One of my close friends introduced me to Rick and Morty and I immediately fell in love with it. At first, I just thought it was really funny and an interesting parody of Back to the Future. In summary, it is about the adventures of a young kid called Morty, and his grandfather named Rick who’s a brilliant, alcoholic scientist. But when I kept watching the episodes over and over again, I realized that there was a certain level of catharsis I felt after every episode. Rick and Morty is a unique adult cartoon in that the comedy is just as relevant as the emotional moments. Also, the existential euphemisms that are said throughout each episode hit hard while also allowing you to feel less responsible for the bullshit surrounding your life. For instance, when in one of the episodes, Rick explains to Morty that, in summary, love is just a chemical reaction that drives us to reproduce and marriage is a waste of time (basically an illusion). Although these are not new ideas being presented in any quotes of the show, it’s the way it’s presented that becomes funny and relatable to adults, especially late 20-somethings. Qualities like this make Rick and Morty one of the best adult animated shows ever made, in my opinion.
Existential Crisis 60% of the time, all the time:
The reason I say it’s most relatable to late 20-somethings is because we have hit the point in our lives where we realize that all the dreams we had growing up will most likely not happen and we just have to settle for the life we have available. This realization of realistic goals and the hopelessness involved in it is a main theme that seems to drive the show. For instance, at the end of the episode “Rick Potion #9,” Rick and Morty completely changed the universe and every person except their family turn into monsters. Rick decides to send them to an alternate universe where this did not happen in order to continue their lives. However, their other selves in this new universe die in a freak accident right before they get there, so they have to bury their other selves and take their places in their alternative universe family. At first, Morty is traumatized by this incident and has a difficult time coping with the fact that he buried himself. But then, a few episodes later when they’re watching TV with the rest of the family, Morty’s sister Summer becomes upset and Morty wants to console her. He does this by saying, “nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die, come watch TV.” This is within a matter of two episodes that Morty eventually copes with his mortality and understands how hopeless and meaningless life can be.
Humor and Ignorance:
On the flip side, however, it also relates best with our age group because of it’s humor. Most of us have a dry sense of humor that teases on the ridiculousness of social expectations. At the beginning of the “Rickle in Time” episode, Rick says a joke about an obscure reference to Morty and Summer, and they both laugh at it. Then he responds with, “Oh, you agree, huh? You like that redgren grumbholdt reference? Yeah. Well, guess what? I made him up. You really are your father’s children. Think for yourselves. Don’t be sheep.” It hits the radical bone in a person while also being hilarious. Morty’s father, Jerry, is depicted as a fairly unintelligent individual that is constantly trying to prove himself as “man of the house,” and most jokes about the mundane life of social expectations usually center around him and his failing marriage to Rick’s daughter and Morty’s mother, Beth. A perfect example of this is the entire episode of “M-Night Shaym-Aliens!” when Jerry is in a poorly-made simulation that aliens created without realizing it, and ends up having the best day of his life without doing anything remotely intuitive. All the while, not even considering that anything was weird about the day at all, even though the simulated people were clearly acting robotically and unreal. This show plays off the ignorance of people in society, and flips it on the person to wake them up to their universes.
With all this, why I truly find joy and catharsis from watching this show is that I work in, more or less, customer service. All day, everyday I deal with people that put their own, sometimes insignificant needs in front of anything else going on around them. I work at an abortion and family planning clinic that, although most situations and concerns of our patients are true and real, there is always a handful of people we deal with on a daily basis that love to ruin people’s lives with their petty bullshit. Whether it’s insurance issues that are out of our hands, the protesters outside of our clinic that we have no control over, their own personal lives that we have nothing to do with, or literally anything else they feel like making up to vent their emotions out on someone, we have to deal/fix these problems with a smile on our faces. And watching a show that makes fun of people that care too much about bullshit and slaps people in the face with the reality that nothing matters and everything is random feels really…really good.
So there you have it. Watch the show.