Rick and Mondays – S4E3 “One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty”

Rick and Morty plan one of the most pointlessly complicated heists of all time.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Roiland) go to raid a tomb only to find out that it’s been raided already by master criminal Miles Knightly (Justin Theroux). Rick goes to Knightly’s HeistCon, only to find out that he can’t enter without a “crew.” Rick assembles a crew, only to ditch them the minute they get inside. Knightly challenges Rick to a Heist-Off, revealing that he planned for Rick to assemble a team that he himself used, only for Rick to reveal that he planned on Knightly planning for that and winning the contest using his heist-planning robot “Heist-o-Tron.” Upon winning, Rick has Heist-o-Tron hypnotize everyone at the convention into being on his team and tells them all to loot the convention while Morty writes a heist film screenplay. Miles is killed by the looters. 

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Heists only work if everyone walks in a V pattern, like geese.

Heist-o-Tron then double-crosses Rick and decides to attack him. Rick escapes and resolves to field his own new team, consisting of Mr. Poopybutthole (Roiland), puppet archer Ventriloquiver (Claudia Black), the god Hephaestus, and Elon Tusk (Elon Musk, because he needs the PR). He uses Heist-o-Tron’s opposite entity Rand-o-Tron, a random plot generator, to craft this new counter-heist. Heist-o-Tron steals the Earth, but Rick confronts him on his ship and manages to destroy it… only for Rand-o-Tron to be revealed as the real Heist-o-Tron… only for Rick to destroy it by arguing about who had the bigger counter-plan for 2 hours. Heist-o-Tron dies saying that the only perfect heist is one that can’t be written. 

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Elon Tusk is definitely a thing

Morty reveals that his script got him a pitch at Netflix for a film. Morty pretty much pitches the episode, only to run out of interest partway through, despite Netflix wanting to buy. Rick reveals to the audience that, in fact, Rick had set everything in this up because he was annoyed at Morty writing screenplays, but was forbidden by Beth (Sarah Chalke) from stopping him.

END SUMMARY

So, this episode basically takes a satire of heist films and drives it into the ground, shoves it to the molten core of the Earth, watches it dissolve outside of the train from The Core, and uses the slag that remains to spell out “this was satire.” It takes it to the extreme, is what I’m saying. On some level, I have to respect the amount of effort it takes to absolutely commit to an ad nauseam repetition of an idea to illustrate how formulaic it is, but also I would understand that dedicating an entire episode to mostly sh*tting on a genre might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I mean, having several dozen characters use the “you son of a bitch, I’m in” line might grate the nerves. However, even if you don’t like the premise, I have to say that this episode had some of the best one-liners I’ve heard since… well, the last episode of Rick and Morty. What can I say? The show makes me laugh. 

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Ya’ll have no idea how hard this was to screenshot, but worth it for Fran Dreshlicar.

This episode reminded me of “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” because it puts Rick and Morty at the center of a genre with the intent of deconstructing how mimetic films can be. Here, we actually see the show incorporating the point into the plot, by having Rick do everything in order to convince Morty that since heist movies are so generic there’s really no art in writing one. Now, Morty does say that he can’t quite put his finger on why he now believes the films to be dumb, but since this is a show run by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, I think it’s likely because heists are dependent on twists and writers will always hate them for that. When you have a massive twist at the end that recontextualizes everything, sure, that can be a great tool to shock or impress the audience, but it also means that a lot of the things that we saw in the film were a lie. Also, by having characters with dual motivation throughout the film, the writers have to justify why people acted the way they did, which almost always falls apart under scrutiny. I’m not willing to sit through 18 minutes for it, but I’m sure that the Cinemasins guys mention repeatedly in their video for Ocean’s Eleven that many of the shots in the movie that are designed to fool the audience make no sense in retrospect after the reveal. If you’re a stickler for internal motivation matching actions, and Harmon usually is, then these films must drive you mad. Personally, I like a good heist film, but I admit they get derivative. 

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This is not significantly different than the ending of Ocean’s Twelve

Like I said, the humor in this episode really does save it in a lot of ways. The opening parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Rick basically renders all of the efforts of that film pointless with his “anti-booby” suits is hilarious. So is the fact that he’s spiting Morty (which is a sign that Rick is actually really frustrated with him) by eating Arby’s and using a floating chair while Morty climbs. The glorious return of Mr. Poopybutthole, or Professor Poopybutthole, rather, was everything that I wanted it to be, including the martial arts fight. Having Heist-o-Tron become Braniac from Superman and then die from a WarGames realization was inspired. Even if the premise runs thin, you’ll be laughing enough to ignore it. 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I don’t really have a good one for this episode because the episode itself is a giant conspiracy already. While most of my theories are justifications for how Rick managed to plan for everything in a given episode, in this one Rick explicitly did just that. In fact, the only thing that I don’t believe he planned was that Miles Knightly would be dismembered by the people at Heist Con. While Rick is a genius, and could very well have used Heist-o-Tron to set-up such a long and elaborate heist, it still seems unlikely that he would have killed one of the people assisting him with it on purpose. It’s possible that Miles Knightly (possibly a reference to The Saint’s Simon Templar) was a normal enemy of Rick, but this is now season 4 and we’re seeing more and more often that Morty has familiarized himself with most of the recurring problems in Rick’s life and he’s never heard of this person. The fact that Morty didn’t recognize the name makes me think that perhaps Rick just made him up for this scheme and that the person portraying him was killed due to Rick miscalculating how people would interpret the instruction to steal every inch of the Con. His panic seems genuine, lending some credence to the idea. Counterpoint, of course, is that several trillion people die as a result of Heist-o-Tron, making Rick even more of a total sociopath for planning this.

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Still fewer casualties than when Ocean’s Eleven knocked out the power to Vegas.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, not the best, but I still had fun.

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 – 33: The Old Man and the Seat

NEXT – 35: Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty

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Rick and Mondays – S1 E7 “Raising Gazorpazorp”

Well, we’re now in the first adventure in the new reality for Rick and Morty and it actually has them separated for most of the episode. Hey, you’ve got to keep trying new things if you want to stay fresh, right?

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Rick and Summer’s Bogus Journey

SYNOPSIS

Morty (Justin Roiland) convinces Rick (Roiland) to buy him a sex-bot which he ends up impregnating, giving birth to a fast-aging alien hybrid that he names “Morty, Jr.” (In order of age: Finnegan Perry, Will Jennings, Richard Christy, Maurice LaMarche).

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This was originally an episode of “Honey Boo Boo.”

Rick tries to figure out where the robot came from while Summer (Spencer Grammer) tries to help him, getting herself dragged into a primitive planet called Gazorpazorp. Rick rescues her but breaks his portal gun and enslaves the planet so that he can fix it. However, it’s soon revealed that the inhabitants they met are only the primitive and violent male Gazorpians and that the hyper-intelligent female Gazorpians actually run the planet. Rick is made to pretend to be Summer’s slave, something that ends up bothering him so much he farts, which is a capital crime in their society. Summer ends up saving them both by pointing out that not all men are bad, because some men are gay and make nice clothing.

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Oh, a Zardoz reference. That’ll get the viewers’ attention.

Back on Earth, Morty tries to raise Morty, Jr., who has some tendencies towards genocide on a genetic level. He’s undermined at every turn by his parents, Jerry and Beth (Chris Parnell and Sarah Chalke), because he tries to raise Morty, Jr. without using either the overly-sensitive Jerry’s methods or the overly-distant Beth’s. Instead, he uses TV, which… yeah, not a good middle road. In order to keep Morty, Jr. from hurting people, Morty tells him that the outside world is poison. Unfortunately, after Morty, Jr. becomes a teenager-equivalent, he leaves anyway and goes on a rampage. Morty eventually convinces him to stop, resulting in Morty, Jr. calming down and becoming a writer… of the book My Horrible Father.

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Fun fact: He’s likely dead by the next episode

END SYNOPSIS

This episode bothers me because Rick’s sexism kind of reaches an almost ridiculous level. Now, Rick being sexist actually doesn’t bother me that much because he’s a flawed character and you can make that part of it, but A) he’s never really this sexist again, B) he defends it poorly, and C) he’s Rick Sanchez, he thinks literally everyone is inferior regardless of sex or gender. It just seems a little out of character and makes him look stupid at times during the episode. The fact that the all-female society also appears to be mostly stereotypes also stands out as being below the usual writing quality of the show. It’s not that the jokes aren’t funny, it’s just that they’re not as funny as I expect from Rick and Morty.

Let’s take this shot of the mall in the female Gazorpian Mall.

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Okay, so, the “Just a Bite of Yours” restaurant got a chuckle out of me, but the strip club based around cuddling is just the easiest joke you could make there. Also, kind of inaccurate, since, while women do enjoy cuddling, women also enjoy sex and that would still be a marketable aspect of society. It’s an all-female society, writers, not an all-nun society.

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Okay, so, this may not apply to all nuns.

Similarly, Summer’s weird argument at the end is troublesome. She says that a gay guy made her shirt, therefore their laws about men are wrong? I mean, the idea that some men are not terrible doesn’t have any impact on Rick violating a law that, apparently, applies equally to both genders. It’s just that women don’t fart (Editor’s note: HAHAHAHA, sure), so it hasn’t been an issue. The entire exchange is just weird. Again, it’s not bad, and parts of it make me laugh, but it’s just not Rick and Morty-level. However, it might be redeemed by what I believe is one of the funniest lines in the show, where Ma-Sha (Claudia Black), the leader of the female Gazorpians, comments on fashion designer Marc Jacobs by saying “Marc? Jacob? These are names of the penis!” Claudia Black’s delivery is so perfect on that line that I cannot hear it without laughing.

I’m not really sure which is the A-plot or B-plot, but in Morty’s plotline everything is also kind of dependent on a lot of stereotypes but based on age rather than gender. However, the episode gives us some insights into Jerry’s and Beth’s parenting styles, which also explains their marriage and why Morty and Summer have so many emotional issues. Whenever one wants to be restrictive, the other wants to be permissive and vice-versa. Jerry wants to stop Morty from having non-stop sex with his sex-bot Gwendolyn, but Beth says that’s how you create a serial killer. However, later, when Jerry wants to be emotionally connected to Morty, Jr., Beth wants to be distant and commanding. They both also imply that they each consider their kids failures, then explicitly tell Morty he’s going to be a terrible parent. At the end, Beth tries to comfort Morty by saying “It’s a thankless job, Morty, you did the best you could.”

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And yet, Morty managed to limit a genocidal fire-barfing alien to writing angry books.

The stinger of Morty, Jr. being an author and Beth saying that parenting is a thankless job almost redeems the fact that the rest of that plotline isn’t that stellar. I mean, it’s just a succinct statement of two truisms: Creativity is often the result of adversity and parenting is something that everyone “fails” at. So, really, if we didn’t have bad parents, we wouldn’t have good art, but we’re always going to have bad parents, because even the ones who want to be good parents are going to do something wrong. It’s the wonderful cycle of creativity and resentment.

Overall, I think it’s clear that I just don’t think this is the best episode of the show. As of Season 3, this one is in my bottom tier. Sure, there are a lot of jokes that I laugh at, but it’s like “Anatomy Park” in that it’s just not the level of sophistication and insight I look for out of Rick and Morty.

Overall, I give this episode a

C

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 6: Rick Potion #9

NEXT – 8: Rixty Minutes

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.