real world cultural references in the series

Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum real world cultural references in the series

Viewing 89 posts - 1 through 89 (of 89 total)

Jump to bottom

  • Author
    Posts
  • #257477

    By Jove its holmes

    There’s a reference to the Cold War (still not quite over when this was made) in “Backwards”.

    Lister initially thinks the backwards world is Bulgaria and seems to think it’s still part of the Eastern Bloc as when the are trying to ride the bicycle, he says:

    “You probably have to be a government official to get one that goes forwards!”

    #257478

    Ben Saunders

    I never clocked that as some sort of Bulgaria-specific joke, lol. So thanks for pointing that out.

    There’s obvious stuff like James Last, Carmen Miranda, Rupert Murdoch, FIFA, the BBC in the 1970s, etc etc, but that’s a lot more obscure. There’s also stuff like Lister’s many digs at Scotland’s obesity problem that awkwardly implies that the 23rd century still has the same class/health divide/stereotypes as the modern UK, and Lister knowing what specific UK football teams were like in the 1970s-1990s, which if you think about it for any length of time is just bizarre, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking for here.

    #257479

    Veni

    It’s not awkwardly done you’re just offended.

    My particular favorite is the reference to the Cincinnati Bengals in Justice when Cat says Lister should paint his space mumps their colors.

    #257481

    Ben Saunders

    Cat has to have heard Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear at some point
    Rimmer somehow knows who the Osmond family are?

    #257482

    Ben Saunders

    The Eurovision Song Contest is still going in the 23rd Century (or Holly watched all of television as well, after reading every book)

    #257483

    Veni

    In Krysis, when Rimmer says, “What do you suggest? A lunar road trip herding vacuum cleaners?” He’s referencing the plot of City Slickers.

    When Kryten says “Quayle” among the genius inventors who created Legion, he’s referring to the first George Bush’s vice president, Dan Quayle, who had a reputation for being stupid, hence why the audience laughs at his mention.

    #257484

    Veni

    In Lemons, “Club 18-30: the holy version” is jokingly said when they mention Jesus’s “missing years” between his childhood and by the time he was 30. Club 18-30, as the name suggests, was a British holiday company specializing in organizing holiday vacations for people in that age group.

    #257485

    Veni

    Rimmer attributing Glenn Miller being returned by aliens in D.N.A. is a reference to his plane disappearing over the English Channel in 1944. In the same episode, Lister’s recalling of the Polymorph attack is referencing Die Hard 2.

    Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, is mentioned in Justice and Officer Rimmer.

    In Meltdown, during the rollcall of his waxdroid battalion, Rimmer references An Officer and a Gentleman and Full Metal Jacket when talking to the troops. Rimmer calling Elvis, “Sergeant Presley”, is a reference to his actual rank by the time of his discharge from the U.S. Army. The evil waxdroids not mentioned include a member of the Ku Klux Klan and what is presumably a member of the Hell’s Angels.

    #257486

    clem

    MAKE MY DAY on the simulant’s gun in Justice is a Dirty Harry reference.

    Kryten is named after The Admirable Crichton.

    #257487

    quinn_drummer

    When Rimmer says urine should only be green if you’re Mr Spock, he is referencing the episode of Star Trek where Spock’s kidneys rupture and he starts pissing green Vulcan blood.

    #257488

    Dave

    Christ, are we going to try and do all of them?

    (I’m sure someone once compiled a list of these years back, anyway, didn’t they? I remember it being linked from here at some point.)

    #257489

    clem
    #257490

    Dave

    That’s the one.

    #257499

    Plastic Percy

    Kochanski is mentioned as growing up in Gorbals, an area of Glasgow, and its suggested to be a posh or affluent area. I guess the joke is that at the time of filming, the area had a reputation going back years for being rife with crime and street gangs. Obviously, by the 21st/22nd/23rd century, it’s undergone significant gentrification.

    #257501

    Ben Saunders

    The idea of anyone from Glasgow being that posh is itself funny

    #257502

    Veni

    He’s gone into self-loathing, we’ve come full circle.

    #257503

    Nick R

    In addition to the link clem posted, there’s also Ridley’s Letterboxd list of all the films referenced in Red Dwarf:

    https://letterboxd.com/ridley/list/the-red-dwarf-filmography/detail/

    #257504

    Veni

    It’s just an excerise to pass the time, not a collective documentation.

    Besides I’m pretty sure OP intended for references to geopolitical scenarios and such, not to pop culture like we ran away with.

    #257522

    Flap Jack

    In The End, Rimmer says “Death? It’s like being on holiday with a group of Germans.”

    This is a reference to the real life countries, East Germany and West Germany.

    #257525

    quinn_drummer

    In Backwards, it is the year 1993. This is a reference to the fact that time in our universe is actually running backwards and 1993 was in our past

    #257527

    Taiwan Tony

    Has anyone compiled a list of lists that list the modern references in Red Dwarf…?
    And this is where it starts to get a little bit confusing.

    #257529

    By Jove its holmes

    Even TV Tropes Dot Org decides to take a time out to mention how RD I to III have a lot of 1980s references despite the setting. GNP weren’t thinking too far ahead, were they? (see what I did there?)

    #257530

    Veni

    The 1980s references in series I to III aren’t very distracting, though, and what they do reference is usually pretty well-known and significant to modern pop culture outside the odd reference to whatever Dustin Hoffman movie was playing at the time.

    #257531

    Ben Saunders

    The Last Day is actually a scathing critique of Thatcherism…………….

    #257532

    Ben Saunders

    You can go to uni at 60. You can still feel like you’re fresh out of drama school at 36. It’s not worth anything to know how old Simm was when he took up the roll, because he feels like a nich more mature, experienced actor. Matt Smith was 16 when he was cast as the Doctor but he never feels as studenty as the new Master. Those initial pictures did really worry people, though. And the actors in Samsara just feel inexperienced, even if they are 40 and have 200 credits to their names each. That’s what the word “feel” means

    #257533

    Ben Saunders

    Wrong thread!!!!! I don’t know how I managed this. Apologies. I just look like a raving lunatic now

    #257534

    (deleted)

    Nice to get a glimpse onto the factory floor to see the Ben-being-a-dick-to-me production line in all its joyless glory though.

    Bonus points for sarcastically referencing an unbumped post of mine in another thread from about six months ago. Not that you’re obsessed or anything.

    #257535

    Ben Saunders

    Alright mate

    #257536

    Offline

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    #257537

    clem

    The Ishtar joke is an interesting one. The film only came out a couple of years before Timeslides was first aired, so I suppose at the time it might have been slightly jarring, like if there was an equivalent line about Cats in the special. It’s still a famously much-derided film though, so I’ve never thought of that line as having aged badly either, and I suppose you could argue part of the joke is that even so far in the future it’s a bit of a byword for box-office flops. The line isn’t in Remastered.

    #257540

    bloodteller

    > Bonus points for sarcastically referencing an unbumped post of mine in another thread from about six months ago. Not that you’re obsessed or anything.

    to be fair though Darrell, Series 3 supposedly being scathing political commentary is one of the maddest Red Dwarf theories that’s ever been posted on G&T

    #257542

    (deleted)

    Why is that mad? Particularly as we are currently in a world where a good 50% or more of popular drama is explicitly alluding to Brexit and/or Trump – this is surely not a wild concept to backdate 30 years. Dozens of big shows were modelled as attacks on the government of the time, some more subtly than others. Then again, if Timeslides was any more on the nose about Thatcher she’d be in the bastard thing.

    Only Fools and Horses covered all these *exact* same themes in the same year, btw. And that show wasn’t written by the former showrunners of the UK’s most popular political satire show and produced by the man who had been behind 90% of all the left-wing political TV comedy made throughout the entire decade.

    #257543

    bloodteller

    >Then again, if Timeslides was any more on the nose about Thatcher she’d be in the bastard thing.

    i fail to see how it’s on the nose about anything, it’s an episode about a bunch of people time travelling by jumping into photographs and one of them using it to change history. i don’t know politics *that* well, but i’m pretty sure margaret thatcher wasn’t well known for hurling herself at polaroids. also considering you’re the only person who i’ve ever heard mention this supposedly obvious political commentary, it seems incredibly far-fetched to be honest. surely somebody else would have noticed this connection in the 30 years the episode has been out?

    #257544

    (deleted)

    Summarised, it’s a satire of free market economics/free enterprise and yuppy culture. Bodyswap is more or less about the same thing – the politics and psychology of yuppy greed. Both episodes have tangible influence from the film ‘Wall Street’ (released in the UK in 1988).

    The Last Day is sharply resonant of issues that came into sharp focus at the end of the 80s/start of the 90s after the retirement/pensions equation was altered in a fundamental way by utilitarian Thatcher economics. These ideas were newsworthy when The Last Day was written and made, and despite all the robot jokes and the prominent Terminator parody elements in the Hudzen 10 character, the episode is essentially a satirical, post-Thatcher take on Logan’s Run above all else. The original themes of the episode are a bit muddled these days when planned obsolescence of technology is not only a real-life thing but a major moral and ecological issue of our time, but the effect as intended is about hyper-capitalism versus the elderly – another Thatcher story.

    Saying it can’t be so because Margaret Thatcher didn’t travel through magic polaroids is like saying Close Encounters isn’t about Watergate because Richard Nixon never boarded a flying saucer. Sci-fi has *always* articulated political discussion in a lateral way. I’m not trying to be pretentious or put forward an outrageous theory here, this is in the text and the context.

    Pretty much the entire original premise of Red Dwarf is a state-of-the-nation address about the class system and working culture in 1980s Britain, and Rob and Doug solidified the political elements around the time of III – see also the relentless allusions and imagery in the first two novels about the heroin problem in working class Britain (just as urgent and newsworthy as Third World famine and the AIDS crisis were in the late 80s before it became normalised out of antipathy).

    There is a definite gear change from IV onwards towards less heavy going subject matter, and a bigger focus on pop-psych and film parody (Polymorph becomes the template for IV-VI really), but I’m honestly not talking bollocks about how much politics and topicality was in the original incarnation of the show.

    #257545

    Veni

    People could make fun of you for that, but I admire the creativity involved in this theory.

    #257546

    (deleted)

    I mean certainly you’d have to be insulting and ignorant to a fault to think that Grant Naylor’s writing process consisted entirely of two chuckling savants who existed somehow in a political and socio-economic bubble pulling wacky space shit out of their heads at random like a Mancunian Beavis & Butthead or a pair of PG Tips chimps flailing at an Amstrad.

    It’s neither my fault nor my problem that someone might be less interested in the social and cultural history of the 1980s than I might be, and there’s no point anybody flapping at me because they can’t be arsed reading about it.

    #257547

    (deleted)

    Tell you what though, I think I’ll follow John out the door. Bye.

    #257548

    Veni

    That’s a shame, sorry to see you go

    #257549

    bloodteller

    the back door, presumably

    #257550

    Veni

    Let’s not kick him while he’s down

    #257551

    Pete Part Three

    Fucksake, guys.

    #257552

    Dave

    Well this is all deeply regrettable.

    #257553

    Taiwan Tony

    Sensitive soul, isn’t he.
    I shall miss him. Again.
    It makes sense though. Once Rob and Doug had rinsed the original conceit of 2 people and a cat being stuck together in space of all its ideas, they’re going to look for inspiration from the wider world.
    I wouldn’t use the same hyperbolic language, mind. I’d perhaps have used a ‘broad’ or ‘light satire.’ Stuff like that. I mean, if you believe all the shit you read in cahiers du cinema, it’s possible Rob and Doug and Peter didn’t know what they were doing…. Or that they knew exactly.
    *Submits*
    (In all senses.)

    #257554

    Ridley

    Post #257503 had its moments, I thought.

    #257555

    Veni

    Update the list you lazy cunt

    #257556

    Ben Saunders

    Obviously anything made in the 80s is slightly about the 80s, on account of being made in the 80s and being influenced by the writers living in the 80s. There’s a good documentary on the DVD of I think Frontier In Space, which talks about how the future presented by Pertwee’s era of Who is a very 70s future, that can tell us a lot about the mindstate of the writers and designers at the time, and presents a future based very much on the worries/hopes/trends of the people at the time. But to stretch that out to Timeslides being a critique of Thatcher is just a little far to me. Me referencing that was just supposed to be a little comical reference to an earlier discussion, I found it quite funny, but I guess he took it as an attack.

    #257557

    By Jove its holmes

    It’s TVTropes Dot Org who said that the preponderance of Eighties references in Series One to Three look out of place in the futuristic setting now that we are two decades into the 21st Century.

    #257599

    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    Fuck’s sake, I have one day off and this happens. Well done, dickheads.

    #257600

    Offline

    I blame a lack of traditional family structures, drugs and ‘yoof’ culture, according to this Young Conservative pamphlet from 1985.

    #257645

    tombow

    I always thought Kryten was named after Michael Crichton who of course at the time was famous for books about robots. The multiple references to dinosaurs in the later series reflect MC becoming more famous for dinosaur books.

    As for the political stuff..I mean obviously series 1-3 have a lot about society in them (heck right down to the class/north-south divide in Lister and Rimmer).. I’m not sure if timeslides is a critique of Thatcher or just a product of the era. I mean, I’m not sure if thicky, rimmer and lister were portrayed as being bad for wanting to get rich with the sheet, just lucky.

    #257653

    quinn_drummer

    It had never occurred to me Kryten would be a reference to Michael Crichton … very well could be though.

    #257665

    si

    I believe Kryten’s named after the titular butler in The Admirable Chrichton.

    #257666

    Dave

    If only one of the characters had pointed out that specific reference at some point.

    #257669

    Pete Part Three

    That’s just a strange coincidence, along with the plot of the play being reflected in the episode.

    #257671

    si

    Just a bit, eh?

    #257677

    Ben Saunders

    “The multiple references to dinosaurs in the later series reflect MC becoming more famous for dinosaur books.”
    Can you explain this, lol?

    #257680

    tombow

    sorry just my attempt at silly humor. I don’t actually know if Michael Crichton was an influence on Kryten’s name, I just imagined it could have been as a kid. Then of course MC got bigger with the Jurassic Park books and Dwarf coincidentally did it’s own JP with Pete…

    #257684

    quinn_drummer

    Of course all of the multiple surgeries Kryten has performed over the course of the series is a reference to Michael Crichton being a doctor, and creator of ER.

    #257685

    tombow

    the despair squids are similar to the story of Sphere and of course the Chimp in Entangled is clever like the one in Congo. The Dwarfers have gone back to Medieval times like the characters in Timeslides and…oh crap Waxworld probably is a reference to Westworld. Maybe there’s something in this after all.

    #257686

    Pete Part Three

    Next you’ll be telling us that Back to Earth is based on BladeRunner..

    #257688

    Dave

    Polymorph was of course heavily influenced by regular-Morph on Take Hart.

    #257689

    Ben Saunders

    Ah, lol, I thought that was a genuine theory you had, and was really interested in what the other examples of Dwarf referencing dinosaurs more and more were, lmao.

    #257691

    Veni

    Think you should be weary of discussing other people’s theories for the time being.

    #257692

    Pete Part Three

    Think we should all just be wary of not being dicks.

    #257693

    Veni

    I’m being realistic here.

    #257700

    Ben Saunders

    I’m not a miracle worker.

    #257709

    Spare Hand One

    When Richard Herring revisited Red Dwarf last year or so (he wrote about it in Warming Up and mentioned it a few times on RHLTP), he seemed to like it on balance but seemed to think it was a missed opportunity along the lines of Goodnight Sweetheart.

    One of the the things he said he didn’t like about RD were the ‘dated’ real-world references to things like Toffee Crisp. I like Herring a lot but when he said that, I just thought, “you’re so wrong.” I love all that stuff and always did. It’s very funny to think of say, Teasy-Weasy, culturally surviving into the future.

    And it’s interesting too. As a kid, I didn’t get all the references and would marvel at the complexity of the grown-ups’ shared history! Today, I look back and laugh at Rob and Doug’s parochial and low-brow (just perfect for Lister, Rimmer and Holly) choice of references.

    #257710

    quinn_drummer

    the ‘dated’ real-world references to things like Toffee Crisp

    Toffee Crisp is still very much a thing though aren’t they. Not to mention, Lister orders a crispy bar once and the machine chucks out a Toffee Crisp. The fact its a Toffee Crisp is incidental and isn’t the joke. Its in the same vain as the blueberry muffin being from Tesco. Just a cheap, shop bought prop.

    That’s just a poor example.

    Modern cultural references sort of can’t be helped when it comes to past/future set sitcom. Why waste perfectly good jokes just because the show is set in another time? Using modern references saves you the effort of having to set up and explain the joke as the audience immediately understands it. Sometimes it can get a little over the top, especially if the show ends up relying on them, but for the most part they’re fine and just pass you by when they’re mixed into whatever else is happening in the scene.

    Presumably he also has an issue with Blackadder’s contemporary references too? Or Plebs, which isn’t heavy on the direct referencing, but is basically the modern day written into ancient Rome.

    #257711

    tombow

    Yeah, the thing I like about pretty much all sci fi is that it’s a product of it’s time, whether it’s Dwarf, Metropolis, Star wars, etc, they’re about then more than the future really

    #257712

    Dave

    Also, a Toffee Crisp is somehow inherently funnier than just a generic prop (like some of the other Red Dwarf-branded food they use in the show).

    I think Jerry Seinfeld made this point before about references to stuff like cereals and sweets in his show, that using real brands that the audience will recognise is always funnier than coming up with a generic substitute, even when the brand itself isn’t really the point of the joke.

    #257714

    Spare Hand One

    Toffee Crisp is still very much a thing though aren’t they. Not to mention, Lister orders a crispy bar once and the machine chucks out a Toffee Crisp. The fact its a Toffee Crisp is incidental and isn’t the joke. Its in the same vain as the blueberry muffin being from Tesco. Just a cheap, shop bought prop.

    That’s just a poor example

    To be fair to Herring, that might have been *my* poor example. I may not have remembered his examples correctly. I think Bernie Inn might have been in there.

    I agree with Dave though, that the specificity of Toffee Crisp is funnier than a generic brand krispie bar. It’s just more interesting and it comes with its own highly-welcome semiotic freighting.

    My point really is that all those specific things (whether they seem old-fashioned *now* or are likely to look old-fashioned in the 23rd century, are) are GREAT, that they serve the screen, serve the joke, serve as their own little bonus joke, and anchor the script fragment into a meaningful, characterful world.

    Anyway, back to my poo.

    #257716

    clem

    “First rule of comedy – be specific. You never say biscuit, you say Garibaldi.”

    #257718

    bloodteller

    >I think Jerry Seinfeld made this point before about references to stuff like cereals and sweets in his show, that using real brands that the audience will recognise is always funnier than coming up with a generic substitute, even when the brand itself isn’t really the point of the joke.

    that’s definitely true, the episodes of Seinfeld with stuff like Junior Mints or Jujyfruits wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if it was generic made-up stuff. “it’s a little mint…it’s a Minty Miniature!” doesn’t quite land as well. it’s similar to how someone on here (i think it may have been Pete Part 3) pointed out before that the Wilma Flinstone scene in Backwards isn’t nearly as funny if you replace it with made-up characters. “Wanda Flagstone” just isn’t as funny for some reason

    #257719

    Ben Saunders

    >the ‘dated’ real-world references to things like Toffee Crisp
    WHAT?! Hahahahaha. You can go to any newsagents and buy a toffee crisp right now.

    #257724

    Taiwan Tony

    RHLTP!

    That’s Herring all over. Quick to criticise comedy as he thinks he knows it all. Then you watch or listen to any of the stuff he’s written, (That Was Then…; Relativity; his hours of stand up) and you realise he’s very much
    just a keen amateur.

    #257725

    Taiwan Tony

    >WHAT?! Hahahahaha. You can go to any newsagents and buy a toffee crisp right now.

    Nah, they’re closed.

    #257736

    Spare Hand One

    WHAT?! Hahahahaha. You can go to any newsagents and buy a toffee crisp right now.

    You were a bit too quick to leap in there. If you’d read a very few extra words, you’d have seen that this had already been addressed. And it doesn’t really matter if a thing is still available, does it? There are several ways a reference might be described as dated.

    In any event, I was speaking in favour of the lovely Toffee Crisp reference in our shared Favourite Thing, Red Dwarf. No need to kick my balls in.

    #257737

    Spare Hand One

    RHLSTP!

    That’s Herring all over. Quick to criticise comedy as he thinks he knows it all. Then you watch or listen to any of the stuff he’s written, (That Was Then…; Relativity; his hours of stand up) and you realise he’s very much
    just a keen amateur.

    RHLSTP!

    Sigh. I’m afraid you might be right. I’ve been a fan of Herring’s for a very long time but this is a true burn. Still love him though.

    #257738

    Ben Saunders

    I was making fun of Richard for saying that, not you, some I thought you were quoting him, but yes I didn’t read the following posts before responding to that one. I just found something incredibly funny in the ideas that Richard Herring would announce to this entire audience that he thinks Toffee Crisps are “dated”. Like he’s such a successful comedian he’s completely out of touch with the common man and would probably call cheese and onion McCoy’s dated just because he hasn’t had any in twenty years, only truffles and caviar.

    #257739

    Pete Part Three

    Don’t recall Richard Herring having a problem with Toffee Crisps in Red Dwarf. Shake ‘n’ Vac, definitely.

    And that, while still available, was very much in vogue when it featured in 1988 due to the fairly ubiquitous commercial/jingle…so is a product that still *seems* very “eighties”.

    #257740

    Ben Saunders

    Toffee crisps were all the rage when I was in primary school in the 2000s, specifically putting them in the microwave for about five seconds so they’d go all melty. I never actually did that, but the tales of those who had were semi-legendary. It was like they were imparting some ancient delicious secret upon those who would listen.

    #257742

    Hamish

    All I can say is that here in Canada we have Coffee Crisps and you lot are missing out.

    #257744

    Veni

    here in Canada

    Can we get the foreigner out of here, please.

    #257745

    Paul Muller

    I’m afraid Hamish and I have assumed control of G&T. This is a Canadian website now.

    #257746

    bloodteller

    is it true nobody drives a car in Canada

    #257747

    Ben Saunders

    They all drive Priuses and sniff their own farts, do keep up

    #257748

    Paul Muller

    It’s a small country, most people just walk.

    #257750

    quinn_drummer

    For those people that do drive cars, they have to have their pedals converted to accommodate their ice skates, and that’s quite costly.

    #257754

    By Jove its holmes

    Christine McGlade was the only Canadian in the 1980s worth a darn.

Jump to top / Jump to 'Recent Replies'

Viewing 89 posts - 1 through 89 (of 89 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Comments are closed.