“Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.” It may seem asinine, but Rick and Morty, the show created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Adult Swim, is one of the most interesting, thoughtful shows on television — with butt jokes and screaming suns strewn throughout. Based on the story of Doc and Marty from Back to the Future, it has a surprising amount of scientific theory coupled with hilarious situations and a full characters and interwoven plots.
“What about the reality where Hitler cured cancer, Morty? The answer is: Don’t think about it.” The science in this show is consistent with what some modern physicists believe to be possible in a multi-verse. Inflation theory posits that the big bang leads to infinite space, if there is infinite everything, all actions, and all situations, also happen an infinite amount of times. One of the core aspects of Rick’s character is that, as Summer says, “…The fact that you’re old, the fact that we’re all going to die one day, the fact that the universe is so big, nothing in it matters—those facts are who you are!” After accidentally destroying the world by turning its inhabitants into monsters, Rick and Morty find another universe in which they die instead of destroying the world, taking their dead doppelganger’s place, they continue as if nothing were wrong. Of course, with infinite possibilities, the episode ends with monstrous versions of the duo from another universe finding the monster-infested earth a suitable home after their own world went awry.
“So he made a universe, and that guy is from that universe, and that guy made a universe… and that’s the universe where I was born? Where my father died… Where I couldn’t make time for his funeral because I was working on my universe.” There are also strange scientific theories represented, perhaps coincidentally, here. In one episode, Rick and Morty go inside the battery powering Rick’s space ship that holds within it its own universe as a source of power. There is a theory that imagines futuristic humans would run a simulation universe, that we find ourselves in now. As those who believe this say, it would solve the “fine tuning” problem of physics. This is highly improbably, but Rick and Morty easily present and parody a situation in which this is the case.
“Show me what you got.” The fact that correlation does not imply causation escapes far too many people. In Get Schwifty, Rick and Morty not only manages to illustrate this point, it skewers religion and the music industry all in 30 minutes. In this episode, earth finds itself entered into an intergalactic singing competition akin to American Idol hosted by giant floating heads. While Rick and Morty are busy trying to win the competition, thus saving the earth from annihilation, the people in their town begin worshiping the heads, misconstruing their actions to imply pleasure or displeasure with the newly founded cult religion. In reality, the aliens were only concerned with the reality television competition. This is analogous to religious leaders who declare natural disasters to be somehow related to the piety of the victims. In the competition, Rick writes a hit pop song by poorly singing nonsense over a generic, computer generated beat. This should sound familiar to anyone keeping up with pop culture. Critics of this episode claim that the religious subplot is too heavy handed and ubiquitous, which are both valid claims, but I find the way the interwoven plots play against each other impressive, and parodies of religion always worth re-visiting.
Intergalactic cables I and II are two of the most surreal and inventive episodes of the show. Each features commercials, snippets of shows, and other random television distractions from throughout the multiverse as Rick and Morty flip through channels, with all the bits improvised by the voice actors. This not only carries with it the charm of improv, with pauses and stutters, but the way the animators illustrate those moments is hilarious. Seeing the process, from improvised skits to animated short, allows for two layers of comedy, one of the actual words of the commercial, and another of the re-interpretation of those skits though the animation. These are some of the strongest episodes in the series, by showing off the brand of crude, intelligent humor the show has become known for.
Though it might go without saying, almost 700 words into this blog post, I really enjoy this show. It’s incredibly re-watchable, quotable, and fun share with other fans. Compared to any other comedy on television, this is at once the edgiest, darkest, and silliest currently available, at least that I am aware of. I recommend everyone try watching it, which can easily be done on Adult Swim’s website.