Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Is Backwards considered a funny episode?

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    I was just thinking, I used to watch series III on video a lot as a kid, but I never watched Backwards since my first viewing. The first time I saw it I just thought it was boring and once you got over the surprise of seeing funny events go backwards, nothing much really happened in it. And I still haven’t seen it since. Did I mis judge it?


    Re watching it now and I’d forgotten about Kryten’s Starbug driving test – I admit this part is classic Dwarf


    Backwards has its flaws-the backwards Earth doesn’t really make any sense at all, and the thing of Starbug having a cloaking device that is never mentioned again is a bit strange. Also, despite Lister basically getting back to Earth in the episode, he has absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever other than the single line of “I’m home…” which is just weird. Obviously he wouldn’t want to stay, but that it’s not even discussed that they’re back on Earth always stuck out to me

    But it is quite funny, I think. The Wilma Flinstone conversation is great (although arguably the Hammy Hamster debate in Camille is funnier) and Kryten’s driving test is funny too. Plus “Santa Claus- what a bastard!” always makes me smile


    The opening scene with Lister and Cat is brilliant and a classic. It could slip anywhere into the series but it’s a great way to open a new series with a completely new tone but just throwing in this joke that highlights the mundanity of living alone in deep space and shows that Lister and Cat have come together closer and are friends, as opposed to Cat just dropping in and out of the the others lives.

    The driving test is an awesome little bit of character comedy, that makes some lovely little jokes about something most people can relate too. It’s also a good way of re-introducing Kryten and showing the dynamic between him and Rimmer.

    Kryten’s idea of being inconspicuous is to wear a Spitting Image Ronald Reagan mask

    The backwards stuff is a bit of a gimmick, but they do get some good comedy out of it. Mostly from Lister and Cat. Riding the tandem bike backwards, Lister thinking he is really smart figuring out their in Bulgaria etc

    The dressing room scene discussing the benefits of living on a backwards world, Hitler being a good person, Santa Claus being a bastard. In fact a lot of the stuff Lister argues with and his disbelief that Rimmer and Kryten want to stay is pretty great.

    (it also gives us Arthur Smith’ forwards speech “you are stupid square headed bald git aren’t you” – which whilst not in the episode is probably my favourite part of either of the Smeg Ups and Smeg Outs tapes)

    The brawl is simple but amusing

    Cat having a shit – backwards.

    Also, the implication that Lister would have tipped the cabbie 50p, and Lister then complaining that the cabbie is a tight git gets a chuckle.

    It’s a very different episode of any Red Dwarf to that point, and really unconventional. On the face of it yeah it’s a an episode built around one big gimmick but there are plenty of laughs to be had that aren’t just “people doing things backwards”


    I’ve just rewatched it, and eh, besides the classic driving test and Flintstones conversation, the stuff set on Backward earth just isn’t for me.


    There are lots of great jokes, and it’s all done brilliantly (despite not making any sense, obviously), but it’s not one of my favourite episodes. In terms of overall humour, I’d probably rate it as the weakest in the first five series.


    It’s one of the more “zany” episodes of III that I don’t ever really feel like rewatching. This seems to apply to the odd-numbered episodes from that year, though I think the openings of Polymorph and Timeslides (“it’s clean” and Junior Angler) are funnier than Wilma/driving test. Plus those other two are more character-based, which Backwards isn’t at all. Marooned, Bodyswap and The Last Day are even more character-based, so I feel more drawn to those.


    I think Backwards is really funny and imaginative, but I think it’s one of those episodes where a lot of the fun of the jokes comes from the surprise and unexpected elements, so it doesn’t age as well as some other episodes.

    Also, I think over-analysis of the backwards logic has overshadowed the brilliance of the premise, especially in recent years. Watching it with fresh eyes I think the backwards ideas work really well and lead to lots of laughs, even if the overall backwards logic doesn’t really work.


    Plus, it’s the episode that gave the world the Red Dwarf Shuffle, so deserves full credit for that.


    Backwards is up there with Emohawk, Camille and Meltdown as one of the slightly iffy ones in I-VI, imo. Not that it’s a bad episode, it’s just a little…off compared to the others.

    The original draft of Backwards maybe would have been somewhat better-all four of them going to htraE together, and Lister being the one who wants to stay etc. Although that draft did end with Lister launching Rimmer into space for pissing him off, which is a bit out-of-character.


    > Kryten’s idea of being inconspicuous is to wear a Spitting Image Ronald Reagan mask

    Just going to ask, how many people were like me as a kid and thought it was Dracula?

    Pete Part Three

    Backwards is pretty much a one-joke episode. It’s a good enough joke to sustain 25 minutes, but not for much more than that. It works very well on an initial watch. I don’t think it’s particularly amusing in retrospect, but I’ll always associate it with the surprise at seeing how different the show suddenly was. I can recall watching a handful of episodes for the first time; but that one sticks specifically in my head.

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