Red Dwarf: S04E02: D.N.A.

This is one of this Sad Geezers favourite episodes. It opens with frantic activity in the Scanning Room. Lister, Rimmer and Kryten are desperately trying to capture a UFO drifting in space.  The excitement builds when Cat enters and disables the console to dry his hair. They explain the situation but Cat is unimpressed, his hair is more important. They eventually persuade him to use a different socket after considerable objection. Cat does not want to meet any alien without looking his best.

Cat uses the wrong socket!The craft does not appear to be of Earth construction. They board the ship to find a technology far in advance of theirs. They split up. Lister and Cat enter what appears to be the main drive room. Kryten communicates with Lister via communications link that they appear to have found a dead alien crewmember. It appears to have three heads on it’s hideously deformed body – it was however, humanoid.

Cat plays with the console and accidentally causes Lister to be trapped in a beam of light, which descends from the roof. Cat tries to release Lister by pressing the buttons in reverse order, but he can’t really remember the order and the ships computer is activated. “Language trace completed, dialect English, colloquial construction, 23rd Century.

Do nothing, press nothing. Just go and get Kryten.” Shouts a worried Lister.
Wait, I think I got it!” says Cat proudly.
Transmogrification Sequence initiated,” says the computer. “… gene sample excepted and cloned. Please key in new genetic structure.” It adds.Oops!
Do NOTHING, press NOTHING, GET KRYTEN!” implores Lister.
Hey, you think I can’t handle this on my own?” says a slightly insulted Cat, “I have to get novelty condom head to bail you out! I got you into this, I’ll get you out.
… new genetic structure accepted.” Informs the computer. “Metamorphosis in 10 seconds and counting.” It adds.
I got a good idea, why don’t I go and get Kryten.” Cat says apologetically.

Kryten and Rimmer arrive just a Lister is turned into a chicken! Kryten attempts to turn Lister back but only makes things worse by turning him into hamster. It turns out that the machine is a DNA modifier, it can re-writes the DNA programme (according to instructions from the console).

Hey!  I'm a man!

Kryten walks over to where Lister was and asks Cat to tell him what happened. Cat demonstrates and accidentally turns Kryten into a human version of itself and Lister back from a hamster to Himself.

Kryten is human. His greatest dream has come true. They wheel him off to the Medical Unit as he tells them of his happiness. “I’ve never experienced this before except the time I accidentally welded my groinal socket to a front-loading washing machine!

In the Medical Unit Kryten examines himself as does Holly. She confirms to Lister that he, “has the body of a perfectly normal thirty year old male.. apparently” she says slightly embarrassed. She mentions that things a bit new and Kryten may take a little while to get used to them.

Kryten asks some questions about his new body, “My optical system doesn’t appear to have a Zoom Function….. how do you bring a small object into sharp focus?

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Well,” answered Lister, “You just move your head close to the object.

Kryten tries this and is then asks about other optical effects like split screen, slow motion and Quantel. Lister tells him that humans don’t enjoy such facilities.

Kryten then tells him that his nipples don’t work. The series 4000 is able to regulate it’s temperature using the left nipple control and is able to pick up short wave radio with the right. Again, Lister rather apologetically tells Kryten that human nipples don’t do that (thank goodness). Kryten then asks a slightly worried looking Lister about re-charging. He tells Lister, “I assume that when a human wants to re-charge, they do it in much the same way Mechanoids do. Now, I have found what I assume to be the re-charging socket, but for some strange reason, it doesn’t appear to have the standard three pin adaption…… no matter what I do the lead just keeps falling out!

Lister looks at Kryten in disbelief and eventually tells him that humans re-charge by eating and sleeping. This was a very funny exchange, but you have to wonder if Kryten would already have know that considering he was programmed to serve humans – possibly we are not supposed to ask such questions – suits me.

Right….. Now I want to talk to you about something …. That we humans get a little embarrassed about….. I want to talk to you about my penis!” Says Kryten seriously. Lister smiles embarrassingly.
I knew it, you’ve gone straight into smirk mode. Aren’t we both adults, can’t we talk about our reproductive system without adolescent sniggering?” Asks Kryten, slightly miffed.
Yeah, of course we can.” Considers Lister. Kryten hands Lister a picture. Lister looks at the picture and then looks away, disgusted.
Well…. What do you think…… I want to know, is that normal?” Kryten asks.
What, taking photographs of it and showing it to your mates!…. No, no it’s not!” Exclaims Lister.
Well,” continues Kryten unperturbed, “is it supposed to look like that?
Well, yes.”

But it’s hideous.” Says Kryten. “Is that the best design the could come up with? Are you seriously telling me there were choices and someone said, ahh, there, that’s it, that’s the shape we’re looking for! The last chicken in the shop look.” Kryten continues dismayed, “Shakespeare had one, Einstein, Perry Como sang ‘Memories are made with this’ with one of these stashed in his slacks!?

The famous double take!Lister replies, “Erm… Yeah.” Rather impotently as Kryten gets out another two pictures. He passes them to Lister who, finally recognises what he’s looking at once he ‘erects’ one picture above the other. A look of surprised shock appears on his face.
No why do you suppose that happened?” asks a worried Kryten.
Lister stares at the picture and asks, “W…W…What were you thinking of at the time?
Well, nothing in particular. I was just idly flicking through an electrical appliance catalogue. I came across the section on super-deluxe vacuum cleaners and suddenly my underpant elastic was catapulted across the medical bay!” Exclaims Kryten.

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A spark of understanding crosses Lister’s mind, “You see man, you’re neither one thing or the other, you shouldn’t be getting erotic thoughts about electrical appliances… No vacuum cleaner should give a human being a double polaroid! Do yourself a favour man, change back.” Kryten is very dismissive. He would never dream of turning back into a Mechanoid.

Cat and Rimmer are considering the possibility of cloning Rimmer from a spec of his own dandruff. Cat sneezes on the sample. Lister enters the room and talks to them about Kryten’s dilemma. Rimmer tells Lister that he shouldn’t knock being human until he’s tried it.

Kryten meanwhile enters the storeroom where his three spare heads are located and begins one of the funniest sci-fi sketches EVER! He greets his spare heads (two are normal but spare head number three is faulty) He explains that he is now human. He tries to explain to his spare heads that the feeling is wonderful.

What about us,” inquires spare head one, “it was my turn to be main head next months.
Well, obviously that will no longer be possible.” Replies the human Kryten. “Aren’t youThe grumpy Spare heads! happy for me, I’m not a mechanoid, I’m not second class anymore!” he adds excitedly.
What about spare head Three,” asks Spare head one, “you can’t just leave him here, he’s got Droid Rot.
I don’t need no bugger to look after me,” says spare head Three with a strong North Yorkshire English accent, “I maybe ‘arf gone wi’ silicone rickets, and me voice unit maybe shot to buggery, but I don’t need sympathy from the likes of ‘im.
But I shall come and visit,” says Kryten ignoring spare head Three, “I wont forget you.
Where have you been for the past Four days,” questions spare head number one.
I, I’ve been busy.” Explains Kryten having to defend himself.
Aye, swanking round with ‘is new central nervous system and his ponsy new eight valve heart, laa-di-daa’ing with his new fancy human friends.” Accuses spare head Three.
Oh, spare head Three, What do you know about anything?” reports Kryten.
Ooo! Hark at ‘im, orderin’ ‘is own heads around! I may be 30,000 years old, and my circuits may have gone bandy, but I’ll tell you this fer nowt! You came into this world as aGrumy speaks! Mechanoid, and a mechanoid is all you’ll ever be!” Rants spare head Three.
I don’t have to take this form you. I’m a human, shut your stupid flat head!” replies Kryten precociously.
I don’t believe you just said that!” say’s spare head Two.
I don’t even know why I came here.” Continues Kryten.
I think you had better go now Kryten, there is nothing more to say.” Spare head two says. Spare head Three nods in agreement. “Aye, sling yer bloody hook, go on, clear off!” Ads spare head Three.

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To add insult to injury spare hand one flicks two fingers at him.

Kryten later discusses his emotions with Lister. He is concerned that he has turned into something that isn’t him. He decides that it was a mistake change into a human. He decides to become a Mechanoid again.Lovely Holly

Holly helps by integrating with the alien ships’ computer and they decide to try it out by changing one of Lister’s curries from being a Chicken Vinderloo into a Mutton Vinderloo. They start the procedure and immediately the small curry turns into an aggressive curry monster. They all run off from the psychotic curry monster and Lister shoots at it with a bazookoid. He misses and joins the others fleeing. Lister has an idea, they double back to the alien ship and close the door behind them.

Lister asks Holly if she has another go, could she make the DNA machine work properly. Holly looks at him confidently, “Yes, I know what I did wrong last time, it’s a mistake any half witted deranged computer could have made. I can do it, give me a chance.” She says

Lister asks Holly to turn him into a super-human. Rimmer disagrees. He believes that playing Indian restaurant music would mollify it – maybe they could even make a surrender flag out of flock wallpaper. Holly eventually turns Lister into a super-human, a pint-sized superhuman.Mini Robo Lister

Lister confronts the beast to find that the bazookoid is ineffective. He does however notice, that some spilled lager seems to cause the monster considerable pain, “Of course,” Lister concludes, “Lager, the only thing that can kill a Vinderloo.!” He throws a can of lager Curry Monster gets hot! into the monsters mouth and carefully aims the bazookoid at it. It only takes one shot – the lager can explodes, as does the monster, and Lister is splattered with dead chicken curry monster.

When the others join him, Lister is quietly eating the remains of the psychotic curry, “This stuff is really good” he says.

This guy is pure class!” complements Cat.    And there the show ends.

By the way, the pics used in this episode by Kryten to show Lister, really were someone’s genitals.  When the cast were in Seattle for a Dwarf marathon they talked about their favourite episodes and that particular scene was one of their favourites.  They spoke at length about the reaction by Lister (Craig) when given the photos.

They filmed that scene in one take; the director and a small handful of others knew about what the pics were, but no one had told Craig!  (Robert knew of the joke). The facial reaction was real!  Craig said in Seattle that he almost ‘lost it’ when he actually looked at the pics.

From Zoe!  (thanks dear 🙂 )

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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without  the authors express permission

The Red Dwarf names, characters and everything else associated with
the series are the property of The British Broadcasting Corporation,
Rob Grant & Doug Naylor.  All rights reserved.

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