Funny Valentine 1

Part one of the story behind Red Dwarf's journey into love, romance and 'the other'.

Funny Valentine 1

Let's be honest, here. The Boys from the Dwarf have all the sexual maturity of the average humping dog, but without the endearing qualities the canine might possess - sure, it cleans itself with its tongue, but at least the damn mutt's clean.

Watching Lister and his misfit crew attempt to pull women is an uncomfortable experience. But still they try - fuelled, no doubt, by the years of being adrift in space abstinence. Well, its certainly explains Inflatable Ingrid and the hours Lister spends in Artificial Reality...

Funny Valentine 1


Michelle Fisher. Bootle Municipal Golf Course. Par four, dogleg to the right, in the bunker behind the green. And so a legend was born - this was where a twelve-year-old Lister lost his virginity. But then, he was always losing things.

Say what you like about Lister - and Rimmer always will - but in his pre-Dwarf days, he did okay with the ladies. Cashier Number Four at the Mini-Mart may have had a boyfriend who locked him in a crate and induced his claustrophobia, but she was willing to do almost anything with Lister on a box of tinned asparagus. Well, they are supposed to be an aphrodisiac.

Still, there's more to Lister than sex in inappropriate locations. Falling in love with Lise Yates was a definite step up. By all accounts a fantastic woman, it wasn't until he 'loaned' his memories of her to Rimmer that he realised how badly he had treated her during their six-month relationship.

Lise wanted the best for our Dave... and normally, that would be a good thing. But this is Lister, after all, and the idea that someone might want him to have a career...? Ugh! As in love with him as he was with her, she wanted some sign of commitment from him. He wanted to bum around and have a laugh. At least, that's what he said.

Funny Valentine 1

This knee-jerk reflex caused him to lose a woman who was perfect for him. Of course, he would lose another love in a not dissimilar way...

So - Kristine Kochanski. They met aboard Red Dwarf while she was on the rebound from Tim the chef. But the relationship with Lister became quickly unsatisfying - and all the quicker for a driven career type like Krissie. Once again Lister found himself with a woman who wanted a little more from him than he was able to give. Watching movies, having sex and eating - this wasn't just his life, it was his long-term goal.

Funny Valentine 1

And another opportunity sailed off into the sunset. All because Dave Lister thinks commitment is a four-letter word.

He's matured since, of course. Now he just might be capable of giving Kochanski what she wants. The trouble is, the Kochanski he now knows hails from an alternate dimension. One where being a hologram has made her Dave Lister warm, fuzzy and sensitive.

Not surprising, really - food means little to a soft-light hologram, ditto nookie. Love, conversation and commitment are all that's left. (Though we assume a hologrammatic legover was possible once he became hard-light.) Our Dave had taken a step or two forward, Hologram Dave had driven right into the next county. And Kochanski just isn't interested any more. Probably.

Funny Valentine 1

Still, along the way, Lister has had a few opportunities. Not dissimilar to his experiences with food, many of his close encounters of the squelchy kind have involved his imminent death and destruction. Certainly, jilting his GELF bride on their wedding night angered her enough to give chase over a year of space travel. (But did she take his name? We're never told, but it's possible that she might now be known as Ech-Ech-Ech-Ech-Ech-Ech-Ech-Lister.)

Funny Valentine 1

The reanimated body of Caroline Carmen came right for him when looking for someone to infect with the deadly Epideme virus. (Lister claims to have dated her before she transferred off Red Dwarf. Don't believe a word of it.) The Polymorph came at him disguised as Rimmer's mum... and the semi-conscious Lister laid back and thought of Liverpool. And as for the Psirens... those telepathic bastards would do anything to entice a traveller. Including appearing as his lost love... or a cold drinks dispenser.

By comparison, Camille - who appeared to Lister as a foxy Scouse lass - must have seemed positively straightforward. Despite the true-form appearance of a four-foot bogey, at least she never tried to kill him and his friends. And she never got him pregnant, which is more than can be said for Deb Lister, our boy's female equivalent and the only woman he's met who can belch the whole of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Funny Valentine 1

Those unfortunate flings aside, Lister's greatest successes have been far less... tangible. Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones, the Duke of Lincoln's eldest daughter, clearly married him for money in Timeslides - in the alternate timeline Lister hailed from, she'd married Thickie Holden, despite him thinking a glacier was a bloke who fixed windows.

Ah - speaking of messed-up, unreal liaisons. That kiss. Rimmer and Lister. Sure, it happened in Lister's subconscious. And sure, despite Lister's claim to a genuine good friend known only as 'Bent Bob', it's probably fair to say that he's not likely to butter his bread that side any time soon. But, man, didn't the audience love it?

Funny Valentine 1

But it's the AR suite's groinal attachment that has taken the worst punishment. Ball-girls in a simulated Wimbledon, film noir femme fatales, medieval queens... all victims of Lister's appetites. Well, it gave Inflatable Ingrid (Your Polythene Pal) a break.


Well, this section should be fairly short. After all, the Cat's most significant relationship has been with mirrors.

In terms of love, Cat was cursed from birth. He lost his parents early and was raised by the sole surviving cat aboard Red Dwarf, a blind priest whose interest in sex was about as significant as Lister's interest in fresh vegetables.

It was a long time before, thanks to a handy magic door in time (okay, it was a stasis leak, but the technical terms confuse him) Cat finally got to meet actual women. Yes, he got 'that look' from Kochanski's roommate, but having finally got close to real females, he didn't actually know what it was he wanted to do. Although he was pretty sure he wanted to do a lot of it. (To be fair, the Backwards novel implies a distinctly negative effect for the final recipient of Cat's enthusiasms, thanks to his feline biology.)

Still, you can't knock the guy's tastes. Marilyn Monroe chased him relentlessly through the Better Than Life virtual-reality game. Lister almost hit it right on the nose when he stated that Cat's greatest desire would be a Valkyrie warrior maiden in scanty armour with a cleavage you could ski down. 'Almost' because, as it turns out, Cat likes one thing more than beautiful women - himself.

Funny Valentine 1

Still, a man - or, for that matter, a humanoid tom-cat - has needs. Which no doubt explains why he followed Lister into AR to 'Pride and Prejudice Land'. Those Bennett sisters - phew! It might even suit his ultimate plan to find the right small group of girls and settle down.

Funny Valentine 1

AR is, it seems, as good as it gets for our boys. The super-sexy ground controller, encountered while escaping a prison term aboard Red Dwarf, took an immediate shine to Cat (or "Major Tom" as he claimed to be under pressure). She liked the way he moved, the way he drove... he liked her because she was female, attractive and still breathing in and out. Picky boy, the Cat.

Of course, she wasn't real. Reality, indeed, sucks.

Thus the Cat goes ever onward, searching in vain for a woman who will suit his needs. Leave him alone, but still sleep with him. Have huge beauty, but not be prettier than him. Who will understand that he may have to recondition her wardrobe on an hourly basis to keep up with the latest trends.

No wonder it's taking so long.

Further reading: Funny Valentine Part 2

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