Red Dwarf:
Arnold J. Rimmer

Kryten, defending Rimmer in a criminal court:

...having held a position of little or no importance, he was a lowly grease monkey... a zero... a nothing... a piece of sputum floating in the toilet bowl of life. Yet he could never come to terms with a lifetime of underachievement; his absurdly inflated ego would never permit it. He was like the security guard on the front gate who considers himself head of the corporation... look at this man; this man who sat and failed his astro navigation exam on no less than 13 occasions; this sad man, this pathetic man, this joke of a man... the Space Corps never allowed this man to be in a position of authority where he might endanger the entire crew.

A man so petty and small minded that he would while away the evening sewing name labels onto his ship issue condoms. A man of such awesome stupidity—an over zealous trumped up little squirt... an incompetent vending machine repair man with a Napoleon complex... who had as much respect from his crew members as Long John Silver's parrot.

Who would permit this man, this joke of a man, this man who could not outwit a used tea bag, to be in a position where he might endanger the entire crew? Who... Only a yoghurt! This man is only guilty of being Arnold J. Rimmer. That is his crime. It is also his punishment!"

Arnold J. Rimmer is one of the main characters on the sci-fi britcom Red Dwarf, played marvelously by Chris Barrie (the butler in Tomb Raider). He is the asshole everybody loves to hate.

Rimmer, the second lowest crewman aboard the mining vessel Red Dwarf, only barely outranking the lowest, Dave Lister, died in the very first episode, but is brought back to life as a hologram to be a companion to the only survivor (Lister!), because he spoke the most words to Lister when they were alive (Holly, the ship's computer somehow forgot to take into account that 99% of those were commands to "Smeg off!" or other cursewords).

He is a fanatical believer in authority (as long as it is him providing the authority) and has always dreamed of becoming an officer, failing miserably every time he tried. He is convinced to be destined for greatness, a feeling which is supported by the fact that he believes he was none other than Alexander the Great's Chief Eunuch in a former life.

... even to this day I can’t look at a pair of nutcrackers without wincing… and why every time I’m with a large group of women I have this urge to bathe them in warm olive oil?

He is an incredible git with a sad past, and even sadder future, and he can't even stand himself, when it comes to it, as he found out in several episodes. He has little luck with the opposite sex, scaring them away before their first encounter, and so it is no wonder that his favorite book is "How to Pick Up Girls Through Hypnosis". But he has a positive side as well. Sadly, that is his alternate universe version, Ace Rimmer, whose guts he hates as well.

Ace Rimmer: Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast!

But we, the viewers, love this sad caricature of a man, with his ambitions, silly salute, frothing monologues and never-ending potential for comedy. He is the dark part of us, one we fear, and enables us to laugh at it. And therefore I say:

"Go boldly, Arnold J. Rimmer, and never give up!"

Arnold J. Rimmer

Arnold Rimmer is one of the main characters in the British television comedy series, Red Dwarf, and is referred to as 'Rimmer' throughout the series. Likewise, his bunkmate, David Lister, is referred to as 'Lister'.

Rimmer is played by Chris Barrie throughout all of the series.


Typically, Rimmer maintains his position as playing the coward when threatened with any danger, yet he continually yearns to get promoted from his 2nd-from-worst position, sparing himself from the menial task ensuring the vending machines are stocked with fun size Crispy bars.

Regardless of his would-be career-orientated direction (Quoted as "to be an officer; a man of honour!") in life, he is, behind the thin disguise, a complete nutter and weasel. To put it from his own mouth, "Lister, you know me. My handshake's less reliable than a plumber's estimate.", when Rimmer backs out of a previous promise.

His bunkmate, David Lister, is the 'proud' owner of the worst position on ship, duties consisting of the said vending machine stocking.


Rimmer leaves the series in the middle of Series 7, and returns in Series 8. Otherwise, he is in every episode, and plays a key role as such. He leaves in the middle of Series 7, because it becomes his destiny to follow as the next Ace Rimmer (see below). He returns in Series 8 as part of a reconstruction of the original Red Dwarf ship, crew included. Rimmer could be thought to act somewhat differently to Lister in Series 8, especially at the start, because he doesn't have the years of experience and memories with Lister (that after all, happened after he died).

Ace Rimmer

Rimmer has an established 'alter-ego' in the series, from a parallel universe, the only key difference being that he prefers to call himself Ace Rimmer, with a much more likable personality; This alternative version of Rimmer comes into play when the situation allows it (parallel universes, etc.) The key difference between the two Rimmers is that the more self-confident, better-off, proud version of Rimmer - Ace - was held back a year in school, and generally acts as though he is a hero. Arnold Rimmer takes very sourly to this version of himself when he appears, and displays it so, presumably out of jealously, because in comparison, he's a nothing.

Physical State

For the majority of series, Rimmer (but not Ace) is a hologram, as opposed to being alive and having a physically solid body. This is due to the basic storyline of Red Dwarf involving a radiation leak wiping out the entire crew. Lister, at the time, survived, having been in stasis at the time as a punishment for smuggling a cat onboard the ship.

Rimmer acquires a 'hard-light' drive later in the series, permitting him to touch items and be moderately indestructible. Rimmer has been graced with the 'honour' of being a hologram, since Holly, the ship computer (holding a questionable IQ of 6000), considers him the best person to keep Lister sane, since Lister is (presumed) to be the last human alive. In his own universe, anyway.

The Name

I'm almost sure Rimmer and Lister's names must be something of an in-joke. The fact that Lister is observed listing inventories in the earlier series puts a strange light on the name. I can only assume Rimmer's name has a hidden meaning too:

Lister: Okay, whatcha want me to say? How do you want me to act?
Rimmer: I don't know. Just act with respect. For a start, don't call me "Rimmer."
Lister: Why not?
Rimmer: Because you always put the emphasis on "Rim" in "Rimmer." Makes me sound like a lavatory disinfectant.

"I've spent more time being sick than I have having sex."

"Everything always goes wrong for me. I'm probably the only person in the world to buy a Topic Bar without a single hazelnut in it."

"I could bring me back! There'd be two of me - a dead me and a living me! One for the week and one for Sunday best!"

Lister: What time is it?
Rimmer: Saturday.
Lister: Is that the best you can do?
Rimmer: There are some numbers next to it, but they could be anything.

(as Lister publicly reads Rimmer's diary)
Lister: It's no big deal, you know. You can read my diary.
Rimmer: Who'd want to read your diary? It's full of puerile nonsense about Kristine Kochanski.
Lister: Ah, so you've read my diary.
Rimmer: Yes, but at least I have the common decency to do it sneakily behind your back.

"So let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet to see the King of the potato people? And plead with him for your freedom? And you're telling me you're completely sane?"

Lister: What are you doing?
Rimmer: It's called "work," Lister. I didn't think you'd recognize it. W-O-R-K. It is in the dictionary. (To the scutters) Come on, paint! Paint, paint, paint!
Lister: But why are they painting the colour the same colour it was before?
Rimmer: They're changing it from Ocean Gray to Military Gray. Something that should've been done a long time ago.
Lister: Looks exactly the same to me.
Rimmer: No. No no no. That's the new Military Gray bit there, and that's the dowdy, old, nasty Ocean Gray bit there. Or is it the other way round?

Rimmer: He always wanted to join the Space Corps, be an officer. But they wouldn't take him because he was an inch below regulation height. One inch. I had three brothers. When we were young he bought a traction machine so that he could stretch us. By the time my brother Frank was eleven he was six foot five. Every morning he'd measure us and if we hadn't grown, back on the rack.
Lister: Sounds like he had a screw loose.
Rimmer: I don't think he had one screw fully tightened to be perfectly honest with you. He had this fixation that we all had to get into the Space Corps. At meal times he'd ask us questions on astronavigation. If we got them wrong - no food.
Lister: God, Rimmer, how did you cope with that?
Rimmer: I didn't. I nearly died of malnutrition.

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