Rick and Mondays – S2 E6 “The Ricks Must Be Crazy”

Rick meets the closest thing he has to a match inside of a world of his own making.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland), Morty (Roiland), and Summer (Spencer Grammer) are in a parallel dimension to see a movie. They get back in Rick’s car to get ice cream, but it doesn’t start. Rick tells Morty that it’s a problem with the “Microverse Battery.” Rick tells the car to keep Summer safe and teleports into the battery with Morty. Morty is astounded to find that Rick’s battery is run by a planet full of aliens who generate power for him as a side-effect of creating power for their own civilization. They believe Rick to be “Rick the Alien” and essentially worship him as the person who gave them modern civilization, unaware that he is siphoning off most of the planet’s power. Morty repeatedly points out the inherent immorality of this situation, but Rick refuses to actually engage in the debate.

S2E6 - 1Peace.png
He told them this means “Peace Among Worlds.”

In the microverse, President Chris (Alan “Curse this sudden but inevitable betrayal” Tudyk) informs Rick that they no longer need to generate power using Rick’s method (essentially walking on a treadmill) and instead have a new method thought up by the brilliant but angry scientist Zeep Zanflorp (Stephen “It sounds like a chilly ursine” Colbert). That method is the “Miniverse Battery,” which is substantially the same as the Rick’s Microverse Battery. Rick starts to recite all of Morty’s arguments to Zeep, who ignores them much like Rick did. Rick then realizes that there must be someone within the Miniverse who is working on their own version of a microverse, so Rick finds Kyle (Nathan Fielder), a scientist who is building a “Teenyverse Battery.” Once Rick, Morty, Zeep, and Kyle go into the Teenyverse, Zeep starts to use Morty/Rick’s arguments against Microverses, which leads Zeep to realize that his home universe is a Microverse. This enrages him and leads him to attack Rick. Kyle then realizes that he was born in a microverse within a microverse, which leads him to an existential crisis and he kills himself, trapping the rest within the Teenyverse.

S2E6 - 2Four.png
Three of these people created a universe. The other one turns into a car. 

Meanwhile, Summer is sitting in the car when a man walks up and knocks on the car. The car’s computer (Kari Wahlgren), detecting a potential threat, violently cuts him into small pieces. Another man sees it and approaches, but is only crippled after Summer begs the car not to kill him. The police approach the car, but since Summer asks the car not to kill or cripple anyone, the car resurrects one of the commanding officers’ dead children and then liquidates the child in front of his eyes, threatening to do the same for anyone who comes nearby.

S2E6 - 3Melt.png
Yes, the car traumatizes a grieving father by making him re-live the death of his son. FUN!

In the Teenyverse, months have passed. Morty left after getting fed up with Rick and Zeep’s fighting. Rick and Zeep have been constructing rudimentary mechanical exoskeletons out of wood and rock in order to do battle, but after proving to be basically equal, Morty and the Tree People who populate the Teenyverse capture them. Morty pretends to try and teach them the ways of simple natural living before threatening them into working together to get out of the Teenyverse into the Miniverse. Once out, Zeep and Rick seem to reconcile, but Rick soon realizes that Zeep plans on stranding them in the Miniverse. He tries to get Morty to turn into a car based on the nanomachines Rick secretly put in his blood, but they catch a cab instead and manage to return to the Microverse with Zeep. Inside the Microverse, Zeep and Rick race to Rick’s ship with Rick getting there first. He then proceeds to fist-fight Zeep and defeat him before leaving to the regular universe.

S2E6 - 4Smashy.png
Rick just killed a universe and the universe within that universe. FUN!

Back in the normal universe, right before Rick and Morty return, the military have surrounded Rick’s car. The car complains because Summer tells it not to kill anyone, cripple anyone, or use devastating psychological tactics. In response, the car brokers peace between the humans and the psychic spiders that populate the planet, leading the President of the planet to tell the military to leave the car alone as thanks. Rick then returns and starts the car, having reasoned that Zeep would provide power to the vehicle knowing that Rick would destroy the Microverse otherwise. However, Rick gets pissed when he finds out that all ice cream in the planet now has flies as part of the “spider-peace.” After the credits, Morty spontaneously transforms into a car.

S2E6 - 5IceCream.png
Guess who has a new worst fear? 

END SUMMARY

It’s interesting that, even more than other episodes where Rick literally meets versions of himself, this is the episode that creates the most explored Doppelgänger of Rick. Zeep isn’t quite as smart as Rick, as evidenced by a few small things throughout the episode, but he very clearly serves as Rick’s double, to the point that he not only duplicates Rick’s justifications for why the Microverse isn’t immoral, but also later duplicates Rick’s duplication of Morty’s arguments for why it is. We’ve seen Rick deal with doubles that he hates before, however, unlike the episodes dealing with the Citadel of Ricks, in this Rick doesn’t immediately recognize that Zeep is doing exactly what he is. This makes it even more humorous when we see Rick mocking Zeep for being a hypocrite, to Morty’s annoyance. This is an interesting subset of the Doppelgänger myth, with everyone being able to see that the two are identical except for the actual duplicates.

S2E6 - 6ZeepDouble.png
They’re both miserable drug addicts.

This episode was used brilliantly by Wisecrack to illustrate Dan Harmon’s dedication to the story circle. I’ve embedded it below, but here are the steps that Harmon says dictate a traditional story arc:

  1. A character is in a zone of comfort,
  2. But they want something.
  3. They enter an unfamiliar situation,
  4. Adapt to it.
  5. Get what they wanted,
  6. Pay a heavy price for it,
  7. Then return to their familiar situation,
  8. Having changed.

If you want a classic example of this, read The Hobbit. However, since television shows can’t have the main characters change every episode, he says that there is a special “Futility” arc that happens within television that basically makes the whole show take place within step 4 of the true arc. The TV arc is:

  1. The main character
  2. notices a small problem,
  3. and make a major decision.
  4. This changes things
  5. to some satisfaction, but
  6. there are consequences
  7. that must be undone
  8. and they must admit the futility of change.

This episode is pretty much exactly that, but it also contains other cycles involving a different character within their own sub-universe. It might even have continued if Kyle’s civilization had developed sufficiently to create yet another sub-universe, or if Kyle hadn’t responded to the realization of his universe’s nature by killing himself. Either way, I just love how perfectly structured this episode is under the rules of Dan Harmon’s TV futility arc.

The car telling Summer “My function is to keep Summer safe, not keep Summer being, like, totally stoked about, like, the general vibe and stuff. That’s you. That’s how you talk” is one of the funniest lines to me. The car is reminding her that it is doing its job, but only within the letter of the law, and everytime the car has to think around her, it’s making it think less of Summer. Ultimately, Summer’s restrictions on the car are what end up ruining Rick’s happy ending in the episode, so maybe it would have been better to just have the car emotionally cripple everyone? Or was it worth it for spider peace? Some things will never be certain.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, I think that the episode implies that Zeep isn’t as smart as Rick, even though Zeep says otherwise. First, Zeep has to use the Government’s resources to create a miniverse, as opposed to Rick building one in the garage. Second, Zeep’s miniverse is designed to power his civilization, whereas Rick’s just powers his battery, meaning that what is the be-all end-all of Zeep’s inventing is something so mundane to Rick that it doesn’t even power his lab, just his car. Third, his miniverse is larger than Rick’s microverse, despite producing the same amount of energy. I’m not counting the fact that he doesn’t master multiverse travel, because Zeep doesn’t live in a multiverse.

S2E6 - 7Aliens.png
Also, Zeep used way too much effort on his disguise. Engineers don’t do extra work.

If I was to hazard a guess as to why the Rick equivalent in the microverse isn’t as smart as Rick, I’d say that it’s probable that no sub-universe can be more complicated than the parent universe. I know that the science in this show is basically supermagic, but it does make sense that no engineer would bother to make a more complex, or even equally complex, version of their universe in order to just generate power.

Sorry, guys, I don’t have a great one for this episode, it’s kind of air-tight.

LEAVING THE CORNER

I can’t articulate why I like this episode so much. A lot of it is that Stephen Colbert’s portrayal of Zeep is hilarious, but I also just love watching Rick constantly ignore the obvious that he and Zeep are almost the same person.

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 – 16: Get Schwifty

NEXT – 18: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez

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

Advertisements

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.

Rick and Mondays – S2 E4 “Total Rickall”

Rick and Morty deal with an infestation of memory-altering parasites that take the form of wacky sitcom characters.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) returns home to the family to find Jerry’s (Chris Parnell) goofy older brother “Uncle Steve” (Tony Barbieri) at the table. Rick then shoots Steve, who is revealed to be an alien parasite that manipulates people’s memories. Rick warns that there are probably more of them and that they take on the role of wacky, zany characters. He’s supported by Mr. Poopybutthole (Roiland), a wacky, zany character who is now in the opening credits.

S2E4 - 1Opening
Seamlessly integrated. 

Rick locks the house down, writes down that there are only 6 people in the apartment, and puts the note on the wall, but soon a number of characters start appearing, including a Mr. Belvedere-style butler named Mr. Beauregard (Barbieri), Frankenstein’s Monster (Kevin Michael Richardson), and Summer’s (Spencer Grammer) magical ballerina lamb friend Tinkles (Tara Strong). All of the characters are introduced through “flashbacks” that resemble Family Guy cutaway gags. Rick and the Smith family soon are uncertain who is real, because, although the new characters are wacky and zany, so are the actual members of the Sanchez-Smith family.

S2E4 - 2Tinkles.png
It feels like even Frankenstein, a fellow parasite, thinks Tinkles is too far.

Eventually, Rick is threatening to shoot everyone and the parasites convince Morty (Roiland), Beth (Sarah Chalke), and Summer that Rick is a parasite… while also convincing Jerry that he’s a parasite and in a secret gay relationship with another parasite named Sleepy Gary (Matt Walsh). Morty is selected to execute Rick, but Morty realizes that the parasites cannot implant bad memories into people’s heads and shoots several of the parasites. Together, Rick, Morty, and the family go through the house, killing all of the parasites until only the family and Mr. Poopybutthole are left. Back at dinner, Beth shoots Mr. Poopybutthole who is revealed to not be a parasite. She tries to apologize at the hospital, but he declines to talk to her, saying only that he’s sorry that she doesn’t have any bad memories of him.

S2E4 - 3PoopyGunShot.png
That’s a hell of a gun, btw.

END SUMMARY

This episode is basically a hilarious parody of so many sitcom tropes at the same time that it almost matches the number of wacky characters. The idea that failing shows add off-kilter new characters to try and bring back some energy to the series is so old that The Simpsons did an episode about it featuring Homer (Dan Castellaneta) playing a new Itchy-and-Scratchy character called Poochie while also having a new “rad teen” character living in their house. That was in 1997. For the most part, this trope has been declining quite a bit in the past twenty years specifically because people started mocking it so ruthlessly. Still, this episode takes it and combines it with the “family member that has not previously been referenced” trope, but makes it into a sadistic infiltration plot by these shapeshifting, memory-altering parasites.

S2E4 - 4Poochie
And this was the best way to get rid of such zany add-ons.

It presents each of the parasites in a cutaway style much like Family Guy tends to use, which may be a shot at how modern shows always tend to play loose with continuity for the sake of making gags. Or maybe it was just funnier that way. Also, the characters get progressively more unconventional as the show goes on, following the typical trend on television writing that each character introduced tends to be incrementally crazier or more abnormal than the previous one, similar to “Flanderization.” We start off with the “goofy brother,” move to the stereotype cousin, and slowly continue until we have a Baby Wizard, a photography Raptor, and a Ghost in a Jar. The idea that the only way to find the “real” people is by finding terrible memories might be a shot at other shows for trying to keep sanitized backstories as opposed to Rick and Morty‘s gritty humor.

S2E4 - 5AllOfThem.png
… So EVERYONE is posing for the camera? Fourth wall be damned.

Mr. Poopybutthole being real is one of the best set-ups in television. It’s not the reveal itself. It’s HOW they decided to reveal it. It’s such a perfectly Rick and Morty tone shift that works so well because it’s a subversion of a subversion. The basic joke throughout the whole thing was that Mr. Poopybutthole was clearly an alien shapeshifter that had entered the show, while the twist is that he actually isn’t. This is even foreshadowed by the fact that he’s in the opening sequence, many of which are “bad memories” which the parasites can’t generate or alter. But the show then decides to take the shooting seriously, rather than as a comical error. They blow past any attempt to make a joke out of it and treat it like a REAL SHOOTING, despite the fact that, not 2 minutes beforehand, we’d been laughing at the ways that the Smith-Sanchez family was eliminating all of the wacky shapeshifters. So, even if you saw the twist coming, you almost certainly didn’t see how it would play out. It’s something many shows would never even consider, let alone pull off this well.

S2E4 - 6Dying.png
“Is this what dying feels like?” WHAT THE HELL, SHOW?

Also, can we just acknowledge that so many of the parasites are just inherently funny? Pencilvestyr? Reverse giraffe (voiced by Keith Freakin’ David)? Hamurai? Amish Cyborg? These are such great puns and sight gags. Their quips are also hilarious, including Frankenstein’s Monster’s line “I was on the wrong side of the pitchfork on this one.” The subplot where the Sleepy Gary parasite not only makes himself Beth’s husband and the parents of Morty and Summer but also makes himself Jerry’s secret lover is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Well, I was going to do a theory about what Mr. Poopybutthole is, but unfortunately Dan Harmon has already addressed that issue, saying that Mr. Poopybutthole is just a higher form of the memory parasites, so evolved that he can break the fourth wall and put himself directly into the show’s history when he wants. 

I already declined to address the popular theory that this episode, as well as the majority of “Mortynight Run,” follow a different Rick and Morty, since Dan Harmon also confirmed that the rocks in this episode are the same as the ones seen in that one and that they’re what carried the parasites.

Instead, I’m going to ask: Were the parasites the point?

So, we know that Rick has dealt with these parasites before, because he immediately recognizes what they are. He shoots “Uncle Steve” after only a few seconds, based on Jerry’s claim that he had been living there, but why was “shapeshifting memory-altering parasite” the first thing that Rick thought of? Because Rick had wanted the parasites. Think about it, Rick had brought that specific rock in from the garage, looking disappointed at it as he throws it away. When we first see him in Mortynight Run loading the car with rocks, he has a huge number, but he only throws away the one that had the parasites.

S2E4 - 7SteveShoot.png
Maybe you should have headed to Paris faster, Steve.

I think that Rick had brought the rock back not to harness the rocks (though that might have been a bonus), but because the rocks potentially were going to breed the parasites which he could then use to his advantage. After all, we know from the previous episode that Rick regularly captures and imprisons aliens for the purpose of exploiting them, and the ability to freely manipulate memories would be useful to anyone, particularly Rick. While in the garage, clearly, one or two of them hatched and escaped, with the first becoming “Uncle Steve.” Meanwhile, Rick determines that the rock is defective and throws it away, only to discover that the parasite inside it has escaped.

S2E4 - 8GreenRocks.png
That’s the eyebrow of a man who is done with his rocks.

Am I saying that the only evidence I have for this is that Rick knows what the shapeshifting parasites are and that he looks disappointed when he chucks out the rock? No, it’s that he doesn’t wing Uncle Steve. When Rick shoots Cousin Nicky, the second parasite, he shoots him in the shoulder because he’s unsure he’s a parasite, but when Rick shoots Steve, it’s straight through the temple. Rick is absolutely sure that Steve is a parasite. Could it be that Rick just knows that Jerry doesn’t have a brother? Unlikely, as A) this isn’t Rick’s original Jerry so it could be a possibility even if the original didn’t and B) Rick routinely proves he knows almost nothing about Jerry’s life, including not knowing what decade Jerry was born in (despite him being roughly Beth’s age). Is it that Jerry says Steve has been staying there for a year? Well, that’s likely to be what clinched it, but do you really think that’s enough to make Rick risk executing a potential family member? It’s Rick, so it’s not impossible, but I still think it’s likely that something made him think that parasites were the likely source of the new brother.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Since most of Rick and Morty is based on humor within the framework of nihilism and existential dread, I shouldn’t be surprised that this episode about how memory is the only way to really define our existence that involves wacky characters is one of my favorites.

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 – 14: Auto-Erotic Assimilation

NEXT – 16: Get Schwifty

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.