Rick and Morty appeared to come off as a simple cartoon trying to imitate the Doc Brown and Marty McFly dynamic from Back to The Future. Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty went from cheap knock off idea to a creative little show in practically the first episode. One episode after the next, the show continually offered some interesting stories, several funny bits, and occasionally some surprisingly deep moments.
Rick is a crazy scientist that moves in with his daughter’s family. He hates his son-in-law Jerry with a passion and comes off as a bad influence to his grandson Morty, taking him on wild excursions, usually to other dimensions through his nifty portal gun, and usually leaving Morty a little worse for wear by the end of it all. Rick’s always moving at a hard to follow pace and Morty, or sometimes his sister Summer, tries his best to keep up. Rick may not be 100% honest with Morty, but their dysfunctional communication is where a lot of the comedy stems from.
Morty isn’t the only one going on adventures with Rick. Sometimes Summer tags along and the dynamic between her and Rick adds a bit more variety to the show. In one episode, Summer gets a job working for the Devil and Rick uses that opportunity to have a little fun and mess with the Devil’s business. Despite a lot of great moments in this episode, the best was probably when Rick and Summer work together to give the Devil a dose of payback at the end. They go through a montage of intense physical training and steroid use and end up working in tandem to belt the Devil a new one.
Things are never really tame for the show. Morty tries to lead him and Rick on an adventure and suddenly sends them on a journey into a world where they are soon taken to trial for the death of a giant. Rick tries to help Morty from time to time like giving him a pheromone to make the girl he likes at his school fall for him or a sex bot because he’s an adolescent boy and things easily grow out of hand. Rick even tries to satisfy some pressing demands from the family with a gadget or two with very disastrous consequences. Give them a box that creates something called a Meeseeks to help them fulfill their wish turns into an army of Meeseeks trying to kill Jerry because he’s awful at golf.
Rick and Morty play on a lot of familiar territory in their own ways. They riff a little on Inception as they delve into dream after dream. There’s a Freddy Kruger knock off. An episode with Rick working on a park with some strong similarities to Jurassic Park. There is even an episode based around M. Night. Shyamalan and his notorious use of twists. The show also delves into some well known, and sometimes not so well-known scientific theories and concepts.
And when the show’s not just being a hilarious trip of sanity, it hits some strong emotional strings. Morty taking his sister Summer to a window and pointing to two graves in the backyard as he tells her that’s where him and Rick buried dead versions of themselves. Morty coming to the realization that Rick only keeps him around as a sort of cloaking device for his brainwaves (followed by a more subtle show that Rick might be the only Rick of all the realities that actually cares for Morty on a more personal level). Even Rick’s catchphrase, “wubadubadubdub,” is given a bit of a dark twist as Birdperson reveals what the saying means to his people.
Rick and Morty really took off on its first season, and has already shaped a world with near countless possibilities. As things like multiple realities and endless possibilities are explored. Season 1 ends with Rick freezing time so him, Morty, and Summer could clean things up before they get in trouble with Jerry and Beth, and season two picks up right when they start to restart time, premiering Sunday, July 26, at 11;30 PT.
(4.5 out of 5)