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Opinion: ‘Rick and Morty’ weirdly contiguous, profoundly philosophical

April 17, 2014

andrew-zistler

The best new show on television is a cartoon — “Rick and Morty,” an animated television series which premiered on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim in early December. It follows the inter-dimensional hijinks of alcoholic grandpa and super scientist, Rick, and his slow-witted grandson, Morty.

“Rick and Morty” was created by Dan Harmon, the creator of NBC sitcom “Community” and Justin Roiland, who is among other things, the infamous voice of Lemongrab in “Adventure Time.”

The show has enjoyed monstrous ratings since its inception. According to Vulture.com, in the young male demographic, it has at times literally beaten every other show on television during prime time, even shows that aired on the Big Four broadcast networks. “Rick and Morty” has also done well among different demographics, and increased in viewership very quickly during earlier episodes.

The final episode of season one aired Monday, but don’t worry, you can still see the show for free – Adult Swim has posted some of the episodes for free viewing on the Internet.

At first glance, “Rick and Morty” might seem to be another dirty cartoon parents wouldn’t want their children to see, akin to “Family Guy” or “South Park.” It showcases a variety of crude, sometimes disgusting one-liners and intelligent science fiction laden zingers. Due to various bouts of inter dimensional travel, the viewer might also find themselves temporarily confused, but in a wonderful and interesting way.

In the beginning of one episode, Rick and Morty are killed almost instantly, only for it to be later explained that those were Rick and Mortys from another dimension entirely. In another, Rick has a battle with the Devil himself, and in another, Rick and Morty manage to destroy the entire planet.

These adventures might seem somewhat typical of any science fiction or animated television programs. However, “Rick and Morty” definitely stands a part from other quirky animated shows. Toward the end of nearly every episode, the focus transitions from humor to drama and becomes very poignant by revealing the implications of Rick’s and Morty’s insane adventures to the viewer, usually in a dark and very serious way. It has become clear to me that the intense characterization and broader, weirdly contiguous storyline offer a quick snapshot of something profoundly philosophical and moving, something other animated shows simply lack.

“Rick and Morty” borrows character ideas from the likes of “Dr. Who” and “Back to the Future.” In spite of this, it is anything but unoriginal. If you like science fiction and “South Park,” then this show is right up your alley. Even if you’re one to normally dislike animated shows, you should definitely give “Rick and Morty” a chance as it is unlike nearly anything else released on major networks in recent history.


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