Rick and Morty is an honest and cruel look at the modern world through a grandfather and grandson relationship. It tells a story of the evolution of family values, hits on disturbing real life issues using enlightening adventures of inter-dimensional travel.
We begin with a family, like any other family with a mad genius grandfather living in the home and stealing away the grandson for heinous adventures. Rick, grandfather to Morty, father to Beth, the woman of the household with granddaughter Summer, and son in law Jerry. Rick is a genius scientist and inventor capable of traveling throughout infinite dimensions. Instead of using this ability to cure cancer, he uses it to feed his more addictive pleasures in life and engage in the most entertaining debauchery. Because in reality, what else would you really do with a portal gun…?
Episode one really sets up the culture of this television world. Rick storms into Morty’s room in the middle of the night drunk to drag him into a newly built spaceship. Drunkenly stammering and fishing for compliments from Morty about the ship, Rick then leisurely admits to just needing to make a bomb. You see quickly Morty’s feelings and terror on the matter and the episode divulges into chaos.
I for one, came to this show not knowing it was on Adult Swim and thinking it was another great youth cartoon that appealed to an adult audience. I quickly found out this is not for children. Episode 11 “Risky Business” Summer, Rick and Morty have a house party while their parents are away, and simply in the background, we hear, “I love watching bukaki, but I don’t know if I would personally do it.” – I was mistaken, sorely mistaken about what I was getting into.
Throughout the season we get a taste of the worlds of Rick and Morty, the estranged history between Rick and his daughter, and the torture Rick puts Morty through. It’s a blend of unspeakable hardship, with undertones of the love for his family. Although, it’s hard to tell if he loves them, or if he really just needs them to overcome his intergalactic hurdles.
Rick uses the most basic elements of his abilities to appease his family. For instance, fashioning an apparatus to make the family dog smarter to get Jerry off his back, which ends up taking over the world with the rest of it’s robot friends. Or making a potion so Morty can get the girl at the dance and creating an ENTIRE universe of mutilated beings called, “Cronenbergs,” (playing on the horrific creatures Director David Cronenberg creates in his films.)
Normally I’d insert an image of Cronenbergs, but I’ll spare you the grotesqueness of it all – you’re just going to have to watch the episode to truly know.
Now I know what you are thinking, I’m not really selling you on this show but, I have to give it up to Rick and Morty for laying out all of the world’s societal issues by making fun of each of them equally. Rick travels with his granddaughter Summer to a planet ruled and inhabited by only women, I mean they greet and leave a room by saying, “I’m here if you need to talk” – highly accurate – highly offensive, it’s perfect!
At one point we learn that Morty is only on these adventures because in the multiverse each Rick needs a Morty, a being of considerably less intelligence in order to shield Rick’s from detection and better their abilities in the multiverse. One of the many Mortys literally stages a covert revolution, an uprising against the “main” Rick – inevitably trying to free all of the Morty’s. I literally felt inspired to make signs – “FREE MORTY!”
It does take a certain type of person to laugh at the cruelty this show brings. It reminds me of my family, maybe not so dysfunctional but, we use unrelenting humor to show our love. You definitely have to have a tough skin and deep inner love to be in my family, and also to watch Rick and Morty. It is a disturbing train wreck that you cannot look away from. At the same time, it’s enlightening to find animated characters with complex inner turmoil covering up the pain with outlandish antics.
Season one closes out with, of course, a huge rager house party where calamities ensue to the point which the entire home is transported to another universe. Instead of helping return to earth, Rick makes Morty and a few other party guests go on a perilous journey for some crystals. We find out these crystals were simply to get high…Someone DIES! Anyway, this is where we are introduced to Birdperson, most likely the only person that knows the true Rick, having been through wars with Rick and being his only confidant. Birdperson explains to Morty the pain that Rick is actually going through inside. At the party, Birdperson hooks up with Summer’s friend Tammy and we see them fly away home together with Summer, Rick, and Morty left with a trashed home.
We begin season two of Rick and Morty with time frozen for everyone except Rick, Summer, and Morty. They spend the next 6 months dicking around as the rest of the world is frozen, and then eventually clean and fix the house so their parents never notice. Of course, this rips the time and space continuum when Summer and Morty do something with doubt. See how subtly they bring in these morals?! You have to be honest and clear and absolutely sure of your decisions in life, in this case, if you want to stay alive.
In this season, they take us deep into the cripplingly unstable relationship between Beth and Jerry. We see Beth and Jerry head off to intergalactic couples counseling, and like a good Family Guy episode by the end, you are trying to trace your steps back to see how we got here. The personified creatures of both Beth and Jerry’s inner thoughts of each other end up taking over the facility and working as a well-oiled machine to murder everyone. Somehow, this experience gives them the motivation to stay together.
The best part of this show is watching the many layers of Rick unfold – he in himself is a conundrum. We see a semblance of a heart in the episode, “Auto Erotic Assimilation.” Rick Morty and Summer travel to a galaxy inhabited by a hive organism named “Unity” who happens to be Rick’s ex-girlfriend. And I do mean girlfriend, not a fling or some chic he messed with.
Unity has taken control of the entire planet’s inhabitants and her perfectly assimilated society begins to fall apart because of Rick’s influence in her life. In the end, she leaves him. We see Rick come home realizing he’s the reason for her downfall, then brushes it off when the family asks. At this time the music has changed and it gets REAL. He heads to the garage and develops a machine to obliterate his head and it barely misses. Just keeping it the realist, you could cry…
The big event that really brings home the season is the wedding of Bird Person and Tammy. Spoilers! It’s like a cartoon red wedding – now a lot of people die but the family survives. At the wedding, it is revealed that Tammy was a plant from the intergalactic government to take down Birdperson and Rick. The drama! In the end, the family cannot go back to earth and find a barely habitable planet to live. Rick overhears the family discussing what a burden he is and goes and turns himself in. the last shot we see is Rick locked up in an intergalactic prison. We hope he is doing it out of love, it’s never really clear…
All that said, Rick and Morty, lets me get schwifty, and squanch it up! It’s just as addicting as Walking Dead used to be. At the end of each episode, you just have to know what’s gonna happen even when one episode to the next have nothing to do with each other. You end up loving Rick and believing in Morty, praying for Mr. Poopy Butthole, and hoping Beth and Jerry get a divorce. It turns you into a delightful jerk.
You can find episode one of season three out there in the ether somewhere. I for one might wait until the full season is available so I can binge myself into laughter and sadness.