Hello and Welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Ah Red Dwarf. One of the greatest science-fiction sitcoms ever made. But don’t take my word for it, Welshy’s already reviewed it. Or you could, you know, watch the show. If you’re into sci-fi you won’t regret it.
The story, in brief, is about Dave Lister. He gets cryogenically frozen aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf but, after a radioactive fallout kills all the crew, he is revived 3 million years later once the background radiation has died down to safe levels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=nyKF2qd0-iQ&annotation_id=annotation_432288&v=6Hrwut2dV0k&feature=iv The only companions he has is a senile computer running the ship (Hally), his uptight room-mate who’s stick up his arse has a stick up its arse (Arnold Rimmer), a member of Homo Felixus that evolved into human form from that of a cat (Cat) and a service robot that eventually broke its programming (Kryten). Oh and his love interest from another dimension, who turns out to be his own mother (Kristine Kochanksi).
But what if Lister didn’t step out of the stasis pod? Perhaps he went mad instead; and all the characters are the product of his own delusional mind? Don’t follow me? Well let me elaborate using good old Sigmund Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego (who will probably end up being the centre of a blog one day when I discuss his theory that everything is about sex).
Lets start with the Id, the primal part of our brain. The thing that makes us no better then the monkeys we evolved from. Well what better description is that for The Cat. Concerned with only fashion and ladies (in that order), he represents the Id in Dave Lister. The Id has no concept of good or bad, just purely interested in themselves. The Cat has been shown many times that the rest of universe should be lucky to be in his presence. In an episode where the crew had to justify their existence to a time-travelling robot going through time, replacing people with better versions of themselves that never had the chance to be born (don’t ask, it’s that kind of show) the Cat gives this argument: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tGO79BtWUI What more can I say? He knows without doubt that he’s just that amazing, a gift to all women. What better excuse does an Id need?
So lets move onto the opposite end of the scale, the Superego. This is the one that tries to bring order to the mind, make it follow social rules and conventions. While I could make the case for Rimmer being this (since he’s obsessed with Starfleet Regulations), Kryten tends to serve the rule much better. He’s a kind, English butler who can take even the worst of news in a somewhat polite and indifferent manner. He is the one that tries to keep the crew in some sort of orderly control, though he has no chance whatsoever. In fact, most of his character development comes from him trying to break his programming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB-NnVpvQ78. Nevertheless, he’s still the team Mom of the group.
And now we come to the third part of the mind, the Ego. According to my very (limited research), the Ego is the one that tries to make the Id conform with what the Superego wants, otherwise the Superego makes the Ego feel anxious or inferior. Arnold Rimmer was very much the one trying to control the Cat and Lister before Kryten came along, desperately trying to make people obey his orders. Most of the comedy comes from the fact that he’s a complete smeghead that no one likes, leading to most of his demands being ignored. In turn Kryten (maybe unintentionally, maybe on purpose) ridicules him on this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa_gZ_7sdZg So there we go. Rimmer is the Ego who never gets any breaks. But what about the other two characters? What about Holly and Kochanksi?
Well lets start with Kochanksi first. In one episode it turns out that she is Lister’s mother after he takes his baby self back in time to be adopted (trust me, this is one of their more simple episodes). Now I play the card of the Oedipus complex. Put very, very simply: we all want to kill our fathers and sleep with our mothers. Now you know that feeling you get, how you want to bleach your brain? Don’t worry, it’s common, it’ll pass in time. Hopefully you won’t get too many long-term side effects. But doesn’t Kochanksi represent perfectly? She is Lister’s mum; and he spends most of season 7 and 8 trying to sleep with her. And, if we look at him as so depressed he wants to commit suicide (which can be argued another day), he does want to kill his own dad. Furthermore it’s the Superego’s job to get rid of the Oedipus complex, which is shown by how Kryten wants to get rid of Kochanksi so badly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a_Hg54V5Os So, once again, Kochanksi is just another product of Lister’s damaged psyche.
So now we come to the last character, Holly. So what is Holly, how does he fit into all this? Well I say that Holly is Lister’s despair manifested into the thing keeping him prisoner here. Like AM in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (about an evil computer that keeps a couple of humans alive after a nuclear war so he can make their lives hell). Holly is the one that piloted the ship 3 million years away from Earth, trapping Lister there. He is dumb, despite apparently having an IQ of 9000. Either that or he’s very manipulative. He’s the part of Lister who totally thinks he deserves to be punished; and will punish Lister by making ‘mistakes’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhjGXCk-RVU. Even when he tries to escape Red Dwarf, Holly finds a way of not only reuniting with him but making his life worst (sticking the crew in jail with a bunch of psycho prisoners). So Holly is the part of Lister that is keeping him trapped in the make-up dream world.
So there you have it. Red Dwarf, all in the mind of one mad Lister. If you have any disagreements, or anything you want to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.