Hidden Gems: Rick and Morty
When I reveal that this show is on Adult Swim this probably gives you a good idea about the sense of humour that is featured on the show. Let me recap for those who are unfamiliar with AS. In America, during the late hours of the night, the Cartoon Network channel switches over its demographic from children to shows that are unquestionably meant for adults. The line-up includes Venture Bros., Robot Chicken, Aqua Team Hunger Force, Metalocalypse and so on.
The joke behind the channel was originally that the content was made for stoners, but in recent years they managed to find their footing and create some genuinely great shows. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea; the shows centre around sex, violence, drugs – all that good stuff. If you’re already a fan of these shows you’re not going to be disappointed with Rick and Morty, but if you’re unfamiliar with these I’d recommend starting with this one or Venture Bros.; both shows stand on their own and definitely surpass the stoner humour the channel is known for.
I can’t label Rick and Morty as a black or dark comedy, because it’s not, but this really isn’t the kind of comedy that’s going to leave you feeling warm inside. This show is cold, cynical and unforgiving (like our exes AM I RIGHT FELLAS?), but also kinda fantastic. It’s the show’s bleakness that makes the characters feel so human and the feel of human emotions that creates such laughs. Guilty laughs, sure, but laughs nonetheless.
Rick is beautifully sarcastic and grown to the age where he no longer cares, which is in complete opposite to Morty, who is always so nervous. Morty’s parents are in a failing marriage struggling to keep it going, and Morty’s teenage sister Summer… Okay, she exists to be the teenage daughter archetype, I can’t deny that. Place these characters in a universe where quite literally anything can happen from a dog uprising, the devil starting a business and a talking jelly bean who, well, let’s just say shouldn’t be allowed to live near schools.
The best part of the show is the adventures, the ability to combine great writing with a creative imagination gives results as wonderful as you’d expect. Worlds where fairy tale giants press legal action or a world where women rule with all the gender stereotypes you can think of (it’s a mockery of stereotypes rather than women, obviously).
Yet the best adventures take place right at home, where deadly viruses turn people into praying mantises that fall in love with Morty and a theme park sprouts up inside the body of a homeless man. One of the best episodes surprisingly turns out to be when the family are able to view every channel from an infinite number of universes.
I love animated series made for adults, the kind that combines intelligent writing, cynicism and satire, all while turning the standard animated tropes on its head. Mostly, however, I love shows that can do all of this and just make it fun. That’s the most important quality of this show; it never takes itself seriously, it just focuses on creating an enjoyable experience. Rick and Morty has quickly risen as one of my favourite animated series.