Review – Rick And Morty
Directed by: Wesley Archer & Others
Written by: Dan Harmon & Others
Produced by: Dan Harmon & Others
Release Date: 2013 – Present
Going back to review Rick and Morty as a whole is an interesting challenge in 2021. The show has went from being a small, fairly obscure cartoon to a behemoth of pop-culture in recent years. This has brought with it everything from an odd appearance from the title in the recent Space Jam 2 movie, to strange toxic fan-boys harassing fast-food workers over limited edition sachets of sauce.
With all of that in mind, I decided to go back and watch the entire series all the way through to the end of Season 5 from the very beginning in preparation for this review and base my thoughts on that experience alone. This should hopefully mean that an unbiased review should follow below, critiquing the show itself and not all of the tertiary stuff surrounding it.
The Universe Is A Crazy And Chaotic Place…
Back when it first aired in 2013, Rick & Morty totally flew under the radar for me. I only first heard of it months after it was on the air, then all of a sudden almost every podcast and youtuber that I subscribe to were recommending it. Though by the time that I was recommended it, I was aware it was an Adult Swim show, so I assumed each episode would only be around six or seven minutes long and put it on the backburner.
Eventually came a day where I had ran out of things to watch and so I decided to give it a shot. Whilst I didn’t fall in love with it immediately, it did hook me right away and I was pleased to learn each episode was 20 minutes long. Because the episodes are so short, I decided to watch a few episodes in a row and by the time I had finished watching Anatomy Park, the third episode of the first season, I realised how great this show was.
The combination of totally off the wall writing and dry wit is a tried and tested formula at this point, but it really works in the context of this show. The character dynamics, the on-point comedic timing of the cast and the ad-libbed feel of a lot of the dialogue are all elements that really tie together to make the show as entertaining as it is.
Going back and re-watching the earlier seasons was hugely enjoyable, as a lot of my favourite episodes are amongst the earlier seasons. These include; M Night Shamaliens, where Rick, Morty and Gerry are stuck in a simulation of the real world and Gerry thinks he is having the greatest day of his life. Rick Potion No.9, where said potion makes everybody fall in love with Morty, then transforms them into grotesque monsters, leading our protagonists to simply leave that reality behind and move into a fresh one. Raising Gazorpazorp, where Morty goes through fatherhood in the space of a day. And Mortynight Run, where they leave Gerry in a nursing home full of other Gerrys.
The animation can seem initially jarring top casual viewers as it employs such an odd style. However, by a few episodes in, it becomes clear that this animation is to a high standard, it just follows a fairly odd art odd style. The voice acting also seems somewhat amateur upon first listen, but as the show goes on and you get to know the characters and the world, the voice acting actually works perfectly in unison with the way show’s writing.
The show’s biggest pitfall is that the whacky novelty and shock value of a lot of the earlier season’s charm wears off by seasons 3-5. The show does try to one-up itself every now and again, but eventually that starts to feel pretty forced too.
Seeing the sheer insanity and traumatisation that Rick exposes his grandchildren to, only to then brush it off as if it is totally normal is funny for the first ten times, after that it becomes trite and overdone. Gerry and Beth’s broken marriage is the source of a lot of great humour in the first few seasons, but by season 4-5 it seems played out and tiresome. Even Gerry’s exceptional mediocrity and impressive amount of general naivety is starting to wear thin by the end of season 5.
There isn’t too much more to say and the show doesn’t have a great deal of negative qualities, other than being too much of a good thing. That said though, it is hard to deny the statues that Rick and Morty has earned as a phenomenon of pop culture and one of the best animated shows of the last decade.
If you enjoyed Dan’s review of Rick And Morty, you can check out what he thought of Love Death & Robots right here.
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