DwarfCast 77 – Dear Dave Commentary

Rejoice as we finally reach everyone’s favourite episode of Series X, Dear Dave. Your intrepid team – Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson, Ian Symes and TORDFC’s Jo Sharples – tackle such topics as the nature of the JMC on-board computer, the best burial place for a shit episode, Alphonse Areola, and a potential spin-off series for Asso: Spanish Detective. Oh, and sexism. Let’s see if this shitty little (mostly) boys’ club can sort out that thorny problem once and for all.

But before all that, a round-up of the latest Red Dwarf XI news, and all the details you need to get your hands of one of five pairs of tickets to Dave’s exclusive fan screening of the first two episodes. Yes, you have to listen to the actual DwarfCast in order to get the instructions, but don’t worry, it’s quite near the start.

In lieu of actual terms and conditions, please note that Ganymede & Titan is not responsible for… well, anything, really. Certainly not the organisation of this event, or any expenses incurred by the recipients of the tickets. We’ll basically just be passing over your details to the event organisers, so that you instantly become their problem, not ours.

EDIT: All tickets have now been claimed. Soz.

DwarfCast 77 – Dear Dave Commentary (41.4MB)

Join us next weekend for the last in this weekly commentary series. In our end is The Beginning.

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53 Responses to DwarfCast 77 – Dear Dave Commentary

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  1. G&T Admin

    The bare minimum requirement, there.

  2. “Hand Luggage”

  3. G&T Admin

    Well, that was quick! Congratulations KingRichard76, NoFro, leroyonline, stubbleless and Nick Bryan. Please could the five of you drop us a line – admin@ganymede.tv – with your real name and email address? We’ll then forward your details on to the event organisers so that can give you your tickets.

  4. G&T Admin

    I nominate this thread for Hall of Fame status.

  5. You should have made the answer something incriminatingly unpleasant. Or “smegbags”.

  6. G&T Admin

    I have received emails from all five of you. This whole thing has been done and dusted far quicker than I was expecting, and now I have no plans for the rest of the day.

  7. X for me is an altogether frustrating series. Moreso than VII, which has some good episodes and then episodes that are just not that funny but generally inoffensive, and VIII where the bad so heavily outweighs the good that I just don’t tend to watch it. It’s funny that Ian mentioned on the cast that he doesn’t feel angry about VIII anymore because I’m much the same nowadays. X is problematic because there’s a decent amount that I genuinely like in every episode but each episode also has something that doesn’t work for me (admittedly to varying degrees) and not just on a comedic level but also on levels that are more problematic.

    It’s a shame there were such production problems on X because I have no doubt that, without them, we probably would have had a far stronger series. It’s almost anger inducing that XI cost less than X! It appears there was no excuse for the budgetary cock ups. What did we end up with? Two episodes shafted and two requiring notable rewrites at the last minute?

    As for Dear Dave, I’m sure that with more time Doug might have been able to come up with something more solid than what we had but it appears that he started writing the episode and then, when writing to complete after the first filming, he had to work with several scenes that were already in the bag which would have limited him. Even in this mess of an episode there’s a good idea and some really good jokes. The good idea doesn’t come into play until almost two thirds of the way through the episode though…

    I’m one of those who saw an XI episode filmed (Krysis) and am confident that we have a far more solid series ahead of us. I felt a lot happier when leaving that recording than the recordings I saw for X (F&S, Lemons).

    Thanks for the tickets!

  8. Trollop sounds funnier.

    SlagGate aside, the best/a lot of good stuff from the night was cut, and that whole dispenser stuff was added after. Damn. A shame that the only episode I’ve ever seen recorded turned out to be one of the worst, disappointing at best, rather than fulfulling my wanting to have witnessed a classic.

  9. SlagGate aside, the best/a lot of good stuff from the night was cut, and that whole dispenser stuff was added after. Damn. A shame that the only episode I’ve ever seen recorded turned out to be one of the worst, disappointing at best, rather than fulfulling my wanting to have witnessed a classic.

    It could have been worse…..at least you didn’t go to see the recording of Pete Part 2

  10. Some of the deleted scenes should have been included over the new material. The sperm stair-lift wasn’t classic but neither was it deserving of deletion, particularly when moves move was left in.

    In fact some new material should just have been written for the bunk room with Rimmer and Lister (so could have been recorded in front of the green screen) with them finding random letters or going through some of the mail for the other crew rather than trying to insert a new plot.

  11. “I don’t recall Rimmer being interested in Subbuteo”

    Out of Time Dwarfcast!

  12. On Areola, the first time I became aware of him was when he played against Liverpool for Villarreal in the Europa last season (and I imagine you may well have been on shift for at least one of those two legs, Tanya!)

    It was disappointing to discover that he’s actually French, but while he was at Villarreal he could at least be considered “a Spanish (based) goalkeeper”…

  13. G&T Admin

    On Areola, the first time I became aware of him was when he played against Liverpool for Villarreal in the Europa last season (and I imagine you may well have been on shift for at least one of those two legs, Tanya!)

    It was disappointing to discover that he’s actually French, but while he was at Villarreal he could at least be considered “a Spanish (based) goalkeeper”…

    I probably was on shift for at least one of those legs, but I also TX an awful lot of Ligue 1…

  14. G&T Admin

    As I FAILED to make it to this DwarfCast recording, I’m going to put here the one thing I actually have to say about this episode.

    Which is: yes, the shagging-the-vending-machine joke is nonsense. No way would he actually try and lift up the vending machine like that. But I’m reminded of one of my favourite bits from The Thin Blue Line:

    FOWLER: Now, give me your name.
    RUFFIAN: Ivor.
    FOWLER: You see Goody. A firm, authoratitive approach normally bears results. Alright Ivor, what’s your surname?
    RUFFIAN: …Biggun.
    FOLWER: Good. Constable, kindly note… Ivor Biggun.

    The bit which gets me: Fowler saying: “Goody, please note.” There is absolutely no way in hell that Fowler would phrase that line like that – or even necessarily tell Goody to write things down at all. But it absolutely kills me each time.

    I don’t find the shagging vending machine stuff that funny. But there’s all kind of bits of comedy which I like where it seems a lot of the reason I’m laughing is the stretch required to make the joke work in the first place. I couldn’t really tell you why I sometimes find that funny and sometimes don’t though, so this post is essentially useless goodbye.

  15. If Doug had suggested that maybe Lister’s jacket, trousers, zipper, or whatever, had become caught in the vending machine and he couldn’t get up, then that joke would have worked so much better for me. As it stands I just find myself cringing at how awkwardly it all plays out.

  16. Maybe it would have been better if Lister had been asked to clean her nozzle housing and his fingers get stuck.

  17. John, you should do a Thin Blue Line Dirty Feed.
    I’d like that.
    Ben Elton’s best solo writing credit, I’d say.

  18. My over-riding memory of The Thin Blue Line is Grim’s line, “It’s my arse on the line, and I don’t want a cock-up.”

    Line.

  19. I liked Grim’s line about being middle aged in the car park of Sainsburys Home Base.

  20. My over-riding memory of The Thin Blue Line is Grim’s line, “It’s my arse on the line, and I don’t want a cock-up.”

    Mine too (substituting ‘over-riding’ for ‘only’) funnily enough

  21. There was some variation on the “my arse is on the line” joke in nearly every episode. Other variations included “this is my arse on the line so you’d better pull your finger out”.

    I did enjoy TTBL, back in the day. Underrated and forgotten I guess.

  22. David Haig as Grim should be better regarded as one of the great sitcom characters/performances of the 90s

  23. G&T Admin

    Hooray, I’m not alone in loving The Thin Blue Line! “It’s my arse, Raymond. And if you stuff it, I’m going to end up very red in the face.”

    I’d love to write something about it. It’s exactly the kind of sitcom I wish BBC One would do now.

  24. I think that’s kind of what they tried to do with The Wright Way (which I’m not commenting on because I didn’t see it but the reviews were scathing as far as I can tell) and got bitten. The BBC must feel damned if they do and damned if they don’t sometimes.

  25. I’m rather fond of The Thin Blue Line Christmas Special (the innuendo thoughout is particularly on-point), right up until Ben Elton decides to cameo in the thing and shits all over it with hammy acting.

  26. “You are Babylon but I will speak to you.”
    Benny Elton was good enough, I thought. Not funny but passable.
    I thought The Wright Way was fine (I watched them all but didn’t really like it) but a bit too similar to TTBL. That might be the fault of the BBC or of Ben Elton or both. But Elton had at least tried a different approach to sitcom with Blessed. Which wasn’t great. He works better with an audience, I’d say.

  27. I wasn’t a huge fan of TTBL, but David Haig is one of the absolute greats. Even The Wright Way can’t spoil that.

  28. Maybe it would have been better if Lister had been asked to clean her nozzle housing and his fingers get stuck.

    Your point being?

  29. TTBL Christmas special is brilliant! Such a good series. I really enjoyed David’s performance in the remake of Yes Prime Minister too.

  30. Dear Dave. So good that a Dear Dave reaction thread has become an appreciation of The Thin Blue Line and David Haig.

  31. Prefered Morning Sarge to the thin blue line. Not that ive seen either for a decade or so.

  32. I’ll definitely be watching The Thin Blue Line Christmas special as a result of this thread.

  33. Oh, I love The Thin Blue Line. I appreciate a lot of the hate it gets from those who expected something slightly less… conservative from Elton. But as a trad-com it’s utterly wonderful. That 2xDVD set is usually really cheap, I might treat myself.

    Dear Dave is such a frustrating episode. In some ways I feel like there’s too much plot, rather than not enough – I quite like some of the more meandering stuff. I’d quite like a ‘Basic Alan’ style episode, I suppose the nearest we’ve come to it is maybe Balance of Power. As soon as it stretches itself at all it either seems forced – Rimmer’s ‘move’ speech, the human race bit (especially Kryten’s finding another species nonsense) – or just sub-par copies of earlier stuff – the post pod, Rimmer catching Lister seemingly shagging a machine. If there was just half an hour of the crew mooching around on the ship, maybe dealing with a tedious bureaucratic issue, I think it could be an interesting and different approach.

    In terms of the emotional plot, I agree with Tanya that it would be better had the letter arrived near the start. Then halfway through we could have had a dramatic / emotional scene about Lister’s relationship with her – ‘she was the only person other than Kochanski who I ever truly loved’ or something – which would have then advanced the plot further.

    Still, for all the episode’s bad points, Lister’s charades guess of ‘it turned into a jacket’ is my favourite line in X, so it’s not entirely pointless for me.

  34. This thread has just led me to buy a Complete Thin Blue Line boxset for a costly £2.85. That’s my ‘luxuries’ money for the month spent.

  35. Maybe it would have been better if Lister had been asked to clean her nozzle housing and his fingers get stuck.

    Your point being?

    The operative word there is “finger”. But maybe that would be too subtle.

  36. Not that he needed any more family episodes but what if it was a Rimmer episode with a letter from Yvonne McGruder instead? Then you have a character with some history in the show and you can repurpose the bunkroom as McGruder’s if you need to walk about the ship. Maybe Lise Yates could have worked instead.

    —-

    Have Lister’s clothes get caught on the dispenser so his tugging from behind looks etc.

    Alt ending: Dwarfers realise too late that Cat has the letters then the toilet flushes and they all watch a letter addressed to Lister float away/go down the U-bend/something. “Looks like you’ve been dumped.” / “I wish Hayley was here… being shot out into space like I thought Kochanski was for years and Irene E actually was instead of something useful like that letter or my guitar.” *credits (toilet) roll*

  37. I’d never thought about ending it that way but having Cat use the letter as toilet paper and this meaning Lister would never find out works rather well.

    But there are many ways you can end the episode better.

    Once he reads the letter he…
    … walks out singing “nothing compares to you”
    … begins to look really sad and Cat says “you’re thinking about the finger wetting machine again, aren’t you bud”
    … begins to walk out and Kryten asks “Where are you going?” and he responds “To find another species”

    Basically anything but the ending they eventually used.

  38. >begins to walk out and Kryten asks “Where are you going?” and he responds “To find another species”

    And then he fucks a vending machine.

  39. I was thinking about this, and I actually think “what an absolute-” and then an immediate cut to the titles would have worked much better if Doug had really wanted to go down that route.

  40. Problem with that is it would have looked like he was calling her a cunt.

  41. These are all good endings. If it was me, I might have toyed with the idea of him opening the letter and being delighted, and Cat/Rimmer being happy for him.
    Rimmer: So the baby’s yours!
    Lister: hell no. Another lucky escape for Listy. I’m a free agent!
    Kicking his heels like the end of Balance of Power. So it’s a joke about the mixed emotions surrounding becoming a father, it restores the status quo without losing character or being insulting to women, and its also a nod to the lifelong fans who could infer he is hiding his true feelings, feigning glee akin to the “Yes Mr. Lister, sir!”

    But changing it to Lister calling her a cunt would make me laugh.

  42. Problem with that is it would have looked like he was calling her a cunt.

    Good point.

  43. What if it ended with Cat shitting himself? I think that would solve all of the problems with the episode and would have tied everything up nicely.

  44. >Good point

    Nah, your way would make it so it’s whatever it is in the viewer’s head. Fond memories of that YouTube guy thinking Rimmer was calling Lister mulatto and still being offended by their own mind when corrected.

    Whether any of these fixes are funnier than the actual ending is the real question.

    (Naylor’s justification for the line in We’re Smegged.)

  45. It shouldn’t have to end on a big laugh. I like interesting endings more than the punchline endings. Punchlines can seem a little forced but who is sick of hearing “Look out earth, the slime’s coming home!” Or “I dunno but it’ll be a lot of fun finding out.”

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