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May 2019. Broadcunting House lies abandoned, a layer of dust coating its various microphones, laptops and indigenous cats. Suddenly, a door opens, a switch is flicked, and a light bulb slowly stutters into life. From the shadows emerge four mysterious, yet sexy, figures. An ancient warning system is triggered, issuing a familiar call to arms. “Awooga”, it cries, “this is a DwarfCast”. And it bloody well is. It’s only the third one since Series XII finished, and the first regular episode commentary that we’ve bothered to release since September 2017. We are back.

So join John Hoare, Tanya Jones, Danny Stephenson and Ian Symes as we jabber on over Emohawk: Polymorph II, covering such topics as Series VI’s change in direction, Covington Cross, the distinction between different types of GELF, where Starbug’s corridors come from, and the nature of the sphincter. We then lapse into a bit of a discussion of Series VI in general, and how it possibly represents Rob and Doug perfecting the very art of the half-hour sit-com, as well as how Red Dwarf as a whole is regarded by the general public. You’re welcome.

DwarfCast 99 – Emohawk: Polymorph II Commentary (46.2MB)

Yeah, sorry we’ve been so shit at podcasting in the last couple of years; it’s so difficult to get a majority of us together in the same room for any length of time. But you’ll be glad/disappointed to hear that this wasn’t the only DwarfCast we recorded in this session, and that it hasn’t escaped our attention that we’re about to flip over into triple figures…

50 comments on “DwarfCast 99 – Emohawk: Polymorph II Commentary

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  • Oh good. This will give me something to sleep to on my way home this evening.

    EDIT: No, I will actually listen to this whilst watching said episode. That’s how I roll these days.

  • Emohawk’d Kryten and Lister would be the David Ross variant and a joke about Lister having something removed which leaves him exactly the same.

    (WhatCulture has an article about the GELF Zone. It’s seven clicks away.)

  • Cracking. I like Emohawk better than most. All the stuff with the gelf tribe is really strong and seems like it gets overlooked somewhat. The emohawk reverting Kryten to the David Ross version is a fun idea. They did consider getting him to voice reset Kryten in Series VIII.

  • The emohawk reverting Kryten to the David Ross version is a fun idea.

    When I heard that (whoever said it), I did actually gasp, and smiled at what a good idea that was. So well done, G&Ter, get writing some new episodes.
    Although I don’t want to inflate anyone’s ego more than necessary, so I’ll stick a “you cunt” in there somewhere for good luck.

  • So good to have you back, it sounds like 18 months away from Broadcunting House has given you all some perspective and you sound rejuvenated for hopefully a series of regular Dwarfcasts as we build up steam for XIII*

    *as yet unconfirmed.

  • Excellent, thank you for filling the DwarfCast shaped hole that’s blighted my existence for the last two years.

    As someone whose first real exposure to Red Dwarf was Series VI, I sometimes think I’m looking back on it with rose tinted goggles – especially as the consensus seems to be that this episode in particular is a bit crap. But I watched it whilst listening the DwarfCast and honestly, it’s just…great.

    I can’t really fault it, with the possibly exception of the rushed ending – and as John(?) mentions, there are some killer lines in there that history has overlooked. The “hit the reheat” exchange is one of my favourites, despite/because of its utter stupidity.

    Looking forward to the next one being released, around the time the Sun finally expands and engulfs the Earth.

  • *Addendum: Please don’t read that as a snarky comment – I understand you all have jobs, families, lives, existences beyond this sordid corner of the internet, and it’s great to have you back.

  • I’ve always loved Emohawk and never really quite understood the low praise it gets from others, other than maybe the Duane / Ace ending. But even that’s just fun isn’t it? Ace and Duane meeting and well, sort of getting on. It’s quite cool.

    The episode is full of great gags. All the stuff on the GELF Moon is brilliant and “change of plan, leg it” is up there with one of my favourite moments in the whole show.

  • My low opinion of Emohawk is entirely down to the final ten seconds. First Red Dwarf episode which made me think what the fuck? But it is great and I think I loved the extended cockpit scene when I was 13 and Red Dwarf ruled my world. VI was the first series I actively anticipated after going full on fanboy for V.

  • First time I watched it, I thought “Huh? Is that it?”. I expected Kryten and Lister to undergo transformations. This was partly due to my own preconceptions based on the fact that it’s a sequel to a previous episode and that’s the way it went down last time. Now, you could say this is my own damned fault for having fanboy preconceptions*, but since the episode proudly proclaims that it’s a sequel to one episode, and revisits characters from two others (in a fairly nonsensical way) I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume the show will fan-service all the characters as they did in Polymorph. As it stands, Kryten and Lister feel a bit deprived, and it just illustrates how this is just an excuse to revisit two characters that sold a lot of T-Shirts, rather than doing anything new.

    Duane worked in Back to Reality because the idea of being him was so horrendous to The Cat that he resisted it. The character he is in Emohawk is not the same performance; it’s just a geeky character listing why he is a geeky character. And as for Ace…it’s the contrast with Rimmer that makes it funny. The character on his own is just…dull. You can exaggerate how marvellous he is (like the first five minutes of Dimension Jump and Stoke…) but there’s not really much of that in Emohawk – just an odd bit where he’s willing to sacrifice himself and murder Cat, to save Lister. What a guy.

    No I mean “bastard”, don’t I? What a bastard.

    People stick the blame on the second half, but I don’t think the opening’s very strong either. It seems to take a lot of time until they get to the GELF village. By the time Rimmer transforms, the episode is nearly over.

    * I think my only awareness of the content of this episode was the “in Space No One Can Hear You Smeg” poster, which was adorning my bedroom door a fair few months before I saw the episode.

    (I haven’t listened to the Dwarfcast yet – so don’t know if I’m rehashing stuff. Am sure it’s marvellous and will listen soon, promise)

  • Somewhere there is a script for the real 4th episode of the season, the one that never got made due to budget restrictions. To fill the gap they threw together this piece of crap from out-takes of other episodes.
    I’m loathe to consider it part of the “36”; more of a disturbing peek into the self-parody that was to come in 7 & 8.

  • Series VI was the first time I experienced the kind of ‘in production’ stuff we take for granted these days, because of the stuff in the Smegazine. So after months of reading about new episodes being written, new episode titles, lots of tidbits of news! (With exclamatiion marks!) and set reports, it was also the first time I (thought I) knew what was coming up.
    Of course, that also meant I’d allowed it to build up in my head, and get really excited (‘I can’t wait til that episode where such and such is going to happen’). Which *then* meant I could be more disappointed than an ‘ordinary’ viewer if something didn’t quite live up to expectation.

    Don’t really know where I’m supposed to be going with this, except to say that it’s always been my least favourite of the series, as well. But I’ve enjoyed revisiting it and llistening to this. So…yeah.

  • the fact that it’s a sequel to a previous episode

    I have always thought they should just drop the “Polymorph II” from the title and just call it Emohawk. There isn’t really any reason to signpost it is a sequel in the episode title, and it’s a very different sort of episode. It isn’t really a sequel anymore than Gunmen is a sequel to Justice because there are simulants in both.

  • Yeah, I agree. It also kind of ruins the surprise a bit. It would be like calling Can Of Worms “Polymorph III”.

  • Can of Worms is much more a sequel ironically, but benefits much more from the surprise. Especially as we were lead to believe it was a Cat episode with another cat … proper little bait and switch there.

  • Well to be fair the polymorph in Emohawk wasn’t treated as a surprise. its just there in the hut with the Gelfs and Kryten quickly explains its a polymorph and then the plot continues on like well ok. the one in Can of Worms was meant to be a big reveal.

    Perhaps the title gives it away that the polymorph will be more important going forward though.

    But then it also feels more like an anniversary episode than a sequel to Polymorph.

  • I think you can successfully bring back characters and villains if it’s done well, but I don’t think it’s done well in Emohawk. We don’t learn anything interesting about Rimmer or Cat, they don’t do much, they’re barely even funny. Similarly the titular character lacks the intrigue and novelty of the original Polymorph (although I love the slinky / remote controlled car / slinky section). I’m not the biggest fan of Stoke, but it adds something to Ace, brings him back for a purpose, both character-wise and production-wise. The returns here just don’t feel like there was any point to them.

    Also, and it’s bothered me since I was in single figures, why does removing an emotion change their physical make-up and accent, reverting them to past versions of the characters? I know continuity in Red Dwarf, etc., but it bugs me.

    I’m not quite in the ‘V is the cutoff point’ group, but it VI feels like a step down, and in some ways it makes sense that Rob left after it. With the obvious exception of Out of Time, which is a glorious episode and one of the best*, it’s far less character focused in general, with the likes of Psirens, Legion and Rimmerworld brimming with potential for fascinating character studies, but ultimately telling us little new about the four of them. I can definitely appreciate the point made about the formulaic jokes being an experiment and a new approach, but I don’t think it’s one that necessarily benefits the show, much as I love the Space Corps Directives. And I say this as someone who, like Ian, experienced VI as my first proper new series broadcast. It’s still really bloody funny, but just feels slight and inessential in comparison with everything that came before it.

    Anyway, that’s all the moaning out of the way. The first half of Emohawk is brilliant, right up to “leg it!”. The opening cockpit scene really is excellent, absolutely packed with great jokes. David Ross is a lovely idea, although my immediate nomination for an alternative Kryten would be Spare Head 3. And probably Low Lister. But I’m glad they didn’t actually do all four, that would just be way too much of a rehash.

    A great Dwarfcast as ever, I’m glad they’re back. Hurry up with the next, because life is that bit more boring without them.

    *I held this opinion, and a similarly high opinion of Thanks for the Memory, long before reading G&T, you arrogant bastards.

  • I have to say I think they missed a trick in XI by not having Butler played by David Ross, or at the very least sporting a terrifying S2 era mask and plastic tuxedo.

  • I have to say I think they missed a trick in XI by not having Butler played by David Ross, or at the very least sporting a terrifying S2 era mask and plastic tuxedo.

    I really doubt David Ross would be medically cleared for getting Krytened up these days.

  • The fact that Duane Dibbley was an hallucination and doesn’t actually exist makes Cat’s transformation even weirder

  • Look, I think we’ve all got something to bring to this conversation, but I think that from now on what Ben should bring is *blank*.

  • For what it’s worth, in response to John asking what Gunmen is about, I think it’s about Lister, Rimmer and the Cat rallying around to help Kryten during a moment of peril and it’s one of the sweeter episodes for that reason – the home boys band together etc.

  • Just finished this. Think the comment that ‘it’s not a complete rip-off of Polymorph because the Emohawk does turn into real people to generate an emotional reaction’ is letting it off lightly.

    1. That was an interesting element of Polymorph that this episode doesn’t have the time or effort to go to.
    2. Psirens already did that in Series VI

  • I think there is a bit of a problem with Psirens and Emohawk being in the same series. (I seem to recall we talk about that at the end, if it made the edit…)

  • The next DwarfCast will be our 100th. If you have a (short) message to summarise your feelings towards the podcast, we may include it. Do your worst.

  • My favourite Dwarfcasts are the live ones following the broadcast of new Red Dwarf episodes. When will the next one be?

  • ♫ Could you be
    The most wonderful cunts on the planet
    It’s plain to see
    You’re the reason that God made a podcast ♫

  • I like the parts where they say the things I think, and don’t like the parts where they say the things I don’t think.

  • The long rambly ones like the anniversary specials and instant reactions are great to wallow in. Back To Earth, Trojan and Cured were great casts all for completely different reasons.

  • Some favourite DwarfCasts:

    The Last Day (drunken insanity! What exactly *were* you discussing when it got bleeped out? Will we ever know…?)
    Tikka To Ride (becomes a terrific VII vs VIII discussion)
    Can’t Smeg Won’t Smeg
    Out of Time
    The End: The Original Assembly
    All anniversary DwarfCasts

    Please do one for Universe Challenge!

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