Let’s play through some teen films, Rick and Morty style.
Rick and Morty is often great for taking a traditional movie format, like the buddy road trip, and throwing in a ridiculous twist, like getting involved in interdimensional genocide. This episode takes two traditional teen and college comedy plotlines and injects them with two very odd twists. I think that one is a funnier premise than the other, but they are both still good. I particularly appreciate them bringing back the feud between Rick’s car’s AI and Summer from “The Ricks must be Crazy.”
Rick and Jerry (Justin Roiland and Chris Parnell) are heading out for a “guys’ night,” much to Beth’s (Sarah Chalke) suspicion, only for it to be revealed that they are joined by Cenobite-like demons that feed off of pain. It turns out that Rick owes them money and is paying them back by allowing them to experience the pain of spending an evening with Jerry, particularly doing “Jerry-oke.” Jerry is completely unaware that the creatures don’t legitimately enjoy spending time with him. Beth surprises the group and, while she is angry at Rick for doing this to Jerry, she starts drinking and eventually ends up dunking on him with the demons. Jerry finally discovers that they’re making fun of him, leading the demons to abduct him. Rick and Beth follow them and, after dealing with the weird backwards rules of the Hell dimension, eventually rescue Jerry by building a device that converts the pain that the demons convert to pleasure back into pain. Rick ends up apologizing to Jerry and Beth offers to have sex with Jerry as an apology.
While the adults are away, Morty and Summer (Spencer Grammer) spend the evening unsupervised with the new “cool” kid at school, Bruce Chutback (Darren Criss). The kids try to impress Chutback and ultimately end up taking him on a joyride in Rick’s car. They do a bunch of stupid kid stuff, including destroying mailbox-shaped aliens, only for the car to reveal that it plans on ratting them out. When the car meets a “changeformer,” however, it offers to cover for them if they help it lose its virginity. This ends, as most quests to end virginity do in movies, with a lot of corpses and the kids having to escape from jail. They make it home just in time to avoid the parents, but Bruce reveals himself to be a jerk who only wants to be friends with popular kids. He is then subsequently humiliated by the cool kids and becomes an outcast below even Summer and Morty.
The two plots here are both pretty common. The former plot is based on spending time with the lame kid at school and realizing that he might not be the loser you thought and the latter is spending time with the cool kid in order to raise social status (though they throw in the “I desperately need to lose my virginity” plot). Naturally, since it’s Rick and Morty, one literally involves demons that derive erotic pleasure from mocking the lame person, which is just a hilarious joke. The Cenobites from Hellraiser were a demonic sect that believed that pain and pleasure could be interchangeable, it just had to be as powerful of an experience as possible. In this case, they constantly interpret anything that is bad or painful as being pleasurable, which leads to some absolutely great dialogue. But the idea that an annoying person’s general cringeworthiness can be considered painful in a way equivalent to sticking hooks through your body is just freaking hilarious to me. The other plot, of Morty and Summer trying to impress Bruce Chutback, is similarly over-the-top, since it ends up with genocide, but also is fundamentally funny because Morty and Summer, who regularly travel the universe, the multiverse, and who have done things that would baffle most mortal minds, still are desperate to be liked by the cool kid. The ending, in which Bruce says he’ll only talk to them again if they are judged to be cool, is a great subversion of how these stories usually end.