‘Rick and Morty’ review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

“Rick and Morty” is back for another season, so I thought it’d be a good time to talk about one of my favorite animated shows of all time, “Rick and Morty.” I’m surprised at how the show started small, but in the past years has exploded into this big icon. Everything from merchandise to commercials to their sometimes out-of-control fandom, it’s a show many are familiar with.

The show centers on Rick Sanchez, a cynical mad scientist who constantly brings his meek grandson Morty Smith on numerous adventures throughout the multiverse. The episodes revolve around visiting different worlds, surviving chaotic situations, and a whole bunch of sci-fi craziness. Naturally, their insane antics cause much distress to the Smith family, which includes Morty’s sister Summer, and their parents, Beth and Jerry. The series follows these characters as they deal with all sorts of dilemmas, both interdimensional and domestic.

From an idea like this you would think the idea would sound insane, and to be fair it is. But that’s also why I love it so much. This show has some of the most bizarre, random, cynical humor I’ve seen in any animated show. While most episodes do run on the familiar formula of having two storylines. One being the main plot, and the other usually centering on family problems around characters like Beth and Jerry. While it can be easy to like one plot over the other, this series takes every opportunity to make every element it uses either clever, inventive, and funny at the same time. It creates this balance of insanely down-to-earth down to earth real. This sounds surprising with what this show throws at you, but they make it work.

The jokes here are too many to count as so much effort is put into them. Sometimes, you can’t help but feel that the writers felt they could do anything they wanted. You can tell that they felt free to tackle all sorts of topics and subject matters, such as the issues of a dysfunctional family, or insulting a genre of films for its overused tropes and gimmicks. There are even moments where the characters acknowledge the episode’s narrative through a fourth wall. Elements like this do play a role in adding to the hilarity, while also giving a disturbing vibe as the characters are in a universe where logic and reason seemingly don’t exist.

Courtesy of Adult Swim.

Another thing to talk about is how the characters are portrayed, most notably the protagonists. Throughout the series, they do such questionable and even downright awful things, yet for some reason, we follow them all the way through. It was at this point that I questioned why characters in something like “Family Guy” drove away their audiences, while characters in a show like this draw people to them. I believe it comes down to two certain factors. One is unpredictability. This show is always one step ahead with how it portrays its plotlines that you want to see how they finish. It also helps that a lot of these episodes do finish with a creative and hilarious payoff that is hard to find in other adult animated shows. There are episodes like where Rick’s car battery has an entire microscopic civilization that unknowingly powers his car or one where he accidentally destroys the world so he and Morty abandon everyone to move to another similar dimension. Ideas like this are dark and cruel but are so creative and unapologetic that you can’t help but get invested in how far they go with them. 

One other element that helps this show stand out is character depth. The characters in this series have a lot of personalities that make them both funny and complex, particularly with Rick himself. It’s easy to see someone like him as this unlikable drunk, but the creators write him in a way that not only keeps you laughing but also as a person who despite all his talents struggles to keep things closest to him, particularly his family who little by little are relying on him less and less as the show progresses. While it’s clear that there’s more to this character than he’s letting on, they smartly don’t dwell on it as you can connect the dots to all the things this guy has gone through. There’s even this mean-spirited tone to how this world treats people like Jerry. He’s this weak-willed guy who doesn’t always grasp the situation, but you still want to see him come out okay despite his incompetence. You want him to improve, but you’re also laughing because this universe is so predetermined to undermine him at every turn. 

There’s also the theme of how nihilism permeates the nature of the series. With how big the multiverse is and all the different realities that come from it, it affects how the characters respond to it. While characters like Morty take it in stride and move on with their lives, characters like Rick find themselves at a standstill. The knowledge that nothing truly matters drives a lot of his actions. Even though he can literally do anything, it gets him nowhere as he drives away people due to his destructive nature. This also plays into the show’s emphasis on family relationships as with every harsh truth the Smith family discovers, they usually make peace with it and move on. They don’t let the truth hurt them as they progressively grow to accept the insanity they live in.

And no. I’m not one of those insane fanboys who think you need to be intelligent to understand this show. You can look at it in a number of ways, both as a character study and as a dark comedy. I’m just giving a different point of view.

With that said, “Rick and Morty” is one of the best series to come out of the past decades. It’s one of my top three comedic influences, and you can definitely see why. Whether you’re looking for a bizarre adventure or a dive in a character’s psyche, there is something everyone can get out of this series. There’s a lot of hilarity and insight to be found in this show.

Rating: 5 / 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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