What up my glip-glops,
On October 4th , 2015, Rick and Morty ended Season 2 with it’s protagonist–or antagonist, depending on your concern for Morty’s well-being–Rick Sanchez, incarcerated in a Galactic Federation prison.
The teaser following the credits featured fan favorite, Mr. Poopybutthole, predicting a timeline for about “a year to a year and a half” before Season 3 aired.
Due to the lack of the showrunners, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, having their shit together, ”a year to a year and a half” came and went and now, almost two years later, Rick and Morty returns on Sunday, July 30th for Season 3.
I could not be more hype for a season premiere. Lets take a look at what we have to look forward to. (And, as always, spoilers to come.)
Quick note for those new to the show: Rick is an alcoholic, super scientist (imagine if Doc from Back to the Future and Future, the artist, had a baby. That’s Rick.) and Morty is his herb-ass grandson. Cool? Cool.
New Family Dynamics
“I just took over the family, Morty!”
This past April Fool’s Day, Rick and Morty aired the 1st episode of Season 3 as a treat to their fan base—it was the perfect prank considering that the rest of the season would not air until 4 months later. But it did its job of satiating the fans, as there were several narratives and plot points established that will come to define the rest of the season.
Perhaps the most significant development is that Beth and Jerry are headed for a divorce, and to no one’s surprise, this was entirely instigated by Rick. The episode ends with Rick divulging to Morty that through a meticulously-calculated plan, he’s replaced Morty’s moron father, Jerry, as the “de facto patriarch of his family and his universe.” Oh, and Rick also murked an intergalactic government while doing so.
We may even see the re-introduction of another character we’ve already met–Paul Fleishman, a man Beth apparently remarries in some of the parallel universes where she’s already divorced Jerry.
The comedic potential of the impending divorce is high–Beth and Jerry have historically tried to one-up one another and I’m positive this will manifest in a rivalry of future romantic interests, as well as space adventuring.
Beth has mostly been left on the sidelines during R&M’s past adventures and Harmon has guaranteed she’ll be more involved in coming shenanigans.
Also, with the Galactic Federation now decimated, Jerry has lost his government job and is unemployed once again, much like the scrub he truly is.
Quick aside: Chris Parnell (Jerry’s voice actor who is also known for playing “Cyril Figgis” in Archer) described Jerry as the “saddest” and “most pathetic person he’s ever played.” So there’s that.
The Promise of a Darker Season
Let’s play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Which of these things hasn’t happened on R&M?
- Rick attempts to commit suicide after being dumped by an ex-girlfriend (who also happens to be a collective hivemind that takes over cities, planets, and perhaps one day, the galaxy), but fails to do so because he was too drunk.
- Rick turns everyone on Earth into deformed creatures and, instead of fixing his mess, takes Morty to an Earth in a different dimension where they casually take the place of their recently deceased selves and continue living with their parallel family.
- Rick creates a miniature universe and enslaves a planet within that universe to create free electricity for the simple purpose of powering his car battery.
Trick question. ALL of these things have happened. Is it because Rick is a fucking G? Is it because he has a black hole where his moral compass should be? Are both of those things mutually exclusive?
One of the principal elements behind the show’s massive cult following is the series’ consistent use of dark humor, which is fueled by Rick’s IDGAF approach to life.
Rick promises Season 3 to be the darkest years of their adventures, and he also reveals his ultimate goal in life—getting McDonald’s to bring back the Szechuan sauce from the 1998 promotion of Disney’s Mulan. (I was 9 during that promotion, and the sauce was indeed lit.)
We’re in for MAD Homages
Rick and Morty is a sci-fi show by sci-fi goons, for sci-fi goons. And this is never more prevalent than in their homages to the all of the greatest characters and tropes in sci-fi canon.
Having personally scoured through the Season 3 trailer three dozen+ times, I can tell you that we can expect nods to Honey, I Blew Up the Kids, Mad Max and The Avengers.
There’s also possibly an homage to the sketchy neighbor from Home Improvement.
This Show is Nuanced AF
What makes Rick and Morty a great show isn’t just the homages, the dark humor, or the thought experiments that come with creating a show that takes place across the multiverse and multiple timelines—its also about those sobering moments when the show zooms in on the characters’ emotions on the other side of the spectrum; when we’re allowed to feel their despair, doubt, and insignificance in the grand scheme of things, in a very palpable way.
And this goes beyond the show’s use of the idea of “family,” though that is definitely one of their emotional vehicles.
Harmon and Roiland expertly utilize music cues to illustrate a tender emo shade over the show. They pull from various melodramatically-styled musicians such as Chaos Chaos, Nine Inch Nails, and Mazzy Star, when you least expect it.
What I’m consistently most impressed by is that this series understands and takes advantage of the relationship of Comedy and Tragedy better than most of the hot garbage on television—there’s a seamless transition between both.
Perhaps the most central tenet of Rick and Morty comes when Morty explains to his sister that “nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, everybody’s going to die.”
The insistence that “nothing matters” has been a consistent hallmark of the show, and it almost makes you think Harmon and Roiland would be okay with the show flopping.
But this belief has guaranteed the opposite—it allows them the freedom to take the kinds of creative risks that continue to draw fans in. If “nothing matters” is at the heart of your show—not all dissimilar to the mantra that made Seinfeld such an epic success—this inherently removes the pressure of expectation and allows you to swing for the fences artistically; you’re playing with house money.
If the almost impressively delayed release date is any indication, we’re all in for another season of Harmon, Roiland and Rick not giving a fuck. I can’t wait.
Until then, enjoy some Human Music. Wubba lubba dub dub.