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The Artifice: Social Commentary in “Rick and Morty”

On 24, Mar 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

When co-writer and creator of the sitcom Community Dan Harmon announced he would be doing an animated series for Adult Swim with Justin Roiland, some were skeptical. How would this differ from their usual style? Would these two creators make fireworks or duds? For those who don’t know, Rick and Morty is “Justin’s punk-rock maligning” of Marty McFly and Doctor Emmet Brown from Back to the Future. We have an elderly, eccentric mad scientist Rick who takes his naive grandson Morty (both voiced by Roiland) out on adventures of everything science fiction – parallel universes and visiting the past are just some ideas that are explored.

Yes, its language is sometimes South Park level extreme but R&M shows the dark side of the science fiction and society in a way that is both stunning and thought-provoking. South Parkmay make a comment of homosexuality in that episode of aliens invading earth, rise up for the justice of all freckled friends and give sad stories about racism and drug abuse. The approach to the material appears to be different. Although almost all of these episodes are over the top, very unbelievable scenarios. R&M takes itself seriously enough in these moments to convey true emotion with its characters that are already have distinct, believable personalities. They have a greater balance of negative and redeeming qualities unlike Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin whose main purpose is to make the audience laugh. Except perhaps Rick himself. Jerk. It isn’t just a new take on every cool science fiction idea in the world. Underneath its rough yet vibrant exterior Rick and Morty (from here on out will be referred to as R&M) makes some very strong social commentary. The pilot introduces how malicious and ridiculous Rick is, which is surprising given how its the first episode of a show about adventures.

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