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Back to Earth Part 1 Review

  • Avatar of S-KAYZEE

    S-KAYZEE

    [1]Apr 12, 2009
    • member since: 03/15/06
    • level: 2
    • rank: Sweat Hog
    • posts: 2
    I had to watch the first part of Red Dwarf Back to Earth twice. My first viewing is a little foggy - all I remember is hearing the first bar of the theme tune and the lower part of my jaw landing in my Mutton Vindaloo. The kid in me - whom I routinely attempt to smother under a whopping dollop of misanthropy, excitable little blighter that he is - leaped out of my chest and started dancing around the living room singing "It's back, it's back, WHOPEEE!". The poor little bugger had not seen a new episode of Red Dwarf since he was nine.

    Anyway, I snapped the buggers neck and lobbed him back in my chest (where he will remain until the Doctor Who special comes on) and watched it again - with the intention of being all cold and critical n' stuff The news that the specials would not be filmed in front of a studio audience or that a laughter track wouldn't be added later was met with joy from me back when it was announced. I always felt that the laughter present in the original eight series was a hang-up from the days when a TV show couldn't belong to more than genre. There are some scenes in the first seasons that are entirely hampered by the regulation laughter - some fat bloke in the front row chortling his trachea out while Rimmer reflects on how, through his intentional lack of social conscience and superiority complex, his life was completely devoid of love. Even more cringe worthy was the herd of bimbos merrily laughing their lungs to an early grave while Rimmer deals with his fathers death and the lack of closure between the two. Ya' gotta have canned laughter, right? It is a sitcom innit?

    Well, it turns out my joy over the removal of said laughter may have been slightly premature. Laughter tracks are an unbelievably complex thing. They can make you laugh out loud at jokes you might otherwise have only smiled at. They can also make you think what you're watching is funny, when in actuality what you're watching is Bo' Selecta. I guess humans are just programmed to join in whenever they hear laughter. I once saw an episode of Friends with the laugh track removed. It was horrible. Some unrealistically attractive bloke just walked into a room and said "How you doin'?" followed by a twenty second pause in which he looked smug. Once the pause was over another one whined "My wife is a lesbian" followed by an even longer pause in which he looked sheepish and the others look concerned. Slap a laugh track on it and there's milk flying from your toe-nails and you're raving about how it's the best sitcom of all time.

    That was the main (only) problem with last nights Red Dwarf. It shed the laugh track but the script stayed sitcom - meaning lots of punch-lines followed by silence and lots of reaction shots. It was a shame that there was these lulls in the rhythm of the show because of these jokes, because the jokes were just as brilliant as ever, just like the script.

    The act of completely ignoring the Season VIII cliffhanger was a wise one indeed. Red Dwarf has always prioritised being a good sitcom over religiously sticking to its science-fiction canon and is all the better for it. The idea that Lister and co. has just been sitting around doing bugger all on the ship during the shows hiatus was a brilliant starting point for what will either be the last of the series or the beginning of a new series.

    My gripe over the laugh track seems rather insignificant when compared to just how great it is to see the show and the cast back on TV, as well as the fact that Grant and Naylor can now sit in the same room without scraping "Goit" into each others forehead with protractors. Smeggin' brilliant.
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  • Avatar of ChipsTheButler

    ChipsTheButler

    [2]Jul 19, 2011
    • member since: 11/24/10
    • level: 9
    • rank: Door Number 2
    • posts: 869
    Rob Grant wasn't involved with the special, it was just Doug writing.
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  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [3]Dec 31, 2011
    • member since: 07/13/05
    • level: 19
    • rank: Fall Guy
    • posts: 2,384

    I disagree with them not addressing season 8. Though I feel season 8 was the low point of the show and I have a lot of complaints with season 8 by not addressing it they turned Red Dwarf into Bobby in the Shower Dallas.

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  • Avatar of ChipsTheButler

    ChipsTheButler

    [4]Feb 10, 2012
    • member since: 11/24/10
    • level: 9
    • rank: Door Number 2
    • posts: 869
    Wait, who is Bobby? Why is he in the shower? Apart from being stinky.
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