The off-the-wall, science-fiction animated comedy Rick and Morty is coming towards the end of its long anticipated third season. So, has it been worth the wait?
Rick and Morty is a show that defies description, managing to be completely insane and crass while handling some extremely delicate topics with care and grace. In previous seasons they explored such concepts as free will (with a hive mind that assimilates species) and religion (with giant heads floating in space).
The show revolves around the adventures of Rick Sanchez, the smartest mammal in the Universe, and his simple-minded grandson Morty Smith. Through Rick’s mastery of inter-dimensional travel they are able to move between every possible reality. Some of these dimensions have strange quirks, including one entirely populated by hamsters living in people’s butts (I’m not sure of the biology behind that). All of their adventures go in strange and often disturbing directions, testing them both as well as the rest of the Smith family.
It’s hard to pin down when it clicked and all this weirdness gave way to hilarity and real emotional meaning. Maybe it was when Rick and Morty had to bury their own dead bodies from an alternative dimension. Or, perhaps it was when it was when Morty experiences a traumatic sexual assault from an anthropomorphised jelly bean. Whenever it was, since then the show has never disappointed, with constantly superb writing and an art style that brings all of the strange worlds to life.
When season 2 finished airing in October 2015 fans waited with bated breath for the third season to arrive. When it took longer than expected fears started to surface that the creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (creator of Community) had fallen out. However, on April 1st 2017 the season premiere was played unannounced all evening much to the elation and confusion of fans the world
Since then Season 3 has lived up to all expectations, handling tough subjects through absurdity and humour. However, if one episode sums up why Rick and Morty works so well it is Episode 7 “The Ricklantis Mixup”; which now sits as the 11th highest rated episode of TV ever on IMdB.
The episode takes us to the Citadel of Ricks, a space station set up by Ricks and Mortys from multiple dimensions in order to hide from the galactic government. Following several different storylines, points are made about class warfare, capitalism, fickle democracies and police corruption. All this while remaining zany and relatable, a very tough line to walk.
The thing that sets Rick and Morty apart from other animations and other comedies in general is the emotional pay off. Drawing on his experiences from Community where he created a laugh-out-loud comedy with complex characters, Harmon is able to extract emotion from even the most obscure and seemingly unrelatable situation.
This is achieved by not being scared to step back from the comedy and focus on the characters. Every line of dialogue fleshes out a character and their motivations or in some cases lack thereof. Especially in the case of Rick who professes that his driving goal is to acquire a long-discontinued McDonald’s McNugget sauce, released as a tie in for the film Mulan (1998).
Rick and Morty may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are a fan of dark humour and absurdity you can’t go far wrong. The intelligent writing makes every episode seem like a new adventure that could go anywhere. Season 3 is not yet over and there is still much that could happen and whatever does, is sure to be weird and poignant in equal measure.
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