Yesterday was the season 10 premier of Red Dwarf. If you missed it, I’ve posted the full episode as it appears on YouTube at the bottom of this post. In the episode, Rimmer (Chris Barrie) is confronted by one of his successful brothers that he’s loathed and resented his entire life. Let’s look at 5 other times that family has played an important role in Red Dwarf.
5. Rimmer’s Brothers
We can’t highlight the new episode starring Arnold Rimmer’s brother Howard without addressing the role Rimmer’s brothers have played in past episodes. In Dimension Jump, we see Rimmer’s mum lecturing Rimmer as he hangs by his feet, having been left there by his brothers. Since she is unphased, we can assume this is the normal state of affairs in the Rimmer household.
4. Emile Charles
Okay, this one might be cheating. But in the episode Timeslides, Lister (Craig Charles) goes back into the past and meets his younger self, a wannabe rockstar who has just written what he considers to be the next big hit rock song. It’s called “Om.” The actor playing Lister’s younger self is none other than the actor’s real life brother, Emile.
Lister’s family has always been a bit of a mystery, since he was found as a baby in a box under a pool table. But in the episode Ouroboros, he discovers that he is his own father. He and Kochanski create a test-tube baby and send it back in time, leaving it in a box under a pool table. The box is marked “Ouroboros,” which is of course the symbol of a snake eating its own tail, but growing up, he always thought his parents didn’t know whether he should be called “Rob” or “Ross.” In fact, in episode 2 of Red Dwarf X, Lister unveils that he has been sending himself Father’s Day cards every year. He gets really drunk on Father’s Day, writes a card to himself, gives it to Kryten to give him next year on this date, and then doesn’t remember having ever written the card because of how drunk he was. This goes sour when he takes the medi-bay computer’s advice and tries a little tough love on himself from father to son.
2. Sebastian and William Doyle
Rimmer has always been able to blame his failures on his upbringing, on his mother and brothers. When he and the others hallucinate that they all have other lives in the episode Back to Reality, he believes he is still a failure, but is in fact brothers with Lister, whose new identity is immensely successful. Realizing that his failure is his own and not the fault of his family, he is driven toward suicide.
1. Rimmer’s Mum
There are so many mum jokes when it comes to Rimmer, but we rarely get to see her. The best Mrs. Rimmer moment, though, I’m sure you’ll agree, is in Polymorph, when the Polymorph pretends to be Rimmer’s mum and claims she’s just had sex with Rimmer’s bunkmate Lister. Knowing that the Polymorph is trying to steal his anger, Rimmer tries to keep calm, but then, his mum says of Lister “The things this boy can do with…