Rick and Mondays – S1 E11 “Rick-sy Business”

We’re at the end of season one; time to get wriggedity wriggedity wrecked, son!

SUMMARY

Jerry (Chris Parnell) and Beth (Sarah Chalke) are heading away to take a cruise on Titanic 2, a ship that reenacts the James Cameron movie Titanic. Jerry threatens Rick (Justin Roiland) with no more trips with Morty (Roiland) if the house suffers any damage. However, the minute they’re gone, Summer (Spencer Grammer) announces that she’s having a party. Rick tells her that she can’t, however, because HE is going to have a party. Morty worries that this is going to be the end of the adventure and objects, but they ignore him.

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Jerry doesn’t exactly scream “authority” dressed like a drowned broke artist.

On Titanic 2, Jerry is super enthusiastic about reenacting parts of his favorite movie, but Beth mostly just wants to relax and read. She suggests that Jerry use a maid, Lucy (Alejandra Gollas), as a stand-in. Jerry’s a little disappointed, but Lucy is a huge Titanic fan and they begin to have a good time. However, the ship’s planned collision with an iceberg goes awry, resulting in the ship not sinking. This upsets Jerry, but Beth doesn’t care. Lucy takes Jerry below decks and shows him a version of the car in which Jack and Rose bang in Titanic, then reveals herself to be nude and desperate to reenact a love story like she’s watched so many people do before. Jerry refuses, but she pulls a gun on him and forces him to draw her nude, before threatening to rape him. Fortunately, Beth saves him. Lucy attempts to follow them home, but ends up being run over by their car.

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Yes, just like one of his French Girls.

Back at the ranch, Rick invites a ton of alien friends to his party, including Squanchy (Tom Kenny), Bird Person (Dan Harmon), and Revolio “Gear Head” Clockberg, Jr. (Scott Chernoff), three of his friends from his past travels. Unwilling to pass up her own party opportunity, Summer still invites most of her class over in an attempt to increase her own popularity. The party is interrupted at first by Abradolf Lincler (Maurice LaMarche), a former experiment of Rick’s to combine Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. Morty initially tries to dissuade them from wrecking the house, but ends up trying to hit on Jessica (Kari Wahlgren). Eventually, he shows her the garage, where the pair accidentally activate an invention that sends the house into another dimension.

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Slow Mobius adds the “Can’t Hardly Wait” effect.

On the new planet, Rick tells Morty he needs to find Collaxion crystals to get them back. Morty, Lincler, and Summer’s uncool friend Nancy (Aislinn Paul) venture out into the planet’s wilderness, eventually recovering the crystals at the cost of Lincler. However, it’s revealed that Rick just wanted to snort the crystals as a drug, before showing that he can take them back at any point. Morty, angry at being deceived, throws the crystals out. However, a talk with Bird Person reveals that Rick is actually a miserable person who is asking for help but is too proud to really ask. Morty ends up deciding he still wants to travel with Rick.

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Technically, he should die by a bullet to the head, either way.

Jerry and Beth return, but Rick freezes time so that they can clean up the house. They goof around in the frozen world and watch Titanic. Morty remarks that Rick seems to be less tortured while spending time with him and Summer. Rick responds by undercutting it and turning on some music while celebrating the end of Season One.

END SUMMARY

Now, one of my favorite things about the episode is that Rick’s party is basically the same as most “wild” parties depicted in media, except filled with insane aliens instead of humans. My favorite is probably Gear Head, who is the epitome of that guy that people don’t want to actually talk to at parties, because they just drone on and on about crap no one wants to hear. Then, later, he’s also the guy who busts out the guitar to play a folk song. If you haven’t been to a party with those guys… well, you’re probably those guys.

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This is his go-to move. Along with betrayal.

Some of the jokes in this are the most random and also funny in the season. I love most of Abradolf Lincler’s lines, particularly “Prepare to be emancipated from your own inferior genes!” It’s such a crazy line that it fits perfectly for a character who is, explicitly, the result of an insane concept. I also like that Rick takes the high road on Summer for trying to throw a party to get popular, with Rick stating that, like a mature adult, he parties to get wrecked because he doesn’t care about the other people’s opinions.

Beth and Jerry’s B-plot is entertaining, even though it gets a little dark towards the end. The idea that Jerry idolizes the romance of Jack and Rose from Titanic perfectly makes sense of the character, because that’s the kind of relationship that he wants without realizing the inherent flaw there: Jack and Rose only work because Jack dies. Jack and Rose were fiercely in love because Rose hated her life and Jack provided a release from that, while Jack loved Rose for being adventurous. That works for a short time, obviously, but how does a couple like that work when married for 20 years? People change, first of all, but also life has a way of eroding passion like that, which is why marriages and long-term relationships usually have to have something more at their core to sustain them. Jerry and Beth were clearly passionate (enough to get Summer, at least), but much of their story arc so far is them trying to determine if they actually do have something between them that merits keeping their marriage going. It’s like watching Titanic if Jack got his own plank.

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See, he does end up letting go. It’s a metaphor.

This is a solid end to the season because it does show some of the growth that the characters have undergone through the series. Rick is slightly less miserable and self-loathing, having found some value in the time with his family. Morty is more assertive, being willing to stand up to Rick when Rick manipulates him. Is it a huge amount? Not really. But it’s something. Even in a show famous for trying to avert most typical character arcs, some amount of growth is naturally going to occur, if only because the writers themselves have grown during the course of making the show.

Probably the biggest change is Bird Person’s revelation of the real meaning of Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub as “I am in great pain, please help me.” Morty insists that Rick is only saying it ironically, but Bird Person seems confident that Rick is, in fact, in a state of internal agony and begging for help. The end of the episode seems to reinforce that, although the show itself sometimes goes back and forth on it.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

One question which seems to come up on the message boards (and the Rick and Morty Wiki) about this episode is why Rick would invite two members of the council of Ricks to the party. They’re only seen in the background throughout the episode, but, given Rick’s general disdain for the council, why would he invite them to his party in the first place? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s because Rick is proud of making it to the end of his first season of television.

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He’s right next to Daria.

Yes, Rick wanted characters from throughout the season to appear at his party, allowing him to use it as a surrogate celebration of getting through the first 10 episodes despite being an animated show based primarily around nihilism and alcohol. That’s also why he ends the episode by putting on “Shake that Ass Bitch” by Slack Pack and telling everyone that Season One is over. Even better, he ends the season with time frozen so we don’t really have to worry about any changes to the world between the seasons.

LEAVING THE CORNER

While this isn’t quite the level of some of the episodes leading into it, this was still a solid way to end the season. Everything is kind of wrapped up, but we still want more.

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 –  10: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind

NEXT – 12: A Rickle in Time

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 – S1 E10 “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind”

If one Rick and Morty is good, then an entire planet filled with Ricks and Mortys should be great, right?

SUMMARY

The Smith-Sanchez family is having breakfast when a portal opens and a Rick (Justin Roiland) appears, kills Rick, and steals Morty (Roiland). It then shows breakfast the next day featuring another Rick and Morty, revealing that the previous scenario happened in another dimension. Another portal opens and several Ricks enter, this time in uniforms. They freeze Jerry (Chris Parnell), but Rick and Morty (of C-137) agree to go with them.

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He’s evil because he wears black and has a scar.

They are transported to the CITADEL OF RICKS, a trans-dimensional organization of Ricks which has created a form of government overseeing Rick behavior across the multiverse. They bring in Rick C-137 to accuse him of murdering other Ricks across the multiverse, as he is one of the only Ricks who isn’t part of the Citadel. He denies it, but his portal gun is traced to all the murders. Rick and Morty escape the Citadel troops while Rick manages to identify the real murderous Rick. They follow his signature to a building composed of hundreds of Mortys that are being tortured, which apparently shields Evil Rick from detection. Meanwhile, a group of Ricks stays at the Smith house while searching for Rick C-137, including Doofus Rick, who bonds with Jerry.

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Cronenberg Rick and Morty are still kickin’ it.

Rick and Morty get captured by Evil Rick and his Morty. Rick finds out that Evil Rick plans to steal his memories and then kill him. Morty is taken to a room filled with Mortys who worship the coming of the “One True Morty,” which apparently will free them from their bonds. Morty leads them into an uprising to escape and rescue Rick, resulting in Evil Rick being killed by a mob of Mortys.

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Never underestimate the power of a mob of stupid, angry people.

Back on the Citadel, Rick C-137, now exonerated, is given an apology and a coupon for a free Morty. Morty, who has been angry at Rick for the entire episode after Rick told him that Ricks keep Mortys around because Mortys are so stupid they act as psychic barriers, tries to get Rick to show some emotional growth, but Rick refuses. However, he immediately manages to get some in by pointing out that he’s the Rickest Rick, therefore Morty is the Mortyest Morty. It’s then revealed to the audience, but not Rick and Morty C-137, that Evil Rick was actually being controlled by another source… EVIL MORTY!!!

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Dun dun duuuuuuuun. But seriously, this was a great twist.

END SUMMARY

We already knew from “Rick Potion #9” that there were parallel Ricks and Mortys but this episode really drives that idea home. The Citadel of Ricks and the Council of Ricks appears to be derived from the “Council of Reeds” from the Fantastic Four comics, where Mr. Fantastic finds out that there are a ton of versions of him that work together and are mostly evil. Well, not so much evil as just dicks, which I guess makes the parallel a little closer. However, while the Council of Reeds works to, ostensibly, make the multiverse a better place, the Citadel of Ricks appears to just be a place where Ricks are thrown back into mediocrity and ruled over by a group of Ricks that are likely no more qualified to rule than they are. But, we’ll get into that more in Season 3.

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Clearly, position is assigned based on hair.

The multiverse, too, is more thoroughly explored in this episode by showing the viewers, in a very short montage, a man ordering pizza using a phone while sitting on a chair, then essentially every version of that same situation with the nouns swapped, culminating in a chair ordering phones using a pizza while sitting on a man. It drives home the fact that, in a truly infinite multiverse, anything is possible.

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But lamps are always lamps.

The relationship between Rick and Morty is given some more significance as we’re told that Rick actually uses Morty to prevent himself from being found by some of the more threatening intergalactic authorities. Whether these are present in every dimension isn’t mentioned, but apparently the Galactic Federation exists in multiple dimensions, given that their agent Tammy was found in both the original dimension of the show (where she got Cronenberged) and also the new one featured in this episode. They also are revealed to have some level of interdimensional capabilities in the pilot, explaining why Rick can’t just go to another dimension to escape them. So, every Rick needs a Morty to give them peace, even the Rickest Rick.

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The audience wins with three pairs. GET IT? *Applause*

So, why is our Rick the Rickest? Well, he tells us himself: he’s the only one who is completely unafraid to risk himself to maintain his individuality. Or, at least he is now that the Artist Formerly Known as Rick is dead (and, let’s be honest, the Prince version of Rick probably gave zero f*cks). Granted, in the future, this will become obviously untrue, since there are at least one or two other Ricks who also don’t seem to belong to the Citadel (as far as we know). Still, the point is that C-137 Rick’s enough of a rebel to rebel against the rebellion. Most “nonconformists” just buy a Che Guevara shirt and ignore the irony that counterculture tends to directly resemble culture; Rick Sanchez burns down the Hot Topic and the Gap at the same time and makes his own clothes out of the ashes. How does he make clothing from ashes? He’s Rick f*cking Sanchez.

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Granted, he is also the Rickest by virtue of killing the most Ricks. 

I also have to give credit to this episode for having three of my favorite pop-culture references in the show so far: “The Machine of Unspeakable Doom” is a reference to the Asimov story “The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use” but with the very Rick and Morty addition that the machine stabs your balls, the comic promoting Mortyism called “The Good Morty” is a reference to Jack Chick’s famously zealous Chick Tracts, and, my favorite, where a pen, notebook, and coffee cup fly through a portal, having come from a completely different show, Gravity Falls. The latter three objects get lost through an interdimensional portal by “Grunkle” Stan Pines in the Gravity Falls episode “Society of the Blind Eye.”

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The mug even has the Mystery Shack question mark on it!

Doofus Rick and Jerry is also a great B-plot, because Doofus Rick is the only Rick who can empathize with Jerry’s constant feelings of being put down, unimportant, and incompetent. Of course, Doofus Rick is only those things in comparison with other Ricks, whereas Jerry is… well, Jerry. However, Doofus Rick seems to compensate by being nicer to people, while Jerry is usually just kind of a jerk. Regular Rick later says that “being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets,” which suggests that maybe that’s why Doofus Rick does it, realizing that even if he is picked on, by being nice to people he sometimes gets positive connections, like with Jerry. Perhaps the most notable example is when Doofus Rick is shown Jerry’s coin collection and tells him that what matters is that the coins have value to him. Jerry is used to having people crap on all of his stupid ideas, so being told that his actions can be valid just because they made him feel better is a positive reinforcement that Jerry clearly doesn’t get much, and which Doofus Rick probably craves for similar reasons.

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But he can make brownies, so he probably has friends.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, people had a lot of theories on this episode. Since Evil Morty later comes back, several of them are still very much up in the air. A big one is that Evil Morty is actually Rick C-137’s original Morty, explaining why he wanted to absorb Rick’s memories rather than just killing him like the other Ricks. Rick’s statement about a Morty getting too smart for their own good also indicates that he has dealt with a “smart Morty” before. Also, Rick has been gone for a decade, has only just been back for one year, but apparently needed a Morty to help cloak him during the time which is unaccounted, suggesting he had one previously. But, if you wanted those theories you could just read another Rick and Morty blog. Instead, here’s one of mine on “The Morty Shield.”

S1EA-BMortyShield
This dome of pain. 

The reason why the “Morty Shield” that Evil Morty was using to hide from the Council of Ricks is so poorly constructed is not because Evil Morty couldn’t have come up with Rick’s idea for producing the same effect with five Mortys and a car battery. In fact, the Morty Shield wasn’t actually used for creating a cloaking effect at all (you can’t track Evil Rick’s brainwaves since he was already braindead), but was instead a ruse to get the Council of Ricks to ignore the question of why a Rick would stockpile so many Mortys. If “Evil Rick” had just been capturing a ton of Mortys for no discernable reason, then the Council might have investigated before re-integrating all of those Mortys, which might have exposed Evil Morty. As it happened, Evil Morty was able to blend in and, as we now know, create a massive Morty surplus that caused dissent within the Citadel, allowing him to seize power. I think he originally was planning on doing it through rebellion and sedition, but Rick’s actions in the beginning of Season 3 gave him an easier path through election.

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Instead of drawing attention, he just becomes a face in a crowd.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Yet another great episode in a row. This part of the season is really a hell of a high point.

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 – 9: Something Rick-ed This Way Comes

NEXT – 11: Ricksy Business

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 – S1 E9 “Something Ricked This Way Comes”

Starring a prick who has two thumbs, here’s “Something Ricked This Way Comes.”

S1E9-1TwoThumbs
Wait, those aren’t thumbs…

SUMMARY

Summer (Spencer Grammer) asks Rick (Justin Roiland) for a ride to work at her new job at the store “Needful Things.” It turns out Summer’s boss, Mr. Needful (Alfred Molina), is the Devil and the store “sells” cursed objects to people for no money. Needful tries to give Rick a microscope that would make him mentally handicapped, but Rick turns the tables and develops a device that can determine the curse on any object. Deciding to f*ck with the Devil, Rick starts a store called “Curse Purge Plus,” where he removes parts of the curses on the items to make them incredibly valuable. The Devil, realizing Rick is better at evil than he is, tries to kill himself, but Summer saves him and gets him to re-make the store into an internet site, before he double crosses her. To get revenge, she and Rick work out, become muscled giants, then beat the hell out of the Devil, as well as some neo-nazi and a member of the Westboro Baptist church.

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Summer, parting a being of pure evil and a being of pure dontgiveaf*ck.

In the B-Plot, Morty (Roiland) asks Jerry (Chris Parnell) to help him with his science fair project, a model of the solar system. Jerry becomes irate when Morty mentions that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. He refuses to accept this, something that leads a group of Plutonians to use him as a source of propaganda to fight against accusations that Pluto has been shrinking. Despite the fact that he has absolutely no scientific credibility and is being bankrolled by the people that would most benefit from what he’s saying, Jerry becomes a star scientist and is beloved by the population. A real scientist, Scroopy Noopers (Nolan North), tells Morty that the Plutonian corporations have actually mined the planet so much it shrank, which Morty tries to tell Jerry. Jerry refuses to listen, but eventually realizes he’s an idiot and tries to tell the truth to Pluto before reconciling with Morty.

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King Flippy Nips (Rich Fulcher) is not the most utilitarian leader.

END SUMMARY

This makes the second episode where Rick and Morty are in separate plots, after “Raising Gazorpazorp,” but the plots in this one are a huge improvement over that episode.

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Even ButterBot is a massive step-up.

Rick and Summer’s plot is a subversion of the traditional “Deal with the Devil” trope right from the beginning, because Rick immediately recognizes who Needful really is. Usually, finding out that the mystery salesman is the Devil is a major plot point, but to Rick it’s just an observation to make in passing. He even lists all the shows (including Friday the 13th: The Series) that the Devil is ripping off (though Rick avoids pointing out that Needful Things is itself a Steven King book and movie about this exact plot). After the Devil tries to outsmart Rick, which fails miserably, Rick decides to mess with the Devil by using science to render him powerless. The Devil even says of Rick:

People like Rick are making me obsolete. I mean seriously, I may be the Devil but your grandpa is the Devil! I just want to go back to hell where everybody thinks I’m smart and funny.

That’s the beauty of Rick Sanchez. Since he believes that everything is meaningless, even good and evil can be rendered pointless. In this episode, the Devil’s items’ punishments, while cruel, teach people lessons about their own personal faults. Rick doesn’t give a crap about human morality or ethics, believing that science is more powerful. Mr. Goldenfold (Brandon Johnson), the first victim we see, even has the traditional breakdown from the end of a normal story, only for Rick to give him an injection which removes any consequence and causes Goldenfold to shout “I haven’t learned a thing!” Even at the end of the episode, after Summer has been betrayed by the Devil, she and Rick ponder whether or not there’s something they could learn from this experience, but then instead decide to beat the Devil up.

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Devil plays a good fiddle, but he should’ve learned MMA.

Meanwhile, Jerry and Morty basically go through a thinly-veiled metaphor for how companies can manipulate science reporting. Jerry is reported by the media to be a scientist and is even awarded the Plutobel Prize, despite the fact that all he does is say that all of the other scientists are wrong. He never provides a case for why they’re wrong, nor does he actually listen to the explanations for why Pluto isn’t a planet. He just stubbornly states his opinion over and over again, but because the opinion is profitable to the wealthy, they promote it as a fact. Most people seem to say this episode is a metaphor for Climate Change, but it could just as easily be one for smoking causing cancer or heliocentricity, if you replace “company” with “church.” The Plutonians could easily be a metaphor for any kind of group that’s easily manipulated by the media.

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Jerry Smith: Master of All Science. That’s what big companies want.

So, the episode’s about how science can be abused. Rick abuses it to eliminate people having to learn from their mistakes while Jerry and the Plutonian elite abuse it to promote an agenda that they can benefit from. These might seem to be connected, but the message from each one is actually pretty different. As Rick says in another episode, it’s just a “cosmetic connection our mind mistakes for thematic.”

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

I think Rick particularly has it out for the Devil, because the existence of a Devil suggests, although it does not necessarily require, the existence of a God. In other words, this would make Rick wrong about his grand pronouncement that “there is no God” and call into question his belief that everything is meaningless. After all, if there is a higher power that created the multiverse, then it’s probable that life actually inherently does have meaning.

While Rick usually dispatches people who try to one-up him fairly quickly, he goes to extraordinary lengths to make the Devil suffer, lengths that even he later realizes he didn’t really want to reach. So, Rick got insecure about maybe being completely wrong about one of his bigger postulates, and overreacted, causing the Devil to almost kill himself.

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Keep hanging in there, Beelzebub.

See, it’s sentences like that that remind me how much I love this show.

LEAVING THE CORNER

This is a great episode, even by Rick and Morty standards. It’s right up at the top of my list of best episodes, particularly because listening to Alfred Molina say “I’m the Devil, beeyotch!” is basically crack for my ears.

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 – 8: Rixty Minutes

NEXT – 10: Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind

Rick and Mondays – S1 E8 “Rixty Minutes”

Okay, so, I already did this one once, because I listed this as one of the greatest episodes in the history of television. As such, I’m going to re-use a lot of that material, because I’m lazy and a little drunk.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) mocks the Smith family for being invested in an episode of The Bachelor, leading Jerry (Chris Parnell) to challenge Rick to show them something better. In response, Rick upgrades the family’s TV to get channels from every dimension, meaning that they can see things such as “Showtime in a world where corn evolved sentience instead of humans.”

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And Game of Thrones where Tyrion is the tall one.

While scrolling through channels, they catch sight of a universe where Jerry is famous, which Jerry wants to keep watching. Rick, annoyed by this, throws Jerry, Beth (Sarah Chalke), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) a pair of goggles that lets them see other universe versions of themselves, including a universe where Jerry bangs Kristen Stewart and another where Beth is a rich, successful surgeon. Unfortunately, the two realize that these are the universes where Beth and Jerry aborted Summer when Beth got pregnant at seventeen, which they say out loud in Summer’s presence.

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C-500A Jerry does coke with Johnny Depp

Meanwhile, Rick and Morty (Roiland), are watching interdimensional television. This can’t really be summarized, because almost every clip was improvised by Justin Roiland, apparently while stoned. Even when other actors were asked to do the voices, they were told to copy everything about the way that Roiland had spoken. I love the majority of them, but I think my favorite is either “Quick Mysteries,” which is like Unsolved Mysteries except that the killer immediately confesses, or Tophat Jones and his advertisement for Strawberry Smiggles, where he’s murdered by the children who want the cereal.

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Though I’d see the hell out of this film.

Summer, shocked at the revelation that her existence has made her parents’ lives worse, decides to run away. Morty follows her upstairs and, after she yells that he doesn’t understand, shows her the grave of his other-dimensional double from “Rick Potion #9.” She asks if he’s her brother, and he says “I’m better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says, ‘Don’t run.’” He then delivers 13 of the greatest words in the history of anything:

Nobody exists on purpose.
Nobody belongs anywhere.
Everybody’s gonna die.
Come watch TV?

Summer and Morty head downstairs and watch TV, only to find that the other versions of Jerry and Beth reunite, believing that their biggest mistake, even in their seemingly perfect lives, was breaking up. The regular Jerry and Beth, realizing that they have something even their seemingly perfect selves don’t, kiss passionately.

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Then they visit Butt-Hamster world!

END SUMMARY

First, most of the episode is improvised. I consider this to be a brilliant way to do these vignettes, because it seems like ad-libbing produces the absurd kind of things that one might encounter by looking through infinite realities and also makes the inter-dimensional content feel very distinct from the show itself. Some people might not enjoy it, and maybe not all of the sketches are gold, but it at least sets it apart.

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This apparently doesn’t appeal to everybody. I think it’s hilarious.

But, let’s not beat around the bush, this episode is all about the B-Plot. Even by Rick and Morty standards, there are some devastating moments when it’s revealed that not only was Summer an unplanned Prom-night baby, but that her very existence apparently is what kept her parents from living the amazing lives they wanted. Yeah, not the happiest moment in television history, and her response seems to be exactly what a teenager would do when confronted with that information. After all, how the hell could anyone process that rationally?

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“You’re the little brother. You’re not the cause of your parents’ misery. You’re just a symptom of it.” Dang.

Somehow, though, Morty manages to say the exact right thing to her, because it’s almost the exact right thing for anyone to hear.

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Nobody exists on purpose.
Nobody belongs anywhere.
Everybody’s gonna die.
Come watch TV?

Look, I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve read a lot of philosophy. I’ve read the core texts of most religions and I subscribe to one or two. I’ve even been sick on a hospital bed waiting to die. But, despite all of that, I believe that I have never seen anything summarize the human condition as well as Morty does in this moment.

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You lose again, Immanuel Kant!

Morty straight up tells Summer, and by extension everyone, that he doesn’t care about the futility of existence. He doesn’t care that everything is meaningless. He doesn’t care that there are infinite realities and no grand purpose out there. He’s choosing to be happy anyway by just enjoying what he has. I’ll argue that this is one of the rare moments where Morty proves he’s actually better than Rick. Rick saw infinity and all it told him was that nothing matters, making him a miserable bastard who tells everyone not to think about it. Morty saw that nothing matters, thought about it, and chose to find something meaningful anyway.

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Even if it’s just watching Ball Fondlers

In Season 3, Rick essentially insists that his unhappiness is because his intelligence makes the universe his and the universe doesn’t like it. It fights his desire to control or fully comprehend it. The fact that he has an infinite number of other universes at his disposal only intensifies this. Rick has seen things that no other human has seen and done things no other human have done, or even can do, but he isn’t able to grasp the idea of just being happy by embracing futility and moving on anyway. In the episode “Pickle Rick,” Dr. Wong (Susan Sarandon), even tells him he can’t do it because it requires accepting that he’s responsible for his own happiness. He constantly says that the key is NOT to think about it, but in this episode, Morty seems to say that’s wrong. You don’t have to try not to think about it, because trying to avoid thinking about it is still refusing acceptance.

A lot of great episodes of television involve dealing with the idea of facing your mortality or the void at the end of existence. Some involve turning to God, some involve denying mortality, some involve just accepting that you’re going to die, but this one nails it hardest. Whatever is true doesn’t matter. You get to exist. That alone is something to enjoy. Be happy anyway.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Why did Rick give Jerry the goggles? Well, on the surface, it’s to get Jerry to leave him alone so he can watch TV. But, it’s the way the goggles work in this episode that makes me think there’s more to it. We first saw the goggles in “Rick Potion #9” when Rick is looking for other dimensions to escape their Cronenberged world. He says they latch onto the wearer’s DNA and let the user look through alternate dimensions. Since there are an infinite number of universes, or at least a huge number of very similar universes near to their universe, it’s strange that Jerry is immediately viewing the same universe that was on television (C-500A). We know that the goggles don’t immediately show the viewer the dimension they want, because Summer gets no response due to her not existing in C-500A. Additionally, it’s strange that one of the first channels Rick turned to, in the whole of all dimensional cable, is Jerry on Letterman.

S1E8-ALetterman.png

So, why would the goggles already be attuned to a universe that Rick had just shown them? Because Rick planned this whole thing as a way to try and break Jerry and Beth up. Rick, knowing how selfish Beth and Jerry are, knew that showing them a universe where they both achieved their dreams would make it obvious that their marriage is what’s keeping them in perpetual misery. After all, there are infinite universes, so it would make sense that there’s a universe where Jerry and Beth lead happy lives and are also married and had Summer, but that’s not the universe Rick shows them.

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And successful Beth is still an alcoholic, just now one with birds.

Why does Rick’s plan end up failing, then? For the same reason Rick’s plan failed in “Rick Potion #9”: Rick doesn’t understand love. He tries to break it down into just “cause and effect” or specific chemical motivations of lust and desire to breed, but that cause him to fail almost every time he tries to manipulate it. Rick knew that Beth and Jerry would see that they were both objectively better off without each other, but he didn’t predict that Beth and Jerry in C-500A would realize that they still wanted to be with each other because that’s derived from their love for each other. Admittedly, Beth and Jerry are terrible together and seem to actually make each other worse people but, somehow, they really do have a connection that they both need in order to even approach being happy. Because love is insane like that.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Obviously, I think this episode is about as good as Rick and Morty gets. Hell, I think this is about as good as television gets. It’s funny, it’s original, it’s insightful, it’s emotional and it’s got Ants-in-my-eyes Johnson. This is 24 minutes of genius sundae that’s got a cherry made up of four of the most brutal sentences ever put down on paper. And yet, this isn’t my favorite episode to re-watch. Still, I think you know what I have to give it.

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 – 7: Raising Gazorpazorp

NEXT – 9: Something Ricked This Way Comes

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).

S1E7-2MortyJr
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.”

S1E7-7Fire
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.

Rick and Mondays – S1 E6 “Rick Potion #9”

Alright, so, if the last episode really started to nail the Rick and Morty mix of dark humor and subversion, this was the first episode that started to explain why everything in Rick and Morty is not only supposedly meaningless to Rick, but justifiably so.

SUMMARY

It’s flu season at Harry Herpson High School and that means it’s time for the annual Flu Season Dance (which Principal Vagina (Phil Hendrie) reminds everyone is about awareness and not actually dancing when you have the flu). Morty (Justin Roiland) tries to ask his crush Jessica (Kari Wahlgren), but is stopped by her on-again-off-again boyfriend Brad (Echo Kellum) who tells Morty to stay in his league. Back at home, Jerry (Chris Parnell) tries to comfort his son by saying that he met Beth (Sarah Chalke) in high school despite her being out of his league, but Rick (Roiland) points out that Jerry’s marriage is in bad shape so he shouldn’t be giving advice. In contrast, Rick says that love is a lie brought on by brain chemistry and that Morty should focus on science to “break the cycle.”

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He throws the football really well, guys, that’s why he dates Jessica.

Morty thinks about what Rick said and promptly isolates the exact wrong part of it, asking Rick to make a chemical to cause Jessica to fall in love with him. Rick refuses, asking Morty for a screwdriver, but Morty protests that Rick never does anything for him, so Rick gives him a formula made from vole-extracted oxytocin that will supposedly make her fall for him. However, right after Morty leaves, Rick adds the caveat that it might cause problems if she has the flu.

S1E6-2Potion.png
Twist: It’s just Slice. Remember Slice? It stopped existing in 2010, I think.

Jerry asks Beth if she loves him, but she responds that love is work and she puts up with him, therefore she’s working and therefore she loves him. She then leaves for an emergency horse surgery with her co-worker Davin (Hendrie), which angers Jerry.

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“I obviously sort of love you, don’t I? So stop asking and maybe I’ll love you more.”

At the Flu Season Dance, MC Haps (Dan Harmon) is doing his Flu Hatin’ Rap and everything seems to be going well. Morty spills some of the potion on Jessica, which quickly works, causing her to love Morty. She then sneezes, infecting Brad, who, in turn, infects the rest of the dance by sneezing into the vent and punch bowl. Back at the Smith House, Jerry is still worried about Beth being with Davin, provoked by Rick, so he heads to the Horse Hospital. Rick asks why Summer (Spencer Grammer) isn’t at the dance and, when she says it’s to avoid flu season, Rick realizes his error.

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This is not the anti-roofie message I expected, but okay.

At the dance, Jessica is getting sexually aggressive towards Morty, shortly followed by everyone else fighting to mate with Morty. Rick shows up to rescue Morty and tells him that the serum interacted with the flu virus and became airborne. Rick, however, is immune, because the serum doesn’t affect close relatives. He tries to fix it by spraying an antidote composed of praying mantis DNA on the crowd, however, that doesn’t work, instead mutating all the people into mantis/human hybrids, making them monsters. Monsters who are still horny for Morty, apparently.

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Hello, Nightmares. Thanks for not being part clown or spider.

Jerry gets stuck in a traffic jam caused by the rapidly-spreading mutations. He’s attacked by the mantis-people but grabs a shotgun and starts removing heads. Back at the Smith House, Summer finds out what’s happened by global news broadcasts showing that everyone on Earth is infected before she’s attacked by mutants and forced to flee. In the desert, Rick creates a third serum using koala, rattlesnake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and dinosaur, which he claims will add up to normal humanity. Morty immediately points out the stupidity of that statement, but Rick ignores him.

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It’s like an FPS, only with consequences… so nothing like an FPS.

At the Horse Hospital, Davin and Beth exit the clean room and Davin starts to hit on Beth before he gets infected, mutates, and attacks her. Jerry shows up with a crowbar and beats Davin to death. This appears to rekindle the spark in the marriage. Rick then sprays all of Earth with his third formula which, at first, appears to turn everyone back to normal. Then, as Rick gloats, the serum causes everyone to mutate into disgusting blob creatures they call “Cronenbergs” after David Cronenberg’s body horror films (I assume mostly The Fly).   Jerry and Beth modify a car with sharp objects and fight their way through the crowds of Cronenbergs, showing that they are surprisingly good at killing monsters and openly flirting. They find Summer and Beth finally condemns all of Rick’s actions, including leaving her mother.

S1E6-7Cronenbergs
Okay, so where did the tentacles come from?

Rick and Morty watch the world falling into chaos and madness, arguing over who is at fault. Rick agrees to fix it with his emergency solution. It then shows Rick and Morty returning home with the newspapers reading “Genetic Epidemic Averted.” Rick then asks Morty for the screwdriver from the beginning of the episode and, with three turns of the screw, blows up the garage, killing them both. The “real” Rick and Morty then walk out of a portal. Morty panics at the disco-very (f*ck you, I’m leaving that joke in), but Rick tells him that there are infinite universes and that in a few dozen of them Rick solved the genetic crisis and in a few of those universes, Rick and Morty died shortly after. So, they’re going to take their place. Rick and Morty then bury their counterparts (to the tune of “Look On Down From the Bridge” by Mazzy Star) and a clearly traumatized Morty watches the new universe play out just like his old one.

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What a Thousand-Yard Stare.

After the credits, a Cronenberg Rick and Morty come to the old universe, now happily surrounded by fellow Cronenbergs, while Summer, Beth, and Jerry seem to be living a simple but happy life.

S1E6-9CronenbergMorty.png

END SUMMARY

So, I think we have to start at the ending and acknowledge that Morty is fundamentally changed by this episode. This even sets up the absolutely devastating speech he will give in two episodes. Despite Rick telling him explicitly “don’t think about it,” that seems to be all Morty can do, and can you blame him? Sure, he’s been to other universes before, but he clearly has never had to deal with the reality that there are also other versions of himself. That’s a big discovery to stack on top of destroying the world, probably never seeing his original family again, seeing his own dead body, and being informed that, had Rick not destroyed the world, he would also be dead right now. So, yeah, Morty had a pretty bad day and it does change his character a bit.

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Sometimes it only takes one bad day.

This episode also really introduces the show’s particularly brilliant version of nihilism: Infinite Nihilism. Because there are an infinite number of universes, everything happens. Every possibility happens, constantly branching off of the current universe with every action. And there are an infinite number of each of those branches, because each fraction of infinity is also infinity. So, there are an infinite number of universes where Rick saves the world, an infinite number where he fails, an infinite number where he fails and dies, an infinite number where he succeeds and lives, an infinite number where he says screw it an eats tacos, etc. So, if everything happens, then does anything matter? You’re not really “doing” anything. You’re just existing in the branch of the multiverse where the thing you do happens, but it’s also not happening at the same time in another universe. If you’re Rick and can just jump sideways onto the next one, then your choice in the previous universe was meaningless. However, at the same time, another Rick is jumping in exactly the opposite way between two other universes, because INFINITE. Everything is meaningless.

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Though, some things are MORE meaningless than others.

What’s interesting is that being able to go between all these universes may also be the thing that does make the difference between Rick being a supergenius and Rick being the near god-level being that we see in the series. In fiction, when people actually gain the ability to move between universes at will, it usually grants them near omniscience, because you can find a universe where death is curable by pill or a universe where P=NP has been solved already. Look at Byakuran from Katekyō Hitman Reborn! or Angstrom Levy from Invincible, these characters point out that, if there’s an infinite number of universes, or even just a very large number (say, Graham’s Number if you replace all of the threes with Graham’s Number), then if you have a problem you can always find one where an answer already exists. Rick travels between dimensions that all have different levels of technology and learning in every field, allowing him to constantly push the boundaries of human knowledge just by combining all the common knowledge of those worlds.

So, why does Rick say that there are only a few dozen universes where Rick and Morty save the world and only a few more where they die after? Well, because the multiverse is infinite, Rick’s time isn’t. It’s probably difficult to search through a constantly-increasing multiverse, even within the “Central Finite Curve” that Ricks usually travel within (a clearly finite subset of the infinite multiverse which we later find out has multiple “iterations”). So, Rick found a couple dozen “nearby” universes that fit the bill using whatever method he uses. Why does he say that he and Morty can only do the swap 3 or 4 more times? Well, either his methods limit him, the Council of Ricks limits him, or, more likely, Roiland and Harmon just wanted to limit it so they wouldn’t be tempted to re-use the idea of dimension-hopping.

S1E6-CSimpsons
Unlike other shows where stuff just resets.

They also probably limited it because, like I said before, Rick could always just solve his problems by looking at the solutions that other Ricks were forced to find for their problems, since, in an infinite multiverse, there’s always some other Rick who has solved it ten minutes before.

To be fair, I also don’t think that there are actually an infinite number of alternate realities, even if the Many Worlds Interpretation is correct, because there was a starting point to the universe (at least, most evidence suggests so), so the only way it could be infinite is if an infinite number of realities spawn from all quantum interactions (or at least from one particular interaction). I actually point to Isaac Newton for my reasoning why that doesn’t happen. When Newton created Calculus (as did Leibniz, but Newton’s the one who actually mentioned the specific thing I’m going to address), at one point during a proof he stated that an infinitesimal multiplied by an infinitesimal was equivalent to 0 and thus could be ignored for the purpose of the proof. Well, that’s not something that really is justified by any mathematical study of infinite, but Newton used it and no one complained, because, by eliminating that squared infinitesimal, CALCULUS WORKED. Accurate derivations and integrations could now be made. But, if there really was such a thing as infinity within the universe, then it should have always been off.

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It doesn’t hit the line in math, but, in reality, it does.

A second proof would actually be Zeno’s Paradox. I’m sure you’ve all heard it by this point: If you shoot an arrow at a target, the arrow has to travel half the distance to the target. Then, it has to travel half again. Then half again, then half again, then on and on and it should never get there, because there are an infinite number of halves. However, if you shoot an arrow in real life, it’s going to get there.

S1E6-EZeno.jpg

Both of these suggest that there is somewhere out there a minimum distance or a minimum unit of time for something to take place in (and no, not the Planck Length, that’s not actually what Planck was saying), which means that there can never be an infinite number of anything. Just a really, really, really, really big number. Like, sooooo big that you might think it’s infinite, but it isn’t. And that’s okay.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Yeah, I did technically give a “theory” about why Rick said there were only a few dozen versions of this universe, but that’s not the one I’m gonna count in this review, especially since I’ve got a much bigger related theory coming later.

For this review, I want to address why Rick failed. Think about it, Rick really screws up in this episode, something that even he points out doesn’t happen often. Rick isn’t perfect, of course, but this is a notably stupid screw-up to the point that even Morty points out Rick’s logic is terrible. In most shows I’d chalk it up to bad writing, but this is Dan Harmon’s show hitting its stride, so I assume almost nothing is allowed to be just for plot necessity. What is it about this episode that caused Rick F*cking Sanchez to fail 3 separate times?

Well, what is Rick dealing with in this episode? Normal humans. The one thing that Rick absolutely never seems to be able to grasp is normal emotional interactions with other people. The closest thing we ever see to Rick’s relationships is with Unity in Season 2 and that’s a hive-mind who he seems to only be using for extremely weird sex (not kink-shaming, just saying that even the giraffe looked violated). So, when Morty asks Rick for a love potion, Rick instead gives him a lust potion. When he tries to figure out how to counteract that, Rick assumes that hate is the opposite of love and just adds mantis DNA. What’s particularly interesting is that Rick classifies these not in terms of emotions but in terms of how species conduct their mating practices: Voles are for life, Mantises eat their mates (for the record: only when the female believes resources will be scarce during pregnancy). So, rather than trying to address emotional complexities, Rick just treats people like on/off switches. Then, when he does actually try to contemplate more sophisticated models of humans, it’s revealed that Rick knows so little about people that he basically just combines an almost random assortment of animals (and plant) together.

People’s emotions are Rick’s kryptonite. Hell, he almost admits it to himself in “The Wedding Squanchers” when he says that he couldn’t make marriage work, despite being able to do things that seem impossible. But this episode managed to present that fact without having to really comment on it, which is extremely impressive, considering the other absurd amount of character and series changes they put into this episode. Really, the fact that this revelation is secondary… I guess tertiary?… within the episode should be lauded. In most shows, this would be the focus of an entire episode, here, it’s just a thing that defines Rick as he plays out other plot lines, which, for the record, IS A GOOD THING.

THIS HAS BEEN JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Overall, this is a weird episode for me in that I didn’t like at all the first time I watched it, because the ending felt like a cop-out. In most shows, the concept of just jumping to another world at the end would literally be a huge deus ex machina that would be summarily ignored in the rest of the series. Now, having seen the rest of the series, this show averts that trope so hard it almost seems like they wrote the rest of the series as a f*ck you to all the shows that would just allow something so massive to go without comment.

I also have to give credit to the episode for showing us a Jerry and Beth relationship that actually starts to work, because Jerry is forced to actually be the Alpha Male he always wants Beth to think he is. I’m not saying that you have to be an Alpha Male or even that it’s a good thing, but it’s what Beth was looking for and what Jerry wanted to be. Other relationships might not work well with that dynamic, but the reason why it works here is that they are both very broken people (wait ’til “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez”).

So, ultimately, I enjoyed this episode more on the re-watch, because, in context, this is a massive game-changer, not a typical sitcom reset.

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 – 5: Meeseeks and Destroy

NEXT – 7: Raising Gazorpazorp

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 – S1 E5 “Meeseeks and Destroy”

Alright, well, now we’ve hit the real meat of the show. At least one Rick and Morty episode ranker said that this was their favorite episode and I really can’t blame them. This episode has one of the most balanced A and B plots not just within the show but within all of television and it is also the episode that this show first hinted at how dark it was willing to get.

SUMMARY

The cold-open features Rick and Morty running through a space station chased by copies of Jerry, Beth, and Summer. Morty is hesitant to get rid of them, but Rick tells him to do it anyway because they’re not really his family, they’re alt-universe clones possessed by demonic aliens from another universe’s future, because they wanted to cram EVERY possible cliché into one line. Mission accomplished, guys, and I love it. Morty pushes the button, destroying his family members, capturing the alien spirits, and traumatizing him thoroughly. Rick, however, implies it was therapeutic.

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Ghostbusters of the Lost Ark

Morty decides to quit adventuring, because adventures are supposed to be simple and fun. Rick mockingly says that Morty has it easy as the sidekick, and that if Morty was in charge, he’d know how hard leading an adventure is. Morty bets Rick that he can lead a great adventure and, if he does, he gets to pick every tenth Rick and Morty adventure. The pair are about to depart when Summer, Beth, and Jerry all come in with requests for Rick. Rick gives them a Meeseeks Box. When you press the button on the box, a blue man named “Mr. Meeseeks” (Justin Roiland) appears and fulfills the request given by the pusher before promptly disappearing out of existence. Rick and Morty leave the Smiths with the box, with Rick delivering the caveat of “keep your requests simple.”

S1E5-2MeeseeksAppears

Alright, I’m gonna try to lump the A and B plots in their own paragraphs, because the episode weaves them pretty tightly together and it would be confusing.

All three of the Smiths excitedly make requests on the Meeseeks Box, with Beth asking to be a more complete woman, Summer asking to be popular at school, and Jerry asking for two strokes off of his golf game. Three Meeseeks eagerly agree to help them. Summer’s makes a speech at her school that makes her popular, while Beth’s takes her for a drink and reminds her that she still has to be herself independently of her family, which she takes as a sign that she should leave Jerry. Both of the Meeseeks promptly disappear.

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It’s a bad sign that she thinks any emotional support comes from physical desire.

Rick and Morty appear in what appears to be an 18th-century-esque village with fantasy elements. Morty asks for a quest from a local and is told that a rich giant lives in the clouds. They go up to the castle and hide when they hear the giant (Steve Agee) approaching to eat them, only for the giant to slip and kill himself by cracking his head open on a table. Before they can really process this, the giant’s wife (Cree Summer, despite having like 2 lines) finds them and calls the giant police claiming they attacked him. Rick and Morty are then interrogated by giant police (voiced by Tom f*cking Kenny and Rob f*cking Paulsen!) who are dead-set on charging them with murder.

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And yet, nobody charged the original giant with eating small people. Racist system.

At the golf course, Jerry is proving to be a real challenge for his Meeseeks, due to his inability to take any form of constructive criticism without flipping out. Is it really any surprise he got fired from his advertising job after his first pitch? In desperation, the Meeseeks itself pushes the Meeseeks Box button, summoning another Meeseeks who doesn’t actually have any more ideas. Even after they leave the golf course, the Meeseeks continue to try and get Jerry to work on his game. Jerry is shocked when Beth and Summer say that their Meeseeks disappeared quickly, so shocked he misses that his wife has a new hairdo. Or maybe that’s less shock, more that he’s Jerry. The Meeseeks try to get him back on task because they aren’t meant to live this long.

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The existential crisis, from the other side of existence.

Back in fantasy world, Rick and Morty are put on trial (apparently Giant Justice is swift), before being saved by a giant lawyer from a tiny-persons advocacy group (Ryan Ridley). Apparently, they were never… whatever the giant equivalent of Mirandized is and are therefore “free-fi to fo-home.” And yes, that joke fails within the episode itself, only for the lawyer to complain that it was a good joke that nobody got. It was at this point that I felt personally attacked, having attempted to coin the phrase “oh mens rea-lly?” during a hearing. The pair leave the courthouse, only to realize that they are thousands of feet from the ground, due to the size of the stairs. Nonetheless, Morty insists they get climbing.

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That’s the giant’s wife watching a loophole free what she thinks are her husband’s killers.

In the Smith’s living room, there are now dozens of Meeseeks trying to help Jerry, who continues to suck. Meanwhile, Beth has really started to give up on Jerry, who tries to salvage his marriage with a nice dinner. The Meeseeks beg him to help them stop existing, but Jerry refuses to care. Each of the Meeseeks start blaming the other for summoning them. It quickly becomes apparent that they have started to lose their sanity, now forming cultish groups around whether choking up or working on the follow-through will help Jerry. They eventually start to attack each other violently. After fighting for a while, they realize that if they kill Jerry, then they’ll have taken all the strokes off of his game, something that definitely falls under “technically correct.”

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I assume they’re unable to commit suicide.

On the way down the stairs, Rick and Morty find a tavern filled with a ton of weird creatures. Rick continues to try and make the adventure miserable for Morty by not helping at all and just generally being a bastard, until Morty finally tells him that he’s just being petty and that part of being a sidekick is rolling with the punches. Morty heads to the bathroom as Rick joins a poker game at the bar. In one of the most disturbing scenes in the show to date, Morty is confronted by Mr. Jelly Bean (Kenny) who first tries to comfort him then tries to rape Morty. Morty ends up beating the crap out of him, slamming the toilet seat onto his head, but is, understandably, now much more traumatized that he was at the beginning of the episode. Morty comes out and begs Rick to quit, but Rick sees Mr. Jelly Bean, realizes what happened, and decides to help Morty with the quest.

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This is a comedy cartoon in a fairy-tale world. We are a sick species.

At the restaurant, Beth is trying to talk to Jerry about her newfound resolve towards independence, but they’re interrupted by the massive mob of murderous Mister Meeseeks. Jerry tells them that he’ll cooperate, but they’re intent on offing him. Jerry and Beth hide in the freezer at the restaurant. The Meeseeks take a woman (voiced by Kari Wahlgren) hostage to force Jerry out, but Beth quickly forces him to fix his golf swing. Jerry hits a garlic clove into a pot, which satisfies most of the Meeseeks, although a “stickler Meeseeks” forces him to prove his putting has improved. Jerry makes a putt, satisfying the last Meeseeks and allowing them all to disappear. Jerry tries to coolly ask for their food to go, but the manager informs them they’ll have to talk to the cops.

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To be fair, this is how my golf lessons usually ended.

Rick and Morty make their way to the village and give them all the gold Rick won playing poker, leading the villagers to want to introduce their king, Mr. Jelly Bean. Rick and Morty quickly portal out, only for Rick to stick his hand back through and shoot Jelly Bean fatally.

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This blog does not condone murder, but we are less sad when it’s a child rapist.

Jerry and Beth reconcile over Beth realizing that all of the other men she dated were like the Meeseeks: Willing to do anything to complete their task and disappear. Jerry, though she implies he would say anything to get laid, didn’t disappear. Jerry points out that’s because he got her pregnant, which Beth sadly acknowledges. Rick and Morty return to find the house wrecked. Rick offers them a Fleeseeks Box to help clean it up, which is just a mop and floor wax. He then first says the phrase “Wubba-lubba-dub-dub” and tells the audience he’ll see them next week.

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Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub enters the zeitgeist.

Post-credits, two people from the village find a box of pictures of what I assume were underage children in Jelly Bean’s closet. One wants to tell the village, but the other says to destroy it, because people will get more from the legend than the reality.

END SUMMARY

In terms of storytelling, the key to this episode was the quick cuts between the A and B plots. By constantly moving between them, the show was able to get away with long time- and logic-skips that would otherwise have been problematic. Basically, it cut away all the bullshit, optimizing the time spent on furthering the plots. This isn’t always something that can be pulled off, but this episode nailed it.

The common theme behind both of the plots is basically “be careful what you wish for,” but the show goes on to deconstruct that in more horrible ways than seemed possible up front. In fact, the entire episode is basically just dedicated to continually averting how these stories usually go.

Let’s cover Rick and Morty’s: They go to a fantasy world where they’re going to face a giant, but that immediately turns into a legal drama when the giant kills himself. The legal drama quickly gets crushed by the giant lawyer and a loophole, only for the problem to now be getting out of the courthouse. It seems like Morty is finally making progress with Rick on the adventure, only for Morty to be sexually assaulted by a creepy guy in a men’s room. And all of this is a rejection of Morty’s original stated wish of just having a “simple” adventure.

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Though he DOES win the bet.

Mr. Meeseeks is an obvious “be careful what you wish for” joke, since Jerry, who actually has what seems like the easiest request, makes it impossible for the Meeseeks to get the job done due to his incompetence. However, more than that, the Meeseeks are actually a “be careful what you wish for” on the audience.

Think about it: “Meeseeks are not born into this world fumbling for meaning.” All of philosophy, all of religion, most, if not all, of art and literature, probably all of civilization itself, they all exist because humans ARE born in to the world fumbling for meaning. We have no idea what our purpose is or even if there is a purpose at all. The greatest pain of the examined life is knowing that we will never know if we really found a purpose. But, if you wish for the simpler existence of the Meeseeks, this episode gives you the caveat that you might know your purpose but NEVER BE ABLE TO FULFILL IT. And that is just a tortured existence.

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This episode also benefits from a lot of great jokes and surreal lines, like the lawyer trying to justify his deconstructive joke. One of my favorite random exchanges is when Rick asks how much 25 shmeckels is. The waitress tells them that her big fake boobies cost 25 shmeckels, at which point Mr. Booby Buyer offers to buy her boobs for 25 shmeckels. The waitress says it’s a tempting offer, which is one of the most bizarre moments for me, since that would just put her back to 0, not make her a profit. I guess since she’s been using the boobs, their value has decreased and she could get new ones? Either way, I just love how fast that exchange happens and how weird and still charming it is.

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Waitresses are used to this, clearly.

Beth and Jerry’s marriage problems really start to become a recurring feature after this episode, with even the resolution pointing out that all Jerry really did for Beth was not leave when she was pregnant. That’s the positive that Beth points out about Jerry and, while it might seem like a nice moment, it really cements exactly how thin their relationship is.

The stinger scene is an interesting touch, because it reminds me of the line from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The thing is, though, is that creating these divine images of our heroes lets the reality that they were human be used against us later. It’s something I’d have to dedicate more time to than just this review but suffice it to say that I am against the mythologizing of history. I know some amount of it is inevitable, but let history be history and let story be story. We can get our inspirational figures from fiction, representing our ideals, while history can represent the reality that people are flawed.

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This was the episode where the show really and truly became Rick and Morty. It’s dark, it’s full of great subversions, it has a ton of crazy elements, and it finally gives us Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub. This isn’t my favorite episode, nor do I think it’s the best episode period, but it’s a damned strong episode that represents the best aspects of the show.

JOKER’S WISHLIST

Okay, so, personal wish here: I want them to Cerebus Syndrome the hell out of this episode later. I want them to show up in 3 more season in this same place only to find that by assassinating the king and giving money to the poor, Rick and Morty set the stage for a massive and devastating peasant revolt. I want Morty’s “simple” adventure to result in something unbelievably horrible on a geopolitical scale, just to drive home how hard this episode really was subverting traditional story direction. But, even if the creators read this, they might take it to a place darker than I ever could think of, just to tell me to be careful what I wish for.

Well, that’s it for this week. In two weeks, we get our first hint of the multi-Rick multiverse.

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.

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