Jul 22, 2016

[TV] Rick and Morty: Season 2

So I've been sharing a number of Rick and Morty related posts over the past month in line with the growing anticipation for the long-awaited release of the third season of the show. And as is typical of such situations, I realized late that I still hadn't written a review for the second season of the show for one reason or another. Oh well.

My love for Rick and Morty honestly surprised me. It's the sort of show that I thought generally was on the fringes of my interests. But when we finally gave the show, I just got totally sucked in and there was no going back from there.

The show is largely episodic in format and can more or less stand alone. There's some relative degree of overall narrative progression for characters but it's not as strong as what we see in other animated shows like Steven Universe or Adventure Time. And yet the show still has a lot of surprisingly character-focused stories that help push things forward and give you a sense of fulfillment when you see them progress.

Synopsis: Rick and Morty is a more adult-oriented animated television series created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. This second season had been nominated for Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production at the Annie Awards.

The last season ended with time having been frozen by Rick (Justin Roiland) and thus leaving Rick, Morty (Justin Roiland) and Summer (Spencer Grammer) free to do whatever they wanted for as long as they wanted to do so. But after 6 months they had to get around to restoring reality so they do finally restore time. But this first episode of the season, A Rickle in  Time, really ends up pushing things in a crazy manner by showing the creation of additional realities primarily because of the the uncertainty of Morty and Summer in their relationship with Rick. And this is depicted by an increasing number of frames cutting up the episode into tiny little windows. And this really set the tone for the season of really pushing the limits of various science fiction concepts and tropes while at the same time maximizing the comedic potential of such concepts,

The fourth episode of this season, Total Rickall, is probably one of the best of the season and one that clearly stands out as a celebration of everything that makes the show great. You take one basic science fiction trope - in this case the alien parasite hiding among you - and combine that with more and more unusual characters who may or may not be parasites complicating things. They're locked down in the house and need to find a way to identify the parasites and kill them or risk releasing them on the world. And they method that they come up with for figuring out who the parasites are is quite the little gem that is brilliant yet also a little depressing.

And each episode is yet another crazy exploration of ideas like that and making insane jokes along the way. Heck, they even had an episode that practices regular Purge-style events! The number of geeky references littered throughout the show can get pretty crazy but not quite as nerdy as Futurama would get. It's still a lot of geeky fun.

It still amazes me how I feel some degree of concern and affinity for a character as despicable as Rick, but when you think about it he really does care about his family in his own weird way. Sure, this concern may only be limited to his family in the particular dimensions that he's in, it's still something. And you get to see glimpses of that between profanities across the different episodes.

Morty also seems to be growing, even if the pace is a little slow. He's still not strong enough to be able to stand up to Rick and challenge his often insane plans but at least he's showing a bit more resistance and he feels a bit more assertive here and there. The rest of the family has seen a little development as well, with most of efforts seemingly devoted to his dad Jerry (Chris Parnell).

At 10 episode a season, Rick and Morty will always feel like a somewhat rushed endeavor but they make sure that there's never a dull moment either. And it feels like we've been waiting for the third season since forever now and it can't come along soon enough! So this second season gets a great 5 Rick catchphrases he makes up but claims to have been using all along out of a possible 5.


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