One Pickle, Two Jungian Shadows, and Three Souls Connected in a Wormhole
Imagine a show in which the main character turns himself into a pickle to get himself out of family therapy, constructs limbs out of insect carcasses, and then creeps around a maximum security prison, brutally murdering guards; or perhaps one in which the show’s universal voice actor/co-creator is advised to drink on the job to obtain the perfect drunken demeanor; or maybe even one which devotes an entire episode to a McDonalds’ Szechuan Chicken McNugget promotional sauce for Disney’s Mulan (1998). Well you don’t have to imagine anymore. Adult Swim’s fan favorite Rick and Morty is back for a third season, airing Sundays at 11:30 pm PST, and it’s zanier, grosser, wittier, crazier, and more irreverent than ever. Wubba lubba dub dub!
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Rick and Morty follows alcoholic sociopath/scientific genius Rick Sanchez and his humble, stuttering sidekick (and less importantly, grandson), Morty, as they embark on dangerous, terrifying, ill-advised, and often perverse misadventures through multiple dimensions and galaxies. It’s kind of like Back to the Future, if the writers smoked crack and DMT out of the same crackpipe.
Unlike most shows, Rick and Morty has somehow managed to improve exponentially each season, despite the fact its original season is virtually flawless, complete with riveting and absurd plot lines, unbeatable humor, and a surprising level of emotional depth . Appearing to the average bystander as another crude animated series catered to adults, Rick and Morty goes much deeper than its kin. Combining profound introspection and intelligent wit with an unbiased analysis of human behavior, the show questions the very nature of our conscious existence behind a mask of zany, colorful comedy. However, for every one-hundred-or-so crude and hilarious moments, there is often a serious, bone-chillingly confrontational exposé of our twisted world, with no lighthearted resolution to take the edge off. I mean come on, what other show plays artists like Mazzy Star and Elliott Smith at climactic moments?
Perhaps the most special part of Rick and Morty is the fact that it doesn’t conform to the animated standard of “episodic rewind”, in which any conflicts mysteriously resolve before the beginning of the next episode, making said show very easy to start watching at any episode down the line without feeling “out of the loop”. Much like most live-action television programs, Rick and Morty is serialized, meaning the consequences of a character’s actions in one episode will haunt them in another, as opposed to shows like South Park, in which characters can (and do) die every episode without fail, and are mysteriously alive for next week’s airing. This unique aspect allows the show to develop extremely complex characters with lovable attributes such as outlandish personas, self-deprecating psyches, and inextinguishable inner demons.
Rick and Morty is perhaps the perfect animated show. It refuses to sell out to cheap plot devices, continues to boast some of the strongest writing on television, displays multiple dimensions to each character, dives into impressively deep subject matters, and gets better and better by the episode. Also, it’s just fun to see bad things happen to Jerry.