Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Red Dwarf

Go To

The TV series

  • Acceptable Professional Targets:
    • Psychiatrists, the patronising and annoying Dr. McClaren in "Back in The Red". There's also the campy Brannigan, whose personality takes over Rimmer in "Queeg".
    • Holly's IQ of 6000 is, according to him, the same as the combined IQ of 6000 PE teachers or 12000 all night car park attendants.
    • Call centre operators, who are by the 24th century, all clones of Lister.
    • Vending machine maintenance technicians like Lister and Rimmer are at the bottom of the food chain in the Space Corps. The job is considered too menial for service robots and the pair of them are outranked by the guy who changed the toilet paper.
    • Advertisement:
    • When The Cat, Lister and Kochanski had to disguise themselves as the Dibbley family (charisma-less geeks with "teeth the druids could use as a place of worship") and were asked what their job was on the ship, they all shared a glance then simultaneously answered, "Computer Programmer".
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The show totters in and out with how much grasp Kryten has of complex human emotions and tact, leaving some ambiguity how much of his insensitivity is merely caused by his matter of fact analysing, or him passive aggressively venting his contempt for the other crew mates. This is lampshaded in "Quarantine" where Rimmer dresses down Kryten over his increased emotional growth and Selective Enforcement of the Space Corps Directive, accusing his robotic pragmatism to merely be him Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Rimmer during the "Risk" scene. Is he really that oblivious, or continuing on with the story solely to be a smeghead (after all, even Rimmer has to be able to notice how complete un-grippéd Lister is)? The smug grin as he keeps going is not in his favour.
    • Advertisement:
    • In universe, Kochanski floats the idea to Lister that Rimmer was such an insufferable smeghead on purpose in order to keep Lister from going insane. Not to be outdone, Kryten puts together "The Rimmer Experience" from Rimmer's diaries to dissuade this opinion.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The creators were famously told that they can't set a sitcom in space because "there's nowhere to put the sofa".
  • Angst? What Angst?: The Cat doesn't take any issue with the death of his brother. Of course, this is The Cat we're talking about here.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
  • 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. In WatchMojo's list of the Top 10 Sci-Fi Comedy TV Series, the comments field was absolutely overwhelmed with people lambasting them for only putting it at #2 (behind 3rd Rock from the Sun at #1).
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • 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".
  • Franchise Original Sin: The main criticism of Series VI and VII — that they abandoned the focus on the Boys from the Dwarf in favor of a more sci-fi adventure vibe — actually took root as early as the introduction of Starbug in Series III, and really gathered pace in Series V, which increasingly moved away from the Red Dwarf as a setting. It was likely more noticeable in Series VI and VII because of the former being written and filmed in an incredibly short timeframe, and the latter being hurt by the departures of Rob Grant and (for most of the season) Chris Barrie.
  • "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" in its 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:
    • The first series was something of a mixed bag, with the inexperienced actors (loosely: a poet, an impressionist, a dancer and a standup comedian) taking a while to find their feet and the writers not sure what tone they wanted to hit. The second series saw a notable improvement with the introduction of the android Kryten (although not as a regular at first) and an upping of the SF elements. However, it wasn't until the third series with the introduction of the Starbug spacecraft and more shows about getting off the eponymous ship that the show really hit its stride.
    • The Season I finale of Red Dwarf ("Me2") definitely stands out as a 'growing the beard' moment; it was the first real 'spotlight' episode for Arnold Rimmer and was the first time we got to crawl inside his head (via the subplot regarding Rimmer's final words before dying) towards Rimmer's inferiority complex and his deep-seeded self-loathing, leading to Rimmer becoming more of a sympathetic and fleshed-out character.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • The intro to Series VII was a pretty big one for Craig according to the DVD commentary. Shortly before the scene was recorded, he was sheepishly approached with a rather long bit of scene. According to his costars, he read it once, lost it, trod on it, then went out and did the whole scene in one take, getting a round of applause from the set crew.
    • In Ace Rimmer episodes, Chris Barrie does a good job at playing two different versions of the same character and in Stoke Me A Clipper, he has to act as one Rimmer pretending to be the other.
  • 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 (from, ironically enough, Rimmer).
    • 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 very 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.
    • Lister attempts to get The Cat to wear a Space Corps issue boiler suit instead of one of his trademark suits in order to look inconspicuous on the pre-accident Red Dwarf in "Red Dwarf Season II Stasis Leak". When The Cat complains, Lister tells him that he's on a mining ship, not Come Jivin', a reference to the old TV series, Come Dancing. Danny John-Jules would appear as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.
    • During its original airing, a common complaint about Series VII was that making a sitcom with a strong emphasis on drama and a film-like shooting style was a terrible idea, and that sitcoms were meant to be shot multi-camera with a studio audience. While the multi-camera approach was re-adopted for all future seasons of the show (except "Back to Earth", for budgetary reasons), Series VII is in retrospect often looked back on as a pioneer of the "dramedy" format that would become essentially standard for British comedy shows during the next decade, with the older format being almost invariably a one-way ticket to critical excoriation outside of shows that could claim the Grandfather Clause... like, for instance, Red Dwarf.
    • The tie in book released for Series VII, The Space Corps Survival Guide, written in character by Colonel "Mad" Mike O'Hagan (actually Paul Alexander), featured a scenario involving a simulant. Kryten's solution is to jam the simulant's circuits and turn him into a floor lamp. Come Series X, Lister does almost exactly the same thing, only he uses said simulant as a Stir Master.
  • 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.
    • Rimmer also refers to himself as being flabby, but when we see him with his shirt off he's surprisingly toned.
  • 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 note  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 it's 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 it's clear he's mostly doing this to live his fantasy of being a military leader, we're supposed to see him as wrong for forcing the droids to start training and toughening up for war, as seen by Lister's horrified reaction. Considering they were on the losing 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 too 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.
  • Misblamed: While co-creator Doug Naylor tends to get all the blame for the changes made in the remastered versions of Series I-III, and actually has held his hands up as to which changes he in retrospect regrets making, a lot of the more contentious alterations — in particular, the filmizing and colour regrading, all of Norman Lovett's scenes in Series I being re-filmed, the animated starfields in the crew quarter windows, and the effects added to Rimmer's malfunction in "Queeg" — were actually made by Ed Bye, who produced and directed the majority of the first eight seasons and was just as heavily involved in the remastering as Naylor.
  • More Popular Spin Off: A lot of fans don't know that it started as a sketch on a radio show.
  • 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.
    • Spare Head 3 only appears in one scene of one episode ("DNA"), but his ludicrously Northern accent make him very memorable.
    • Mr. Flibble, who only appears in the last few minutes of "Quarantine", and 'dies' at the end of it, but his temper leaves an impression.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Many fans' view is that anything produced after series co-creator Rob Grant left and his writing partner Doug Naylor carried on (mostly) alone isn't nearly as good as the first six series they wrote together. In a fan survey to rank all the episodes, the top 36 (36 being the number of Grant-Naylor penned episodes) featured only four episodes from after Series VI (one from VII, two from X and one from XII).
  • 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: In the third season, Norman Lovett was replaced with Hattie Haybridge as Holly. The in-show explanation was that Holly got a face-sex change. The new Holly was never as funny or pleasant to watch as the old Holly, and the show began to feature Holly less and less.
    • This was less to do with the change of actor, more that the third series introduced Kryten, who was a more suitable character to provide the plot exposition previously provided by Holly. Word of God is also that they got a new producer who didn't really know how to do the Holly scenes (pointing a camera at Hol's screen, rather than feeding the Holly image in directly.)
    • Additionally, Kochanski in one of the later seasons replaced Rimmer. Apart from the fact that she replaced the best character in the show, Kochanski herself wasn't funny or interesting at all. The fact that Kochanski had been fairly popular as a guest character, but was now a regular played by The Other Darrin didn't help.
  • Scapegoat Creator: After the Grant/Naylor partnership broke up, many fans claimed that Rob Grant alone was responsible for the show's early greatness, and that Doug Naylor was 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. 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. Since then, many fans have revised their opinions of Naylor following the success of Series X—XII, which he not only wrote single-handedly but also directed. Instead, Paul Alexander, Naylor's main co-writer in Series VII and VIII, is now generally the person blamed (fairly or not) for the quality of those years.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Alternate Kochanski from Series VII is one of these. For starters, she replaced Rimmer, second, she was played by a different actress than the original Kochanski, and third, while the original Kochanski seemed to be a fun, down-to-earth gal who was perfect for Lister — if still sufficiently out of his league to make his initially unrequited pining for her realistic — the new Kochanski was a cold, bitter and stuck-up snob to whom it was difficult to see an easy-going slob like Lister being attracted to.
    • In the absence of Rimmer, the writers pushed Kryten into his role, changing him into an overprotective Crazy Jealous Guy over Lister and replacing the Lister-Rimmer antagonism with Kryten and Kochanski. To say this didn't work is a huge understatement.
    Welshy: 'Kryten is beyond annoying [In series VII] to the point you want someone to turn him off and leave him off.'
    • 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. Den Of Geek were so appalled by the character that they made disparaging references to him in their reviews of every remaining Series X episode.
    • The Medi-Bot, who is played by Taiwan Tony's voice actor and appears in the same episode, likewise got a lot of hate for his nasally voice and annoying facial tics. Oddly enough, when the DVD release of Series X came out he turned out to have been in two Deleted Scenes from the previous episode, which were regarded as way funnier than the ones he actually did appear in, likely because the character played better opposite Rimmer than Lister (who he shared his scenes with in the following episode).
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Either the sixth, seventh, or eighth series; which one qualifies best, or rather worst, as the seasonal rot depends on who you talk to.
    • While fans differ as to where it began exactly, it's generally agreed that the period in between Series III and VI was its peak, with the rot starting depending on personal impression. However the rot became obvious after Rob Grant and Doug Naylor split, with Doug Naylor choosing to revive the series and turn it into a comedy/drama with no studio audience for Series VII and a new Kochanski and getting the backlash that followed. Despite returning to a pure comedy format and shot in front of an audience for Series VIII the response was similarly poor, due to the jarring change of premise to a prison comedy with the old crew brought back to life as opposed to the more natural progression from series V through VII.
  • 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 its 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. The whole thing can be seen in the deleted scenes on the Series V DVD.
    • The Space Corps justice drone that Starbug encounters in Emohawk - Polymorph II teleports in with an effect that is clearly a photograph on a spinning 2D plane.
    • The usually effective CG-merging of the crew's faces that makes up Legion's true face in Legion becomes painfully obvious when he has to move, since the effect is still 2D and misaligns with the actor's own head.
  • 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 dog food ("Marooned"), a cigarette ("Holoship"), a strawberry packed to bursting with maggots (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 And 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 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.
    • SF Debris recommonded not to watch "Backwards" while eating.
  • 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 III.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Season VIII has the crew finally retrieve Red Dwarf and instead of continuing the journey back home, they get imprisoned and the show becomes a prison series set on a spaceship. As if that weren't enough, besides Captain Hollister, we don't spend any substantial amount of time with the familiar crewmembers.
    • Series VIII also seems to forget that the Kochanski introduced in Series VII isn't actually the real Kochanski but an alternate universe duplicate. We know this due to the fact that the nanobots forget to resurrect the original Kochanski in the same way that they recognised Lister was still alive. Would have been really quite fun to have the original, fun-loving, working-class Kochanski play off against her public school educated, spoiled and rather stuck-up double. It would also get around the awkwardness of the other perpetually forgotten plot from series VII that alternate Kochanski is Lister's mother.Its not even as if there wouldn't have been plenty for each to do to separate them, what with the original Kochanski being an officer who lives outside the cell block and alternate Kochanski sharing a room with Kryten and having her Canary duties.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: When Grant Naylor pitched the show to The BBC, they said it would be less like Doctor Who and more like Steptoe and Son in space, on acid.
  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance: The one time Rimmer had sex while he was still alive was with a concussed woman who thought he was someone else, which is rape by deception (although it should be noted that Rimmer acted more out of ignorance than malice and one of the books established that the woman in question had a pre-existing infatuation with Rimmer prior to them sleeping together). This is a lot less funny in The New '10s now that discussion around consent has become a lot more open.
  • 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 Season I, these are pretty damn good. Doug Naylor notes that the majority of the budget for Season I went to the model shots.
    • Thankfully, due to the use of models, it has helped the effects in series I-VI hold up quite well. Series VII and VIII 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.
    • Whenever multiple versions of one character are on screen at one time, especially "Psirens" and "Officer Rimmer."
    • The forced perspective of Lister freeing Starbug's leg in Psirens, achieved with a model of Starbug and a built-to-scale prop Starbug leg on location.
    • Starbug crashing onto the ocean moon in Dimension Jump.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: The Mechanoid Intergalactic Liberation Front in "Siliconia" are dressed as typical revolutionaries, with thick shades and black berets. Unfortunately, given their inherently non-threatening designs and lack of uniforms, they look more like an army of beatniks.
  • 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, so that he could skip the rest of the jag and basically be back at Earth by the time his sentence was up. Becomes less "alternate" in Season 12 where it is implied that TV-Lister also planned all of it out.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Last Human: The Alternate Lister, apart from being an unfeeling sociopath with no regard for life or property, 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.
    • Backwards: Djuhn'Keep, as one of a series of androids dedicated to hunting down the remains of the human race—aka Dave Lister—and torturing them to death, is already vile. Djuhn masterminded the creation of the Death Wheel and the Hub of Pain torture chamber at its very center, stocking it with every single form of weapon that could be used to torture their captives. 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, Djuhn he ejects them into space and goes after Lister.
  • Genius Bonus: Spaghettifcation is the actual scientific term used for when things get too close to a black hole.
  • 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 APRs.
  • 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.
  • 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'.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: