Sunday, August 21, 2016

Red Dwarf VIII Episode 6: "Pete, Part 1"

The Dwarfers play basketball and Kryten zaps people with a time-altering dildo. Thus goes the first part of what I believe some fans consider to be the worst Red Dwarf ever made. Laughs are few and far between in another messy episode as Lister and Rimmer are repeatedly called to the Captain's office for punishment and get into all sorts of scrapes. One arguable strength of the episode is that it actually bothers to give a plot to Kryten, Kochanski and the Cat, but as that plot isn't funny or very interesting it's a bit of a wasted effort.
The basketball sequence has to be a low point. Even though Craig Charles and Danny John-Jules evidently know what they're doing, there's something painful about watching Chris Barrie in a scene where he's meant to be playing basketball. The whole idea that Lister and Rimmer have been playing pranks on Ackerman, and then do so on the guards' basketball team, seems very inconsistent with the characterisation of the weaselly Rimmer, who was trying to be a "model prisoner" one episode earlier and in previous series rarely tends to do anything that could potentially get him into trouble except in a very good cause. In general, though, the basketball bit just feels so "American" and out of place in Red Dwarf.
There's nothing especially funny about Lister and Rimmer's hair and clothes being eaten by the "programmable virus", although the bald caps are convincing. Meanwhile, our forgotten other three protagonists find the "time wand", this two-parter's arbitrary sci-fi gimmick. The fact that they're able to just take it once again exposes the odd presentation of the Canaries as being totally unsupervised. The jokes involving that are pretty lame as well; turning Baxter's lunch back into a chicken is real kids' TV stuff. I suppose Cat and Kochanski's retro hairstyles and outfits are kind of funny, although Kochanski gets the dreadful joke wondering if the Time Wand can do "boob jobs". Kochanski's a woman; did you know? On the other hand, this at least gave us the Smeg Up in which she adds "I nearly said blow jobs" and then Danny John-Jules runs in and says "There would have been a long queue!" This really is a series in which the Smeg Ups are generally funnier than the episodes themselves.
Probably the only payoff of all this rigmarole is the one joke I enjoyed in the entire episode, after they meet "bird man". Lister asks him why he's called that, and Rimmer retorts "Because he really likes instant custard. Why do you think?" It's probably the only truly funny bit in the whole episode. Why does Lister suddenly have such good connections with the Skutters? The "tapping the pipe" gag is way too drawn out and the potato room looks incredibly crap. I'm not sure whether this is better or worse than the following episode. It's probably a bit better because there's less mucking around with CGI dinosaurs and big prop feet.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.