Significance of 'The Beginning'

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by AJ Smegface, Nov 16, 2017.

Is Rimmer the main character in Red Dwarf?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
  1. AJ Smegface

    AJ Smegface Second Technician

    Apr 18, 2011
    Prior to having seen series XII finale Skipper, I'd been beginning to wonder about new Red Dwarf (the Dave era), specifically who exactly was the central character of the show. From the beginning, it's been Dave Lister: the last human being (or at least man) alive. We've followed Lister coming to terms with this, deciding to look for Earth and, as late as series X, trying to find Kochanski again.

    However, series XI and XII hasn't really had much of a focus on Lister and his goals, whatever they may now be. While XI and XII has been a great ensemble piece (Kryten's had Krysis, Siliconia and I guess Mechocracy as well; and even the Cat's finally had a main episode in Can of Worms), I think if I had to say who the main character was in these two series', it would have to be Rimmer. And I think this might be deliberate...

    Series X's The Beginning ends with Rimmer plotting a destination for Red Dwarf, declaring "the slime's coming home", mirroring Lister's closing line in The End as a reference to getting to Earth/Fiji. The ending of The End marked the beginning of Lister's journey, and I think the end of The Beginning marks the beginning of Rimmer's journey (that's a mouthful:-( Rimmer's journey perhaps being to becoming the leader (or simply man) he's always wanted to be. We see this in Officer Rimmer and Skipper, a little bit in Mechocracy (though that plays on Rimmer's long standing desire to lead) and I'd argue it's even touched upon in Siliconia where Rimmer, accepting his robotic state, gives up on "the journey".

    Maybe the shift from Lister to Rimmer as the focus happened as early as series VIII (Only the Good: fair enough it's a Rimmer-centric episode so naturally it's about him, but that episode really hammers home the future of Red Dwarf is down to him... But then Back to Earth arrives and RD becomes Lister's story again...). Maybe I've got this totally wrong. Is Rimmer the new main character of Red Dwarf? Is this the significance of the ending of The Beginning? What do you think?
  2. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

    Mar 15, 2004
    Way before Dave (the channel not, David Lister), there have been episode centred around Rimmer and also Kryten. While David Lister is the one who led us on our path into the show, it was never centred just on him, in my opinion. I don't really see it as Dave Lister, and his supporting characters of Rimmer, Kryten and Cat (and sometimes Holly), but rather an ensemble. In fact, the very fact he is the relatively normal one (he is a total slob, but I think he is most like the rest of us in terms of morals, etc) there is a strong tendency to base episodes around those more quirky. Rimmer and Kryten tend to go through the most changes, have the greatest story arcs, although Rimmer does seem to get reset.

    Don't get me wrong, I think David Lister is very much the heart of the show, but for a very long time, he has never been the single central character. In fact when Back To Earth came out, I think a few remarked on the fact the focus was very much on his journey, as Rimmer and Kryten often got the focus in previous episodes!

    In short - Red Dwarf is about the crew. Cat has gotten less central stuff since he is the 'shallow comedy guy' (some of the best lines are his to be fair) but even he has gotten a bit more focus in recent series, which I welcome.

    So is Rimmer the central character of the show? From a story arc perspective, to some extent. But I'd say he is A central character.
  3. Underdunn

    Underdunn Deck Sergeant

    Sep 23, 2016
    I think from a story-telling point of view Rimmer is often the more natural choice to have a 'journey' - because he's the character with further to go internally. It is however a definite ensemble show, so I think its less about recognising who the 'main character' in Red Dwarf is (they all are) and more about recognising who the hero is... and the hero is arguably Lister. Rimmer actually frequently takes the role of antagonist- Waxworld, Body-Swap, Quarantine... even all the way into the Dave era with Officer Rimmer and Mechocrachy.
    Mardroid likes this.

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