💩 Why is Cat smarter in AR? 🚽

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    In Series 8’s “Back in the Red Part 3” there’s a scene where the cast find themselves locked in the AR software, shortly after discovering that they are being externally manipulated by Rimmer. Cat surprises his crew mates by being able to discover the “secret” trap door, the first of which is a button labelled “E11T”, the clue being that 11 means XI in roman numerals. He later also discovers the “power sauce” ketchup, with Kryten suggesting that the fact Cat discovered these clues proves “without a shadow of a doubt that this is not reality”.

    But one thing I am struggling to understand is how being plugged into the AR software would make Cat smarter. His physical being is unchanged, and it is merely his surroundings that are being altered. If Cat somehow becomes smarter, why do the other members of the crew remain the same? Anybody know the answer?


    Bargain Bin Holly

    Its Series VIII



    the AR machine taps into the subconscious mind which as we all know holds information unknown to the conscious mind



    i think it’s more questionable how Lister and the others didn’t get such incredibly simple puzzles as E11T and Power Ketchup. they are really not that hard



    He’s been on the lookout for Power Sauce ever since Kryten said they need it to power the non-existent lasers in White Hole.



    I have ranted about this extensively in the past. The answer is that Back in the Red sets up a story that initially makes sense and then just goes completely random bonkers in Part 3, completely violating and contradicting the story they had established.

    The entire purpose of the AR simulation in Back in the Red is to ascertain the crew’s guilt by watching how they would behave in a hypothetical escape situation. Cat’s state of mind being somehow altered by the simulation instantly invalidates it for this purpose, because they are no longer watching what he would actually do.

    Their easy escape is reasoned away as being caused by the luck virus. This makes complete sense. But instead of conveniently finding a Blue Midget running with the keys in – or something to that effect – you have this utterly bizarre dance sequence that completely throws reality out the window. I put it to you, why the fuck is any of this cartoon nonsense even possible in a simulation whose expressed purpose is to mimic reality? And if Kochanski was suspicious about their escape being weirdly easy, why doesn’t she say anything about a clearly choreographed-yet-impromptu dance routine with shuttlecraft? Are Lister, Kryten and Kochanski just sitting their quietly in the Blue Midget while it dances?

    It’s almost as if the episode gets confused and decides the simulation is specifically operating on Cat’s sense of logic to trick him – only, that makes no sense either, because it doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with their trial, nor do any of these breaks from reality serve an expressed purpose that couldn’t be accomplished while remaining totally grounded.

    Cat being the one to figure out the puzzle used as evidence they are not in reality is a dumb joke that doesn’t seem remotely concerned with adhering to the logic of the story it’s a part of. It’s basically “Haha, Cat is smart so this CAN’T be real!” even though for that to happen the simulation would have to be actively altering his brain for absolutely no reason.

    The gist is that Back in the Red could’ve been a mediocre hour long episode without Part 3, instead of an unwatchably slow nonsensical mess. I have a fan edit that runs about 47 minutes, and honestly I kind of enjoy the episode in that form (and those of you familiar with me know that I find any Series VIII episode to be a tedious slog). But it’s very telling that Part 1 can be told in 15 minutes, and that you can ax basically all the Part 3 setpieces and not even notice anything is missing.

    Back in the Red feels like it starts out with Doug actually sort of interested in writing something resembling Red Dwarf, and then you get a hastily rushed Part 3 written and filmed long after the production went to hell and he’d stopped giving a shit.



    >then you get a hastily rushed Part 3 written and filmed long after the production went to hell and he’d stopped giving a shit.

    pretty sure the Blue Midget dance and Cat finding the “E11T” button etc. were written and filmed when it was still a 1-hour special.

    the stuff in Part 3 that was actually written and recorded for Part 3 was the bunk scene, Hollister’s recap, the posse convincing Rimmer in the lift and the subsequent Blue Midget scene where Holly reveals he was behind it all.



    There’s several scenes throughout the first two parts that were originally just one (far better written and performed) scene that were were split into multiple (over-extended and over-played) scenes.

    Rimmer’s famous salute was a rewrite of that scene. The original is so underplayed it legitimately feels like we buy what we’re seeing as pre-accident Rimmer. But this Rimmer being pre-accident Rimmer is a conceit that Series VIII almost immediately gave up on.

    I am profoundly confused by the Blue Midget dance’s existence. Everything about it feels like a really transparent bit of padding, especially with how nonsensical it is from a plot perspective, but I know for a fact it was extensively planned and couldn’t have possibly been cobbled together at the last minute.


    Pete Part Three

    Doug was aghast when he discovered that people on the internet thought the Blue Midget dance was padding.

    Sorry, Doug.



    as written in the VIII scriptbook’s introductions-

    “Finally, finally, finally the sequence is complete. The show is broadcast. Someone tells me people on the Red Dwarf newsgroup hate it. Literally thousands and thousands of hours of work and they hate it. One member of the newsgroup says we just did the dance to pad out the show. Pad out the show? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!”



    I like Cat’s observation “nothing makes any sense no matter where we are.” But like “I’ve buggered this up a bit, haven’t I,” a funny punchline doesn’t redeem the whole excruciating set-up.



    When Doug talks about the Blue Midget dance sequence he makes it sound like its just there because it looks cool.

    And thats probably the amount of depth worth looking into when it comes to that sequence.

    It is an impressive sequence for a tv show admittedly back in 1999… i dunno whether that made it worth putting in though.



    As for why the Cat is smarter in AR… well because its funny.

    He cats the “dumb one” so when he comes across as the smart one its funny.


    Plastic Percy

    I always took it as the logic is so childishly basic, that it would only make sense to a complete idiot.



    The more important question is, why would an AR simulation have such convoluted puzzles for exits?

    Why is it only in Blue Midget?

    Why is the power source in the screensaver?

    Why is the screensaver made of clay?

    And finally, what would have dance scene with Starbug have looked like?!



    Why is the screensaver made of clay?

    I wondered at the time if it could be a really specific and weirdly obscure reference to the BBC Pingu: A Barrel of Fun CD-ROM my brother had (“yeah right, your brother”) which had claymation Arctic-themed screensavers with igloos etc. Maybe still a Pingu reference generally.

    Why is the screensaver made of clay?

    Oh, why? Fuck knows.



    As for why the Cat is smarter in AR… well because its funny.

    Citation needed.

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