Red Dwarf Reviews, Series III, Episode 6: "The Last Day".

Airdate: 19 December, 1989

Some say that he’s gone insane looking for his predecessor, and that he has no desire to watch Top Gear. All we know is, HE’S CALLED HUDZEN 10!

Synopsis (Spoilers): Lister receives a post pod from Kryten’s manufacturers, informing him that Kryten’s built in expiry date is almost here and that Kryten will undergo shutdown within 24 hours. Lister is stunned, but Kryten takes the news well. Kryten declares that, because he has lived a life free of vices and lived in servitude, he is going up to Silicon Heaven. Lister not only does not believe in a Silicon Heaven (although Rimmer tells him to respect Kryten’s beliefs), but Lister is angry over the fact that Kryten is being turned off just to sell more models. Lister decides to throw Kryten a party that he will never forget, and the gang share very weird secrets.

The next morning, Kryten comes to, and realizes that he can not turn himself off. However, he also learns that the new model, Hudzen 10, is on his way, and that if Kryten does not activate his own turn-off disc, Hudzen must terminate Kryten. The Boys from the Dwarf decide to gang up against Hudzen, who has gone crazy looking for Kryten. Kryten manages to defeat Hudzen using a lie involving Silicon Heaven.

Review: This episode is actually my third favorite from the third series (beaten out by the hysterical “Polymorph” and the tear jerking “Marooned”). This is a TV episode that manages to combine social commentary alongside wonderful humor. (I’ll get to another TV episode that does NOT do social commentary well later). Silicon Heaven and it’s criticism by Lister could be considered a bit of jab at the religious, but through it all, Kryten retains his faith in Silicon Heaven. Indeed, the message comes off as “believe whatever you want, as long as it does not result in your death”, or “you don’t have to be a fundamentalist to have faith, and cutting loose is not a bad thing”. Keep in mind, Red Dwarf criticizes the entirety of humanity, and it criticizes the behaviors of all sorts of humans, so being somewhat offended once is ordinary for the viewer.

This episode also excels in Character Development. We learn that Lister never knew his mother, and that he was orphaned. We learn that Rimmer’s mother, described a mere three episodes prior as “very prim, very proper, almost austere”, actually had affairs. This episode also shows an integral part of Kryten’s persona, and why he is the only character to (barring his series II debut) not want to anger Rimmer. (Although, this does lead to my one complaint about the episode: if Kryten rebelled against Rimmer in “Kryten”, isn’t he already damned by his standards for rebellion against humans?”)

And the episode is just hysterical. Rimmer revealing his first kiss? Hysterical. Hell, the entire party is brilliant. Oh, and Rimmer’s view on Kryten’s 24 hour notice? “That’s more than most of us get. All most of us get is ‘Mind that bus.’ ‘What Bus?’ Splat.”

Overall, a wonderful note to end the game-changing series III on.

Favorite Scene: The party. Every part of it is hysterical.

Score: 9

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Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 5: "Timeslides"

Airdate: 12 December 1989

Synopsis: Kryten discovers that the development fluid on Red Dwarf can bring pictures to life, and can cause the crew to walk in the images. After changing the events of an attempted assassination of Hitler, Lister realizes that they have a time machine, and decides to change events to prevent himself from going on Red Dwarf. Using the Tension Sheet invented by Rimmer’s old classmate (Fred “Thicky” Holden), Lister goes back to an old concert that occurred when he was in a band, Smeg and the Heads. Lister manages to change events to convince young Lister to invent the Tension Sheet.

However, due to Lister not entering Red Dwarf, the Cat was not brought aboard, and Kryten was never rescued. Therefore, Rimmer is all alone with Holly. Holly finds a TV special on Lister’s new life as an uber-rich rockstar and inventor. (To clarify, he moved his HOUSE to get away from the neighbors, brought Buckingham Palace and had it ground down to line his drive, and brought three million copies of his song to send it to number 1.) Rimmer wants none of it, because, well, he’s a smeghead. Rimmer tries to bring Lister back, but fails to do so. Therefore, he goes back to try and get his younger self to invent the tension sheet while in boarding school. Not spoiling what happens here, but you can all take a lucky guess.

Review: I have to say, this is the weakest episode of the entire season. Still a good episode, but some things just don’t line up. How come in one scene, Rimmer can’t move outside the confines of the photograph, yet in another scene, Rimmer suddenly pops up outside of the photographic barriers (although another photograph may have been used off screen). Also, how does Rimmer still remain a hologram when Lister doesn’t join Red Dwarf? Remember, Rimmer was brought back specifically to keep Lister company.

However, ignore those complaints (easy: rule of funny), and you have a fun episode. The scene with “Sham Glam” Lister is hysterical. The episode contains many funny scenes (such as Lister going back in time to Hitler’s assassination attempt). This episode also reveals that Lister can and IS sick of being trapped on a spaceship three million years in the future, which is some good character development. Plus, Rimmer’s jerkass behavior in this episode is hilariously cruel.

Favorite Scene: A few. I actually can’t choose, so I’ll list them.

  • First off, Rimmer learns about the circumstances of Listers Tension-Sheet Timeline death. He died aged 98 in a plane crash. Why a plane crash? He was making love to his 14th wife and lost control of the plane. Rimmer asks for photos of Lister’s new timeline. Thinking that Rimmer is talking about the plane crash, Holly gives a “What the Smeg” look.
  • Second off, Lister’s song. Simply put, “Om”. It’s quite creative, actually. The fact that, in an alternate timeline, Lister made it so “Om” went to the top of the charts is also hilarious.
  • Last, but not least, Rimmer explains why he is going to rescue Lister from wealth and fame. “It’s my duty. My duty as a complete and utter bastard!”

Not-So-Fun Fact: Graham Chapman, from Monty Python, was originally selected to play the TV host Blaize from the scene featuring the Lifestyles of the Disgustingly Rich and Famous. However, he died before filming began. (To add more irony, he died on the 20th anniversary of Python). Ruby Wax, a comedienne and the wife of Red Dwarf director Ed Bye, played Blaize instead.

Score: 7.5

Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 4: "Bodyswap"

Airdate: 5 December 1989

Lister’s uniform on Chris Barrie’s body. The fans went crazy.

Synopsis: A series of events involving a rogue skutter and Lister’s desire for food leads to Lister accidentally triggering self-destruct via a vending machine. Only a senior officer can deactivate the self-destruct, and all of them are dead (Holly failed to update her database). Kryten recommends a mind-swap with a senior officer, so that the computer can recognize his/her voice. Ultimately, the self-destruct turns out to be a ruse, but it gives Rimmer an idea. Under the pretense of getting Lister back in shape, the two propose (and undergo) a bodyswap. However, Rimmer abuses Lister’s body by drinking, eating, and smoking beyond belief. The end result is that Lister puts on quite a bit of weight. Lister quickly gets fed up with it and forces Rimmer (who trashed Lister’s body even further) to change back.

However, Rimmer, already in heaven with the food that has been eaten, is not willing to give up so easily. In the middle of the night, Rimmer steals Lister’s body and takes off on Starbug, with a ton of junk food in tow, “promising” to be back in a month… maybe six weeks. Rimmer also declares that if Lister gains ground, Rimmer will commit “suicide”. The chase ends when Lister and Co. back off in a desolate planet, distracting Rimmer (via his gloating) and causing him to crash. Rimmer and Lister switch back again, with Lister banged up and forced on a diet. Rimmer then kidnaps the Cat’s body to try and get THAT body in shape (read, binge out).

Review: In my last post, “Top 5 Lowest Arnold Rimmer Moments”, hijacking Lister’s body ranked in at #2 (only getting beaten out by Rimmer’s final interaction with his brother in “Trojan”). It deserves it. In fact, after closer analysis, I could make a good argument that this should have been the #1 moment of jerkassery. Rimmer at least was bullied by his brothers, which could explain why he was a jerkass to Howard at the end of “Trojan”, although it FAR from mitigates his jerkassery in that episode. Here, Rimmer acts like a slimeball to Lister, who has been relatively civil to Rimmer for the past two series. One could argue that is was revenge for Lister destroying Rimmer’s chest and indirectly burning his wooden soldiers in “Marooned”, but Lister felt bad for those events happening. Rimmer feels no remorse for a single action in this episode. At all.

On one hand, you feel for Rimmer. The poor smeghead has not eaten nor touched in years, so you expect him to go on a binge once he gets a body. However, once Rimmer steals Lister’s body and puts the gun to Lister’s head, all sympathy for him goes out the window. In fact, in that moment, Rimmer manages to switch firmly from Anti-Hero to villain. He actually manages to rival Bender from Futurama in terms of selfish insanity.

Hell, when the Cat (read, the character that DEFINES vanity) considers this deranged, you know your character is damn near low. Speaking of The Cat, his character (starting with “Backwards”, but I forgot to mention that there) starts to develop somewhat, with him gaining a friendship with Lister, and being a damn good Starbug pilot.

Rimmer also receives no repercussions for being a slime ball. Instead, Lister is put on a minuscule diet, and is forced to deal with his injuries.

Otherwise, this seems like an open-and-shut review. The episode is, for the most part, quite funny, and overall, pretty enjoyable. It’s not the best of the season. One could argue why a mind swap could give people different voices, but I argue that it is not important, and it is still fun to see Chris Barrie and Craig Charles doing actions that normally the other would do.

Oh, and fun maths fact. Rimmer apparently made Lister gain “two stone” in about a week. For those that have no knowledge of British weight slang, that is about 28 pounds, or 12.7 Kilos. That’s… impressively bad.

The episode is not the most memorable of the series (much like “Timeslides”), but still, with Red Dwarf III being as good as it is, it’s still good enough for an 8, a great score.

Favorite Scene: Holly comes up with three solutions to self-destruct accidentally being launched. They are…

  1. Sit there and get blown up;
  2. Stand there and get blown up, and;
  3. Jump up and down, shout at her for not thinking of anything, then get blown up.

Rating: 8.

Not Another Top (X) List!: Top 5 Lowest Arnold Rimmer Moments.

I’m too uncreative to make a “Top X List” image, so I just stole one from “SNL/Wayne’s World”

For the first time in this blog, I have a top X List. I call it “Not Another Top X List” for the following reasons. “Not Another” is in because, let’s face it, damn near every other internet reviewer and blog has had a list of their top 10s/5s/whatevers. The letter X is in because the variable could be different for every list. And the word List is in here for obvious reasons.

With the premiere of the first list, I may as well make the first one about the same show that provided my very first review post.

If you play your cards right, then he might just come home for dinner.

Ah, Second Technician Arnold Judas Rimmer. Rimsy. Arnie J. Old Iron Balls. The Smeghead. No matter what nickname you call him, he is quite possibly, the most beloved character in the history of Red Dwarf. A part of this is due to the writers (primarily the team of Grant/Naylor) making him out to be so sympathetic. His life has been constant failure after constant failure, and it makes you want to hug the man. That is, if he was real, and if he was not a hologram who has been dead for 3 million years.

However, the writers also like to emphasize that fact that, no matter what, Rimmer will always be a selfish, callous, pompous, arrogant, moronic smeghead. This is the same character that managed to ruin everybody’s fun by being all of those things that I have listed. Therefore, this list is dedicated to the moments that made you realize that Rimmer was a complete git.

Not that this is a bad thing, of course. In fact, these moments make him more of a well-written character, rounds him out, and makes the character hysterical. But still, if you were in the company of this man, you would want to punch him in the face… or terminate his hologram. Continue reading

Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 3: "Polymorph"

Airdate: 28 November 1989

Synopsis (Spoilers): A shapeshifting alien lands on Red Dwarf, with the ability to change into anything to, to quote Kryten, “suit its terrain and deceive its enemies.” This polymorph, however, sucks out negative emotions. Why? Also quoting Kryten, “IT’S INSANE!”

It’s another normal day on the ship. Lister is making food with medical utensils, and Kryten accidentally insults Rimmer’s “prim, proper, almost austere” mother. The day is altered when the Polymorph, initially disguised as a sausage, attacks Lister, turns into various objects, culminating into a 12-foot monster, and manages to suck out Lister’s fear.

With Lister all too willing to take on the Polymorph, the others decide to attack the monster and flee the ship. The Cat, fleeing from heat-seeking missiles (which are trapped in another room), has his vanity sucked out by the Polymorph disguised as an ego-stroking female. Kryten’s guilt is sucked out by the Polymorph disguised as Rimmer. Rimmer’s anger is sucked out when the alien is disguised as his mother, who proceeded to sleep with Lister and brag about it to Rimmer.

The malformed Red Dwarf crew hold a meeting to try and go against the Polymorph.

  • Rimmer suggests attacking the Polymorph with a major leaflet campaign and various fundraisers.
  • Lister suggests taking on the Polymorph, with consequences that include his death.
  • The Cat, reduced to a bum and without a lick of fashion, does not care, calling all the ideas good, while he says that he is a big fat nobody.
  • Kryten wants the idea to include everybody else dying.

The crew take down the Polymorph in the cargo bays (thanks to the heat-seeking missiles fired earlier), and the crew are returned to normal.

Review: How this episode got past the censors is beyond me. This episode had the infamous “shrinking boxers” scene which caused the studio audience to laugh so much, Chris Barrie had to wait 10 minutes to deliver his line. Take THAT, Sammy Davis Jr. kissing Archie Bunker. Another scene that made this episode raunchier then normal was the scene where an anger-free Rimmer suggests various names for their organization, and one acronym is a bit… weird. (Rimmer even says the acronym. I’ll just say that the word would never get past censors today.) To a lesser extent, there is Rimmer’s “mother” who brags about her quick tryst with Lister. She briefly mentions “alphabetti spaghetti”.

That does not mean that the episode is bad at all. Rather, this episode is one of the best in the show for a reason. It is just hysterical. The Polymorph as a villain is well developed, especially for a one-shot villain. The character is also the first alien-esque character in the show. To avert the cliche of aliens, Grant Naylor used the term GELF, with Holly even calling it “man made”.

The episode also shows why Red Dwarf mostly (but not always) can get away with cop outs and stupid decisions that other shows can’t get away with. In Red Dwarf, we expect nothing from this crew. The bar is so low, that we expect them to flee, and take the easiest way out possible. The decisions they make fit in brilliantly with their characters. We know Rimmer’s character, and his first instinct is to abandon the situation, a complete contradiction to his desire to lead.

I do wish that they had taken on Rimmer’s ego, but that can be mostly excused, as they took on the Cat’s vanity. Other then that, this episode is brilliant.

Favorite Scene: Do I have to choose? The meeting scene is probably the best of the long, long list.

Score: 9.5

Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 2: "Marooned"

Airdate: 21 November 1989

A smeghead and a slob. Trapped on an icy planet. Oh, boy.

Synopsis: Holly steers Red Dwarf into a black hole field, causing the crew to have to temporarily flee. Rimmer and Lister wind up taking Starbug, where Rimmer regales Lister about the former’s interests in the military and his previous life as Alexander the Great’s chief… eunuch. While the two are talking, Starbug is struck by a meteor, and crash lands on an ice planet. They have little hope of being found, low food, and no warmth. Rimmer can “live” because he is a hologram, but Lister can only hope for survival. The two wind up talking to each other and learning more about each other.

When it comes time to burn stuff for warmth, Lister is reluctant to let go of his Les Paul guitar, and Rimmer his military figurines. Lister, without Rimmer noticing, cuts a guitar-shaped hole out of Rimmer’s treasure chest. Thinking that it is Lister’s Les Paul, Rimmer decides to sacrifice his military figurines. Lister feels guilty that he made Rimmer burn something that meant so much to him, as the trunk provided the last link to Rimmer of his estranged father.

Kryten and the Cat find the two, and manages to bring them back. Holly then tells Rimmer that there was no black hole field; it was just five pieces of grit. Rimmer then realizes that Lister cut a hole out of his chest.

Review: A good Red Dwarf episode, for the most part, contains tons of laughs and constant comedy, alongside character development. While “Marooned” also contains this, there is also something else in this episode.

This episode (until series VII) is the most dramedy-focused episode in the history of the show, and some parts can bring you to tears.

It’s literally just Lister and Rimmer talking with each other for the most part. It’s an example of a “locked in a freezer” episode (a common TV cliche) that manages to pull off the aforementioned cliche well. The development Lister and Rimmer get is incredible. From the most minute details to great backstory reveal, it is quite rare to get the development in a comedy that Lister and Rimmer get.

In terms of tearjerker-ness, watching Rimmer burn something that meant so much to him, and then realizing why it meant so much to him, is among the most depressing things ever put in a sitcom. In my opinion, it is depressing almost to the level of Fry’s dog (prepares for flamers).

And Lister… god. He manages to be such a hilarious, and yet depressing, jerkass simultaneously. And yet he still feels bad for it. The look on Rimmer face when he finds out what Lister is done can only be described as pure anger. Put yourself in Rimmer’s shoes for a second. When he learns that Lister cut out a piece of his treasure chest, it goes beyond typical anger. Lister callously (yet, unbeknownst to Rimmer, unknowingly) ignored Rimmer’s feelings about his father just to save his own guitar which he can’t play for smeg.

And yet this episode is still hilarious. Lister and Rimmer talking about their first encounters with other women? Funny. Lister and Rimmer burning literature (not out of hatred, but for necessity)? Hilarious (especially when they have to say tootle-pipski to Shakespeare). The reveal about the grit on the screen? Hysterical.

This episode is just brilliant. It is one of the best in Red Dwarf‘s history. It ranked second on the Ganymede and Titan Silver Survey earlier this year, and it deserves it.

Favorite Scene: Do I have to choose? It has to be learning what the solders meant for Rimmer. It is, quite possibly, the most moving moment in the history of the show.

A VERY Close second place? Rimmer quotes Richard III

“Now….. something something something something.”

Score: 9.5

Gravity Falls Review, Season 1, Episode 9: The Time Traveler’s Pig.

Airdate: August 24th, 2012.

AAAAHHHHH!!!! PETE’S BACK!!!

Synopsis (Spoilers): During a funfair, Dipper tries to win a stuffed animal-thing for Wendy. Dipper, however, can’t throw, causing Wendy to have a black eye. A series of events manages to have Wendy go out with Robbie. Meanwhile, Mabel wins a pet pig. Also, a time traveler called Blendin Bladin leaves his time machine (tape measure) laying down. Dipper and Mabel use it to try and get the stuffed animal for Wendy. After many failures, Dipper manages to get the stuffed animal… at the expense of Waddles.

Mabel and Dipper get into a fight, and begin to mess around with time. They wind up in the present, where Mabel is in a severe funk over losing a pig. Dipper resets things back to the way they were before, Wendy goes out with Robbie, Mabel gets a pet pig, and Blendin goes to jail.

Review: Be warned. This is going to be long, and may cause all 2 of my readers to chuck tomatoes at me. Because…

God. I. Hate. This. Stupid. Episode.

Never expected somebody who likes science-fiction to say that he hates an episode that revolves around science-fiction and time travel, huh? Well, not in this case. Continue reading

Gravity Falls Review: “Irrational Treasure” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Airdate: August 17th, 2012

 

Full Synopsis (Spoilers): It’s Pioneer Day in Gravity Falls. At an event to commemorate the day, Pacifica Northwest, the descendant of the town’s founder, goes up and makes a rather egotistical speech. Pacifica catches Mabel, and criticizes her on her wackier behavior. This makes Mabel question her prior Genki Girl tendencies.

Dipper, meanwhile, manages to catch a line in his journal that says that the town founder, Nathaniel Northwest, may have been a fraud. Mabel takes up on solving this with Dipper, to try and prove that she can be serious. Ironically, due to Mabel’s quirky tendencies (including folding a map into a paper hat, amongst other things), the two find a cave contains many top secret documents, as well as revealing the truth… Northwest was NOT the town founder. In fact, Northwest was a complete and utter dullard! The town founder was, in fact, some wacko named Quentin Trembley.

You think your leader is insane? Try Quentin Trembley

Deputy Durland and Sheriff Blubs, the two idiot cops, track them down and reveal that they are working with the American government. They also reveal that the Trembley took the job after being kicked out of the presidency for being street-rat deranged (he banned people from wearing pants, declared wars on pancakes, and appointed babies to the Supreme Court). Trembley encased himself in peanut brittle, thinking it had life-saving properties, and was “buried” in the cave. Durland and Blubs caught the Pines twins thanks to candies dropped by Mabel. The Pines twins are captured and sent via train to DC.

Whilst on the train, Mabel mopes about the fact that maybe she IS too goofy. She eats the peanut brittle in depression… freeing Trembley. The three escape, and Trembley calls out Blubs and Durland, declaring that he never resigned, and thus is still technically president. He makes Mabel a congressperson, and Dipper reveals the facts to Pacifica.

Review: God, I LOVE this episode!

This episode brings together history (something I love), conspiracy-style episodes, and even a bit of science fiction. The development that the characters get is some of the best in the show. Mabel realises that her goofiness is actually a good thing, Dipper gets his first act of revenge against a villain, Pacifica is revealed to be a fake, and Blubs and Durland are revealed to be more then just two incompetent cops that are VERY close friends (if not more… hey, there’s plenty of subtext!) This show also introduces one of my favourite characters, Quentin Trembley. Imagine every crazy world leader, with their insanity cranked up to 11, and goofy. That’s Quentin Trembley. He is quite possibly, the most badass character in the history of the show.

I must admit, as a fan of History, this episode did confuse and frustrate me a bit. For example, Trembley was elected in 1837, which was not a US presidential election year (Martin Van Buren was president during this year). Also, they say he was replaced with William Henry Harrison (who, in reality, took office and died in 1841). Also, since Trembley was feared dead, he was technically not president in 2012. The episode also contradicts itself at least once (how come Santa Claus is the president of the US one moment, and Trembley the next moment?)

Still, ignore the historical logic (or lack thereof), and you have a VERY enjoyable episode, which has very few faults (possibly Pacifica still being a Jerkass and Gideon having a useless role are the only flaws in the episode). And besides, the next episode’s logic is SO screwed up.

Favorite Scene: ANYTHING WITH QUENTIN TREMBLEY!

Score: 9. 6.5 if you take in the historical logic. I will not, this once.

Gravity Falls Review, Season 1, Episode 7: "Double Dipper"

Airdate:  August 10th, 2012

Clones, clones everywhere, and nary a drop of common sense!

Synopsis (Spoilers): Grunkle Stan has decided to make money by setting up a disco at the Mystery Shack. Dipper wants to impress Wendy, and configures a long, meticulous list that he will follow to the minute to try and date Wendy, but also has to work the ticket stand. Dipper and Mabel find a copy machine (which they intended to use to copy the party fliers) that copies humans. Dipper uses it to his advantage, and creates a clone, Tyrone. After the first one is a success, he decides to create many many more clones to perform his tasks so that Dipper 1 can try and get Wendy. The thing is, since they know that the original Dipper wants to date Wendy, they will not interfere or get jealous. Not helping his task is that Robbie, from the convince store incident, is also at the disco.

The tasks are accomplished, but Dipper winds up deviating from the original list. He meets Wendy outside of the bathroom, and realizes that the list is pointless. The other Dipper’s kidnap him and lock him in a closet. The original manages to escape, and manages to defeat them (sans Tyrone) with their only kryptonite; water. However, Dipper and Tyrone are too late to get to talk to Wendy, and wind up drinking soda up on the roof. The soda kills Tyrone, with his last words being toward Dipper to quit being scared around Wendy.

Meanwhile, Mabel is excited beyond belief about the party. While partying, she meets Grenda, a larger girl with a masculine voice, and Candy, a shy girl. The DJ (Soos) announces a contest to crown the best partier. Pacifica Northwest, the local popular girl (think Regina from Mean Girls), immediately claims ownership of the crown, mocking the Trio along the way. Mabel challenges Pacifica for the crown, and it is a contest that lasts all night. Pacifica wins the crown and goes back to her house, but Mabel, Candy, and Grenda take losing in stride, while partying all night long.

Review: This episode leans more into the Science Fiction genre of episodes, and is wonderful in its science fiction-ness.

The aversion of the “jealous doppelganger/clone” cliche worked wonders for this episode. Instead, their anger is toward a central part of Dipper’s personality: his adherence to order… or dismissal thereof. Dipper’s decision to dismiss his organized behavior proves fatal to his ideals. Only Tyrone takes his side, and he gives some of the best advice to the audience. He tells Dipper, and therefore the audience, to reject specifics in trying to ask somebody else. Given the target audience is primarily tweens (although many more teens and adults watch the show), this is a wonderful message. Also, while not to the level or Mabel and Dipper, Wendy gets a bit of character development. Hopefully, in future episodes, the show will flesh her out further and make her NOT an object for Dipper’s affections. The science fiction fits in with the regular status of the show; it’s very mysterious, and provides more awkwardness to the Shack. And it gave us “Paper Jam Dipper”, one of the darkest, and yet funniest, scenes in the show thus far.

Again, Mabel gets a weaker plot than Dipper, but this is slightly more forgivable. While her previous plot was just pointless filler, this plot gives her some character development. In one episode, Mabel gains two new, devoted friends, alongside an enemy. While I don’t hate Pacifica Northwest as much as others, she still is rather one note. Mabel’s plot gave some funny moments (“Don’t Start Un-believing”, for example). It’s not a bad plot, but it is still rather weaker than I would have preferred.

Still, the Dipper-focused plot is brilliant enough to give this an 8 score.

Favorite Scene: ANYTHING involving Paper-Jam Dipper.

Score: 8

Red Dwarf Review, Series III, Episode 1, "Backwards"

Airdate: 14 November. 1989

Nodnol ni tca ydemoc tseb eht!
Synopsis (Spoilers): A super-speedy prologue explains what happened between series II and III.
  • Lister gave birth to twin boys, Jim and Bexley. However, because they were conceived in a different universe, they are 18 years old within 3 days of their birth. Realizing that they would only last a fortnight, Jim and Bexley went back to their universe of origin to live a normal life… at least, as normal as possible.
  • Kryten was found crashed on a planet. Lister was able to repair him, but his rebellious personality was reset. Also, he now sports a Canadian accent. Nevertheless, he is now a permanent member of the crew.
  • Holly had fallen so far in love with Hilly from the Parallel Universe that he gave himself a head sex change operation, becoming a long-haired, youthful blonde female, yet still a bit peculiar.
  • And now the saga continuums.
  • AND NOW THE SAGA CONTINUUMS!
  • Red Dwarf III. The Same Generation. Nearly.

Rimmer takes Kryten on a flight test in Starbug. During the flight test, Rimmer and Kryten happen to come across an elusive time hole. They wind up landing on Earth, circa 1993… but running backwards. Cars drive backwards, food is uneaten, robbers suck bullets out of cops and force banks to accept money, tables are dirtied, ect. Holly explains that this is due to the “big crunch”, with the universe shrinking. With Starbug wrecked, the two must find a job in Nodnol until the others find them. They take up a job as “Srehtorb Esrever Lanoitasnes Eht”, or, in frontwards, “The Sensational Reverse Brothers.”

Lister and the Cat, meanwhile, take another Starbug and manage to pass through the time hole. Lister arrives on earth with a sore back, cracked ribs, and a black eye. After seeing a sign for “Srehtorb Esrever Lanoitasnes Eht” and a sign for “Nodnol, 871 Selim”, the two come to the only logical conclusion… they must be in Bulgaria! After getting confused as to why bikes are in reverse, they get a ride to downtown Nodnol and wind up at a bar where Rimmer and Kryten are performing. They eventually realize that they ARE in a backwards world, and try to get Rimmer and Kryten to come back. However, Rimmer and Kryten argue that life is much better in this universe, as death does not come and crime (to them) does not exist. Lister argues that, in this universe, Santa Claus is a robber and puberty occurs backwards.

Their conversation is interrupted when the two are told that they are fired for a fight, which did not happen. As Kryten and Rimmer try and defend themselves, Lister and the Cat manage to get themselves in a fight… the one that Kryten and Rimmer got sacked for. Lister declares a “barroom tidy”, and Lister’s body is returned to normal as the bar is cleaned up. Kryten and Rimmer decide to abandon their act and return back to the Dwarf.

Review: This is the first episode to use the new style for Red Dwarf. I will keep this brief. This episode makes no sense. At all. Why would Kryten and Rimmer get fired and then do a last show? The timeline in this episode makes no sense!

However, that does not stop it from being funny. Red Dwarf IS a comedy, after all. There is tons of comedy gold in this episode, such as the bike scene, the diner scene, the “Red Dwarf Shuffle”, and the barroom tidy. UN-RUMBLE! The characters are well done, and Kryten gets some slight character development, in his meekness being similar to the one in “Kryten”. However, Kryten is now treated as an equal to his new companions. His development does not kick in until “Polymorph”, but it is a step in the right direction.

This episode is the birth of the more energetic Red Dwarf, and it is pretty damn good!

Oh, and the first conversation of the new and improved Red Dwarf? Lister and the Cat debate the attractiveness of Wilma Flinstone.

Favorite Scene: The Bar-room tidy!

Score: 8.5