First off, I want to apologize to readers if you showed up here looking for a column from reporter Johanna Armstrong. I have commandeered her column this week (she will be back next week) to talk about a TV show that I have gotten great enjoyment out of the last two years — “Rick and Morty.”
I want to start off by saying that although it is a cartoon, by no means should children under 13 watch the show. It’s amazing, but there is grown-up humor and bleeped out profanity. It also has suggestive material that adds to its comedy and I would say that it being on after 10 p.m. on a Sunday is a good spot to avoid children watching the program.
Now, on to the discussion.
For those of you that have not seen the show, “Rick and Morty” is about a scientist grandfather, who lives with his daughter and her family, and takes his grandson on adventures through different dimensions and worlds. If you read that beginning line, you would assume it was a classic cartoon akin to “The Magic Schoolbus.” But the details are more in depth. Rick (the grandfather), is a narsassitic, emotionally abusive alcoholic that constantly puts his grandson (Morty) and family in danger. If you read this line, you probably would think this is a terrible show (which is debatable). In the end, the episode has a moral (somewhat) and ends with things learned for the viewer, but not always followed by the characters.
But what the real draw of the show is its off-the-rail jokes. Just when you think an episode is headed in one direction it takes a sharp turn to the other. A good example would be a Season 4 episode “One Crew over the Crewcoo’s Morty.” In this episode, it seems like the duo is attempting to stop a renegade computer from “heisting” planets. In the end, the C storyline of the episode turns into the entire premise of everything that happens in the episode as Rick selfishly dissuades Morty from pitching a heist movie to Netflix.
The episode also attacks several tropes from heist movies including the formation of the crew, the turn and the double switch. It’s the writers way of showcasing the tired formula used in most heist movies including “Ocean’s 11” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
There are also other episodes that are just crazy to watch. One episode (one of the best), Rick turns himself into a pickle. Another the duo and family are dealing with alien parasites that implant fake memories, turn into wacky characters and multiply through flashbacks. Even another spoofs singing shows by having giant headed aliens pit planets versus each other to come up with the best song.
Personally, I enjoy the show because it brings back the same joketelling that I enjoyed in the show “Community.” Dan Harmon, creator of “Community” and co-creator of “Rick and Morty,” has found a way to not only deliver quick humor, but also humor that requires deep thought (what I call “Fraiser” humor). Many of the episodes have to be rewatched to pick up on the commentary subtly hide in a wacky story.
I will say that the show isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (ask my wife), but many have found it to be a humorous look at the world. It’s not always politically correct and the creators even make jokes at the expense of their fanbase. And the best part, the show’s brand of dark humor and complicated characters isn’t supposed to be taken seriously but can be thought-provoking.
I am interested to see where the show goes in its run and how they develop the relationship between Rick and Morty. With so many dimensions to visit, the humor should be endless.
Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal.