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Recap / Red Dwarf Season III Bodyswap

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The Rimmer Diet: Great for indulgence, not so much for a healthy figure. Or scalp.

One of the skutters goes mad and rewires the whole ship. This is bad news, because nobody knows what the autodestruct is hooked up to now. They have to refrain from using anything electronic, even a lightswitch, as Lister explains to Cat before ordering food from a vending machine.

And the autodestruct activates.

In a desperate bid to save their lives, they swap Lister's brain with the dead first officer's to cancel it—which doesn't work, but it's all right because there's no bomb anymore, just the alarm. It gives Rimmer an idea, and that night he plants anxiety in Lister's head about his lifestyle of curries, cigarettes, and drinking. Lister agrees to swap bodies for a couple of weeks so that Rimmer can subject it to a regimen of diet and exercise.

What follows is twenty minutes of gluttony, hypocrisy, and actors pretending to be each other pretending to be their characters as Rimmer subjects Lister's body to a hedonistic hell of food, wine, and cigars. When Lister cuts it short and switches back, Rimmer has Kryten chloroform him, swap back, and then takes Starbug out to continue his bacchanal for another month at least. Lister, Cat, and Kryten pursue, but in the chase Starbug crashes.


Back aboard Red Dwarf and in the right bodies, Lister catalogues all the awful things Rimmer has done through both crash injuries and his general abuse as Kryten bemoans his guilty conscience. In walks Rimmer, stiff as a board—and then Cat a moment later, with an enormous plate of food, speaking with Rimmer's voice before shoving his face into it again. Roll credits.

Tropes featured in this episode:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Cat and Kryten both love Rimmer's severed-arm gag.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Played With after Rimmer (in Lister's body) crashes Starbug. He pretends to have lost Lister's arm in the crash, but he's actually hiding it under the shreds of his uniform.
  • Bland-Name Product: The "crispy bar" that Lister orders from the vending machine has "Toffee Crispy" written on the label in a similar font to the real life Toffee Crisp bar.
  • Advertisement:
  • Blatant Lies: Rimmer-as-Lister claims that a girdle is a training belt and the little things for holding up stockings are for attaching weights to.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: An understandably angry Lister is right to point out that Rimmer welched on their deal and just revelled in the fact that he could eat, drink and smoke again, ruining Lister's body even further. Rimmer counters by pointing out that thanks to his slobbish lifestyle, Lister didn't exactly have the best body to begin with — he has unexplained backaches, neck cringes, taste buds that have been ruined by his diet of mostly curry, strangely-coloured urine and very bad Athlete's foot.
    Rimmer-as-Lister: Oh, and I’ll give you a little tip. Urine should only be green if you're Mr Spock.
  • Brain Uploading: Lister's mind is stored in a cassette while an old crew member's brain is put into his body.
  • Brick Joke: After the countdown hits zero, the vending machine dispenses Lister's food.
  • Cassette Futurism: Lister's personality is stored on a small cassette.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Oh smeg. What the smeggin' smeg's he smeggin' done? He's smeggin' killed me."
  • Didn't Think This Through: Lister brings Cat up to speed on the "do not use any electronic system on the ship" situation and then absentmindedly orders a milkshake and a crispy bar from a vending machine... triggering the autodestruct sequence.
    Cat: That was a very dumb thing you just did.
  • Diet Episode: It would be this if Rimmer hadn't immediately welched on the deal. At the end, Kryten serves Lister a tiny lettuce leaf filled with shredded carrot.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Rimmer veers, barrel-rolls, and wobbles across space in Starbug, drunk on wine and cream-cakes.
    • In the Re-Mastered version, the barrel-roll is replaced by Rimmer performing a loop-the-loop stunt.
  • Early Installment Weirdness;
    • Much like in his first appearance, Kryten has to obey Rimmer over Lister, due to the former being the higher-ranking of the two. Starting in Series IV, it's established that Kryten obeys living people over other synthetic people irrespective of rank, meaning that he'll obey Lister over Rimmer.
    • When trying to convince Cat to lend him his body, Lister refers to White Midget, an early name for Starbug, due to this episode's location footage being filmed first.
  • False Reassurance: When Lister asks if Kryten has ever done a mind swap successfully, Kryten states that it didn't work, but he thinks he knows what went wrong.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: How the plot starts out. Rimmer convinces Lister to swap bodies so he can get Lister's body into shape. Being tangible again causes Rimmer to get carried away and fail to live up to his side of the deal, which turns the plot into...
  • Grand Theft Me: After Rimmer is forced to give up the swap early, he makes Kryten chloroform Lister and steals his body outright.
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Rimmer forcibly swapping into Cat's body.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Rimmer, returned to a real body, plants his face into an enormous mound of mashed potatoes and then pours the gravy over his head.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Rimmer manages to convince a reluctant Lister to agree to the mind-swap procedure by pointing out that he has little to lose:
    Rimmer: The very worst that can happen, the absolute bottom line, is that you'll have to spend the rest of your life as a mindless, gibbering vegetable. But if the rest of your life's only going to be thirty seconds, what the hell?
  • Magic Countdown: The self-destruct is accidentally set off. Kryten's plan to stop the countdown fails, and everyone braces themselves for the explosion...which never comes. Turns out Holly threw out the bomb months ago.
  • Noodle Incident: Kryten mentions that the mindswap was something they tried back on the Nova 5.
    Lister: Have you ever done this before?
    Kryten: Oh, yes.
    Lister: Did it work?
    Kryten: No, but I'm fairly certain I know what went wrong.
    • There's also the part where Rimmer-in-Lister's body examines his junk and finds something very surprising.
  • Oh, Crap!: Rimmer-in-Lister, as he realizes that Starbug is about to crash.
  • Scrabble Babble: Cat claims "Jozxyqk" as a cat word for "the noise you make when you get your sexual organs trapped in something."
    Lister: Is it in the dictionary?
    Cat: It could be. If you're reading in the nude and close the book too quick, jozxyqk!
  • Sense Freak: Rimmer goes mad with the joy of physical sensation the moment he's in Lister's body and immediately embarks on an orgy of food, girlie mags, cigars and jacuzzis. It's pretty clear that he never really intended to shape it up in the first place.
    • Rimmer outright admits this, although he tries to cover it by saying it was only temporary. Lister immediately points out the cigar he's smoking.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Lister asks Cat to let him borrow his body, otherwise he won't be able to pilot after Rimmer. Cat states that he can just pilot Blue Midget, and even Lister cannot help but roll his eyes when he realizes he's right.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: When Rimmer steals Lister's body, he holds a gun to his own head and says if Lister comes after him, the body gets it.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Rimmer-as-Lister cuts off his dreads with an electric knife. After getting his body back, Lister fishes them out of the bin and wears them on a string around his head.
  • V-Sign: Rimmer does it with both hands after tricking Lister into thinking he'd lost an arm in Starbug's crash.
  • Voices Are Mental: Lister and Rimmer's voices are switched in addition to their bodies, so we know which is which. Unfortunately, an effect this complex to produce required the show to forgo the usual live audience, in favor of recording a laugh track afterwards.
  • You Are Fat: Rimmer tries to persuade Lister to lend him his body.
    Rimmer: You're getting porky.
    Lister: Porky!
    Rimmer: Last week when there was that lights failure in the engine room, your silhouette was caste onto the wall. I got the fright of my life. I thought it was Alfred Hitchcock.
    Lister: Are you sayin' I've got a gut?
    Rimmer: You have got more gut that a Turkish butchers shop window.
    Lister: Hang on, no really. Do you think I've put on weight?
    Rimmer: You've reached that age, Listy. When you're younger you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26 inch waist trousers and zip them closed. Then you reach that age — 24, 25 — your muscles give up they wave a little white flag and then without any warning at all, you're suddenly a fat bastard.
    Lister: I'm not fat — I'm porky!
    Rimmer: Have you ever in dissection class held up a frog by its head? You know the way its belly sort of sticks out above its spindly little legs? Well, that's the picture I see when you get down from the bunk in the morning.
  • You Didn't Ask: Holly jettisoned the bomb long ago without unhooking the alarm system and gives this excuse for not telling them.