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It’s 10pm, polls are closing across the country and G&T are now projecting that the next DwarfCast will be… Mechocracy! And in the tradition of all good election coverage, we will now force you to listen to some terrible people talk about the results for longer than is strictly necessary, specifically the Right Honourable Cunts of the Scottish NatIanal, Liberal Dannycrats and The Labour & Cappsoperative parties.

DwarfCast 133 – Mechocracy Commentary (84.8MB)

As ever our unquenchable thirst for waffles continues so please supply any you have in the comments below. We’ve already recorded our fourth and final Last Human Book Club and you can expect that to make its way into your feeds in the coming weeks. Finally, please remember to vote in your local elections this May.

Show notes

  • Cappsy meant to say “The Next Doctor” instead of “The Two Doctors”, the big idiot
  • “Previously on The West Wing” music
  • Post-Series III Hilly in the Smegazine
  • We mention a Seb Patrick fancast article for a series 2 of the Hitchhiker’s TV series, but it seems like it was sadly never published so we’re probably remembering one boozy weekend in West London with him excitedly pitching it to us.

66 comments on “DwarfCast 133 – Mechocracy Commentary

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  • The only thing that jarred slightly visually for me, Talkie Toaster-wise, was the different font. As far as slots and whathaveyou go, I didn’t notice any difference.

    Cappsy meant to say “The Next Doctor” instead of “The Two Doctors”, the big idiot

    It’s like seeing the sketches of old Doctors, specifically McGann, in Human Nature. There was a certain thrill in seeing those.

  • It’s like seeing the sketches of old Doctors, specifically McGann, in Human Nature. There was a certain thrill in seeing those.

    Ah yeah that’s the first instance of a proper back reference happening, isn’t it? Followed by the Gallifrey mention in the Christmas Special.

  • Like the Satellite of Love, Red Dwarf has a Cambot who follows the crew around all the time. They just never mention it.

    Good EC, good WM, all in all a very enjoyable DC. Sounds like maybe I’ve chosen an auspicious time to be working my way through the Smegazines, never having read them before.

  • I’ll never forget the thrill of seeing my first copy of a Smegazine (No. 4) in a newsagent when I was 13, and getting my Dad to buy it me.
    Almost 30 years later, and with the lot safely stored in a binder on the bookcase, I find it difficult to comprehend that there are people who have never read them. I’ve got almost as emotional an attachment to those as to the show itself.

  • I never picked up the Smegazine at the time and keep meaning to grab a full run. I’m a big comics fan so it’s a real gap for me.

  • I felt like I’d found buried treasure when I saw a box of shrink-wrapped Smegazines in my small-town comics shop in 1999, slightly before internet/eBay. I bought most of the superior-looking volume 2 over a few weekends before getting disillusioned and realising they weren’t really worth it, but I loved the time capsule aspect of watching series VI come out and the false optimism before the crash.

  • On the Rimmer dying twice thing, I remember a bit of debate at the time as to whether that referred to Series VIII Rimmer dying as well as his original pre-hologram death (in either The End or Timeslides).

    So you can either read it as them observing continuity (with Timeslides overwriting The End) and acknowleding Series VIII, or ignoring continuity and pretending VIII doesn’t exist – or at least, leaving it ambiguous as to whether that Rimmer survived.

  • I know many like this episode but to me its one of the least Red Dwarf like episodes next to say Krytie TV. it feels like an American sitcom idea. i could imagine something like this happening on Friends or The Big Bang Thoery. a petty squabble that doesn’t seem very important at all.

    The cat needed glasses as a way that Rimmer can blackmail him annoys me so much. that just does not seem like the cat at all. is he a 10 year old at school? whats going on? why does he care what others think of him? if he cared that much he would never wear half the outfits he does.

    And as nice as it was to see Talkie back. it was just a rehash really.

  • I feel like the Cat/glasses storyline could have been improved with just a little bit more emphasis on the glasses thing being something that Cat is unnecessarily concerned about due to his own hangups about fashion and coolness.

    Maybe the only glasses they had on board were really dorky and unfashionable or something, and Rimmer blackmails him by taking a picture of him trying them on.

    That way, the comedy would grow more out of the character, rather than feeling like a generic sitcom plot.

    (When I first watched this episode, I immediately thought of that Men Behaving Badly episode too – which in fairness gets a lot of comedy out of Tony’s hangups about it rather than because anyone else genuinely thinks it’s uncool.)

  • I know many like this episode but to me its one of the least Red Dwarf like episodes next to say Krytie TV. it feels like an American sitcom idea. i could imagine something like this happening on Friends or The Big Bang Thoery. a petty squabble that doesn’t seem very important at all.

    I’ve always sort of felt the same but I’ve never disliked it in the way I do Kryten TV. Perhaps because at least the characters are acting within character.

    But yeah, a West Wing style presidential race on board Red Dwarf feels a little too on the nose and too current affairs-y. Red Dwarf tends to parody sci-fi and pop culture not political drama.

    But I think they get some good mileage out of it and it doesn’t go as horribly wrong as it might. So for that it gets a bit of a pass.

    The Cat storyline definitely could be strengthened by making it a fashion problem.

    Talkie Toaster I’m cool with but I wish it didn’t just retread the old ground exactly with Lister reeling off lists of bread products etc.

  • My first smegazine was issue 3 which was such a great find as it had the last part of The End adapted as a comic strip and a full episode guide for series 1. At that time series 1 was rare – no one I knew had a copy – and so finding these details was revelatory. I got every issue after that and although I no longer have any of them I’ll always fondly remember the hype and excitement of series VI info and pictures being revealed month by month.

  • I became a fan during the ’94 repeats so just missed the Smegazine. It’s weird to be reading news about the upcoming Series VI etc now but quite enjoyable and interesting all the same.

  • On the Rimmer dying twice thing, I remember a bit of debate at the time as to whether that referred to Series VIII Rimmer dying as well as his original pre-hologram death (in either The End or Timeslides).

    So you can either read it as them observing continuity (with Timeslides overwriting The End) and acknowleding Series VIII, or ignoring continuity and pretending VIII doesn’t exist – or at least, leaving it ambiguous as to whether that Rimmer survived.

    What if the 2 deaths of Rimmer are The End and Stoke Me A Clipper – meaning Lister never revealed that it was actually Ace who died? (And also that the Dave era Rimmer is not series VII Rimmer returned, I guess.).

  • What if the 2 deaths of Rimmer are The End and Stoke Me A Clipper – meaning Lister never revealed that it was actually Ace who died? (And also that the Dave era Rimmer is not series VII Rimmer returned, I guess.).

    It’s specifically about Rimmer accidentally killing himself twice, Kryten isn’t mocking him for being murdered.

  • Doug was probably referring to Timeslides. to imply Nano Rimmer killed himself with no added context would be an odd decision. its not like Series 8 ended in a way that Fans could kinda guess that was the case.

    I find the choice of references sometimes odd in the Dave era.

  • It’s specifically about Rimmer accidentally killing himself twice, Kryten isn’t mocking him for being murdered.

    Fair point. In that case, we can probably rule out series VIII. The chameleonic microbe wasn’t Rimmer’s fault. (Though it could still be about the death of nano-Rimmer, if he survived Only The Good… and died off screen under other circumstances.)

  • Re: character costumes, lockdown has taught me that when I have nowhere to go I will basically live in just 2 or 3 sets of clothes.

  • Re: character costumes, lockdown has taught me that when I have nowhere to go I will basically live in just 2 or 3 sets of clothes.

    Ooh get you, Armani. I find it easier to not get dressed at all.

  • On the sofa shaking off jab 1 side effects,

    giving this a listen to lighten my day.

    Astra Zeneca? I was ruined for 2 days after I got stuck with that.

  • The first Doctor Who example I can think of is The Five Doctors, which opens with a clip from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    I really like Mechocracy, especially the whole ‘crew dealing with an on-ship issue’ aspect. But I don’t think Talkie adds to the story at all. It’s a fan service callback that just feels laboured.

    It’s almost there, though. It’s definitely very Dwarfy.

  • In terms of back referencing, X has the chameleonic microbe jokes in The Beginning and Lister being his own dad, XI has a Polymorph and a karma drive built from the Justice World tech, so although the second half of XII is more overt, I wouldn’t say the Dave era is otherwise not comfortable building on the past.

  • In terms of back referencing, X has the chameleonic microbe jokes in The Beginning and Lister being his own dad, XI has a Polymorph and a karma drive built from the Justice World tech, so although the second half of XII is more overt, I wouldn’t say the Dave era is otherwise not comfortable building on the past.

    You’re definitely not wrong. But I think the earlier examples are a much more natural “this is a part of the shows history” referencing. Where as the back half of XII is specifically fan service call back.

  • Yeah, I think those earlier back references grow out of the story a little more naturally than the ones in the back half of XII.

    Having said that, sometimes I feel like the show can’t win, especially when it comes to dealing with similar ideas to past episodes. For example, in Skipper, quite a few people noted that it was weird for them to be talking about alternate universes in which opposite choices played out, and *not* acknowledging Dimension Jump in some way – but if there had been a big “smoke me a kipper” Ace Rimmer reference it probably would have been dismissed as fan service.

    I think I like the Officer Rimmer approach the best – have a character acknowledge that similar ideas have come up in the past but not make a huge deal out of it with an explicit callback.

  • Yeah, I think those earlier back references grow out of the story a little more naturally than the ones in the back half of XII.

    Having said that, sometimes I feel like the show can’t win, especially when it comes to dealing with similar ideas to past episodes. For example, in Skipper, quite a few people noted that it was weird for them to be talking about alternate universes in which opposite choices played out, and *not* acknowledging Dimension Jump in some way – but if there had been a big “smoke me a kipper” Ace Rimmer reference it probably would have been dismissed as fan service.
    I think I like the Officer Rimmer approach the best – have a character acknowledge that similar ideas have come up in the past but not make a huge deal out of it with an explicit callback.

    What’s weird about Skipper is about just how nostalgic is it whilst completely ignoring the fact Rimmer does have a universe where he is better than he is here, he has met that Rimmer and has even taken over from him.

    Other episodes hadn’t been afraid to make quick references to the past, for little more than a quick nod to the shows history. Skipper completely ignores it even though it is relevant to the story … and go onto be major nostalgia bait!

  • Personally i have always been fine with them not referencing Dimension Jump in Skipper. one issue with that sorta thing is it often shows how unoriginal the idea is if you reference how similar the concept is to another episode.

    Although i am interested if Doug even thought of Dimension Jump when he made that episode.

  • Personally i have always been fine with them not referencing Dimension Jump in Skipper. one issue with that sorta thing is it often shows how unoriginal the idea is if you reference how similar the concept is to another episode.

    Although i am interested if Doug even thought of Dimension Jump when he made that episode.

    But Skipper isn’t really similar to DJ other than it’s Rimmer traversing dimensions. And he’s done that in Polymorph and Only the Good as well as meeting a version of himself from another reality in Dimension Jump.

    And yet as I said before, the show has been more than happy to make references for much less.

    I appreciate the idea of not mentioning DJ so it’s not a direct comparison … it’s just sort of out of place for them not to do so, and it’s so much more egregious considering what is actually happening.

  • But Skipper isn’t really similar to DJ other than it’s Rimmer traversing dimensions.

    The whole idea of the parallel universes is explained in Skipper as places that play out opposite choices to the ones made in your universe. I think most Red Dwarf fans would naturally connect that with the way the branching universes work in Dimension Jump.

  • The problem with them not referencing Dimension Jump is the characters are basically outwardly saying they don’t remember Ace Rimmer, despite him appearing more often than any other guest character, in some form or other. There’s an extended joke saying “I can’t imagine a cooler version of Rimmer” when Ace Rimmer is a major part of the character’s history feels wrong: if you’re going to forget something like that, don’t then focus on it for a whole minute. On a broader level, they all seem to respond to the general alternate dimension idea as if Parallel Universe, Dimension Jump, Stoke Me a Clipper, Only the Good… and Back to Earth never happened. Even taking a broad acceptance of the show’s casual relationship with continuity, it seems quite jarring. The fact that it’s in the episode with the most back-references of the whole show – by some stretch – makes it stand out even more.

    I’m mostly for keeping fan service and general back referencing to the absolute minimum. 1-VI only includes a handful of nods to previous episodes, whereas it becomes a very common thing in Doug’s era. If anything, when it’s done so regularly it kind of plays down the impact of something like the second half of Skipper. I don’t think an Ace reference would have benefitted the episode, but I think cutting the conversation where the characters can’t imagine a concept they’ve encountered numerous times would have.

  • The first Doctor Who example I can think of is The Five Doctors, which opens with a clip from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    Day of the Daleks shows images of the first two Doctors, when the third has his mind probed.

  • I think if it weren’t for Stoke Me A Clipper having our Rimmer become Ace and the whole Ace Rimmer legacy thing, I could buy that they might not immediately think of him.

    But can we truly say that Ace Rimmer is the most recurring guest character, when all 3 of his appearances were actually 3 different people?

    Also thanks to this very episode, Talkie Toaster has now appeared more times than Ace.

  • Well Doug hasn’t even acknowledged what happened to Rimmer after that Stoke Me A Clipper. So thats possibly why he never mentioned him. it kinda opens a can of worms since Doug claims the Rimmer in the Dave Era is the original Rimmer.

  • Although that’s never stopped Doug before from pick and choosing what he references. after all he has referenced the Radiation Leak killing the crew several times but has barely to never acknowledged the Nanobots bringing back the crew.

  • I think that’s the issue, is that Rimmer has done exactly what the story sets out for him to do. Go Dimension Jumping.

    Now Rimmer is either original Rimmer returned (which is exactly how it feels in every respect) or it is nano-Rimmer having died and having been amalgamated with original Rimmer up to the point he leaves.

    If it were nano-Rimmer that is a) a bit too confusing for a general audience (it has to just be “Rimmer” and that for all intents and purposes is the original one) and it b) sheds lights on the end of viii, which we know Doug neither wants to provide nor I suppose has really thought about.

    So it has to be original Rimmer. Original Rimmer that has met Ace, knows there are better versions of himself out there, has become Ace himself and has been dimension jumping/skipping.

    It’s just so obvious that Doug is deliberately omitting reference to Ace that it’s annoying.

    It would be like suddenly finding an evolved rat in the cargo bay and ignoring the fact Cat is an evolved animal too.

    You can still do the story, just have the characters not act weird by ignoring this huge part of their own past.

  • Although that’s never stopped Doug before from pick and choosing what he references. after all he has referenced the Radiation Leak killing the crew several times but has barely to never acknowledged the Nanobots bringing back the crew.

    Considering what the nanobots led to, maybe that’s for the best ;) the radiation leak killing the crew is after all the premise for the entire show, whereas if series VIII did not exist I can’t think of any overall continuity that would be missing. We’d just assume they found the ship by BTE and that was that.

    I think that’s the issue, is that Rimmer has done exactly what the story sets out for him to do. Go Dimension Jumping.


    So it has to be original Rimmer. Original Rimmer that has met Ace, knows there are better versions of himself out there, has become Ace himself and has been dimension jumping/skipping.

    I could see our Rimmer hoping for a better non-Ace version of himself, hoping to find someone who is still a smeghead but has done better than he has.

    Maybe I’m a rubbish fan but I’ve never thought about Ace when watching Skipper. Probably partly because he really feels like a separate character (which he was originally anyway) and partly because he’s not mentioned after VII, not that I can recall anyway (though granted I’m less familiar with VII onwards). Maybe that can of worms is destined to remain firmly sealed.

  • In terms of referencing Rimmer and VIII and such, there are the jokes in The Beginning which are obviously Doug letting us know he has no plans on trying to resolve the cliffhanger, but it’s definitely mentioned.

    I can accept Rimmer going dimension jumping, looking for a better reality, it’s a reused concept but done in a totally different way. It’s just the conversation where they’re speculating on a reality with a less awful Rimmer, when that has literally been show multiple times, that seems totally unnecessary. If we’re being picky, the end of Dimension Jump points out that Ace never encounters such an awful Rimmer as ours, so the whole thing is just a bit odd in an era which is full of back-referencing.

  • Skipper’s title has the subliminal double reference of Ace’s nickname for Lister and an abbreviation of Ace’s catchphrase even before you know it’s about Rimmer dimension jumping, making it an even larger elephant. I was definitely expecting a mention, but wasn’t disappointed when they just got on without it.

  • I love how the comments section on a Mechocracy DwarftCast is overwhelmingly filled with a discussion about Skipper!

    I always thought the crews general reaction to the dimension skipping and lack of reference to Ace is a bit odd in Skipper, but then I think everything post VI has people reacting in ways that don’t quite feel right and a fairly slap-dash approach to internal logic and continuity (although lets face it even in the golden era this was hardly the shows strong point!) I mean for example the opening of the episode is literally them reading the Captains opinions on the crew, something they already did (and did better) in series 1!

  • Honestly if you’ve been impregnated by yourself, strangled by a murderous sausage, witnessed Winnie the Pooh being executed by firing squad, accidentally inspired a holy war amongst a race of super intelligent cat people, and visited a universe where you have to reverse-defecate, I’d be surprised if you react to anything else fantastical that happens 20+ years later with more than a half-hearted shrug.

  • Caught Skipper on Dave last night, and the aforementioned Ace omission didn’t bother me as much, interestingly. The whole topic was covered faster than I remember.
    Also reminded me just how good the back end of XII is.

  • I’m looking forward to the M-Corp DwarfCast; I’m curious about how well The Promised Land holds up for everyone a year on.

  • Funnily enough I just watched it a couple of days ago. It certainly has some great stuff in it but could do with being a bit tighter and a bit funnier. The usual ups and downs of the Dave era all make an appearance (plus Norman repeatedly corpsing) but there are some bits that are genuinely great and nothing comes near to the depths that the show had gone to previously.

    I do miss the lighting of XI/XII as a lot of TPL looks a bit flat in comparison, despite great sets and effects. The more dynamic lighting of XI/XII would have very much worked for this bigger outing.

  • Watched it myself last week too (at the end of a complete series re-watch naturally) and personally I thought it was the tightest, best written, best produced episode of the Dave era.

    But shall save full discussion until the commentary in a few weeks.

  • I think the first half of TPL is down there with the worst of the Dave era, I get about three laughs from the whole section. The second half is up there with Give & Take and the second half of XII in ‘almost as good as classic Dwarf’ territory though.

  • I watched TPL twice around when it first came out last year but haven’t seen it since. It was a mixed bag with many of the usual tonal and pacing issues that the show has suffered with since VI, but particularly in the Dave era. But at the same time it had some genuinely excellent sections and I came away happy to have more Dwarf on the telly even if it was just a one off.

  • But shall save full discussion until the commentary in a few weeks.

    Is the plan to crack on and do TPL straight away after XII, then? It’ll be strange for there to be no outstanding episodes of the show for G&T to do commentaries on!

  • I had a great time with the special and thought it was easily peak Dave, though it was more an experience than something I’ve felt like rewatching so far (maybe that’s just the length). I don’t know how much that was affected by keeping myself the least spoiled I’ve been since series VII and not immediately dissecting it to fossilise any bad bits.

  • Edit: Probably the least spoiled I’ve been since series VI / ever (the How Do They Do That? covering VII preceded the series and I probably saw trailers).

  • But shall save full discussion until the commentary in a few weeks.

    Is the plan to crack on and do TPL straight away after XII, then? It’ll be strange for there to be no outstanding episodes of the show for G&T to do commentaries on!

    At some point I’d love for the guys to revisit some of the older episodes that were covered 15 years ago, if only because it’s likely none of them were on some of those Dwarfcasts.

    It’d also be interesting hearing reactions from older guys compared to the relative kids they were at the beginning and for there to be some discussion with the hindsight of the last 15 years and multiple new series too.

  • Is the plan to crack on and do TPL straight away after XII, then? It’ll be strange for there to be no outstanding episodes of the show for G&T to do commentaries on!

    Yep, I believe The Promised Land will follow straight after Skipper in the schedules, so we will soon be in the weird position of having no proper episode commentaries to do. I look forward to finding out what we do after that, tbh!

  • Is the plan to crack on and do TPL straight away after XII, then? It’ll be strange for there to be no outstanding episodes of the show for G&T to do commentaries on!

    Yep, I believe The Promised Land will follow straight after Skipper in the schedules, so we will soon be in the weird position of having no proper episode commentaries to do. I look forward to finding out what we do after that, tbh!

    Have a pot of tea and go home I suppose.

  • Also, re. The Promised Land, I rewatched it immediately the day after broadcast and then left it a few months until my next viewing on Blu-Ray and found it had improved quite a bit in terms of feeling more consistent and complete overall. Once you’re familiar with the shape of it those early sections don’t drag as much as they did on first watch, and viewing it without ads over 90 minutes makes quite a difference to the two hours on broadcast.

  • There’s a long list of things they could potentially do commentaries on, like Just the Smegs, Universe Challenge, Red Dwarf A-Z, Bodysnatcher, Identity Within, Red Christmas, non-extended VII episodes, BtE standalone episodes, the DVD documentaries, the DVD commentaries, the Dwarfcast commentaries.

  • <

    the Dwarfcast commentaries

    ?

    Anyone want to join me doing G&T reader/listener fan commentaries on the G&T commentaries? Maybe podcast commentaries on G&T articles, going sequentially.

  • Anyone want to join me doing G&T reader/listener fan commentaries on the G&T commentaries?

    No, but when you’re done I might record my thoughts on what you’ve produced, in simultaneous audio format.

  • Idea for an episode single-take unabridged audiobook. Do it as a charity ordeal thing.

    Have each G&Ter take turns spending an hour reading the ideas aloud live on Spreaker and keep going until they reach the end …

    but they’ll never reach the end as we’ll be constantly updating it whilst they’re reading them!

  • Anyone want to join me doing G&T reader/listener fan commentaries on the G&T commentaries? Maybe podcast commentaries on G&T articles, going sequentially.

    Each episode you press the random button and must then talk about the resulting article for at least two hours.

  • Anyone want to join me doing G&T reader/listener fan commentaries on the G&T commentaries? Maybe podcast commentaries on G&T articles, going sequentially.

    Each episode you press the random button and must then talk about the resulting article for at least two hours.

    You joke … but I’d definitely listen to that. I can imagine now, the interesting and informative content 2hours on

    *hits random*

    https://www.ganymede.tv/2009/04/some-motorcycle-bloke-is-playing-a-bus-driver/

    the news of the casting of the bus driver in BTE would deliver

  • https://www.ganymede.tv/2009/04/some-motorcycle-bloke-is-playing-a-bus-driver/
    the news of the casting of the bus driver in BTE would deliver

    When I first properly watched BTE and the behind-the-scenes stuff, mention was made of Charles Armitage being in the bus line. It took me a couple of goes to work out they meant a passenger rather than the driver, and that photo in the article makes me feel less silly about it now :D two blokes both with relatively round faces, white beards and glasses, neither of whom you see properly … !

  • https://www.ganymede.tv/2009/04/some-motorcycle-bloke-is-playing-a-bus-driver/

    the news of the casting of the bus driver in BTE would deliver
    When I first properly watched BTE and the behind-the-scenes stuff, mention was made of Charles Armitage being in the bus line. It took me a couple of goes to work out they meant a passenger rather than the driver, and that photo in the article makes me feel less silly about it now :D two blokes both with relatively round faces, white beards and glasses, neither of whom you see properly … !

    It was just after Christmas, a lot of Santa’s willing to work for cheap.

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