Turkeys apparently are great at politics.
I know that when I thought “what would a Rick and Morty Thanksgiving special be like,” I never conceived of a country song about soldiers paying the price of freedom by turning into turkeys. That’s why this show is worthwhile, because it sometimes gives us the stuff we didn’t know we wanted. This isn’t one of the more complicated episodes of this show, but it has a surprisingly solid subtext about mythologizing the past. If you aren’t interested in that, though, at least you get to see Rick and the President of the US played by Keith David messing with each other again. Oh, and the funniest Polio joke ever, which, admittedly, is not a super competitive category.
The episode starts with Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) trying to steal the US Constitution because apparently Nicolas Cage was right and there is a treasure map on it. Morty accidentally destroys it, so the President tries to trap the pair inside of the house. Rick reveals that he plans to become a turkey and get a Presidential pardon, something he does periodically in order to avoid consequences. The President, aware of Rick’s plan, has a bunch of soldiers turn into turkeys in order to thwart it, then ends up turning himself into a turkey as well. However, during the turkey-based fighting, the President’s tracking chip ends up in a random turkey who is then turned into a copy of the President. The Turkey-President bribes Congress, very easily, into allowing him to start an army of turkey supermen. Meanwhile, Rick, Morty, and the Real President join forces with the troops from before and break into the secret Thanksgiving vault under the Lincoln Memorial. It’s revealed that Americans have been fighting turkey dinosaurs since before the 1500s, when two groups of aliens, who look like Pilgrims and Native Americans, helped defeat them. The aliens are revived to help fight the turkey forces while Rick and Morty stop the Turkey-President from turning all turkeys to humans and the President fights his counterpart. They win, but Morty says he doesn’t know how to feel about America now. The President then just tells him to feel thankful. Later, a marine who was turned into a turkey has blueberry related PTSD only for the other citizens to say they don’t want to cover his healthcare.
Honestly, this episode is one of the most ridiculous joke episodes in the history of this show and that’s saying something. It’s like it throws out every ridiculous cliche while having a theme of undercutting Thanksgiving, American mythology, and the American Government. The first time I watched it, I thought it was a little underwhelming, but on rewatch I admit that a lot of the jokes really are pretty solid. Honestly, this episode might have my single favorite joke in Rick and Morty history when it is revealed that there is a giant half-spider FDR:
“He was a guinea pig for the polio vaccine. We asked ourselves: What walks the most?”
The sheer brilliant absurdity of this line makes me smile every single time.
Overall, pretty good episode. It’s just supposed to be fun and, for the most part, it is.