Disney+ Mini-Review: The Mandalorian – It’s Fun and That’s Fine

Disney finally gave us the Star Wars side story that we secretly always wanted and I’m pretty happy about it.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free if you have the internet)

It’s 5 years after Return of the Jedi and most of the Galaxy’s collective sh*t is pretty broken. A lot of soldiers are now working as private armies, a lot of formerly powerful Imperials are trying to resist the new Republic, and bounty hunting is a viable business model.

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His people fought Jedi. Just remember that.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) is a bounty hunter who operates alone and tends to be fairly brutal in combat. His bounty hunting guild leader Greef Karga (Carl “Apollo” Weathers) informs him that there is a client (Werner “Holy sh*t, Werner Herzog” Herzog) with a special bounty request. When the bounty price is revealed to be a cache of Beskar steel, sacred to Mandalorians, the Mandalorian agrees. After gaining the assistance of a vapor farmer named Kuill (Nick Nolte) and a robot bounty hunter IG-11 (Taika “What Waititi Do in the Shadows” Waititi), he succeeds in finding the target, but discovers that it is a child from the same species as Yoda. Having a change of heart, the Mandalorian goes on the run with The Child, earning enemies everywhere.

END SUMMARY

Let’s get it out of the way: Baby Yoda is about the cutest damned thing out there. It’s what happens when someone looks at baby Groot and goes “I’ll top this.” Is it bad writing to have a character whose main trait is just that he’s adorable? Maybe, but also HE’S SO ADORABLE YOU GUYS. Also, I think they’re going to name the child Yoda just so that, in retrospect, everyone isn’t wrong about what they call him. 

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This is him in a bad mood and I want to hug him so badly.

Star Wars has had a lot of great stuff and a lot of crap over the years, but mostly it’s created an amazing world that manages to combine the possibilities of almost every frontier. Any scene can take place, justifiably, in almost any environment. You can have a representation of a futuristic armada intercut with a sequence of desert survival and nothing about that is inconsistent with the Star Wars universe. That means that, in Star Wars, you can imagine almost any background for a character or culture and it will still fit. Star Wars doesn’t stifle the imagination, it feeds it. That’s why it’s so great to get a show like this, where we just see a completely different story playing out parallel to the rest of the series. 

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This is a robot with a bandolier. That’s just awesome.

While Star Wars was based on the old Buck Rogers serials and their sci-fi action/adventure roots mixed with Japanese jidaigeki films (mostly The Hidden Fortress), The Mandalorian is its own melting pot of genres. The main character is based on the Man with No Name figure typically associated with Clint Eastwood, a taciturn gunslinger who travels alone and has his own code of ethics. However, once he becomes attached to The Child, the series shifts slightly to be more like Lone Wolf and Cub, the famous Samurai manga and film series about a father doing horrible killings to protect his son. By blending the Western and Eastern influences with the sci-fi and fantasy setting, the show can justify making episode-specific genre shifts. This means that rather than having to focus on maintaining a consistent tone, the series allowed the writers and directors to explore more when they had control while still being true to the characters. For example, we have a heist episode that ends up also playing out a number of horror tropes and it still works.

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Surprise, the Devil guy is not nice (yes, hes a Devaronian, Star Wars names are easy).

The action sequences in the show are among the best in the Star Wars universe, partially because there are more people with guns and fewer space wizards. Not that I don’t love a good lightsaber battle as much as the next guy, but that’s been the majority of sustained action sequences in the franchise. Instead, we get to watch a bounty hunter use a combination of fantastic weaponry, tactical planning, and training to take out small armies of enemies. Hell, we get to see a single person fight a TIE fighter and, well, it’s everything that Star Wars videogames told me it would be. 

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Same with an AT-AT.

Overall, this is just a great show. Does it have a huge character arc for the main character? Not really. Does it have a ton of lines that are profoundly quotable and meaningful? Nope. Does it teach me things about myself that I would never have found otherwise? Not at all. BUT IT’S JUST SO FUN. It’s got a space cowboy kicking ass to protect the cutest creature in TV history, a phrase that also describes Firefly, and that’s all I wanted out of it.

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 – S2E8 “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”

It’s another episode of wonderful interdimensional television, combined with Jerry having to deal with the fate of one of the universe’s greatest leaders.

SUMMARY

Jerry (Chris Parnell) is rushed to a space hospital due to eating a mutant bacteria which Rick (Justin Roiland) kept in a pint of Cherry Garcia. After he’s stabilized, Rick decides to entertain himself and the rest of the family by putting interdimensional cable on the television. The episode mostly consists of watching this as the B-plot.

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Including how to make a Plumbus, which feels… dirty.

Meanwhile, Jerry finds out that the hospital wants him to donate his penis as a heart to save the life of Shrimply Pibbles, an intergalactic civil rights advocate. After an elderly alien (Werner Herzog) says that humans are too selfish about their penises to sacrifice one, Jerry promises to give his away… then immediately regrets it. He tries to get Beth (Sarah Chalke) to help bail him out, but she tells him to do it himself. He then attempts to turn popular opinion against Shrimply Pibbles, but fails massively, resulting in the crowd calling him out for trying to get out of his promise. The crowd hates him so much that they end up crowd-funding an artificial heart for Pibbles. Jerry, unable to deal with people hating him, tries to shove his penis in Pibbles’ chest, but is shot by security. He’s revived in the hospital and Beth tells him “You can’t make people like you. You just have to wait for their hating you to bore them.” He tries to be assertive, but the family shoots him down immediately.

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And, no matter what IMDB tells you, this is NOT Shrimply Pibbles.

END SUMMARY

As Rick even says in the episode, this is a sequel to “Rixty Minutes,” (one of my add-ons to the 100 Greatest Episodes list) once again showcasing a series of short skits that all take place in parallel universes put forth by Justin Roiland. According to interviews, a few of the funnier ones were the ideas that Roiland really hated, which, out of spite, he would keep dissecting or destroying in such a fun way that they made it in. One of those is “Man Vs. Car,” which even contains the obviously slightly out of context line “Wouldn’t the car always win?”

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The Car has a slight advantage, admittedly.

Much like the first interdimensional cable, the beauty of the interdimensional cable shows and ads is that they are completely improvised, which gives them a unique feel compared to most television. Since Roiland apparently did most of them under the influence of some kind of substance, they also have a bit of an oblique way of being presented. For example, “Jan Quadrant Vincent 16” is the odd pitch of an action film involving multiple copies of Jan-Michael Vincent from Airwolf. It’s such an insane reference that Morty (Roiland) even asks if it’s important to know who Jan-Michael Vincent is for the ad to make sense. It turns out that, no, knowing who it is doesn’t add anything to the experience.

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I would watch this. Although, Jan-Michael Vincent is now in his 70s.

Jerry’s story arc is pretty typical for Jerry. He felt like asserting himself in response to being perceived as selfish, but then refused to do anything to correct that after realizing that he does, in fact, want to keep his penis. Beth, rather than helping him, instead becomes focused on the options that she has to replace his penis, most of which are, apparently, vastly superior to Jerry’s current equipment. She even apparently memorizes a lot of the catalogue, being able to recognize one later on sight.

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Where Jerry found one to attack the doctors is still unclear.

The biggest problem with this episode, compared to the original, is that it doesn’t contain any dialogue as amazing as Morty’s speech to Summer. However, I do find the lines of Jerry calling the doctors dicks for not giving Pibbles an artificial heart earlier and them calling him a dick do make me chuckle. Despite how much Jerry is usually a weeny, it’s also true that they were kind of dickish for not telling him that there was a possibility of getting Pibbles an artificial heart. In fact, they asserted exactly the opposite.

JOKER’S THEORY CORNER

Rick buys Eyeholes just to get back at Jerry. Jerry started the whole episode by trying to steal Rick’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. Then, he sees the ad for Eyeholes but acknowledges that, if you buy the cereal, the Eyeholes Man (Roiland) will show up and kick the crap out of you. Despite this, Rick doesn’t keep the Eyeholes in the garage or in his basement lab, but instead puts them in the kitchen so that Jerry, with his lack of respect for Rick’s food, will end up getting a beating.

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Also, he apparently can cross dimensions.

LEAVING THE CORNER

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 – 18: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez

NEXT – 20: Look Who’s Purging Now

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.