Red Dwarf

Season 2 Episode 2

Better Than Life

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Sep 13, 1988 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
82 votes

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Episode Summary

A mail pod arrives at the Red Dwarf and Rimmer receives the belated news that his father has passed away. Despite the fact that Rimmer hated his father, he is nonetheless completely devastated.
To alleviate his depression regarding the news (not to mention the fact that he has a $8,500 tax bill), the crew try a distraction in the form of a new Virtual Reality game where all the players' desires and fantasies can come true, but even in a perfect place, Rimmer's mind has its own way of stabbing him in the back.moreless

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  • The post pod has arrived and everyone is excited to get the mail but there is some bad news from rimmers mum his dad is dead still grieving they here about a new game "Better than life".moreless

    Just a great god damn episode a little gem of red dwarf what sees the red dwarf crew travel into a game intitled "Better than life" where they get whatever there heat may desire and i mean whatever.Very funny without a doubt but not the best episode in my eyes.
John Abineri

John Abineri

Rimmer's Dad

Guest Star

Judy Hawkins

Judy Hawkins

Yvonne McGruder

Guest Star

Ron Pember

Ron Pember

The Tax Man

Guest Star

Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks

Game Guide

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Cat refers to Rimmer by his actual name for the first time while in the restaurant "Where's Rimmer? I thought he'd be here by now"

    • The nature of Better than Life in the TV show is based upon the "Prototype" version of the game from the original Red Dwarf novels- the Dwarfers remain fully aware of the fact they are in a game and things literally materialise in front of them, which is a characteristic of the more blatant (and thus less addictive and dangerous) version that was replaced by the illegal reality-supplanting version.

      This episode can also be considered a reference to the fact that a substantial part of the second novel was set in an illegal version of Better than Life to which the characters had become addicted.

    • At the restaurant, Lister acts surprised that Rimmer can touch the food, but earlier, he saw him holding the autograph book for Napoleon to sign, back on the beach.

    • Apparently, Videos in the Red Dwarf future are triangular.

    • On the second DVD "Smeg Ups" It shows that Lister had a few problems hitting the ball off the tee.

    • In the observation dome, the borders of the bluescreen used to project the image of space can be seen around the area that Lister and Rimmer stand in.

    • The tax letter and Rimmer's mother's letter are both already opened when Lister takes the letters out.

    • It can be assumed that Lister was referring to his adoptive father, not his real one (who is himself).

    • Lister spoke about how upset he was when his father died, but we learn in series 7 that he was abandoned, and never knew his father.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Cat: Listen.
      Rimmer: (to video player) PAUSE!
      Cat: 'bout your father, if it's any help. He's in the ground now. Well, I know that's bad news for him but, on the other hand, it's party time for our little worms.

    • Lister: (Sorting through the mail) Me, me, you, me, me, me...
      Rimmer: It's all junk mail, yours, you know. You send off for every bit of rubbish going, just so you have some mail to open. (Puts on a Lister-like accent) "Please rush me my portable walrus-polishing kit. Four super brushes that will clean even the trickiest of sea-bound mammals. Yes, I am over eighteen, although my IQ isn't".

    • Newsreader: Good evening. Here is the news on Friday, the 27th of Geldof. Archeologists near mount Sinai have discovered what is believed to be a missing page from the Bible. The page is currently being carbon dated in Bonn. If genuine it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read "To my darling Candy. All characters portrayed within this book are fictitous and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The page has been universally condemned by church leaders.

    • Rimmer's Dad: I just wanted to say...You're a total smeghead!
      Rimmer: What?! This isn't my fantasy!
      Cat: No. It's mine!

    • Cat: Yeoooowwww!!! My stomach has been pumped and now I'm hungry. Hey, there you are! Hey man, I'm so hungry, I just have to eat.
      Lister: Shhhhh. Rimmer's dad's died.
      Cat: Well, I'd prefer chicken.

    • Lister: You never said much about him. You two must have been pretty close.
      Rimmer: Close?
      Lister: Sorry, very close.
      Rimmer: Close? I hated him! I detested his fat guts, the pop-eyed, balding git!
      Lister: Why are you so completely blown away about him dying then?
      Rimmer: Oh, it doesn't mean to say I didn't respect him, didn't look up to him. It was only natural, he was my father.
      Lister: There's nothing natural about your family, Rimmer.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Rimmer's middle name is revealed to be Judas.

    • Throughout the filming of this episode, the crew had a recurring problem, as Debbie Ash (who played Marilyn Monroe) proved utterly incapable of delivering her line, "Boop-oop-be-doop".

    • During filming, Craig Charles kept stalling the motorcycle he and Cat ride away from Rimmer on, so Craig is not the person riding the bike as it moves away from the camera.


    • Lister: You've got the Skutters to help you.
      Rimmer: What? Pinky and smegging Perky?

      Pinky and Perky were a pair of puppet pigs in the 1950s, recently revived as a CGI children's show in 2008.

    • Lister: Hey, the new Friday the 13th movie: Friday the 13th Part 1649.

      A play on the unstoppable horror franchise about an equally unstoppable masked killer, Jason Voorhees, who stalks and kills holidaying teens around Crystal Lake. Currently the series is up to 10 movies, with Jason X most recently released in 2002, and a remake produced in 2009.