YMMV: Red Dwarf

The TV series

  • 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.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The use of the word 'clitoris' in the first Polymorph episode offended some viewers to the extend that they ceased their viewership.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • 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.
  • Fridge Brilliance: The reason the two Kochanskis are so different personality wise? Is because they're from different realities.
  • Fridge Horror: "Yo, matey, have your tooth back" in Backwards. We see Lister punch the man in the face, with the backwards time effect indeed restoring his tooth and the man the sitting down with his newspaper as the fight starts/ends. Play the events forward and the man was sitting in the bar with his paper, minding his own business, when he got up and Lister punched him the face, knocking his tooth out for absolutely no reason at all. What a bastard.
    • The less said about Cat's bathroom break in the same episode, the better.
  • "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, (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.
  • Funny Moments: Check it out.
  • 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: One from the books. George McIntyre in that 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.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Lister's size alluded to in "Backwards" and "Bodyswap" really doesn't match up with what we see.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Memetic Badass: Ace Rimmer
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Mr Flibble's very cross."
    • "Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast". Actually mutated within the show itself: "Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas. [pause] Whatever."
    • "But, where would all the calculators go?"
    • "Gazpacho soup!!"
    • "Everybody's Dead, Dave"
    • "So, what is it?"
  • Memetic Sex God: Ace Rimmer
    • From a discussion in one episode, Wilma Flintstone.
    • Marilyn Monroe gets this treatment in universe as well. Lister keeps a poster of her in his locker is series 2 and she's appeared as a character in three separate episodes as the Cat's fantasy girlfriend, a kit robot for Kryten's sendoff and a wax droid.
    • Anybody exposed to the Sexual Magnetism virus (which isn't as good as you think it might be if you've just been sentenced to a 2 year stretch)
  • 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.
  • Moment Of Awesome: Check it out.
  • MST3K Mantra: How'd we find a traffic cone in deep space? Eh...let's just never mention it.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Rimmer's insane howl in "Quarantine".
    • The ending of "Meltdown", when it's revealed that Rimmer's "tactics" ended up wiping out the wax droids entirely. Lister clearly viewed the droids as being sentient, and he's distraught to hear about how they're all gone. The fact that Rimmer is oblivious to why Lister would feel that way only makes it worse.
    Rimmer: I brought about peace. Peace, freedom and democracy.
    Lister: Yeah, Rimmer. Right. Absolutely. Now all the corpses that litter that battlefield can just lie there safe under the knowledge that they snuffed it under a flag of peace and can now happily decompose in a land of freedom. Ya smeg head.
    • The scene where they come across the hologram stuck in a loop can be pretty unsettling.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the first episode of Series 3, as Rimmer is about to be ejected from the Starbug we can clearly see a string behind him.
  • 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 Demons & Angels); 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 spits 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.
  • 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's a lot more popular/sympathised with than he was really supposed to be.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Rimmer.
  • The Woobie: Rimmer. The episode '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.
  • Freudian Trio: Kind of a meta-example, but the producers (Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, Ed Bye) could sort of count as a power trio. Rob Grant was known for the impulsive and quick episodic comedy side, and given his rather large girth (In more recent years anyway. In his Creator Cameo, he hasn't really gotten fat yet.), could be identified as the id. Doug Naylor focuses on, and think too too much, on the science fiction element and on story arcs, that could identify him as the superego, and can be somewhat too serious. Ed Bye provides a balance between the two, he can be serious, but he also has a laugh (as evidenced in "Only The Good..." when he cameo'd as the Grim Reaper) .
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The special effects are quite obviously fake most of the time, but Series X has some outstanding visuals.
    • The shots of the ship itself. Even as far back as series 1, these are pretty damn good.
    • Thanksfully, 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 otherhand...

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.
  • 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.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A bit in the book Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers. One character 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 are slowly starving / dehydrating.
  • 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 injuries he sustains is sadistic.