[WARNING – Mild SPOILERS below.]
Is there anything more American than a family outing in the car, with an elder male teaching an eager teenager how to drive? Not that many things. But it’s a fair bet that Norman Rockwell never imagined the grandfather being drunk or the vehicle in question being a space-worthy, reality-hopping flying saucer. But the thought is there nonetheless. Oh, and so is Jerry.
Unfortunately, Rick – while willing to oblige Morty’s need for driving lessons and Jerry’s presence (to a point) – is still a businessman of sorts. And sometimes that business requires trips to places that aren’t exactly safe for a muddle-headed mundane like Jerry. Hence the creation of Jerryboree! – a multi-dimensional day-care center created by another version of Rick in another universe, so that the Ricks of the multiverse would always have a place to stick their idiot sons-in-law where he/they wouldn’t get into trouble.
So as Jerry settles in for an exciting day of trying to untangle television cables and watching his favorite movie with a few dozen other Jerrys, Rick goes about the serious and not-at-all shady business of delivering a new gun to a famous assassin. This doesn’t sit well with Morty, who still has some scruples about things like killing people for money and giving deadly weapons to people who kill other people for money. So it comes to pass that Morty takes it upon himself to stop the assassin and rescue his intended target – a sentient gas from another universe called Fart.
Not since Futurama has a science-fiction animated series been so delightfully creative and subversive as Rick and Morty. The show is a laugh riot, of course. But what makes this series so delightful is the smart, witty yet delightfully obscure humor.
Case in point: a race of robotic automatons Rick derisively addresses as “gear-heads” seem to have drawn their inspiration from a classic He-Man action figure. That one reference becomes the source of an entire alien culture. There’s also a number of gags about a Dave And Buster’s-style establishment called Blips And Chitz and a virtual reality game that simulates the entire life cycle of a carpet salesman named Roy.
While this is somewhat reminiscent of the Back To Reality episode of Red Dwarf, Rick and Morty carries the joke a step further with a single minute-long sequence depicting the life of Roy. And there’s a number of nods to the psychedelic animation of the 1970s as Fart sings to Morty about the wonders of the universe, prompting Rick to complain about how this is not a musical.
Rick and Morty may not be a musical. But it is still a damn funny show.