Rick and Mondays – S3E2 “Rickmancing the Stone”

Rick and Morty meets Mad Max in this deconstruction of the post-apocalypse.

SUMMARY

The episode begins with Rick (Justin Roiland), Morty (Justin Roiland), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) returning from an adventure and greeting a newly-divorced Jerry (Chris Parnell). Morty seems disappointed with his dad’s behavior and Summer chooses to ask Rick for an adventure in order to avoid talking to Jerry. Rick obliges and Morty follows, leaving Jerry to be called a loser by the wind.

S3E2 - 1Wind
Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter… because nihilism.

In another dimension, Rick, Morty, and Summer are driving away from a huge army of Mad Max: Fury Road-esque wasteland scavengers in vehicles because Rick seeks to steal a small shard of Isotope 322, a glowing green rock. While Rick is ready to leave after acquiring the shard, Summer stops running to murder the leader of the marauders. The other marauders, revealed to be the Deathstalkers, offer to let the trio join them. Rick’s going to say no, but then sees that they have a huge chunk of Isotope 322, and tells the kids to join the scavengers. Summer, showing gross indifference to life lately, agrees, worrying Morty that Summer isn’t handling the divorce well.

S3E2 - 2Shooting
This Joe’s not so “Immortan.”

In the Deathstalker camp, Rick tells Morty his plan to steal the rock, part of which involves injecting Morty with the “muscle memory” of a disembodied barbarian arm, which ends up being sentient. Morty names it “Armothy.” Morty and Armothy quickly enter the Blood Dome (which is just a Thunderdome but without the trademark issues) and devastate all comers. Morty also starts to say things during the fights that indicate that he is angry at how his father is acting about the divorce.

S3E2 - 3Armothy.png
Super Smash Mortys.

Meanwhile, Summer goes hunting with a Deathstalker named Hemorrhage (Joel McHale) and starts to bond with him over his nihilistic and violent outlook. However, Rick steals the green rock and Hemorrhage orders his death. Rick tries to tell them to leave, but when Summer and Morty resist going, he leaves them and goes home. When Beth (Sarah Chalke) asks where the kids are, he builds duplicates of them to fool her. Back in the wasteland, Morty is now the champion of the Blood Dome, but Armothy starts killing people who murdered his original owner and family. Hemorrhage and Summer get closer and then start to get intimate after she indicates that she has no fear of death or consequence, becoming a couple. Morty and Armothy track down the Slaver that ordered the death of Armothy’s family and then drown him, with Armothy disappearing after believing the Slaver is dead. Rick comes back and the Slaver is revealed to be alive, but Rick helps Morty finish him off.

S3E2 - 4MakingOut
This is why you make sure your gimp rope doesn’t reach the door, people.

Rick and Morty meet up with Summer and Hemorrhage and shows them that Isotope 322 creates near infinite electrical power. Hemorrhage asks Rick to teach them more. Three weeks later, most of the Deathstalker village now resembles modern suburbs, with Summer’s neighbors more concerned about sorting recyclables than nihilism. Hemorrhage now mostly sits around watching television, driving Summer insane. She breaks up with him and leaves with Rick after he steals the Isotope 322 back.

S3E2 - 5Neighborhood
It bugs me that the houses aren’t on a grid system.

Back at home, the robotic Rick, Morty, and Summer are playing games with Beth, but Rick sends out the signal for them to go to the garage. The Robot Morty tries to resist, claiming to have developed emotion, but ultimately gets overridden. Summer goes to visit Jerry and tells him not to look back. Later, a dog mugs Jerry for his unemployment check and the wind calls him a loser again.

END SUMMARY

At the end of the previous episode, Rick promised that Season 3 was going to be the darkest season of Rick and Morty. Then, they made us wait 4 months to see what that meant and this episode promptly delivered on that promise. The core of this episode is how everyone in the show is dealing with the fallout from the season 3 premiere.

S3E1 - 6Rant
EVERYTHING IS AWFUL, MORTY!!!!

Summer’s character in this episode goes from “stereotypical disaffected teenager” to “murdering nihilist.” Morty continues the theme of his rage issues from the last few episodes, but now they’re focused at his dad. Rick, while he tries to continue his nihilistic and hedonistic outlook, is clearly suffering from some emotional baggage over plotting to wreck his daughter’s marriage. Beth is uncertain whether she has done the right thing and Jerry is basically drifting aimlessly. Everyone is now basically a little more broken because of the end of Beth and Jerry’s marriage and, sadly, that makes for really good television.

S3E2 - 6Divorce
They even have Summer duplicate Beth’s lines about divorce.

Obviously, this episode is a parody of the Mad Max films and other such post-apocalyptic films like The Omega Man. However, in traditional Rick and Morty style it over-exaggerates the traits of the typical brutish survivors until they seem to constantly espouse nihilism and angst like teenagers at a Hot Topic, only to subvert that by revealing that they would immediately give it up for escapism and conformity if given half of a chance. Basically, their claim that everything is bullsh*t is itself bullsh*t. The short timeline of only three weeks makes it funnier, though it also reminds us how impressive Rick is by showing that he can create an advanced level of infrastructure for a society (they have televised sports and electric cars) in under a month.

Overall, this was a great episode and a great way to really establish that this season was going to feature some dark elements.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Beth and Jerry are divorced as of this episode, exactly how Rick planned in the last one, but we immediately get a little bit of foreshadowing that it’s not going to last. When Rick and Beth meet in the garage, she quickly starts to become concerned about what the divorce is doing to the kids and questions whether it was the right decision. The key is that it’s prompted by Rick leaving the kids in the other dimension and escaping. In other words, Beth starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t want to be divorced because Rick did something wrong and failed to deal with it properly, just like he later does at the end of the season, resulting in Beth and Jerry getting back together.

S3E2 - 7Beth
That flask is bigger on the inside.

If Rick planned everything to get Beth and Jerry to divorce, why is his plan failing? Well, it’s for the same reason that Rick accidentally destroyed Earth C-137 by turning everyone into Cronenbergs: Rick cannot properly comprehend love. Rick thinks that Beth is just something to be fixed and that giving her an optimal pair of children to show that everything is objectively going fine will somehow make her not feel insecure or irrationally still emotionally attached to Jerry. Sure, having a Summer and Morty that are perfectly supportive and attentive helps to slow the rising tide of doubt, but it can’t stop it, because Rick is trying to calculate something that, for him, is incalculable: The human heart.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 22: The Rickshank Rickdemption

NEXT – 24: Pickle Rick

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

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Rick and Mondays – S3E1 “The RickShank RickDemption”

Season 3 kicks off with a game-changing bang… that tells us the game isn’t changing.

SUMMARY

It’s been a few months since the Second Season Finale and Rick (Justin Roiland)  is being interrogated by the Galactic Federation’s top agent Cornvelious Daniel (Nathan “Firefly Was A Masterpiece” Fillion) inside of a fake reality that exists in Rick’s brain. Rick quickly sees through the ruse and reveals that he is actually capable of making alterations to the interrogation scenario when he changes Cornvelious Daniel’s coffee into a farting butt. Despite that, Cornvelious Daniel tries to convince Rick to show him the secret to interdimensional portal technology by giving him the chance to relive his last memory of his wife. Rick agrees to take him there, but they stop for McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan McNugget Sauce along the way, because it only exists in his memory.

S3E1 - 1Delicious.png
The image that launched a thousand a-holes to later go to McDonalds.

Meanwhile, Summer (Spencer Grammer) is rebelling against the family’s new life under Galactic Federation rule. Beth (Sarah Chalke) is unemployed because alien tech makes horses immortal, while Jerry (Chris Parnell) is thriving, because his new bosses are such bureaucrats that people who are completely clueless are more successful under them. Morty (Roiland) tries to talk Summer out of saving Rick, but ends up telling her that the dead Rick from “Rick Potion #9” has a working portal gun. She robs the grave, but the pair are caught by the family’s robot Conroy (Tom “Ice King” Kenny). They escape through a portal to Morty’s original universe and are saved by Jerry C-137 and Summer C-137. The now near-feral Smiths destroy the portal gun and try to exile Summer, but are stopped by a group of Ricks from the Citadel of Ricks who detected the portal gun’s destruction. Summer tells the Ricks that Rick C-137 has been captured, but is dismayed when they tell her that means he’ll have to be killed by Seal Team Ricks.

S3E1 - 2TwoSummers.png
The image that launched a thousand fanfiction.net nightmares.

Back in Rick’s head, he shows Cornvelious Daniel the story of figuring out interdimensional travel: While he was just a scientist in his garage trying to invent in-universe teleportation, another Rick came to him and informed him that teleportation is not an accomplishment, but interdimensional travel is. Rick, however, realized that this would make him miserable and alone, so he refused, infuriating the other Rick, who left. Rick C-137’s wife, Diane (Kari Wahlgren), comes out to check on him and Rick says that he’s giving up on science, so they should go for ice cream. He gets in the car, but when Diane and Beth come out, someone blows up the garage. Rick then writes out the mathematics behind interdimensional portal technology, something that the modern Rick says made him an “unfeeling ghost.” Cornvelious Daniel, thrilled at having achieved his message, uploads the equations… only to find out that they actually give control of the “brainalyzer” to Rick, who puts his brain into Daniel’s body and leaves him to die. The entire backstory was a lie. As Rick, now in Cornvelious Daniel’s body, tries to use his access to shut down the Federation, he’s interrupted by Seal Team Ricks, who kill everyone, but Rick manages to put his brain into one of the other Rick’s heads and kill the rest of the team, escaping from the Federation. He contacts the Citadel of Ricks and transfers his consciousness into the body of a high-ranking Rick.

S3E1 - 3Diane.png
Probably not even close to Rick’s actual (likely redheaded) ex-wife.

Summer and Morty are being put on trial by the Council of Ricks, to whom Morty admits that he still is loyal to Rick. The trial is interrupted by Rick C-137 teleporting the citadel into the middle of the Galactic Federation Prison. Chaos ensues, with prisoners and the Ricks and Mortys fighting each other. The Council of Ricks take Morty and Summer hostage, but most of them are killed by Rick C-137. The remaining Council Rick (Riq IV) holds Summer hostage, but Rick C-137 fakes being shot by Morty (who didn’t know about it), giving him an opening to kill Riq IV. Rick, Morty, and Summer then break into the highest-level room of the Prison, giving Rick access to the top of the Federation’s computer system. Rick then changes the value of their currency to 0, collapsing the Federation economy and leading them to evacuate the Earth. Rick then returns home, where Jerry tells Beth to pick between Rick and him. She picks Rick and divorces Jerry. Being left alone with Morty, Rick proceeds to tell him that he did all of this to get rid of Jerry and the Federation, because he wants more Mulan McNugget Sauce.

END SUMMARY

I can’t even begin to cover this episode without mentioning the fact that it was part of one of the greatest April Fools Day pranks in history. Without warning anyone, this episode began to play on a continuous loop on Adult Swim. I was at a party at the time, and I didn’t believe it, thinking it was just a prank. But then we bothered to check the site and, to our amazement, here was a new episode of the show, almost exactly a year and a half after the last one, just like Mr. Poopybutthole said. Absolutely amazing.

S3E1 - 4Shoney's.png
Few images have made me happier than seeing this that day.

This episode stands for a complete rejection of character development, something that helps set this show apart in comparison with similar series, while simultaneously playing with the notion of what constitutes such development. At the end of the second season, we believe that Rick has finally decided to do something for his family rather than himself, but this episode reveals that everything was actually just Rick getting revenge on all of his enemies through an elaborate gambit. Morty, who threatens to never forgive Rick for leaving in the last episode, reveals that his feelings towards Rick haven’t changed. Beth, who finally seems to have gotten past her fear of her father leaving, immediately takes him back. The only one who seems to really change is Summer, who is now somewhat idolizing Rick. At the end of the episode, Rick takes it a step further by revealing that his new motivation is now just to get more McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan McNuggets sauce. Not to avenge his family or to fight for justice or anything else that usually motivates protagonists, no, just the sauce.  And that’s one of the best jokes a show can make: Rick’s motivation is completely unimportant to us, so why shouldn’t it be something absurd?

S3E1 - 5PhoenixPerson.png
Also, a reference to Angel from X-men becoming Archangel, another pointless change.

We even think that we’re getting Rick’s secret backstory to explain why he is the way he is, only for it to be revealed to be completely made up. It’s similar to how a lot of writers have treated the Joker in comics and film: Even when we’re given a backstory, it’s best to think that it could be a complete lie. After all, if we found out that Rick really is just driven by some catastrophic event or concrete motivation, wouldn’t that kind of ruin what makes him awesome? He’s just a force of chaos and that’s what works for him.

S3E1 - 6Rant.png
This tells us nothing and everything at the same time.

Overall, this episode was the perfect continuation of the last season’s cliffhanger. It had references to things that had happened throughout the series, but it also just re-established the setting for the true Rick and Morty formula: Rick and Morty doing random crazy stuff because Rick’s a selfish prick.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Alright, so I just pointed out that this episode ultimately removes any real selfless element of Rick’s sacrifice from the season 2 finale, but I actually don’t think that’s completely true. Let’s break down how Rick’s plan worked:

  1. Get captured.
  2. Get put in a brainalyzer with an agent who wants the formula for interdimensional transportation.
  3. Determine what brainalyzer you’re in by seeing how many times Jerry can fold himself.
  4. Use that information to determine what virus will give you control of the machine.
  5. Put your brain in the agent’s body.
  6. Get Level 9 access.
  7. Wreck Federation Economy.
S3E1 - 7Currency.png
… So, they don’t have English, but they use Arabic numbers? Also, this would not work.

Ultimately, this didn’t end up working out beyond step 5, because of Seal Team Ricks, but at the end of the plan, there didn’t seem to be any steps that would actually get his family back. His last conversation with Morty was that Morty would never forgive him for leaving. Without Morty and Summer being captured by the citadel, who incidentally become victims of Rick’s original plan, Rick might not have been able to get back into the family. Sure, Morty later said that he hadn’t ever really renounced Rick, but Rick isn’t exactly perfect at guessing Morty’s motivations (see: Morty shooting him in the head). Now, he was aware that everyone but Jerry was on his side before leaving, but that’s still a huge risk that he’s never going to see them again, which means that on some level he was at least trying to do something to make his family’s lives better at his own peril.

If you’re saying that he knew his plan to collapse the Federation would work, I counter with: Then why had he waited to do it? Rick has been against the Federation since the pilot, but it’s not until he has nothing left to lose that he finally does it. He’s willing to take the risk now because if he fails, his family is still better off.

So, yeah, the show snuck a little bit of character development into an episode against it. Well done.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 21: The Wedding Squanchers

NEXT – 23: Rickmancing the Stone

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S2E10 “The Wedding Squanchers”

The Second Season finale is packed with growth, betrayal, and birdseed!

SUMMARY

The Smith/Sanchez family are eating breakfast when a “courier flap” arrives with an invitation to Birdperson’s (Dan Harmon) wedding to Summer’s (Spencer Grammer) friend Tammy (Cassie Steele). Rick (Justin Roiland) doesn’t want to go, but he accidentally sends Jerry (Chris Parnell) to the wedding, forcing him to attend with Summer, Morty (Roiland), and Beth (Sarah Chalke). They arrive at the wedding and are greeted by Squanchy (Tom Kenny). The Smith family starts to mingle with the wedding guests while Rick is grouchy and bitter about everything. Beth tries to find out some information about Rick’s past from Birdperson, who indicates that Rick is a high-level fugitive. Morty tells Rick he needs to open himself up more.

S2EA - 1TammyRing.png
The birdperson ring is amazing.

Birdperson and Tammy get married and Rick, uncharacteristically, takes Morty’s advice and states that he’s going to open himself up to new experiences, giving a very nice toast to the couple. However, in response, Tammy reveals that she’s a deep-cover agent for the Galactic Federation and kills Birdperson. Rick detonates his portal gun to create a distraction and the family flees on a spaceship. Unable to return to Earth, Rick takes the family to a small planet.

S2EA - 2Killed.png
NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! He will rise like a phoenix!!!

A few days later, Rick overhears Jerry talking to the family about turning Rick in. Everyone else is willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of keeping Rick around, but Jerry points out that Rick would never reciprocate. Rick then decides to surrender himself to the authorities so that his family can be sent back to Earth. Sensing this is going to happen, Morty tells Rick that he won’t forgive him for leaving again, but Rick still turns himself in, being imprisoned for “everything.” The family returns to Earth where Jerry is given a job by the Federation.

S2EA - 3Prison.png
And this was to “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. Amazing.

END SUMMARY

This episode shocked me when I first watched it. I never really figured Rick and Morty for the kind of show to do a long cliff-hanger, which I guess is what made it so effective. Additionally, Rick’s seeming change of character at the end of the episode, finally putting his family ahead of himself, really knocked me for a loop, because, again, that’s not a Rick and Morty thing to do.

S2EA - 4Pizza
Having a drugged character break the fourth wall, that’s very Rick and Morty.

This was truly the culmination of the series thus far. It has references to a number of prior episodes and actually completes several plotlines, ranging from Tammy and Birdperson’s romance to Jerry’s unemployment. The end of the episode even brings back Mr. Poopybutthole from “Total Rickall” to do the wrap-up. It really kind of signalled that the next season of the show was going to have to do something different, but, of course, we didn’t find out what for roughly a year and a half (as Mr. Poopybutthole predicted). It actually served a similar purpose, narratively, to the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones, which is completely appropriate since it features the bride’s “family” massacring everyone at a wedding.

S2EA - 5FleshCurtains
We see the end of Rick’s Band, too.

One of my favorite references in the entire series is also in this episode, with James Callis and Tricia Helfer voicing Tammy’s parents Pat and Donna Gueterman. Fans of Battlestar Galactica will recognize them as the actors who portray Gaius Baltar and Number Six from the series, respectively, which the characters are clearly designed to resemble. This seems to be a subtle reference to the fact that they’ll eventually be revealed as robots, similar to how characters from Battlestar Galactica were constantly being revealed as Cylons, which were humanoid robots. Or robotic humanoids, I forget.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, this episode reveals that Tammy is a deep-cover agent for the Galactic Federation, but what’s interesting is that we can guess exactly what led to her being given the assignment based on this episode. Tammy (though it is not the same Tammy) makes her first appearance in “Meeseeks and Destroy,” when Mr. Meeseeks gives a speech encouraging people to become friends with Summer. While that Tammy may not have been a deep-cover agent, since essentially every event up until the events of “Rick Potion #9” happened in both the C-137 universe and the replacement dimension, the Meeseeks speech probably happened in both. This Tammy likely deduced that Summer was a relative of Rick based on the presence of the Meeseeks and realized that she could work her way into Rick’s inner circle if she associated with Summer, such as going to the party Summer through where she met Birdperson. The question then becomes, why was she at the school in the first place?

S2EA - 6Tammy.png
See, she’s one of the first to meet with Summer.

In the pilot episode, Rick uses a portal that is actually owned and operated by the Galactic Federation (as demonstrated both by the bureaucracy and the bug-people) in order to get he and Morty home. That portal ends up placing the pair at Harry Herpson High School. While Rick’s brain-waves are untraceable due to Morty’s proximity, Rick had just entered those coordinates into a Federation transport. It seems probable that SOMEONE in the whole Federation would be able to figure out where they led, but that only got them to the school, so it makes sense that they would place an agent there. Thus, everything in this episode happens because of the pilot.

Overall, I give this episode an

A

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS –  20: Look Who’s Purging Now

NEXT – 22: The RickShank Rickdemption

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S2E8 “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”

It’s another episode of wonderful interdimensional television, combined with Jerry having to deal with the fate of one of the universe’s greatest leaders.

SUMMARY

Jerry (Chris Parnell) is rushed to a space hospital due to eating a mutant bacteria which Rick (Justin Roiland) kept in a pint of Cherry Garcia. After he’s stabilized, Rick decides to entertain himself and the rest of the family by putting interdimensional cable on the television. The episode mostly consists of watching this as the B-plot.

S2E8 - 1Plumbus.png
Including how to make a Plumbus, which feels… dirty.

Meanwhile, Jerry finds out that the hospital wants him to donate his penis as a heart to save the life of Shrimply Pibbles, an intergalactic civil rights advocate. After an elderly alien (Werner Herzog) says that humans are too selfish about their penises to sacrifice one, Jerry promises to give his away… then immediately regrets it. He tries to get Beth (Sarah Chalke) to help bail him out, but she tells him to do it himself. He then attempts to turn popular opinion against Shrimply Pibbles, but fails massively, resulting in the crowd calling him out for trying to get out of his promise. The crowd hates him so much that they end up crowd-funding an artificial heart for Pibbles. Jerry, unable to deal with people hating him, tries to shove his penis in Pibbles’ chest, but is shot by security. He’s revived in the hospital and Beth tells him “You can’t make people like you. You just have to wait for their hating you to bore them.” He tries to be assertive, but the family shoots him down immediately.

S2E8 - 2Alien.png
And, no matter what IMDB tells you, this is NOT Shrimply Pibbles.

END SUMMARY

As Rick even says in the episode, this is a sequel to “Rixty Minutes,” (one of my add-ons to the 100 Greatest Episodes list) once again showcasing a series of short skits that all take place in parallel universes put forth by Justin Roiland. According to interviews, a few of the funnier ones were the ideas that Roiland really hated, which, out of spite, he would keep dissecting or destroying in such a fun way that they made it in. One of those is “Man Vs. Car,” which even contains the obviously slightly out of context line “Wouldn’t the car always win?”

S2E8 - 3ManVsCar.png
The Car has a slight advantage, admittedly.

Much like the first interdimensional cable, the beauty of the interdimensional cable shows and ads is that they are completely improvised, which gives them a unique feel compared to most television. Since Roiland apparently did most of them under the influence of some kind of substance, they also have a bit of an oblique way of being presented. For example, “Jan Quadrant Vincent 16” is the odd pitch of an action film involving multiple copies of Jan-Michael Vincent from Airwolf. It’s such an insane reference that Morty (Roiland) even asks if it’s important to know who Jan-Michael Vincent is for the ad to make sense. It turns out that, no, knowing who it is doesn’t add anything to the experience.

S2E8 - 4JanMichael.png
I would watch this. Although, Jan-Michael Vincent is now in his 70s.

Jerry’s story arc is pretty typical for Jerry. He felt like asserting himself in response to being perceived as selfish, but then refused to do anything to correct that after realizing that he does, in fact, want to keep his penis. Beth, rather than helping him, instead becomes focused on the options that she has to replace his penis, most of which are, apparently, vastly superior to Jerry’s current equipment. She even apparently memorizes a lot of the catalogue, being able to recognize one later on sight.

S2E8 - 5Vibrator.png
Where Jerry found one to attack the doctors is still unclear.

The biggest problem with this episode, compared to the original, is that it doesn’t contain any dialogue as amazing as Morty’s speech to Summer. However, I do find the lines of Jerry calling the doctors dicks for not giving Pibbles an artificial heart earlier and them calling him a dick do make me chuckle. Despite how much Jerry is usually a weeny, it’s also true that they were kind of dickish for not telling him that there was a possibility of getting Pibbles an artificial heart. In fact, they asserted exactly the opposite.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Rick buys Eyeholes just to get back at Jerry. Jerry started the whole episode by trying to steal Rick’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. Then, he sees the ad for Eyeholes but acknowledges that, if you buy the cereal, the Eyeholes Man (Roiland) will show up and kick the crap out of you. Despite this, Rick doesn’t keep the Eyeholes in the garage or in his basement lab, but instead puts them in the kitchen so that Jerry, with his lack of respect for Rick’s food, will end up getting a beating.

S2E8 - 6Eyeholes.png
Also, he apparently can cross dimensions.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 18: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez

NEXT – 20: Look Who’s Purging Now

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Review – The Last Laugh, or Nobody Else Will Work With Chevy: The Movie (Spoiler-Free)

Richard Dreyfuss and Chevy Chase join forces to make a comedy film about aging and… it sort of works.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Al Hart (Chevy Chase) was a professional agent for 50 years, but is now being pressured into retiring by his granddaughter, Jeannie (Kate Micucci). While touring a retirement facility, he runs into his former client, Buddy Green (Richard Dreyfuss), who encourages him to take up residence. Buddy was a promising comedian who was given his big break on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but instead walked off and pursued a medical career and a family. Buddy is mostly content with retired life, but Al quickly grows upset with it, telling Buddy that they should do a comedy tour and get him on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to make up for his missed opportunity. Along the way, Al meets Doris Lovejoy (Andie MacDowell), a free-spirited woman with whom he forms a bond. Hi-Jinks ensue.

lastlaugh - 1cast
Guess which one has an Oscar? Hint: It’s the one who admitted to doing Poseidon for money.

END SUMMARY

So… it’s pretty much a well-established fact at this point that Chevy Chase is hilarious, but also an intolerable asshole. In fact, the latter has pretty much wrecked his career because it has so overshadowed the former. If you’ve seen the Vacation movies, Fletch, the first season of SNL, Caddyshack, Funny Farm, The Three Amigos, or Community, you’re probably aware that Chevy Chase can be hilarious. If you’ve ever seen or read anything about him, you know he’s an asshole. When he left Saturday Night Live after season 1, the rest of the cast cheered. When he came back to host, he got into a fist-fight with Bill Murray on set. When he met with Kevin Smith about reviving Fletch, he drove Smith completely insane. He had one of the most famously unfunny roasts of all time, because few people showed up and those that did hated him. He was kicked off of Community for making everyone miserable, though admittedly Dan Harmon is also famously difficult to work with. Last September, the Washington Post did a report about the fact that Chevy Chase wants to work, but can’t find anyone to tolerate him. 

lastlaugh - 2finger
And Belushi was just a frenemy.

Well, good news, he found at least someone willing to put up with him long enough to film a buddy comedy. Surprisingly, that’s Richard Dreyfuss. More surprisingly, Dreyfuss is the one in the film that is a comedian. Even more surprisingly, Dreyfuss is the funnier one in the film. Not that Chase isn’t funny in some scenes, he is, but since Dreyfuss is doing the routines, he has a lot more chances to be funny. He also has the more emotional journey, having previously given up this career for a family and stability, but now having no close family or career left. It’s a great performance by a gifted actor about a man trying to take back the road not taken.

LastLaugh - 3Standup.jpg
His stand-up routines vary in quality, but I did think many were legitimately funny.

The biggest problem with the movie is that it doesn’t have much of a sense of urgency in anything that happens, which is something you do need on a road-trip comedy. Even when they do try to provide some level of it, the film just doesn’t ever feel like this really needs to be the “last” laugh, because they could just keep working at it. There is a great sequence in the film involving trying to actually get Buddy on the show and a dream sequence which does show Chase’s range, but other than that the performances are only pretty standard for the actors. Take that how you will.

Overall, I’d say that it’s only an okay movie and both of these guys have done way better. Give this one a shot if you’re a big fan of Dreyfuss, but otherwise maybe save it for when you’re old and have watched everything else.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Rick and Mondays – S2 E7 “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez”

We have two cosmetic plots which our minds mistake for thematic in this episode. Also, vampires are real.

SUMMARY

At breakfast, Morty (Justin Roiland) mentions that a lunch lady at his school was exsanguinated by two holes in her neck. Rick (Roiland) points out that it was probably a vampire, something that Summer (Spencer Grammer) is surprised to find out are real. She suggests that Rick transfer his mind into a teenage body so that he can help them find and kill the vampire, something that Rick angrily condemns. Beth (Sarah Chalke) tells Jerry (Chris Parnell) to support his daughter, only for Jerry to be revealed not to be paying attention, leading to a fight. Rick, still crotchety, tells them to fix their marriage or get a divorce. They respond that they’ve tried to do therapy, which Rick derides as “Earth therapy” and then tells them he’ll take them to a therapy center on an alien planet. Rick takes them both, still bickering, to the planet while Summer makes stakes for Buffy-ing.

S2E7 - 1Headache.png
Brain the size of a universe and he still can’t deal with this noise.

On the therapy planet, it’s revealed that a key part of the therapy is generating physical representations of how each partner views the other one. Jerry’s vision of Beth is as a Xenomorph-esque monster, while Beth’s vision of Jerry is a weak, worm like version who wants to offer his servitude and sexual favors in exchange for safety. Both of them are pissed at the other for these images, but Glexo Slim Slom (Jim Rash), the head couples’ counselor, tells them both that this is normal and part of the process. He takes Beth and Jerry, along with a number of other couples, through observations of the battles between the monsters generated by the couples, using it as a metaphor for how we envision our partner differently than they actually are. Unseen, Beth’s “Mytholog” communicates with Jerry’s and starts to cover her body with a layer of Jerry’s Mytholog’s blood.

S2E7 - 2Betholog.png
I don’t know biology, but four boobs seems like the wrong number.

Back on Earth, Rick appears at school in a teenage body, calling himself “Tiny Rick.” He quickly assists the kids in killing “Coach Feratu,” the vampire at the school. Rick’s about to put his mind back into his old body, but it turns out that Tiny Rick is fairly popular at the school and Summer’s crush Toby Matthews (Alex “I CREATED GRAVITY F*CKING FALLS AND AM MAGICAL” Hirsch) asks if he’ll be at a party later. Rick agrees to stay small for party purposes.

S2E7 - 3Stakes.png
He’s an old man in a kid’s body. They’re two vampire-slaying teens. This summer… the stakes have never been higher. Watch Rick and Morty in: Suck It, Vampires!

Beth and Jerry continue the therapy tour, only for it to appear that their Mythologs have escaped. It’s revealed that the Betholog camouflaged itself and escapes along with the Jerry Mytholog, both of them killing numerous people and rampaging throughout the facility. Glexo realizes what has happened and tells Beth and Jerry that their demons are actually co-dependant, making theirs the single worst marriage that he’s ever seen. He then abandons the two of them to die. Jerry finds a hiding spot, but Beth chooses to try to find a way out before she is abducted by Betholog. Jerry then manages to subdue his Mytholog, due to its blatant cowardice, and tells it to take him to Beth. Betholog tells her that she’s going to be used to produce an army of Jerry Mythologs to help her enslave the universe. Beth sarcastically points out that she should be trying to create more Bethologs, but the Betholog says that there can only be one of her, because she’s so much smarter and stronger than Beth because Jerry thinks Beth is so much stronger and smarter than she actually is.

S2E7 - 4Betholog.png
Beth meets her own worst… husband’s nightmare.

Back on Earth at the party, Tiny Rick sings a song that appears to be a cry for help from the older version of Rick trapped in a vat in the garage. At school, Tiny Rick continues to refuse to transfer his mind back into his original body. Summer complains, but Morty tells her to get her shit together. At the school dance, Rick sings a song that is clearly about being trapped in the garage. Summer gets him expelled by planting evidence that he killed Coach Feratu, which leads Rick to call her a psycho. Everyone then turns on Summer, having loved Tiny Rick. Tiny Rick goes to destroy his grown body, but Summer and Morty stop him by playing Elliot Smith, leading him to want to be back in his original body. He gets put back in and then destroys all of his clones, dubbing the experiment a failure. He then goes to pick up Beth and Jerry.

S2E7 - 5RickDance.png
Rick gets back-up dancers easily.

Jerry arrives with a gun to kill all of the Mythologs. Beth then thinks that Jerry is heroic, resulting in the machine cranking out first normal Jerrys, then muscular and heroic Jerrys. Jerry tries to save Beth, but is about to die, until he puts the Mytholog Maker on a heroic Jerry, leading to that version creating a literal Goddess Beth, who easily kills the Betholog. In the wreckage of the planet, Beth and Jerry reconcile as a nude, blood-covered Rick picks them up.

S2E7 - 6GodBeth.png
Granted, even the ideal Beth resembles A) a doctor and B) a goddess of destruction.

END SUMMARY

This episode, much like “Meeseeks and Destroy,” benefits heavily from the cuts between the A and B plots. While in that episode it allowed us to perfectly split between two advancing plotlines by cutting all of the boring scenes out, in this one it (slightly imperfectly) allows us to do that while also masking the fact that the timeline for this episode seems rather uncertain and uneven. We know that the events of the Tiny Rick plot take at least 3 days, but Beth and Jerry’s therapy appears to go off the rails immediately. Did they just wander around hiding from monsters for 2 days, did the initial tour just take that long, or did the events of their trip play out and then they were waiting for Rick for a few days? Whatever, I didn’t really notice at the time, and I’m sure Dan Harmon has some justification for it. Either way, the fact that I didn’t notice is a credit to the editing.

The vampire is pretty much my favorite plot instigator in the series. It’s so random that vampires are real and that not only is Rick aware of it, but considers people stupid for NOT being aware of it. It’d be the same as the reveal that dragons are real being met with a disinterested “and?”  To cap that off, it’s quickly revealed, offscreen, to be Coach Feratu, the least subtle vampire name in history, and he’s dispatched apparently within a few hours. Somehow, apparently, Morty and Summer hadn’t immediately concluded it was the Coach from the beginning, however. That’s why it’s even better when they have the stinger at the end where the head vampire points out that Coach Feratu is a terrible name to hide under and tells them to pick generic names from now on.

S2E7 - 7VampireKing.png
This guy definitely deserves to be in charge.

At the end of the episode, Jerry tries to connect the themes of the stories, but Rick just responds that the story connections are just cosmetic, not really thematic, which I guess is true. Rick’s story is more related to the fact that people are terrible at having perspective in High School and that accepting aging and the inevitability of death is part of life, while Beth’s and Jerry’s stories are more about how perception shapes relationships. There’s some stuff about how appearances reflect behavior in both stories, but not much more than that in common.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Everything in this episode happens because Rick’s pissed off at breakfast. Well, not the vampire attacks, those clearly are independent of the rest of the episode, but everything besides that. If you watch the opening to the episode, it’s apparent that Rick is even more crotchety than usual. He acts disdainful towards the family during the vampire discussion, yells at Summer for proposing the kind of hi-jinks that Rick himself usually would jump to, then flat-out tells Beth and Jerry to get a divorce or fix their marriage in a very angry tone. Now, Rick would probably do any of these things normally, but the way he does them in this episode still seems pretty extreme. But, after running Beth and Jerry to the therapy planet, Rick ends up turning himself young like Summer suggested. He says this is because he felt bad about how he treated Summer, but I don’t think that’s entirely it. I think there’s another reason why Rick is pissed and why he chooses the path that he does.

S2E7 - 8Smiggles.png
Morty killed the Rabbichaun for this.

Anyone who has dealt with older people learns a horrifying fact about the eventual state of their body: You can’t keep eating all the crap you loved as a kid. Spicy food, greasy food, and especially ultra-sugary cereals will tear your insides up. And what is Morty eating for breakfast along with the hot food that his mother made for the family? Why, a delicious bowl of magical Strawberry Smiggles! Now, why do I think that Rick is upset by this? Well, admittedly, not much to go on, but it’s the one thing that Rick asks for that’s unrelated to any of the other conversation parts: The pepper. Every other time we see Rick eating breakfast in the series, he is fairly complimentary of the way that Beth prepares it, but this time we see him dissatisfied about the flavor. I think that’s Rick expressing his anger about not being able to do something because he’s too old. That’s why he does eventually decide to do the plan of making himself young again, even though it’s an overly-complicated solution to the vampire problem: Because that morning he really felt crappy about being old and wanted to get away from that for a few minutes. So, yeah, if Morty doesn’t pick the cereal, Rick probably isn’t as angry, and most of the stuff in the episode probably plays out differently.

NOW LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, I give this episode an

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 17: The Ricks Must Be Crazy

NEXT – 19: Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Rick and Mondays – S2 E5 “Get Schwifty”

Rick and Morty try to save the world through the power of their music.

SUMMARY

A giant floating head (Dan Harmon) appears in the sky above Earth and starts exclaiming “Show me what you got!” Rick (Justin Roiland) immediately recognizes the threat as a Cromulon and takes Morty (Roiland) to the Pentagon to inform the President (Keith “f*cking” David). It turns out that the Cromulons travel to planets seeking a live performance of a catchy new song. Unfortunately, the Cromulon’s arrival created an earthquake which killed all of Earth’s famous musicians except for Ice-T, who won’t make it in time to save the planet.  Desperate, the President asks Rick and Morty to perform. Rick proceeds to spontaneously compose the song “Get Schwifty” which, as the President says, is a jam. The head is pleased by this and teleports Earth to another galaxy filled with giant heads for another performance.

S2E5 - 1Bulldops.png
This is the face of a true artist. 

Meanwhile, Beth (Sarah Chalke), Jerry (Chris Parnell), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) evacuate to the local church where Principal Gene Vagina (Phil Hendrie) decides to go outside and pray to the head. By coincidence, the head tells Rick and Morty “I like what you got” at the same moment that Vagina is praying, so the people believe that Vagina’s prayer pleased the head. After the head moves Earth to a head-filled area, Vagina convinces everyone he can speak to the heads and turns the neighborhood into a cult under his rule.

S2E5 - 2Vagina.png
This is the face of a man who talks directly to God.

Rick is joined by Ice-T (Dan Harmon) to compose a new song. Morty wants to run away with his family, but Rick claims to not have enough charge in the portal gun. This is proven false when Rick shortly forgets his lie and grabs snacks for Ice-T. Morty, angry, steals the portal gun and ends up with Birdperson (Dan Harmon) who advises Morty indirectly to put his faith in Rick. Ice-T reveals himself to be an alien from Alphabetrium whose true form is that of Water T. He was punished for his lack of empathy by being frozen and banished, so he doesn’t care about what happens to Earth.

S2E5 - 3ICET.png
This is the face of a frozen elemental who gives zero f**ks.

Beth and Jerry are pleased with how Summer is behaving now that they are part of a cult, but when offered positions within the cult, they refuse, believing that using the Cult as a substitute for parenting doesn’t work. They’re summarily set to be launched into the sky by balloons.

S2E5 - 4Balloons.png
This is the face of a teen who is about to murder her parents. 

Rick begins to play his improvised song, but it is poorly received. Morty returns to find out that Earth is up, however, a rogue General, General Nathan (Kurtwood Smith), launches nukes at the Cromulons over the President’s objection. This disqualifies Earth and the Cromulons try to disintegrate it, but Ice-T blocks the shot and advocates that Rick and Morty should get a shot. They, along with the President, perform “Head Bend Over,” which wins the contest. At the same time, all of the Cromulons’ reactions to Rick and Morty are interpreted as being against Principal Vagina’s claims of being chosen by the heads, resulting in him being launched into the sky, temporarily.

S2E5 - 5Heads.png
This is the face of a face. Are you still reading these?

END SUMMARY

This episode marks the first time (aside from the temporary Giant Santa in “Anatomy Park”) that Rick and Morty face a public, global threat. It’s also the first time that we see them interacting with the President, who will later become the focus of the Season 3 Finale. Between these two episodes, it’s implied that the President will call on Rick and Morty to address a number of off-screen threats, but never allows Morty to take any pictures. Interestingly, the President doesn’t attempt to threaten Rick himself, which probably suggests that he believes that Rick won’t tell anyone or that telling Rick not to do something is the only way to guarantee that he does it. Justin Roiland says that he believes that Rick and the President were best friends in the past, but Rick’s intro in this episode suggests that they haven’t met before.

S2E5 - 6Bros.png
Of course, they’re bros by the end.

Rick and Morty’s arc is ostensibly about whether or not Rick actually cares about anything. While Birdperson seems to agree with Morty’s assertion that Rick doesn’t care about anything other than himself and never thinks about the consequences, Rick’s conversation with Ice-T makes it clear that he does actually care about stuff, even though he has spent a lot of his life trying to avoid it. It also confirms that Rick has a history of being a musician, something that he will spend more time doing after this episode. It’s implied that Rick basically comes up with two songs spontaneously, something that I imagine is extremely difficult, even if they have very repetitive lyrics.

S2E5 - 8FleshCurtains.png
Also, the Flesh Curtains is a great band name.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I don’t have much in this episode, but I have one theory about Ice-T. When we see Ice-T leave from Rick, his last words to Rick are a dismissive statement that he’s just going to wander around the universe, but then he reappears spontaneously to say, in an unconvincing manner, that suddenly he cares more. It seems like a complete 180 of his character combined with a deus ex machina of him saving the planet from the Cromulons. So, what actually caused the change of heart?

S2E5 - 9TSacrifice.png
Vanilla was not the Ice for the Job.

Morty.

S2E5 - 7Morty.png
Even he thinks it’s unlikely.

Ice-T didn’t learn to care from Rick, he learned that you can give people another chance from Morty coming back. It stands to reason that, although Ice-T had left the planet, he still wanted to see the results of the contest, if only to know if he could return to the planet and resume his life of luxury and not giving a f*ck. That means he’s watching when Morty returns, despite having given up on Rick previously, and sees how happy Rick is to see him. We now know that Magma-Q, Ice-T’s father, is the one that banished him. This is likely the one thing Ice-T relates to and realizes that his father will be happy to see him, even if he won’t admit it. So, he decides to do the one thing that might reunite them: Pretend to care. That’s why he doesn’t sound convincing, because he’s not actually caring much about Rick and Morty, he just knows that’s the only way to see his father again. Of course, this still means he has realized he cares, just not about Rick and Morty.

LEAVING THE CORNER

This is a pretty solid episode, but it’s still less sophisticated and the storytelling is a lot less efficient than other stories. On the other hand, Mr. Bulldops would have been my profile name if it hadn’t been taken.

Overall, I give this episode an

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub, I need a drink. See you in two weeks.

PREVIOUS – 15: Total Rickall

NEXT – 17: The Ricks Must Be Crazy

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.