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‘Rick & Morty:’ Terrifying & Terrific

On 18, Mar 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

The Adult Swim animated series “Rick and Morty,” created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon of Channel 101, began its first season in early December of last year. After a break during the Winter Olympics, the show returned on March 10th to finish up the back half of its first season run. Only a few weeks into its airing, Adult Swim renewed the series for a second season, and high ratings in its timeslot ensure that the show will continue to be around for a while.

“Rick and Morty” centers around a crackpot scientist, Rick, and the outlandish, technology-influenced misadventures of he and his unsure, nervous grandson, Morty, have. The concept comes from Roiland’s disturbing animated short positing what “Back to the Future” might have been like if Doc Brown were a child molester. Scaling back from that crude, one-note parody and steering away from the movie series in general, Roiland and Harmon developed the show for an interested Adult Swim. Together, they combine the former’s familiarity with weird fantasy from his work on “Adventure Time” with the latter’s penchant for somber heart in wacky comedies, showcased throughout his live action sitcom “Community.”

The duo’s unique backgrounds and expertise have aligned immediately, given the strength of the first seven episodes.  “Rick and Morty” tends to tackle some fairly deep ethical and moral dilemmas concerning highly advanced, perhaps manipulative, sciences.  The show has already dealt with hyper hyper-intelligent pet dogs overtaking their owners, a controlling, fully matriarchal society, an all-consuming love potion and the extorting extortion of a homeless person’s internal body for a profitable amusement park, just to name a few.

In one of the best episodes so far, Rick introduces his family — each member already well- developed and three three-dimensional — to a being that can be created to complete any simple command, after which it seizes ceases to exist. When one of these beings — called a Meeseeks — cannot help Morty’s father better his golf game, the Meeseeks creates another one to help out; this quickly escalates and a group of Meeseeks have an existential crisis about their existences. The writers raise unsettling complications in most of the stories involving these distant, sci-fi inventions, going further than simply offering them up as comical ideas.

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