The Strange Appeal of Rick and Morty

Some media makes sense, some does not. Rick and Morty is in the latter camp, almost all the time. It is madness…and yet…

And yet, it is amazing. Adult Swim’s content lineup has never contained a huge draw for me until now. I never could get into the headspace of the stoner comedy, or enjoy strings of sexual and violent things someone calls a show. I cannot get behind just shock humor. Now, that’s not to say I don’t occasionally enjoy shock humor, but I just do not understand how I am supposed to find the stuff they put in their shows “funny.”

This even extends to Rick and Morty.  I don’t find Rick and Morty that funny. I cannot think of a time where it made me laugh aloud, or even really chuckle all that hard. And, yet—against everything I’ve said—I enjoy the show. It doesn’t always make sense, but I like it, and all the insane stuff it talks about.

But, unlike some, I cannot leave the conclusion at that. That would make for a short article, first off, but, I also can’t leave it at “I like it” and walk away from media without figuring out why—I’m not wired that way. I don’t turn off my brain—and I do not leave enjoyment explanations at the surface level if I can help it.

In purely unrelated news, I’m not always the most fun person to watch movies with. Just FYI.

Anyway, after some thought, and with the help of some internet articles, I guess I must chock it up to something Rick and Morty does well: being clever. Oh sure, for the usual viewer, it’s hard to see past the burping and the odd animations, and the constant repetition of the word “Morty,” but, like I said in another article I wrote, shows that are clever easily have my heart.

And Rick and Morty is clever and smart. And not only in subtle ways. I forget, sometimes, that most people don’t know things like the Fermi Paradox or the Multiverse Theory. I bring it up in conversation and get blank stares. But, Rick and Morty knows these sorts of things as well, and does not dumb itself down, despite what initial impressions it might give. And that’s goddamn endearing in a media landscape often going for the lowest common denominator. In any given episode of Rick and Morty, new concepts are explained quickly, and it’s up to the viewer to get the depth of what’s being presented from there onward.

In other, shorter words, Rick and Morty—despite the constant burping—presents a coherent opinion of the universe, and the world, and the meaning of life, and treats its audience as someone who could already notice most of the references made.

Oh, and, it’s also existentially horrifying, revels in nihilistic anarchy, and deeply subversive when it comes to the usual fare of the science fiction genre. It delights in breaking expectations over the knee and chucking the remains into some garbage planet’s atmosphere.

And that’s, at the end of the day, sometimes a lot of fun for me. So, yeah, Rick and Morty is good. Oddly amazing even.

I just wish I had time to watch Season 3 right now.

Special thanks to: Bob GerkinCollin PearmanDylan AlexanderJerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd. 

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