Creators: Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon
Original network: Adult Swim
Season: Season 1 – 2013
imdb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2861424/
As of this writing, Rick and Morty has become somewhat an TV cartoon giant after just 3 seasons. Well, it was hyped right after its pilot, which is a more deranged, acid take on Doc Brown and Marty McFly’s adventures from Back to the Future. For those of you who still haven’t caught up to the show yet, Rick and Morty details the various adventures from titular characters (which are voiced by the same person, the co-director Justin Roiland) where they mostly travel inter-dimensional space and meet their clone versions from other timelines. In fact, the first half of this first season plays more as a spoof from various sci-fi blockbusters range from Inception (“So if it’s confusing and stupid, then so is everyone’s favorite movie”), to Jurassic Park, Jack and the Beanstalk and even The Truman Show. The spoof is fun in its own right but the true magic comes later with a string of episodes that push even its boundary to the next level from Meeseeks and Destroy, Rick’s Portion #9, and Raising Gazorpazorp (which for me are the season’s highlights). Although its episodes kinda reset back to the status quo the next episode, we eventually learn that many of the Rick and Morty’s actions have consequences.
The strongest appeals of Rick and Morty lie in its never afraid to go dark places for its humor. It has an edge. We go through many nasty, disturbing details (but hilariously and smartly so) from Morty conceives a freaking alien-baby with his sex robot to the paedophile Beans King and those never comes off as off-putting. Add this to the unpredictability of the adventures where anything can happen, will happen and plenty of the biting, quotable lines and you have one of the most entertaining TV cartoons out there. Much of these also have to do with Rick’s outrageous, selfish and crazy personality, which normally could be a chore to watch, but he’s always a fun character to follow. And then we have him bouncing off with the exact opposite Morty, who is timid and selfless, and more often than not he serves as the moral stand for Rick’s increasingly manipulative behaviours.
Add to the cast, we have the rest of the Smiths consist of the insecure dad Jerry, who takes many spotlights as the show delves into his crumble pride and his unhappy marriage with Beth, Rick’s daughter. We also have Morty’s sister Summer who also joins Rick in some of his adventures. As of now, I still feel Summer as a typical sister type (she reminds me lots of Candace in Phineas and Ferb) so I hope coming seasons will use more of her or add her into the adventure. Rick and Morty often uses the B plot for more family drama, which is a welcome direction as it gives more depth and grounded, relatable issues to the show. Jerry, for example, could very well make the show unbearable with his wimpy. Yet, for Rick and Morty, he actually shines because we see how often Jerry breaks his own character and become a trope-reversal character.
On the technical issue, the show does its job done. Not marvellously, but it’s often the case with Western TV cartoon where it concerns more to the writing and dialogue than the technical aspect. Aesthetically it looks alright. While the character designs are nothing much standout, the extraterrestrial backgrounds are always a joy to watch. And I love these moments where the characters would do a V shaped mouth (the creators said they’re inspired by The Ren & Stimpy Show). Often the time, these last minutes of the episodes give some clever twists which both close the episodes off in a more intriguing notes and add much more context to what we already know (the endings of Rick Potion #9 and Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind come to mind). Rick and Morty is a clever, funny and twisted multi-dimensional ride that strictly for adult. It’s foul, but not vulgar and it’s refreshing to watch episodes where you don’t know what the hell will happen next, couple with endless quotable phrases as the hamsters in the butts cherry on top.
PS: This is my first review on the weekly TV Cartoon review, the next up will be Steven Universe season 1. See ya all soon.