Sometimes considered a loose and boisterous reimaging of Doc Brown and Marty, Rick and Morty is a fun and wild, animated science-fiction show where things are anything but classic Sci-Fi. If you haven’t heard of this show by now, you’ve either been subjugated by the rule of the canines or are trapped in a minverse, inside a miniverse, inside a miniverse inside your car battery.
The show’s creator is Dan Harmon, also well known for being the guy behind the comedy show Community. As any fans of Community can tell you, Dan Harmon is know for not following the classic tropes you see on most media. His style is his own unique thing, doing away with typical clichés entirely or portraying them with a different spin.
Rick and Morty is no exception with the show either parodying several sci-fi tropes and/or taking them in wild and over-the-top directions. The payoff is a bizarre but highly entertaining and humorous set of episodes that’ll have you craving the next installment. For example, in an inception-style episode, our main characters enter a dream, within a dream, within a dream, for the purpose of convincing Morty’s math teacher to give him better grades.
The series features Rick, an old, outlandish and alcoholic scientist, and his gullible grandson Morty, who go on various crazy and dangerous adventures across alternate universes and different sectors of space.
The major crux of the show is the interplay between Rick and Morty, which never gets old. Rick is depicted as a genius scientist, full of witty one-liners, preferring to live free and party hard, always considering himself superior to others. Morty, in contrast, is good-natured but easily distressed and is frequently shown to be reluctant and disapproving of his grandfather’s methods resulting in several causes of friction and drama between the two.
Amidst these mad hijinks, the show has some dark moments
The characters may seem a little one-dimensional at first, but as the series progresses, we gain more insight into the development and layers of our protagonists. For example, behind Rick’s brash, arrogant and lively exterior, there’s a lonely, troubled, haunted past. The viewer is also exposed to a less nuanced part of his personality – a real and deep concern for his family. Meanwhile, we see Morty grow and evolve, becoming more confident, taking initiative and standing up to Rick now and again.
Besides these two, other characters with their own traits feature, each bringing something new to the table. The most prominent of them is the rest of Rick and Morty’s dysfunctional family. These include his parents Beth, Morty’s assertive, level-headed and dissatisfied mother, and Jerry, his insecure father who severely disapproves of Rick. Morty’s older sister Summer also graces the screen more as the show progresses, with her being conventional, superficial and somewhat jealous of Morty having all the fun. These characters get increasingly involved in different and interesting ways as the show goes along, though sometimes the subplots leave much to be desired. Seeing Rick have a go at Jerry never loses its charm. The characters are written so well that the viewers even care for characters who show up only a couple of times like bird person (P.S. F*** Tammy).
Amidst these mad hijinks, the show has some dark and uncomfortable moments in which Rick and Morty are put through pretty extreme stuff. While a little disconcerting to watch, these moments help shape our characters when moving forward. It is also a sign of the greatness of the show- moments such as these never seem weird or out-of-place, instead always cooming naturally.
An example of a more softcore incident is when Morty gets tired of all the crazy stuff he’s put through and goes full on berserk mode, à la the purge.
This clever and inventive show is the epitome of high-concept storytelling, with a healthy dose of hilarity and poignant character moments mixed in now and again for sustained emotional and punch. Many of these episodes are standalone, though there is a greater focus on continuity as the show evolves.
However, this is nothing too taxing and the creators know just how much to lean on it so that future developments carry more weight. At times, Rick and Morty becomes its own worst enemy, becoming slightly less innovative and repeating old storylines. However, even these episodes are written wonderfully, and if they’re the worst the show has to offer, it speaks volumes about the overall quality.
For a show that was initially an adults-only Back to the Future parody, Rick and Morty has now become something much more special. With the successful formula of merging high-concept sci-fi storytelling with biting humour and a dash of emotionally complex character development, this show is always a blast to watch, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t watched it yet.
And that’s the waaaayyy we go!!