|Red Dwarf episode|
Rimmer tries to outdo his double during exercise warm ups.
|Episode no.||Series 1|
|Directed by||Ed Bye|
|Written by||Rob Grant & Doug Naylor|
|Original air date||21 March 1988|
"Me²" (pronounced "me, squared") is the sixth and final episode from series one of the science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf, which was first broadcast on BBC2 on 21 March 1988. Written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and directed by Ed Bye. The script was written as a late addition to the series following an electricians' strike at the BBC. The episode follows on from the cliffhanger set by "Confidence and Paranoia"—there are now two Rimmers on board Red Dwarf. The episode was remastered, along with the rest of the first three series, in 1998, to bring it up to a standard suitable for international broadcast.
Now there are two Rimmers (Chris Barrie) on board. The original Rimmer moves out to share a room with his double but leaves behind a video of his own death. Grabbing popcorn, Lister (Craig Charles) happily sits down to watch the death of his nemesis. After a very lengthy monologue from Rimmer, the moment finally arrives, and shows Rimmer being blasted by the radiation surge. As he lies dying, he says his final words: "Gazpacho soup!", leaving Lister confused and determined to solve the mystery of why Rimmer made those his dying words. Initially things go well. Lister is happy to have the room to himself and the two Rimmers get on, both encouraging each other through their routines of study, exercise, sleep. But as both Rimmers continue to compete against each other tempers start fraying and soon the original Rimmer moves back in with Lister.
After a heated argument between the two Rimmers it is decided that one must go. The original Rimmer loses out and is to be erased. Rimmer turns up to the drive room in his uniform with his medals awarded for Three Years' Long Service, Six Years' Long Service, Nine Years' Long Service and Twelve Years' Long Service. Before Rimmer is erased Lister asks about gazpacho soup. Reluctantly, and seeing as he was about to be erased, Rimmer tells him the story of how he had once been invited to the Captain's Table for dinner. Gazpacho soup was being served for starters and he didn't realise that it was meant to be served cold. He had called over the chef and told him to take it away and bring it back hot. Later he says that he discovered the reason why the crew were laughing. He thought they were laughing at the chef, but they were actually laughing at him as he humiliated himself by eating his piping hot gazpacho soup. After that, Rimmer was never invited to the Captain's Table again. Rimmer considers this the end of his career and the worst moment in his life. Rimmer tells Lister to get on with the erasure, but Lister says that he's already done it. He erased the double Rimmer before the original Rimmer arrived. Rimmer is upset that Lister tricked him into telling him the gazpacho soup story and demands he tells no one of it. Lister agrees as they exit the drive room, saying "Souper".
When Red Dwarf first went into the studios at BBC Manchester, "Me²" didn't exist. It was originally planned to end the series with "Confidence and Paranoia", but after the BBC electrician strike disrupted the production. This gave the writers, Grant and Naylor, a chance to write a different finale to the series. They discarded the then-second episode "Bodysnatcher", about Rimmer stealing body parts from Lister to build a new body for himself, and wrote "Me²". The plot of "Me²" is partly based on "Bodysnatcher", which featured Lister not getting along with his own hologram—Grant and Naylor took this basic concept and centred it around Rimmer instead.
The two Rimmer scenes were shot using a split screen process, meaning that Chris Barrie would do a take on one half of the screen and then go over to the other half and do another take. The takes would be spliced together in the editing process. Rimmer's embarrassing and reputation-damaging incident with gazpacho soup is based on a real incident that was only narrowly avoided by writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. At a meeting at Thames Television, the pair were bewildered when they received cold soup, but refrained from saying anything. Afterwards, they discovered that gazpacho soup is meant to be served cold, and they had avoided the embarrassment that the fictional Rimmer would later suffer.
Additionally, the line "What a guy!" used by Rimmer 1 when spoken to Rimmer 2 was re-used in later series by other characters in reaction to the actions of Rimmer's parallel-universe alter-ego Ace Rimmer.
- Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane is referenced both directly and indirectly during this episode. Lister tells Rimmer that he and Cat are going to be watching Citizen Kane at the ship's cinema. The more subtle references appear in Rimmer's death scene, where a snow globe drops off the Captain's desk next to his hand, thus mirroring Kane's death in the film, and utters his cryptic last words "gazpacho soup" which hold importance in the episode. Kane's last word, "Rosebud", was the theme of the film.
- 'My Diary, by Arnold J. Rimmer' was Rimmer's journal of his thoughts and deeds. He had hoped it would someday be placed alongside his historic heroes' own work; 'Napoleon's War Diaries' and 'The Memories of Julius Caesar'.
- To elaborate on an April fool's joke, Holly wears a Groucho Marx comedy glasses-nose-and-moustache.
The episode was originally broadcast on the British television channel BBC2 on 21 March 1988 in the 9:00 p.m. time slot. Both co-creators/writers, Grant and Naylor, consider "Me²" as one of the successes of the first series. Grant stating that it is one of his favourite shows and the idea of how you would react if you met yourself was an intriguing story. Despite coming 25th in a Red Dwarf Smegazine readers poll, with 0.9% of the votes, the episode was considered one of the better efforts from the first series.
The remastering of Series I to III was carried out during the late 1990s. Changes throughout the series included replacement of the opening credits, giving the picture a colour grade and filmising, computer-generated special effects of the Red Dwarf spaceship and many more visual and audio enhancements.
Changes specific to "Me²" include new music and sound effects over Rimmer's tribute video, fireball corridor shot added to flashback of cadmium explosion, new explosion and sound effects added to scene, shots of Lister smoking tightened or removed to keep in line with current TV standards and Rimmer 2 calling Rimmer 1 a "great nancy" was removed.
- Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers – The first Red Dwarf novel which expands on the episode's premise.
- Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 50.
- Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 51.
- Red Dwarf Series 1 guide: Episode six: Me², Red Dwarf Smegazine, volume 2, issue 6, October 1993, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
- "Red Dwarf Me² (1988) Full cast and crew". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 22 January 2008.
- "Red Dwarf Series I Effects". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- "Red Dwarf movie connections". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- "BBC Programme Catalogue RED DWARF — ME2". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
- Readers survey results, Red Dwarf Smegazine, p. 27., issue 10, December 1992, Fleetway Editions Ltd, ISSN 0965-5603
- "Remasters of the Universe". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Red Dwarf Series I Remastering". www.reddwarf.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
- Remastering Crew (2007). The End Re-Mastered DVD Commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC.
- Remastering Crew (2007). 'Re-Dwarf' Documentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC.
- Remastering Crew (2007). Me² text commentary (DVD). Bodysnatcher DVD Boxset disc 1: BBC.
- Howarth & Lyons (1993) p. 8-9.
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