Saturday, January 4, 2020

Rick and Morty is a Complex (and really Fun) Cartoon

Rick Sanchez (voiced by Justin Roiland) in his Garage Workshop with Grandson Morty. Taken from the Season 3 episode 'Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender.'

Rick and Morty is a Cartoon with real depth and imagination

Adult Swim's fantastic cartoon series Rick and Morty is far more than your run of the mill cartoon. At its' heart the show is a family drama, with the relationship of cynical Mad Scientist Rick Sanchez and his Grandson Morty Smith at the core.

Rick lives with his daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke), her husband Jerry (Chris Parnell), and their children Summer (Spencer Grammar) and the aforementioned Morty. It seems that Rick has been missing from most of his daughter's life. He is a genius and often refers to himself as, "the smartest man in the Galaxy."

Most episodes are devoted to the intergalactic adventures of Rick and his Grandson. Being a cartoon made for adults, the adventures are filled with razor sharp pop culture references, sexual innuendo, swearing, and all the other good things you can expect from Adult Swim's programming.

That Rick and Morty's adventures often have an impact on Morty's schoolwork is a source of tension within the family. At several points during the show's 4 Season run (with more Seasons to come) Jerry attempts to put his foot down in an effort to limit Rick's influence.

When Rick's family tries to make him change his behavior, or place boundaries on his adventures with Morty, these efforts are often met with a hilarious Rick Sanchez monologue. His vitriol-filled rants are one of the best things about Rick and Morty. Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have a real sense for comedic timing and how to land a punchline.

For me, Rick and Morty is strongest as a series when it skewers pop culture and contemporary life. In a nod to political correctness and current ideas about offensive speech, in one episode Rick receives a cursed microscope from the Devil. He banters with Morty about how using it would make him retarded while Morty nervously suggests that Rick cannot use the word.

As a character Rick Sanchez is a very strong focal point for the series. Although gifted with immense intelligence he is often seen drinking or outright drunk. In my favourite episode from Season 3, Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender, Rick accomplishes the mission of the titular Vindicators while he is blackout drunk. There are also many hints that Rick suffers from Depression. It will be interesting to see how he develops as a character in coming Seasons, and how these psychological issues will be resolved.

I want to close this entry by recommending the episode Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender for anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the show. The humor here is very dirty, raucous and on point. The episode's comic timing and skewering of the Superhero genre make it particularly good viewing. Wishing everyone reading this a happy and successful 2020.

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