Rick and Morty Review
I’m not going to lie, Rick and Morty was part of the inspiration for creating this website. I liked it so much that I really wanted to write about all the different aspects that I found so awesome. One thing led to another and… Yeah. AnimatioNation was eventually born. Anyway, on with the Rick and Morty review.
It’s a sci-fi comedy that’s based around a family and the crazy predicaments that they find themselves involved in, similar to shows like The Simpsons, Futurama or Family Guy. Futurama probably has the most in common with it considering it deals with a lot of sci-fi elements presented in comedic effect as well. However, that’s basically where the comparisons end. Rick and Morty touches on far deeper themes dealt with in darker ways; it’s a very unique blend of different genres and styles. It’s mainly a comedy as previously stated, but it also mixes elements of action, adventure, drama, romance, and even a little bit of horror at times. Sound pretty damn interesting? Because it is, broh.
As far as the characters in Rick and Morty, obviously you have the title characters Rick and Morty who are the two most prominently featured characters, you know, being named after the show itself and all. After that you have the rest of the family; Beth Smith, Jerry Smith and Summer Smith. Of course there are other recurring characters but these are the main peeps who the show is centered around.
Overall Rating: 94/100
Voice acting: A
Art Animation: Pretty simplistic style and colors. Lanky bodies with bigger than normal heads. It’s like a mixture of The Simpsons/Adventure Time/Regular Show
Genre: Mainly comedy with a mix of drama/sci-fi action/adventure
Premise of Show: The sci-fi adventures of a genius, alcoholic scientist and his 14 year old grandson.
Episode Length: 22-24 minutes
Network/Where to Watch: Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, Hulu
Episodic or Continuity? Mostly episodic in the sense that you usually don’t NEED to watch the last episode to know what’s going on, but they do make a lot of references to events and situations that have happened in previous episodes.
Characters on Rick and Morty
Rick Sanchez (Voiced by Justin Roiland)- Morty’s grandpa and an absolute scientific genius, while at the same time being an alcoholic with a substance abuse problem. He’s impulsive, cold-hearted, a sociopath, always drunk, and overall just a dick most of the time to a lot of people, including his own family. He’s not afraid to resort to any means necessary to successfully complete his task, even if it means putting others in danger. He has a fairly pessimistic outlook on life and views things in a very rational, calculated way; he’s seen too much negativity throughout the galaxy to remain naive about it. His background story is full of mysteries and questions, but it is very clear that he has been involved in some pretty heavy events as he is a wanted criminal with the Galactic Federation for countless crimes. His bleak pessimism on life combined with his sketchy past events are largely the reasons why he has a substance abuse problem and why he is always drinking. As he said himself, the best way to deal with horrible events is to “just not think about it.” His substance abuse problem causes him to talk in a rambling manner with a lot of slurring, stuttering and consistent burping throughout his speech. However, with all of that being said, he does have a softer side and I truly believe that deep down he is a good person. Multiple moments throughout the series show that he does actually care about his family and that he wants to do the right thing to protect them. The finale of Season Two did a lot to prove that.
Morty Smith (Voiced by Justin Roiland)- Rick’s grandson and a 14 year old high school student. He often tags along with Rick on all of their crazy sci-fi adventures and he is usually the more grounded, sensible one of the two. That’s not always a good thing though as sometimes it is Rick’s rash decisions that save them from whatever hijinks they find themselves in. Morty is more reserved, passive, timid, and in general is just a more of an introverted guy. He also stutters a lot in his speech but it’s not due to a substance abuse problem like Rick. While Rick is super laid back and always down to do crazy shit even if it’s dangerous, Morty is more uptight, more of a rule follower and tries to play the safer route more often than not. Rick often is very controlling in their relationship and forces Morty into doing things he really doesn’t want to do, although at times Morty’s sensibility and naivety with the world can cause Rick to re-think some things. They’re definitely a good balance to each other with their opposing personality traits; it’s like ying and yang, broh.
Beth Smith (Voiced by Sarah Clarke)- Rick’s daughter, mother of Morty and Summer, and Jerry’s husband. She’s a horse surgeon for her profession, although various times throughout the show she expresses concern and regret for never becoming a ‘real’ surgeon. She takes a bit after her dad in the fact that she is somewhat emotionally distant at times and can be pretty insensitive; this is mainly true with Jerry which is a recurring issue throughout the series. She has a pretty good relationship with the rest of the family though as she has proven that she cares about Rick, Morty, and Summer a lot. For whatever reason it’s just Jerry that there is this constant emotional struggle with. Her and Jerry have pretty severe marital problems that cause the audience to wonder if they’re truly meant to be together or if they’re forcing themselves to stay with each other because of their family. A certain episode pretty much does confirm that they are indeed meant to be together, however numerous other moments in the show almost make it hard to believe.
Jerry Smith (Chris Parnell)- Beth’s husband, father of Morty and Summer, and in all honesty… A little bitch. That’s barely even a joke; that’s really what the show wants you to think of him as. Rick is always a dick to him and makes fun of him constantly. Beth basically treats him like shit and doesn’t seem to care about rekindling their marriage most of the time. He’s essentially the punching bag of the family. Even Morty and Summer don’t treat him with the most respect at times. With all that being said, I like Jerry a lot though. He means well and gets unfairly picked on most of the time; he’s genuinely a nice guy that cares about his family. Well, except for Rick. Him and Rick hate each other. Jerry MIGHT have the slightest hint of respect for Rick, but Rick has none for him.
Summer Smith (Spencer Grammer)- Rick’s granddaughter and Morty’s sister. She’s a 17 year old high school student and… well, that’s basically all we really know of her. Of the five main characters she has definitely gotten the least screen time. What we do know of her is that she’s very impressionable and is basically like your average teenage girl. She is often annoyed with her family, cares too much about being well liked at school, and obsessed with social media and technology. While far from a scientific genius like Rick, she’s pretty sharp-minded and witty in her own right. Although she doesn’t like to admit it, numerous occasions show that she can get quite jealous over all the adventures that Rick has with Morty and not her.
So. Now you know the characters of the show. Time to get into the good stuff.
Rick and Morty usually has two scenarios that episodes will rotate back and forth between. While doing an ‘A’ plot and a ‘B’ plot is nothing unique to animated shows or television shows in general, most shows don’t contain the vast difference between the type of plots that Rick and Morty does. The nature of Rick and Morty being a comedy in combination with containing elements of sci-fi adventures makes it possible for the show to have radically different plot lines. Most often one of the plots will feature Rick and Morty going on some crazy sci-fi adventure filled with comedy and action segments, whereas the other plot will usually focus more on domestic family drama issues and the realistic situations derived from advanced scientific technology. The adventures that Rick and Morty go on are very unique and creative; the concept of traveling to different planets with extremely different societal norms makes for interesting premises. They really play off the sci-fi theme so there is usually some type of really cool but crazy scientific device with strange functions, a predicament involving aliens, or some sci-fi concept in general that the episode is centered around. Some of them are based on pre-existing sci-fi cliches and stereotypes while others are completely original in their own right. Even when the concept isn’t entirely unique, it usually does just enough things different while really nailing the execution to make it work.
On the topic of execution… The drama. Adult animated shows rarely handle drama well. Usually you’re just thinking “Okay just get back with the jokes already.” In shows where they haven’t really done anything to make you care about the well being of the characters or the situation, it’s easy to feel that way. Shows like Family Guy don’t handle it well. Futurama handles it somewhat well occasionally. Bojack Horseman is really the only other show I can think of that does handle it very well, then again that show is basically a drama or at least a dramedy in genre so it’s more expected to. With the less than favorable percentage of adult animated shows that actually do drama well, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Rick and Morty handles it VERY well. There are numerous moments throughout the show that made me think “…..Damn. That actually got me.” The show touches on real issues that are very relatable to a lot of people. Issues such as substance abuse, marital problems, ‘forcing’ a marriage for the sake of the family, abortion, unfulfilled dreams, trying to be happy, depression and suicide… just to name a few.While Rick’s drinking problem is usually played for comedic effect, there are some quotes they nonchalantly throw in there that attempt to give reasoning for the roots behind the substance abuse problem which I’m sure can hit home for a lot of people. The marital problems are expressed in a realistic light that portray actual problems that a lot of marriages might have. Very deep questions are always being raised like “Do we really love each other after all these years? Were we truly meant to be together?” And “What if we ended up getting that abortion and never got married or had a family? How would our lives and careers have ended up? Would we have been happier?” I mean… I’m not married yet, but I can see some shit like this hitting people right in the feels.
With all that being said, as previously stated Rick and Morty is mainly a comedy and is marketed as such. It does contain elements of other genres, but it’s primarily a comedy when it comes down to it. And it’s a damn good one at that. Shit is HILARIOUS. I rarely, and I mean very rarely, actually ‘lol’ for its literal definition at TV shows or movies. Usually I’ll either give a slight smile or just acknowledge in my head ‘hey that was pretty funny/clever’ when I hear a good joke, but very seldom do I actually get pushed to the point of physically laughing out loud.
Rick and Morty has brought me to that point numerous times, almost too many to count. Some episodes are funnier than others obviously, but overall it’s a pretty consistent show with its humor. Personally, I found the first two seasons to be pretty equal in terms of humor. Both seasons had their high points and both had their low points, however the ‘low points’ aren’t even that low if you can even call them that, and rarely even come at all.
Justin Roiland, the creator of the show, does the voices of Rick and Morty. He stutters a LOT when he voices them two; I’m completely used to this now and it never really bothered me to begin with although it was a little strange hearing at first, though I could see some people getting annoyed with it. Chris Parnell voices Jerry, Sarah Chalke voices Beth, and Spencer Grammar voices Summer. There have a been a variety of notable actors/voice actors over the course of the first two seasons as well. In addition to Rick and Morty, Roiland also does the voices of various random minor characters on the show. I will admit, because he does the voices of so many characters, it can start wearing a little thin at times. In most episodes, this is never really an issue. There are a couple episodes however that follow a different format that veers away from the direction most episodes take. These episodes feature a bunch of random TV commercials from various planets that are basically short, stand-alone skits in nature; there is one episode like this in each season. The script for the commercials are entirely improvised, and Roiland does the voices of all the characters on the commercials. This episode in the first season is very well done; the idea is fresh and most of the improvised skits are pretty damn funny. That, in combination with Roiland disguising his voice well, makes it easy for the audience to not even notice his voice so often. In the second season though the originality is lost, the skits aren’t as funny, and the repetitiveness of the same voice is more apparent. That’s not to say the episode was terrible; it just wasn’t nearly as funny as the first one in my opinion, and is a good example of the over-usage of Roiland’s voice. Other than that, the voice acting is very solid and has an impressive line-up of actors and actresses.
While for the most part the music and sound effects are nothing overly original or anything like that, the song selection in certain scenes and the timing with it can be absolutely flawless at times. A number of scenes are made THAT much more emotional, intense, and impactful due to the song playing in the background, and they ALWAYS seem to find the perfect song to fit the scene that really amplifies the mood of it. Most of them definitely wouldn’t have hit quite as hard if it wasn’t for the background music. The type of moments I’m referring to usually occur near or at the end of the episode, which can really end the episode on a bittersweet, somber, melancholic note. I won’t spoil the endings of some episodes… But DAMN. A few episodes end in such a bleak and dark way that is intensified even more by the music. It really leaves you feeling some type of way.
Final Verdict: Simply put… Rick and Morty is an absolute gem of a show. Very few shows balance out comedy, drama, and sci-fi action as well as it does and make it work so elegantly. The music hits all the right notes, the writing is clever, and the show deals with some deep themes in very relatable ways. If you’re a fan of Adult Swim shows, you’ll love this show. If you’re a fan of classic animated sitcoms, you’ll love this show. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you’ll love this show. Really the only way I can’t see someone at least partially enjoying this show is if they don’t like animated shows at all in general… Which then I would have to question as to what you’re even doing on this website reading this Rick and Morty review in the first place. If you like animation at all and are a fan of adult humor, please give Rick and Morty a try if you haven’t yet. It hasn’t received universal acclaim for no reason.