So, Rimmer - Smeghead or maybe not?

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by telegramsam, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    Just wondering what people's thoughts on Rimmer are in these parts. Is he just a complete smeghead with no real redeeming qualities who deserves every bit of punishment meted out upon him by the universe, or is he really a not a totally bad guy, underneath all that exterior smeggyness?

    Just curious because I've always found Rimmer to be a more interesting character than Lister, Kryten or Cat. He arguably undergoes a bit more character development as the series progresses than do the others, and there are certainly quite a lot of episodes based on or at least heavily touching on his many psychological "issues" and neuroses.

    A lot of my friends who've seen Dwarf don't like the character at all and just think he's a pure bastard, plain and simple, there for comedic effect and to give good-guy Lister a bad-guy to fight with, and think I'm weird for liking him, so I'm just curious to see if other people have an opinion on the subject. :-)
     
  2. Aimi

    Aimi Catering Officer

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    I wouldn't think his character to be any more interesting that any of the others. The one thing about this show is for it to work, in my opinion, it needs all 4 characters; Rimmer, Lister, Kryten and Cat, they all work off each other.

    And do i think he deserves what he gets? Well, probably not, its just so damn funny :-p
     
  3. Snow Cloud

    Snow Cloud Console Officer

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    I always thought he was a poor guy with a hard life who has to big himself up and look out for himself just to get by. I mean apart from maybe one or two things I would never consider him the bad guy. I would say the cat is a worse person than him overall.
     
  4. Yule Sleigher

    Yule Sleigher Console Officer

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    It's about the way the characters contrast, I suppose. Rimmer's neat, tidy, ambitious, cowardly, snobbish and unpopular. Lister's lazy, messy, a dreamer and inherently likable. They each show up each other's faults and strengths, but they both have bad qualities. If Rimmer could like himself instead of trying to impress others, he would be a nice guy. I think that, in many ways, the Cat is part of the environment in which they each have to interact, at least to begin with. In some ways, he combines qualities of them both, and I think actually brings some stability to their mutual dislike, which would otherwise spiral out of control (as sometimes it does).

    Or something.
     
  5. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    I think he evolved from being total smeghead in Season 1 to being a really sad person in later seasons, and that made him more sympathetic. I mean in Queeg, when Queeg made him run 3 miles, I was laughing along with Lister like "yeah! all right!".
    I think all the characters evolved... Cat learned to talk and fly the ship for example.
    And by series 7 and 8 Lister didn't want to "take it out" on Rimmer anymore cuz Lister knew what a sorry person he was.

    the Lister/Rimmer duo is perfect as they "play off of each other". the whole neat/messy thing is a classic since the Odd Couple.

    While I obsess over Rimmer like any other female on this forum, I think in real life I'd rather share a bunk (platonic!) with Lister. Easer to get along with, you know? And I say this as a fairly neat person. While I love Rimmer's insults, I don't think I'd want to hear them every 10 min directed at ME!

    One think i noticed about fiction is that it can make unlikeable characters really likeable for the audience. Once example is Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut's books. He's everyone's favorite failed sci-fi writer.... but no one likes the real thing in real life. I'm guessing Rimmer's the same way (at least early on).

    I read the RD books and Rimmer's this total smeghead that never drinks and is always studying for his astro exam, only he hates it so much that instead of studying, he makes revision charts planning out all his study periods and all. He does this until a few days before the exam, when he starts really bugging out.
    Instead of going out for a drink with Lister, he shuts himself into a statis unit and uses all his free time that way... to stay younger than everyone else.
    Is ironic then when he just dies, LOL.
    But he does evolve when in Episode one Lister tells him that lister doesn't like him. Apparently, he's never heard that before. Lister's exact words in the book: "i'd rather drink a glass of my own diarheaa. Every hour. on the hour!" than hang out with Rimmer.
    Apparently that was a turning point for Rimmer.


    But clearly, Rimmer is my favorite character, and became more so when he became really sad and pathetic.


    There is this whole thing where he's always blaming everyone else. I didn't pick up on it until the Despair Squid incident that made it clear that if he lost his ability to blame everyone else, he's kill himself. That makes season 1 "me 2" really funny when the 2 Rimmer holograms point at each other and go "it goes without saying" (pause) "it's HIS fault!"

    But speaking as an american... it does seem to me that he has a lot of stuff that's it's unfair to expect him to take repsonsiblity for. divorcing his parents and all that.



    I think the show can work without a Cat or Kryten, if they were replaced by anyone else... Kochanski even. But it doesn't work as well wihout Lister or Rimmer.
    They tried to turn Kochanski into the Neat Person in series 7, she would be like both neat and competant to lister's slobbyness and "lets play planet pool MY way".
    Didn't really work.
     
  6. lynseyjinn

    lynseyjinn First Technician

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    I'll do my best to be objective here, but my hopes aren't high. ;-)

    I've always been a sucker for an underdog and I think Rimmer certainly fits into that category. At first I hated him and I think you were meant to hate him. Take Rimmer at face value and I defy anyone not to hate him. Once they started revealing a little more about the character I jumped to sympathising with him and then right up to wanting to give him a hug every time he appeared on screen. Rimmer is a wonderfully complex character. He's definitely a smeghead but there's real reasons behind why he's a smeghead and they're valid reasons. But there's also moments where you see a completely different side. Holoship for example. We all know that Rimmer's as ambitious as they come. He got everything he wanted in Holoship but it was at Nirvanah's expense and he still gave it up. Not to mention giving her up. And also in Queeg when Holly's saying his goodbyes, or pretending to anyhow, judging from Chris Barrie's delivery of "Thanks Hol", I think Rimmer really meant that and felt as sorry as Lister did that Holly was being wiped.

    On a slightly less objective note, my heart always breaks for Rimmer at the end of Terrorform. To me anyway, he really looked like he wanted to believe what they were saying and when they said it wasn't true - that really had to have hurt him.

    Right. I think I'd better go remind myself that Rimmer doesn't actually exist...
     
  7. geekrock82

    geekrock82 Second Technician

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    Rimmer being by far the best and most interesting character on the show is a fairly popular topic over at G&T, we've had a few articles in which people have put forth that very argument. This is my take on it : http://www.ganymede.tv/indepth/without-him-life-would-be-much-grimmer

    It's my view (not that I'm necessarily *right*, it's just the feeling I take away from the show) that while Lister is the narrative core of the show (take him out of it, and the show doesn't have a plot), Rimmer is the true character heart of it.
     
  8. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    Yea, I'm probably the only one I know who doesn't laugh when they all shout "NO!" at him. It's more like a punch in the gut than a gag in my book, but maybe I'm just being too sappy.
     
  9. Yule Sleigher

    Yule Sleigher Console Officer

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    No, I think you're right. I watched Terrorform for the first time in a while and when that moment approached I found myself wishing my memory of it was faulty and they would let him down easily. As though the writers couldn't be so cruel as to make us feel for the character and then deal him the ultimate emotional chinese burn!
     
  10. lynseyjinn

    lynseyjinn First Technician

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    Yeah, I've never laughed at that ending either. That's what's so great about Rimmer as a character, you can feel so much about him. There's nothing wrong with a character you can either love or hate but when they can evoke either reaction, that's the mark of a really clever character. I definitely think he's the most interesting character out of the main four. I've got nothing against Lister or Kryten, because both are very likeable characters. The Cat irritates me beyond belief, but that's because he is exactly what a humanoid version of a cat would be; vain and self-centred. But Rimmer has so many dimensions; total smeghead, heartbreakingly pathetic, absolutely hilarious, really irritating. And he's still a character you can sympathise with.
     
  11. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    The ending to Terrorform affects me a bit both ways. (Amazing how often people actually feel ambivalence.) On one hand I feel sorry for Rimmer, but I do genuinely find it funny too. I do have a bit of a dark sense of humour in some ways though.
     
  12. admuz

    admuz Second Technician

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    I've gone through stages of loving all four main characters really. When I first started watching I was only 9 or 10 so I loved the Cat for being a really cool dude. That was when I'd mainly only seen the first 2 series though, in which he is more cat-like and, I feel, more interesting than he is in later series. So when I saw the later series I started to go off him a bit.

    When I was in my early teens Lister was the man. This guy slobs around all day watching films, living by his own rules and basically doing no hard work at all. He didn't have to go to school every day, doing homework and exams and all the stuff I had to do at the time. He was completely free and thats how I wanted to be, so this was my Lister loving stage.

    I moved on to Kryten when I was 16-17 simply because I realised how bloody funny he is. Robert Llewellyn really makes Kryten such a likeable character with all his mannerisms, facial expressions and that voice. Pretty much anything Kryten does makes me laugh. However, I realised a strange problem here - my most favourite two series are the two series in which Kryten makes only one appearance throughout all 12 episodes. It just doesn't make sense that my favourite character would barely be involved in my favourite episodes, and not even in the form in which I love him. I decided, unfortunately, Kryten simply can't be my favourite character.

    So, I came to Rimmer. And now that I have matured a bit, leaving my teen years behind me, I have come to relish the depth of character and amazing psychological issues behind him. He is, as many people have already said, the most interesting character in the show. Whether it's the agony of his childhood, his cowardice, a glimpse of the true honour and respect he will grant people if they show him the same (Marooned), or the way he constantly tortures himself due to his lack of self-belief and trust in others, there is always more than meets the eye with Rimmer and every side of him is as intriguing as the last. And each side of him also gives us plenty of laughs. Rimmer may be a smeghead on the surface but underneath, if you give him a chance, show him some respect and just have some confidence in him, he can be Ace.

    And that's why he's the best :-D
     
  13. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Rimmer is misunderstood, and that pretty much sums it up for me. He's always felt like an outsider, unliked, and because of this rejects friendships. Nor does he bother trying to be a likeable person anymore, because he's terrified of rejection.
     
  14. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    hmm, sometimes I wonder when people are discussing Rimmer and when they are discussing themselves.

    But I'm gonna quit imitating a British person and go 100% American to adequately describe Rimmer:

    Best.
    Character.
    Ever!
     
  15. lynseyjinn

    lynseyjinn First Technician

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    I'm not sure you can divorce the two to be honest, as a character is always open to personal interpretation. And that's something else about Rimmer (and me) now I think about it, is that some of the stuff he comes out with, I always think "I really really wish I could get away with saying that." :-) Still, that's probably true of most resident smegheads in various sitcoms.
     
  16. telegramsam

    telegramsam First Technician

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    True, I know that's why a lot of people watch "House MD" - the main character is a complete and total smeghead (even moreso than Rimmer) but it's hilarious to watch because you just WISH you could get away with it!
     
  17. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    Was my analysis of Rimmer that obvious?
     
  18. drumjay

    drumjay Catering Officer Fan Club Team

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    Some say Rimmer IS Red Dwarf, and it's not a story about the last human, more a story about a dead human.
    We know more about his life and inconsiderateness than any of the crew. He has so many levels, which makes him all the more interesting. Characters that make you emotive, often are the most talked about.
     
  19. magnusgreel

    magnusgreel First Technician

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    Is anyone a "total smeghead" without redeeming qualities? Maybe, but if so, they got that way to some extent because they were warped by circumstances they don't understand and therefore don't have control over. We don't have to think Rimmer's a nice guy underneath, and we don't have to think he's garbage on legs. It's more complicated.

    A lot of what makes people that way wasn't their fault, but that doesn't mean they aren't resaponsible for how they are or what they do. It's inbetween. Everyone's partly responsible for what they are, who they are, and what they do, and partly not.

    So, I think the others are probably giving him a chance, as much as Rimmer will allow them to. It's hard to be decent to a chronic backstabber. I don't laugh at the end of Terrorform, but I think it was realistic. That's one good thing about RD, it doesn't sugarcoat.
     
  20. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    YES! We elect them as President in the USA rougly half the time they run, do we not?

    I was able to get away with rimmer-isms for a full 2 weeks. I acted out the chracter and when i did my British accent my american friends knew i was joking and i got away with A LOT. some of which was meant to be funny, some of which really did come out of the darkest deepest pits of my light-bee.

    But I probably shouldn't be accusing other people of talking about themselves when analizing Rimmer... not after seeming to be the only person in this thread who notices Rimmer's tendancy to constantly blame everyone but himself for everything.
    It makes me wonder if there is a reason I, in particular, pick up on that.

    But then I realize... it's all YOUR fault -- ALL you RD fans -- for talking about rimmer in the first place! so there!
     

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