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Recap / Red Dwarf Season I Balance Of Power

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"Yo, goalpost head, I'm pretty sure your arm's only meant to have a mind of its own around sexy ladies!"
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Sick and tired of Rimmer lording his power over him, especially now that he's hidden the ship's cigarette supply away, Lister hits upon the perfect way to put an end to it: by becoming an officer himself.

This episode includes examples of:

  • Always Someone Better: Rimmer is horrified when Lister decides to get a promotion that will make him Rimmer's superior, and does whatever he can to sabotage Lister's plans.
  • Big Eater: Cat requests fish from the vending machine six times.
  • Desecrating the Dead: A variant; when Rimmer tries to blockade Lister from going to his exam, Lister just walks right through him. To be fair, most dead people don't generally tend to be dicks and jerks and Rimmer has been this for so long, Lister has definitely no respect for him.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: It was originally planned that Holly would be a disembodied voice. This is clearly evident in the scene where Lister complains about Rimmer - he looks all over the place.
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  • Fantastic Racism: Classism, actually, but Rimmer is quite disgusted when Lister reveals that he's actually studying to be a chef rather than an astro-navigator, asserting that chefs "aren't real officers". Lister retorts that they still outrank Rimmer.
  • Flipping the Bird: The skutters give the British two-finger version to Rimmer.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: The episode ends on a freeze frame of Lister leaping into the air in victory. This was done as a pragmatic measure: while filming the scene, Craig Charles landed badly and injured his back, rendering the end of the shot unusable and preventing reshoots.
  • French Jerk: When Holly brings up that Jean-Paul Sartre once said "Hell is being locked in a room forever with your friends", Lister angrily retorts that he only said that because all of (Sartre's) friends were French.
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  • Gender Bender: Rimmer turns himself into a hologram of Kochanski by copying her disc, pretending to be her in a desperate attempt to convince Lister not to take the exam. It briefly works before Lister notices 'Kochanski's' speech is littered with Rimmerisms.
  • Hypocrite: Rimmer demands to know where Lister got his illegal learning drugs for his chef's exam. Lister reveals he got them from Rimmer's locker.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Rimmer considers going over an endless checklist of supplies to be fun, and calls Lister crazy when he complains.
  • Lawful Stupid: That Rimmer acts this way is lampshaded by Lister, who gloats that when he becomes an officer, he'll be able to stick Rimmer with any dirty job he likes and know Rimmer will do it without complaining, because he "respects that officer smeg".
    Rimmer: If you mean I respect my superiors no matter who they are, and I obey orders blindly and unquestioningly ... yes! Yes I do!
  • Loophole Abuse: When Lister says he take an exam to get promoted above Rimmer, Rimmer laughs because he knows Lister doesn't have what it takes to be an astro-navigator. However Lister points out that he's not taking the astro-navigation exam. He's taking the 'Chef' exam. Then points out he doesn't need to become an officer. Rimmer was the second lowest ranked crewman on the ship besides himself, so Lister getting 'any' promotion, even to chef, will make him Rimmer's superior.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Rimmer becomes Kochanski. He doesn't concern himself with feeling his feminine physique until the process is only partly reversed by Holly.
    • Not that he was in any hurry to get that last body part replaced.
  • Obsessed Are the Listmakers: A throw-away gag in the flashback is that Rimmer wasted seven months that he could have spent studying for his exam on instead writing up a timetable for studying, with the implication that he does this every single time he tries to take the exam. In the novelization ("Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers"), it's explicitly stated that this is exactly what he does. This gets a Call-Back in "The Beginning" when his first step in planning a strategy against the Simulants is to make a timetable.
  • Oh, Crap!: Resulting in a deployment of an artificially-intelligent toilet.
    Lister: Not you!
    Toilet: I do apologize; I wasn't paying attention. See you later.
  • Troll: Though we only find out in the next episode; turns out Lister failed the exam, despite claiming otherwise.
  • Wisdom from the Gutter: Rather than waste his time with the incredibly challenging astonavigation exams that Rimmer has been failing at for years, Lister chooses to pursue the far simpler and more enjoyable chef exams instead.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: An exasperated Lister declares he would have been happier being stuck aboard Red Dwarf for eternity with Herman Goering than with Rimmer.
    Lister: Ok, he was a drug-crazed transvestite, but at least we could have gone dancing.

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