Welcome to our continuing series Xtended Revisited – taking a look at the differences between the broadcast and Xtended versions of the popular science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf. This time, we take a look at Duct Soup – an episode which not only contains problematic gender stereotyping, but also portrays Lister as a homophobic little shit.
You know the drill by now. Each section is transcribed, with Xtended material presented like this, followed by any technical notes, and then my opinion as to whether the extra material works or not. (Predictions on a fucking postcard, please.) Let’s get to it.
00:00 – 00:30
Notes: Much like Ouroboros, Duct Soup originally aired without a full title sequence – although at least a “Red Dwarf VII” title card was slapped on the front this time round. The Xtended version restores the title sequences to its full length. Just like Ouroboros Xtended, the title sequence is also bizarrely video-look, rather than treated to look like film like the rest of the series.
Opinion: Title sequences are good, innit. But the lack of film-look applied is ridiculous; even though I prefer the look of the titles here, it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the series. Even when I disagree with something Red Dwarf does, I try not to bandy about words like “incompetent”, but I struggle to find another way to describe this. Why, goddamit? Just grab the title sequence from another episode and paste it on!
Maybe in 2025 we’ll get Red Dwarf VII Remastered, where they’ll remove the video-look across the entire series in order to improve the picture quality. Well, I can dream. YES, THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING I DREAM ABOUT.
08:42 – 09:20
KOCHANSKI is sitting eating peach slices, because that’s what women do when they’re upset. LISTER enters the room.
KOCHANSKI grunts, because that’s what women do when they’re upset.
LISTER: How’re you settling in?
KOCHANSKI: Great. Having a ball.
LISTER: We’ll get you some more clothes.
KOCHANSKI: Don’t worry – I can wander around in a sheet for the next fifty years. I’ll be fine.
LISTER: And we’ll fix those pipes.
KOCHANSKI: If you could just make them go ‘nureek’ every time without any ‘squelookles’, I’d be so grateful.
LISTER: We’ll stop them completely.
KOCHANSKI: I’m not used to this – not having stuff. When I was fifteen my brother, Moose, used to kidnap my lipstick and hold it to ransom. He knew that if I didn’t look good I wouldn’t go out. If I don’t look good, I don’t feel good.
LISTER: How do you feel now?
KOCHANSKI whimpers, because that’s what women do when they’re upset.
LISTER: Don’t answer that.
KOCHANSKI: I know I’ve been spoilt. Brought up in the trendiest part of Glasgow…
LISTER: Yeah, the Gorbals, you said.
KOCHANSKI: Eleven years in cyberschool: perfect computer-generated setting, with perfect CG teachers and perfect CG friends. Now I can’t even have a bath.
LISTER: Come on. Come with me. I’ve got something to show you.
KOCHANSKI follows the man, because that’s what women do when they’re upset.
Notes: It’s a little thing, but you have to admire the way the original edit cuts off the word “and” in front of “we’ll fix those pipes”, in order to avoid a non sequitur due to the deleted dialogue. Top marks.
Opinion: Oh, look, it’s the awful bit of Red Dwarf that mentions a Moose, rather than the good bit. My favourite line is where Kochanski says if she didn’t look good she wouldn’t go out, because that’s what women do when they’re upset.
25:19 – 28:28
The crew are resting up in, surprisingly, a duct.
KRYTEN: Well, everything considered, we made good time.
CAT: What if we’re down here for days and end up having to eat each other like those dudes from that plane crash?
KRYTEN Those were exceptional circumstances sir. Their only other choice was airline food. It won’t happen to us.
KOCHANSKI: Good, because there’s no way I could ever eat a person.
KRYTEN: No way I could ever cook one either. Not without my slow cooker.
CAT: What about drinking your own urine?
KRYTEN: Well that’s absolutely out of the question; you should never serve urine with white meat.
LISTER: I hate the dark. It reminds me of being back in the orphanage school. The dorm was always pitch black. The tight sods didn’t allow so much a a night light, just to save electricity. I remember one night, the lights went out, and as usual Squeaky Gibson’s bed started up – “squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak”. We all picked up our shoes and threw them at him: “Shut up, Gibson! We’re trying to sleep!” Anyway, we all settled back down, and after a while, his bedsprings started up again – “squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak”. More shoes, football boots, trainers, everything! But there was no stoppin’ him – just got faster and faster: “Squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak”. So I got up, snapped on the light, and there, under a mountain of shoes, was poor ol’ Squeaky having an epileptic fit! Managed to wedge one of my trainers into his mouth. Probably saved his life.
KOCHANSKI: Cyberschool was so different. We’d arrive on the first day of term, put on our total immersion suits and get connected to the mainframe – and, suddenly, there we’d be, in a perfect replica of a girls’ boarding school. We had Miss Brody for English, Mr Chips for maths, for history they brought in Disraeli and Genghis Khan, for literature they let us talk to Shakespeare and Dickens.
CAT: Can’t wait to hear what they did in sex education class.
KOCHANSKI: At 18 when I finally got out, I kind of went off the rails.
KRYTEN: How ‘off the rails’?
KOCHANSKI holds up her hands.
KOCHANSI: There are the rails…
KOCHANSKI moves her hands to the left slightly.
KOCHANSKI: …there’s me.
KRYTEN: That’s way off the rails!
LISTER: So? What did you do?
KOCHANSKI: You name it.
LISTER: No, you name it. What did you do?
LISTER : Yeah?
KOCHANSKI: What, you want me to write you a list?
KOCHANSKI: Okay, I, er… Well, I, I smoked cigarettes, sometimes. I wore skirts that were quite short. I went to the library and was really noisy…
KOCHANSKI: No. Not really. I was in the real life for the first time! No protectors. I went insane.
KOCHANSKI: Yeah. I was a retro-punk.
LISTER, CAT AND KRYTEN: Wow!
KRYTEN: They always say the hardest part about leaving Cyberspace is realising the whole universe does not revolve around you.
CAT: Sure doesn’t! It revolves around me.
CAT: I’m serious! Look at the evidence.
LISTER: What evidence?
CAT: Take food. Until I bite into it, it has no taste. Even when I know what I’m gonna say, it never bores me!
LISTER: You and you alone.
CAT: And here’s the clincher. All of the interesting things that ever happened to me, happened when I was in the room! Coincidence? Get outta here!
The others are unimpressed.
Notes: The addition of this material required some tricksy editing to join it together with the following scene. Two shots are duplicated from earlier in the episode (the previous scene, in fact) – an overhead shot of Kryten, followed by the crew crawling through the ducts. To disguise the reuse of footage, however, a different section of the second shot is used, featuring Cat rather than Kochanski and Lister. Why not amaze your friends with this excellent piece of information?
Opinion: You know, it’s odd. I’ve heard so many different opinions of this scene – in some ways it seems to be rather better liked than a lot of this series, with Craig Charles having gone on record as saying it’s his favourite scene in the whole of VII. Predictably, I generally dislike it: it feels rather too much like Craig Charles has stopped proceedings and is doing his stand-up act. Mind you, I get this horrible feeling that in any other series I’d really like Kryten’s line about never serving urine with white meat, but the atmosphere of VII just kills it stone dead for me.
On the other hand, I admit that Kryten’s “That’s way off the rails!” is very good indeed.
I was genuinely surprised writing this article at how few changes there were to Duct Soup Xtended. Ignoring the opening titles, the only changes are one scene having extra dialogue, and an extra scene being added – although admittedly, the additional scene is a whole three minutes long. Indeed, the three Xtended episodes of VII end up having quite different approaches: Ouroboros just has extra dialogue peppered throughout, Duct Soup‘s extra material is mainly just a brand new scene added to the show, and TIkka combines the two, having both extra dialogue and an entirely new scene.
This means, ultimately, how much you like Duct Soup Xtended depends on how much you like that additional scene. I don’t, but unlike Ouroboros Xtended, at least it feels a meaty enough addition that it was worth doing, rather than adding a load of extraneous dialogue to very little effect. For that reason alone, it deserves to exist, alongside Tikka to Ride Xtended – whereas I’m really not sure Ouroboros Xtended does.
It’s worth noting that if Red Dwarf had been made in the 70s or early 80s, these separate Xtended versions would never have existed, as programme durations were allowed to be rather more flexible. One Fawlty Towers episode – The Psychiatrist – runs to 35 minutes, as do many Young Ones episodes. These Xtended versions would have just ended up being the normal, broadcast episodes. Though, of course, with a laugh track added, as these longer versions would have been the ones shown to an audience.
Speaking of that audience, one thing I’ve not touched on very much in these last two articles is the lack of audience laughter on Xtended. Conventional wisdom, as I mention in my piece on Tikka Xtended, is that the lack of laugh track hurts the Xtended episodes. The two main complaints are the extra pauses left in the edit for laughter that never arrives, which feel awkward, and that certain punchlines suffer for the lack of response from an audience. Maybe I’ve become harsher in my condemnation of VII over the years – I’m far more positive in that 2007 Tikka article than I ever would be now – but I’m less fussed about the laugh track issue in Xtended these days… as I don’t think the atmosphere works in either version. Whilst the broadcast versions with the laugh track probably work better, it’s difficult to care too much about the issue when neither of them really feel right for me.
And on that pleasant note indicating that I’m definitely the right person to be writing this series of articles, that’s it for what ended up being quite a simple edition of Xtended Revisited. Join me next time for the thrilling climax, where I take a look at Back in the Red Xtended – something which nobody has really written much about before. I will no doubt prove exactly why this is the case.