Saturday, April 29, 2017

'Rick and Morty' Isn't Just a Brilliant Cartoon or Science Fiction Series. It's a Brilliant TV Show, Period.

Rick and Morty sits on top of my list of modern cartoons that I had heard is great and had been meaning to get into, but had continually put off doing so.  But with the huge, surprise season 3 debut last April Fools’ Day, with the rest of the season coming later this year, now is a good time to finally do it.  Besides, it’s very easy to binge.  The series only has 22 episodes so far; each one only a bit over 20 minutes long.  So I finished watching it within a day.

Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, Rick and Morty stemmed off from a Back to the Future parody short film that Roilan made.  Its inspiration is pretty obvious right off the bat, with Rick looking like Doc and Morty noticeably taken from “Marty.”  But while Doc Brown and Marty McFly are goofy time travelers, Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith’s own thing is a step up with their crazy intergalactic and interdimensional adventures.
Episodes revolve around the most fascinating, most delightful, weirdest science fiction concepts this side of Doctor Who.  The duo does have misadventures on Earth and around the universe, but the most remarkable episodes are those involving alternate realities and other dimensions (the funniest and most interesting episode where the multiverse is explored is easily Season 1 Episode 10, “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind”).  In one episode, when they blunderingly turned their world into a mutant wasteland, they simply traveled into a closely similar, parallel world from theirs wherein their alternate selves had just died (yep, there are countless Ricks and Mortys existing and traveling across the multiverse).  Then in another episode, Rick hacks their TV so that it will show every channel from different planets and other realities, and they spend the entire episode browsing and watching various TV programming from different parts of the multiverse.

Mindblowing or messed up plot devices are continuously thought out to build a fresh Rick and Morty adventure on, with stakes ranging from something tremendous like preventing the destabilization of space-time to something petty like obtaining an ice cream that is only available in a particular reality.  Regardless of premise, each episode is awesome (there’s only one episode which I think is average: Season 2 Episode 8, “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”).

On top of this, as the series progresses, with almost a soap opera-tic quality to it, we become more and more sympathetic and invested to its flawed, well-realized characters and their personal struggles (especially Rick). 
Rick and Morty isn’t just one of the most brilliant animated or science fiction TV series I’ve ever watched, but simply one of the best TV shows I’ve ever watched in general.  It’s intensely smart, engaging, and funny.  The jokes are mostly intelligent and geeky, but it’s also competent enough to use toilet humor without coming out cheap.  And though it’s basically comedic and raunchy in tone, it can also become effectively poignant or dark.  When this series ends, it will surely become part of my all-time favorites.

Now, I wonder if I’ll also get around checking out those other supposedly must-watch modern cartoons (e.g. Steven Universe, Archer) that I haven’t watched yet.

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