RED DWARF: Top Ten Countdown - 5. Fathers and Suns

What's at number 5 is Andrew Jero's Red Dwarf Top Ten Countdown? Read on to find out...

The second episode of the latest series (Red Dwarf X) deals with Lister trying to be a better son to himself, which results in his resignation from the JMC as a punishment to himself as his son. This episode requires a lot of backstory about Lister which we get in the episode Ouroboros - so if you haven’t seen that episode, I suggest to fully enjoy Fathers and Suns, you go watch Ouroboros first.

The crew also installs their brand new ship computer, Pree. There’re a lot of funny gags brought on by Pree similar to the style of gags used for Holly, for instance in the preference menus for Pree one of the questions is about her breast size.

This episode introduces one of my favorite characters in the show, Taiwan Tony. In the beginning of the episode, Kryten talks to Rimmer about him playing Chinese Whispers with one of the dispensing machines, which causes a debate about whether Chinese Whispers is racist. The message travels around the ship going between dispensing machines and the crew, the message changing from “Is Chinese Whispers racist?” to “Are Chinese whiskers racist?” to “Do Chinese knickers have braces?” with the question finally being “Do Siamese sisters get whiskers in stasis?” Another one of the lines that pops up throughout the episode which addresses the issue at hand, racism, is this, “Cause Taiwan’s a bit Chinesee.” Red Dwarf has a way of brilliantly addressing hot topics but shrouding them in humor which fits in the show.

Science fiction is a genre that often focuses on addressing political and hot issues, it gives everyone a fair chance because, what the hell do we care about skin color when there’s a giant green blob trying to take over the universe? I would say that science fiction is one of the most intelligent genres due to its way of addressing issues such as race, marriage rights, and religious freedoms.

I love the first scene which shows us that Lister makes himself a thanks for being such an amazing Dad card every year, after which he drinks enough that he won’t remember what he’s written it, and so will feel like he has a regular dad. This sparks a comment from Rimmer suggesting that Lister hasn’t been a very good father to himself, which causes Lister to create a “motivational” video for himself as his Dad. This is easily best scene in the episode and is undoubtedly a stroke of genius.

Pree has predictive capabilities which cause her to take actions for the crew, such as repairing all the faults on B deck for Rimmer in the fashion he would’ve, telling the crew the results of their conversations so they don’t have to have the conversations themselves, as well as telling Rimmer that he didn’t like a season of a television series he was looking forward to because they killed off the busty blonde heroine with no personality (his favorite character of course).

Fathers and Suns has a very complicated feel to it, but that's something Red Dwarf is famous for. As Lister would say, “Time travely paradoxy sci-fiey smeg.”

10. Meltdown
9. Polymorph
8. Tikka To Ride
7. Trojan
6. Backwards

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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