Red Dwarf

Season 1 Episode 4

Waiting For God

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 07, 1988 on BBC Two
out of 10
User Rating
91 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Holly notices a pod floating in space and Rimmer orders that it be salvaged, convinced that it is an artifact which contains alien life forms, even though Lister immediately realises that it is, in fact, a Red Dwarf Garbage Pod, jettisoned from the waste disposal unit much earlier (The Red is retracing its steps to get back home, you may recall). Meanwhile Lister is researching the Cat's religion and discovers that their species, which evolved from his (female) pet, Frankenstein, have used his (Lister's) image as their God. He follows the Cat deep into the hold of the ship and finds that Cat is not, in fact, alone -- that there is a single remaining Cat Priest who is dying with the belief that he hasn't lived up to the expectations of the almighty Cloister (God aka "Lister"). Lister convinces him that he has lived admirably as a priest so that he can die in peace and Lister comes to the conclusion that having religion is not as good as people believe, since the Cat species all perished trying to honor theirs.moreless

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  • Clever cracks at religion, a few great moments from each of the characters, overall making for a pretty good episode. My second favourite from this season after "Future Echoes".

    The first season of Red Dwarf is in my opinion not the best. It's probably the worst season made by Grant Naylor, but only the third worst episode overall. Still, this series has some truly classic Red Dwarf moments, and a few of them are in this fine episode.

    As I mentioned in my summary, I'd probably consider this to be my second favourite episode from season 1. The reason this episode stands out amongst the others, apart from "Future Echoes", is its clever jokes about Religion through it's brilliantly thought out comic situation with the Cat and Lister.

    The sub-plot involving the garbage pod wasn't really that effective in my opinion, but it has its moments, the main one being Holly's reason for setting it up.

    The Talkie Toaster ads some great comic relief, and it's a shame that it wasn't used as much as it should have been.

    Still, despite it's flaws, whichever version you watch, "Waiting for God" is a funny, clever, and thoroughly enjoyable episode overall.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • This is the only episode between the third and sixth episodes that does not correspond with the theme of Lister wanting to be with Kochanski.

    • As Holly is explaining to Lister that the Cat people fought over whether their hats should be blue or red, the picture that appears on the screen clearly shows both sides wearing red hats.

    • Early in this episode, Rimmer says he took the engineer's exam eleven times. This contradicts an earlier episode, when Rimmer tells Lister, "I have taken the exam nine times–ten, if you count the time I had the spasm."

    • When the toaster is asking Lister if he would like toast, in the following conversation, you can see a crew member's legs reflected in the toaster.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Rimmer: (Dictating a passage of writing) After extensive examination, comma, of the writings, comma, on the alien pod, comma, it has become clear, comma, to me, comma, that we are dealing, comma, with a species, comma, of awesome intellect, colon.
      Holly: Good. Perhaps they might be able to give you a hand with your punctuation.
      Rimmer: Shut up!

    • (upon hearing that 'Cloister' is actually Lister)
      Cat: So you're god?
      Lister: Yah!
      Cat: Ok, (points to his food) turn this into a woman.

    • (About the confidential performance reviews)
      Rimmer: All right, Holly. Give me...give me mine.
      Holly: Arnold Rimmer, Technician, 2nd Class. Captain's remarks: "There's a saying amongst the officers: if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. If it's not worth doing, give it to Rimmer. He aches for responsibility, but constantly fails the engineering exam.
      Rimmer: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa, Holly! Holly, I want *my* report. Rimmer. Two M's, E, R.
      Holly: (continuing unabated) Astoundingly zealous. Possibly mad. Probably has more teeth than brain cells. Promotion prospects: comical."
      Rimmer: No no no no! Holly, I want *Rimmer*. That's two R's, one at the front, one at the back.
      Holly: Arnold, this *is* your report.
      Rimmer: I always hated that pus-head Hollister. He always resented my popularity. That's why he never put forward my proposal to reduce the minimum haircut length by an eighth of an inch. Small-minded, petty-thinking modo.

    • Lister: Rimmer, there's nothing out there, you know. There's nobody out there. No alien monsters, no Zargon warships, no beautiful blondes with beehive hairdos who say: "Show me some more of this Earth thing called kissing." There's just you, me, the Cat, and a lot of floating smegging rocks. That's it. Finito.
      Rimmer: Lister, if there's no one out there, what's the point in existence? Why are we here?

    • (After Lister demonstrates how you "read" a cat book, by running your nose along and smelling it)
      Lister: I'm only just starting out. This is for three year olds, so you should try it.
      Rimmer: I'm not the slightest bit interested in smelling anything cats have to say, thank you, Lister.

    • Priest: But then, the boy was born, to the cripple and the idiot.
      Cat: What idiot?
      Priest: Your father, boy.
      Cat: My father was a jelly-brain?
      Priest: Yes! That's why he ate his own feet!
      Cat: I did wonder...

    • (Theme song starts, then briefly pauses.)
      Rimmer: It's a garbage pod.
      (Theme song continues, then pauses.)
      Rimmer: It's a smeggin' garbage pod!

    • Lister: I'm supposed to have left them five sacred laws. Five sacred laws! I've broken four of them meself! I'd have broken the fifth, but there's no sheep on board.

    • Lister: I can't wait to see your face in the morning, Rimmer.
      Rimmer: Nor I yours, Lister; when that pod opens and from it emerges a beautiful alien woman with long green hair and six breasts.
      Lister: Six breasts! Imagine making love to a woman with six breasts!
      Rimmer: Imagine making love to a woman!

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode shares its title with that of a BBC sitcom about the residents of a nursing home. Due to this, the original 3 episode video release "Series 1-Byte 2" bears the title of Confidence and Paranoia, the second episode shown on the tape, to prevent fans of the other show from making an incorrect purchase.

    • The part were we discover that Lister lied about his exam was going to be revealed here, however Rob and Doug decided to get it out the way in Holly's message as this episode already had 2 stories involved.

    • The Cat Priest has one white hand and one black hand; according to the DVD liner notes, this is because the Felis Sapiens, like their ancestors, often had patches of different colors.


    • Lister: Who's Columbo?

      This references the famous American TV detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk in the TV series of the same name. Columbo (no first name given) is a humble and seemingly inept police lieutenant who nonetheless always outsmarts and captures the murderer despite their near-perfect schemes.

    • Title: Waiting For God

      The title of this episode is clearly a reference to the play "Waiting for Godot" (1952) by Samuel Beckett about two men awaiting the arrival of a mysterious someone called Godot.

      Waiting for God is also the title of an early 90's BBC sitcom starring Graham Crowden and Stephanie Cole about the residents of a retirement village.