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DwarfCast 112 - Twentica Commentary featured image
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With the BBC episodes well and truly commentaried, we now turn our insatiable appetite to the Dave era, starting with Twentica. Danny Stephenson, Ian Symes and Jonathan Capps once again preside over discussions as they find out if one their favourite episodes from the series has stood the test of time before digging into another pile of Waffles.

DwarfCast 112 – Twentica Commentary (59MB)

Next episode we’re back to the Book Club, discussing part 2 of book 1 so if you’re partaking then head over to the discussion thread to add your thoughts before the recording this weekend. Moving forward our Book Club episodes will take a little longer to put out so our weekly schedule for the forseeable future will be: Twentica, break, Book Club #2, Samsara, break, Book Club #3, Give & Take, break, and so on. In the meanwhile, be sure to post any Waffle Men questions you have here to keep us in topics as we continue our way through series XI and XII commentaries.

Show notes

43 comments on “DwarfCast 112 – Twentica Commentary

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  • Have always enjoyed this episode. It felt for the first time in the Dave years that some actual money had been spent on an episode.

  • It was certainly a really big jump from Series X. I can see why they wanted to lead with it even though I think Give & Take is a better opener.

  • It’s a real feel good episode. All the performances are spot on, and the design is top notch. I get a real Christmassy vibe from it. I’m not sure why. Particularly like the bit of pathos just before they leave the club, where Lister is worried about Kryten’s fate. And Rimmer’s seemingly heartfelt point that they can stay there and “no longer be trapped together” once the Exponoids have gone. Presumably living new lives away from each other. Whether or not they really would enjoy being apart is another question. Borne out by Lister’s worried cry of, “Whoah. I can’t lose Kryten.” But Rimmer does seem like he is willing for this to happen in the moment. But would he really? It’s a lovely, thought provoking moment. And stands out for it’s rarity.

    And there’s superb gags, everywhere. “Pram theory”. “Just devide your mass by your volume”. “I went bobbing for apples in a cement mixer”. I’d also like to draw attention to one particular line, because it never gets any attention. Rimmer saying “Just get him some string fries, or something.” That’s my favourite line in the entire series. So silly. Just because it’s Einstein. Just wonderful. A very very strong and confident start to the series.

  • Cappsy said that it wasn’t as good as it was ‘in his head’, and I totally get that. I think that one of the reasons I thought it was great as it aired was because it was NEW RED DWARF. I do actually think it’s an odd ep to open with, and maybe have it as a closer. You said that Give & Take was recorded first – one of my favourites, and I think it would be a great opener.

  • I think I won my copy of the Tongue Tied VHS, and I’ve no idea where from. I’ve got it on all formats. I might be able to sell them as a job lot. I might make a few quid. Although my cassette inlay has a little hole in it where I cut out a token for Smegazine thing.
    I got my Scenes From The Dwarf signed by Rob and Doug, too.
    As for the RPG – I immediately bought the sourcebook, but as I’ve not really had a big interest in RPGs, I’ve never really done much with it, although I did create a character of my own – a mechanoid I called Kretyn.
    Also, I have no friends to play the game with.

    I bought a full set of Trading cards – part of which was a set of silvery posh Chloe Annett photoshoot cards. Again, I don’t know where I got them. I keep them in a folder with my Smegazine collection.

  • I like the fact they dive in with a big episode like this at the top of the series, makes it feel like the show hasn’t been away for 3 years again. There’s only so many times you can expect a show to reintroduce things, and to be able to open with a big, splashy, money on the screen episode like this is pretty cool.

    I’m sure I’ve said this before too, but it’s also the norm for Red Dwarf. Both Backwards and Tikka represent a shift in the show a little, and both are “time travel back on Earth episodes” and then we literally get Back to Earth as the first Dave era episode which does the same thing again.

    Twentica is easily one of my favourite episodes from the XI-XII run, with Give and Take really being the only episode that comes close to it in quality out of the rest of series XI.

    I’ll never quite understand the Kevin Eldon gushing that goes on amongst you lot – The G&Ters. And having him in this episode is just distracting. I know I don’t necessarily have the same connection to him as you guys, watching him on TV in the 90s etc (although I’m not that much younger) but even from what I have seen him in, he just comes across as an ok dude. Nothing to excited about, especially in terms of having him in Red Dwarf.

    This is an issue I have with the Dave era as a whole, that villains are written comedically, plus there’s a lot more hiring of well known famous comedic actors to play bit parts, that wasn’t really a thing in days of yore.

    I think Lucy’s performance in this is much more memorable than Eldon’s, he just says some lines and pulls a funny face. Lucy has some really complicated dialogue to remember and then deliver it in a way that is serious but also funny without it being played over the top hahahaha like Eldon does.

    I actually think Bob the Bum is a better character than any of the Exponoids, his entire performance is hilarious and I love the Pram Theory stuff and Kryten’s “it’s your string, no-one is going to touch your string” bit”

    There’s little about the episode I don’t like, which I can’t say about the rest of the series. There’s always something that bothers me, even though over all I like the episodes.

    I’ve got a copy of the Tongue Tied VHS somewhere. If I didn’t buy it on eBay I bought it at a car boot sale around the time I was desperately trying to complete my Red Dwarf VHS collection in the early 00s just before/during the early days of the the DVDs release. I think I have the CD too somewhere but I had no idea it was on vinyl too.

  • I’ll never quite understand the Kevin Eldon gushing that goes on amongst you lot – The G&Ters. And having him in this episode is just distracting. I know I don’t necessarily have the same connection to him as you guys, watching him on TV in the 90s etc (although I’m not that much younger) but even from what I have seen him in, he just comes across as an ok dude. Nothing to excited about, especially in terms of having him in Red Dwarf.

    User was banned for this post.

  • I really disliked the choice in making the villains a joke. the “slagging me off” joke really bugged me.

    Its an episode you really can’t think too hard about. alot of time travel stories are complicated, but twentica really goes into areas that you really need to switch your brain off for.

  • I’ll never quite understand the Kevin Eldon gushing that goes on amongst you lot – The G&Ters. And having him in this episode is just distracting. I know I don’t necessarily have the same connection to him as you guys, watching him on TV in the 90s etc (although I’m not that much younger) but even from what I have seen him in, he just comes across as an ok dude. Nothing to excited about, especially in terms of having him in Red Dwarf.

    Obviously his part in various Lee & Herring stuff over the 90s is a huge part why we love him so much, but if you want some pure, distilled Eldon to really see if you buy what he’s selling, then give these a try, starting with ‘Space’ or ‘Decree’: http://podcasts.resonancefm.com/archives/category/shows/kevineldon

    EDIT: I’ve just realised the mps are offline. Bollocks. I’m sure they’re around somewhere, so I’ll try and find a live link.

  • Only two misfires in this one for me. The ‘brace’ joke and ‘this bird ain’t Einstein’ annoys me more than Dennis the Doughnut Boy.

    I don’t usually watch along with Dwarfcasts but I will for this batch.

  • As good as Twentica is, it really unsettled me how… VI-ish, it was. It was like Doug writing another episode for VI, rather than writing an episode for XI. It worried me how this might be the direction the series would go down in general, regressive, naval-gazing, pandering, nostalgia-baiting, glory-days-recapturing, etc etc. XI and XII would go on to do that a bit, especially towards the end of XII, but thankfully the show also tried to do other things as well, and it eventually lead to The Promised Land which was different enough. I very much like how Red Dwarf is a completely different show every couple of years, and I think it should continue to push the envelope, and experiment, and not just try to do IV-Vi again because That’s What People Liked.

  • plus there’s a lot more hiring of well known famous comedic actors to play bit parts, that wasn’t really a thing in days of yore.

    It’s a blatant clue innit, blatant.

  • Obviously his part in various Lee & Herring stuff over the 90s is a huge part why we love him so much

    Yeah that’s how I first came to know him. But he’s got a huge body of work now with a really good average quality rate. Big Train, Partridge, Brasseye and Jam, his sketch show, even recent stuff like his turn in Inside No. 9 and lockdown theatre.

    He’s just always very, very good.

  • https://www.gofasterstripe.com/cgi-bin/website.cgi?page=videofull&id=10233

    I know that they did have famous people in previous series, but it never felt like they were cast because they were famous and oooh look who we have. Was a big deal made out of Jenny Agutter being in Psirens, or was she just cast to play a role.

    It really feels with Dave era, XI-XII especially, that they cast people like Eldon, Vegas, that one from The Inbetweeners, because they’ll attract a certain viewing audience and they’ll act in a certain comedic way, not because they’re necessarily suited to the role.

    And that seems to stem from series viii really, where characters had to be and act funny, not just that the situation and the dialogue was funny enough.

  • I wouldn’t say it stems from VIII, because they didn’t do that in VIII, it just stems from the modern publicitymobile and being on Dave and all that. Remember when Doctor Who had to go an tell everybody John Simm was coming back? Publicity, innit. Not everything stems from VIII

  • I wouldn’t say it stems from VIII, because they didn’t do that in VIII, it just stems from the modern publicitymobile and being on Dave and all that. Remember when Doctor Who had to go an tell everybody John Simm was coming back? Publicity, innit. Not everything stems from VIII

    I wasn’t referring to hiring known actors when I referenced series viii, I was talking about having characters that act and do funny things to be funny rather than the situation/dialouge being the funny thing, which definitely started in viii.

  • Doug does seem be a bit more dependant on guest stars to carry the comedy now, while the dwarfers look at each other like yikes these people are weird. which in my opinion is the wrong way round for how the show should be. the dwarfers should be the embarrassing ones. they are the space bums.

    Its fine for the guest stars to be funny. but they don’t need to be jokes to be funny. they just need to have funny lines.

  • and not just try to do IV-Vi again because That’s What People Liked.

    The reason for that is because they did keep evolving the show for series 6,7 and 8. and it could be argued maybe Doug overstepped with series 8 and fans did not really like how far the show went in the direction. so the safest thing was to go backwards and find that spot people were comfortable with and just stay there.

    Personally i do want Doug to try and get that formula back from series 3-6. and i know some feel he has. and i feel like he is trying, but for me he is missing the perfect balance that really made those series work.

  • Fuck the formula, let’s go balls to the walls and do something absolutely outrageous that half the fan base thinks is the worst thing that has ever happened to planet earth. That’s what I want from my shows

  • Timewave didn’t fuck with the formula in any way, it was a standard episode, it just sucked ass

  • Kryten just wants to be absolutely sure they’re talking about the Einstein after what happened with Jesus in Lemons.

    One very cool, quality bit of merch is the pewter Starbug belt buckle. I keep meaning to give mine a good polish. AND THE BELT BUCKLE!! I also had a nice JMC logo keyring but the red flaked off after a while and then the chain snapped.

  • I also had a nice JMC logo keyring but the red flaked off after a while and then the chain snapped.

    Yeah, the red’s flaked off mine, too. But it still looks pretty.

  • I’d forgotten Chris was a “Holly” in that Tongue Tied video. (Pretty sure I’ve only seen it once before when I watched it on YouTube a few years ago, which was probably enough.) 24 years before Skipper!

  • Wafflem’n potential: at what point during VII do we have a gap of 14 or 15 months for Kochanski’s pregnancy to show and for our Rob or Ross to grow up to prime leaving-under-a-pool-table age?

    Currently on Beyond a Joke in my DwarfCast marathon, so I’ll hopefully be in time to listen to this before Samsara.

  • Kochanski doesn’t get pregnant. The tube is self mixing, it has Kris’ eggs in there, it just needs Lister to add his goo and the two mix.

    Later on Lister then says to her she just need to put it in the uterine simulator, so this kid is entirely gestated outside of the womb.

    It’s also possible that it speeds up the rate of gestation, but a kind of reverse stasis, speeding up time for the specimen. So they grow a kid in like, a week or something.

    Or there’s some other time travel shenanigans going on.

  • Ok, having listened to the commentary, where does the assumption that it’s set in the ‘50s come from? Is there a line I’ve missed? Because I thought the title was a contraction of Twenties America.

    The first half feels like it’s trying too hard to be VI. There’s some good stuff in there but it feels forced. The second half is superb though. Lucie Pohl is one of my favourite guest stars in the whole of Red Dwarf, such a brilliant performance.

  • I thought the title was a contraction of Twenties America

    Not unreasonable. The Twenties was when prohibition was around. But, as they first walk down the street upon arrival, Lister and Kryten are both handed a sheet of paper.

    KRYTEN: According to this leaflet, the year is 1952. Nearly two decades after prohibition ended.

    So, yeah, there’s a line you’ve missed.

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