Friday, 14 November 2014

The Ten Best Moments from 'Rick and Morty'

I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Rick and Morty is the greatest animated television show of the last ten years. Don't agree? Well then, stop reading and go watch Rick and Morty on repeat till you do.

Don't worry. I'll wait.

While you're off doing that, I'll sit here and write a list of the ten moments the show proved that it was the best damn thing Adult Swim - nay, television in general - has seen for a very long time.


10. Rick Gets the Last Laugh. From: "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!"

For all his faults, there is something relentlessly compelling about Rick. Sometimes we are drawn to him because he is a fully rounded, emotionally complex character. Other times we're drawn to him because he's a fucking badass. For an example of the latter, check out the ending of "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" where Rick manages to come out on top once again.

"Why don't you ask the smartest people in the universe Jerry? Oh wait. They just blew up."

9. Doofus Rick Explains the Importance of the R2-D2 Coins. From: "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind."

Although sometimes it seems determined to pretend the opposite, Rick and Morty is a show with a great deal of heart. A lot of fans have commented on the way that the show will take stunning left turns into dark, or moving territory (and who knows? Maybe a whole bunch of those detours will turn up later on this list...) and it remains one of the great appeals of the series. Take for example, the moment Jerry shows Doofus Rick one of his poorer advised financial decisions, and Doofus Rick's beautifully simple response.

8. Rick is Bored. From: Something Ricked.

Rick is the ultimate portrayal of a chaotic force. He doesn't do things for the sake of good or evil - he does them because they interest him, and then stops when they don't anymore. Perhaps the most moral thing he's ever done is trying to outwit the Devil in the episode "Something Ricked", but he's not doing it because it's the right thing to do: he's doing it to prove a mean-spirited point. And then, when the point is made, he torches his business. It's this deliciously blasé attitude to morality that makes him such a compelling character - and how could you not love a guy who has a can of gasoline that close to hand at all times?

7. Mr Jellybean Goes Full on Psycho. From: "Meseeks and Destroy."

Rick and Morty's arc in "Meseeks and Destroy" has a distinctly Adventure Time vibe. Well, "Adventure Time" on acid. Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland actually voices a character on that overwhelmingly popular show (the oddly loved Earl of Lemongrab) so perhaps this moment from "Meseeks and Destroy" is a nod to his roots. Just don't look into it much further than that, seeing as the initially cuddly Mr. Jellybean turns into a creature more disturbing than anything Jake and Finn could ever dream of.

6. The World Gets Cronenberg'd. From: "Rick's Love Potion #9"

There's not much I can say about this one - it's easily the most personal choice on this list, mainly because David Cronenberg is my favourite director of all time, and any show that can turn his name into both a noun and an adjective is doing something very, very right in my books. It just makes me laugh every time I see it, and I love the fact that Rick and Morty still have time to argue while the rest of the world descends into chaos below them. Not to mention the fact that it's a great set up for the scene that immediately follows it...

5. The Meseeks Go Nuts. From: "Meseeks and Destroy."

As annoying as their voices might be, the Mr. Meseeks are some of Rick and Morty's funniest characters. I love watching them change from helpful blue men to unhinged psychopaths (all because of golf technique, no less) and watching them scream at each other while peppering their bloodhungry calls to action with "I'm Mr. Meseeks, look at me!" is comedy gold.

4. Jerry's Pitch. From: "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!"

Jerry starts off the first season of Rick and Morty as your regular idiotic jerk. But by the time "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" rolls around, the character reveals his oddly endearing side. Sure, he's still a dumbass, but his inability to realise that he's walking around in a computer simulation is rather cute in a "Good God is this guy stupid" kind of way.

3. Evil Morty. From: "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind."

Some might be surprised that this moment doesn't sit a little higher on this list - it's the show's most discussed scene, with numerous online outlets developing complex conspiracy theories that try to explain exactly who evil Morty is, and why he's spent the episode controlling a robotic Rick. For my money, it's a great moment, sure - the haunting strains of Blonde Redhead suit the "what the fuck just happened?" tone perfectly, and it serves another example of Roiland and Harmon pushing Rick and Morty further than most other animated comedies - but it just doesn't have quite the emotional weight of these next two moments...

2. The True Meaning of 'Wubbalubbadub-dub'. From: Risky Business.

As a season finale goes, for most of its running time Ricksy Business is surprisingly understated. Given all of the odd shifts of tone the show was becoming well known for, this finale initially appeared to be a step in a different direction - its plot is fairly simple, and it focuses pretty heavily on some fairly typical Adult Swim madness. But that just means that the sudden explanation of Rick's catch phrase 'wubbalubbadub-dub's' becomes even more powerful - out of the blue, Rick is given a touching little moment of humanity. His alcoholism and madness, which were largely used for comedic fodder in previous episodes, is suddenly transformed into something else, as Morty, and the audience, are given in a painful insight into the thoughts and feelings of our favourite wild haired scientist.

1. Morty has to bury his own dead body. From: "Rick Potion #9"

No surprises here, right? Ask any number of die hard 'Rick and Morty' fans, and they'll tell you that this moment was the turning point for them: the scene where the show stopped being just another animated comedy, and transcended into something else entirely.

Every beat of the scene works perfectly. It begins with a funny, but fairly typical 'Adult Swim' sleight of hand: just when everything seems to be utterly doomed the hero saves the day, the joke being that we don't get to see what has unfucked the fucked up.

Then, just as everything seems sorted, our main characters get horrifically offed, giving us a good three seconds of silence to let what we've just seen sink in. More comedic banter follows when our 'real' Rick and Morty make themselves known, and then, suddenly...This:

All of a sudden, the show comes to a crashing halt, and Roiland and Harmon give themselves a little space to explore the emotional weight their characters must deal with. With Mazzy Star in the background for added effect, Morty is forced to do the unthinkable: bury his own twisted corpse. It's not funny. It's kinda fucked up. And by not playing the scene for laughs - by encouraging us to understand that our characters aren't just vessels for one-liners and offbeat jokes - Rick and Morty transcended into another level, proving itself as a show that had no intention of lying down.

It's moments like these that ensure that Rick and Morty's dedicated fan base will continue talking about it for some time to come.

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