How Rick & Morty’s freshman season balances geekiness, comedy and a surprising amount emotional depth.
“Destroy it. Our people will get more from the idea he represented,
than from the jellybean he actually was.”
I’d like to take a moment to give a shoutout to all my mutuals on Twitter who wouldn’t shut up about Rick And Morty. Your undying devotion to this show and my unstoppable desire to be ‘in’ on the in-jokes are the reason why I’m here – so thanks guys. I’m not a big cartoon fan. Shows like Family Guy, South Park and even The Simpsons never held my attention for long. The adult humour in a traditionally kid-friendly arena is entertaining, but I need to form a connection with the characters onscreen – and if these characters never grow or show any real emotion, I’m going to struggle to do that. I went into Rick And Morty expecting much of the same – plenty of jokes, references and a distinct lack of emotion – but it seems this show had other ideas.
While sci-fi hijinks and Jerry bashing make up the bulk of the show’s primary content, it’s surprising how much heart Rick And Morty has to offer. That achievement becomes even more impressive when you consider how much of an irredeemable asshole Rick Sanchez can be. Showrunners Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon and their writing room somehow managed to infuse little moments of humanity in amongst all the madness of the show’s first season. These moments aren’t always consistent – sometimes we’ll go whole episodes without one really landing – but when they do hit, they’ll punch you in the emotional gut.
Heart and humanity aren’t the only cinematic tropes the show masterfully wields. It knows how land a knockout blow with a twist or a development in the story. Scenes like the grave-digging conclusion to Rick Potion #9 or the shockingly powerful last curveball in Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind are a potent reminder of just how unpredictable this show can be. The music choices only elevate the experience further. And then, there are all the brilliant pop culture nods, which’ll leave you howling with laughter while delighting your inner sci-fi nerd.
As a die-hard Community fan, this all felt rather similar to Harmon’s other huge achievement on television. Shows like The Big Bang Theory continue to profit from the popularity of ‘geek content’ by manipulating outdated stereotypes of geeks for mainstream audiences. Meanwhile, Harmon has shepherded a pair of truly original, entertaining series that have been treasured and embraced by geeks without pandering to them or any other demographic. The man has a unique understanding of what makes great entertainment.
I’ve yet to start Rick And Morty‘s sophomore season, but, by all accounts, it’s as impressive as its first. I’ll probably do a write-up on that one too, but for now I’d wholeheartedly recommend this show to anyone who hasn’t seen it – even if you aren’t a big animation fan.
Highlights: Lawnmower Dog | Anatomy Park | Meeseeks And Destroy | Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind
My random thought today is about how I forgot to put random thoughts in this until someone reminded me, so I guess in a way they’re working?
Also, while Harmon & Roiland steered this thing, their incredibly talented writers room deserve a lot of praise for all their fine work too. Ryan Ridley was responsible for penning three of my four season highlight episodes listed above – he seems like a guy worth looking out for.