Red Dwarf Review: Series IV, Episode 1: "Camille"

Airdate: 14 February, 1991.

Synopsis (Spoilers): Lister is trying to teach Kryten to lie to other people (such as calling a banana an orange), and to call Rimmer a Smeghead (which Kryten can’t do, so he instead calls Rimmer a “smeeee heeeee”). His lesson is interrupted by Rimmer asking Kryten to take him asteroid spotting in Starbug. During the spotting, Kryten notes a doomed ship, and against Rimmer’s orders, goes down to the ship to look for survivors. He finds one, a female mechanoid named Camille (played by Robert Llewellyn’s significant other, Judy Pascoe), and it is “Advanced Mutual Compatibility at First Sight”. Camille goes aboard Starbug. When Rimmer sees her, however, he sees a female hologram (played by Francesca Floan). Aboard Red Dwarf, when Lister sees her, she looks like a normal human being (played by Irish songwriter Suzanne Rhatigan, who was dating Charles). When the Cat sees her, he sees himself. Really.

The crew find out about what each other saw, and Camille decides to come clean: she is a Pleasure GELF, who appears to people as the person of their desire. In reality, Camille is a green blob. While initially hurt, Kryten decides to make a go for it, and he and Camille enjoy their date. However, Hector, Camille’s husband, finds them, and Kryten manages to convince Camille to leave for her own good… lying through his teeth the whole time.

Review: Well, this was a rather mild series opener. Not that it’s bad at all- in fact, it has a cute story and decent humor. However, it does come off as weaker than the rest of the series.

There are no glaring flaws in this episode. Cat’s first meeting with Camille is pretty smegging hilarious. Lister’s conversation with Camille is pretty funny. The Casablanca send up is pretty funny. (“We’ll always have Parrots.” It makes more sense in context.) Kryten gets some damn good character development. And “It’s a Banana” and “Smee Hee” are quite funny.

If there are ANY flaws in this episode, it’s a minor inconsistency. Why could Kryten lie about Silicon Heaven to Hudzen 10 in “The Last Day”, and yet not be able to lie in this episode? However, Red Dwarf does not rely on continuity as much as shows like Doctor Who and Star Trek so this can be forgiven.

The biggest problem with this episode is that it’s overall not very rememberable. After all, outside of “It’s a banana” and “Smee Heee”, what else is well known about this episode in the fanbase?

Overall, it’s a pretty cute, though unremarkable, episode, made even cuter by the fact that it aired on Valentine’s Day (although that was because of the Persian Gulf War pushing back “Dimension Jump”).

Favorite Scene: The Cat meeting Camille, who, in the Cat’s eyes, looks like the Cat! Cat puts it best: “Damn my vanity!”

Least Favorite Scene: The date scene, while pretty cute, is probably the weakest scene in the episode. Although, Kryten and Camille do go to a restaurant called “Parrots”. Kryten’s right: they’ll always have Parrots.

Score: 7.5

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