Red Dwarf: S04E01: Camille
Camille is another of the classic Red Dwarf episodes. The show started with Lister trying to teach Kryten to lie and cheat. Kryten would desperately try to tell Lister that a Banana was an Orange but he just couldn’t. Suddenly, after trying all morning, Kryten manages to tell Lister that the banana he is holding is a small off duty traffic warden. Lister has succeeded! (Unfortunately Kryten can’t do it in front of other people). True independence.
Lister explains the importance of lying to hide ones intentions – this is a sign of true independence and free thought. Lister also tries to instil in Kryten, the idea that he can describe Rimmer as a Smeg Head! This is particularly difficult for Kryten who tries in vain to practice in front of Rimmer at every opportunity. “Smeeeeeeeeeeg Heeeeeeead.” would be the closest he’d get.
Rimmer and Kryten are out on a patrol of nearby space when the gorgeous Holly picks up a distress signal from a nearby ship. It seems that the planet (which is unstable), will blow up within hours if the two intrepid heroes don’t get there soon to rescue any possible survivors. Rimmer is determined to avoid the area but Kryten, against all his programming, goes off alone.
On the planet, Kryten finds a rather attractive Mechanoid Camille, a series 4000 GTI. Kryten is impressed. “You’ve got all those little extras like realistic toes and a slide back sun-roof head!” Camille in turn is pretty impressed with Kryten, “….You have really amazing eyes!”
Kryten flirts with the attractive mechanoid, “Why they’re just the old 579’s with the automatic 15 f-stop cornea. If you like, I could pop them out and you could borrow then.!” (Wow, this Kryten is a cool operator huh? – I’ll have to remember that line myself.) Camille agrees with me it seems, especially after Kryten comments on the lovely way the light catches the angles on her head!
By the time they have walked out of the ship, Kryten and Camille are in live with each other. When Camille hears that Kryten has shipmates, she is very reluctant to be rescued. When they get back onto Starbug, Kryten introduces Camille to Rimmer. It seems that Camille’s persona changes when viewed through another’s eyes. When Kryten sees Camille, he sees a Mechanoid. When Rimmer sees Camille, he sees a drop-dead-gorgeous Hologram second technician (like him – except the drop-dead-gorgeous bit… erm). Rimmer can’t believe his luck! He is most impressed with the hologram and introduces himself as ‘Duke’ while Kryten wonders off to the cockpit.
Kryten and Rimmer leave Camille in the hold of Starbug and discuss how lovely she is. They both have differing descriptions of her of course and when they describe her most attractive points (no not those points), the descriptions are wildly different.
“She’s quite something isn’t she sir.” Says an excited Kryten.
“She’s enchanting,” adds Rimmer.
“Do you really think so?” asks Kryten proudly.
“She’s got everything, style, grace, poise, taste, she’s absolutely lovely.”
Kryten attempts a blush, “I’m so glad you think so. I don’t mind telling you, I think there is some romance in the air.”
“You sly old dog Kryty.” Says Rimmer hopefully, “I think you’re right.”
“Oh sure, her nose is a little loose, but to me, that’s just cute!”
“I’ll tell you something,” adds Rimmer, “she’s so much like my sister in-law, Jannine, it’s untrue.”
Kryten is a little surprised by this, “Camille looks like your sister-in-law?! What, was she involved in some sort of horrific car accident?”
Rimmer glares at Kryten, “Who Jannine, no of course not. She was a model!” He says becoming ever so slightly annoyed.
“And she looked like Camille?” continues Kryten.
“Absolutely, the resemblance is uncanny.” Confirms Rimmer.
“What did she model, spark plugs?” Asks Kryten becoming a little uncomfortable. Possibly even a little jealous of Rimmer’s impression of Camille.
“I happen to think she’s very attractive,” says Rimmer confidently.
“You do?” says a still surprised Kryten. “Do you think I’m attractive?”
“Of course not.” Rimmer’s says looking at Kryten in disbelief. “I think you look like a giant half chewed rubber tipped pencil!”
Kryten is mildly miffed by this. After Camille’s complements about the way he looks, Kryten tells Rimmer, “Well you can think what the hell you like, there are some people in this big old, wide cosmos, that happen to think I’m pretty amazing looking. Especially in the eye department I thank you so very much!”
When the three get back to Red Dwarf, Lister is introduced to Camille, Kryten and Rimmer leave to prepare her quarters. Lister is most impressed by the stunning looking Camille. She is just like Kochanski! She sits, rather provocatively (well, it got me going) on the medical examination table in the Med. Unit and smiles at Lister. “Well, he says looking at a piece of paper, if you’d just like to take off your clothes, we’ll begin the examination.” He says, beginning his first flirting sortie. “…. I’m not really qualified as a surgeon, but I’ve seen every episode of St. Elsewhere!…. If you like, we can dispense with the physical examination and go straight for the malpractice.”
Camille (as Kochanski) gives him the once over as if she is considering the possibility (this alone would qualify as considerable interest in Lister’s eyes). Lister points out that as they are the last two human beings in the cosmos, they have to re-build the human race. “Do you want to start now, or do you want to clean your teeth first?” He says expectantly.
“And they say romance is dead” says Camille predictably.
“Hey!” defends Lister, “The thought of making love to a complete and total stranger is just as gauling to me you know. We’ve got to be completely professional about this, totally clinical and professional.” He adds breaking into a slight smile, “So just lye back, relax, and I’ll go and slip into my Spiderman costume!”
At this point Rimmer walks in. He of course sees quite a different Camille. He asks if she’s seen Kryten and she tells him that he’s gone to A Deck. Rimmer invites her to see some slides of his collection of 20th Century telegraph poles. Lister adds, “Yeah, and if you fancy a more entertaining evening, let him take you outside and shoot you through the head!”
Camille now finds herself in the terrible situation of trying to please both without making them aware that she is not what she seems. She fails. Rimmer tells Lister in front of Camille that she is into Reggie Wilson AND 1950’s telephone poles and Camille tries to acknowledge this to Rimmer while at the same time deny it to Lister. She is able to do this in such a way that both blokes here different answers. But when she calls Reggie Wilson ‘mindless pap’, and Rimmer confirms that she agrees that she does in fact LIKE Reggie Wilson (“see what I mean“). Lister begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.
Rimmer leaves with a smile to Camille that would curdle milk! Lister asks “What was that about….. you were saying one thing and Rimmer was hearing another? How did you do that?”
“Oh,” says Camille deciding to tell the truth, “You’d have probably worked it out eventually….. I’m a Pleasure GELF.” Lister is very disappointed. He gives a look of sad resignation.
In Lister’s Quarters Cat asks Lister, “What’s going on buddy, Eraser head tells me she’s a Mechanoid and Captain Sadness makes out she’s a Hologram!?” Lister explains that she is actually a Genetically Engineered Life Form (GELF). A pleasure GELF created to be everyone’s perfect companion. You would see what you want to see, and she would become instantly in love with you.
Cat considers paying he a visit. He is intrigued (as is Lister) to see how she manifests herself in front of him. He walks into the Medical Unit and is surprised to see a vision of HIMSELF!
“Hi Buddy!” Welcomes Camille looking like Cat.
“You’re ME!” Says a surprised Cat.
“Great!” says Camille.
“I’m the object of my own desire?” Cat asks.
“Could you think of anyone more deserving?” says Camille.
“When you put it like that, I guess you’re right. Damn my vanity” concludes Cat.
They smile at each other and ‘eoooww’
Cat leaves, and as he walks down the corridor, Lister asks how Camille appeared. Cat doesn’t tell him but hints, “Oh, just some gorgeous chunk of loveliness….. oh what a body….. my legs are still shaking….. someone give me a Brandy!”
In Lister’s Quarters, the four blokes resign themselves to the fact that they haven’t indeed met their ideal mate. All that is, except Holly – she hasn’t got any desires “Either that, or my screen was foggy.” She says.
Camille enters the room slightly embarrassed and apologises to everyone. They each acknowledge her (except Cat who accuses it of breaking his heart). She is particularly sorry to Kryten who is not used to such emotions, she considers that it is he who is hurt the most. She felt something special for him, something that she hadn’t felt before. She was worried that if he saw her as she really was, that he’d be repulsed. Kryten asks her to reveal her true shape.
Camille changes into a large amorphous green blob and while most of us would be repulsed, Kryten doesn’t think she looks too bad (!!!) When she asks what he thinks, Kryten replies, “I think you look really nice.”
“Nice?” asks Cat surprised, “She looks like something that dropped out of the Sphinx’s nose!”
Kryten however thinks that she is cute and really sweet. He says that some humans are not as attractive as she, “Take Karl Malden” for instance. He invites her out on a date. He decides to take her to the Parrot’s Bar on G Deck later that evening. Camille is pleasantly surprised and quite flattered.
Later that evening, the two eat in the restaurant at Parrot’s. They toast each other’s happiness together. Next day, they go to the cinema. They watch Casablanca and Kryten points out how Lister used the film to demonstrate the concept of how lying could be noble. Camille tells him that from now on, Casablanca would be their movie!
Holly interrupts the two lovers to say that there is a visitor in the hangar and that he wants to see Camille. Kryten learns that woman of all races, creeds and blobs can deceive. It turns out that she already has a partner. Well, not strictly a ‘partner’ but as close a partner as two amorphous blobs can be. He is very bright it seems and has been working on a way of ‘antidote’ their condition (I’m not quite sure what she means by ‘antidote’ – but it’s some sort of important and noble work). She tells Kryten that she will say that she has met someone new, that she wants to stay on Red Dwarf with Kryten.
They both go to the hangar deck, but when they arrive, Kryten asks that Camille’s bags be placed on-board the visitor’s ship. He then gives Camille a fond farewell to the sound (and dialogue) of Casablanca.
When the ship leaves, a philosophical Kryten points out to Lister that, “It’s the old, old story. Droid meets Droid, Droid becomes Chameleon, Droid looses Chameleon, Chameleon turns into Blob, Droid gets Blob back again, Blob meets Blob, Blob goes off with Blob, and Droid looses Blob, Chameleon and droid. How many times have we seen that story.”
“I suppose you are going to blame me for all this aren’t you?” enquires a slightly concerned Lister.
“Yes.” says Kryten, “Without your lesson, without your bananas, movies and your aardvarks none of this could have happened. You are a complete and total Smeg Head!”
“Whoa, brutal Kryten, you just insulted me.” Smiles an impressed Lister.
“Yes.” Ads Kryten, “I can, lie, cheat AND be offensive now.”
“Kryten, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.” Says Lister taking his arm.
They walk off down the corridor and there, this fine episode ended.
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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