Rick and Mondays – S2 E2 “Mortynight Run”

Jemaine Clement guest stars in one of the craziest escapes involving a sentient cloud.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) is teaching Morty (also Roiland, talking to himself) how to drive his flying vehicle so that Rick can drink more and have Morty run his errands. Rick is surprised to discover that Jerry (Chris Parnell) is in the back seat (literally sitting in plain view), claiming that he and Rick agreed that a boy’s father should be there for a driving lesson. Rick receives a call about a meeting and has Morty fly them to an asteroid where they take Jerry to “Jerryboree” a place where Ricks throughout the mulitverse dump their Jerrys to keep them “safe.”

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It’s much nicer than you’d expect from a Rick.

Rick and Morty head to a parking garage where they’re met by the very upbeat assassin Krombopulos Michael (Andy Daly) who buys weapons from Rick. Rick uses the money to take Morty to “Blips and Chitz,” a Dave-and-Busters-style entertainment center which seems to specialize in Virtual Reality, including the game “Roy” that lets you live a life as another human being and somehow scores you on it. Morty is angry and states that Rick selling Krombopulos Michael a gun makes them culpable for the death. Rick disagrees, so Morty steals the flying car and crashes into the facility that Krombopulos Michael is in, killing him. Rick arrives via portal gun and he and Morty discover that the target of the assassination was a sentient cloud that Rick accidentally names “Fart” (Jemaine Clement). They take Fart with them and flee the facility.

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Those look like the infinity stones. Coincidence? Absolutely.

Meanwhile, back at Jerryboree, Jerry feels demeaned by being kept in a facility that appears to be designed for children, but is also frequently distracted by the offerings. He watches Midnight Run, meets other Jerrys (and also Beth’s second husband, Paul Fleishman (Ryan Ridley)), and then decides to escape. Then, he’s told that he can leave at any time. When he does, however, he runs into trouble being on an alien asteroid and quickly comes back.

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Run. Just… run. Run now.

Fart, Rick, and Morty escape to Gearhead’s (Scott Chernoff) planet for repairs, but Gearhead ends up calling the authorities on Rick. Rick responds by ripping out his “gearsticles” and shoving them in the slot for his mouth gears. They try to escape the Gear Authorities but are cornered until Fart uses his psychic powers to cause a massive series of crashes. They arrive at the planet where Fart’s portal is located. Morty walks to the portal with Fart but Fart indicates that his species is going to destroy all carbon-based life. Morty asks him to sing again before shooting him with Krombopulos Michael’s gun. They pick up Jerry, or A Jerry, at least, and head home.

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It’s not like Jerrys are that different, anyway.

END SUMMARY

I love Jemaine Clement. I think he’s talented, funny, and a good singer. What We Do In the Shadows is one of the funniest movies that I’ve seen in the last 10 years and he’s a large part of that. One of his best abilities is to play someone who seems to be just a little off but also still self-confident. Because of that, his performance as Fart is especially amazing to me. He’s a being of unbelievable power, but he also cannot really relate to carbon-based life in a normal way, which makes him seem humorous rather than terrifying. Also, given that the dimensional portal he comes out of is designed to look like a vagina, I think we can safely say that “Fart” was their way of getting around what he really is.

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Hint: It’s air from ladybits.

Fart’s song “Goodbye Moonmen” is an example of how something can be perfectly recontextualized from being happy to being horrifying. The lyrics originally seem to be about leading the universe into harmony and convincing the people who don’t agree to see the beauty of peace. However, once you know that Fart wants to kill all organic life, the lines “All the Moonmen want things their way/but we make sure they see the sun/Goodbye moonmen” instead becomes a statement that they’re going to eradicate all of them. It’s a trippy, peaceful song that tries to get you to ignore that the chorus is about genocide, just like “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Yeah, I said it. It’s nonsense, but I said it.

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This is not LSD. This is not Molly. This is snorting Keith Richards’ blood.

Jerryboree is an interesting exploration of Jerry, particularly given how weird and pedantic the things that Jerry enjoys are. He prefers movies with the Director’s Commentary on. He enjoys figuring out how to set-up entertainment systems. When there are versions of him that were abandoned, they just keep living in the facility, explaining it with “We’re Jerrys.” Basically, Jerry is a giant ball of insecurities, neuroses, and aversions to risk-taking, something that, apparently, is true across much of the multiverse.

Another part of the episode that stands out is Rick and Morty’s disagreement over whether or not providing a weapon makes you culpable for the murder. I think the episode wisely doesn’t take a definite stance on it, but it’s interesting that Rick points out that Morty actually kills far more people in his attempt to do the right thing in the episode than would have died if Rick just sold the gun. Also, if Rick hadn’t created the gun, then Fart’s people would have killed everyone. Hell, if Morty hadn’t kept the gun with him (which is another question altogether) and shot Fart, then Morty would have, by his own logic, killed the universe.

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Morty saves the world.

A famous fan theory that seems pretty substantial arises from Jerryboree and the information that Rick fills out for Jerry in this episode. Basically, the fact that the number that “our” Rick and Morty get isn’t the same as the number that the Rick and Morty from the end of the episode have. So, after dropping Jerry off, “our” Rick and Morty probably go off and do some other stuff, possibly just chilling at “Blips and Chitz,” while the Rick and Morty we follow save their universe from Fart and kill Krombopulos Michael. This wouldn’t matter much if it was just this episode, but… well, just wait a few episodes.

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R.I.P. Krombopulos Michael

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, I’m not doing the theory I just mentioned as I don’t have much to add to it that the internet hasn’t already provided. Instead, I’m going to do a theory about why Rick brought Jerry along on the car trip. After all, Rick doesn’t actually seem to remember bringing him, only remarking “I guess I remember that” when Jerry reminds him of their agreement, then seems mildly astonished by the fact the Jerry had apparently just been in the car the whole time. So, there are two possibilities here:

  1. Rick brought Jerry along so that he could dump him at Jerryboree as part of a plot to get rid of him

Let’s look at the circumstances: Rick knew that he was going to get a call from Krombopulos Michael sometime in the near future, likely during the lesson, as evidenced by the fact that the gun was already in the car. He immediately decided to get rid of Jerry on the Jerryboree asteroid, claiming they didn’t have time to take him back to Earth, despite the fact that Rick literally can teleport people anywhere. Also, Rick immediately rattled off the location of the asteroid, despite the fact that it is likely the first time he’s ever needed to use it. After all, Morty doesn’t know about it and when is Rick going to care about Jerry’s welfare when Morty isn’t around? Now, it’s true Rick could literally just have the location memorized off-hand because he has a mind equal to millions of planets, but it still seems weird that he has it memorized if he’s never used it. 

Now, once Jerry is at Jerryboree, how could Rick get rid of him? I mean, it’s not like Rick had a machine that would mess with Morty’s mind that he could suddenly throw him in which he could innocently say caused him to forget the day’s events and then tell Beth and Summer that he has no idea what happened to Jerry. Oh, right, ROY. Yes, the VR game that Rick shoves Morty into basically re-writes his mind to experience another life, which clearly leads Morty to have some difficulty remembering the real world. If Morty hadn’t remembered about Jerry, then Rick would have an excuse to just never pick him up. That’s why Rick leaves Jerry’s Dimension-ID blank: So that no other Rick or the Jerryboree nurse or whoever could send him back. It was a long-shot, but we also know from one of the other Mortys at the end that at least some of the versions had Morty get hooked on playing ROY, so it’s not inconceivable. And yes, I do know the meaning of that word.

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See, he’s re-adjusting to reality.

       2. Rick is actually commenting on the writing

By this point it’s pretty obvious that Rick knows he’s in a TV show. As such, when he seems surprised that Jerry has somehow been in the back of his car unnoticed until now, he could very well be commenting on how ridiculous it is that Jerry would be in the back of his car for Morty’s flying lesson, since Rick would never agree to that. Rick then accepts his out-of-character past behavior as a precursor to the episode’s B-plot and obliges by taking Jerry to a place where he can be the focus, but since Jerry will be completely safe it will be less-interesting than Rick’s hi-jinks and therefore not overshadow the A-Plot.

NOW LEAVING THE CORNER

This is one of my favorite episodes, but since this is Rick and Morty that ties it with like half of the series.

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 –  12: A Rickle in Time

NEXT – 14: Auto-Erotic Assimiliation

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 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.

S1E5-6LawyerSave
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.”

S1E5-7MeeseeksRoyale
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.

S1E5-8MortyRape
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.

S1E5-BWubbaLubbaDubDub
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.

S1E5-DMeeseeksMeme

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.

PREVIOUS – 4: M. Night Shaym-aliens!

NEXT – 6: Rick Potion #9

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 E4 “M. Night Shaym-Aliens”

Welcome to Episode 4, where the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.

SUMMARY

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Look at that, doesn’t even have a Squiddlyspooge!

The episode opens with Rick dissecting a rat in his lab, stating that it’s sloppy craftsmanship. Morty comes in, remarking on the beauty of the day, but Rick makes cryptic comments on Morty’s statements to someone invisible. Beth appears, acting in a simple and robotic fashion, which Morty notes is “weird.” Rick tells the unseen observers they’re going to burn out the CPU with Morty’s sophistication. Morty tells Rick he’s also being weird, then walks into the wall, then leaves. Rick looks at him suspiciously.

At Morty’s school, Morty is asked a simple math question (What’s 5×9?) which he gets incorrect (“at least 40”) but is praised for his technical correctness. Mr. Goldenfold offers to have him teach the class for being such a genius, at which point someone asks him for the formula for concentrated dark matter, a fuel for accelerated space travel. The entire class seems strangely interested in this, including Jessica who offers to be his girlfriend if he makes it. Rick breaks in and pulls Morty out, even as Goldenfold threatens to fail Morty.

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Zigerions don’t like nudity, but apparently seducing a minor is fine.

Rick takes Morty to the showers and tells him to strip. Morty complies, though he’s still confused. Rick explains that they’re not in the real world: They’re in a simulation run by the Zigerion Scammers, the galaxy’s worst con-artists. Rick’s and Morty’s nudity is due to the Zigerions being super uncomfortable with naked people, apparently to the point that Rick believes that they will quit monitoring them if they’re naked. Rick ends up stealing Morty’s clothes to ensure they stay unwatched.

On the Zigerion Ship, the aliens are, in fact, refusing to look at the screen while Rick and Morty are naked. Prince Nebulon (David “I’m half of the Mr. Show” Cross) is alerted to the fact that Jerry is also in the simulation. In one of my favorite exchanges, every department aboard the ship blames another department until it forms a loop, preventing us from ever finding out how Jerry actually got on the ship. Jerry, being an idiot, doesn’t notice the obvious signs he’s in a simulation, which become even more absurd after the Zigerions set his simulation cap at 5%.

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To be fair, this would be much easier.

Rick and Morty continue walking around naked as Rick convinces Morty that it’s a simulation by pointing out all the ridiculous elements, like an anthropomorphic PopTart living in a toaster house and driving a toaster car. Rick tells Morty that the two of them are going to scam the scammers, because dragging Morty in was a step too far.

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I think the toaster oven would be the house. Fancier.

Jerry, meanwhile, tries to pitch an ad for apples. In typical Jerry fashion, it’s a completely banal slogan: “Hungry for apples?” However, the pitch is successful because his boss, Mr. Marklevitz (Dan Harmon), is caught in a loop of snapping his fingers and saying yes. Jerry runs out, elated, not noticing that the world is now populated by three people: an Old Man, a Hot Woman, and a Mailman (Maurice LaMarche, Kari Wahlgren, Brandon Johnson). Apparently, these are the easiest personalities to generate.

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“Slow down” “Looking Good” “My Man!”

Rick and Morty are now preparing to put on a concert featuring their hit song “The Recipe for Concentrated Dark Matter.” They proceed to give the audience complicated instructions, overloading the computer generating the simulation and freezing it, allowing them to run past the edge and onto the Zigerion ship. At the same time, Jerry arrives home and has sex with a frozen Beth, which, apparently, is the best sex of his life. He lies in bed with her before telling her that he’s a fraud, having ripped off “Got Milk?” for his pitch. He never notices that she literally is frozen in place. Meanwhile, Prince Nebulon comments that now that they’re out of the simulation, it’s going to be a “mindf*ck.”

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This guy looks like he has discolored butthole flaps, like David Cross

Rick and Morty run through the ship and steal a ton of crystalline processing chips, even playing around with them, before easily escaping. Back in the simulation, Jerry meets with Mr. Marklevitz, who is still stuck in the same loop. Jerry talks himself into getting fired, then getting his job back, then getting an “Appley” award for commercials about apples.

Rick and Morty arrive home but when Rick enters the code to his safe, the Earth dissolves back into the Zigerion ship. Nebulon confronts Rick and explains that they already had the formula for concentrated dark matter but wanted the combination to Rick’s safe. Rick points out that he’s going to just change the combination, at which point Nebulon orders him captured. Rick pulls Morty’s pants down, repulsing the Zigerions, and the pair run for it.

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If the Matrix ran on a Macbook Air.

Jerry is accepting his “Appley” award, citing it as the best day of his life and the thing that finally completes him, before witnessing the simulation glitch out as Rick and Morty run into the room. The duo drags Jerry, weeping, onto an escape ship. The Zigerion ships pursue, leading Rick to comment that they apparently DO have concentrated dark matter. Morty asks Rick to make some and Rick says they just need cesium, plutonic quartz, and bottled water, which all happen to be on the ship. When Rick lists the quantities, Morty freezes in place before dissolving, revealing that they are in yet another simulation.

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Nebulon reveals that they had tricked Rick into revealing his secret formula. Rick is shocked that they could simulate Morty’s wang (and the audience is confused as to how Rick knew that it was accurate). Nebulon mocks Rick for his gullibility before taunting him with the possibility of still being in a simulation. As Rick and Jerry depart in a ship, Rick takes a shot at Jerry for the fact that “the most meaningful day of [his] life was a simulation operating at minimum capacity.” Jerry tries to counter that, since the Zigerions also tricked Rick, he’s just as foolish as everyone else. At that moment, Nebulon combines the Plutonic Quartz and Cesium with the water, causing a massive explosion. Rick tells Jerry that he blew them up, then starts vocalizing the saxophone part of “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty heard throughout the episode as they fly home.

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If only you could do this to internet trolls.

Later, Jerry pitches his “Hungry for Apples” idea in the real world and is immediately fired for incompetence. That night, Rick, completely hammered, breaks into Morty’s room and threatens to kill Morty for being a simulation, before accepting that Morty isn’t and passing out.

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Failing isn’t getting fired, Jerry. Failing is taking 2 seasons and aliens to get a job.

END SUMMARY

First of all, the opening line where Rick is observing the rat’s intestines is a great example of Rick and Morty’s particular brand of clever humor. When removed from context, it appears to be Rick criticizing the “craftsmanship” of a rat, which would be Rick basically taking a shot at God or guided evolution. In context, it later becomes obvious that he’s talking about the Zigerions, but the fact is that we could see Rick saying it either way.  Plus, it explains why Rick is so prepared for rat fighting in “Pickle Rick.”

S1E4-11RatFight
Yes… that explains it.

The episode itself is a brilliant subversion of all of the “simulated reality” movies that people come up with after reading Jean Baudrillard. Sure, it’s a fake reality, but it’s a fake reality that’s pretty easy to discern from the real one. It’s like you’re living in The Sims running on a crappy PC: Sure, most of the stuff is there, but it’s clearly not the real world. This really feeds perfectly into the show’s blending of sci-fi technology and the incompetence of sentient beings.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

When exactly Rick realized it was a simulation of a simulation of a simulation is up for debate, but it seems extremely likely that he knew before he picked Morty up from the school. Rick explains to Morty that the Zigerions won’t monitor them when they’re naked, but nothing about avoiding the video would stop the aliens from listening to them talking. The fact that he then explains his plans to Morty would be a mistake if he wasn’t counting on them listening and being too stupid to wonder WHY he is still talking. It’s possible Rick didn’t know from the first time he saw Morty, because if he hadn’t been at least momentarily uncertain about the levels of the simulation, then he wouldn’t have threatened the real Morty at the end to confirm he wasn’t still in a simulation.

S1E4-12Knife.png

But, honestly, I’ll take a step back and say that I think Rick actually set this entire thing up because Rick just wanted the Zigerions to leave him alone and, as a bonus, he got to mess with Jerry. Think about it: None of the Zigerions know why Jerry is there. When Rick and Jerry leave, Rick indicates that he knows what happened in Jerry’s simulation AND that it was on minimum power, something even Jerry wouldn’t have known. Given that he apparently knew what was happening the whole time, Rick’s actions throughout the episode mostly appear to be just leading the Zigerions to believe that he actually fell for their scheme so that they wouldn’t question the formula he eventually gave them. A formula which contained Cesium and Water, two things that violently react when mixed. So why would Rick still threaten Morty at the end? Because, much like the film The Matrix, once you have the idea out there that you could be living in a simulation and not know it, it’s a hard thing to get out of your mind, particularly when you’re blackout drunk.

THIS HAS BEEN JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

This is probably the episode where I first decided I was going to love this show. The pilot was good, as were the next two episodes, but this was the episode where I first glimpsed the nested levels of brilliance they could put into the episodes by having Rick be so far ahead of the game, compared to a normal protagonist. That’s the thing about having a character who is basically a hyperintelligent being: Normally he’d be boring because he’d know what’s happening next or he’d have to be acting out of character in order to be challenged. If you give that character fourth-wall awareness (like, say, humming the episode’s musical score) it can be even harder to really find something to challenge them. But Rick is not just hyperintelligent, he’s nearly omnipotent and only seems to feel alive when putting himself at risk, so watching him play through the scenarios just for the hell of it becomes much more interesting. Hell, it’s part of why Rick and Morty has decided to avert any form of traditional character growth and focusing on a more nihilistic outlook, because watching Rick grow would be boring and out of character.

Overall, this was really when I felt like the show was starting to find its strengths, though it wasn’t until the next episode that I really think they started to prove how great this show could be.

Oh, and did anyone else notice that they don’t spell the first part of M. Night Shyamalan’s name right?

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 – 3: Anatomy Park

NEXT – 5: Meeseeks and Destroy

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.

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