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The Onion A/V Club Reviews – Rick and Morty: ‘Meeseeks and Destroy’
On 20, Jan 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI
How important is happiness to comedy? Or likability? Or the occasional win? Shows that embrace nihilism too readily and completely have a limited shelf run, even if they do seem to keep getting renewed and airing on Sunday nights on Fox. It’s not that every week needs to teach a life lesson, or that writers need to strain to make sure all their heroes are a perfect balance of warm and sarcasm. Bleakness is often a key element in great comedy because someone else’s loss and pain make things funnier. So from that angle, legitimate warmth—taking the time to create characters and relationships that exist beyond the immediate need of a punchline—could arguably detract from the laughs. If you’re too busy empathizing and worry about someone, maybe you don’t laugh as loud when they slip on the banana peel. But for that sleep to be funny at all, there needs to be some basic level of human connection, because the joke is the suffering, and the understanding of what that suffering means.
No, I’m not high. But “Meeseeks And Destroy,” which may have the most weirdly upbeat ending of the show so far, has me thinking about the balance this show is trying to hit, and how effective it is when the writers and voice actors get that balance right. Part of the humor of Rick And Morty is its fundamental cynicism. This isn’t a cheery, Doctor Who-type universe, where bad things happen that are very serious, but good people are there to stop the bad things from getting out of hand. As Morty points out, this universe is chaos, a place where adventure can lead to having to murder the alternate dimension clones of your mother, father, and sister when they’re possessed by demonic spirits from an alternate reality future. It’s a universe where a bunch of helpful blue genies go insane when they can’t fulfill their sole purpose and die. A universe where giants trip and break their skulls before little people can outwit them, and where friendly talking jelly beans in the mens’ restroom have horrible, horrible plans for little boys. (What the hell, show.) It’s not supposed to be happy endings and fun and friendship bracelets for all. But there’s just enough kindness buried in there to make sure the hits retain their sting.