After the temporary departure of Arnold Rimmer earlier in the series, and the introduction of Dave Lister's old girlfriend Kristine Kochanski in the last episode, Duct Soup was intended as a "bottle episode" (in the style of Series III episode "Marooned") to better acquaint viewers with the new character line-up that would remain for the duration of Series VII.
When the interior doors of Starbug malfunction, the crew (Lister, Cat, Kryten, and now, Kristine Kochanski (Rimmer having left in a previous episode) are forced to climb through the ventilation ducts to try and unlock the doors. In this unnerving situation, they learn a few interesting secrets about each other.
Inside Starbug, past midnight, no-one can sleep: Lister's quarters are overheating to 92ºF, Kochanski is being driven insane by the squeaks and noises from the sewage pipes, and Cat is busy watching Kochanski's underwear in the spin-dryer. Kochanski starts mooching about the ship, wailing in self-pity for her life aboard Starbug to Kryten; only two sets of clothes, no cottage cheese with pineapple chunks, no understanding of the offside rule. Kryten tries to comfort Kochanski, stopping her from crying by performing the Heimlich maneuver due to a corrupted data disc.
Lister tries his luck, transforming an old rocket housing into a hot bubble bath and provides Kris with wine and a new outfit. This causes Kryten's jealousy to play up again, and the mechanoid has a day-dream of Dave and Kris getting back together. In Kryten's vision of the future, Lister is maturing for Kris' sake, wearing clogs and inviting hairy GELFs round to social dinner events. The future couple inform Kryten that they will no longer be needing his services and kick him out, and send him off with a parting gift of a keyring with a 'C' on it for 'Kryten'. Snapping to, Kryten realizes that he has to try to break them up before Kris takes her bath, blaming Lister for shrinking Kochanski's clothes, but Kristine doesn't care.
Kryten goes out the room to adjust the thermo-settings, but all the lights on the ship go out, and Kryten runs back into the room to explain that the main generator has overloaded and tripped. Cat also enters the room just as the back-up generator goes down, and the safety doors seal them all in Lister's sleeping quarters. Although they still have life support and artificial gravity, Starbug is flying unmanned straight into a meteor storm, giving the crew twelve hours to restart the back-up generator. The only way to reach the generator with the doors locked is to crawl through the ship's access and maintenance ducts for several hours, which wind around the ship like intestines.
As they proceed, Lister admits that he is acutely claustrophobic, a condition caused by being shut into a packing crate for hours as a teenager by the jealous husband of a woman he was having an affair with. Kochanski distracts him by telling him that her Lister was gay, but this is just a ploy to take his mind off the tight quarters. He considers pretending to be gay to get a cuddle. She also tells Kryten an embarrassing story about herself, which he files away for future blackmail.
Cat's acute hearing picks up the sound of water roaring down the ducts, a regular occurrence to clean the pipes, and he and Lister are soaked to the skin. They then get blown down the tunnel by the dryer. After Kryten gives Lister a mild sedative, the crew take a break and notice that the temperature is increasing. The only explanation is that Starbug is drifting towards a star, having been knocked off course by the generator going down. This causes Kryten to confess to having overloaded the generator deliberately, in an effort to prevent Kochanski having the bath which he believed would lead inevitably to her settling down with Lister.
Lister realizes that time is of the essence and uses a wall panel as a giant surfboard, which the Dwarfers ride to their destination when the water comes around again.
Emerging from the vent back in the sleeping quarters, they realize that they have gone in a big circle and don't have time to try again. However, just when all hope is lost, Kryten further reveals that when he overloaded the generator he ensured that the doors would remain unlocked in case anything went wrong.
Furious at having been put through the ordeal for no reason when they could have just opened the door and walked out, Cat and Lister go off to steer the ship away from the sun, with Lister saying that they'll discuss it later over a hot branding iron. Kryten notices that Kochanski doesn't seem to be angry, and believes that their journey through the ducts has helped her adapt to and bond with the rest of the crew in a way she couldn't have thought possible. Kochanski however is simply deciding to take out her anger on him the same way she did the pipes, and gets him to say the same noises as she starts to lay into him with a spanner.
Duct Soup Xtended
Like earlier episodes in Series VII, Duct Soup has an optional "Xtended" version watchable on the Series VII DVD release, which extends its length by incorporating the opening titles which were cut from the aired episode and some dialogues were trimmed for time in the televised episode. The Xtended edition appears "as-shot" without an audience laugh track. Among the restored additional scenes include:
- More of Kris Kochanski bemoaning her deprivation aboard Starbug compared to her earlier life growing up and with the Hologram Lister. During this Kris also mentions her otherwise unmentioned brother, Moose Kochanski, saying that Moose would steal her lipstick and hold it ransom. He did this because he knew that if she didn't look good she wouldn't go out.
- Lister discussing his time as a youth in a gloomy Liverpool orphanage. He relates a story about his bunkmate "Squeaky Gibson", whom used to cause a lot of noise apparently masturbating. They all threw their shoes at him before noticing that Gibson was having an epileptic fit, and Lister saved his life by wedging a shoe into his mouth.
- Kochanski goes into more detail about her time as a youth in virtual reality at "Cyber School", where she was educated by historical figures, but Cat is more interested in what the sex education was like. She also tells how, later, she was a "retro-punk".
- Cat discussing on the logic of why he believes he is the literal center of the Universe is extended.
Some of the cut scenes not incorporated in the 'Xtended' version are also available on the Series VII DVD. These include:
- Lister and Cat spend more time watching and discussing Kochanski's laundry in the washing machine. As Lister pretends to be mature and uninterested, Cat teases him and gets his attention by describing a thong he has seen; "blue, like tooth floss".
- As Lister shows Kochanski the hot bubble bath he has made for her out of an old rocket housing, he goes into more detail about the preparation including the bath oils he has made from fruit and spice extracts. It is also revealed that the wine he has given her is Urine Recyc Wine, although Kochanski doesn't know it.
- Kryten's daydream of a future in which Lister and Kochanski are together is extended.
- When the door seals on them, Lister suggests blasting them open. Cat replies that the only thing in the room which could cause a deadly explosion is Lister's collection of pickled eggs.
- More of Lister proclaiming to Kochanski reasons why he could not possibly be gay.
- More of Lister telling Cat about his embarrassing experience one time of being naked in front of theater full of people, including the reactions of people there.
- More of Lister and Cat being flushed down the tubes, and Lister breaking down in frustration and claustrophobia.
- The scene of Kristine Kochanski telling the others about her youth in Glasgow is significantly extended, including previously unheard of detail regarding the Kochanski family. She didn't like her holidays at home away from "Cyber School" since the family were never around. Her father was a Space Corps archaeologist, working off-world a lot, and her mother worked in advertising and was often also away, so she elected to stay in cyberspace during the holidays. In cyberspace, her family and pet horse Trumper were perfectly replicated for her. Upon coming out at age 18, and coming to the epiphany that none of it was real, she went off the rails and became a "retro-punk". She snogged Hell's Angels and was permanently "out of my head".
- The previous episode established that 18 months passed between Kochanski's arrival on Starbug and young Dave Lister being left in the pub. However neither this nor any other episodes that follow indicate whether this means "Duct Soup" takes place eighteen months after "Ouroboros". Dialogue in the episode suggests that, while some time has clearly passed, Kochanski is still getting used to life on board Starbug.
- A deleted scene features Kochanski talking in more detail about her rebellious youth in the trendiest part of Glasgow, much of which was spent hooked up to a computer simulated world for her schooling. This bears some resemblance to the Red Dwarf game featured in Back to Reality, as well as the concept of Better Than Life as depicted in a Red Dwarf novel and in a television episode of Series II.
- Kochanski's unnamed brother, whom she nicknamed "Moose", is mentioned in the deleted scenes of the episode. Kochanski's brother is not mentioned anywhere else in the franchise, and since his only mention is in a deleted scene, the canon of this character's existence is unclear. If Moose Kochanski existed, he would be a significant character since due to time travel he could perhaps be the biological uncle of Dave Lister. Despite Doug Naylor revealing virtually nothing about Moose Kochanski, the character has proved a popular point of Red Dwarf fan fiction, as noted in the Series VII collector's booklet.
- The name is a reference to the famous Marx Brothers comedy, Duck Soup
- This is the first episode of the entire show where Kryten is the antagonist.
- This is the only episode of the two Starbug-based series in which no scenes take place in the cockpit.
- Lister's claustrophobia had been hinted at before, such as when he was in a space suit battling Confidence in "Confidence and Paranoia", and also in the Xpress Lifts. Lister's claustrophobia, as well as his dialogue in this episode, is directly referenced a deleted scene in the episode "Krytie TV" of the next series, as Lister crawls through the ventilation ducts of Red Dwarf in a similar manner.
- During this episode, Cat asks Lister why he hasn't shown any signs of claustrophobia at times when he's been in an enclosed space (for instance, when inside the chimney shaft in "Meltdown") and Lister responds he only suffers with it sometimes, thereby avoiding continuity errors.
Interesting, funny or relevant dialogue in the episode.
- The episode ran long and as a result was the second of two consecutive episodes to air without opening credits. When an extended version was created for later DVD release, the credits were put back on, however the "filmizing" process applied to the episode was not applied to the credits, providing a brief glimpse of how Series VII looked in its original shot-on-video form.
- It was decided that Kochanski's figure-hugging, red PVC uniform from the previous episode would be ditched as it was too distracting to the rest of the cast. It was written into "Duct Soup" that Kryten would accidentally shrink-wash this uniform and blame it on Lister. Kochanski would next be seen wearing an improvised outfit comprised of a pair of Lister's combat trousers and her cocktail dress adapted into a top. By the next episode Kochanski would have taken to knocking up her own outfits, which they'd presumably taken from Space Corps derelicts.
Kinotowowi GELF #1:
Kinotowowi GELF #2:
Other articles of things featured in this particular episode
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