RED DWARF: Top Ten Countdown - 10. Meltdown - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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RED DWARF: Top Ten Countdown - 10. Meltdown

Andrew Jero counts down his ten best episodes of Red Dwarf, starting at number ten with Meltdown.

Starting out my Red Dwarf top ten countdown, we have episode six of series IV, Meltdown. An episode that hasn’t fared all to well with fans over the years, though the main cast names it as one of the funnest to work on in the series’ history. There are several smegging brilliant gags in this one, and they stand out amongst those in the show as the most original and funniest.

The episode starts with Rimmer’s incredibly boring Risk story. Reciting every roll of the dice from a game he played over three million years ago. It’s a very interesting way to start off the episode and it works because you have lots to laugh at from the beginning and don’t have to worry about getting pounded about exposition and wait for the laughs. His Risk story actually comes into play with the rest of the script when he takes over as the leader of the remnants of the Hero World droids.

Sargent Presley is one of the greatest characters in the entire thing, there was even an entire song about Arnie’s Army that he lead with the rest of the wax droids. The performance by Clayton Mark was perfect, so many beautiful lines like, “Reach for the sky, let me see them under stains!” “Thank you very much! You’ve been wonderful prisoners, you really have.” Being able to take the Presley trademarks and molding them into the script was absolute genius and really helps set this apart from other episodes.

Sitcoms generally have a warm up performer for the audience before recording begins, Red Dwarf had Tony Hawks who gets to appear in an episode every once in a while. In Meltdown he plays Caligula. Caligula. I mean, it’s impossible to not laugh at those scenes, every time the Cat mouths off Lister gets slapped instead. Caligula is a person you can already laugh at anyway without jokes, but add Lister and the Cat, and put Rasputin at Caligula’s side, it just makes for one of the funniest scenes in the entire thing. A bit of a history lesson here, Caligula allegedly slept with all three of his sisters and Lister brings up this fact to the Cat who takes a stab at Caligula.

After accidentally landing in what appears to be the Third Reich, Lister and the Cat are locked in a cell and have only a widow to a courtyard to look at, initially they see a “wooden modern art job” being built in an inverted L shape. Lister sees that there are different people lining up for a firing squad, but they’re all from different periods and that they are all the worst people, James Last being one of them, who was formerly a Nazi and after the fall of the Third Reich became a small time jazz artist. They bring someone out to be shot and it’s Winnie the Pooh, who refuses the blindfold for the firing squad. On any other show it’d be crazy but in Red Dwarf it feels right at home.

The bit of this episode that is without a doubt the funniest of the season, is the scene with Gandhi. “Don’t eyeball me, Gandhi!” Which is quite possibly one of the greatest one liners of the entire series. Rimmer’s army is the worst mix of pacifists and celebrities one could get and the jokes that go with it are to die for.

Join me next Friday as I continue with number nine on my top ten Red Dwarf countdown!

Smegging Brilliant
The World loves a bastard!
A look at Kryten 2X4B-523P
Five fantastic moments with the Cat
Dave Lister: The man who fathered himself
Top Ten Episodes: The one's that just missed the mark

Andrew Jero is 18, lives in Iowa and has a very strong love of both Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. He enjoys acting and writing plays, television scripts, and short stories. Follow Andrew on Twitter.

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