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  • #281375
    Ewing
    Participant

    My step-dad introduced me to Red Dwarf on VHS tape at some point in the mid 90s and I’ve been a fan ever since that day despite some of the UK jargon and references going over my head. I’d love to talk to some of you people across the pond and figure out what material works beyond cultural barriers and what falls completely flat. There’s barely any fans here in America but everyone who has seen the show digs it. I’ve never met someone here who has seen Red Dwarf that doesn’t like it.

    #281382
    Dave
    Participant

    I’d be interested to hear some examples of what works and doesn’t work across that cultural barrier. I can imagine some of the British cultural references being too niche to be understood, but hopefully the gist of the gags is still carried regardless.

    In the other direction, I grew up watching a lot of American sitcoms and shows, and quite frequently there would be specific cultural allusions that I wouldn’t get, but I could usually infer the meaning from context even if I didn’t appreciate the specific reference. In some ways it was quite educational – I still feel like a huge percentage of my casual cultural knowledge of the US is rooted in references to it on The Simpsons.

    Also, if it’s any consolation, quite a few of the cultural references in the classic era of Red Dwarf are pretty time-specific as well as UK-specific. I now watch the show with my kids and they’re as baffled about the identity of Kevin Keegan as any US viewer would be.

    #281383
    Warbodog
    Participant

    despite some of the UK jargon and references going over my head.

    That was still the case (to a lesser extent) for most British fans who were too young to get most of Grant Naylor’s pop culture references and had to rely on stuff like this. There’s still probably loads of stuff I let go over my head.

    #281388
    Formica
    Participant

    Do British viewers ever flag up when Kryten calls Kochanski “mom” in VII? In Robert’s otherwise convincing Generically Kinda American Accent, the occasional massive slip like this sticks out like a sore thumb, but is it as clearly wrong to people who haven’t grown up around Americans?

    #281391
    Warbodog
    Participant

    His accent’s usually described as more Canadian, I thought ‘ma’am’ might be one of those things like ‘zed’ where Canadian goes more British than American.

    But his pronunciation is random sometimes, like when he says ‘minimum leezure facilities’ and ‘study it at your leshure’ within the same episode.

    #281392
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    American fandom, stay away from me. American fandom, mama let me be.

    #281397
    Rudolph
    Participant

    To be honest, there’s a lot of pop culture references that The Kidz Today in the UK probably wouldn’t get. I’m in my thirties and didn’t know what a Berni Inn was or who Teasy-Weasy was when I first watched it.

    #281402
    Formica
    Participant

    His accent’s usually described as more Canadian

    I’ve also grown up with Canadians my whole life. It fucking isn’t, and it is quite funny that everyone (including Robert) seems to think it is.

    But his pronunciation is random sometimes, like when he says ‘minimum leezure facilities’ and ‘study it at your leshure’ within the same episode.

    Strangely, this would be a reasonable, even common way to vary the pronunciation between those two uses of the word. Just watched it back and neither sounds particularly out of place.

    #281405
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    I’ve also grown up with Canadians my whole life. It fucking isn’t, and it is quite funny that everyone (including Robert) seems to think it is.

    I have Newfoundland family and I’ve heard people talk in what I consider broad Irish accents. I like to think there’s a little Atlantic island somewhere where they all speak like Kryten.

    #281408
    Dave
    Participant

    I like to think there’s a little Atlantic island somewhere where they all speak like Kryten.

    The island of TOWEK (the one where everyone’s Kryten).

    #281409
    Unrumble
    Participant

    I’m in my thirties and didn’t know what a Berni Inn was or who Teasy-Weasy was when I first watched it.

    Same. It wasn’t until years later, with internet at my fingertips and the inclination to be bothered to look them up, that I discovered what these were.

    But as Dave said, I’d usually appreciate lines like that to some degree due to context. ‘Berni Inn’ is referring to a chain of some kind, presumably a hotel/bar or restaurant. Holly’s relief at being far away from the nearest one suggests that they are fairly ubiquitous, and a bit shit.

    #281414
    Ridley
    Participant

    How American are you on a scale of Phil to Pecospete?

    #281420
    Rudolph
    Participant

    But as Dave said, I’d usually appreciate lines like that to some
    degree due to context. ‘Berni Inn’ is referring to a chain of some kind,
    presumably a hotel/bar or restaurant. Holly’s relief at being far away
    from the nearest one suggests that they are fairly ubiquitous, and a bit
    shit.

    Oh yeah, likewise. I was able to figure out that Berni Inn was obviously some kind of crap restaurant. Unless Holly knows a lot of people called Bernie Inn and thinks they’re all gits.

    Didn’t they change a number of the cultural references in Holly’s narrations for Remastered, in order to appeal to a broader global demographic? The only ones I can think of off hand are Felicity Kendall being swapped for Marilyn Monroe, and the lowest form of life now being a man who owns a train set, as opposed to working for the Post Office.

    I’ve always heard Kryten’s accent described as ‘Mid-Atlantic’, and he’s always had a bit of Loyd Grossman in him to my ears. A sort-of Boston-by-way-of-Cambridge accent.

    #281442
    Stabbim
    Participant

    one of the reasons I enjoyed S1 and S2 so much is because Norman Lovett’s Holly is basically just Norman Lovett doing standup and most of the laughs in a standup routine is down to the demeanor and delivery of the particular comedian.  You don’t have to really “get” them because the joke is Lovett being so deadpan.

    And, besides, I was a little kid so even the American sitcoms I was watching at the time were making pop-culture references that were over my head just due to my youth and lack of world-experience, so it was something I was used to dealing with/working around.

    I did think Zero-G Football was a future version of [American] Football rather than [Association] Football, but then again I think we can lay partial blame for that on the posters in Lister’s bunk, which absolutely have an American Football aesthetic and in fact I can look back and still recognize the contemporary (to the 80s) NFL uniforms & posters they must have used as the base for the ROOF ATTACK poster et al.

    #281443
    Stabbim
    Participant

    also, was a nerdy child with those sorts of parents so I watched a lot of PBS which meant watching a lot of other BBC imports besides Red Dwarf, so I was generally acclimated at a young age to the slight difference between American English and British English

    If I didn’t know who Felicity Kendall was when Holly The Computer namedropped her, I had a good enough idea of what niche she filled by the time Vyvyan Bastarde did as well.

    #281444
    clem
    Participant

    I did think Zero-G Football was a future version of [American] Football rather than [Association] Football, but then again I think we can lay partial blame for that on the posters in Lister’s bunk, which absolutely have an American Football aesthetic and in fact I can look back and still recognize the contemporary (to the 80s) NFL uniforms & posters they must have used as the base for the ROOF ATTACK poster et al.

    I’ve always thought it’s based on American football. From Better Than Life, the novel: “This cockroach could have played Nose Tackle for the London Jets”

    #281449
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    My mental perception of Zero G football has always been more like basketball, to be honest (I have not spent time considering it, just the general impression immediately conjured up).  But on the whole it does seem to me more American than English, for sure.

    #281450
    Stabbim
    Participant

    I listened to the first half or so of the audio version of Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers and Lister’s recollections of seeing Jim Bexley-Speed play the best game of his career made it sound like a fusion of the footballs, which makes sense given Red Dwarf’s general loose implication of a future where the UK and US are more closely intertwined (the Dollarpound suggesting formal economic union at the minimum, etc)

    [Better Than Life does have that passage describing the weird specialization of GELFs for American Football, though I most remember Scotland’s literal Wall Of Flesh goalie that still wasn’t enough to get them qualified for the world cup.]

    #281455
    Hamish
    Participant

    His accent’s usually described as more Canadian, I thought ‘ma’am’ might be one of those things like ‘zed’ where Canadian goes more British than American.

    #281456
    Hamish
    Participant

    the lowest form of life now being a man who owns a train set, as opposed to working for the Post Office.

    Considering the American understanding of the term “going postal” it does take postal workers being low lives to a whole other level.

    #281490
    Rudolph
    Participant

    I’ve always imagined Zero-G Football to be basically aeroball from Harlem Heroes.

    Although I’ve always wondered if it’s a holdover from before Craig was cast that Lister supports a London team. I’m guessing it never crossed Rob or Doug’s mind to simply change them to Liverpool Jets.

    #281494
    Ewing
    Participant

    Oh wow, I didn’t expect so many responses so fast. I’ll try to cover some of the bases.

    I’d be interested to hear some examples of what works and doesn’t work across that cultural barrier. I can imagine some of the British cultural references being too niche to be understood, but hopefully the gist of the gags is still carried regardless.

    The bit in Meltdown where Lister recognizes all the worst figures in history through the window of the cell and the payoff is James Last. He must be some figure in European music because the joke just falls completely flat as an American. I only know him from the Kill Bill.

    I always assumed the Berni Inn was some shitty motel chain out in the UK.

    His accent’s usually described as more Canadian, I thought ‘ma’am’ might be one of those things like ‘zed’ where Canadian goes more British than American. 

    It’s definitely a Canadian accent. I have a Mid-Atlantic accent and I don’t sound like Kryten at all.

     Didn’t they change a number of the cultural references in Holly’s narrations for Remastered, in order to appeal to a broader global demographic? The only ones I can think of off hand are Felicity Kendall being swapped for Marilyn Monroe, and the lowest form of life now being a man who owns a train set, as opposed to working for the Post Office. I’ve always heard Kryten’s accent described as ‘Mid-Atlantic’, and he’s always had a bit of Loyd Grossman in him to my ears. A sort-of Boston-by-way-of-Cambridge accent.

    The post office line still works in America, I don’t understand the decision to change it. The Monroe line works better across cultural grounds than Kendall though. I typically avoid all the Remastered episodes.

    one of the reasons I enjoyed S1 and S2 so much is because Norman Lovett’s Holly is basically just Norman Lovett doing standup and most of the laughs in a standup routine is down to the demeanor and delivery of the particular comedian.  You don’t have to really “get” them because the joke is Lovett being so deadpan.

    I couldn’t agree more with this. Lovett is the secret sauce of Red Dwarf to me. He’s spectacular despite some of the references going above my head.

    I did think Zero-G Football was a future version of [American] Football rather than [Association] Football, but then again I think we can lay partial blame for that on the posters in Lister’s bunk, which absolutely have an American Football aesthetic and in fact I can look back and still recognize the contemporary (to the 80s) NFL uniforms & posters they must have used as the base for the ROOF ATTACK poster et al.

    I always assumed Zero-G was American football in space stations. Jim Bexley Speed is wearing pads in the picture with Lister after all. I called my fantasy team the London Jets for a few years, complete with the logo and SMEG as the team abbreviation.

    I’m guessing it never crossed Rob or Doug’s mind to simply change them to Liverpool Jets.

    In my head, Zero-G Football is an international sport with teams across the globe. London’s team represents the entirety of GB.

    #281497
    Formica
    Participant

    I have a Mid-Atlantic accent

    What are you, some kinda 60s newsreader?

    #281500
    Ewing
    Participant

    You’re thinking Trans-Atlantic.

    #281504
    Warbodog
    Participant

    James Last. He must be some figure in European music because the joke just falls completely flat as an American. I only know him from the Kill Bill.

    I only know him from Red Dwarf references.

    It feels like they consciously shifted to more international and less topical references around series III or IV with an eye to the American audience (before reverting back in the Dave era).

    The Omnibus of the first two novels (1992) had similar changes to Remastered too, replacing references to Kevin Keegan and the like with fictional equivalents, which seemed to be mostly for the sake of the US release.

    #281510
    Dave
    Participant

    In my head, Zero-G Football is an international sport with teams across the globe. London’s team represents the entirety of GB.

    Yeah, I’ve always assumed something along these lines too. That the London Jets are pretty much the only big UK team.

    #281512
    Rudolph
    Participant

    I’ve never been too keen on that explanation, as national teams are rarely named after specific cities and I find it a nicer detail if they’re just Lister’s regular league team.

    #281515
    Formica
    Participant

    You’re thinking Trans-Atlantic.

    Perhaps now’s a good time to mention that a mid-Atlantic and Transatlantic are both names for the same accent, but more importantly, whichever name you use that’s the one I believe Kryten’s closer to than Canadian. I mean, he doesn’t even say ‘sorey’.

    #281518
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    I  still feel like a huge percentage of my casual cultural knowledge of the US is rooted in references to it on The Simpsons.

    Hell, this is true for me and I live in the US.

    I found Red Dwarf via PBS, pre-season VII. They’d play two episodes every Saturday night in order and then cycle back to the start, so if I missed an episode, I just had to wait 18 weeks and it would come around again. (They eventually switched to one episode of Blackadder and one of Red Dwarf, and so I used to resent Blackadder before finally coming around on it.)

    I think one of the differences between American and British fans is that—correct me if I’m wrong, but in the UK, it is something that most people would have at least heard of, right? Even if they don’t have a good opinion of the show, they at least have a context for it? Over here it’s exclusively a “You like weird geek stuff” sort of thing. Even on the PBS pledge drives, I felt like the presenters weren’t really personally familiar with it and were just like “We hope you’re enjoying the way-out wacky space adventures of the Red Dwarf!”

    #281519
    Dave
    Participant

    correct me if I’m wrong, but in the UK, it is something that most people would have at least heard of, right? Even if they don’t have a good opinion of the show, they at least have a context for it?

    Yep, it’s well-known generally and in its prime it attracted a very decent audience, so it’s definitely not obscure (even if it would probably still get labelled as a “cult” show just because of the subject matter).

    #281520
    SmegHammer
    Participant

    I’ve never been too keen on that explanation, as national teams are rarely named after specific cities and I find it a nicer detail if they’re just Lister’s regular league team.

    No but think about American sport franchises in the United States. You may not be from Dallas or Houston but if you’re from somewhere else in Texas, chances are your team will either be the Cowboys or the Texans. And it’s a big state, you may be several hours drive away from your chosen team but it’s still your “local” team, if you like.

    I’ve always thought London Jets were in fact not just the UK team but the singular European or even Earth team. Lots of the planets and moons in the solar system are colonised so it makes sense it would be an Intercolonial tournament

    #281522
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    Re: James Last, I have no idea who he is – I’m English, maybe it’s just my age?  (I have yet to be sufficiently motivated to google him.)

    #281524

    Re: James Last, I have no idea who he is – I’m English, maybe it’s just my age?  (I have yet to be sufficiently motivated to google him.)

    Same.  I’m also so stubborn enough that at this point I don’t want to know who he is.

    #281525
    Rudolph
    Participant

    Re: James Last, I have no idea who he is – I’m English, maybe it’s just my age?  (I have yet to be sufficiently motivated to google him.)

    German Big Band Leader and composer. Basically the King of Lift Muzak. Very popular in South-East Asia.

    #281526
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    Yep, it’s well-known generally and in its prime it attracted a very decent audience, so it’s definitely not obscure (even if it would probably still get labelled as a “cult” show just because of the subject matter).

    It’s funny when I hear on a DwarfCast how there is a public perception of the show in the UK or it was discussed the next day in school and was reasonably popular, because nobody I knew growing up had even really heard of it. When my family got a computer and an internet connection, a lot of my early browsing was looking up websites about Red Dwarf just because, like…before that, I had zero context or information for anything about this show other than it exists. It was reassuring to have proof that I wasn’t just hallucinating it all, honestly. 

    #281532
    Warbodog
    Participant

    It was in the BBC2 comedy block from 9pm with new series and repeats about twice a year or more. I’d watch most of the comedy just because it was on, so Red Dwarf will have been that for loads of people who didn’t particularly care about it or sci-fi. Even if they turned off in disgust, they still would have been aware of it.

    It was the Doctor Who wilderness years, but we had no-ads American sci-fi most days from 6pm (with significant transatlantic delays) and would naturally feel enraged when it was usurped by sports coverage, as if normal people weren’t being confronted with spaceships and parallel universes every time they sat down to dinner.

    The Simpsons had the worst delay, baggsied by satellite TV until season 1 finally arrived on the BBC in 1997, but us poor kids still managed to cultivate modest Bartmania with select season 1 and 2 video rentals and paraphernalia across the decade.

    #281596
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Do The Bartman got to #1 in the UK charts six years before The Simpsons was broadcast on terrestrial TV. People were aware of the character first and the show second in many cases.

    #281601
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I first saw The Simpsons (Treehouse of Horror) when visiting a rich kid’s house for his birthday or maybe Halloween or something, maybe 1991. He also had all the consoles, so it was my first time seeing Sonic (1) (and Mario (3), that was less impressive). And we probably had McDonalds. One heck of a night.

    #281604
    Dave
    Participant

    #281625
    cwickham
    Participant

    A lot of UK peoples’ first contact with The Simpsons would’ve been in those old two-episode VHSes between 1991 and 1995 – they released all of season 1, half of season 2 and two episodes of season 3.

    #281626
    Unrumble
    Participant

    Around the late 90’s/early 00’s (by which point I would’ve been watching it on BBC2 for a few years; we weren’t allowed Sky) I had the hefty ‘Simpsons – Year One’ boxset, and a few of those ‘themed’ 4 episode videos: Bart Wars, Too Hot for TV, Simpsons.com, Love Springfield Style 

    #281627
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    #281628
    Warbodog
    Participant

    #281679
    Jenuall
    Participant

    I don’t think I watched any Simpsons at all until it came to terrestrial, might have caught the odd snippet when going round more affluent friends houses after school. But even then I think there were only a couple of kids I knew who had Sky

    #281681
    Dave
    Participant

    #281682
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Wonderful!

    #281683
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I never thought to look for Red Dwarf.

    #281687
    NeverLeavingFred
    Participant

    Anyone who spent more than 5 minutes thumbing through the Vinyl sections in UK Charity Shops in the 00s will have spent a fair amount of time reading James Last’s name.

    (I believe Thrift Stores are the US equivalent of Charity Shops).

    I think it’s quite out of character for Rimmer to not like Glen Miller. Too raucous for him maybe? Perhaps that’s unfair, I haven’t heard how funky Funking Up Wagner gets.

    #281730
    Stabbim
    Participant

    it’s established very early on that Rimmer only likes the true classics: Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Motorhead

    #281732
    Unrumble
    Participant

    it’s established very early on that Rimmer only likes the true classics: Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Motorhead

    Don’t forget ‘Pop Goes Delius’ and ‘Funking Up Wagner’. 

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