YMMV / Red Dwarf

The TV series

  • Cult Classic: The show has a pretty strong following, as evidenced by its Channel Hop after a successful run of repeats on Dave many years after the end of Series VIII. Robert Llewellyn stated that he disagrees that it qualifies for cult classic status, as it's probably too popular.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Rimmer tends to get a bit of this treatment; he certainly isn't without sympathetic elements or redeeming merit at times, but his tragic backstory (and several shirtless scenes in series 5) can make it easy for some fans to over-emphasise his Woobie-ish traits and downplay the fact that, Woobie-ish traits or not, he's still a complete smeghead 99% of the time.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • In "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", Lister keeps playing the Gumshoe AR game so he can have sex with Loretta, a homicidal, serial-killing Femme Fatale. He also tries to ask a rogue simulant for a date. He confides to Kryten that he's only ever attracted to "heartbreakers or moral garbage on legs."
    • Crawford, the simulant encountered in "Trojan".
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In "Marooned", Lister burns books to keep warm, but saves the rudest page from Lolita first. This was funny until Craig Charles found himself on the wrong end of a rape accusation. He was cleared in the end, but still...
    • Worse still, was the timing of Rimmer's comments about Lister having sex with a seventeen year old ballgirl in the AR machine "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", (though 16 is the age-of-consent in the UK). However, due to the accusation, some broadcasts decided to cut the scene in question.
    • They also had to cut the line about the evil Lister from "Demons and Angels" being the part of him "that lusts after meaningless sex". Though it was Jake Abraham who said that particular line, not Craig.
    • "Stoke Me a Clipper", pretty much in it's entirety. Ace Rimmer shrugging off getting shot right in the sniper's triangle? Hilarious. Ace Rimmer spending the rest of the episode trying to conceal that he is a hologram, dying from the wound, and desperately trying to get Rimmer to take up Ace Rimmer's mantle before he dies... suddenly, it's not funny any more.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Though Series I and II are usually pretty well-liked by fans, Series III is often considered to be where the show really hit its stride, due to the addition of Kryten, an increased budget and correspondingly improved special effects and set designs, and more variety in the way of stories.
    • As for the post-Rob Grant episodes, Series VII, VIII and Back to Earth remain divisive, but Series X was widely hailed as a major return to form.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "Timeslides", a depressed Lister feels that being on Red Dwarf is worse than prison. Craig Charles would later serve a prison sentence on (later proved to be false) rape charges.
    • Don Henderson played a Simulant in "Beyond a Joke" and dies due to Kryten's negativity being shunted into his ship, causing him to destroy his own vessel and kill himself in a fit of rage. This was Henderson's final role. He died of throat cancer only a few months after the episode aired. Oh, and his raspy voice? That was not an effect.
  • He Really Can Act: The memorial scene from "Back To Earth" can be considered one for Craig Charles. In a show known for taking the piss out of sci-fi in general, his performance reading to Kochanski's tombstone is genuinely poignant. Robert Llewellyn even notes this on the documentary, stating that Craig got to do some proper acting.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Parallel Universe", Lister asks Rimmer if he is a man or a munchkin. Five series later, in "Blue", the "Rimmer Experience" ride showcases Rimmer as a bunch of munchkins who sing about how great he is. (Ironically, this makes Lister never want to see him again.)
    • In "Future Echoes", Rimmer tells Lister that he "Can't whack Death on the head." We learn, however, in Series VIII that Death is susceptible to Groin Attack.
    • Rimmer's blaming of any strange phenomena on aliens is a lot funnier when you've seen an episode of Ancient Aliens.
    • When Kryten tells Lister that one of his few vices is Androids, Lister makes a quip about "stupid soap operas". Craig Charles is as well known now for starring in a stupid soap opera.
    • Kryten's statement that thinking the title of Frankenstein refers to the monster is "a common misconception held by all truly stupid people" in "Quarantine", now that the rise of the Internet and stuff like this own site's I Am Not Shazam page has made that far less commonly believed.
    • The conversation about wanting to be a squirrel was pretty funny at the time. A few decades later after the rise of Furry Fandom it's freaking hysterical.
    • In "D.N.A." when Kryten is transformed into a human, he has difficulties with what he has lost and gained in the transition from mechanoid to human, and hands Lister a polaroid of his penis to see if it is normal. Lister's reply of "Is it normal to take pictures and show 'em to your mates? No, it's not normal!" is funny enough originally, but when one remembers the recent rise of dick pics on the internet and smartphones it becomes side-splitting.
    • The GELFs are human-created monsters who kill anyone who enters their territory and use them for sowing materials. Sound familiar?
    • In "Parallel Universe", Female!Rimmer asks Rimmer if he's a masculinist. Fast forward to the 2010s and we now have Meninism.
    • In "Back To Reality", it's mentioned that Rimmer was programmed to act like a total prat, to hide the fact he's really a highly intelligent operative. Sounds very similar to a certain doctor...
    • In "The Beginning" the Simulant Dominator and Rimmer have this prescient conversation:
    Dominator: It's the way of all things: you live, you die.
    • In "Justice", Lister confesses to his crewmates that he once stole the contents of an entire hotel room, bed included. Homer Simpson would later do the exact same thing, except this time it's shown onscreen.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Lister's size alluded to in "Backwards" and "Bodyswap" really doesn't match up with what we see.
    • And, as we see from an effect outtake in Series 7, Craig Charles by then was actually rather skinny.
  • Ho Yay: Rimmer/Lister - the aforementioned kiss being the culmination of seven series worth of innuendo (and several cans of beer downed by both actors).
    • Lister and Petersen after that kiss in "Stasis Leak".
  • Inferred Holocaust: Given that by the time we catch up with the Dwarfers in Back To Earth, it's only the four of them, it's likely that the resurrected crew that escaped on the Starbugs and Blue Midgets are all dead at this stage.
    • A deleted scene shows Rimmer deliberately deciding to leave them outside. It is worth noting that the four regulars survived for over 200 years in a clapped-out Starbug while the rest of the crew are far more competent and have more modern shuttlecraft, so they stand a pretty good chance of survival.
  • Informed Wrongness: Rimmer gets a bit of this in "Meltdown" while its impossible to argue he's not qualified to lead the good wax works droids in their war (his battle tactics involve them charging over the land mines and the result of his plans lead to the extinction of all the droids) and its clear he's mostly doing this to live his fantasy of being a military leader. Still Lister reacts in horror to him simply forcing the droids to start training and toughening up for war. Which considering they were on the loosing side of a war, with an enemy who would not rest till they were all dead, had already killed most of them and they were down to characters who had little use in actual battle (such as Elvis Presley, Gandhi and Pythagoras), it seems hard to argue this at least was a bad idea (this itself goes a bit wrong, as he goes to far and several of them melt from exhaustion, but Lister didn't know this at the time).
  • Jerkass Woobie: Rimmer. Perhaps no episode highlights both the Jerkass and Woobie portions of his personality better than "Me2", when we are faced with a second Rimmer Hologram. The second Rimmer is every bit the Jerkass the original was, except he seems to delight in focusing all of his worst qualities against the original Rimmer hologram. Under the belief that he has been chosen for deletion, the original Rimmer hologram shares a deeply personal, and painfully embarrassing, moment from his life with Lister and Cat. It's revealed after he's finished that Lister had already deleted the second hologram as he'd exited the room. The series does often stress that the 'Woobie' part doesn't automatically excuse, justify or wipe away the 'Jerkass' part, however, and there are many episodes that make it quite clear that for all his Freudian Excuse and general sympathy, he's a total smeghead.
    • Hammered very directly home in the first episode of season 10. Rimmer not only is happy to see his brother get killed (after what is implied to be a Heroic Sacrifice for Rimmer's sake), and smug that he never got anywhere further in life than Rimmer did, but deliberately ensures his brother spends his last moments alive literally unable to feel anything except resentment of Rimmer himself. Somewhat justified, given what we see/hear of how Rimmer's brother treated him as boys; the jam and ants, the landmine in the sandpit, etc. Jerkass or not, Howard completely deserved it.
  • Memetic Badass: Ace Rimmer
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • There are some fans who think that Rimmer is the real hero of the show, and that Lister is just an idiotic slob. While Grant and Naylor tried to avoid making Rimmer totally unsympathetic, it's pretty fair to say that he's not the guy they intended the audience to identify with.
    • Given the notorious hatred of The BBC leadership for SF and fantasy at the time the show was made (it's the only high-profile SF series the BBC produced between the mid-80s and mid-00s), it probably owed its existence to this, with the executives believing that it was laughing at the SF genre and its pathetic fans.
  • MST3K Mantra: They didn't worry themselves much over changing background details here and there if it worked better for the current joke.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The bread products obsessed, artificially intelligent Talkie Toaster from Series I. One brief scene becomes a CMOF for the series.
  • Painful Rhyme: "Blue"'s Rimmer song. Lampshaded in the extended version where Rimmer sings that he's running out of words that rhyme with his name and hopes the song will play out before he's completely stuck.
    • And Lister's Indling Song:
    My love I tried to kindle,
    But like a fire it dwindled,
    Now I wonder when this wind'll,
    Ever stop.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The Polymorph and Emohawk are able to turn into anything, thus meaning they could show up anywhere. This even extends to in universe, as a jumpy Rimmer has Kryten and The Cat shoot heat seekers at nothing (which does, ironically, end up killing the Polymorph eventually) and Lister and Kryten end up shooting random inanimate objects to try and flush out the Emohawk.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Whether or not Kochanski is strictly speaking a replacement, there are still people who regard Kochanski in Series VII as an example.
    • Hattie Hayridge's version of Holly is occasionally regarded as a Replacement Scrappy for the original Norman Lovett version. Conversely, some fans hated Lovett's version and considered Hayridge to be a vast improvement, and so weren't impressed when Lovett returned to the role at the end of Series VII.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Since the Grant/Naylor partnership broke up, many fans have claimed that Rob Grant alone was responsible for the show's early greatness, and that Doug Naylor is just a hack with ideas above his station (citing the drop-off in quality in series VII and VIII, and the slightly better reception of Backwards compared to Last Human). To a lesser extent this also applies to Paul Alexander, who took over as Naylor's main writing partner for Series VII and VIII.
    • The problem is that all indications are that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts; Grant alone has plenty of bad ideas.
    • A slightly more charitable (if still somewhat simplistic) viewpoint is that Naylor was responsible for more of the 'science fiction' angle of the show (some of the seasons he did solo seemed to focus more on science fiction concepts rather than comedy), and that Grant was responsible for more of the funny.
    • Many fans have revised their opinions of Naylor following the success of series X and XI, which he not only wrote single-handedly but also directed.
  • The Scrappy: While most of the vending machines from Series X were considered annoying to some degree, Taiwan Tony stood out for being a outdated, offensively racist and just plain unfunny stereotype. Despite only appearing in two scenes and having no more than half a dozen lines, he instantly became the single most loathed and despised character from the show's entire run.
  • Seasonal Rot: Series VII and VIII tended to be highly variable in their quality.
    • Justified: Naylor points out in the Series VIII scriptbook that they had to cut a lot due to issues with the budget- namely, how quickly they went through it and and how little extra The BBC was willing to dole out.
  • Special Effect Failure: A few lousy effects here and there, but the overall standard of effects in the series is surprisingly good, all things considered. The main failures come from series VII and VIII (and remastered versions of the first three series) suffering from some rather dated (and still low budget for the time) CGI.
    • What's particularly annoying about that is that the model work it replaced was never less than acceptable and very often magnificent.
    • In "Backwards", as Rimmer is about to be ejected from the Starbug we can clearly see a string behind him. There's also what clearly appears to be a small action figure ejected from the 'Bug representing Rimmer.
    • The Self Loathing Beast from "Terrorform" was originally built as a monster for classic Doctor Who that was never used because it failed to live up to expectations. Think about that for a moment. Doctor Who, a show that especially in the eighties was notorious for it's cheap special effects, rejected the monster for being too crappy. In it's Red Dwarf appearance they cut around it as much as possible, only letting us have glimpses of it or of its extremities in the hopes the audience wouldn't notice. It's probably for the best.
  • Squick: Series VII establishes that Lister's parents are actually Kochanski and himself. Further revelations show that Lister and Kochanski have had sex many times before.
    • Add to that the fact that Lister continues to try and seduce Kochanski after he learns that she's his mother, and the miniseries establishes that they eventually wind up hooking up...
    • Lister has eaten, on-screen, a tin of dogfood ("Marooned"), a cigarette ("Holoship"), a strawberry packed to bursting with maggots (which we get a loving closeup of its larval contents squirming out after he's bitten part of it off) and a live tarantula (both "Back To Reality"); the cigarette at least Craig genuinely did eat; the dog food was fake.
    • Lister once got sexually assaulted by what was, to all practical purposes, a zombie, complete with rotting flesh. True, it was only a kiss, but her tongue fell out in his mouth and he spat it out on-screen!
    • One episode had Lister spend days crossing the ship in order to fetch some tomatoes. His reason for doing so is that tomatoes make him sneeze, so now he can gross Rimmer out by using the sneezes to iron his clothes. All that walking just to get a reaction.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The reaction to the Remastered versions of Series I-III was bad to say the least. Opinion was mixed on the new visual effects, with some fans loving them, some being infuriated at the concept of tampering with the original episodes, and still more liking the concept, but hating the low-budget execution. However, what really turned people off the Remastered versions was the number of jokes that were chopped out to make room for the new special effects, the ending of "Polymorph" being changed to a much less satisfying one, and Holly's dialogue in Series I & II being updated to appear to a broader audience. Most infamously, a reference to Felicity Kendall was changed to Marilyn Monroe, principally because not many people outside Britain (or most British people born after the 1970s, for that matter) would know who Felicity Kendall was.
    • Before that some fans did not like the changed opening from the exterior shots of Red Dwarf (with an orchestral version of the theme tune) to the clip montage opening (with a rock version of the theme tune) from season 3.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: As noted by several other tropes here, Rimmer is a lot more popular/sympathised with than he was really supposed to be.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Rimmer.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The special effects are quite obviously fake most of the time, but Series X and Series XI have some outstanding visuals.
    • The shots of the ship itself. Even as far back as series 1, these are pretty damn good. Doug Naylor notes that the majority of the budget for series 1 went to the model shots.
    • Thankfully, due to the use of models, it has helped the effects in series 1-6 hold up quite well. Series 7 and 8 on the other hand...
    • "Backwards" was, at the time, a huge technical achievement. Some of the "Timeslides" effects, due to the excellent timing, also work very well.
  • The Woobie: Rimmer. "Better Than Life" explains that Rimmer's brain is so used to him screwing up and being treated like scum that it simply can't accept nice things happening to him. This could explain why he constantly tries to stab Lister and the others in the back. Subconsciously, he keeps betraying everyone because he's afraid that if he doesn't, the others would start treating him with respect and compassion.
  • Woolseyism: "Backwards" begins with some Star Wars expository text that speeds up too fast for the viewer to read. In some foreign dubs it is accompanied by a voice over, which also speeds up until unintelligible.
    • One joke was improved for the failed US pilot. In the original, Rimmer says that death is like "being on holiday with a group of Germans." In the US version, he likens death to "being at an Amish bachelor party," which is much more well-fitted to the demographic.

The novels

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In the show, Lister's stupidity got him sentenced to stasis for quarantine violation, which is why he survived the radiation leak and ended up three million years in the future. In the novel, Lister intentionally got himself sentenced for quarantine violation, having meticulously planned out the "crime", getting caught and making sure that his violation didn't actually put anyone (including the cat whom he'd smuggled on board) in danger. Becomes less "alternate" in Season 12 where it is implied that TV-Lister also planned all of it out.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Djuhn'Keep from Backwards. Being one of a series of androids dedicated to hunting down the remains of the human race (AKA Dave Lister) and torturing them to death, he's already vile. But out of all of them, Djuhn masterminded the creation of the Death Wheel and the Hub of Pain torture chamber at it's very centre, stocking it with every single form of weapon that could be used to torture their captives with. It gets even worse, when Djuhn, needing spare parts, infects one of the other agonoids with a paralyzing computer virus and dismantles him while he's still conscious. Then, just to make sure that he'd have the privilege of torturing Lister and the other Dwarfers, he gathers all the other agonoids in the Hub of Pain and increases the gravity until most of them are crushed to death. The survivors are forced into the spokes of the Death Wheel and whittled down by the death traps, while Djuhn listens from the control room, "conducting the symphony of screams and death rattles as if it were the sweetest of sweet music." Then, when it seems that some of them have escaped alive, he ejects them into space and goes after Lister...
    • The Alternate Lister from Last Human. Apart from being an unfeeling sociopath with no regard for life or property, he also murders his "friends" aboard Starbug simply because he didn't want them getting hold of the coordinates of the DNA-Altering machine, even lasering Kryten's head off and jamming a Cuban cigar between the lips as a joke. Then, when the protagonist version of Lister rescues him from Cyberia, he repays this act of kindness by knocking his rescuer unconscious and forcing him to take his place at the prison. As a final atrocity, he even goes as far as shooting Protagonist Lister in the balls with a rad pistol to try and motivate Kochanski into having sex with him.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: One from the first book. George McIntyre in this continuity committed suicide after falling heavily into debt with a loan company with an APR of several thousand percent. Payday loan companies in the noughties and 2010s offered loans with similarly ludicrously high AP Rs.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A bit in the book Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers. Lister as he lives his idyllic, rich life, keeps getting pains on his arms. He happens to notice that when he applies salve to only the painful parts, it spells out U R DYING. The crew are trapped in the full immersion game Better than Life, and Lister and the Cat are slowly starving/dehydrating. In Better Than Life they finally escape the game... and Lister's and the Cat's muscles have wasted away to the point where they're literally too weak to stand. To make the scene more creepy, Holly's offline, the ship's fallen into disrepair and the engines are dead... oh, and there's a planet on a collision course with Red Dwarf.
    • Lister's ordeal when he's stranded alone on Garbage World, formerly known as Earth. The planet reacts to his presence by doing its best to kill him... blizzards, raining literal acid and oil, earthquakes, lightning, fire....
  • Squick: In the novel Backwards the Cat somehow having sex...In reverse, (don't think about how that would work.) Kyrten notes that as it was with a human woman it could produce "horrific" offspring.
    • The same novel also has a disgustingly long description of what the eating situation is like in the Backwards reality, expanding on the ending gag from the episode "Backwards", where people eat by sucking their own dung back up their anuses and then taking food out of their mouth bite by bite after it's been undigested to reassemble it.
  • The Woobie: Lister. The number (and nature) of misfortunes and injuries he suffers is sadistic.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Rimmer, of course. Sure he's a smeghead, but his flaws are brought home to him in the most brutal ways possible, first with his holographic duplicate then in Better than Life where his own self-loathing systematically destroys his perfect fantasy world... and then his crewmates'.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/RedDwarf