Rick and Morty: In Which A Disturbingly Funny Cartoon Inspires A Writer To Blog (pt. 1)

Rick and Morty: Adventures In Child Abuse and Alcoholism

Rick and Morty: Adventures In Child Abuse and Alcoholism

After watching the first two episodes of “Rick and Morty”, I was already hooked into the show, and after the third episode, I knew it was going to be the first thing that I review in a blog. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. First a brief story and recap.

I love watching cartoons far more than I like watching live-action television. Cartoons have always captured my attention because they don’t exist in a world that has to follow the laws and physics of actual reality. Most television shows don’t either, but cartoons are able to push it to the next degree, which leads to much better comedic aspects. If a safe hits you in a cartoon, you’ll probably survive, albeit with stars or tweety birds circling your head. And I’m all for that. I love the absurdity and, to a degree, the immaturity that comes from cartoons. That being said, I’m also not a huge fan of crass humor. There are exceptions of course. South Park knows when they’re going too far, and then they go one step further. Family Guy knows it’s a stupid show, but you’ll keep watching it even if they’re on their sixth giant chicken fight. But for the most part, I’m not a fan of a lot of cartoons that go that route, especially of the shows presented on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which are usually very violent and full of stupid dumb humor.

Enter “Rick and Morty”, a show for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t be a show I care all that much about. It’s full of regular humor that normally I just roll my eyes at. However, under the recommendation of a friend whose humor and taste in cartoons is similar to mine, I decided to give it a watch. I remained unimpressed after the first episode, but I pushed onward, searching for a reason why I should like this show. I found it in the second episode, “Lawnmower Dog”, and in the next episode, and the next, and the next, etc. Truthfully, I’ve never been one to judge a show by its first episode, so I’m really glad I gave this one a chance.

But let’s not bury the lead.

Rick and Morty in the Pilot Episode

Rick and Morty in the Pilot Episode

What is the show: “Rick and Morty” is a cartoon from the creator of “Community”, Dan Harmon, and Justin Roiland, who provides the voices for the titular characters. When it comes down to it, “Rick and Morty” follows the story of Rick Sanchez, a scientist who lives with his daughter Beth, her husband Jerry, and their two children, Summer and Morty. Morty and Rick go on regular adventures that are anything but regular, often times involving a new invention that Rick has created. Sounds like any sort of cartoon that would be aired on Nickelodeon? Well, it should be mentioned that Rick is a narcissistic and alcoholic asshole not too nice guy. Morty’s parents are neglectful morons and his sister is a typical seventeen year old cartoon character, obsessed with her own popularity. Morty is the everyman young kid trying to deal with all the insane project Rick throws his way, which often times involves dismemberment and being shot at by aliens or inter-dimensional monsters. Rick constantly drags his grandson along with him for his own selfish and awful reasons because he loves him so much! The show follows a standard adventure of the week format and tends to have dual plots going on, one involving Rick and Morty, and the other involving the rest of the Smith family.

The Reason to Watch The Show: The show has a lot of dark and sick humor to it, but it’s the kind of humor that I can appreciate. Rick is regularly an jerk to his family and is extremely neglectful to Morty, who often times becomes the unintentioned fall guy for his grandfather’s antics, mostly because Rick is quick to point the blame at anybody he can for his incredibly illegal questionably moral actions. But all of this is apart of the charm of the show. Despite his unabashed awfulness, there are a lot of tender moments between Rick and Morty, especially in the later episodes where their characters are fleshed out more. With only eleven episodes in its first season, I was able to watch the entire show in a couple of hours, and those couple of hours went by quickly, because this show often has a very quick paced nature to it, jumping between Rick and Morty’s science experiments gone wrong and Jerry, Beth, and Summer dealing with other science experiments gone wrong at home. Every episode tends to end with the family all together and Rick cracking a joke that the entire family laughs at, despite the morose nature of the situation they have escaped from in each episode. All in all, its a solid first season, and the second season is slated to begin later this year or early next year. I highly recommend it to anybody who is a fan of “South Park” and/or “Bob’s Burgers”. It made me laugh in nearly every single episode, and it is exactly what I needed to push me to begin writing again. For a more in depth look at the show, I’m going to rank the eleven episodes of the series, which may get into spoilers for anybody who hasn’t watched the cartoon. If you haven’t, I would recommend you watch it before reading my list. There’s not really much to spoil, but it’s a funny show, so you should just go watch it anyway.

The Episodes:

Me, almost giving up on the series after the pilot. Don't be a Morty!

Me, almost giving up on the series after the pilot. Don’t be a Morty!

11) The Pilot (Episode 1): A show should never be based solely on the strength of its pilot episode, “Rick and Morty” especially so. Although there are a lot of funny moments here, like the opening bit where Rick drunkenly stumbles into Morty’s room to drag him along on a new adventure or Morty’s dream about fondling his crush’s breasts as he fondles his teacher during a math test, overall, this episode is very slow compared to the rest of season. The creators were obviously still trying to work out all the kinks of the show, as Summer, Jerry, and Beth aren’t in in much and we mainly focus on Rick and Morty. That may be the overall issue with this episode, because my initial reaction was that I didn’t like Rick at all, which nearly made me quit on the show before finishing the episode. Like, I said though, pilots are usually rough, so I’m willing to forgive it, and so should you. Two Stars overall though.
10) Raising Gazorpazorp (Episode 7): Raising Gazorpazorp isn’t the greatest of episodes overall, but it has a lot of great moments. The episode follows Rick buying Morty a sex robot, which gets pregnant and spews out an alien child, Morty’s son. Meanwhile, Summer and Rick track down the planet where the genes of the alien come from, which is populated by stupid war mongering males controlled by high advanced intelligent women. What I don’t like about this episode is that it plays heavily into stereotypes regarding women and Rick’s obvious sexist remarks are very grating to me. But I like the message that the episode channels through Summer, whose speech regarding men and women on her planet prevents the female aliens from slaughtering her and Rick. Morty’s side plot regarding raising his son, who is also thirsts for blood and death like other males of his species, and how he develops into a snotty teenager, though a snotty teenager who thirsts for death and blood. Although this episode follows a pretty obvious plot line, it’s still a solid episode that delivers some very funny actions. Not as great as most episodes of “Rick and Morty” but still watchable. Two and half stars.

9) Meeseeks & Destroy (Episode 5): Beginning immediately with Morty complaining that he never gets a say in the adventures, this episode follows Rick as he allows Morty to pick where they go during their next mission, while the rest of the family deals with Rick’s Meseeks, polite entities which appear to perform a simple task and then detonate into thin air. This episode features two fantastic plots, as we see the struggles of Morty’s parents in their marriage once Jerry becomes obsessed with getting his golf game improved and the Meseeks are unable to help him (and therefore continue to live on and go crazy). Jerry and Beth are developed a lot more here and they become much more sympathetic than in previous episodes. Meanwhile, Rick and Morty’s relationship is also developed a lot more. Despite mostly trying to ruin Morty’s adventure out of callous spite, Rick demonstrates a lot of humility when he rescues the day and helps Morty bring a happy ending to his quest. Also, he almost gets raped by a Jelly Bean. Don’t ask, this episode goes to some weird places. A great episode, 3 Stars overall.

Jerry's ad campaign, "Hungry For Apples?"

Jerry’s ad campaign, “Hungry For Apples?”

8) M. Night Shaym-Aliens! (Episode 4): One of the best aspects of “Rick and Morty” is how much the show doesn’t take anything seriously and just rockets to eleven right off the bat. This episode exemplifies that, as within minutes of the opener, Rick and Morty are both naked in a shower hiding from aliens who are too embarrassed to look at naked people. What makes this episode great is how it pokes fun at stupid twists, with a great “Simulation of a Simulation in another Simulation” joke that actually caught me off guard. David Cross guest stars here as the head alien, and he really sells an incompetent and petty leader. Jerry’s plot involving creating an ad campaign for apples, “The Milk people don’t have a patent on rhetorical questions!”, is hilarious, as Jerry is the only person other than Rick and Morty within the simulation and doesn’t realize it despite the sheer stupidity of the fake humans. Overall, this “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” is a great episode that uses great twists to enhance the in your face stupidity of the plot. Another 3 Star Episode.

7) Ricksy Business (Episode 11): Just shy of being in the better half of the first season’s episodes, the finale of “Rick and Morty” season one is a great call back to a lot of the running jokes throughout the first ten episodes. The episode’s two plots are both very strong, with Jerry and Beth leaving for a reenactment of the Titanic and Summer and Rick throwing parties at the Smith household which ends up trashing the joint. The plot with Beth and Jerry is great, once again using Jerry’s extreme stupidity and the distance in the Smith’s marriage only to bring them back together. And of course, there’s a disturbing Titanic fanatic who holds Jerry at gunpoint and forces him to draw her in the nude. Because of course, that’s why. Meanwhile, the parties accidentally send the Smith’s house to another dimension, and Morty grows increasingly frustrated with his grandfather’s negligence, which is a huge part of the plot throughout most of the season and is played out and focused on a lot more in this episode. The ending to the season is great, and I won’t spoil this episode too much, but I will say my second favorite one time character throughout any episode of “Rick and Morty” is easily Abradolf Lincler, a failed experiment of Rick’s where he combined Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. While it’s not the best or funniest episode of the season, there is definitely a sense of closure and a heartwarming moment that really shines some light on Rick. Overall, 3.5 Stars for the final episode.

Alright, this post is already too freaking long, so I will split this post right here and continue my list on to the next post. Until then, later days, and remember: Wubalubadubdub!



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