Rick and Morty: Another Dark Comedy
It seems to me that we live in a strange time when comes to video entertainment. If you wanted a great and interesting story or drama you have a better chance of finding it on the small screen now versus just 20 years ago. We have animated comedy shows, or cartoons as my parents would call them, with powerful heartfelt moments that hit harder than a hundred of special episodes of 90’s or 2000’s sitcoms. I mean, how can a show about an alcoholic super genius who takes his somewhat dimwitted grandson on intergalactic and interdimensional adventures have some powerful and (excuse my French) “Jesus Christ, that’s fucked up†moments?

What led me to want to write this article was a conversation I had Baron von Gosu about the show Rick and Morty during my New Year’s visit. We were discussing how some comedies can set up impactful moments. For example, who can forget the Futurama episode about Fry’s dog Seymour?

I promised myself I would not cry

After our discussion I got to thinking about how Rick and Morty makes its moments so impactful. So let us delve in, shall we?

For those who have not seen the show, Rick and Morty is about an alcoholic super genius who takes his somewhat dimwitted grandson on intergalactic and interdimensional adventures.

...Oh and it is parody of the Doc Brown and Marty relationship (obviously).

But this is just the beginning premise of the show. As the show progress through its first two seasons, the writers have projected three in many ways depressing views of the universe: 1) The universe is infinitely strange and unknowable to a single individual; 2) There is no cosmic force in the universe trying to help you or hurt you; 3) That infinite amounts of possible multiverses make your significance as an individual meaningless, simply because of the infinite amounts of people in the universe you are in and because there are infinite amounts of possible yous.
Your value to the universe = 1 / oo

Now let us dig a bit into the past history and character of the show’s title characters:

(WARNING possible spoiler abound beyond this point WARNING)



Rick’s obvious character traits would be his genius intellect in the matters of science and his inventions. He did make a spaceship capable of interstellar travel out of spare crap in the family’s garage. Of course we can not talk about Rick without talking about his drinking and alcoholism. He is also bitter, cynical, and jaded about many things ranging from love to religion.

Now the question would be, was Rick always this way? I think there is reason to believe that he was not, or more likely not to the extent we see him as he is in the show. From the pilot episode and in later episodes, we learn that Rick is not on friendly terms with a galactic government. This due to his crimes of terrorism in the eyes of the galactic government. This is confirmed by Rick and by one of Rick’s few actual friends, Birdperson, in a couple of episodes. So it is a very likely possibility that this is the reason Rick left his wife and daughter Beth (Morty’s mother). After so many years fighting the galactic government, Rick’s group either lost or could no longer could continue the fight. Thus disillusioned, Rick came back to his daughter’s family to hide and live out his remaining days, indulging his impulses and eccentricities. Now the creators and writers have made the point in interviews that they keep the actual details of Rick’s past vague and unconnected because they feel that any set up or reveals would be instantly figured out by the fans before the actual reveals would be aired. So they focus more on the characters that were shaped by past events than on the past events themselves. We may never know all the details of Rick’s past except for the generalities of it.



Now it is quite obvious that of the pair that Morty is the more naïve, slow, and dimwitted one. In most other respects though, Morty is just a regular teenage boy. The show does not really tell us as much about Morty’s past as it does with the snippets that it does do with Rick, but can infer a couple of things. For example, most of the issues of insecurity and anxiety that Morty has can be attributed to how Jerry (the dad) and Beth raised him per their conversation in the episode “Raising Gazorpazorp.†Also Morty has no friends among his peers, and the only real connection he has is with Rick. Which sad when you consider that Rick constantly puts Morty in mortal danger for selfish reasons. So Morty’s naivety and lack of smarts in a lot things is the perfect foil to Rick.

So now we can look at what I think most fans can easily agree are the most impactful moments of the show so far:

Season 1, Episode 6: "Rick Potion #9"

So near the end of the episode, it looks like that Rick has finally fixed the problem that was caused by the love potion he give to Morty and his first several attempts to correct the problem, and everything has gone back to normal. Of course, it is not that simple. The next thing we know, Rick and Morty are killed by the explosion of a device that Rick was working on. A second later, a dimensional portal opens and the Rick and Morty we had actually been watching throughout the episode step through. Morty immediately freaks out, and Rick clinically and in a detached manner explains what he did: they simply jumped into another reality where a version of them fixed the problems caused by the love potion, but were killed soon after, and now they were going to take their place. When Morty brings up what about the reality they left, Rick tells him do not think about and that it does not matter. Thus they bury their dead selves. Rick nonchalantly goes about his life in this new reality while Morty tries to process implications that his old realty is gone and that he will eat his meals thirty feet away from a dead version of himself. In later episode we do see that Morty does eventually come to terms with this, and is able to use this knowledge to help his sister, Summer.

Season 2, Episode 3: "Auto Erotic Assimilation"

At the beginning of this episode we see Rick spending time with Morty and Summer when they happen upon an ex-girlfriend of Rick's, who happens to be a hive mind named Unity. Soon Rick and Unity begin to indulge in their past destructive behaviors, with Rick being the main one pushing to continue deeper into the behaviors. After much chaos and destruction, Unity leaves Rick but not before leaving a letter. In the letter, Unity explains that even though it is attracted to Rick, it cannot be with him because he cannot change. It simply just becomes a part of him. With that Rick returns home, and after talking to the family briefly he announces he will be in the garage. At this point the pain and misery is too much for Rick. He tries to vaporize himself with one of his devices, but due to his lack of will or happenstance he fails to do so.

Season 2, Episode 10: “The Wedding Squanchers"

Pretty much all of season 2 led to this moment. After nearly being captured by the galactic government’s deep uncover agent and strike team at Birdperson’s wedding, the entire family is on the run. Since they cannot return to Earth now, they settle on an unpopulated planet to start their new lives hiding from the authorities. In the course of events, Rick learns that the majority of the family is willing to stick with him despite all the misery and losing their old lives on Earth. Thus Rick turns himself in to the galactic authorities to allow the family to return to their normal lives, and at the end of the scene a fellow prisoner asks Rick what he is in for. Rick calmly replies, “Everything.â€

Now that I am able to look back at these moments of the show, I can appreciate them that much more due to the themes of the show and the context of the characters and universe(s) they inhabit. With moments like these I feel like I really do not have to watch a “serious†show to get powerful and impactful story and character moments. The creators and writers have crafted a show that not only delivers on the laughs, but also creates meaningful stories. With these first two seasons of Rick and Morty filled with such awesomeness, the wait for the next season is going to be painful.

Question to you, the reader: Were there any moments of the show that you felt were impactful? Comment below and let me and your fellow readers know!
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