Watching this again I come to realise that Red Dwarf season one sort of tailed off at the end. Me² is, in many ways, just too similar to the episode before; rather than Lister having to deal with all too real aspects of his personality, Rimmer is now living with a duplicate of himself who is even more officious and annoying than the one we have come to know and, er… the one we know.
This does pose the interesting question of whether the original Rimmer has been changed so much by being around Lister and the Cat that he no longer recognises the person he was when the hologram was made, or whether in fact any one of us would be that irritated by ourselves if we were ever to meet.
Unlike Confidence and Paranoia though, this episode gives us plenty of Red Dwarf laughs – mocking the drab greyness of its own sets – and adds much to the wider Dwarf story.
I don’t believe it – I’ve been ippy-dippied to death
Here, for instance, is where Gazpacho Soup Day is explained, a turning point in Rimmer’s career that he managed to epically screw up; and when the two Rimmers are still in the honeymoon phase, Rimmer 1 is heard to say of his counterpart: ‘What a guy!’ in a way which sounds oddly familiar all these years later…
Most of the changes to this episode seem to be to reduce the amount that Lister smokes – presumably he did that a lot more in this episode without Rimmer whining about it all the time – but there’s some shifting on shortening to improve the flow.
In the original version, Lister takes the opportunity to point out the the clippings on the Rimmers’ wall (‘Arnie does it again!’ and so on) are about an entirely different Arnold; viewers of the re-mastered edition have to work that out for themselves.
Watch this episode for an insight into Rimmer’s character, and a better take on fighting with yourself than Confidence and Paranoia gave us.