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In the Red Dwarf episode Backwards, the crew travels in time to a time after the end of the universe. It is established that universal expansion has reversed, and time with it. So they are on earth in the modern day, but everything takes place reversed in time.

However, writing is spelled backwards. If they're in the present, but time is reversed, why is the writing now backwards?

Edit: While some people feel the answer to this may be identical to an unrelated question about an unrelated episode. The question is not the same question.

marked as duplicate by Valorum, The Fallen, Jason Baker, BCdotWEB, K-H-W Nov 2 '15 at 1:52

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    Poorly thought out writing, or, more likely, Rule of Funny. -- Warning! That's a TVTropes link; follow it and you could lose hours of what could otherwise be productive time.. – K-H-W Oct 30 '15 at 20:24
  • @K-H-W I don't think it is poorly thought out writing at all. It was fully the second answer you give, which, is probably the best answer for this question. you should submit it. – 1252748 Oct 30 '15 at 20:47
  • Honestly, there is so much why in that episode, I think the only possible answer is "because funny." – Longspeak Oct 30 '15 at 21:09
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    I think I've finally found a red dwarf question where nobody will answer "because he's a smeg head". – AJFaraday Oct 30 '15 at 21:10
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    I'm having reservations about closing every Red Dwarf question as a duplicate just because the answer is probably going to be "because it was funny". – KutuluMike Oct 31 '15 at 1:25

Pretty much every plot inconsistency in Red Dwarf can be attributed to the trope "Rule of Funny", e.g. where the comedy value of a scene takes immediate priority over any consideration of continuity or common sense.

This interview with Douglas Naylor illustrates this point quite nicely:

Do you think of Red Dwarf as a science-fiction show with comedy in, or a sitcom with science fiction in?

I think... well, actually, you could argue, it's been both! Whether we intended that is something else...

It was always intended to be a comedy first. They were really so linked, but we had to pretend it wasn't science fiction when we sold it, because everyone said that science fiction didn't sell... and yet the science fiction part, from our point of view, was actually our pitch! Because otherwise, it was just about two guys in a spaceship. And especially with nobody else there, what was it going to be about? Just arguments about chicken soup dispensers, and skutters. So it was the science fiction tropes that gave it the impetus and the energy, and the originality. And also, the ability to go anywhere, get off the ship, whatever.

But I think if it's a science fiction show with comedy, that's probably when we've done it wrong. It should be the other way around


Did you find it was more important to tell the best story possible at the time, rather than being concerned about whether it lined up with past backstory?

Absolutely, yeah. And in the end, the laugh is king - and Rob's feeling was certainly that if it works, it works, and don't worry about it.

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    If I may play devils advocate for a minute. Is it funny that the writing is reversed, or is it a way of (erroneously) re-introducing the "backwards" concept? I don't really see it as the root of any comic dialogue. – AJFaraday Oct 31 '15 at 20:03
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    @AJFaraday - The humour in that situation comes from Lister and the Cat not realising that NODNOL is London backwards. It highlights their stupidity – Valorum Oct 31 '15 at 20:14
  • @AJFaraday Agreed, also allows for the Rule of Funny to be exhibited in Listy's fight scene and the cabaret act of the amazing rever brothers – Kevin Jul 21 '17 at 14:21

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