This will surprise absolutely no one, I’m sure (especially because I’ve written about it before) but, and I hope you’re sitting down: I’m a humongous dork. And not just because I won a spelling bee in 6th grade or used to read an etymological dictionary for fun at dinner or had pet sea monkeys as recently as last year or that I stay home on Friday nights and watch documentaries hosted by Jeremy Irons about Henry IV and V investigating the discrepancies between Shakespeare’s plays and history or that I’ve never met a book on grammar I didn’t love (Boyfriend is a lucky guy!)(where was I going with this? oh, right!) but because I absolutely adore a particular British 90s sci-fi cult comedy show entitled “Red Dwarf.”
Hear me out.
Sure, the premise sounds dorky: lone human being (Dave Lister) living on a marooned space ship 3 million years in the future with the hologram simulation (Arnold J. Rimmer was the original Tupac) of his old bunk-mate and nemesis, a life form who evolved from Lister’s cat (called Cat), the ship’s computer (Holly) with an alleged IQ of 6000, and a service robot they pick up along the way (Kryten). There are tons of campy, cheesy jokes, tons of awful CGI effects (hey, the show aired from ’88-’99), and lots of improbable scenarios that you can only encounter in deep space (time travel, aliens, evil droids, your basic science fiction shenanigans). The show is, in a word, AMAZING.
I could blame it on my dad, who was my enabler through our early introduction to this show on late night public broadcast somewhere in 1997, and who funded my habit by buying me all of the VHS tapes of the series, but let’s be honest, this was all me. Don’t get me wrong, he loved the show, too. We had a solid few years at one point where our conversations together were conducted solely in quotes from the main characters, and we might have (MIGHT HAVE) belonged to the Red Dwarf Fan Club, a membership that provided us with quarterly magazines and our own, fabulous keychains. I even bought a t-shirt that was 5 sizes too large for me when my mom and I went to London in 2001 simply because it had Holly’s head on it with the show’s logo. I still have it. I REGRET NOTHING.
I never really got over the show; it was always there, lurking under the surface, waiting to strike again. It’d been a few years since I’d watched the whole series (all 8 seasons) straight through, so over the weekend I started over. And I come to find out, THEY MADE A WHOLE NEW SEASON LAST YEAR. Proof that cult classics never get old, the creators brought back the entire original cast for a mini-series of 4 episodes in 2009, and a full run of 10 episodes last year. How I’m just finding out about this NOW is beyond me, but don’t worry, I’ve ordered the DVD.
If you’re still following, thank you, and I’d like you to watch something. It’s a 10 minute compilation of some of the funniest moments in the show’s history. Now, I realize that none of you will understand a single joke in this clip without knowing the ridiculous premise of the show, or the character dynamics, but if it even elicits a single laugh, you’re on to something. The entire show is available through Amazon streaming, and yeah, it’s pretty much what I’ve been doing the last 5 days.
Okay, so what’s your nerdiest tv show confession? Bonus points if you top mine.