Red Dwarf: S02E06: Parallel Universe
This was another classic Red Dwarf Episode. It will be most remembered for the wacky introduction. Not the usual stern opening by Holly, but an over-the-top performance of the song ‘Tongue Tied’ by Cat, Rimmer and Lister and some shapely dancers in the background.
When I saw you for the first time
My knees began to quiver
And I got a funny feeling
In my kidneys and my liver
My hands they started shakin’
My heart began a-thumpin’
My breakfast left my body
It all really tells me something
Girl you make me tongue tied
Tongue tied, whenever you are near me
Tied tongue,Tied tongue
Whenever you’re in town
I saw you ‘cross the dance floor
I thought of birds and bees
And when I tried to speak to ya
My tongue unraveled to my knees
I tried to say I love you
But it came out kind of wrong, girl
It sounded like “Nunubididoo”
Nuh mur nuh murh ni nong nurl
‘Cause you make me tongue tied
Tongue tied, whenever you are near me
Tongue tied, whenever you’re around
Oh I’m beggin’ on my knees
Sweet, sweet darling, listen please
Understand me when I say
I’m trying to say nungy-nangy
Ningy-nongy, why can’t I tell you clearly
Whenever you’re around
Whenever you’re around
While we are all still reeling from the shock, we see Cat in the Holo room with Rimmer and Lister looking through the dream recorder, “No this isn’t the one,” he says, “I was looking for the dream I had last week, it was sensational”. When Lister asked what the dream was about, Cat replied that it involved three women and a tub of banana yoghurt.
“You have a very strange attitude to women if you ask me!” says Rimmer. “It’s all sex, there is no sense of settling down, having a long term relationship.”
Rimmer points out that the book actually works! “You’re a sad weasel of a man Rimmer” said Lister. Rimmer objects, he honestly believes in his techniques and demonstrates one of his chattup lines to Lister. The line is basically, “Would you like a wormdo? ….What’s a wormdo? ….It wriggles along the ground like this.”
Holly appears and tells the crew that he has just invented the Holly Hop Drive. This is a magnificent machine that can transport any object in the universe to any other part of the universe. Lister becomes very excited. They all go to the Drive Room to look at Holly’s wonderful invention.
They are all mildly disappointed when the discover that this new high tech gizmo basically looks like a small cardboard box painted red, with two large buttons on the top. one says ‘start’ and the other says ‘stop’. “Is this it!?” says Lister.
“It’s fairly straightforward.” says Holly, obviously proud of his invention. “If you wanna start press start, the other controls you can work out for yourself.”
They decide to give it a try. Holly goes through the pre-mission checks but is prompted to ‘get on with it’ by an impatient Rimmer. “It takes time this, any slight error in any one of my 13,000,000,000 calculations and we’ll all be blasted to smithereens!…… Here we go then, 10, 9, 8, 6, 5….”
“Hang on, you missed out 7!” shouts Rimmer.
“Did I, I’ve always had a bit of a blind spot with 7’s” says Holly.
Rimmer has a smug smile on his face, “We’re all going to die.” He says.
“No problem,” replies Holly confidently, “I’ll start lower down…… 1, blastoff!”
The ship disappears and reappears. Holly tells them with surprise. It’s gone (the Earth), he checks out of the other window and confirms that the whole solar system has disappeared. Rimmer ventures the suggestion (with his best smug expression) that they haven’t actually moved, that the ship is actually in the very same place!
However, they are both wrong. Red Dwarf has jumped into another, Parallel Universe. Holly doesn’t know how, but they appear to have jumped into a fifth dimension. Holly explains…
“You have you’re basic four dimensions right? length, breadth, depth and time. The fifth dimension is co-existing realities, two bodies that share the same space but are unaware each others existence.” Sure enough, another Red Dwarf can be seen a couple of kilometres from them.
Suddenly the ships computer from the other Red Dwarf appears. OH MY GOD!!! SHE’s GORGEOUS!!! Erm… this erm… drop dead gorgeous blonde babe appears…. Erm… Red Dwarf2’s computer appears on Holly’s screen, “Hello,” this wonderful apperition of leurvliness says, “I’m Hilly.” Holly says hi, “Well,” she adds, “this is a turn up for the book init? You’d better boogie on over so we can sort it out.”
“Right on sis.” Says the lucky git, erm… Holly that is. “See ya Hol,” says the lovely Hilly, “See ya Hil.” Replies that balding old geezer, Holly. Hilly leaves the screen, and Holly’s eyes widen, “I’m in there!” He says, demonstrating clearly that he has no grasp of reality whatsoever. They all resolve to pay it a visit to Red Dwarf2.
On the other Red Dwarf, Rimmer and Lister meet, their opposite, Rimmer and Lister. Both females. Rimmer F (female – Arlene) introduces herself rather formally to Rimmer M (male – Arnold) and Lister F (female – Debs) does the same to Lister M (male – Dave). A Skutter accompanied the crew of Red Dwarf1 and as it explores the corridors, it too passes its opposite number, a pink Skutter. The pink Skutter turns round and follows (it’s in there!).
Welp! Finally the crew of Red Dwarf meet some females, not just any females, but females that are just like them. The episode examines how we might feel if we were to meet someone who had the same interests as we and the same feelings. The results were funny and yet not completely surprising. Our hearts however, went out to the poor Cat. He discovered that his opposite number was not, after all, a feline, but a canine. A dog, a rather smelly and unsophisticated dog. Poor cat, meeting another member of his race, hell another female, was all he ever wanted!
Lister and Rimmer discover that their other halves come form a female orientated universe. Women are the dominant sex (Nelly Armstrong was the first human on the moon and Wilma Shakespeare wrote the Taming of the Shrimp and Rachael III).
RimmerM notices a magazine on the table. He is mildly upset to see half-naked men draped across sports cars. He points this out to RimmerF who accuses him of being a ‘masculinist’. RimmerM feels a little inadequate (these men apparently have large physiques). Sexual attitudes are different in this universe. They chat for a while and then decide to celebrate in the ships disco while Holly and Hill get it together and try to fix the Holly Hop Drive. Cat meanwhile meets the Dog. He is massively disappointed.
In the disco, ListerM and ListerF dance while RimmerM and RimmerF chat. They are both like fish out of water. RimmerF attempts to chat up RimmerM, she uses the same chatup lines and cookie methods of hypnosis. RimmerM backs off but RimmerF accuses him of ‘begging for it’ he must be, otherwise, why would he wear such tight trousers. “your disgusting!” He says, “You’re only after me for one thing!”
“Why,” inquires RimmerF, “How many have you got?”
Later, ListerM is ushered over to RimmerM’s table. RimmerM is suffering RimmerF’s tongue down his ear and he’s desperately trying to find a way of getting out of such a sticky situation. ListerM walks over as RimmerF gives up – she passes him and says, “If you want to keep your beer cool, stick it between his legs!”.
RimmerM and ListerM talk about their sexual attraction (or lack of it) to their opposite numbers. They are both upset to find that they really don’t want to spend anymore time there.
On the other table, ListerF checks on progress with RimmerF. She reports that RimmerM is simply playing hard to get, “He doesn’t want me to think that he’s the ships bike!…… But wait until I hit him with the wormdo line!”
ListerM checks with Holly to find out how long it will be before they have the Holly Hop Drive fixed. Holly appears to have a lipstick mark on his face. It’s as though the lovely Hilly has kissed him on his cheek. She even looks mildly embarrassed! Holly tells RimmerM and ListerM that they are busy fixing the Hop Drive at the moment. But when ListerM points out the lipstick mark, Hilly tries to explain the mark by saying that it’s a computer rash. I believe her! Rimmer can’t wait any longer. He rushes off to hide until the drive is fixed.
Next morning. ListerM and ListerF wake up in bed together. They mildly remember that they had sex. RimmerF and M walk in and call them disgusting. “How can you even contemplate making love to yourself?” she asks. “Why break the habit of a lifetime!” adds RimmerM.
ListerF points out that they were very drunk and that they wouldn’t have made love if she were sober. ListerM takes on the role of a female in that he is mildly upset that their act of love didn’t mean that much to her. The exchange was comical and the feminists among us would have been very impressed with Grant and Naylors role reversal.
However! It turns out that in their universe that it’s the MAN who gets pregnant if precautions aren’t used. ListerM is mortified at the expense of RimmerM’s pleasure.
ListerF points out that just because it’s possible for ListerM to get pregnant, doesn’t mean that he will be. However, at this point, the skutterM comes into the room followed by a number of little Skutters (including a little pink one), “Then again,” ads RimmerM, “you might not!”
The Holly Hop Drive is fixed and they jump back into their own universe. In the final scene we see that Lister is in fact pregnant after taking a pregnancy test. Even though he is back in his own universe, the pregnancy WILL continue AND he eventually has twins.
And there the show ends. This was the last of the series and it left MANY unanswered questions. These were all answered at the beginning of the Third Series.
At this point the Red Dwarf show had been well and truly added to the annals of cult comedy science fiction. People either loved or hated the series. Serious science fiction fans tended to dismiss the show with comments that it lacked a real science ‘bite’. But one thing that we all agreed was that the humour was hilarious! The show is, at this point, compulsive.
The Toungue Tied lyrics were ripped off from the stupendously brilliant Red Dwarf FAQ maintained by Patrick M. Berry ([email protected]) and so is the following… “In the fall of 1993, “Tongue Tied” was released as a single in England and rose to #17 on the CIN Official UK Singles Chart. The artist was listed simply as “The Cat.” A music video of “Tongue Tied” was reportedly shown on the Top of the Pops show in England and on MTV in the States. Copies of the video (and a half-hour programme on the making of the video) are available from John McElroy. An alternative version of the video can be found on the “Smeg Outs” videotape.”
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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