&T we can disagree with one-another without it turning into personal affront. […]The regular posters here are immature in lots of ways, but I like to think we can have sensible, mature discussions at the same time.

    Agreed. I come on here specifically to be immature, but also because Team G&T love RD in the same unhealthy way I do, but are intelligent enough to discuss proper things with. Hence the team doing things with their lives that require knowledge and skills. Unlike some… *ahem*

    So yeah, just because some of us don’t necessarily agree with the point, it doesn’t mean we think you’re an ass. It’s a debate! It’s interesting!

    It’s a mass debate! *snigger* *immaturity*

  185. I like to think that on G&T we can disagree with one-another without it turning into personal affront. It’s unusual as far as the internet goes, I know, but there you go. The regular posters here are immature in lots of ways, but I like to think we can have sensible, mature discussions at the same time.

    So yeah, just because some of us don’t necessarily agree with the point, it doesn’t mean we think you’re an ass. It’s a debate! It’s interesting!

    Glad you don’t think I’m an ass Mr Fog….

  186. Cunt mode, etc.

  187. Glad you don’t think I’m an ass Mr Fog….

    Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

  188. The fact Kochanski is Listers biological mother should put a crimp on his goals anyway I’d think.

  189. The fact Kochanski is Listers biological mother should put a crimp on his goals anyway I’d think.

    That’s not nearly as big a limitation as it *should* be.

    (Thinking of Helen in “Better Than Life” novel.)

  190. Glad you don’t think I’m an ass Mr Fog….

    Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

  191. Oh.

    lol.

    Thanks for your contribution. Does your outfit come in colour?……..Alrighty Then!

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