Rick and Morty… All this time I thought it was a show for kids… It’s not, it’s really, really not.
The first few episodes are a bit of a hit and a miss, like most adult cartoons from the era, but it takes off around the 5th episode.
Bit of a spoiler coming up, I suggest you see the first few episodes before reading on.
I find it hard to pinpoint it though. Is it a comedy? Horror? Terror? Psychological drama? I mean it has jokes, but then you also have episodes that ends without a shred of humour, where you hear sad music while a terrified, traumatized 14-year-old boy wanders around, wondering if life is worth living after the crazy stuff he’s seen, after being part of destroying humanity up close and just seen himself from another reality die in an explosion, forced to bury his own body… And that’s just a few hours after having to do the same thing to his entire family, after having to kill them with a similar explosion.
It doesn’t pause for humour, it stopped completely and took a different turn all together. You’re not observing a cartoon character from the safety of your home anymore, you’re exploring the psyche of a young kid who has been through some really horrible experiences and will be scarred for the rest of his life for it.
And that’s just one episode’s ending, the show is littered with moments like that. But then it’s intermingled with what is obviously comedy. Principal Vagina (no relation), every creature has at least one ball sack hanging off somewhere, Ricks constant burping in the middle of sentences. But at the same time, everyone’s reactions are genuine and every action has consequences.
In the very first episode, we see Rick freeze a kid with a freeze ray. Thinking nothing of it, saying something like “I’ll unfreeze him later”, they walk away. Just when they’re out of sight, the kid falls over and shatters. As I was about to start laughing, another kid walks up and is horrified. I don’t mean Family Guy-type startled, I mean like a real kid that just watch someone die a horrible death-type horrified.
Later on we even get to see the memorial service for the kid in the background, with half the school attending a session of mourning and later in the series we see a memorial to the kid.
But at the same time, Rick never gets his fair share for it. He’s the only one unphased by the consequences and seemingly unable to take responsibility. It may be played up for laughs, but for a show like this, I never know. Is it? Or is it just showing the messed up reality Rick lives in, where he’s been through so much traumatizing stuff in his life that he just stopped caring?
In the aforementioned episode with the tragic ending, he reveals that he’s jumped dimension several times after messing up, to a reality where everything up until that point was the same, but his old self just happened to die at that very moment. In fact, he says he’s done it so many times that despite a universe of infinite possibilities, he can only do it a handful more times before every possibility has been exhausted.
So I’ll ask again, is it really a comedy, or is it a horror show with psychological terror elements that people just assume they should laugh at, because of the absurdity of the situations we see?
I honestly don’t know. All I know is that I’m now addicted to that show!