Rick and Mondays – S4E9 “Childrick of Mort”

Rick screws an entire world. Yes, in that way, too.

SUMMARY

The Smith/Sanchez family are going camping, much to the delight of Jerry (Chris Parnell). Summer (Spencer Grammer) and Morty (Justin Roiland) are upset because they’re missing out on drugs and video games, and it’s revealed that Rick (Roiland) only came because he’s ghosting a former lover. Summer steals his phone and it’s revealed that Rick’s ex says she’s pregnant. Beth (Sarah Chalke) forces Rick to go raise his kids, which are revealed to be the children of Gaia (Kari Wahlgren), a sentient planet. Rick denies that the kids are his, but when they come out looking kind of like him, Beth demands that he raise them. Rick and Beth work together to build a society, literally engineering it, for the clay people. 

S4E9 - 1Car
I love that they’re driving a car that’s clearly from the 70s. 

Meanwhile, Jerry tries to convince the kids to go camping on Gaia, but Summer tells him off because he doesn’t want to camp, he just wants to feel useful. Jerry wanders off, only to be sucked into Rick’s and Beth’s new city, where he is summarily kicked back out with the other “unproductives.” After showing the rejected clay people how to camp, he becomes their leader. The kids discover they have NO survival skills and almost die, until they find a crashed spaceship. They believe that the spaceship’s panels resemble a video game controller and Summer starts inhaling a drug which she believes is the collected knowledge of the dead aliens. The pair vow to show their parents what “video games and partying” can do.

S4E9 - 2SummerMorty
That’s right, just inhale random alien glowing substances. 

After Rick and Beth manage to get the clay civilization to space travel, it’s revealed that the kids are not Rick’s, but instead the offspring of a Zeus (an alien species, apparently) named Reggie. Reggie ends up giving Jerry and the unproductives divine power to revolt against Rick’s city, so Beth and Jerry fight while Rick goes to fight Reggie in space. Rick is about to lose the fight when Morty and Summer activate their ship, revealing that they were completely wrong about everything they thought they knew about it, and crash it into Reggie’s brain. Reggie’s giant corpse drops onto the city, which leads Gaia to erupt and kill most of her offspring. Jerry saves Beth from dying and Rick and the family head home. 

END SUMMARY

This episode seemed a lot like those clay creatures that formed the basis for the plot: Not quite done baking. Parts of it are amazing, other parts of it just feel like filler that no one could figure out a joke for. While they do a great job with the A-B-C-Plot interplay that I respect this show for, there’s not much to say when the C-plot (Morty and Summer) is really just a set-up for a deus ex machina later. 

S4E9 - 3Trampoline
Fortunately, the fandom will trampoline it into being amazing by blind devotion.

The A-Plot about Rick and Beth starting a civilization around Rick’s presumed offspring is definitely the best part of the episode and, honestly, I wish they’d spent a little more time on it. Some of the lines about how they’re trying to manipulate society through emotional engineering, like diverting teachers into playwrights by just spanking them more, are freaking hilarious. Although, as a lawyer, I should object to the line about bypassing the ethics tube, I have also been a lawyer long enough to know that this joke has been earned by other members of my profession. I also thought the “pachinko” style sorting to determine if the people believe in flat Earth, round Earth, or Middle Earth to be random and amazing.

S4E9 - 4Earths
Lucky Middle-Earth believing crowd.

The B-Plot of Jerry being the leader of the unproductives is a joke that practically writes itself. In the Season 3 premiere, Jerry is only successful in the new alien-dominated Earth because it was dependent upon bureaucracy so redundant that Jerry doesn’t even know what he does. He even gets into the situation because he tries to skip a rock and hits himself. Then, once he has power, he refuses to allow anything to evolve because any progress is a threat to him. It’s a reminder that while Jerry is mostly a character that exists to be humiliated by Rick, he would be just as much of a dick as Rick is if he had any of Rick’s intellect or drive. I particularly love that, as Rick points out, when Jerry gets a literal staff of divine power, he only conjures up plagues from The Ten Commandments. He doesn’t even try to create clothing for himself, he just rips off the Bible… or, let’s be honest, he rips off a movie. Rick would probably have used it to power a bong capable of smoking a planet. 

S4E9 - 5Jerry
Jerry, destroying progress, like usual.

Summer’s and Morty’s plot is really only funny in the sense that they’re so dumb that they think partying and video games can help them pilot a spaceship. But, it’s like Abraham Maslow said: “[I]t is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” I do also like the fact that they literally ex a deus with a machina, which is f*cking funny. Aside from that, though, the time spent on their adventure feels like a waste.

S4E9 - 6ZeusDead
The Titans would have won if they had spaceships. 

The highlight of the episode, though, has to be Rick literally challenging a god to a fistfight. Rather than do a ton of elaborate special effects or smite-and-countersmite, it just turns into an old-school slugfest, which is an amazing subversion. While it feels a little similar to the same thing from “The Ricks Must Be Crazy,” I think this one works better because Rick is also defending his kids from a bad father, meaning Rick is actually in the right, for once.

S4E9 - 7ZeusFight
WHY ARE YOU JUMPING? HOW ARE YOU JUMPING?

Overall, not the best episode, but not the worst. I will say that I laughed my butt off at “Planets Only.” 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

This season is not making these easy. Okay, so, why would Rick agree to go and raise these kids in the first place? Yeah, sure, Beth was going to yell at him, but what else is new? However, I think he realized that, as the show has gone on, he actually does care about what Beth thinks of him and knows that going to Gaia will give him a chance to bond with her. The evidence for this, aside from him being uncharacteristically complimentary of her during this endeavor, is that when the Zeus shows up, Rick doesn’t just take it as an opportunity to bail. Instead, Rick asserts that at least he stepped up and therefore all of the kids, and their civilization, is part of his family. This means Rick is trying to actually be a good dad for once, something that Beth will appreciate. It’s part of the payoff from “The ABCs of Beth,” where Rick tells Beth “[m]aybe you matter so little that I like you. Or maybe it makes you matter. Maybe I love you….” Rick isn’t quite as cold and dead inside towards Beth as he wants people to think, so spending an episode to make her feel happy isn’t a stretch. That’s probably why, when she’s mad at him at the end of the episode, Rick quickly lashes out by throwing her parenting under the bus.

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 39: The Vat of Acid Episode

NEXT – 41: Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri

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

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Rick and Mondays (-ish) – S4E7 “Promortyus”

Rick and Morty deal with facehuggers and genocide.

SUMMARY

Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland) suddenly regain consciousness on an alien planet where they have facehuggers attached to their heads. They kill the facehuggers, finding out that they are the Glorzo, and then discover that they’re attempting to use Rick’s ship for some master plan. Rick and Morty instead use the ship to fight their way off of the planet, committing a number of mass-casualty attacks, including an intentional Pearl Harbor reference (although avoiding replicating 9/11). They get home, but then realize they left Summer (Spencer Grammer) back on the planet. They go back to rescue her, only to find out that she’s now the new goddess of the planet and does not have a Glorzo on her face. 

S4E7 - 1Facehuggers
Ridley Scott has declined to comment. 

Summer fills in what happened to the pair, explaining that they fell under the control of the Glorzo, but she was spared because she had a toothpick in her mouth. She convinced the Glorzo to stop their cycle of latching onto people’s faces and then dying after 30 minutes as they lay eggs, instead developing a peaceful civilization. It turns out that most of the stuff Rick and Morty destroyed were dedicated to spreading peace throughout the galaxy. The Glorzo capture Rick and Morty, but Summer tries to save them, resulting in all three being captured. Rick has Morty play a tune on his harmonica which forces all Glorzo to lay an egg, killing them and destroying their entire civilization. Upon returning home, Rick and Morty both think they’re going to lay eggs, but instead crap their pants in front of Beth (Sarah Chalke). Meanwhile, Jerry (Chris Parnell) takes up beekeeping, something that makes Summer’s friend Tricia (Cassie Steele) want to bang him.

END SUMMARY

Sorry for the delay, hopefully the next release will get to me on time.

This episode is basically the opposite of what the last one was. Rather than a dense, complicated, experimental, and medium-challenging episode, this was just a fun, fairly straightforward (albeit mildly non-linear) episode about Rick and Morty just reacting to a situation. The only “twist” is that Summer had technically already solved the problem before they actually got there, meaning that their mass destruction of the Glorzo civilization was, in fact, pointless slaughter. Apparently the writer of the episode described Rick and Morty as the villains of the entire saga because of this.

S4E7 - 2Armor
They do at least start doing it in a fun way.

The core of this episode is the moral issue of what a species is permitted to do in order to survive and how that shifts as the species “evolves” both culturally and literally. The Glorzo originally believe that they cannot live longer than thirty minutes, forcing them to constantly kill new hosts in order to perpetuate their life cycle, but once Summer points out that they don’t HAVE to do that, they immediately try to move towards a more peaceful species. Unfortunately, Rick and Morty end up taking inadvertent advantage of this, which allows them to escape being controlled and then murder the majority of the planet. This leads to one of the Glorzo to remark “this is what we get for evolving?” 

S4E7 - 3Summer
Of course, Summer only did it as part of a long con to save Rick and Morty…

The question, though, is whether or not the Glorzo were actually the bad guys to begin with. After all, they HAVE to take over hosts in order to exist. They have to kill those hosts in order to reproduce. Even after Summer reforms them, that hasn’t really changed, they just do it at a slower pace. The episode kind of side-steps it, but eventually the species would have to still kill their presumably still-aging hosts eventually and spawn the next generation. But are humans any different? We cannot really survive without killing something, at least a plant, for either food or shelter, so are we immoral? Well, from the point of view of the tree that’s getting cut down to build a gazebo, hell yes, but from our point of view, it’s more complicated. 

S4E7 - 4Sentience
Albeit, we seem to finally agree that doing ti to sentient creatures is bad.

However, the show takes it a step further with Glorzo Rick’s Plandemic-esque insane rant about how it is only natural for the species to kill their host pitted against Summer’s plans to try and progress the Glorzo beyond their natural biological needs. This is the kind of debate that humanity has engaged in for centuries, about whether we are okay with upsetting the “natural order” of things in the name of building a civilization that doesn’t necessarily agree with our Darwinian origins. After all, we don’t need the biggest and the strongest to hunt for us anymore, since the smartest and the most innovative can come up with solutions that don’t require hunting. In a fun mirror of many advocates of the more Spartan or “natural” lifestyles on YouTube and other media, Glorzo Rick is revealed to mostly be a total hypocrite, as he himself is not willing to actually just lay the egg and die like he advocates. 

S4E7 - 5Rick
And yet I still prefer him to multiple actual pundits.

This isn’t the best Rick and Morty episode, but it is never boring and it does have some actual interesting points to it.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Since the Rick and Morty plotline doesn’t have a ton that seems to be unexplained or lingering, my theory this week actually concerns Jerry. Why is Jerry taking up beekeeping? Well, three reasons: First, so that he can make a statement about how he has a right to exist and that he has dreams that would blend in with the theme of the other plotline. Also, bees have lives that are driven almost entirely by biology while still creating elaborate structures that can become extremely complex “societies.” Even if the subplot only has a few lines in the whole episode, this show’s still good about at least making sure there’s a cosmetic or thematic relationship between the plots. Second, it means that the B-plot is a literal Bee Plot, humor that is just the right kind of terrible and hilarious. Third, beekeepers are supposed to be extremely long-lived. This rumor started as far back as ancient Greece, but was further supported by Fred Hale, Sr., the world’s oldest man (until he died over a decade ago). I think that Jerry believes that one of the only ways that Jerry thinks he can get rid of Rick is to outlive him. Which, let’s be fair, is probably true. 

S4E7 - 6Jerry
Or because it lets you relive American Beauty, which REALLY does not age well.

Overall, I give this episode a

B

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 36: Rattlestar Ricklactica

NEXT – 38: Promortyus

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Netflix Mini-Review – Paradise PD (Seasons 1 and 2): Not For The Sober

Much like its sister-show Brickleberry, this show tries to be edgy but really just comes off as derivative.  

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

The Police Department of the City of Paradise, one of the worst cities in the world, is basically the least competent police force ever. The Chief, Randall Crawford (Tom Kenny), is a racist, sexist, narcissist. His son, Kevin (David Herman), is an idiot, but also the newest member of the force. The others include hyper-violent sexual predator Gina Jabowski (Sarah Chalke), her morbidly obese victim Dusty Marlow (Dana Snyder), the elderly pervert Stanley Hopson (Snyder), PTSD sufferer Fitz (Cedric Yarbrough), and the drug addicted police dog Bullet (Kyle Kinane). They have to deal with a cast of colorful criminals creating chaos. 

ParadisePD - 1Cast
They do have their own version of the couch gag.

END SUMMARY

If you’re a fan of Daniel Tosh, or were in college in the early 2010s, you probably remember hearing about the show Brickleberry. It was about the worst crew of park rangers in the world who monitor the worst park in the world, and was created by Roger Black and Waco O’Guin, just like this show. It was filled with dirty jokes relying on stereotypes, shock value, and scatological humor with basically no other substance or types of comedy present. It got three seasons, because of course it did, and for the most part was forgotten quickly. Then Netflix decided to reboot it, but since they didn’t have the rights (Hulu does), they just let the creators come up with an almost identical premise, something the show itself has mocked repeatedly. 

ParadisePD - 2Brickleberry
This doesn’t seem familiar at all.

While I admire their candor in admitting their unoriginality, I still just don’t like this show that much. The biggest issue I have is that there seems to be nothing to the characters. Any of them can be suddenly given a new and contradictory character trait or background and it’s just used for the episode and never referenced again. This wouldn’t bother me as much, except that the show is actually a loosely formatted serial with a continuous plotline, meaning that the events of one episode happened, but the character trait that led to those events might not have happened. I am sure a lot of people can deal with that, but it just ticks me off.

ParadisePD - 3Cops
There’s an episode dedicated to handicapped cop jokes as a Police Academy reference.

Also, I just don’t think it’s super funny. They can pull off a solid joke every few minutes, but all of the failed ones just aren’t worth it and sometimes they make one that just makes me feel unclean as a human. If you enjoy the humor of the first episode then it seems like it stays pretty consistent throughout, but I can say that it never got much better. I think I would enjoy it if I was watching it with a crowd that had been drinking to the point that silly talking dogs are inherently funny, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. 

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S4E5 “Rattlestar Ricklactica”

Morty won’t stay in the car and suddenly snakes from the future are destroying the universe.

SUMMARY

It’s Christmas time. A time for family. In that spirit, Rick (Justin Roiland) helps Jerry (Chris Parnell) hang Christmas lights by making him slightly lighter than air and his shoes slightly heavier, allowing him to jump higher. Okay, well, it’s less “in the spirit of family” and more “so that Morty (Roiland) can go on an adventure with him because Beth (Sarah Chalke) told Morty to make sure Jerry doesn’t die.” Jerry, naturally, immediately tries to show off this power and ends up floating to his doom. He refuses to accept help from Rick or Beth, insisting that he can take care of it.

S4E5 - 1Jerry.png
He looks so happy, you’d almost forget he’s one shoe from dying.

Meanwhile, on their adventure, Rick and Morty hit something and Rick goes out of the car to fix the spaceship. Morty follows, against Rick’s orders, and gets bitten by a space snake, which he then kills. Rick and Morty go to the snake’s planet, a planet filled with racist snakes (racist against other colors of snake), and Rick finds the antivenom and cures Morty. Morty, however, feels guilty and buys another snake which he drops on the planet in the spacesuit. The snake planet ends up realizing that this is a snake from another world, leading somehow to the snakes creating time travel and killer robots, resulting in an army of snakes attacking the Smith/Sanchez household to either kill or save the family. 

S4E5 - 2Terminsnaker.png
Termisnaker 2: Judgement Fang

Rick, realizing what Morty did, travels to the Snake planet in the present, only to be greeted by a future version of themselves that are pissed off at them. Rick and Morty end up traveling back in time to an earlier point in the Snake World history and give the snakes a book telling them how to develop time travel. This leads to even more rampant time-traveling until finally the Time Police notice and destroy the first intelligent ancestor of the snakes. This destroys the entire snake population. Jerry manages to save himself from floating to his doom, finishes the lights, and then breaks his leg on the way down from the roof. Rick and Morty are about to celebrate, only to run into future versions of themselves that force them to re-enact the other half of the events in order to avoid a paradox. Rick punches Morty for leaving the car.

END SUMMARY

Rick and Morty has mostly avoided doing a time travel episode and I guess they decided to do all of them at once to compensate, then avert the hell out of most of them. In another strange decision, they made snakes, a typical symbol of evil or Satan, into the focal point of a Christmas episode. The episode doesn’t shy away from making anti-Xmas statements, either. Rick claims his superiority to Jesus by saying that he wasn’t “born into the God business,” instead he earned it. Jerry, upon agreeing to sacrifice himself to spite Rick or look good for Beth, declares himself “the Jesus Christ of Christmas.” It’s like they looked back at their earlier Christmas episode in “Anatomy Park,” said “that was too sincere,” and decided that this one should have some less-than-subtle blasphemy. 

S4E5 - 3JerryChrist.png
I mean, he’s surrounded by Christmas Trees, so it’s a bold proclamation.

The snake world was one of the best parts of the episode for me. First, any sequence in which we have to figure out what’s happening solely through visual storytelling is amazing. Second, the sequence in which they bring in a linguist snake to interpret the speech of the Earth snake Slippy that Morty used to replace the space snake is hilarious. It’s a combination of references to A Beautiful Mind, Stargate, and Nell, the last one from the fact that the linguist snake realizes if he slows down the speech, the other snake is hissing just like they are. If you haven’t seen Nell, there’s a big part of the movie involving someone speaking English in a way that is perceived as a different language, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the snake is doing during that scene. 

S4E5 - 4SnakeLinguist.png
So is the Rod of Asclepius on that planet two humans wound around a stick?

The time travel elements contain a ton of fun and funny references. When we meet the first time traveling snakes, they’re clearly all a ton of variations on the Terminator franchise, with robots, robot protectors, cyborg protectors, etc. each showing up to thwart the previous one. It really drives home the absurdity of those kind of movies and reminds me of the Great Time War from Doctor Who, where after every battle, each side would go back in time and change the outcome to make their side win until eventually the battle didn’t occur in the first place. We see that taken to the extreme… with snakes. We also see the traditional plotlines of trying to save Lincoln and kill Hitler, with saving Lincoln ironically resulting in the US becoming Nazis. I feel like this is an allusion to Abradolf Lincler, albeit indirect and serpentine. At the end of the episode, when the Time Police eradicate all of the snakes, they bite their tails and transform into Ouroboros, a symbol of infinite that often represents the ending of a temporal paradox (because the causal loop is closed). 

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, why are Rick and Morty so pissed at themselves? I mean, while they technically have to say whatever they heard themselves saying earlier in order to avoid violating causality, it’s clear by the end that they really are resenting their past/future selves, even though they know that they are bound in the same loop and forced to go through the same motions. Well, that’s exactly why.

S4E5 - 5Paradox.png
Very festive time travelers.

Rick and Morty telling themselves how to finish the adventure, particularly using a journal containing the secrets to time-travel, resembles the plot of the famously internally consistent time-travel story “By His Bootstraps” by Robert Heinlein. Of course, since this is Rick and Morty, the pair are massively pissed off at being dragged into a causality loop, requiring that they fulfill the actions that they already did in order to not get caught by the Time Police themselves. In other words, Rick and Morty, two characters who are usually allowed to do whatever the hell they want with no thought towards the consequences, are now unable to alter the course of their behavior in any way. That makes it feel less like an adventure and more like a chore. 

LEAVING THE CORNER

Overall, this episode was pretty funny, but I still expect more from the show. I am still anxiously waiting for the next half of the season when it comes back.

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 – 34: Claw and Hoarder: Special Rick-tim’s Morty

NEXT – 37: Hell if I Know

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S4E4 “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”

Rick gets drunk with a dragon and also dragons are real and kinda creepy.

SUMMARY

Morty (Justin Roiland) goes with Rick (Roiland) on an adventure, only for it to be revealed that Morty had only agreed if he got a dragon. Rick, eventually giving in, gives Morty a dragon that he contracts with a Wizard to obtain. Morty rides the dragon, named Balthromaw (Liam Cunningham), but quickly realizes that the dragon doesn’t like him. When Balthromaw starts accidentally wrecking the house, Rick goes to get rid of him, but finds that the beast’s hoard is filled with things that he treasures. Upon talking to the dragon, the two start getting along and partying together, leading to them both ignoring Morty. After a particularly revelatory evening, Rick and Balthromaw end up soul bonding just as Morty revokes his contract. The Wizard returns to collect the dragon, but it turns out that Rick now feels any pain that Balthromaw does. Since Balthromaw is going to be killed for being a “slut” dragon, Rick, Morty, and Summer (Spencer Grammer) follow the Wizard back to his dimension, only for the Wizard to easily defeat Rick. 

S4E4 - 1Dragon.png
The dragons did not win the treaty negotiations with the wizards.

At the same time, Jerry (Chris Parnell) has been dealing with a talking cat (Matthew Broderick) that convinces him to fly to Florida. The cat constantly comments on the fact that he won’t explain why he can talk. Jerry and the cat have a good time until the cat blames Jerry for pooping on the beach, getting Jerry ostracized. The cat then tries to party with some college kids, but ends up pissing them off by questioning their games. The cat gets kicked off of a party boat and reunites with Jerry, asking for a ride home.

S4E4 - 2Cat.png
I love that the cat does not really show many natural reactions. 

It turns out that Rick’s science doesn’t work in the realm of magic. Morty saves Rick with a magic spell, then Rick manages to build a “magic-punk” gun that allows him to turn Summer into a magic archer and devastate the forces of the Wizard… right up until Summer screws up and the Wizard retakes the upper hand. Morty frees Balthromaw and the group flees to a cave filled with other “slut dragons.” The slut dragons are revealed to be, in fact, extremely sexual, which unnerves Morty until the elder dragon forces everyone to soul-bond and create a soul dragon that destroys the Wizard and frees all of the dragons. Balthromaw follows the group back to Earth, but everyone just wants to be done with him, declaring it the “worst adventure ever.” 

S4E4 - 3Dragon.png
This looks cool, but is, in fact, totally messed up.

Rick goes to pick up Jerry and the cat, but ends up scanning the cat’s brain to figure out why it can talk. While undisclosed, the cat’s mind horrifies Rick and makes Jerry nauseous to the extreme. Rick is about to kill himself, only to instead wipe Jerry’s memory and get rid of the cat. It eventually meets up with Balthromaw and asks to go back to Florida.

END SUMMARY

So, this definitely was not one of my favorite episodes, but the more I thought about it while writing this review, the more I think that maybe it’s not as bad as I initially thought. I mean, it was never “bad,” because Rick and Morty is just naturally a bit more creative in storytelling than other shows, but I thought it was a little bit of a low point. 

S4E4 - 4AnatomyPark.png
Not the lowest, though.

A big part of what I think is missing in this episode is the traditional A-plot and B-plot interplay that the show does so well (AND I WILL NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT IT UNTIL OTHER SHOWS GET IT RIGHT), but here the two don’t seem to really have any thematic connections on the surface and the B-Plot is extremely short. However, both of them are actually about dissecting two different sides of the fantasy genre. The traditional Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones high fantasy subgenre is shown to consist of a repressive wizard who captures and enslaves dragons for profit and dragons which are revealed to be very aggressively sexual, bordering on rapey. The cat, meanwhile, is a representation of magical realism subgenre. It’s just a cat that shows up, talks, and offers adventure to a poor schlub… but it turns out that the cat’s just kind of an a**hole (like most cats), the adventure is just a beach party that the cat ruins, and that the reason why the cat talks, which in most magical realism will be a major revelation, is never revealed and we’re apparently better for that. While it’s not the best subversion in the series, or even the season, it’s a little better upon realizing that both plots are at least hitting the same genre.

S4E4 - 5SailorMoon.png
Talking cats can start entire cultural movements, man…

Rick being a dragon is a neat parallel to draw. Rick, like a dragon, is destructive, old, and also brilliant. Rick and Balthromaw end up bonding over his hoard, because while Balthromaw hoards valuables, Rick hoards his technology from anyone else. They both thrive on keeping stuff from others to make themselves superior. Unfortunately, they don’t really leave it up to the viewer, instead having both Balthromaw and Rick himself say that Rick is a dragon.

S4E4 - 6Zoo.png
I also love that they both agree on releasing captive animals and getting high.

One thing that I both like and dislike about the episode is that the show couldn’t let Rick be powerless. When Rick is shown to have no technology in the wizarding world (sue me, Rowling) and Morty quickly starts to recite spells from the book, it seems like we’re looking at a rare role-reversal with Morty taking the lead. This quickly gets undone by Rick managing to create a new version of technology using magic that puts him back in charge. When I first watched the episode, that kind of annoyed me because it rendered Morty’s use of the spellbook as mostly pointless, but in retrospect it just shows us that Rick’s mind is so amazing that he can adapt to new laws of nature. Magic is just a sufficiently advanced technology and vice-versa. Still, I kind of want to see Morty have the upper hand more often and this was a good opportunity. 

S4E4 - 7Cannon.png
Rick having a magic cannon was pretty fun, though.

I also kind of liked the idea of the villain being a slut-shamer, except that the dragons he was shaming ended up being creepily sexual, so… really a plus and minus there as well.

Oh, and Rick interrupts the Wizard masturbating, which is funny.

S4E4 - 9Wizard.png
Enter a caption

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

There aren’t a ton of floating theories here since there is no indication that Rick planned all this nor is there anything about the situation that would give him a motive to. So, instead, I’m going to take a stab at the big unknown: 

WHY DOES THE CAT TALK?

First, what do we know? The cat was not born able to talk, because that would be his explanation. Instead, he somehow gained the ability from something which he is extremely ashamed of. It’s also something that is horrifying not only to Jerry, but, more impressively, to Rick freaking Sanchez. Rick is about to kill himself out of pure disgust, as opposed to his usual depression, so he’s seeing something worse than the stuff he does which means worse than enslaving a planet or a lot of genocide. While we don’t see what it is, we hear a few things. We hear what appears to be boots marching in sync, explosions, and babies crying. HUMAN babies. We also get the implication from Jerry that no one else would remember the events, which is why Rick chooses to remember them. 

S4E4 - 8Suicide.png
I mean… dang.

Second, what is the cat a reference to? Well, several things, but most prominently the 1978 Disney movie The Cat from Outer Space, which the episode even directly references. In that movie, there’s a cat that talks telepathically and, like the cat in this episode, hardly ever seems to stop doing cat things while talking (because it was a real cat in the movie and cats are a**holes). However, none of the events of that film really lend themselves to a backstory like that… unless you consider that at the end of that film, Jake, the titular cat, has a girlfriend, superior technology, and a pending litter. While Jake can’t really talk or use his powers without a collar, it’s stated in the film that the telepathy powers are only AMPLIFIED by the collar. They are innate to Jake’s species, unlike the telekinesis which the collar provides. So, what happens when Jake’s offspring learn what happens to common cats like their mother, like being locked up in the pound or put down? Well, they might end up very, very upset at humanity for how they treat cats… and that their dad can call down an armada. 

My proposal, therefore, is that the cat in this episode is the son of the cat from outer space. He ended up using his species’ superior technology to eradicate humanity on another Earth, but humanity ended up taking the cats out with it, since this is the only survivor. Since one of the collars in the film was ultimately given to the humans as a token of goodwill and the other would be with his father who likely would oppose his plan, in order to destroy humanity, the cat had to focus and develop his powers to be able to talk without a collar. Him learning to speak ultimately destroyed both sides of his family. So why does that look worse than Rick’s usual murder sprees? Well, because this is presumably an army of cats clawing people, including children and infants, to death, ensuring total genocide of both species. That’s going to be a very, very, graphic image, even for Rick.  

Or maybe the cat’s Cthulhu, but I’m going with the reference here. 

LEAVING THE CORNER

This was still one of the weaker episodes of Rick and Morty, but I still had an okay time with it. Plus, it referenced The Cat from Outer Space, which I love.

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 – 34: One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty

NEXT – 36: Rattlestar Ricklactica

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY

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

S4E3 - 1SanchezFive.png
Heists only work if everyone walks in a V pattern, like geese.

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

S4E3 - 2ElonTusk.png
Elon Tusk is definitely a thing

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

END SUMMARY

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

S4E3 - 4PlanetsAgain.png
Ya’ll have no idea how hard this was to screenshot, but worth it for Fran Dreshlicar.

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

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

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

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

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

S4E3 - 6Camera.png
Still fewer casualties than when Ocean’s Eleven knocked out the power to Vegas.

LEAVING THE CORNER

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

Overall, I give this episode a

B+

on the Rick and Morty scale.

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

PREVIOUS – 33: The Old Man and the Seat

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

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

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

Rick and Mondays – S4E2 “The Old Man and the Seat”

Rick tracks down a crappy thief, Jerry develops an app, Morty tries to save the Earth from Jerry, Summer tries to find love, and Beth tries to parent Summer.

SUMMARY

Rick (Justin Roiland) has a new intern named Glootie (Taika “What We Do In Ragnarok” Waititi) who is obsessed with developing an app. To keep people from agreeing to help him, Rick has actually tattooed “do not develop my app” on his face.  Despite this, when Rick goes to use his private toilet, Jerry (Chris Parnell) agrees to help Glootie. The rest is split by plotline.

S4E2 - 1Glootie.png
Somehow only Taika Waititi’s voice would make sense here.

Rick arrives on his private planet dedicated to his private toilet, only to find out that someone else broke in and pooped on it. Rick goes to elaborate lengths, including single-handedly winning a war, to find the culprit, a man named Tony (Jeffrey Wright). Rick threatens to kill Tony, but ultimately chooses to just shove a portable farting, pooping butt in his office. Tony then comes back to poop again, so Rick puts him in a Matrix-like simulation of paradise which he ends up rejecting. Rick declines again to kill him, which Tony takes as a sign of friendship, though Rick denies this. Finally, Rick comes to give Tony permission to use his toilet, only to find out that Tony died from trying to live life to the fullest, having been empowered by using Rick’s crapper. Rick, seemingly sad about this, still denies being Tony’s friend, then goes and sits on his toilet, revealing that he’d booby-trapped it to mock Tony mercilessly. Rick sits in the rain being mocked by his own voice about how pathetic and lonely he is. 

S4E2 - 3Tony.png
He even proves that Tony is an asshole in multiple universes, which is brutal.

Jerry develops his app with Glootie, revealed to be a dating app which Jerry names Lovefinderrz. Morty (Roiland), upon finding out about it, realizes that the app has to be dangerous because of Rick’s precautions. He orders Glootie to take it down, but Glootie says he can’t, because the server’s on the mothership. Morty and Jerry then threaten their way onto the mothership and meet Glootie’s leader (Sam Neill) and his wife (Kathleen Turner). It turns out that Glootie’s people have used up all their water and are using the app to drive everyone into a frenzy to help lower Earth’s defenses. Presumably everyone will either be too distracted to notice the water theft, or will be too exhausted from loving to stop it. Rick and Jerry escape and try to destroy the server, but are recaptured due to Jerry’s idiocy. When Glootie is sent to kill them, Jerry points out that, despite his species’ claim to have perfected relationships, Glootie is alone. The app has failed him. Glootie frees them and destroys the app by adding a paywall.

S4E2 - 4GlootieEmperor.png
I love that it takes 3 people to find a gun at an app developer that has an army on board.

Summer (Spencer Grammer) downloads the app and starts a sequence of intense flings. Beth (Sarah Chalke) keeps tracking her down, trying to stop her. Eventually, with Summer on her fourth “soul mate,” Beth manages to confront her, telling her that she’s going to parent her no matter what. Summer fights back, but Beth is winning the fight until the app goes down, and everything goes back to normal. 

S4E2 - 5Wedding.png
Fortunately, she’s single at the end.

END SUMMARY

Okay, cards on the table, I didn’t think this was a spectacular episode of Rick and Morty. Not that it was bad, but I honestly think they pitched this as “I bet we can make an entire episode of poop jokes lead to a poignant moment of revelation.” The problem is that most of the jokes in the Rick plotline just didn’t land for me. I mean, there are some that are funny, but they’re not as funny as I would usually expect from the show. Maybe it’s just a personal preference thing. I will say that a lot of the other jokes in the other plotlines worked for me, even the ones that were kind of repeats or predictable. For example, when Morty tells Jerry “I started today disgusted and embarrassed to be your son. Then, later, I thought we were gonna die because you’re a loser,” the obvious joke there is that Morty doesn’t follow it up with a “but.” However, Jerry, now somewhat genre-savvier, predicts it, leading Morty to just say “quit f*cking up.” It’s pretty great that this is like a 3rd-level subversion of a tired joke. Eventually, the humorous thing may be to play it straight again. Then there’s the Fly mob boss who just lampshades the fact that Rick is asking about a sandwich, something that does nothing to explore the boss’s potential backstory. That’s such an unexpected and hilarious joke, because it basically tells the audience that they came up with this character completely for a throw-away gag. So, there were decent jokes, but there weren’t as many bust-a-gut moments as I’m used to. 

S4E2 - 6Fly.png
I mean, this is pretty funny. As is the fact that the frogs only say “ribbit.”

As usual, the team behind the show remind us that they are masters at structuring the episode around A, B, and even C plots. The events of this episode take place over the course of roughly a week, which makes sense, but by cutting between them, it feels like a much tighter story. The storylines in this episode all seem to be based around demonstrating how the characters have changed since the first season. The Rick story is about Rick demonstrating how much he wants to isolate himself from others, to the point of pooping on his own planet, before realizing that he is just avoiding being close to others. He also realizes that one of the only people who tried to understand him on a deeper level is now dead, meaning Rick is even more alone than before. In the B-Plot, Morty is starting to be more assertive and honest with Jerry, while Jerry actually goes along with Morty on an adventure without being a coward. In the C-Plot, Beth actually tries to be a functioning parent to Summer, while Summer… well, Summer hasn’t changed that much, except that she’s moved from crushes to active sexual relationships, I guess. I just think it’s interesting that there’s an episode that basically shows off the character growth. 

S4E2 - 7Parenting.png
Beth’s still getting the hang of dealing with Summer in an emotionally active way.

This episode also seems to suggest that there are two competing themes for this season. The first, which the last episode pointed out directly, is that this season is about balance and compromise in the storytelling. Sometimes they’ll be experimental, like the way the shots accompany Rick pooping are vast and beautiful landscapes, and sometimes they’ll be more traditional, like having a story-arc based around Jerry screwing up and Morty having to bail him out. However, the second theme appears to be that of human connection. In the first episode, the only thing that saves Rick and Morty is Wasp Rick having empathy towards Rick’s situation, something that’s abnormal for Ricks. Morty’s obsession with Jessica, similarly, causes him to distance himself from others, including a skinny-dipping Jessica. In this episode, we see Rick constantly reject connection only for him to realize at the end that it’s the reason he’s so alone and sad. We see Jerry and Morty only being saved by Jerry making an emotional connection with Glootie. We see Summer only being kept repeatedly from making a terrible mistake because Beth cares enough for her to keep trying to stop her. We also see that the form of connection that Glootie’s people seem to think is “optimized” is in fact completely false, as even their leaders end up getting divorced at the end of the episode. The thing is that Glootie’s people seem to value shallow notions like “soul mates” or empty platitudes more than actual work on relationships or empathy towards each other. I know two episodes don’t show a pattern, but I’m interested to see how this plays out.

S4E2 - 2Toiler.png
Also, I’m down for all this heavily-detailed art. This is exactly where I want to poop.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

So, I didn’t have a big theory, so here are three mini-theories.

First, why does Rick have Glootie? I think originally Rick got it him because he knew that Jerry would agree to help him create a dating app which would likely lead Beth to find someone better. However, after the last season finale, Rick appears to have realized that he can’t get rid of Jerry, and therefore went ahead and tattooed a warning for Jerry on Glootie’s forehead. Sure, it’s not the biggest precaution, but Rick wanted the free labor and he still doesn’t care for Jerry THAT much.

S4E2 - 8Jerry.png
And Jerry ALMOST avoids screwing up.

Second, how does the dating app work? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: The minute you’re no longer interested in the person you have, it finds you a new one. It’s based entirely around infatuation, but once you have anything about your partner that you don’t want or someone better is nearby, then it just supplies you a new infatuation, apparently making you unnaturally attracted to someone else. This doesn’t really optimize relationships, only hookups and flings.

S4E2 - 9Turner.png
I mean, one fight and she’s telling him to screw off.

Third, at the end of the episode we see Jerry drink the Globaflyn and hallucinate a dream of being a water delivery man that makes him so happy he tries to lick up the rest of the substance. Why is that what Jerry fantasizes about? Well, earlier Rick says that Globaflyn connects the what-you-have part of your brain with the what-you-want part of your brain. It’s why we see Tony fantasize about an eternity with his wife (what he wants) based around sitting on a toilet (what he has when Rick knocks him out). Jerry has just dealt with a conflict over water, meaning he knows that he has it. What Jerry wants is to be important and loved. Therefore, he is shown using water, what he has, to get respect and admiration, what he wants. 

S4E2 - ADeliveryman.png
Also, the logo is designed by him. You can tell because it’s bad.

LEAVING THE CORNER

Still a pretty good episode of television, even if it’s not top-tier Rick and Morty.

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 – 32: Edge of Tomorty: Rick, Die, Rick-peat

NEXT – 34: One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty

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

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