If it isn’t clear to my readers by now, though limited they may be, anime is a fairly large part of my viewing experience. I have all but discounted most American cartoons because many of them lack the depth and intelligence that can be found in anime. Granted, not all anime is high-brow, there are some definite silly shows out there, but for the most part my love of anime has caused me to lose enjoyment in the standard cartoons found on channels like Cartoon Network. This is especially sad because back when I was in high school, CN’s Adult Swim was a tradition for my brother and I. But alas, as time went on they lost a lot of the classics and great shows like SeasLab 2021 and others– so that too fell out of favor with me. Very recently, however, my brother recommened the show Rick and Morty that is currently airing on CN but is also available on HuluPlus (season one only).
I didn’t know what to expect, the animation based on the pictures looked sub-par but he, as well as a few others, couldn’t stop raving about it. So I turned on episode one. And then I blinked. And then the final episode of that season was finished. The show was crazy entertaining! It had me hooked from episode one and I couldn’t get enough of it. I thought season one was all that existed, so I was sad, until a coworker said that season two was available on Adult Swim’s website. So I went home that day, went to their site, and put on episode one of the second season. And then I blinked. And then the final episode of season two was done.
After having been missing for nearly 20 years, Rick Sanchez suddenly arrives at daughter Beth’s doorstep to move in with her and her family. Although Beth welcomes Rick into her home, her husband, Jerry, isn’t as happy about the family reunion. Jerry is concerned about Rick, a sociopathic scientist, using the garage as his personal laboratory. In the lab, Rick works on a number of sci-fi gadgets, some of which could be considered dangerous. But that’s not all Rick does that concerns Jerry. He also goes on adventures across the universe that often involve his grandchildren, Morty and Summer.
If it isn’t already abundantly clear, I absolutely love this show! The show is ridiculous, smart, hilarious and crazy creative. From episode one, they establish the multiverse where every possible world most likely exists and this does something truly unique for the show: they can do whatever the fuck they want and chalk it up to friggin’ science. This is a bit of a spoiler– so you’ve been warned– but in one episode they literally turn everyone in their timeline into weird monsters and instead of fix it, or rather fail at fixing it, Rick Sanchez decides to just teleport to a different world where that world’s Rick and Marty had succeeded in fixing the monsters, but dies soon after. They literally just take their places and no one knows! And if the multiverse wasn’t enough, space travel and aliens are real in this world as well and you get to see some pretty creative species and planets. There are ‘Purge’ worlds, that do an annual purging just like in the Purge films or parasites that infect your mind and make you think that you’re best friends or there is even an episode where you get to meet the legion of Rick Sanchez, which is an organization of every Rick in the multiverse banning together to protect each other from external threats. This show can literally do whatever it wants, and it does, and it is great at it!
I’ve had my suspicions for quite some time now that Rick and Morty was a sort of parody of Marty and Doc Brown from Back to the Future but I’ve just recently confirmed it. According to Vice, Rick and Morty was initially created is a parody called The Adventurous duo Doc and Mharti and, while the source material is a bit gross, it is clear that this is a very early inspiriation of what became an incredible show. Here is a video below (sorry about the poor quality):
The dynamic between Ricky and Morty in the actual show is done really well. They could have easily written Morty to be someone who is stepped on constantly, and he is a lot of the time, but he grows with the show and learns to think for himself, stand up for himself and more. Add that to the solid ensemble family cast and you get some pretty great side stories from Rick and Morty’s parents and sister who often get wheeled into their crazy situations. Rick Sanchez, without a doubt, is a total asshole– but in the best way possible. He plays an old-man scientist who just does what he wants and is always right. He isn’t afraid to make his daughter and husband feel stupid or put them in their place, but he also has moments where is humble or shows that he cares. Which makes the show both heartwarming and bad ass at the same time.
I am going to go on record here and say that Rick and Morty is the best American cartoon on television today and, while other shows may share its tenacity or humor, no show shares its intelligence and that is where the show sets itself apart. You never know what to expect in a given episode, which is fairly standard for most cartoons today… and that is partly why I don’t watch cartoons as much, there is no linear storyline…but with Rick and Morty, I look forward to each and every surprise because each show has something unique and fantastic to offer. I look forward to topics of reality, the multiverse, determinism vs. free will, morality and you get those and much much more with this show!
Here are some more photos below to get a feel for the animation: