Rick and Morty: New Dimensions

More stories from Luis Badillo


Courtesy of Adult Swim

Rick and Morty often has an improvised feel to it, from dialogue, to the cockamamie characters that populate it.

Adult Swim answers the question no one asked: ‘What if “Back to the Future” was highly offensive and had swearing and poop jokes?’

“Rick and Morty” is their answer.

As much as the show is immature and childish, it is clever and intelligent. Season 2 however brings more character and depth to the dimension-hopping cartoon, while still delivering on some of the funniest (and occasionally bizarre) concepts in all of television.

While initially starting out as a parody of the beloved 80s franchise, “Rick and Morty” has grown into so much more.

It follows the adventures of Rick, an 80-year-old galaxy roaming scientist, who drags along his 14-year-old grandson, Morty, on what the self-aware show calls “high concept sci-fi rigamaroll.” And this season delivers on this rigamaroll even better than it did in its 2014 debut, while also toning down its absurdist sense of humor.

That being said, “Rick and Morty” is still an undeniably absurd show. That may make it feel just at home for its Adult Swim network audience. Does the thought of a planet sized alien head, with clearly visible buttocks incite a giggle? How about the idea of an alien prisoner Rick keeps under the garage that has fingers that are clearly (CLEARLY) drawn to look phallic? The show peppers in these unapologetically childish jokes every chance it gets. “Rick and Morty” has the maturity of an 11-year-child who can’t keep a straight face while looking up dirty words in a dictionary.

Keep in mind, this show is also undeniably clever and thoughtful. Each episode takes sci-fi and television tropes and turns them completely on their head. Episode ‘Get Schwifty,’ in which Earth is entered into an interplanetary musical reality show, doesn’t just parody the concept of reality TV but also has some heady commentary on organized religion. The episode, ‘Total Rickall,’ is a flashback episode in which parasitic aliens infect and multiply by implanting fake memories into our protagonists. “Rick and Morty” doesn’t use its sci-fi premise as a set of guidelines and limitations, but as a license to any stories the writers see fit. And it’s wonderfully creative in its execution of so.

It’s hard to talk about the storytelling without talking about its characters. It’s hard to find a character without some emotional arc. Rick, throughout the series is shown as a completely apathetic and amoral jerk, a result of his genius intellect. But flashes of occasional compassion and vulnerability show a surprising amount of depth. The inverse is true of Morty. The dullard teenager seems more capable this season, as he learns that his universe can be a cold and dark place.

This is “Rick and Morty” at its best. Characters explore emotional arcs and deal with the consequences of such in an appropriately wacky sci-fi fashion. I’d never thought I’d ever feel emotionally connected to a tiny cartoon man named Mr. Poopy Butthole, but “Rick and Morty” have managed to do it in style.

If the end of this season is any indication, Rick and Morty is capable of character depth to match most TV today. But on the surface it’s still a crazy, vulgar and occasional depressing cartoon and its commitment to utter nonsense could put Dr. Suess to shame.