The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:32 am

Rick and Morty - S1E7 - Raising Gazorpazorp <-- Forgot the link last time, so here it is.

Rick and Morty - S1E8 - Rixty Minutes <-- Remembered it this time!

This episode is a rather "odd" one in the series--it completely breaks from the formulaic theme of crazy and chaotic adventure--so if the last episode seemed to return to "business as usual" after the "turning point" I interpreted episode 6 to be, this episode very quickly undoes this--as though just to keep us on our toes, reminding us that the series is going to be anything but dull.

Having said this however, Rick and Morty, in this episode, don't go on an adventure--rather, they just "chillax". That's right, the main plotline for this episode exclusively features Rick and Morty watching TV... that's it... but it's no ordinary TV--oh no, it's interdimensional cable, cable broadcast from an infinite number of dimensions... exciting stuff, but still, they just veg out on the couch, soaking their brains with images emanating from the tube.

As with every other episode, however, there is a secondary storyline--this will continue in the usual manner--namely, developing the turbulent relationship between Jerry and Beth, and the relevance of that to the rest of the family. Most of our philosophical insight will come out of this secondary plotline because, frankly, the main plotline is relatively dry... and I think this is the point--this episode seems to be the writers' way of saying: we're taking a break in this episode--nothing exciting, nothing to keep you on the edge of your seat, nothing deep and juicy, nothing requiring any effort of thought--just a bunch of mundane shallow brain-rotting stupidity (in fact, I suspect this episode represents a dumping ground for the writers' other creative outlets--in the sense that Rick and Morty is not the only product to come out of their creative and comedic imaginations, and they figured they'd reserve this episode to shove it all in 'cause it might be worth a laugh on the part of their fans). But like I said, there is the secondary storyline which continues to provide plenty of philosophical themes to ponder. Needless to say, most of this post will focus on the secondary storyline, but I'm still determined to come up with some philosophical commentary on the main storyline, so it won't be ignored.

We begin with the Smith family sitting around the tele watching a spoof of The Bachelor. Rick makes a comment about how stupid the show is and Jerry challenges him: "Ok, I've got an idea, Rick. You show us your concept of good TV, and we'll crap all over that." Rick replies: "Thought you'd never ask." He gets off the couch to grab the cable box. He lifts it above his head and drops it on the ground, busting it open. He then takes out some kind of electronic gadget glowing pink (looks like a night light) and wires it into the box. "Oh cool," Morty says, "is that crystalized zanthinite? [turns to the family with a smug look] It conducts electrons across dimensions." Rick cuts him down to size: "20% accurate as usual, Morty."

I think this is the first time in the series that we see Morty actually learn from all Rick's "mentoring" (if we can call it that), even if it's only 20% accurate. We also get a glimpse, in the way Morty says it, that learning from Rick is making him a bit cocky, almost as though he feels it makes a bit like Rick--as if despite resenting his position as the lowly sidekick and always taking abuse from Rick, Rick in some way remains Morty's hero and a model for him to look up to. And although that's not quite the theme this episode revolves around (though we will come back to it in other episodes), the closely related theme of enjoying spending time with his grandfather is very much played out in this episode.

Rick seals up the cable box and plugs it back into the TV, explaining: "I just upgraded our cable package with programming from every conceivable reality." <-- This is even better than stealing your neighbor's cable--even if your neighbor had hundreds of channels to choose from, you'd still be limited--but stealing cable from an infinite number of realities, well, the possibilities are limitless--you'd literally be able to watch anything you want (if you had the patients to flip through enough channels until you found it). <-- And this is the premise on which this episode turns: how long would it take you to get bored if you had an endless supply of entertainment--not just in quantity but in quality (you can watch anything, remember)? <-- And this further hints at a deeper premise: if you had an endless supply of entertainment right at your finger tips (literally), how long would you preoccupy yourself with it before you returned to face the grim realities of your actual life. I mean, let's face it--entertainment these days, particularly television, is a form of escape. Not only that, but it is an escape that nevertheless offers a kind of catharsis which you would otherwise be forced to get only by drudging through the harsher challenges of the real world. For example, The Bachelor, which the Smith family were watching before Rick's "upgrade", is not just a convenient escape for the many who can't find love in the real world, but provides a catharsis for the loneliness that comes along with that by allowing the viewer to temporarily slip into the role of the bachelor or the lucky girl who wins his hand in marriage. What we're going to see in this episode (determined as I am to find something of philosophical significance in the mind-numbing escape from real-world adventures that this episode symbolizes) is a bit of how Rick uses interdimensional cable as a means of getting this catharsis without having to actually delving into a reality in which he could experience the same thing but at the cost of risking his (and Morty's) life. And that idea works as a statement for all of us really--at least those of us who enjoy a good thriller or an awesome action-packed adventure movie or a really well done horror--it's a kind of "cheat" on life, a way of experiencing what we, on some level, need to experience in order to feel we've gone through it, or can go through it, without actually endangering our lives.

This, I think, is the main philosophical insight to be drawn out of this episode of Rick and Morty--at least, the main storyline--but I feel this analysis wouldn't do this episode justice unless it actually gave the particular programs they will be watching some kind of fair hearing, so just to get it out of the way, I will begin my analysis by briefly checking off each program they, to a reasonable extent, get into (I say reasonable because Rick flips through quite a few channels at first and I really don't think it's worth doing a serious dissection on each of those). I don't think there'll be much to say as it really doesn't go that deep (like I said, this to me seems like a dumping ground for the writers' to slip in some of their miscellaneous, but still hilarious, material). And after we get through this, then we'll get back into the thick of things with the secondary storyline.

Rick introduces the family to interdimensional cable by flipping through a bunch of samples. He flips the channel to a dimension where man evolved from corn: a corn version of what's presumably Ice-T is in a show down with another corn-person in a program that's presumably the equivalent of Law and Order (it just occurs to me now that both Ice-T and corn are themes that will recur in later episodes). He flips through a few more channels: a guy eating a bowl of shit, an antique show where everyone's just beating the shit out of each other, Jerry being interviewed on David Letterman (because he (Jerry) is famous in that reality), a teddy bear spinning a web on some street corner from web-strings coming out his ass, etc..

As all this is going on, Jerry and Summer question why this is so much more entertaining:

Summer: "Boring."

Rick: "Summer--*burp*--you just spent--*burp*--three months watching a man choose a fake wife."

Jerry: "So what? It would be better if the people were corn?"

Rick: "Jerry, you don't get it. This is infinite TV, from infinite universes."

^ This echoes my point above: that the real point to interdimensional cable, which Jerry doesn't get quite yet, is that anything you want is available. So what if Jerry doesn't find that the people featured in some program being corn makes it more entertaining? Whatever does make it more entertaining for Jerry is available--somewhere, in some universe, being broadcast to the Smith's home--he just has to find it.

Jerry *almost* gets this right after Rick switches away from his interview with Letterman--he suddenly finds interdimensional cable interesting--he insists that Rick goes back--so he does, back to the man eating shit, admitting that Jerry's right--this is entertainment!

===============================================

So here's the tedious list of programs that the Smith family (not always all together) flip through:

1) Shmloo's the Shmloss: a parody of Who's the Boss from a dimension in which all proper nouns begin with "schml".

Commentary: none.

2) Cloud Atlas: a real movie but featuring, in this dimension, Jerry in the (many) roles played by Tom Hanks.

Commentary: It isn't so much said, but it is sort of hinted in this episode that whenever we are introduced to a reality in which Jerry is famous, it is the same reality (so presumably the reality in which Jerry is interview by Letterman is the same reality in which he stars in Cloud Atlas). It's also interesting that Cloud Atlas was chosen by the writers of Rick and Morty as the themes in the former overlap almost perfectly with those of the latter--more specifically, the theme of individuals, not only living many lives, but of having all the opportunities to live all such lives at any moment (if they only choose to). Admittedly, I've never seen Cloud Atlas and I've only done preliminary research on it, but this is what I've gathered about the movie so far, and I feel, based on my research, that the themes go deeper and relate even closer to those of Rick and Morty than what I'm letting on.

3) Untitled: Yes, this one didn't introduce itself properly (no title), but we can speculate that it's called "Quick Mysteries" as the host repeats the phrase "another quick mystery" (not unlike the 80's Unsolved Mysteries--anyone remember that?) before the (temporary) mystery resolves itself by way of the murderer spontaneously confessing (in front of the camera) his crime (murder in all cases).

Commentary: none.

4) Ants in My Eyes Johnson: Now this one's hilarious. Not a lot of philosophical material here, but I gotta say it made me laugh. It's a commercial hosting Mr. Johnson from Johnson's Electronics. He's pushing the typical crazy/excited sensationalism that most wholesale outlets advertise, except he's got ants in his eyes so he can't see anything. Check it out:



Commentary: It's just funny.

5) Mr. Sneezy 3D: A commercial for a car whose horn makes a sneeze noise, driven by Mr. Sneezy himself (who sneezes).

Commentary: I wish I didn't have a comment on this one, but I do: it's this commercial after which the writers kind of hint that this was just a bunch of their amateurish material that they decided to dump into the Rick & Morty series (and by "amateur" I don't mean they aren't professional writers and cartoonists, just that this material seems to have been written in a "off duty" style). Morty says: "Huh, seems like TV from other dimensions has a somewhat looser feel to it." Rick replies: "Yeah, it's got an almost improvisational tone." The writers here aren't hiding anything--they're saying straight out: this is just us fooling around, having some fun; in all other episodes, we got down and serious about creating Rick and Morty episodes in a professional manner, but here we're letting loose a little, relaxing, just having a good time. <-- And it actually shows--listening to the narrative in each program really does sound like they were winging it in the recording studio and didn't bother with re-takes--they just went with whatever came out the first time. And I think this was the perfect point for Rick and Morty the make this observation as this improvisational tone (as Rick calls it) really becomes obvious in the next program.

6) Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers Who Are Just Regular Brothers Running in a Van From an Asteroid and All Sorts of Things The Movie: It's a trailer (I think) for a movie about two black dudes driving in a van when a meteor hits and they run from it only to be chased down by giant cats when a tornado comes followed by an invasion of Mexicans in an armada of space ships shaped like huge sombreros and weapons made of tomatoes coupled with old women dressed in ancient Greek style warrior outfits and then the Moon crashes into Earth.

Commentary: the most hilarious part of this spoof of a trailer is the way Justin Roiland (I think) can't help but to laugh at the end--reinforcing the ad hoc manner of these takes and the one shot amateurish style I alluded to above. He laughs because there's a hint that he's trying to remember the name of the movie but quickly gives up in virtue of its complexity and says: "It's called... Two Brothers, Two Brother... It's just called Two Brothers [trails off laughing]."



7) Ball Fondlers: A spoof of the 80's TV series, The A Team--except with nothing but shooting, fighting, and violence (well, not that different then). The one recognizable character is some beefed up black dude who reminds me of Mr. T. Other characters feature a bunch of men in sun glasses, long flowing hair, and late 80's suites that resemble those seen in Miami Vice--and there's also a crocodile dude firing a machine gun from a helicopter. More on these wacky, zany characters to come at the end of this episode.

Commentary: Nothing really except that in the scene of the crocodile dude shooting up the place from the helicopter, the pilot looks a lot like Mr. Poopy-Butthole, a character we'll be introduced to in Season II, Episode IV:

Image

Also, I have no idea why it's called Ball Fondlers.

8) Saturday Night Live: In this dimension, SNL features a piece of toast, two guys with handlebar moustaches, a guy painted silver who makes robot noises, Garmanarnar, three yellow alien-like creatures that the announcer doesn't know how to describe, a hole in the wall where the men can see it all, and returning for his 25th consecutive year, Bobby Moyniham.

Commentary: none.

9) Real Fake Doors: An advertisement in the same style as Ants in my Eyes Johnson for Real Fake Doors, a shop that sells fake doors. The commercial seems to end and the host walks off the set. He gets into his car, makes his way home through rush hour, gets home and makes a sandwich, then walks onto what appears to be the same set and continues the commercial.



Commentary: Weird. Funny, but weird. There's something to this one that I swear I'm not getting. When the guy walks off the set, Morty asks: "Hey, wait a minute, Rick. Wha-I thought this was a commercial. Wha-what's going on? I mean--" Rick answers: "Relax, Morty. Don't-don't worry about it. Let's just-just see where this goes." When they guy finally comes back to the commercial, it's like they're blown away. Morty: "What?!" Rick: "Oh my God, it's still the commercial!" I guess it's how gripped they both are into this meaningless commercial.

10) Gazorpazorpfield: Garfield as a Gazorpian. He and his owner John both have arms growing out of their heads. The actual Gazorpians have six arms total, but for some reason Gazorpazorpfield has only four (John has all six). Also, the arms growing out of his head are, for some reason, skin color, rather than the orange that the rest of his body is. In this episode of Gazorpazorpfield, Gazorpazorpfield really digs into John, cursing and swearing at him, kicking over his cup of coffee, calling him things like "dumb, stupid, weak, pathetic..."

Commentary: none.

11) Anti-Trunk People: a play on the anti-gay lobbyists. Trunk people are people who have had trunks surgically sewn to their face (oddly enough, covering up one eye) so that they can have sex with both a man and a woman (not sure how that works exactly). Apparently, in this dimension, trunk people want to pass a bill allowing them to get married to both a man and a woman, and this commercial is steadfast against it.

Image

Commentary: none.

12) Pro-Trunk People: a pro-trunk person commercial.

Commentary: none.

13) Strawberry Smiggles: A spoof of Lucky Charms, with the Leprechaun and the children and everything, plus a bit of disembowelment.

Lucky the Leprechaun doesn't really try to get away from children hungrily eyeing his lucky charms anymore, but here's a commercial from the early 90's in which he does:



and here's the Strawberry Smiggles commercial:



Ah, the selling power of blood and violence... and demons.

Comments: This is just the tip of the iceberg that is the minds of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. They have a field day with this sick obsession with blood and violence in Season 2, Episode 9--Look Who's Purging Now--as this theme is the center piece around which that episode revolves. The only thing I find distasteful about it is how it has to stand behind humor in order to expose itself--why pretty it up by pretending it's funny?

14) Turbulent Juice: A commercial for some kind of all purpose cleaning ointment (or something like that). It's white and it comes in a squeeze bottle, and the commercial plays on a kind of homo-erotic theme (where white goo gets splashed all over the place, including other men and on themselves). It starts off in some kind of prehistoric tropical setting with a bunch of muscular Tarzan look-a-likes who seem like their going to gang up on 3 scrawny looking "Michaels" (as the announcer calls them). The Michaels hide behind a tall phallic looking rock structure. One of them touches it, causing it to shake and suddenly erupt with Turbulent Juice. The white goo covers all 3 of them turning them all into muscular beef cakes just like the others... then the commercial switches settings: some buffed up dude with long blond hair is shown squirting Turbulent Juice from his crotch all over the house. Everything it touches turns clean and shiny.

Comments: Sex sells.

15) Baby Legs: <-- I don't know if that's the name of the show, but the main character is a cop named "Baby Legs" because he has baby legs (with a diaper and everything). The upper half of his body is that of a regular adult. The chief (a black dude as typical) tells him that he's partnering him up with "Regular Legs". Baby Legs has an issue with this; he needs no partner, he's good enough as it is. So they go to track down the killer in some kind of warehouse. Baby Legs attempts to chase him down only to trip and fall. That's when he realizes he can't do it on his own. So Regular Legs chases down the bad guy and catches him. Back at the station, the chief expresses how proud he is of Baby Legs, having the balls to admit that he needs help.

Comments: None.

16) Last Will and Testimeow: Weekend at Dead Cat Lady's House II: Another movie trailer. This one's about an old cat lady (Mrs. Sullivan) who dies and her cats prop her up like a rag doll in order to convince a young attorney that she's still alive and would like her estate to go to her cats. The guy falls in love with her, even makes love to her, and the movie (supposedly) takes off from there.

At the end of the trailer, Jerry says "Well, somebody in Hollywood just lost their job," right before the voice over says "Written and directed by Jerry Smith."

Comments: This one really tripped me out (high on drugs remember) because Mrs. Sullivan reminds me of my mother. She lives alone and at the time, was on the verge of death. I took it as an omen that she was about to die or was dead already. Luckily, my mother's still alive and in better condition now than she was back then... but there were still some eerie incidents that revolved around the prospect of her being dead at around that time.

17) 6 News: It's a live special report on a slow speed pursuit down the freeway: the cops are chasing Jerry whose moving along on a mobile scooter; he's in his underwear, his head is half shaven, one eye looks black, and there's a needle stuck in his chest. The report says "...academy award winning actor, Jerry Smith, is leading police on a slow speed pursuit after suffering an apparent breakdown." <-- This is where the secondary story line merges with the first, so...

===============================================

Secondary story line:

Rewind to the beginning, and we're back watching TV. The entire Smith family is sitting on the couch (except Jerry who's in the recliner). Rick is just getting bored of Shmloo's the Shmloss and changes the channel, enticing Jerry to complain that we're not returning to him on David Letterman. Rick keeps flipping through the channels. That's when they find him on Cloud Atlas (probably a preview on Letterman) and Jerry's gripped again. Rick tries to explain how they're getting the wrong aspect of infinite TV. He tries to sway them by flipping the channel to Quick Mysteries, then says:

"Now who wants to watch random, crazy TV shows from different dimensions, a-a-a-and then who wants to narcissistically obsess about their alternate selves?"

Everyone agrees to narcissistically obsess about their alternate selves. Rick sighs, gets up, and pulls out a set of visors from his lab coat:

"Here, these scan your retinas and let you view parallel time lines through genetically matching versions of your eyes. Go fetch." and throws the device into the next room. They go running after it like a pack of dogs.

^ You might recall the same visors being used in Episode 6--Rick Potion #9--when Rick scanned alternate realities looking for a world in which they fixed the Cronenberg disaster.

Morty is the only one who stays on the couch. Rick says: "I'm proud of you Morty." Morty replies: "Hey man, I don't give a crap about myself, Rick. Let's watch some crazy stuff, yo," and Rick flips it to Ants in My Eyes Johnson. <-- It's very much like his reaction to the Meeseeks box at the beginning on Episode 5--Meeseeks and Destroy--in that he is far less vane than the rest of his family when it comes to the things that interest him. This also kind of sets the tone for the time Rick and Morty are going to have with each other on the couch. Rick expresses affection towards his grandson and Morty, just in the way he says "Let's watch some crazy stuff, yo," expresses a kind of chillaxed attitude, the kind you can only have when hanging with a bud.

This physical split between Rick and Morty and the rest of the Smith family initiates the story line split. We already know how Rick and Morty spend this episode, and now we know how the rest of the family will spend it: watching their alternate lives through Rick's visors.

And again, this is another version of escape from reality--only that while Rick and Morty will be escaping into a falsehood, the rest of the Smith family will be escaping into another reality (except at the end, of course, where the story lines will merge once more).

Beth, in the kitchen with Jerry and Summer, at least contemplates the ramifications of looking at their alternate lives. Jerry has no second thoughts. He grabs the visors from Beth and puts them on (kind of a twist from Meeseeks and Destroy). At first he sees nothing but white. Then he lifts his head (or at least it seems that way from within the visors) and he's looking across the table at an extremely well dressed Jonny Depp, with two babes in bikinis on each side of him, and he's looking at him over what looks like a pile of cocaine. Depp says: "You're my best friend, Jerry Smith. I love doing cocaine with you."

"Woooaaaw, I love doing cocaine with you too Jonny Depp!" Jerry says before Beth rips the visors off him contemptuously exclaiming: "Haven't we spent enough time on you?" and straps it to her head. She says "I'm performing surgery... but not on a horse, on a human!" (though, if you notice, she does split an artery on the intestines). Jerry reacts with: "That's great, Beth. You always wanted to be a real surgeon." Beth, taking off the visors, says "I am a real surgeon." Jerry, in a panic, grabs the visors and hands them to Summer, saying: "Summer's turn."

At first, Summer doesn't see anything. Beth suggests: "Well, you should select a different timeline. I mean, if your father and I achieved our dreams, there's a chance you weren't even born. That came out wrong, that came out very wrong." Summer tries switching the "reality" dial, saying: "Fine, I'll find a world where you bothered to have me." She flips through a few until she finds one where they're playing Yatzi.

Meanwhile, Rick and Morty are watching the Mr. Sneezy commercial followed by Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers Who Are Just Regular Brothers Running in a Van From an Asteroid and All Sorts of Things The Movie.

Then we cut back to the kitchen. There's a lot of issues that are hashed up in this scene, so I'm just going to post a clip:



In the first scene of the secondary story line, we got a taste for what each of their lives would have been like if Beth had aborted Summer (and in Summer's case, just what another boring alternate version of her life would have been like). In this scene, it becomes the center piece around which their many resentments towards each other revolves and explodes into nasty shouting and bickering. Both Jerry and Beth accuse the other of resenting the fact that they stayed together now that they know they could have had it so much better. The cat is let out of the bag that staying together was a decision they came to after contemplating an abortion. This is news to Summer: "You thought of getting an abortion?" Beth replies: "Everyone thinks about it! [Do they???] Obviously, I'm the version of me that didn't do it, so you're welcome."

Summer replies: "Yeah, thank you guys so much. It's a real treat to be raised by parents who force themselves to stay together instead of being happy."

Beth and Jerry just hang their heads low. Then Rick comes in and makes his comment about backing the wrong conceptual horse. It's questionable (at least to me) what his point is. Is he saying that it's better to lose one's self in a fictional reality like TV than an actual, but alternate, reality like that which Beth and Jerry are exploring through the visors? At least with fictional realities, there's no grounds to be disappointed that you could have had that life instead of the one you're living. However, most of the commentary online seems to suggest that Rick is touching on the fact that nothing matters, so why obsess over the many ways your life could have turned out when you could have a much better time indulging in cheap, mindless entertainment.

But whatever the message Rick's comment is supposed to convey, the point of this scene in its entirety is that Summer finally realizes that she was an unplanned (and by the sounds of her parents' gripes, an unwanted) pregnancy. This is some pretty hard news to swallow, and it will prompt Summer to want to move out, but that comes later.

The scene cuts to Rick and Morty watching Ball Fondlers and then back to the others:

Jerry suggests that maybe Rick was right, maybe they ought to just veg out in front of the TV and watch Ball Fondlers. He justifies his statement: "Every family on this block has to wonder whether they're together by choice. Our family just has interdimensional goggles to show us for a fact that we're not."

Now, I'm not so sure about this philosophy. To see an alternate version of yourself in an alternate reality making different choices than those that you made in your current reality might be taken to mean that you really do have a choice. I mean, if we really have no choice, then we're talking determinism, and determinism would say that if you start with the same preconditions (in Jerry and Beth's case, they had unprotected sex on prom night and Beth got pregnant) then the course of events that follow would have to be exactly the same in all possible worlds. If they are not, as seems to be the case for Jerry and Beth, then free choice must be real, and they are definitely staying together by choice.

But I suppose that the way Jerry means it hinges not on determinism but on identity. That is to say that if there is anything essential to Jerry being Jerry or Beth being Beth, then part of that would surely have to involve what they each want--especially on decisions so crucial as to what life to live and whether or not to be parents (even if by an unplanned pregnancy). So if their choice to stay together for the sake of the children (for the sake of just having the children) was a choice that any version of Jerry or Beth would make--because that's the kind of people they are at their core--then they should see that choice pan out in any reality in which they in fact have the choice. The fact that they are seeing first hand that such a choice doesn't pan out in every reality means, according to the foregoing, that such a decision isn't essential to who they are, and so they cannot say that this choice was made because it's the kind of choice that Beths and Jerries just want to make. Therefore, there must be other reasons, other forces, that determine why they made such a choice, reasons and forces other than just that they want to. Something else of which they are unconscious is making them stay together.

Summer, in a moment of rash thinking, announces that she's moving out. She storms out the kitchen and heads to her bedroom via the living room, walking between the TV and Rick and Morty on the couch as they watch SNL. Morty takes notice, Rick doesn't (this, to me, is an intentional device inserted to remind us of one of the difference between Rick and Morty--whereas Rick doesn't care about anything, Morty still does). SNL is followed up by Real Fake Doors which is followed up by Gazorpazorpfield. They have a moment of reminiscing over the previous episode until Rick distracts Morty by turning up the volume on Gazorpazorpfield (almost as if to say: don't dwell over the past).

Back to Jerry and Beth in the kitchen, they've simmered down from their heightened emotions. In fact, they're sitting on the floor, leaning against cupboards and such, looking a bit more relaxed. Beth has an excuse: she's been drinking. In fact, she's holding a wine box which is obviously empty by the way she's shaking it and trying to peer inside to see if there are any more drops. A half filled wine glass sits beside her. She questions Jerry: "Did you really talk me out of the abortion? [Jerry responds] I think, in my head, I was doing it all for the kids, and now the first kid is going to do something with turquoise. [another response from Jerry] So we didn't do the kids any favors. So we should stay together for each other and ourselves [which, by now, is obviously a moot point] or..."

This is probably the first scene in the entire series in which Beth and Jerry actually rise above their petty bickering and resentment based issues with each other and finally have an honest conversation about the problems in their relationship. This almost happened in Meeseeks and Destroy when Beth and Jerry went out to dinner, but that time was more or less one sided only--Beth *sort of* started to open up about her true issues and what she really wanted in life, but Jerry, at that point, was still too oblivious to meet Beth on the same level. But in this episode, they have both broken through the defense mechanism and are speaking seriously about the truth of their issues. The result? They come to the conclusion that the only justification for staying together that they've been feeding themselves is no longer valid: not only is Summer going to run away from home, but she's doing so because her parents are staying together for all the wrong reasons (might this be another spin on the old theme of the universe thwarting one's intentions?). Despite this crisis, this is the first time in the series that Jerry and Beth have come to grips with the fact that they are not right for each other and that perhaps the best solution to their marital problems is to get divorced.

Rick and Morty sit through the trunk people ads, the Strawberry Smiggles commercial, and Turbulent Juice before Jerry comes in and sits on the couch next to Morty. He informs him that he and Morty's mother will be spending some time apart and that Summer just found out she was an unwanted pregnancy--which apparently is news to Morty as well--not exactly the best thing to say to one's son just after having such a conversation with one's spouse (usually such a conversation is followed by another conversation about how to break the news to one's children). But now Morty knows why Summer passed between him and the TV in a huff. Rick, after hearing this, tries to distract Morty from such a weighty issue by drawing his attention back to the TV: "Speaking of wh-*burp*-at, Morty, wh-*buuurrrp*-at should we w-*buuurrrp*-atch next?" He switches the station to Baby Legs.

Once Baby Legs is over, the scene switches back to Rick on the couch to show that Morty is no longer there (Morty's convictions weren't swayed by Rick's distractions apparently). Morty, unable to ignore his sister's dilemma, makes his way to Summer's room to find her packing her stuff. What follows is a speech Morty gives his sister that's worth posting:



This news that Morty drops on Summer is not just a reminder of what we have (most likely) forgotten from Episode 6, but a signal that Rick's solution to the Cronenberg disaster is meant to be tied into many other events and themes throughout the series--it is not just an isolated (though shocking) event to be forgotten, but full of meaning that impinges on almost everything in the series. Morty, in this scene, conveys to Summer the lesson that he's learned from this: "Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody's gonna die." If we are to interpret this in the current context, Morty is saying: even if you were a planned pregnancy, it wouldn't be on purpose; running away won't help you find where you belong. And no matter how you cut it, you're gonna die anyway. If we are to interpret this in the context of Morty's transition from the Cronenberged universe to this one, he's saying: I'm not supposed to exist (not in this universe anyway), I certainly don't belong here, and I'm already dead anyway. After being hit with this news, Summer realizes that there's no point to getting into such a huff about being an unwanted child, and she might as well just go down with Morty and watch TV as he invites her to.

It also says something about Rick's escapism: though one can clearly see that Rick has many forms of escape from the harsh traumas of reality, does it really matter that it's a form of escape as opposed to facing the harshness head on? Are we "supposed" to resist the temptation to delve into one or another form of escapism and face our issues instead? Have we really lived the wrong kind of life if escapism is the only way we have lived it? One can only imagine that, from Rick's point of view, a point of view that says that absolutely nothing matters, why not give in to escapism? One could have the full understanding that it's a form of escape, and that it amounts to a form of weakness and cowardice, yet if none of that matters, there would be absolutely no motivation to resist it.

They come downstairs to join Rick and Jerry just after the trailer for Last Will and Testimeow: Weekend at Dead Cat Lady's House II. After being informed by Rick that he just missed his father's "Citizen Cane", Morty replies: "Doesn't matter," and winks at Summer. Jerry asks the children: "Hey, if your, uh, mother and I had to split custody, who would you guys choose?" Summer answers: "Doesn't matter," and fist bumps Morty. Apparently, Morty's little speech worked. Summer, with this new perspective that nothing matters, has been spared all her angst and hurt feelings and now sees why she might as well just veg out in front of the TV. And she does seem genuinely happier.

This wink on Morty's part and their fist bump seems to indicate that resigning to the fact that nothing matters may in fact nurture bonding between people. It is the same reason Rick and Morty seem to be bonding over mind numbing television. It's almost as if to say that the riffs that come between us are due to things mattering to us--religion, politics, how to raise our children--and if we were only to let all that go, we would have no reason to war with each other. But if one was to point out that there would be no reason to bond either, the scenes in this episode seem to answer that the bonding that goes on between Rick and Morty and between Morty and Summer is completely unintentional and happens as a side effect. When Rick and Morty sit in front of the tube, it is with the purpose of indulging in a momentary escape. That's the intention. There is no intention for any bonding to result from this. It just happens. The same ease with which hippies and Buddhist seem to get along with each other and with others seems to be caused by the same thing: the perspective that nothing matters.

That's when 6 News comes on with the breaking story about Jerry suffering a breakdown and being chased in a slow speed pursuit down the highway. Here we have a merging of the two forms of escapism: Rick and Morty's escapism into falsehoods and the rest of the Smith family's escapism into alternate realities. TV isn't always about falsehoods--the news, for example, is (supposedly) about real world events--and in this case, alternate reality events--though it is being viewed on the television as opposed to through the eyes of alternate versions of themselves via a pair of interdimensional goggles, and this is what we get as a result of the "merge" between the two story lines... but it doesn't end there:

Rick motions to switch the channel. Jerry admonishes: "Don't even think about it." Rick responds: "Come on, J--are you kidding me, Jerry? It's just a bunch of dumb tabloid crap." Jerry snatches the remote from Rick: "It's my life and we're watching it." (kind of ironic since it's not really his life). Most of the time, when Jerry pulls something like this, it's easily cast in the light of his usual egoism, but in this case, I kind of side with him. I kind of like the way he stood up to Rick, probably because something as significant as what's happening in one's life is worth standing up for. In any case, they continue to watch.

Meanwhile, Beth is still sitting on the floor in the kitchen, now definitely drunk, empty wine bottles all over the place, a glass of wine in her hand, and the visors still strapped to her face (this is the first time in the series we see signs of impending alcoholism on Beth's part, much like her father, and it won't be the only time--though I question whether the sheer number of wine bottles and wine boxes in the scene was a bit of overkill--I count 9 bottles and 3 boxes (not necessarily all of them are empty, mind you) which would probably render one in the hospital for alcohol poisoning--but I suppose the point was to get the message across that she's been drinking, and drinking a lot).

"Ya did it, Beth," she says to herself in a slurred voice, "Ya really nailed it," in a less than satisfied, almost sarcastic, tone. The visors show her dumping some bird seed into a bird cage. In the background there's seven other bird cages. They're pictured against a grey gloomy background. Even in this alternate reality there's wine bottles and wine glasses strewn about. There's also a mirror in the center bird cage in which she can see her own reflection: she looks very sad.

Image

She continues: "Y-*burp*-ou're a surgeon... aaa human surgeon." (<-- she almost caught herself there guilty of the same insult Jerry inadvertently threw at her earlier).

This almost seems to say that though, in this alternate life of hers, she made it as a human surgeon, she really was meant for animals. That coupled with the fact that, in the earlier scene, she accidentally cut her patient's intestinal artery might be meant to indicate that making it as a human surgeon isn't necessarily the best course that her life could have taken. There's also no indication in any of the scenes of her alternative life that she's got a man to share it with, and the look of sadness in her reflection, coupled with her being surrounded by birds (much like an old cat lady), might indicate a severe loneliness.

Almost the same twist of irony can be gleaned from the breaking news report of Jerry's breakdown: though throughout the episode, it seemed like Jerry, in his alternate life, had it made--snorting cocaine with Jonny Depp (his best friend), being interviewed on Letterman, banging Kristen Stewart on DiCaprio's yacht--he ends up suffering this breakdown and being pursued by the police. But this is nothing compared to what happens next:

The live news feed shows Jerry driving up to some house. He rings the doorbell. Suddenly, the scene switches back to Beth: she turns her head in the alternate reality and looks at the door. Clearly, the news report they're watching on TV and the alternate reality Beth is watching through the visors are the same reality--merged indeed. She stumbles towards the door. She opens it. Of course, it's Jerry. He says:

"Beth Sanchez [so she isn't married], I have been in love with you since high school. I hate acting. I hate cocaine. I hate Kristan Stewart. I wish you hadn't gotten that abortion, and I've never stopped thinking about what might have been."

Talk about the grass being greener. The moral of the story, if it needs to be spelled out, is: though it seemed like they were so much happier in their alternate lives, the truth is both were miserable, and that maybe they don't have it so bad in their actual lives after all.

This also says something about Jerry's feelings towards Beth, something that we should have known all along (because there's been ample signs): Jerry isn't staying with Beth because he has to, not because of some altruistic moral calling for the sake of the children--Jerry really is in love with Beth. He may be all wrapped up in his ego and his image in the eyes of others, but he needs no convincing on account of some abstract morale or some impersonal reasoning that he should stay with Beth--he really wants to (whether he realizes this or not). He may not know how to love--at least not how to nurture love so that it sustains itself and grows (that requires a sensitivity to the needs of others and a fair degree of selflessness)--but one certainly can't say there are no feelings there for Beth.

Furthermore, this has implications for how Jerry feels about Summer. Beth may have considered abortion, but Jerry was the one who talked her out of it. Why? Obviously, being madly in love with her, he could easily see them raising a family together. He actually wanted to have Summer with Beth.

Can we say the same for Beth? I'm not so sure we can--with respect to either of them--Jerry or Summer. What we've seen of their relationship so far seems to say that Jerry, though clearly in love with Beth, can't deliver what she needs in order to feel satisfied. She is her father's daughter, after all, and so the kind of man she needs in order to feel stimulated and alive, to feel swept up in passion and romance, at least requires a level of intelligence and self-awareness that far surpasses what Jerry's capable of. And we've seen from Rick Potion #9 that she needs a lot more "manliness" than what Jerry can afford. There's probably other things. But she nonetheless stays with Jerry. Why? Well, certainly the kids are one reason, but it's not the only reason. We saw in Meeseeks and Destroy that, on occasion, and particularly in the moments when she is at her most profound doubts about any hope left in their relationship, Jerry does something to reel her back in, something to keep her hooked. And this merging of events, this crossing of paths, that we just saw, is another example:

Upon seeing this--hearing these words spilling from Jerry's lips--she drops her glass of wine (in the original world). She begins to tear up, tears dripping from the visors. Everyone in the living room is bewildered (except Rick who looks quite unimpressed). She comes in the room, drops the visors, and meets Jerry's eyes. He looks at her, still stunned. She's a blubbering mess. They run to each other and hold each other in a passionate embrace, and then they kiss.

So just like in Meeseeks and Destroy, the minute Beth is sure that Jerry is not the man for her and that she'd be better off breaking away from him, this happens--she's suddenly pulled back in--and not by guilt or by force, but by this sudden realization that some spark of love is still alive between them--or at least, that there is something that keeps igniting feelings of love, something that doesn't allow her to follow through with her resolve to leave him (I'm hesitant to say that she's reminded that they belong together since, despite these rare occasions of love rekindled, it's clear that they are absolutely wrong for each other).

The other three, still on the couch, look rather disgusted by this display of icky mushy romance, and Rick breaks the tension by suggesting Ball Fondlers. They agree.

The post-credit scene involves the Smith family--all of them in front of the TV now--watching the weather from a reality in which hamsters live inside people's asses. They are literally protruding from people's rectums and get around the world by way of the people they host crawling on all fours like vehicles. The Smith family ask a million questions (as I would) about how all that works. Rick gets annoyed by all the questioning so they go on a "family vacation" to hamster butt world (via his portal gun) so they can get all their questions answered.

Not that any of this interests me, but I bring it up only because I like how Rick says to Beth after she asks if the hamsters actually live inside their rectums: "Yeah, sweetie, they--that's where they live." <-- Really, I just like how he calls her "sweetie"--it not only shows a side to Rick that actually cares but it echoes my feelings for my daughter. I just get all teary eyed every time Rick shows affection towards his daughter (and this is not the only scene). <-- That's all.

==============================================

RANDOM THOUGHTS:

So we've been talking about television as a form of escape, but this has to have something to do with Rick's other forms of escapism--namely, reality hopping and his alcoholism. Yet at the same time, I can't help but to interpret this escape into television as an escape from his other forms of escape. I'm pretty sure I don't remember a single scene in this episode in which Rick drinks from his flask and obviously he's not jumping across dimensions. What is it about this form of escapism that could make it better than reality hopping or alcoholism? Well, the latter two forms of escape aren't always really escapes. You can have a good time getting drunk on alcohol, you can forget all about your troubles, but of course it takes it toll--you end up puking, hung over the next day, and generally feeling like shit after the good times are over. (This carries over to other forms of drugs as well--trying to use drugs as a form of escape is hit and miss at best, and when it's a miss, it can be a fucking hard miss <-- like literally seeing clones from an alternate reality possessed by demonic alien spirits from another dimension's future). And as for reality hopping, well we've seen how harsh this can be--quite traumatizing to Morty--and it's questionable whether this is a form of escapism at all. Of course, it is a form of escapism, but that's only when Rick has the opportunity to choose which reality to hop to and what the reasons are. For the most part, the dangers and tribulations that Rick and Morty undergo in the series are either unintentional or necessary evils for something else. This episode represents a break from the trials and tribulations of both Rick's other forms of escape: reality hopping and alcoholism. Not only does escaping into television provide a break from these other forms of escapism, but as we can see, it helps to form bonds between him and his grandchildren, and maybe this is the ultimate reason why this form of escapism is so much better than the other forms.

Now, just a question on what we're actually watching on interdimensional cable: 6 News was like the visors in that it was footage of actual events from an alternate reality whereas Shmloos the Shmloss was a sit com. But how to we know this for sure? I mean, with an infinite number of realities that the Smiths are getting cable from, who's to say Shmloos the Shmloss isn't a form of news in that reality? What if, in that reality, that's just how they report the news? What, with an announcer saying "Coming up next on Shmloos the Shmloss, Shmlony has a nightmare"? Yes, how do we know that's not just the style with which they report the news in that reality? In fact, with an infinite number of reality, there has to be a reality in which that is precisely the case.

So technically speaking, Rick and the rest of the family never know whether what they are watching is a fictional program or an actual reality happening in a parallel dimension.

Now I've really got to start cutting these posts short. I've just been told by the ILP bulletin board that my post is too long. So I'm going to split it here. The "philosophical springboards" will appear in the next post.
Last edited by gib on Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:32 am

PHILOSOPHICAL SPRINGBOARDS:

* Escapism: What counts as escaping reality and what counts as facing reality? I don't think many would have qualms with calling television, or going to the movies, or any form of entertainment really, a form of escape, but there is an interesting question of where to draw the line. What about talking about your problems with a friend? What about writing in a journal? What about working out at the gym. What about getting drunk with a bunch of buddies? Should we say that if it's for the purpose of preparing one's self to face reality, then it's OK? For example, talking to a friend about one's problems might be construed as an alternative to facing those problems, and thus a form of escape, but if such talks result in getting good advice or encouragement from that friend, it could actually help in facing one's problems. But then so could going to the movies or doing drugs? Doesn't one need the occasional respite from the harsh challenges of life? And don't those occasional breaks allow one to rest and rejuvenate, as the saying goes, thereby preparing one to, once again, jump right back into the challenges life? And is escaping reality always a bad thing? Is there actually anything wrong with escaping the harshness of reality is such an escape brings pleasure and comfort? Isn't the establishment of pleasure and comfort in place of harshness and pain a sign that one has found the solution to life's problems? Why should one persistently look for pain and suffering? Just to prove that one has the capacity to stomach it? And does any of it matter in the end? If Morty's point to Summer is correct: that nobody exists on purpose, that nobody belongs anywhere, that we're all going to die anyway, then does it really matter whether we choose one or another form of escapism to deal with life? Does it matter that we choose the easy path, the path of weakness and cowardice? And is escapism more than just an evasion of the harshness of life? Could it also be a "cheat" on life? After all, most forms of escapism are pleasurable because they offer a way to get the joys out of life, however fake those joys may be, without going through the actual struggles to get it. Watching Ball Fondlers, for example, is a way of vicariously experiencing one's self as a bad-ass action hero without really risking one's life in all the dangers and threats that the characters undergo in the story. Or Jerry experiencing himself being Jonny Depp's best friend without actually undergoing a mental breakdown because of how miserable such a life actually is.

* The grass is always greener: Beth and Jerry realize at the end of the episode that though their alternate lives at first seemed so much better than their actual lives, their alternate selves living those lives were actually miserable. What does this say about humanity in general? Does it say that no matter what life we live, now matter how good we have it, we are always going to succumb (eventually) to regret and misery, always imagining what life we could have lived? Or is there something to the idea that the kind of life we live really can determine how happy we are, and it's just something about Jerry and Beth themselves, that they personally only focus on the faults in their lives, that makes them unhappy? Is there always a silver lining? Is there always a way of looking at one's life that brings one out of misery and into happiness? Is the quality of one's life really all a matter of the course it takes, or is it a matter of the attitude one takes regardless of the course?

* What would you do if you had an infinite variety of entertainment right at the tip of your fingers? What if you could feast yourself on any form of entertainment, any form of escape, any form of stimulation, if you only had the patience to look for it until you found it. This, of course, was the insight about interdimensional cable that Rick tried to explain to Jerry but flew over Jerry's head even until the end of the episode. This question--what would you do--is closely tied, of course, to the previous question of escapism, but is more focused on what one would do rather than what escapism is. Would an infinite variety of options (which implies that whatever your heart desires, it's there) keep you hooked like a drug, unable to pull yourself away like the rats that died of exhaustion from the experiments that had them addicted to pressing a bar in exchange for electrode induced stimulation directly delivered to their brains? Why would you ever pull away? Why would you ever go back to dull boredom again?

* Does anything matter? This question has come up before as an offshoot philosophical question in other episodes, but I feel that it is expressly epitomized in this episode. Morty's speech to Summer seems, to me, to be the summary of the entire series. It's what Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon seem to be trying to get across in pretty much everything that goes on in Rick and Morty. And what if nothing matters? What then? Are we to sulk in the misery of meaninglessness and insignificance that our lives consequently are? Or does it mean, as Rick apparently realizes, that the possibilities are limitless, that every conceivable option is available to us. Infinite TV is just a sample, a glimpse, of the world we can delve into if nothing matters. If there really is no purpose to our lives, than we can do anything. Nothing is off limits to us. And so as gloomy and depressing as Rick's outlook on life often seems, we do get a peek in this episode of a more positive side to this outlook, particularly in the way he gets all excited about interdimensional cable and what it has to offer. Though Rick is more often seen to slip into the more depressing and gloomy side of this perspective, he is obviously aware of its potential for happiness and release, whether or not we choose to call that "escape", and his entire life seems to consist of a struggle to escape from the former into the latter.

* Determinism vs. free will: what does it really mean if in an alternate reality we saw our alternate selves making different life decisions than those we've made in our current lives. Jerry seems to think that it means such decisions are not made out of freedom. But there is the contrary view, which I expressed above, that this indicates that such decisions must be made out of freedom. Of course, all this depends on how many differences there really are between the realities. The alternate realities Beth and Jerry peer into are obviously different in the sense that they made different decisions for their lives, but that may not be the only difference. It could be that in the alternate reality, Beth made the decision to get an abortion before Jerry even knew she was pregnant and then only told him afterwards. In that case, Jerry would not have chose to go along with Beth's decision--there would have been nothing he could do about it. In fact, any slight difference in any minute variable could have Earth shattering effects, thereby implying that things could still be completely deterministic even if it seems that merely different choices are being made. On the other hand, if what Jerry meant when he said that he and Beth are not together by choice was that there are unconscious reason for their staying together despite what they tell themselves, it could be that what seems like deterministic forces in the universe are really other, stronger wills overpowering our own--that is, if we can consider unconscious forces to be unconscious wills. Suppose that we did live in such a universe--a universe much like that depicted by Nietzsche's Will to Power where everything is determined by a great will--then the fundamental nature of the universe would not be deterministic but based on free will--it's just that when this will is chopped up into several epicenters, you get some wills thwarting others, and it will feel, according to those others, that there are deterministic forces all around.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:25 am

FURTHER THOUGHTS:

This insight about how Jerry feels about Beth has raised a further question in my mind: how did Beth feel about Jerry when they first met? What did Beth originally see in him? I mean, if they made love on prom night--conceiving Summer--does that mean Beth was in love with Jerry? It seems highly doubtful that he raped her so she must have wanted him for some reason. We saw in Episode 6--Rick Potion #9--that she was turned on by his rambo-like persona coming out, but it seems doubtful here as well that this was what Jerry was like back when they were young. Instead, what we saw in Episode #5--Meeseeks and Destroy--and also Episode #2--Lawnmower Dog--when Beth seemed to feel sorry for Jerry getting all sentimental about Snuffles leaving (mainly because of how he came off as not-so-bright <-- "Oh Jerry, you mean because it [Old Yeller] had dogs in it.")--was that what keeps reeling her back in is a kind of combination of feeling sorry for Jerry and being moved over how much of a "sweetheart" he can be (her reason, in Meeseeks and Destroy was that, unlike all of the other Meeseeks-like adolescents, he stuck around). Yet, Jerry keeps sabotaging the sweetness of why he stuck around: in Meeseeks and Destroy, in response to Beth tell him that, unlike all the other guys she dated in high school, he stuck around, Jerry says: "Well, I got you pregnant" (thereby killing the mood). And in the current episode, Jerry says "We're not heroes for having unprotected sex on prom night," again prompting Beth to feel cut down by that remark, enough for her to start pestering him about regretting their decision to stay together because he feels he was "held back" from achieving his dreams.

This makes me wonder: given that it's obvious that Jerry loves Beth (it will become especially obvious in Season II, Episode II--Mortynight Right), why does he sabotage every opportunity to express the actual reason why he wanted to stay with Beth and have Summer? The only reason I can think of is that Jerry is far too wrapped up in looking out for what's socially acceptable to recognize his every selfish passion--including love--the idea that he might just want Beth is foreign to him--he feels he has to prove his altruistic motives, thereby giving off the impression that he's selfless. He wants to emphasize that he stayed with Beth, and chose to help her raise Summer, because of impersonal moral principles--he figures that's what makes him a hero, what makes him "great" in the eyes of others. The thought that he could want Beth all for himself, though this would move Beth to tears, is too much of a selfish motive for him, and so he denies it, opting to focus on the "selfless" motive of doing it because, as he so often reminds Beth, he got her pregnant. This drive to prove how selfless he is blinds him even to his commendable passions, passions that would make him more likable, to the point where it defeats the whole purpose. <-- At least, that's the best I can think of so far.

It's ironic: there are those who will insist that true love is completely selfless--that it involves always putting aside one's personal interests for the sake of the other person--but is that really what we want in a lover? How much could we feel moved by the love of a partner who constantly reminds us that they feel nothing for us but nevertheless puts our interests before their's because "it's the right thing to do"? Do we prefer that our partners actually want us or that they feel they "have" to stay with us because of stoic, cold principles (however moral those principles are)? Isn't the best love--isn't true love--that which is driven by passion--blind selfish passion--a passion that wants nothing but to have the other person in one's life? And doesn't that passion just end up driving us to put the other's interest before ours anyway? Isn't that why we are so moved by such shows of passion? Isn't this why, at the end of this episode, Jerry throws away all his fame and popularity as a movie star (the pinnacle of being socially liked) for the sake of just giving in to what he has always felt selfishly passionate about? Having Beth and raising a family with her?

I also had a few thoughts that dig a little deeper into why Morty's speech to Summer affected her so: why it so effectively convinced her that nothing matters. Summer begins by feeling all distraught that she is the cause of her parents' misery; Morty reveals to her that he, in a sense, is an orphan in a reality in which he doesn't have parents (not really)--that he has to live with the secret that the Beth and Jerry of this reality have actually lost their son and don't know it, that he is imposing on them, forced to pretend that he belongs to this family. But really, he has no one, no family, no parents. It sinks in that at least Summer has parents. This really brings some perspective to Summer; it makes her realize that, when put into perspective, her problems are really quite insignificant. It's that feeling we get when, after a while of feeling sorry for ourselves, we hear someone else's story, a story of how some people have it so much worse, and that our problems pale in comparison to theirs. I think this is what lifts her mood. It was hard for me, at first, to take seriously the notion that Summer would feel better about being the cause of her parents' misery just because Morty dropped on her a little nihilistic/existentialist philosophy about how there is no purpose and that we don't belong anywhere (I mean, how often are we really moved to change our ways just because someone does a little armchair philosophy with us); but given the news about how he's not really her little brother, it made me think: that would have an impact and would prompt her to re-evaluate her situation.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:49 am

gib wrote:And finally, is there any mention in the entire Rick and Morty series of where Rick's portal gun can take him? We know it can take him to different universes, but what about distant places in the same universe? If not--if his gun is strictly for hopping across universes--then Gazorpazorp is not in Morty's universe (could it be back in the Cronenberged universe?). How did Gwendalyn get to their universe in that case? Well, technically we don't actually know which universe Rick and Morty were in when they first bought her at the pawn shop, but even if it was the same universe, obviously universe hopping is possible and Rick may not be the only being in the multiverse to have a portal gun.


I said this as an after-post to my analysis of Raising Gazorpazorp. I was being incredibly stupid. I failed to take into account the fact that they were driven home in a pink space ship at the end, so unless they actually went through a portal on the way, this settles the matter: Gazorpazorp is in the same universe, and Rick's portal gun is not just for reality hopping.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:14 am

Rick and Morty - S1E8 - Something Ricked This Way Comes (part 1 of a 2 part analysis)

Like in Raising Gazorpazorp, it's Summer turn, once again, to team up with Rick, and Morty, once again, teams up with his parents in the secondary story line, or at least his father Jerry. And like Rixty Minutes, the main story line doesn't really consist of an adventure per se; it's more like a soap opera with a lot of drama and betrayal and other crap. In fact, there's not really any good reason to call it the "main" story line except that Rick's in it and the title of the episode is a reference to it.

And like Meeseeks and Destroy and Rick Potion #9, we'll see Jerry manning up in the end of this one, but this time more as a parent than as a husband or lover.

Like in Lawnmower Dog and Raising Gazorpazorp, this episode will give us a chance to explore the whole liberal vs. conservative dichotomy again, with Rick proving to be an absolutely ruthless capitalist, ruthless towards the Devil at least, proving that he can out smart even him. <-- And here, the theme of capitalism is inextricably tied to another interesting and philosophical topic which we haven't yet touched on in the series: that of science vs. magic. In his competition with the Devil, Rick is going to prove that science can overcome (black) magic (perhaps a cheeky way for the writers to say that science is superior to religion).

We begin with the family (minus Morty) around the breakfast table. Jerry's playing some kind of mindless pop-the-balloons game on something like an ipad. Across from him, Rick is soldering together some kind of mini-robot no bigger than a grapefruit. Sparks fly at Jerry who turns to the side grabbing his ipad, looking annoyed at Rick. Already we're playing on intelligence vs. stupidity: two different activities that require vastly different levels of intelligence to engage in: popping the red balloons in a video game that 3 year olds can master vs. inventing a robot that achieves a rather sophisticated level of AI (as we'll see). This dichotomy doesn't quite characterize the dynamic between Rick and the Devil--the Devil isn't quite portrayed as "stupid" per se--but Rick's intelligence definitely plays a part there and the episode is being setup right from the get-go to highlight that aspect of Rick's character. Jerry's low intelligence does play a roll in this episode, but it plays out in the secondary story line where he attempts to help Morty with a science project for school and nearly fails, risking Morty getting an F, because he allows his ego to eclipse the trends in science today.

This science project is what Morty comes into the room asking Rick to help him with. Following a dismissive "whatever" from Rick, Jerry opts to help Morty with the comment: "Well, I mean, traditionally, science fair projects are a father/son thing," to which Rick responds: "Well, scientifically, traditions are an idiot thing." Again, we see Jerry masking his desire to spend some quality time with his son with "following tradition"--supporting my theory about Jerry's denial of his true passions, even the likable ones. While this is going on, Beth is texting Morty something, and then tells him: "Morty, I think it will be fun for you to work on a science project with your dad." Meanwhile the text Morty gets says: "Your father is insecure about his intelligence." <-- This convinces Morty to accept his dad's offer. Jerry let's out a victorious "Yes!" and mentions brewing some coffee and getting out the crayons (almost as if to say he needs caffeine to get his brain up to the level of intelligence required for this project and it's still going to be at the level of a child playing with crayons).

Right then, Rick finishes his little AI robot and turns it on. It turns around and says to Rick: "What is my purpose?" Rick responds: "Pass the butter." The robot obediently follows through and passes him the butter. <-- Almost as if to say: inventing a robot with artificial intelligence is about as easy for Rick as reaching over to grab the butter himself, maybe even easier since he opted to do that instead of actually putting in the effort to reach for the butter. Morty watches this in stupefaction, then looks over at his dad playing pop-the-balloons; he lets out a sigh of despair.

Then Summer comes in. She asks her dad for a ride to work. He offers Rick instead, asserting in a smug voice as if to say he's taken over Rick's roll as genius: "I'm helping Morty with science." Rick declines saying he's busy with "anything else".

So Summer and Morty begin by asking for help from each of the main characters from each story line (typically Rick is the lead in the main story line and Jerry is the lead in the secondary story line) and end up getting passed off to the other, thus swapping story lines.

The robot asks what his purpose is a second time. Rick repeats: "You pass butter." The robot looks at itself and says "Oh my God." Rick replies: "Yeah, welcome to the club, pal." <-- As if to say: at least you have a purpose.

Flying to work in Rick's spaceship, Summer explains that she's got a part time job at a vintage thrift store, and that her boss is a "really smart, eccentric old man that treats me nice and values me," in contrast, it's insinuated, to Rick, a really smart, eccentric old man that treats her like shit and devalues her.

The scene cuts to a shop not unlike that which Summer described, and we are to presume that that's exactly what it is. A rather bony man with a Dali mustache and devil's beard, dressed in a fancy suite and top hat like he's from early 20th century England seems to be setting up shop. The shop is full of strange and somewhat creepy little trinkets and gadget, things like voodoo dolls, skulls with candles on their top, strange African masks, a tiny elephant in a jar, etc..

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Mr. Goldenfold, Morty's math teach, enters the shop. The man introduces himself: "I just recently opened for business, Mr., um, Goldenfold." "You know my name?" Mr. Goldenfold chuckles, "That's disarming." The shop owner mentions that he also knows that Mr. Goldenfold longs for love. Mr. Goldenfold admits it, and the shop owner offers him, free of charge, an aftershave that makes him "quite irresistible to women." He mentions that no one pays at his shop, not with money. <-- "Nothing to read into there!" Mr. Goldenfold exclaims as he grabs the aftershave and dashes out the door.

That's when Rick and Summer come in. Summer apologizes for being late, addressing him as "Mr. Needful". Mr Needful questions Rick: "What do you desire?" Rick responds as he looks around the shop touching everything "Eh, I make my own stuff." He picks up the skull with the candle and asks: "So, what are you, like, the Devil?" Mr. Needful suddenly gets nervous: "What? Sorry?" he asks as he twiddles his fingers. Rick continues: "I don't know, store comes out of nowhere, all the shit's old and creepy... are you the Devil? A demon? Leprechaun?"

(^ This is the second time in the series that we've seen demons and Leprechaun's being associated with each other.)

Summer scolds him. He shoots back: "Just like to shoot straight. I'm a man of science." This tips Mr. Needful off. He grabs a golden microscope from a table and hands it to Rick: "This microscope reveals things beyond comprehension," and then starts laughing a maniacal laugh:



Cutting back to Jerry and Morty making a model of the solar system, Jerry starts the project off by explaining to Morty how "Rick's in his lab making cyborgs and wormholes," and that what they're doing is "real science"--again, as if he's the best man for the science job, effectively pushing Rick out of the lime light. He suggests a ping pong ball for Pluto. Morty informs him that Pluto isn't classified as a planet anymore. Jerry scoffs at this, saying that he learned that Pluto was a planet in third grade. Morty proves it to him by googling it on his phone, pointing out that it was declassified in 2006. Well, Jerry can't really argue with google, but rather than admit he was wrong, he says:

"Yeah, I heard about that Morty... and I disagree."

Morty: "You... disagree?"

Jerry: "That's right. It's possible to disagree in science, Morty. Pluto was a planet; some committee of fancy assholes disagreed; I disagreed back. Give me a ping pong ball."

Morty: "Um, o-okay, [gets up] I just have to--"

Jerry: "Go find Rick and go over my head about Pluto?!"

Morty: "Je-no-Jesus! I just gotta go to the bathroom! Damn!"

Jerry: "Oh, [cough-cough] okay good. [Morty leaves] This is gonna be fun!"

Yeah right. Beth nailed it--Jerry is incredibly insecure about his intelligence, and especially after all this time of Morty teaming up with Rick and learning from him, something he must feel is his job as father (which is why he feels so proud to have this opportunity--he really wants to show up Rick and prove to Morty he is the "more fun" roll model). And of course, Morty must be feeling a bit insecure himself over the possibility that Jerry, in his pride, unable to admit that he might be wrong, could fuck up his science project by including Pluto in the model when everyone knows, including Morty's teacher, that it no longer belongs there.

Well, despite Morty's claim to be only going to the bathroom, the next scene shows him approaching Rick in the garage. Rick has the golden microscope under what looks like another, more sophisticated, microscope (though it's not clear that's what it is). Without even turning around to see that it's Morty, Rick asks: "Hey Morty, le'me-*burp*-le'me-*burp*-le'me ask you a question real quick: Does evil exist, and if so, can one detect and measure it? [Morty: Umm] Rhetorical question, Morty. The answer is yes. You just have to be a genius." He presses a button on his laptop; three robotic arms attached to Rick's advanced microscope-looking device move around the golden microscope scanning it with green lasers. His laptop shows a polygon mesh of the microscope on the left and an IQ bar on the right dropping to low and turning red. Rick interprets the results: "Cute, your sister's boss gave me a microscope that would have made me retarded."

Morty reacts with alarm: "Ooh, oh boy Rick, I-I-I don't think you're allowed to say that word, you know."

Rick explains: "Um, Morty, I'm not disparaging the differently abled; I'm stating the fact that if I had used this microscope, it would have made me mentally retarded."

Morty: "Ok, yeah, but I don't think it's about logic, Rick. I think the word has just become a symbolic issue for powerful groups that feel like they're doing the right thing."

^ As much as this tangent seems a bit out of place, it's obvious why the writers inserted it: not only are they voicing their anti-left-wing opinion, but they had to slot it in somewhere in this episode because, though it may not be obvious yet, the main focus, if it is indeed centered around conservative vs. liberal philosophy, is on the conservative side, and virtually nothing is brought in to exemplify the liberal side, not even to attack it. So just to give the conservative focus something to soundboard off of, they (I believe) inserted this line of Morty's to show that this episode isn't just a pro-conservative statement but an anti-liberal one as well (we very well can't hold up the Devil as the liberalist figure in this episode since he's obviously playing the roll of the ruthless capitalist who loses the competition against Rick, the even more ruthless capitalist).

Then Jerry comes in, catching Morty in the act. Though Morty denies asking Rick if Pluto's a planet (which he didn't even have a chance to), Jerry brings it up, giving Rick the opportunity to say it's not anyway. "I don't care what anyone says," Jerry protests, "if it can be a planet, it can be a planet again." <-- All this effort to avoid admitting he was wrong (reminds me of James).

Cut back to the Devil in his shop, Mr. Goldenfold walks in with three lovely ladies following him. "This aftershave," he protests, "made women want me but it also made me impotent!" "A price for everything," says Mr. Needful, "a price for everything [maniacal laugh]". <-- Now we get what he meant by "one never pays here, not with money." Now, usually, the Devil is depicted as accepting one's soul as payment, but this is probably the next thing down the list. One (apparently) pays with something personal and cherished, something intricately connected to one's self--for example, Mr. Goldenfold's ability to have erections--one might say something "needful". And of course, the irony is that it's the one thing that makes the purchase worth making in the first place--without erections, how is Mr. Goldenfold going to enjoy being irresistible to women? We're going to find, when Rick enters the game, how this is completely counter to the central principle of what makes capitalism work.

Mr. Goldenfold drops to his knees sobbing in tears. This sad display does not escape Summer's attention. She stops dusting some weird antique and turns around to watch. Mr. Goldenfold wales about his lust and his greed and he deserves this and how could he not see this coming--Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata plays in the background, as if he were confronted with his own damnation--when suddenly Rick walks in and injects him in the back of the neck with some pink serum--the music halts. "This serum should-*burp*-counteract the negative effects." he says. Mr. Goldenfold stands up, looks down his pants, and says "Holy cats! Ladies, let's get out of here." A look of satisfaction covers Rick's face, as if happy to have done some good (perhaps a hint that the capitalist wants to know that his scheme's to become rich nevertheless make the world better off).

Rick hands the microscope back to Mr. Needful. "You didn't use it?" asks Mr. Needful. "Sure I did," Rick replies, "to develop this." He holds out a hand-held device not unlike his portal gun except with a number pad and a screen. He explains: "It detects all your Twilight Zone Ray Bradbury Friday the 13th the series voodoo crap magic." He demonstrates how it works by going around the shop scanning all the merchandise. It detects:

* A typewriter that generates best selling murder mysteries and then makes the murders happen in real life.

* Beauty cream that makes ugly ladies pretty but also makes them blind.

* A fox (or mongoose?) scarf that ends up wearing its owner after three hours.

As Rick is doing this, customers are overhearing him and leaving the store in alarm. Mr. Needful is also looking quite alarmed, and very stressed. He stands up for himself: "I find this all quite preposterous!" and "Do I need to call the police?!" "Here," Rick says, "you can use my phone. Don't worry, it won't make you def because I'm not a hack!" Mr. Needful swats it out of Rick's hand. Rick wacks his top hat off. They end up in a slapping match. Summer intervenes.

Summer: "Grandpa Rick, I like working here!"

Rick: "You work for the Devil!"

Summer: "So what?"

Rick & Needful: "So what?!?!"

Summer: "Yes, so what if he's the Devil, Rick. At least the Devil has a job, at least he's active in the community. What do you do? [starts ushering him out] You eat our food an make gadgets. Bu-bye."

Before leaving, Rick knocks over something like an urn letting free a ghost who laughs creepily before floating through the ceiling and disappears.

Summer, in the typical rash apologetic display of subservience that most amateur employers trying to impress their boss exhibit, quickly motions towards the urn with a broom and starts cleaning it up. She apologizes on behalf of Rick. Mr. Needful tells her there is no need and that Rick was right: the store curses people. He says it in such a calm and forthright manner, as if to a dear friend--as if he's nothing like the Devil we're all familiar with--that one can't help but to sense a bond exists between him and Summer. Summer excuses him: "Well yeah, fast food gives people diabetes and clothing stores have sweat shops. Is there a company hiring teenagers that isn't evil? This is my first job. You've been nice to me Mr. Needful. You respect me."

It's funny how it's Summer saying this: excusing the evils of capitalism when just a couple episodes ago, she was all up in arms about human rights violations. In that episode, she was the spokesperson for liberalism and feminism, and in this episode, she defends the conservative ideal of capitalism. She still labels it as "evil" but nevertheless stands up for it. Why? Because Mr. Needful has been nice to her and respects her. In a sense, it could be inferred that this is a mild form of "grandpa issues"--Mr. Needful is the eccentric old man that respects and values her that Rick, her grandfather, never was. She's willing to put aside her liberalist values for the sake of having this grandfather figure in her life, a grandfather figure that does the job so much better than Rick ever could.

What's also interesting is that, if my interpretation is correct on this one, this episode plays heavily on the theme of substitutes for Rick--Jerry being a substitute science mentor for Morty and Mr. Needful being a substitute grandfather figure for Summer--and this will take a bit of a toll on Rick near the end.

Back at the Smith's home, Jerry is on the phone with NASA angrily trying to file a declaration that Pluto is a planet and that if Morty fails science on account of their refusal to accept his declaration, he's suing them. Yes, this is the length Jerry will go to to avoid admitting to being wrong--he is willing to allow his own son to fail science because he can just pass the blame onto NASA. Morty tries to reason with him: making 8 planets is easier than making 9. Jerry makes a dumb ass comment about burning Galileo at the stake for saying the Sun is round and impresses onto Morty: science isn't always easy.

Then they along with the pieces of the solar system model start levitating in the air. Suddenly, they get sucked up through the roof by a blue tractor beam. It pulls them up into a flying saucer hovering just a few yards above their house. The flying saucer takes off into the night sky and disappears:



They get taken to Pluto.

Upon disembarking, king Flippy Nips, ruler of Pluto, introduces himself to them. He comes down a long opulent hallway being carried on a throne by four servants:

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He explains that Jerry and his son were discovered by accident during a routine surveillance of Earth. "You really gave it to those guys at NASA." he compliments Jerry. "Sometimes," Jerry responds, "science is about conviction."

^ Jerry seems to have some odd ideas of what makes science science. He seems to think of it, and probably most things by extension, at the level of mentality of mere associations. That is, because sometimes he's seen scientists standing with conviction for what they believed, that defines science itself. He also insinuated earlier that building a model of the solar system is science--just because models of the solar system are usually associated with science--for example, stating that science isn't always easy when Morty suggests building an easier model of something that science studies. Science, of course, is a highly structured method for acquiring knowledge about our physical world--it's a method--not a bunch of ping pong balls strung together like an infant's mobile; and this is most likely how he gets through life: arguing points on the basis of mere association and making it out to seem like logic.

King Flippy Nips takes Jerry by the arm and ushers him into the next room saying "I'd like to introduce you to a few people who very much agree with you." He steps out onto a balcony with a podium, overlooking a sea of Plutonians down below. Jerry and Morty are standing right behind him, a couple delegate Plutonians on each side of them. "Plutonians!" announces King Nips into the microphone to a roaring crowd, "Jerry Smith is a scientist from Earth where he's creating a model of our solar system! Jerry, tell Pluto about your decision!" Jerry clears his throat and leans into the microphone: "Um... Pluto's a planet." The crowd goes wild. King Nips echoes Jerry's statement with the excitement of the crowd: "Pluto's a fucking planet bitch!" Morty says to himself as he looks up to his dad: "Oh man, this is definitely gonna go to his head."

This is even better than winning an award for his ad slogan: Hungry for Apples. I don't think we need confirmation of Morty's statement to know it's true. If the award Jerry won in M. Night Shaym-Aliens! made him feel "finally complete," imagine what being the equivalent of a rock star in the eyes of a whole planet will do to him? What seemed impossible odds just a few minutes ago--that he would be hailed a great scientist for declaring Pluto a planet--has now happened.

It's funny that this should lend itself to M. Night Shaym-Aliens! for comparison--not only do they both feature Jerry getting the spot light and being loved for it, and not only for the most unlikely reasons, but there is reason, in both, to believe the whole thing is a sham. Jerry learned that firsthand in M. Night Shaym-Aliens! as his award disappeared from his hands when the simulation shut down, and some on the internet speculate that in the current episode, this excursion of Jerry's and Morty's to Pluto is also a simulation. There was a brief scene, they point out, in M. Night Shaym-Aliens! when Rick and Morty are propelling themselves upward in 0G through a tunnel of what appear to be "simulation props"--one of which appears to be a Plutonian:

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And there's also the scene when Rick, Morty, and Jerry are trying to escape the Zigerions:

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Some speculate that these "props" are really being used to pose as Plutonians in a simulation that Jerry is oblivious to being in--I means, this entire segway is deliberately setup to come out of nowhere, to be thrust upon Jerry and Morty (and us) very suddenly. It's also too good to be true (for Jerry). And it's especially absurd that an entire planet would make such an enormous deal out of the fact that some creature from a different planet thinks that their's is, in fact, a planet--such an enormous deal that they bothered to kidnap him and his son in order to make him some kind of intellectual star loved and adored by all Plutonians. Not to mention the fact that Pluto cannot sustain life (although that's not the only absurdity the writers of Rick and Morty indulged in--an entire planet made of corn, for example). It seems more like something out of a dream than reality. But if it were all a simulation, none of that should alarm us. It would be easily explained by the fact that the Zigerions (or whoever was overseeing the simulation) were just whipping up whatever they thought Jerry would accept--it wouldn't have to be realistic at all. And then the more interesting question is: why? What are they testing Jerry for? In both simulations--this one and in M. Night Shaym-Aliens!--Jerry seemed to be put through almost identical tests, tests that seemed rigged to give Jerry the experience of being famous and loved, a star in the eyes of a whole crowd of people. In M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, the test ended (the simulation shut down) the minute Jerry, I guess you could say, "embraced" his fortuitous situation (announcing that he was "finally complete"). In this episode, he will be on the brink of taking that same step but will decline at the last minute, thus preventing the test from "ending".

^ And if any of this is true, it has implications for Rick as well--for everybody as a matter of fact--they are all in the simulation (and then who is a simulation and who isn't?). <-- Although there is a counter scenario to this: we saw in M. Night Shaym-Aliens! that the simulation existed aboard a ship. Well, Jerry and Morty got sucked up into a ship. We don't get to see what happens to them aboard the ship; we only get to see them disembarking once they get to Pluto. It could be, therefore, if this is indeed a simulation, that the simulation started at some point when they were aboard the ship and they didn't realize they had entered it.

Back at Needful Things, the Devil is trying to sell principle Vagina on a basketball (to enhance his "athletic prowess"). He doesn't have to try very hard. Before the Devil can even finish his sentence, principle Vagina snatches the basketball from his hands, saying "I'll take it!" "Uh, bu-bu-but I haven't even-" says the Devil. Receding towards the door, principle Vagina cuts it short: "Thank you very, very much. Great store. Great place. Bye." and closes the door behind him.

Mr. Needful finds this display a bit odd but pays it no mind; in fact, he's quite happy with how sales have been lately. He says to Summer: "I must say, Summer, I thought your grandfather's outburst would have disrupted business, but this is the best weekend I've had since Salem." They talk about lunch when Mrs. Tate suddenly comes in. "Mrs. Tate, is it?" says the Devil, "What do you desire?" Mrs. Tate dashes around the room in a rush, grabbing a whole bunch of items. She doesn't even answer. "Woaw, woaw, slow down honey." the Devil says. "Oh, is there a limit?" she asks, "Everything's free, right?" Summer gets this one: "Let's just say you don't pay with money." They both snicker under their breath. "You pay with the curses, right?" asks an informed Mrs. Tate. The Devil doesn't know what to say: "Um... I... well..." Mrs. Tate doesn't wait for an answer. She proceeds out the door. Before she leaves though, Mr. Needful stops her with a question: "But Mrs. Tate, why do you want cursed items?" "Well, I'm gonna get the curses removed," she says, "at Curse Purge Plus. You know, the guy on TV?" and she points to a commercial on the television above Mr. Needful's head. It's featuring Rick:



So yeah, Rick fucks him over royally. Not only does Mr. Needful now understand why he's had such a good weekend, but he now realizes it was a horrible weekend. He actually lost, well, not money, but curses (I'm not really sure how that works from an economics point of view). What we just saw here was the chief principle of capitalism at work. The ruthless evil sleazy soulless business man being eaten up by an even more ruthless evil sleazy soulless business man. What's more, keeping in line with capitalist theory, this competition, this pitting of evil against evil, benefits the consumer. With Needful Things being the only business in town, it, like a monopoly, was able to suck the life out of the consumer--"life" being a metaphor for money and soul, respectively--but when a bit of competition enters the picture, the consumer benefits.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this particular scenario--between Rick and the Devil--is atypical to say the least; most of the time, in a free market, "competition" is constituted by similar businesses playing in the same market and competing with each other for customers. But in this case, we have what economists would otherwise call "complementary" businesses--like milk producers and cookie makers, or florists and chocolate shops on Valentine's--when one experiences good business, the other usually does too; but in this case, this "harmony" between Curse Purge Plus and Needful Things, the complementarity, is damaging--to both--first, to Needful Things because obviously, by having the curses purged from the merchandise, the business cannot thrive (again, I'm not sure how curses substituting for money works economically speaking, but we are to presume they at least function to keep the business alive); second, to Curse Purge Plus for the fact that, in virtue of running Needful Things out of business, it cannot stay in business (where are the customers gonna get all their cursed items?). And this is all because Needful Things doesn't thrive on money (if it did, normal complimentary economics would presumably ensue). Needful Things (somehow) thrives on the curses the items inflict on the buyers. The buyer needs to undergo the curse in order for Mr. Needful to get "paid". This is what Rick interferes with. He removes the curse (with science) for cash "like how every other store in the world works". So how would that pan out with money instead of curses? Would that be like a service that allows you to keep some membership, like at a gym, without having automatic monthly withdrawals taken out of your account? And then the gym goes out of business? <-- That, obviously, would be illegal. But because it's not illegal to purge items of their curses, even if that's how another business stays afloat, Rick can do something like this. If cut throat capitalism of this sort were legal, Rick would be the most ruthless devil of all.

We also see Rick's superior intelligence playing out here. Not only is he smart enough to create scientific inventions capable of overcoming the powers of dark magic, but he's a genius at playing the capitalist game--even against a foe as intelligent as the Devil.

^ The bigger, more ruthless, more intelligent demon conquers the lesser demon, and just as a fortuitous side effect, everyone (except Mr. Needful) benefits. <-- You hate him, but you have to admit you want him around. This is the same theme that shows up in various parts of the series--from Morty hating Rick for always treating him like his little lackey yet being glad he's around to get him out of sticky situations to Summer hating Rick for being so sexist yet being glad he's there to protect her from the Gazorpian rapists--it's the frustration and paradox of knowing that you love the man you hate.

Jerry is a guest on Good Morning Pluto:

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What are they talking about? Of course, Jerry's monumental and scientifically solid decision that Pluto is, in fact, a planet. He's become a celebrity overnight. Meanwhile, Scroopy Noopers, a Plutonian scientist, approaches Morty, who is watching his dad off stage, and asks him if he can show him something. Morty hesitates, saying he'd better not. Scroopy pulls out a gun and says "Right now." He ushers Morty away from the set, and in the next scene they're at the center of Pluto. "Pluto, Mr. Smith," says Scroopy, "is made of a substance called Plutonium." ( <-- Now this right here should be a dead giveaway. Pluto is, as a matter of scientific fact, not made of plutonium. The notion that this would go right over Justin Roiland's and Dan Harmon's heads is preposterous; they obviously new that Pluto is not made of plutonium, which is a very strong indication that this really is a simulation setup to deceive Jerry, and maybe Morty too). Morty looks around. They're in a cavern lit blue, with tubes at odd angles projecting from the ground and into the ceiling, and emanating turquoise light. Small fist sized rocks are being carried upwards through the tubes.

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"Mines like these," Scroopy continues, "suck plutonium up to the cities where corporations use it to power everything... and the more we remove, the more Pluto shrinks... but a few years ago, your scientists noticed Pluto had gotten so small, they couldn't even call it a planet anymore*... and they love your dad telling everyone Pluto's a planet because that means they can keep mining until Pluto goes from planet to asteroid to meteor and finally *poof*." After getting to the punch line, Scroopy tries to persuade Morty to convince his dad that Pluto is not a planet so that he might "save 4 billion lives." Morty responds: "Uh, yeah, you know, the thing is: my dad's really insecure."

* This is verifiable. But seeing as there's no way for Morty to verify this, it's safe to insert it into the simulation.

Sweeping an empty shop after the mayhem that Rick caused, Summer discovers one small remaining trinket out of all the cursed trinkets that used to fill the store. It's a monkey's paw. She goes to show Mr. Needful in the back room saying "You'll never guess what we couldn't get rid of," only to discover him hanging on a noose from the ceiling. He's squirming and gurgling, obviously still alive. Summer runs to him, tries to get him down. She can't. She runs to a desk and tries to push it over. She can't. She suddenly realizes: she can use the monkey paw! She grabs it and says "I wish this desk was lighter!" One finger goes down. She tries again. This time the desk moves--right under Mr. Needful. Summer climbs the desk and tries to loosen the knock. She can't. "I wish this knot was looser!" Another finger goes down. The knot loosens and from the sheer weight, it unties causing Mr. Needful to fall to the ground. He's unconscious. Summer jumps off the desk and tries to do CPR on him (I think I'm probably reading too much into this, but is this a sexual innuendo slipped in on the part of the writers?). It doesn't work. She uses her last wish: "I wish I knew CPR!" The last finger goes down (the monkey paw only has 3 fingers, and not just because it's a cartoon because Summer has all four fingers and her opposable thumb). She preforms CPR on Mr. Needful (presumably correctly this time). He wakes up choking: "Jesus! What a waste of a monkey paw." <-- Indicating what? That he deserved to die? That his life is worth nothing? That he wanted to die?

Fans of Rick and Morty will probably note at this point how Summer's use of the monkey paw seems not to have cursed her in any way. Throughout the rest of this episode, there's nothing so horrible that happens to Summer such that we can say: she's been cursed. I mean, she *sort of* experiences an unhappy ending in this episode (but then gets big time revenge) but I would hardly call that comparable to the caliber of curses customers of Needful Things underwent (like sneakers that make you run until you die). Plus the fact that Summer's misfortune isn't supernatural (in fact, the Devil just does it to her deliberately in an act of cruelty). So why didn't she get cursed? Is it because she wasn't using the paw for her own personal interests? She was trying to save Mr. Needful's life? And did she know she wouldn't be cursed? If not, did she think she was going to be cursed? And if so, was she knowingly sacrificing herself for the Devil? I mean, it's hard to say when you're in a panic--all thoughts and emotions rushing through your head in a flurry--but with a level head, I'm sure she would have realized that she'd be cursing herself by using this monkey's paw--unless she knew the curses don't apply when you're trying to help someone else. <-- That's if this theory's correct--that the curses don't apply when you're trying to help someone else--I mean, it could just be a defective paw.

Mr. Needful explains himself: "People like Rick are making me obsolete. I mean, seriously--I may be the Devil, but your grandpa is the Devil." <-- Echoing my earlier take on the capitalist message I think this episode sends: the bigger fish eat the smaller fish. Summer protests: "It's not fair! Everyone in this town got something they wanted from you, even Rick! I was your only friend, and I get nothing?" "Ok, I'll give you one thing. Name it." says Mr. Needful. "I want to help you." Summer responds. Right to the bitter end, Summer is a selfless and loyal friend to the least deserving person in the universe. Why? She says it's because he's been kind to her, that he respects and values her, and indeed this may be a reason, but this can't be the only reason. Mr. Needful is a gentleman and he is respectful and kind to Summer, but he can't be the only one Summer's ever met to treat her this way. Perhaps the real reason is that, as we've just seen, Mr. Needful is really the second least deserving person in the universe--right after Rick--and perhaps Summer, in her mind, is juxtaposing him next to Rick. Perhaps after having a grandfather like Rick, even the Devil seems like a kind sweet old man that deserves friendship and support.

Cutting to Rick at Curse Purge Plus, we find him scanning a pair of boxing gloves in front of a customer: "Looks like we've got haunted boxing gloves that will make you the heavy weight champion... in 1936, and then you'll be trapped there winning the same fight for eternity. I can take out the eternity and the padding and then you'll have some time traveling mittens." <-- It doesn't sound like customers always get the full benefits of the cursed items, even though Rick does remove the curses. Rick only mentions time travel as the feature he can preserve, but nothing about winning the heavy weight championship. Still a pretty sweet deal (perhaps at a reduced price), but it also demonstrates some of the realism that comes with capitalism: though a business will advertise that it can deliver exactly what the consumer wants, it's not uncommon in practice for them to fall short (though this can be compensated for with a price discount, or some such). They'll try to do what they can, like Rick at least giving the guy time traveling abilities, which says that even if the advertising is deceptive, there is at least an honest effort to deliver what one can.

Then Summer comes in carrying a box full of stuff, the last of Needful Things' inventory. She explains that they're going to file chapter 11 and do some restructuring. Rick replies: "Sounds like code for 'You win Rick'!" "That was important to you, wasn't it?" says Summer. Rick explains that it wasn't, that it was important to Summer's "Devil friend", and that to him, it was just a bit like when Bugs Bunny fucks with the opera singer for 20 minutes.

Summer: "...you know what, grandpa Rick? He's strong. And he's never gonna give up."

Rick: "Uh-huh, yeah, I don't care."

Summer: "Oh, I know. Eeeveryone knows you don't care."

Rick: "So?"

Summer: "Sooo, have fun not caring."

Rick: "I always do."

Summer: "Good."

Rick: "Yeah... it is good. I-*burp*-it's the best."

Summer: "I'm sure it is... [turns around to leave]... Bye."

Rick: "Laaater!"

Rick certainly seems to care about having the last word. In this scene, in fact, he seems to go out of his way to assert that he doesn't care (rather than actually not caring which would entail just shrugging Summer off and ignoring her) which might indicate that he cares more about people thinking he doesn't care than actually not caring... but more about that later.

Now, I'm going to have to cut it short here since I've been reaching the limit on post sizes lately (for some reason, these dissections are becoming longer and longer--probably because I'm seeing more and more relevance in all the minutia of the plot elements, finding how almost every little event, every little line, is connected to broader themes, philosophies, take home messages, etc.--and so I feel compelled to touch on it). So we'll continue with part 2 of this analysis of Something Ricked This Way Comes in the next post.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:48 am

Rick and Morty - S1E8 - Something Ricked This Way Comes (part 2 of a 2 part analysis)

Business continues. Rick tries to respond to a customer. He tries to deal with the Employee Health Plan documents that an employee hands him. He's a bit flustered. He suddenly realizes this isn't nearly as much fun without his competition in the picture. So he douses the place in gasoline and announces: "I just got bored. Everybody out." He lights a match and drops it behind him as he walks out, setting the place ablaze with unserved customers still inside. These customers are left holding their cursed items--but the good news is that the curses don't come into effect unless you use the items (at least that seems to be the case with the items we've seen). However, do the customers know this? If not, they may figure: well, since I'm cursed anyway, might as well use the item.

So it appears that neither the Devil nor Rick were in business for the money. Instead, Rick was just having fun fucking with Mr. Needful. For the most part, this capitalistic competition between Rick and the Devil played out like any other capitalistic competition--the bigger dog eats the smaller dog, and the smaller dog goes out of business--but it's an unorthodox way of doing business, to say the least, for the competition not to be over money, and to be honest, I'm still at a loss to understand what the writers of Rick and Morty were trying to get at by tossing money out the window as the prime motivator driving each party.

Not that Rick made no money--he probably made a ton--but this is an interesting aspect of Rick's character, and I personally have wondered about it even before seeing this episode: Rick could easily--easily--make a killing with any one of his inventions, or any clever ploy whatsoever. There is no question that he has the genius to make tons of money like it was child's play. The AI robot he invented in the beginning, for example, is a goldmine for a fortune if Rick only decided to mass produce them and sell them on the open market. But he doesn't seem to care one iota. Instead, he lives rent free in the Smith's house and eats their food, as Summer so poignantly pointed out, essentially taking advantage of his daughter's daddy issues. Why? Is it because he literally doesn't care... about anything... even money... even his own material status? I'm not sure. For sure, this is a very clear theme that keeps repeating throughout the series, and not in any surreptitious way, but I'm not sure that a nihilistic outlook on life, even if it leads one to not care about anything, would result in no desire for material possessions and wealth.



Besides the narcissistic vanity that Jerry displays in this scene--concerned mainly with adjusting his bow tie, plucking his nose hairs, etc.--there are a few things to note from his commentary: first, he begins with "All right, just one more rally, then I promise, we'll get back to your science project." <-- His fame comes ahead of his son's school. Second, in response to Morty letting the cat out of the bag about the plutonium conspiracy, Jerry says "Are you telling me that 4 billion Plutonians are wrong?" <-- Just earlier in the episode, he thought he was doing "real science" by disagreeing with 7 billion Earthlings. Finally, when Morty tries to warning his dad that "their whole planet is dying," all that matters to Jerry is that Morty called it a planet, calling "check mate" as if this were a word game (which he just finished saying they shouldn't debase themselves with). He is so obsessed with showing up even his own son that it totally eclipses the fact that his son is trying to tell him something, something that's obviously important to him.

This last part is also another example of Jerry's mentality working at the level of mere associations rather than at the level of actual logic. Just because Morty inadvertently calls it a planet, Jerry mistakenly takes this as a "check mate"--as in, Morty lost the debate, that his argument doesn't stand. But of course, there is no logical connection between the two--between Morty's calling it a planet and it's actual status as a planet--nothing is proven by this yet Jerry thinks this settles the matter.

Jerry steps out of the limo to a cheering crowd of fans--it's like a red carpet scene at the Oscars, like he's a regular Tom Cruise. Cut to inside: Jerry is mingling and schmoozing with (presumably) Pluto's rich and famous--an elegant and high class crowd in any case. Taking the risk of ruining Jerry's fun, Morty approaches his dad and out loud so that everyone can hear, asks him: "Dad, what did you think about the recent report published by the Pluto Science Reader linking... [pulls out card]... Plutoquakes, sinkholes, and surface shrinkage to deep c-core plutonium drilling?!" Jerry takes a moment to think: "Well son, what did you think when you were five and you pooped your pants and you threw your poopy undies out the window because you thought it was like throwing something in the garbage." The crowd laughs, joining Jerry in his mockery of his son. Again, his own fame takes precedence over listening to his son--to the point where he's willing to embarrass him in front of a whole crowd of people. Looking dejected, Morty simply replies "Good one, dad." and walks off.

Back at the Smith's house, Rick comes home. It's an empty household. He peers into Morty's room: "Hey Morty, you wanna go on a..." Morty's not there. He enters the kitchen: "Hey Beth, hello?" No answer. He even seeks out Jerry: "Hey Jerry, you in here being stupid?" But Jerry's not in the living room. Next scene, he's at the dining room table eating a microwaved meal. His AI robot drops a whole bar of butter into the peas. "Hey, you know," Rick says, "I was thinking, uh, you know, I might want to watch a movie." The robot replies: "I am not programmed for friendship." "Suit yourself," Rick says. Then Morty comes home. The lights from outside indicate he was dropped off in a space ship. "Hey!" Rick says with an excited tone, happy to see his grandson, then clears his throat, "Hey," <-- less enthusiastically, "w-w-w-what's going on?" "Um, listen," Morty says, "can you help me do the stupid science fair project?" "Whatever," Rick says.

This is exactly what Rick said the first time Morty asked if he would help with his science fair project. Now we know he's masking the fact that he actually cares. All this searching around the house for someone to hang out with, even his AI robot, indicates that on some level, to some degree, he does in fact value his relationships with his family members. This includes Summer and it suggests that all the emphasis he put on how much he doesn't care was just another mask. (It's funny how this parallels Jerry almost perfectly in the sense that they both mask inner passions that would make them more likable if they'd only let them show.) In fact, this whole scene--coming home to an empty house, looking for companionship--is symbolic of the substitute theme going on in this episode: Rick has been substituted--first by Jerry mentoring Morty in science, and second by Mr. Needful playing the roll of the caring grandfather figure--what's left in Rick's life is emptiness and loneliness.

Back on Pluto, Jerry is hanging out in private quarters with king Flippy Nips. He's being groomed in front of a mirror, wearing something like a medallion. King Flippy Nips informs us that this is the Pluto-bell prize, the highest honor a scientist can receive. Then the police come in carrying Scroopy Noopers in handcuffs. King Nips orders them to take Noopers to "Plutonamo Bay". Being dragged off, Noopers' final words are: "You can't kill the truth, father." Jerry's kind of taken aback by this. He didn't expect Scroopy Noopers to be king Nips's son. He questions this. Nips says in response: "The young eat the old if you let them, Jerry. Pluto is a cold, cold celestial dwarf." "It's a what?" questions Jerry. "Huh? Oh, planet! Ha! Ho! Pluto is a cold, cold planet! That's what I meant."

^ Two things are happening here: 1) this sudden realization that king Nips and Scroopy Noopers share a father/son relation reminds Jerry of his own relations to his son: both involve a father insisting that Pluto's a planet while the son vehemently opposes this position. 2) This sudden realization that Pluto's status as a planet might actually be a conspiracy after all (hinted at by king Nips' slip up) indicates the lengths king Nips would go to to keep up the secrecy of this conspiracy (i.e. that he would send his own son to Plutonamo Bay). These two realizations hit Jerry pretty hard. He suddenly sees himself as just like king Nips: a tyrannical father neglecting his own son for his own personal fame a glory--which he now knows is all based on a lie.

One might also note that king Nip's slip up--calling Pluto a "cold, cold dwarf" instead of a "planet"--is exactly the same kind of word game he found himself playing earlier with Morty--Morty might have well said: "Oh, their whole dwarf is dying. That's what I meant." It seems then that Jerry is sort of honoring his principles here: if he stood by the principle, in his word game with Morty, that what the person says is what they meant--then he has to do the same here: king Nips called it a dwarf so it must be a dwarf. Now, he also goes on to say he meant to call it a planet, and *maybe* Jerry applied his own principles to that, but it's clear that these sudden realizations on Jerry's part--comparing his reaction to Morty calling it a planet, and his reaction to king Nips calling it a dwarf--get him think.

We cut to Jerry giving a speech behind a podium in front of a whole crowd of Plutonians. It's a lead up to his acceptance speech for the Pluto-bell prize. The banner above the podium reads: "MASTER OF ALL SCIENCE". Jerry begins his speech: "Pluto... is..." He looks down at his cue card. It reads: "PLUTO = PLANET". He looks into the audience. His eye catches a father Plutonian carrying his son on his shoulders (who even has hair like Morty's). Jerry's eyes well up with tears. He sighs. He says finally: "...not a planet." The crowd hisses and boos. Jerry gets pummeled with shoes, tomatoes, and other objects. "It's not a planet!" Jerry says, "I'm an idiot and I love my son!"

This is what I meant in the intro to this post when I said Jerry would man up near the end of this episode, but more as a father than as a husband or lover. Not only is Jerry mustering up the strength to rise above his own ego for the sake of his son, but he's doing so despite the immanence of his deepest desires being fulfilled. If he couldn't admit to being wrong when Morty googled that Pluto wasn't a planet, imagine how hard it must be for Jerry to admit that now that the stakes are so much higher. If winning an award for Hungry for Apples made him feel "finally complete," imagine how intense the sense of completion he's now giving up for the sake of his son. However shitty a father we take Jerry to be, rejecting this award for Morty's sake is probably one of the hardest things he's ever done, which is certainly a form of "manning up" if there ever was one.

Six hours after Rick burns Curse Purge Plus down, Summer and Mr. Needful have completely restructured Needful Things. It has gone digital, becoming an internet presence at n33dful.com. Mr. Needful announces this in front of a small handful of people (presumably employees or some such) in a room that looks something like an Apple store:

Image

Looking at his phone, Mr. Needful suddenly announces that they just got bought by Google. The crowd cheers.

Summer hugs him. "I'm so proud of you, Lucius," she says, "Sooo, how much did we make?" Mr. Needful chuckles: "We... This is my business." He pushes her away and calls security. A big thug comes in and hikes Summer over his shoulder: "You're Zuckerberging me?" "I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped. I'm the Devil biatch!" He does the rock 'n roll sign with his fingers.

He then jumps up on the shelf behind him, grabbing the fiddle that's lying there, and starts playing it while doing a jig of some sort. <-- Not sure what that signifies, but for some reason, when I watched it as part of my analysis for this post, it seemed obvious that this was another allusion to leprechauns. Now it doesn't. Not sure why I made the connection. Maybe fiddle music reminds me of Irish culture which reminds me of Leprechauns. In any case, I thought of it as another link between Leprechauns and demons. If I'm not just going schizo, then there seems to be something to this connection in the minds of the writers--maybe an underhanded way of making fun of the 1993 B-movie horror Leprechaun.

This is the ultimate betrayal. Summer goes out of her way to help the Devil--the Devil--standing by his side when no one else would--and he Zuckerbergs her. He seemed like such a sweet old man on the surface, as if he'd give her the world, but he turned out to be, well, the predictable spawn of evil that the Devil is. (I think we are to presume that this is how Summer helps him--that he needed her to bring him to the level of a big time corporation worthy of being bought by Google--otherwise why would he only now Zuckerberg her. Not sure how she helped him--maybe by bringing him into the modern era with technologies like the internet, iPhones, etc.--you know, all the things the kids now-a-days are into.) This is a nice contrast with Rick's behavior. He acts all rude and uncaring, like he wouldn't lift a finger for Summer, but this is masking a fondness for his granddaughter that isn't immediately obvious, a fondness we will get to see more overtly as the episode draws near to the end.

On another note, when Summer says "How much did we make?" what did she mean? How much what? Money? Curses? If they just got bought by Google, did Google just get royally cursed? If Google paid with money, then what did they buy? Presumably, n33dful.com is like Amazon or some shit like that where you can order anything you want online... for free?... and later get cursed? Is Google now going to be responsible for this? Does Google even know they'd be selling cursed items? Making money and screwing people over at the same time? And what value would Google have seen in antiques and old weird trinkets that one can buy on the internet anyway (regardless of whether they're aware of the curses or not)?

Oh, and when Mr. Needful hopped onto the shelf and started playing the fiddle, wasn't he using one of his own cursed items? Is this gonna be like Summer using the monkey's paw--she gets off scott free?

Meanwhile, Jerry is dropped off by the Plutonians (literally) right at his doorstep. His tuxedo is torn, he's got a black eye, and he's walking with a limp. He bursts in on Morty in his room. Morty, closing his laptop in a panic, which is covering his crotch (no pants on), says to his dad in a startled tone:

"Oh, uh, oh, uh, hey dad! Um, what are you doing back from Pluto so-so quick?"

Jerry: "Ahhh, some people just can't handle the truth. Especially dummies like me. Morty, I'm not as smart as your grandpa Rick, but I promise never to make that your problem again."

Morty [as Jerry closes the door]: "Hey dad, nobody's smarter than Rick. But nobody else is my dad. You're a genius at that."

Jerry: "Wow, that's humbling and flattering, son. Thank you... Let's say we finish ourselves an 8 planet solar system."

Morty: "Um, I think I'm just gonna take this thing in [holds up a zip lock bag with Rick's AI robot inside] and get an A."

Jerry: "But-"

Morty: "You're a genius at being my dad, dad. Quit while you're ahead..."

Morty continues by adding that he should knock next time (for obvious reasons).

It's amazing how easily Jerry is swayed by a bit of patronizing (calling him a genius at being his dad is like calling a chair a genius as being a chair). It's also amazing what becomes obvious once one let's down his ego. When Jerry admitted to Morty that he's not the smartest man in the world, and that he can't take the truth, and that it was a shitty thing to do to his son, this seems so clear to him now? Why? Because once you let go of the ego, once you give up your agenda for fame and fortune and whathaveyou, there's no longer any need to remain in denial about anything.

On the other, I don't think Morty is quite aware of what his dad did for him on Pluto. I mean, Jerry does hint at it by saying "some people just can't handle the truth, especially dummies like me," but I don't think that makes it immediately obvious what happened. Therefore, even if Morty is patronizing his father by telling him he's a genius at being his dad, he has no idea how much Jerry actually excelled at being a good dad back on Pluto. The only reason he failed at all other times was because he was trying to be a science genius like Rick instead.

Summer walks in on Rick in the living room. The lights are off and he's watching Ball Fondlers. She switches on the lights. Her mascara is running down her face. She's obviously been crying.

Rick: "How's your pretend grandpa doing--a.k.a. the Devil?" [turns off the TV as if to pay attention]

Summer: "He dumped me."

Rick: "Oof, sorry." [puts down his drink as though to take this seriously]

Summer [sitting next to him on the couch]: "Did we learn a lesson here I'm not seeing?"

Rick: "Hmm, not sure."

Summer: "Maybe in a much bigger way, Mr. Needful gave us both what we really wanted? Because I was always jealous of you hanging out with Morty and you didn't realize how much you valued my approval?"

Rick: "No, that's dumb." Summer at the same time: "No, not satisfying."

Rick: "I'll tell you what though: If-i-if-i-if-it's satisfaction you're after, I think I might have an idea. [leans in to whisper something in her ear]"

As much as they both disagree on Summer's stab at the take home lesson, she's more or less bang on: Mr. Needful did give them something that they wanted, at least for a short while: a substitute grandpa for Summer (Rick even calls him her "pretend grandpa"), and a wake up call to Rick--that he really does value her approval. After all, Rick really had no reason to be such an asshole to Mr. Needful from the beginning. The fact that he suspected Mr. Needful of being the Devil shouldn't have bothered a man who doesn't care about anything. But dropping Summer off at his shop right after hearing, in a passive-aggressive tone, that he's a "really smart, eccentric old man that treats her nice and values her," must have triggered a bit of jealousy. Being such an asshole to Mr. Needful, then, is an expression of being an over-protective grandpa. He's looking for dirt on Mr. Needful in order to show that he's not such a great substitute grandpa after all, and he's being over-protective of Summer in order to show that he can look after her better than Mr. Needful can.

Yet his attempts to hide this--with his nonchalant attitude and his I-don't-care act--backfires--it only drives Summer further away. Just like his "whatever" to Morty's request for help on his science fair project leads Morty to lean more on his dad for help. Even Rick's response to Jerry--that "scientifically, traditions are an idiot thing"--could be construed as a subtle attempt to win Morty back over to him. Again, the contrast is obvious: while Rick is cold on the outside but warm on the inside, the Devil is warm on the outside but cold on the inside. And while this has Summer going for a while, it turns out in the end that Rick is really her true friend, as the following scene makes clear:



Again, this echoes the conservative theme of the greedy selfish capitalist seeming like a monster at first but really benefiting everyone in the long run vs. the seemingly compassionate and humanitarian socialist really harming everyone in the long run. And if the analogy here is even more penetrating, it might mean that, like Rick, the capitalist actually cares (he actually wants to benefit everyone in the end, and the initial focus on money and the Machiavellian methods is just a temporary measure taken to achieve a greater philanthropic good), and like the Devil, the socialist doesn't give a shit about anyone (he talks about taking care of the poor and treating everyone equally, but this is just a ploy to manipulate the people into raising him into a position of power).

If this is a fair analogy, maybe the Devil doesn't represent the greedy ruthless capitalist after all--that is, in the sense of being the conservative's hero--but maybe represents the archetypal liberal from the conservative point of view. Sure, he's the smaller fish that gets eaten by the bigger fish, and I'm sure his roll as a capitalist must be symbolic of the typical players on the free market that conservatives want to support, but maybe symbolizing at the same time the evil liberal is why his business didn't run on money but on people's souls. That is to say, the greedy capitalist may be selfish and uncaring, but at least he's only interested in money--meaning that there's always the opportunity in principle for the consumer or the employee to cut a deal with him that benefits them both--but the power hungry liberal is interested in power over people--that is, human souls. For him, money is only a means. The ends are human beings. Cutting a deal that benefits them both doesn't work: cutting a deal implies a certain level of autonomy on both sides, a certain degree of freedom for each party to reason with the other--but if what one is interested in is control over another's soul, he wants to strip the other entirely of his freedom and autonomy, and therefore any opportunity to cut a deal is lost since the former calls all the shots over the latter.

If this is the correct interpretation, then I was wrong to say that Morty's comment earlier--about the word "retarded" being just a symbolic issue for powerful groups who think they're doing the right thing--is an insertion on the part of the writers to signal that this episode is not only pro-conservative but anti-liberal--at least in the sense that it's the only spot they thought convenient to insert such a message. The Devil selling creepy items in exchange for curses is a huge symbol for the evil liberal. But still, if this is correct, it's not obvious. Therefore, the insertion of Morty's comment may still be warranted for the same reasons I suggested.

In any case, I like how this episode ends. For the first time in the series, Rick and Summer get to bond (just as Rick and Morty bonded over interdimensional cable in the last episode). This didn't quite happen in Raising Gazorpazorp--Rick and Summer just got themselves out of a sticky situation, came home, and Summer tried to sum up their adventure in some kind of all-encompassing lesson which Rick brushed off, but no obvious bonding occurred. (It's funny--in both episodes, Summer tries to sum up the lesson they are supposed to have learned and Rick brushes it off--in this episode, Summer brushing it off too.)

Makes you wonder whether Rick really is evil or not. He's a selfish, insensitive Prick for sure, but we've seen several times in the series that underneath that, there is still a bit of a warm heart--unlike the Devil who shows a warm heart superficially, but on the inside his heart is ice cold. Yet Rick outsmarts him in the capitalist game, insinuating that he's the more evil demon. <-- Well, maybe this is the wrong interpretation. Rick was just being overprotective of his granddaughter, and he simply proved to be the more intelligent player at this game. <-- Maybe that's all we should read into this. There is always a tendency in any competition for us to feel sorry for the loser, for the underdog--especially in Summer's eyes--and maybe this is the only reason we see Rick as more evil than the Devil in this episode. I mean, we know he's not a nice guy to begin with, so thinking of him as in the right is not really in the initial picture anyway. This makes it easy for us to think of Rick as the greater Devil, but maybe he's the same old Rick from every other episode and it's just his intelligence that's being shown to be greater in this episode (perhaps making him seem more threatening--but that's not the same as evil).

On the other hand, you never know with Rick. There are plenty of occasions in the series when what seemed like good intentions or an act of kindness on Rick's part turned out to have ulterior motives behind it. In fact, we'll get an excellent example of this in the next episode: Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I only have one final thought: Summer's final line after they beat the shit out of the Devil: "Sometimes what you really need is for someone else to pay a horrible price," kind of reminds me of the Christian concept of the ransom--that is, the fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of man--that he paid the horrible price for someone else's sins. But what does this imply in Summer's case? It would seem to imply that there was a horrible price for Summer to pay. Getting Zuckerberged? It also implies that she paid a price for something. What exactly? Is it that being Zuckerberged was a curse after all? And a curse for what? The monkey's paw or helping the Devil get back on his feet? <-- Summer did, after all, compare the act of helping him with everyone else getting Mr. Needful's merchandise--"Everyone in this town got something they wanted from you, even Rick!"--so presumably Mr. Needful letting her help him was like giving away one of his cursed items--something he was not about to give away for free; but like I said, if being Zuckerberged was a "curse" it certainly wasn't supernatural, and it didn't come to pass on its own accord like all the other curses--Mr. Needful deliberately made it happen. And if this was a curse, it shoots down my theory that acts of kindness don't come with curses, leaving the mystery of the monkey's paw unexplained.

On another note, this betrayal on the part of the Devil and the final act of revenge might actually symbolize the take home message of the entire episode: the fact that being Zuckerberged wasn't supernatural might just highlight what Rick understood all along: that there really is no such thing as the supernatural, and that if you look at the details of the situation (like looking under a microscope) you find that there are natural mechanism at work after all. And then when Rick and Summer take revenge on Mr. Needful, they do it with science. In fact, there's the scene in which Summer and Rick inject themselves with Rick's pink serum, like doing steroids:

Image

It's the same serum he used on Mr. Goldenfold to give him back his erections, suggesting that this is indeed an antidote to a curse. It's funny how all Rick's technology, like the crystalized zanthinite that he plugged into the cable box in the last episode, is based on some pink substance.

In any case, you could even say that the building up of muscles in order to kick the shit out of the Devil is symbolic: it's symbolic of the brute physical forces of scientific reality--unlike the mysterious forces of magic--and the take home message is: the former triumphs over the latter.

PHILOSOPHICAL SPRINGBOARDS:

* Science vs. magic: There is absolutely no explicit mention or indication in this episode that the Devil's curses are anything but magic--not phenomena that only seem like magic on the surface--like floods and earthquakes must have been to the ancients--but underneath are really explained by natural forces; no, for all intents and purposes, we are to understand that Mr. Needful, the Devil, deals in black magic through-and-through. Yet, at the same time, Rick somehow figures it out--he figures out, using the methods of science, how the Devil's "Twilight Zone Ray Bradbury Friday the 13th the series voodoo crap magic" actually works--that is, naturally, scientifically. In fact, he not only builds a few technological innovations on it, but a thriving business. This must mean there are natural forces beneath the surface. How could science discover the secrets of some mysterious phenomenon--and build a technology out of it--unless it came from that which science studies: nature? Indeed, the device we see Rick using to study the golden microscope--the one that allegedly "reveals things beyond comprehension"--almost looks like another--bigger, more advanced, more bad ass--microscope (with green lasers instead of a lens, but still...); Rick's very question: "Does evil exist, and if so, can one detect and measure it?" is answered by himself: "Yes, you just have to be a genius." Rick knows, in other words, that the golden microscope doesn't really run on magic--it runs on a set of rules, like the laws of physics--otherwise, there would be no way to detect or measure it--instead, any attempt to detect or measure the effects of the microscope would only yield unpredictable and chaotic results. But this is not what Rick's studies yield--they yield a certain law of cause-and-effect: use microscope --> become retarded. If this law holds consistently, then not only does Rick detect and measure evil (he detects Mr. Needful's evil intentions, not the microscope's), but it reveals that it isn't really magic after all--it just happens to be a (very rare) law that, on occasion, can occur in the natural world. For if magic didn't run on a set of rule--Harry Potter waves his magic wand and utters "leviosa", tables and chair levitate off the ground--there would be no way to control it. Just the fact that the art of practicing magic is possible (at least in fairy tales) indicates that there is an order to it and therefore must be a part of nature.

* Conservatism vs. liberalism: I think in no other episode is the dialectic between conservatism and liberalism more pronounced than in this one, and it is exemplified in the capitalist competition between Rick and the Devil. Both are pictured, at least on the surface, as the archetypal greedy, selfish, ruthless capitalist who, when pitted against another greedy, selfish, ruthless capitalist, improves life for all. But this improvement of life for all only becomes possible when Needful Things is not the only business in town. Before Rick enters the picture, Needful Things is like a monopoly--or like the power hungry liberal who wants total control over society (however much he claims it's for the purpose of improving life for everyone)--for the liberal agenda of handing power over to government in order to enable it to control the lives of the people (allegedly for the purpose of "improving life" for everyone) is the ultimate monopoly--virtually no one left to compete with them thereby holding them accountable. This is nicely symbolized by the Devil selling his merchandise for curses--that is, souls. For if the Devil would only exchange his items for money, Rick and him could work together--he could say: Look Rick, I've got a relatively profitable business, but it has one downfall: though I sell my items for money, they curse people. If you would just go into business removing the curses, we could make a fortune. We'd be complimentary businesses--not competitive ones. But instead, curses being the Devil's primary currency, the removal of them by Curse Purge Plus puts him out of business. It's surprising that word of mouth itself doesn't do this--I mean, as soon as a few customers go through the experience of being cursed, I'm sure the word would spread not to shop at Needful Things (never mind Rick setting up shop right across the street). This *might* not be the case if Mr. Needful's curses were at least compatible with the benefits of the items he sold--for example, a microscope that gave you terrible diarrhea--for in that case, would could conceivably decide: meh, it's worth seeing things beyond comprehension--but if it makes you retarded, how are you going to comprehend anything--even high school physics? <-- It makes the benefits not worth having at all. This is just like selling your soul for your deepest desires. What good is the fulfillment of your deepest desires if your soul is owned--that is, when the new owner of your soul can decide, whenever he wants to, to take away your ability to enjoy that which you desire. This is like the Marxist government promising to deliver the utopia of equality and justice for all, only to take away your freedom such that you can't really enjoy it. It's reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin's quote "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." <-- Giving up one's autonomy to another, even if it's for the sake of security (as if they will protect you), most often results in losing both one's freedom and one's security--a raw deal in which nothing is enjoyed and everything is lost.

* The Fable of the Bees: the idea that a community of people acting selfishly and in their own interest is the best way to incur happiness and well-being for all is most commonly attributed to Bernard Mandeville's poem The Grumbling Hive--it's a poem about a swarm of bees who live luxuriously off the vices of its members--lying, cheating, stealing--and when the king bee puts an end to all this corruption, ridding the swarm of all malicious members, it is left only with bees who are too nice to compete with each other, and so the swarm stagnates. The poem pivots on the idea that trying to be nice on the surface is really a mask for dangerous malicious intentions, and what seems to be malicious intent on the surface is really just the following of one's own passions which happen to benefit others. This is precisely what we see in the characters of Rick and the Devil--the Devil goes out of his way to appear charming, kind, gentle, etc.--but underneath is really focused on causing harm to others. Meanwhile Rick goes out of his way to be rude, arrogant, and mean spirited--but underneath actually cares for the people around him. He doesn't go out of his way to show that he cares--rather, he just follows his passions--and in the end this proves to be beneficial not only to the potential victims of Needful Things but to Summer as well in her time of need (the fact that he cares does get a chance to come through as one of the passions he follows--what with getting all beefed up with Summer to beat the shit out of the Devil, sharing a bonding moment with her). How is it really with the typical capitalist? Is he really a greedy, power hungry sociopath, or does he actually want to make the world a better place and he's just smart enough to realize that the only way to do so is to build up capital and make a small fortune, which does require some initial cut-throat methods and a few casualties. After all, a capitalist who can benefit others and improve the state of society must be happier than a capitalist whose career harms people, for the former knows the people will want more of his business and latter knows the people will want less. And even if this isn't true, should we as a society simply let the capitalist follow his passions? After all, if he's just interested in his own financial gain, then at least that leaves others to preserve their autonomy, unlike those who want power over people, forcing everyone to "be nice" like the bees who were without vice.

* Manning Up: What is it to be a man? So far, Jerry has "manned up" three times in the series. First, in Meeseeks and Destroy when Beth whispered those 3 sweet words into his ear: I love you. Second, in Rick Potion #9, when, out of pure rage, he became a bad ass mantis/Cronenberg killing machine. And now in Something Ricked This Way Comes he mans up by putting his ego aside so as to become a better father. <-- This one's unique in a way. This is the only one in which Jerry mans up by putting his ego aside. In Meeseeks and Destroy, he manned up (got a hole-in-one instead of cowering in the meat locker) for his own personal glory in the eyes of his wife. In Rick Potion #9, he mans up as a matter of personal survival. He also does it for the sake of saving the woman he loves--Beth--but he'd have to man up for the sake of his own survival anyway--that is, even if he didn't want to save Beth--so I say this manning up wasn't quite selfless like his manning up in Something Ricked. In this episode, there is no question that he sacrificed everything for his son--there was nothing selfish about it. What do all three of these have in common? They all involve a man suddenly recognizing what he has to do--what the right thing to do is--and stepping up to the plate to do it. In Meeseeks and Destroy and Rick Potion #9, this involved overcoming cowardice and finding courage. In the current episode, it was purely a moral challenge--choosing the right thing to do over the desirable thing. <-- This is what it is to be a man. It is having the courage to both recognize what is right and to do it. And really, when put this way, it has nothing to do with being male. It's more about what it is to be grown up.

* Internal vs. External Validation: this was a prominent philosophical theme in M. Night Shaym-Aliens! and it shows up--almost under exactly the same circumstances (i.e. Jerry experiences extreme celebrity status)--in this episode as well. For sure, Jerry sacrificed external validation near the end of this one, but is that replaced by internal validation... or does Jerry just feel a loss? It seemed to require Morty to suggest the perspective that he's a genius at being his dad, to which Jerry says "that's humbling and flattering, son. Thank you," suggesting he didn't think of this himself. But he could. Rather than endure the loss of fame and glory, he *could* tell himself--amidst all the boos, hisses, and being pummeled by shoes and getting a black eye--that he's a better man for it, that he stepped up to the plate and did what a good father does. <-- That *might* make him feel better about himself--serving as the internal validation that he so desperately lacks--perhaps a small stepping stone towards feeling "finally complete" by way of internal recognition and approval. But it's not clear that Jerry has any capacity for internal validation--not yet anyway.

(In fact, I'm not even sure Rick has the capacity for internal validation; he certainly doesn't care for external validation, but I don't think that means he thinks very highly of himself internally; he expresses a lot of egoism on the surface, but as we've seen in this episode, that tends to be a mask--I think he's just empty on the inside. And I'm beginning to think that Rick and Jerry are almost exactly the same character, and really the only difference turns out to be their intelligence. <-- But I think that makes all the difference in the world.)
Last edited by gib on Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:53 am

Some more thoughts:

Let's put aside the simulation theory of Jerry and Morty's Plutonian abduction for a moment. I was thinking about how Pluto would be shrinking if plutonium drilling was merely relocating plutonium from the core to the surface. There would still be the same amount of overall mass. But then I recalled that Noopers said that "corporations use it to power everything." Okay, so their using plutonium as a power source. Still, that doesn't mean matter is being converted into energy--this isn't necessarily E=MC^2--most forms of energy that we use to power our technologies are simply extracted from matter--like the modern combustion engine: it takes gasoline, ignites it, gets the energy from the explosion, and disposes of the of the waste product (carbon dioxide and other compounds). But this is primarily gasoline being converted to these waste products--same matter, different form--and the energy the combustion engine gets out of it contributes hardly anything to its mass. The only way that using plutonium as an energy source could result in Pluto shrinking is if the energy was nuclear, and that the plutonians use nuclear fusion--then matter would be converted to energy and you'd see a noticeable loss of the former.

^ So there's that theory--that the Plutonians use nuclear fusion--or how 'bout this theory: Pluto is really a colony inhabited by an intelligent species of aliens that are originally from some other planet. In other words, though the Plutonians reside on Pluto, they did not evolve there. They came from a distant planet and decided to colonize it for the sake of drilling for plutonium. Over the years, as with any mining and drilling sight, small settlements can form around the area--small towns and villages--and what you eventually end up with are "citizens". Maybe the only reason king Nips calls them Plutonians (the only reason there is a king Nips) is because they are Plutonians in residency only--not in genetic lineage. It would be like calling someone an American instead of a human. And it would serve as a good reason to keep them in the dark about Pluto's shrinkage--even if they don't originally hail from Pluto, it's still become their home. <-- Now, the reason I offer this as an alternative to the nuclear fusion theory is because it would allow that the extraction of energy from plutonium isn't done on Pluto--maybe it is shipped away to the "mother" planet--like gold being shipped from the pre-1776 colonies back to England. And it's there that the energy is extracted. In that case, drilling for plutonium would indeed, over time, cause Pluto to shrink. <-- It would sure make a hell of a lot more sense out of why there's life on Pluto to begin with, making the simulation theory seem less necessary.

I also had this thought: this excursion to Pluto was an amazing learning experience for Morty. I mean, it all started with Morty trying to get an A in science class, and though this excursion to Pluto doesn't necessarily help in that regard, he gets a huge dose of scientific education out of it--learning about plutonium, about the existence of life on Pluto, about why scientists back on Earth stopped calling it a planet--all first-hand, all in the scientific vein of getting one's evidence empirically. And though both Morty and Jerry get this first-hand education, it's really Morty that becomes the leading expert, for he's seen the drilling that goes on at the core--first-hand--whereas Jerry only knows about it through second-hand hearsay. He didn't get any kind of education from Jerry or Rick--though Rick gave him the robot for the science fair, he didn't really teach him about how it works (or so we're not told), and Jerry, of course, nearly taught him the opposite of what would get him good grades in school.

Of course, all this is for not if it's all just a simulation. In that case, Morty was just fed a mega-load of bullshit.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby barbarianhorde » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:37 am

Who is Morty and why

im not sure I care giblet




im not sure at all
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:35 pm

barbarianhorde wrote:Who is Morty and why


This guy:

Image

barbarianhorde wrote:im not sure I care giblet




im not sure at all


Well, that settles it.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:33 am

I just watched Cloud Atlas. Great film. Really complex. Same directors as the Matrix and Jupiter Ascending.

Anyway, I discovered this:

Image

What is it? Isn't it obvious! It's a leprechaun! <-- An evil demonic top hat wearing leprechaun.

The Cloud Atlast parody in which Jerry played Tom Hank's roll is in the same episode as the Strawberry Smiggles commercial. And in Something Ricked, where the theme of leprechauns comes up again (possibly twice), we find the Devil wearing a top hat:

Image

Coincidence? I think not.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:31 pm

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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:32 am

Rick and Morty - S1E10 - Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind (part 1 of a 2 part analysis)

The Smith family are gathered around the breakfast table. They're eating eggs, hash browns, and sausages. Beth mentions to her dad that tomorrow is the one year anniversary of him entering back into their lives, and that she's going to make him flying saucer shaped pancakes. "Oh, the-there's no need to do that Beth, regular pancakes are fine," Rick says right before another version of him, plus another Morty, come through a portal right there in the dining room and blast Rick through the head with a lazer gun. The alternate Morty shoots a tranquilizer dart into the first Morty's shoulder. He passes out on his plate. The rest of the family scream and shout. The alternate Rick and Morty grab the first Morty and drag him back into the portal before disappearing.

Image

Is that it for Rick? He just gets shot through the head at the beginning of the episode (by another Rick)? Well, that's it for the Rick from this dimension. Obviously, that's not it for the Rick who just shot him. But which is Rick is the Rick we've been following throughout these episodes, the one we all know and love (or hate)? This episode pivots around the implications of this very question. We already know that the very context in which the entire Rick and Morty series revolves is not only one in which there are multiple interconnected realities, but one in which there are multiple interconnected Ricks (and Morties). We were first introduced to this aspect of the Rick and Morty world(s) back in episode 6 (Rick Potion #9) when we saw how Rick's solution to the Cronenberg disaster was to slip into the rolls of an alternate Rick and Morty from another universe. In this episode, we are going to be swarmed by alternate Ricks and Morties.

In the very next scene, for example (right after the intro credits), we find the Smith family, once again seated around the breakfast table, with Rick and Morty both alive and well (as if nothing happened). The writers are totally free to do this because there is nothing inconsistent, when the series falls on the premise of parallel, and sometimes almost identical, realities, about spontaneously, and without warning, cutting to an alternate reality in which we find another Rick and Morty in an almost identical situation to that from which they cut. So there he is--a (still alive) Rick--sitting beside a (not passed out) Morty suddenly catching the gist of Beth's gesture to make flaying saucer shaped pancakes:

"Oh, I get it: regular pancakes are already shaped like flying saucers."

Obviously, this Rick lived to see another day (literally), that day being the one year anniversary in which Rick entered back into their lives, the one on which Beth said she'd make him flaying saucer shaped pancakes.

As an aside, it brings up a question in my mind: do we have a right to say that this day--Rick's one year anniversary of entering back into the Smith family's lives--is really the next day after that during which, in a parallel universe, an alternate version of himself died? I mean, if it's December 9th 2016 in one universe, for example, do we have to say it's December 9th 2016 in another parallel universe? What if the parallel universe in question was defined such that it was always a day behind the one to which it is parallel? Would there even be a way to determine the matter? Do events that happen across different universe even happen "at the same time"? What would be the difference between hopping to a parallel universe in which it is 1999 and hopping to one in which it is 2016 and, in the same move, time travelling back to 1999? <-- These are just some metaphysical questions to ponder over in a thread devoted to a philosophical digestion of the Rick and Morty series. The point being that, in the current scene, we technically don't know that this is the "next" day.

(And if you look at the breakfast table, you see that everyone except Rick is, once again, eating eggs, hash browns, and sausage--would they really be eating the same breakfast two days in a row? They might be, or maybe they just didn't have the same breakfast the previous day, or any number of things, but it does bring the question to the fore).

Focusing on something more relevant (but still an aside), I like how, when it comes to Beth, Rick doesn't mind admitting that he missed the obvious: pancakes are already shaped like flying saucers--a bone head oversight for a genius like Rick--but one he doesn't mind admitting to his daughter. Related to that, I also like how, when Beth first offered to make him flying saucer shaped pancakes (back in the reality in which Rick died), Rick declined saying "there's no need to do that," showing his affectionate side for his daughter.

We've seen, in past episodes, how Rick sometimes betrays an affectionate side to his personality, and you may think this is nothing new, but that's going to be thrown completely up-side-down in this episode--almost as if we were purposefully lead, in the last episode, to conlude that it's obvious that Rick is only masking his affection for his family with a tough, disinterested exterior, only to be thrown for a loop, in this episode, by overwhelming evidence that he definitely does not feel even a sintilla of affection for anybody, even himself--this current display, for example, possibly being just a manipulative ploy to coax Beth into keeping him around longer (he did say it, after all, in response to Beth reminding him that he's been housed in her home without keep for a year now).

Rick continues: "I-I should be making you breakfast for putting up with me." <-- He realizes he's hard to live with.

Then all of a sudden, three alternate Ricks enter the room through a portal. They're dressed in quasi-militant uniforms, wearing badges and carrying guns--still lab coats underneath but more of a formal uniform:

Image

The center Rick says: "Rick Sanchez, Earth dimension C-137 <-- Important identity tag!, you are under arrest for crimes against alternate Ricks by the authority of the transdimensional council of Ricks!"

Jerry: "Hey! What the heck!"

Center Rick: "Neutralize the Jerry."

Jerry: "Wait! No! I'll-"

[Left Rick shoots freezing plasma at Jerry. Jerry freezes.]

Summer: "Dad!"

Beth: "Dad! [at Rick C-137]" <-- Blaming him? It is the same person, in a manner of speaking.

Rick C-137: "[Stands up] Everybody relax, if I know these A-holes, and I am these A-holes, they just want to haul me to their stupid club house and waste my time with a bunch of questions. Let's get it over with."

Center Rick: "Bring his M-*burp*-orty."

Morty: "Oh man. [as if this sucked but wasn't a crisis.]"

Rick C-137: "Leave my M-*burp*-orty out of this!"

Center Rick: "You lost the right to have a say in these things when you refused to j-*burp*-join the council of Ricks."

Beth: "[Stands up] W-w-w-what about Jerry?!"

Rick: "[As they haul him and Morty off through the portal] Will you at least unfreeze my daughter's idiot?"

[Left Rick fires anti-freezing plasma blast at Jerry.]

Jerry: "-give you anything! I have a rare antique coin collection! Just don't hurt me!... [Looks around; realizes the crisis is over] Ok, maybe not antique but it was a limited minting--they have little R2D2's instead of George Washingtons."

Beth: "Our son's been abducted!"

Jerry: "You hate me for buying those coins!"

Let's remember, for the sake of this episode, that the Rick we're following--the "protagonist"--is Rick from Earth dimension C-137 (makes you wonder whether there is a "Mars dimension" or "Pluto dimension" or some other planet on which Rick happened to evolve). The first mention of the specific dimension from which the "protagonist" Rick came from was in episode 7--Raising Gazorpazorp--when he introduced himself to the femtopian Gazorpians:

"Listen, I'm Rick Sanchez from Earth dimension C-137..."

So we know at least that the Rick we're following now is the same Rick as in episode 7 (sucks to be the Rick who died). I'm also curious to know if this is the identity tag he would have used before Episode 6--Rick Potion #9--the one in which he and Morty switched universes. Does Rick now refer to himself as C-137 because he's taking the place of the real (and now dead) Rick C-137, or was this always his identity tag? The reason I ask this is because the Ricks who intrude into the Smiths' home actually refer to him as Rick C-137. So either they know he's an impostor in this reality, or the Rick whose reality this is supposed to be is the real Rick C-137.

On another note, it's interesting how many parallels there are between the dimensions that don't, at least not obviously, have any causal connections to each other yet play out anyway. For example, in both, alternate Rick(s) spontaneously appear on Rick C-137's 1 year (or close to it) anniversary back in the Smith's lives. Also, when this happens, the Smith family are having eggs, hash browns, and sausages. Also, in both cases, Morty gets abducted. This shouldn't be a surprise--in alternate realities, we should expect a lot of similarities--but similarities that have completely different causes panning out in the same way?--like Morty being abducted in each reality but for completely different reasons? This almost plays on fatalism instead of causal determinism--i.e. that certain things are bound to happen (or almost happen) because it is fated, not because it is caused--like it doesn't matter how it's caused to happen, it will just happen. We'll see other examples of this in season 2, episode 1--A Rickle in Time--(and also, interestingly, the same theme of alternate Ricks being against each other).

So where did they take Morty C-137 and Rick C-137 (I'm assuming Morties get the same identity tag)? Why, to the Citadel of Ricks, of course:



Anybody spot the Cronenberged Rick and Morty?

A couple things to note: 1) we get the hint from this scene why Rick refused to join the council of Ricks. He didn't like the idea of "banding together like a heard of cattle or a school of fish." <-- This is very unRick-like. 2) We catch a glimpse of what kind of trouble Rick is in: "As you know, Morty, I've got a lot of enemies in the universe that consider my genius a threat: galactic terrorists, a few sub-galactic dictators, most of the entire inter-galactic government, w-wherever you find people with their heads up their asses, someone wants a piece of your grandpa." Who knew that Rick was this popular throughout the galaxy? <-- In fact, the "inter-galactic government" will play a more prominent roll in the series when we get to Season 2. He forgot to mention the Zigerions (unless they're a kind of sub-galactic dictatorship), but I guess since they're dead, there'd be no point (unless there were other Zigerions that also want Rick's secret Concentrated Dark Matter formula). And now he has the Council of Rick itself after him.

One thing I find odd about this scene is that most of the Ricks and Morties we find standing around are literally just standing around--staring off into space, a vacant/confused look on their faces. I'm not sure what this is suppose to suggest, but a kind of "take home message" this episode seems to get at is that when Rick's get together, they become dull (and Morties are already dull). This *might* be what Roiland and Harmon were trying to get across with this:

Image

Now, in the next scene we see something else peculiar: we get 3 different "salesmen" versions of Rick trying to sell Rick C-137 on something. None of them are wearing the typical white lab coat--no, they're dressed in suits: 1) The Morty Dazzler: This Rick's trying to sell "Morty Dazzlers"--a flashy necklace Rick's are suppose to put on their Morties to make them into a "hot fassion statement". 2) The Show-Me-The-Morty Rick: This Rick is trying to sell a Morty doll who, when you press a button on his tummy, says "Show me the Morty!" 3) The Morty Insurer: This Rick's selling Morty insurance. <-- Notice that they all involve Morty. Also notice that none of these Rick's have a Morty. And if you really notice, the first two Ricks look pretty sad when Rick C-137 rejects them, the last Rick looking kinda mad. <-- At least for the first two, this is again very unRick-like. It almost seems as though the idea is that by joining the Council of Ricks, each Rick loses a part of his "Rickhood".

As Rick says: "I say the point of being a Rick is being a Rick."

Morty C-137 is, of course, taking it all in, finding the show-me-the-morty doll absolutely fucking thrilling.

After a bit of bickering back and forth between Rick C-137 and the other Ricks, they haul him and Morty C-137 into what looks like a court room:



The scene continues with the council opting to get evidence: they confiscate his portal gun and scan it for all the places Rick C-137 has been--turns out he's been to all the places and timelines in which the murders occurred. C-137 still denies it, claiming that he's being setup. The council sentences him "to the machine of unspeakable doom, which swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp... also every 10 seconds it stabs your balls." "I've heard enough," says Rick C-137 before elbowing the sentinel Rick behind him in the gut, allowing him to grab his gun while flipping him over to knock out the Rick behind Morty C-137. Then he frees Morty C-137 by shooting his handcuffs. He grabs him and makes a dash, being sure to grab his portal gun before escaping.

Being chased down the many corridors of the Citadel of Ricks, Rick C-137 tries to decoy the other Ricks by firing his portal gun behind him. It opens portals on the walls, the floor, and the ceiling surrounding the other Ricks. Burning flames shoot out of one portal singing a Rick. A swarm of insects come out of another and attack a second Rick. A third Rick gets pulled into another portal by giant tentacles. And a fourth and fifth slip on some oily goo that comes out of what looks like exotic melons after falling from a portal on the ceiling.

Then Rick C-137 and his Morty jump from a balcony. As they fall, Rick fires his portal gun at a platform below. A portal opens on the spot where they would have landed; instead, they fall through the portal and escape the Citadel of Ricks.

They land on a giant ass. Sliding off the ass onto the ground, they look around: it seems to be a world full of giant asses--they're all just sticking out of the ground. There's rolls of toilet paper on racks and plungers strewn about, and the place reeks of flatulence, the sounds of such emanating from asses all over the place. The other Ricks somehow figure out which world they went to and follow them here. Seeing them drop from a portal in the sky, Rick C-137 and his Morty run. Rick C-137 fires his portal gun into a giant ass sticking up-right out of the ground. They run right into the ass/portal, two other Ricks and a Morty following close behind.

They enter a world where people and pizza are swapped: the scene opens with a couple slices of pizza sitting in their living room ordering people on the phone: "Yeah, I'd like to order one large person with extra people please." says the one pizza slice. "White people," says the other slice, "No, no, no, black people, and a Hispanic on half." That's when the portal opens and Rick C-137 and his Morty run through. Right away, Rick opens another portal on the other side of the room. He runs through it, the other two Ricks and the Morty still trailing close behind.

They come out into a world of greased up grannies. There's a banner overhead that reads: "Welcome to Greasy Grandma world. Population: a whole lot, sonny!" They run through the grannies who seem to be petrified (just standing there like statues). They open another portal and jump through. The Ricks and the Morty still close behind.

This time they enter a world where pizza and furniture have swapped places, and people and phones have swapped places. It's the same living room setting as before except with a giant phone sitting on a giant slice of pizza folded into the shape of a chair. He's on the "phone" which is really a miniature person ordering "one large sofa chair with extra chair." His friend phone says, "High chair--no, no, no, recliner, and wheel chair on half." Then Rick C-137 and his Morty come through, open another portal on the other side of the room, and slip through, still being followed.

They come into a world with a herd of weird animals that look like a mix of sheep, camels, and the creepy looking "Fire Gang" from Labyrinth. They're all standing around saying something like "wopidupido!" Rick opens a whole series of portals and, with Morty, jumps through one of them. Then the other Ricks with their Morties (more than just the two who were following them) come through. "We lost them," one of the Ricks says.

Rick and Morty C-137 finally enter the last world before resting. It's a world in which pizza (or food in general) and phones have swapped places and furniture and people have swapped places. We see a couple of chairs sitting on a couple of people. The people are perfectly still, like statues, as though they weren't conscious (and probably aren't). The one chair holds a slice of pizza to his ear and says: "Yeah, I'd like to order one large phone with extra phones please." His friend chair says: "Cell phone... no, no, no, rotary, and pay phone on half." Then Rick and Morty C-137 come in. This time they just walk out the front door.

As they walk down the street of "furniture town" (my term), all the chairs stare in disbelief at Rick and Morty--in the same way you would stare if you saw a recliner or a sofa walking down the street having a conversation with another piece of upholstery. After questioning Rick about the facts surrounding the Rickicides, Morty gets the answer: "...someone out there is killing Ricks, and the council ain't gonna stop thinking it's me until we clear our names... by finding the real Rick killer." <-- So that determines the rest of the plot. After a plea to "go home and stock pile weapons," Rick responds to Morty: "Not really my style, Morty. Besides, your home is most likely swarming with Ricks by now."

The next scene cracks me up. I just have to post a clip:



Three points I want to make about this scene: first, Beth is more than happy to server lemonade to her own son's kidnappers. Just earlier, she was yelling at Jerry for putting his coin collection ahead of the fact that their son was just abducted (which, I must say, isn't entirely his fault since, being frozen when it happened, he was completely oblivious to this fact). And now, here she is, surrounded by the kidnappers themselves, eager to please them with good hospitality. So we see that Jerry isn't the only shitty parent in this family. Beth's daddy issues go so deep that she isn't even able to fight for the recovery of her own son if it means standing up to her father--and even then, alternate versions of her father. In her eyes, daddy can do no wrong. We'll get to the bottom of Beth's daddy issues in later episodes.

Second, a remark on one of the Rick's comments to Beth is worth questioning: "I have a Beth just like you in my-*burp*-reality, except you know what? She's not as brilliant or-*burp*-attractive." <-- At first, one goes "aaawww, that's sweet. Rick loves his daughter," but it becomes awkward when you think about the fact that this Beth is not his daughter. What would that mean? Does Rick calling her "attractive" count as "hitting" on her? Is that something a Rick would do? Is Rick that twisted, that he would make a move on his own daughter on the flimsy excuse that, technically, she isn't really his daughter? And even philosophically, one can question this: would it be acceptable if one made a move on an alternate version of one's daughter (or any near relative) if by "alternate version" was meant: someone not really genetically connect to one's self? I don't think that one would want to viscerally, but if it were a moral question, would this count as an exception?

Third, this entire scene hints at one of the main reasons why Ricks getting together is an all around bad thing for Ricks: they seem to be distracted from their main objective by the irresistible temptation to pull pranks on Jerry. A single Rick by himself would not only find this much more difficult to pull off, but there'd be no one to get a laugh out of (except himself, but that's never as fun), leaving him to put the idea out of mind and concentrate on the more important objective at hand. But put a whole team of Ricks together, and they seem to encourage the worst in each other. It might be compared to putting a group of drug addicts together, and seeing what happens to each one's resolve to stay drug free (this just occurs to me: Rick is supposed to be an alcoholic, but there isn't a single scene in this episode of a Rick drinking booz--not even Rick C-137--the closest thing coming to mind is that there were a couple Ricks sitting at Rick's in the Citadel of Ricks but technically we don't actually see any Ricks drinking booz. <-- Don't know if this means anything). In brief: put a bunch of Ricks together, and over time they degenerate.

Rick C-137, back in Furniture Town, predicts this (he does know himself, after all), assuring Morty that they have a bit of time before they'll be onto them. They're in a restaurant, sitting on people, as a chair brings them their meal: "Phones-a-la-clams and phone-ghetti with phone balls." Rick has his portal gun open as he turns a screw with a screw driver.

Morty: "You know Rick, when I first saw all those Ricks and Morties, I thought: Gee, that kind of devalues our bond. But then I realized it just means that our relationship must be pretty special to span over all those different timelines."

Rick: "Yeah, it's gotta be that way. You're a camouflage."

Morty: "Camouflage? W-w-what are you talking about, Rick?"

Rick: "Ricks have a very distinctive and traceable brain wave due to our genius. The best way to hide from an enemy's radar is to stand near someone with complementary brain waves that make our's invisible. See, [pulls out pen] w-w-w-when a Rick is with a Morty, [starts drawing waves on paper] the genius waves get cancelled out by the, uh... [clears throat] Morty waves."

Talk about taking the wind out of your sale. If there was any doubt that Rick is completely without any compassion or inclinations towards selflessness, this pretty much kills it. Unless Rick is totally making this up (as another mask), it means there is no reason to believe that Rick enjoys spending time with his grandson for sentimental reasons; Morty is, and all this time has been, used as a cloaking device. So if in the last episode, we thought we caught a glimpse of a softer side to Rick, a side that actually cares for his family, this completely undoes it. Some on the internet speculate that Rick is making this up, that it is another mask to hide the fact that he, in fact, likes Morty, but later scenes in this episode don't support this very well.

In fact, this hints at one of the main reasons Rick entered into the Smiths' lives after all these years. The actual reason is never mentioned in either Season 1 or Season 2, but it seems obvious from this scene that Rick was getting into so much trouble with the inter-galactic (or just galactic) government, that he needed a cloaking device. He needed Morty. This is most likely why the episode begins by mentioning Rick's 1 year anniversary back in the Smiths' lives. It's a refresher. It's meant to raise the idea in our minds that Rick did indeed come back into the Smiths' lives and we still don't know why. That way, we are more likely to make the connection.

But just not to spoil the mood for the soft hearted, there is still hope for Rick's human side: just because Rick is using Morty as a cloaking device doesn't mean he can't also care for his grandson and enjoy spending time with him for the usual reasons; even if this wasn't the case at the beginning, Morty (and the rest of the family) might still have grown on him.

And it seems noteworthy to point out that Morty certainly expresses a fondness for his grandpa in the way he talks about their relation being "pretty special to span over all those timelines." Again, Rick is the man you love to hate and hate to love. We don't need to enumerate the occasions when Morty expressed resentment towards Rick for all the shit he puts him through, how he detests Rick for the way he treats him, but after all that, there seems to be a fondness on Morty's part, not only for Rick as a grandfather, but for the fun they have together (usually in retrospect, but still). It's almost as if Morty's grievances over Rick are merely on the surface, but underneath are planted the seeds of attachment and affection, a sort of gratefulness for all the thrills and excitement that a life as Rick's sidekick have given him.

After hacking at his portal gun a bit longer, Rick figures out that his portal gun was indeed hacked remotely by the real killer, and furthermore is able to trace the signal to the source. That's when two Rick guards and a Morty come in announcing that they're looking for a couple "dangerous criminals". They mark their own foreheads with a red X so as to distinguish themselves from the C-137s. The one Rick points to the C-137s' table, saying "Hey, check it out." From behind, it looks like Rick C-137 and Morty C-137 crouching on the ground like seats. The alternate Ricks turn them around only to find it's not them. They look out the window to see a shirtless Morty C-137 and Rick C-137 in a muscle shirt hopping in a police ship (presumably theirs). They escape.

Next scene: Rick and Morty (C-137), in the stolen police ship, are hovering over a bluish green swampy looking landscape, moving forward through fog at a leisure pace. It's on a distant, exotic planet. Innocently enough, Rick remarks:

"Hey, it's a good thing that space outlet had lab coats and your favorite kinda shirt in stock, huh Morty?" <-- Almost hinting at the conspiracy theory of the "simulated clothes" I described in Episode #4--M. Night Shaym-Aliens!

After a snide comment from Morty, Rick continues:

"Man, this place is way off the grid; this guy does not want to be found."

Morty: "Well, if he's a Rick, doesn't he just have to stand by a Morty? I mean, isn't that what Morties are? Human cloaking devices?"

Rick: "Morty, you're making a bigger deal out of this than it is." <-- Like nothing happened.

Then they come into a clearing in the fog, and before them, about a mile ahead on the landscape, stands a mammoth black egg-shaped edifice. It looks like a cross between a sky scraper and a massive leather stud with spikes sticking out of it:

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Morty: "Oh my God, Rick, look! There's a bunch of people strapped all over that building!"

Rick: "Not people, Morty... Morties."

Indeed the faint sounds of yelling and screaming can be heard as they approach the massive structure--and, I must say, with a bunch of Morties strapped to it, it almost reminds me of the Matrix (same directors as Cloud Atlas). These are the screams and yellings of the Morties being put into agonizing pain:



This is worse than the Holocaust; at least in the Holocaust, the Jews weren't deliberately put into torture contraptions every hour of every day--they were free to roam around the concentration camps doing their own business--and while this sounds horrid to say, I'll bet if those Morties had the choice, they'd opt for the concentration camps in a second. The Rick who's orchestrating all this is evil!

Rick C-137 says: "...one Morty's enough to hide from the bureaucrats, but you get-you get a whole matrix [reference to The Matrix?] of Morty's and put them in agonizing pain, that creates a pattern that can hide even from other Ricks, motha' fucka'. [As they land:] I fiddled with a co-*burp*-ncept like this once. [Morty looks at him like: are you out of your mind?] On paper, Morty, on paper! I wouldn't do this! It's barbaric overkill. I mean, you could accomplish the same results with like 5 Morties and a jumper cable... [Morty gives him another look]... which I also wouldn't do! I'm just saying, it's bad craftsmanship."

^ Even if we are to trust Rick's word on this--that he wouldn't really do it--the fact that he even toyed with the idea shows that he's not that far off from doing it--I mean, he seems well beyond the sensitivity to even hold back in saying it to Morty--what little empathy is really left in him to hold back from actually doing it if only to hide from the bureaucrats and all the other Ricks? Doesn't seem like much.

Back at the Smiths' home, Beth invites the Ricks for coffee. They halt their game of poker (or whatever it is) and move to the next room. Their Morties take over the game, like lionesses coming in for the feast after the males have finished. Again, when Ricks get together, they become distracted (in this case by poker) from the more important objective.

Then Doofus Rick comes in:

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He initiates a conversation with Jerry. Jerry explains to him that he's busy working and that he's between advertising jobs. Doofus Rick says "Advertising! Wow! [sits on the sofa next to Jerry] So, people need help figuring out what to buy and y-y-you help them?" <-- This odd-ball Rick actually seems genuinely interested in Jerry. And like Morty who, as Rick C-137 pointed out, was easy to impress, this Rick seems enthralled by Jerry's line of work. <-- This is very un-Rick-like, especially for a member of the Council of Ricks.

In response to Doofus Rick's question, Jerry responds: "Well, it's a little more complicated than that."

Doofus Rick: "Well, I mean, you do it, and you seem like a guy who really has it all together." <-- A Rick that's actually impressed by Jerry... WOW!!! Especially since Jerry doesn't have it all together, particular being between advertising jobs.

Jerry is taken aback by this. He looks around, he looks behind the couch--expecting this to be another prank.

Jerry: "Dude, are you-what?--You're being a dick, right?"

Doofus Rick: "Oh gosh, I-I hope not. I mean, I-I-I wouldn't want to offend you in anyway." <-- This is unprecedented: a Rick that worries about being offensive.

Doofus Rick, or Rick J-19 zeta-7, is really an interesting case as far as Ricks go. While coming off as a total doofus--even at the level of physical appearance, what with the Beatles hair cut, the buck teeth, and the wonky eyes--we mustn't mistake him for an idiot. He's definitely as smart as any other Rick (which we'll see later in the episode) but he's just super nice and sensitive--to a fault. He's even doofus-level nice for an ordinary person, almost child-like.

He's an outsider even to the Council. One wonders why he's even a member. As a nice-guy doofus, it's probably a fair guess that he doesn't have the backbone to defend and stand up for himself against those who are after him--like the (inter-)galactic government--so he takes refuge among the Council of Ricks for his own protection. After all, if it's just their intelligence that the (inter-)galactic government finds most threatening about Ricks (which Rick C-137 stated earlier), Doofus Rick has that in the bag as much as any other Rick.

Not surprisingly, the Council had to assign a Morty to him (an Eric Stoltz version with the same facial deformities he had in Mask) because, in his words, "I never had any kids of my own [big surprise], but if I did, boy, I'd love them if they were as smart and as successful as you are, Jerry." <-- Wrong on both counts, of course--Jerry is neither smart nor successful, but that's Doofus Rick for you: never short on the compliments.

Despite being shielded by the Council from menacing governments, he's certainly not shielded from the Council itself--at least not from insults and verbal attacks:

Alternate Rick 1: "Hey, get a load of this: Jerry's hanging out with Doofus Rick."

Alternate Rick 2: "Hoh-hoh! This is perfect."

Doofus Rick: "I'm not Doofus Rick! I'm Rick J-19 zeta-7!"

Alternate Rick 1: "Oh, is that the timeline where everybody eats poop? Jerry, you know this guy eats poop, right?"

Doofus Rick: "Hey! I don't eat poop! You guys are always so mean to me! [drops his face into his palms]" The alternate Ricks laugh.

In his defense, even if Doofus Rick does eat poop, alternate Rick 1 mentioned that he's from a timeline where everyone eats poop. Supposing this wasn't just another jab, it means that at least Doofus Rick is normal in his own timeline.

Doofus Rick: "[tearing up] I guess it's only fair to tell you now, Jerry. I'm the worst Rick of them all."

Jerry: "According to who? Other versions of you? If I've learned one thing, it's that before you get anywhere in life, you've gotta stop listening to yourself."

Doofus Rick: "Wow, you really are wise, Jerry. I-I guess that's why you work in advertising."

Jerry: "The fact that you think so, makes you the best Rick of them all."

^ These few lines sort of play on the whole internal/external validation dichotomy. It throws it for a loop and brings out a bit of irony. Jerry's life lesson--that you gotta stop listening to yourself--almost suggests that this is the main reason he can't internally self-validate--but it's said under very odd circumstances--namely, that the "self" Jerry is advising Doofus Rick not to listen to are "other versions" of himself--essentially, sources of external validation, that which Jerry advises not to listen to. Then, as another twist of irony, Jerry offers some external validation by telling him that his opinion of Jerry being wise makes him the best Rick of them all--doubly ironic since this exemplifies Jerry's dependence on external validation himself: he's basically saying he approves of Doofus Rick's opinion of him as wise because that is external validation for him.

They make a lovely couple, don't they? Both serving as sources of external validation for each other.

Back to the leather stud fortress, Rick and Morty are making their way down the many dark and grungy hallways of this presumed secret hideout. Morty is infuriated. He's lashing out, quite loudly, at Rick for being used as a human shield: "You don't care about me at all! I'm no different than that jacket you've got on!" Rick, however, has other things on his mind: trying to get the drop on the killer Rick and also to keep a low profile <-- something Morty's making exceedingly difficult right now. Which is why he says: "...you're as dumb as I am smart, which is why when I say-*burp*-'shut up' it's really good advice." Tears well up in Morty's eyes as a stiff lip sits upon his face, he's that infuriated

Rick, ever the pragmatist, has a point of course. Morty is being very unwise to be shouting at Rick as they make their way down the halls of this labyrinth, a labyrinth in which the enemy they're seeking is most likely lurking. But can you blame him? How easy would you find it to just shut the fuck up and listen to a man who just openly admitted to toying with the idea of torturing you with jumper cables just to use you as a human shield. As much as Morty is being somewhat stupid in this moment, Rick has his share of the blame: if he wasn't such an asshole to Morty, Morty would have no reason right now to be shouting and screaming.

But it's too late: they're discovered. Four purple giant lobster-looking creatures with enormous claws emerge from various doorways and openings. They're surrounded. Rick suddenly pulls some wicked Ninja-like Chuck Norris moves on them: he elbows, karate kicks, and round-house kicks the creatures, severing one of their claws and using it as a weapons against another (who knew he knew Kung Fu). Then more come out. Rick sighs in despair.

They're saved by the killer Rick suddenly making an entrance. He's there with his Morty. They're the same Rick and Morty who killed the other Rick at the opening of this episode. The Ricks argue about who invented the slow clap. The next scene features the C-137s being escorted down the hall by a couple of those lobster creatures, being held by their claws, the evil Rick and Morty in the lead. Evil Rick commands his Morty to take Morty C-137 away. They split up, the Morty going down one prong in the hallway fork, the Ricks and the lobsters going down the other.

"Ricks, huh?" says Morty C-137, "Hey man, you seem to know how this place works. Is there any way we can shut down that grid and rescue all those Morties outside?" "It would be pointless," Evil Morty says, "Morties have no chance of defeating a Rick." He opens a door: "In here." Morty C-137 looks inside the chamber. It's filled with Morties crouching in the fetal position on the floor. They're all sitting in a sort of crescent shape as a group. They're shaking and moaning, trembling over what they've been through for who knows how long and what they predict they'll continue to go through for who knows how long. Evil Morty closes the door behind C-137.

Meanwhile, Rick C-137 is strapped to a bed sorta thingy. He and Evil Rick are in something like a control center, televisions plaster across the wall, each one focused on a Morty from behind being tortured outside. It's sort of like the scene from Goldfinger where James Bond is strapped to a bed sorta thingy as a gold searing laser beam slowly creeps closer to his crotch. After Rick C-137 cracks a few inappropriate jokes, Evil Rick shushes him: "Quiet, you're missing my symphony." He presses a button on the control panel and suddenly all the wails and cries of the Morties outside can be heard through the speakers. He waves his arms around like he's conducting an orchestra.

^ There's no question here that Evil Rick not only doesn't care about the Morties outside, but takes a sadistic pleasure in torturing them, like listening to his favorite symphony. <-- Unlike Rick C-137, who's intentions--good or evil--are questionable, those of Evil Rick are clear as day: he's evil through-and-through. He continues:

"You see Rick, you're not as clever as you think you are. I wanted you to find me. [Opens a holographic display with a line of Rick profiles, like mug shots, sprawled horizontally like a deck of cards.] We're not so-*burp*-different, you and I. [Rick C-137: Yeah, d'uh!] See this right here, Rick? I crunched the numbers. I created a spectrum of all the Ricks. [Flips through the Rick profiles like swiping on an iPhone.] I listed them out from most evil to least evil. Here's where I am. [Stops on the profile of himself.] And here's where you are, Rick. [flips two to the right.] This guy right here... [flips back to the Rick between them.]... super weird."

Image

Evil Rick is essentially saying he's found a way to measure evil--not a huge surprise given that Rick C-137, in the last episode, answered his own question "Does evil exist, and if so, can one detect and measure it?" with a resounding "yes"--and, well, if one Rick found a way, most others Ricks probably did too. What's interesting about this case, however, is that, whereas in the last episode Rick C-137 was measuring the evil of Mr. Needful, in this episode Rick himself is being measured. We even have a benchmark: Evil Rick. Rick C-137, in other words, is two "Rick-evil-units" away from Evil Rick, and we get a prime example, with the Morty Matrix, of exactly how evil that is. Mind you, we're not told whether Rick C-137 is towards the evil end of the spectrum compared to Evil Rick or away, but I think it's fair to say that if Rick C-137 would only toy with the idea of torturing Morties for the sake of camouflage, and Evil Rick would actually do it, Rick C-137 is towards the less evil end. We're also not told whether the spectrum is linear, quadratic, or any other graphical shape. These "units", in other words, aren't necessarily all uniform. The degree of evil at which each Rick on the spectrum stands may take giant leaps as you flip from one Rick to the next. For instance, it's possible that the "super weird" Rick between them is just slightly less evil than Evil Rick, but then it takes a giant leap away from evil when you go from "super weird" Rick to Rick C-137.

It's also quite telling that Evil Rick says: "I wanted you to find me." <-- It means that the point of framing Rick C-137 wasn't just to distract the Council of Ricks with a decoy, but also to lead Rick C-137 to him. Somehow he knew that not only would Rick C-137 be able to evade the Council, but also that he would be able to trace his portal gun's hacker to the source. Now, I know he's a Rick, and is therefore capable of predicting what other Ricks would do, but sometimes these tired old plot elements become rickdiculous.

And finally, an aside: several on the internet have pointed out the fact that this spectrum of Ricks is finite--even Evil Rick says "I created a spectrum of all the Ricks."--which is kind of odd to say the least given that there are an infinite number of alternate realities in the Rick and Morty universe; given an infinite number of realities, the logic follows that there should exist an infinite number of Ricks, one for each conceivable type of Rick. Even in Episode 6--Rick Potion #9--Rick says: "There's an infinite number of realities, Morty, and in a few dozen of those I got lucky and turned everything back to normal." <-- Why only a few dozen? Even if the realities he's talking about are quite specifically ones in which the world got Cronenberged and he somehow found a way to fix it, there's still an infinite number of ways in which that could have panned out. This idea is also echoed by the lead Rick in the Council of Ricks: "Of all the Ricks in the central finite curve, you're the malcontent." (Is the "central finite curve" the same as the Spectrum Evil Rick currently has on display?) One possibility, also voiced on the internet, is that though there may be an infinite number of realities, and by implication an infinite number of Ricks, only a finite number of those are accessible to Rick C-137 and his portal gun (possibly to all Ricks that C-137 has access to). Who knows if any other Ricks (assuming they exist) have access to their own local finite network of Ricks.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:33 am

Rick and Morty - S1E10 - Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind (part 2 of a 2 part analysis)

"I get it," Rick C-137 says, "so you want me to team up with you to take down the Council of Ricks, right? Is that where you're going with this? 'Cause that's where I'd be going."

Evil Rick denies this, saying he's doing pretty good on his own. He informs Rick C-137 that his only plans for him are to download the contents of his brain and then kill him. <-- A real James Bond moment.

We're not actually told what Evil Rick wants with the contents of Rick C-137's brain, nor whether this is what he did with any other Ricks before he killed them. We know he didn't do it with the Rick we saw him kill in the opening scene. In that scene, he simply stepped through the portal, shot that Rick, kidnapped Morty, and left as quickly as he came. It's possible that all the contents of that Rick's brain overlapped with other Ricks, other Ricks of which Evil Rick already downloaded the contents of their brains, so there wasn't any need for it in that case. If that's true, a plausible theory might be that Evil Rick is trying not only to be the only Rick in existence, but to achieve ultimate Rick genius by amassing everything that every Rick knows. Of course, an alternative theory is that all Evil Rick is doing is kidnapping Morties for his Morty Matrix. He kills the Ricks so that they don't come after their Morties. The only reasons he's downloading the contents of C-137's brain is because, well, might as well since he now has the opportunity. The only problem with this theory is it doesn't explain why he wants to hide from other Ricks. What's he going to do now that he's isolated himself in an impenetrable fortress that's "off the grid" as Rick C-137 says? But all these theories may be for not when we get to the unexpected twist we'll see at the end (no spoilers!).

Back to the two doofuses:

Doofus Rick: "Okay, if we add a little more titanium nitrate and just a tad of chlorophyte tartrate... [pours the mixture into a pan]... ovenless brownies!"

Jerry: "[Takes a piece and eats it] Mmm... mm... It's incredible what a gifted mind can accomplish when priorities are in order."

First of all, I don't know if chlorophyte tartrate is a real thing (or if that's spelled correctly), but that aside, this is proof that Doofus Rick is no dummy (if such proof was lacking before). He certainly has a "gifted mind" as do all other Ricks (as far as we know). Jerry's comment, however, is (as always) a bit ironic: that this Rick's priorities are in order--I guess that means being nice, but really it more likely means being nice to him--and that making ovenless brownies--even scrumptiously delicious ones--is incredible. I mean, sure, whipping up a chemical mixture that turns into brownies is quite incredible, but why wasn't Jerry saying this about Rick's AI robot in the last episode. It seems Rick, all of a sudden, accomplishes incredible things just by treating Jerry with respect.

They hug each other and laugh good hardy laughs, fortifying the bonds of friendship.

Jerry invites Doofus Rick back into the house (they're in the garage) saying "Come here, I... I want to show you something." He brings him up to his room to show him his coin collection--the ones with R2D2s on it--trusting his judgement because he's a "genius scientist". Doofus Rick, with a skeptical look on his face, examines the coins.

"You know, Jerry," he begins with sappy music playing in the background, "I'm not gonna tell you these will increase in value or even hold their current value. The truth is, you bought them 'cause you like 'em. They have value to you. That's what matters."

Jerry tears up and says: "How long are you staying?"

Doofus Rick: "Until we find your Rick."

Jerry: "[Embraces Doofus Rick] I found mine. I found mine."

^ Doofus Rick here shows another very Rick-like characteristic besides intelligence: straight forward honesty. But unlike Rick C-137, he's able to spin it in a very positive, encouraging, and compassionate way--showing that no Rick has to be rude in order to be honest--some truths are just a matter of how you spin them.

He's also offering Jerry more external validation--ironically, external validation on how to internally validate--in other words, he's telling Jerry what Jerry ought to be telling himself--and though it's good advice, hearing it from someone else most likely only reinforces Jerry's dependence on external validation. I mean, tearing up and hugging Doofus Rick, saying "I found mine. I found mine." is a way of saying: I need you to keep validating me.

Pounding on the prison cell door, Morty C-137 is shouting out "HELP!!!" to no avail. One of the Morties approaches him to inform him of this: "There is no escape, my son. We will find our peace in the next world." He, along with a handful of other Morties standing around him, are dressed in robes and their faces decorated in red makeup, as if part of a religious cult:

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The lead Morty hands C-137 a small book. C-137 responds:

"So what? Y-y-you're just gonna give up?"

"We're giving in," says the lead Morty, "to the power of the One True Morty. [Flips down his hood; he's bald underneath.] One day he will return. [Looks to the sky and clasps his hands in prayer.]"

He and his followers say in unison: "Praise the One True Morty."

Morty C-137 looks down at the book he was handed. It's titled: "The Good Morty." He opens it. It's a comic strip. The first box features two Morties: one with glasses sitting at a computer saying to the other Morty behind him: "Morty, take a look at this website!" In the next box, the Morty standing behind him says "Hmm, I don't think we should be on a site like this."

Whatever the intricacies and profundities of this Morty cult's religious beliefs, it's reminiscent of Christianity, and I wonder if it's a jab on the part of the writers. It seems to suggest that religion, and Christianity in particular, is the result of "giving up" on life, just laying down passively to all the harsh brutalities of life in the hopes that, in the next life, all will be made up for and peace finally found. Even the statement: "One day he will return," is reminiscent of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The book handed to Morty C-137 is, in particular, reminiscent of the Bible, and it's title "The Good Morty" suggestive of the roll the Bible plays in Christianity: an example of how to be good so as to earn peace in the next life. It's questionable whether "The Good Morty" is supposed to be the "One True Morty," but this doesn't develop much beyond this scene.

Interestingly, the faith this small cult following has in the peace they will find in the next life seems to bring them some degree of peace now. They don't seem nearly as stressed out as the other Morties. As much as they seem deluded by a desperate need to cling to some kind of false hope, as much as this may be seen as "giving up" in the eyes of Morty C-137, it appears to be working for them, more so than for the other Morties.

And: what does it mean when they say of the One True Morty: "One day he will return"? Does it mean he's been here before? It kind of hints at a previous rebellion, at a previous attempt to overthrow Evil Rick which failed, especially given what happens next:

Morty C-137 tosses the book aside expressing in disgust: "Eugh." He proceeds to stand on a box and announces to everyone:

"All right, Morties, listen up! My name is Morty Smith from Earth dimension C-137! I know you're scared, because I'm scared! But that's no reason to accept our fate! We're Morties! We're not defined by our relationships to Rick! Our destine is our own!"

"This sounds like something the One True Morty might say," says one Morty, "I'm sick of being a human shield! I-I-I wanna be a gardener."

"I want to write really, crazy, intense... action novels!" says an alien-antenna Morty.

"I'm more than just a hammer!" says Hammer Head Morty.

"He's the one true Morty!" says one of the cult Morties.

I guess this answers our earlier question: is the One True Morty the same as The Good Morty? And the answer is no. Morty C-137 dismisses The Good Morty with an "Eugh"--much like a Rick would do--in favor of provoking an uprising. Yet what we saw in the comic strip is exactly what a Morty would do. A Morty would insist that they not visits websites they aren't supposed to. Yet this is the same Morty dismissing this comic strip in order to provoke a rebellion. Has Rick rubbed off on him? Is it just that he hasn't been worn down yet by the futility of trying to escape?

Morty C-137's words catch fire. They not only revive hope in the hearts of all the Morties but provoke a full scale revolt. When the lobster guard comes in to tell them to keep it down, they storm him.

Back in the control center, Evil Rick is downloading the contents of Rick C-137's brains. They're watching it on a screen. It's kind of reminiscent of the scene in 1980's Flash Gordon when Dr. Zarkov's memory is wiped. We see scenes from Rick C-137's past flash before Rick C-137's eyes (literally)--scenes of adventures he's been on, of women he's slept with (which turn into man eating aliens), of Morty--some from scenes of past episodes, some from when Morty was a baby.

Some on the internet have noticed this scene with Morty as a toddler in diapers being picked up by Rick--the odd thing being, they say, that Morty C-137, currently, is only a young teenager (it's not actually specified, but we can speculate that he's probably a young 14/15 or so). In any case, he's certainly not a 20 year old, the age he would have to be, according to these people on the internet, if Rick could possibly have held him as a toddler. According to these people, Rick has been absent from the Smith family for 20 years. <-- However, after a bit of research on this theory, I have found no official mention about how long Rick has actually been away from the Smith family, and in fact, the Rick and Morty wiki site (yes, they have one: http://rickandmorty.wikia.com/wiki/Rick_and_Morty_Wiki) says that Rick's only been gone for 14 years... effectively squashing that theory. Now, I don't know how trustworthy rickandmorty.wikia.com is but, but it can't be any more trustworthy than wikipedia... in fact, it's one of the most formal internet sources out there for Rick and Morty trivia. Nonetheless, for an episode that seems to be hinting at the fact that this is Rick's 1 year anniversary back into the Smith's lives, it would be pretty convenient to slip in a hint at a conspiracy theory. (Or maybe this young toddler Morty just isn't C-137.)

Evil Rick: "You've lived quite a life, Rick. It's a real shame you're not going to be around to see it through."

Then the scenes of Morty come onto the screen. Rick C-137's eyes well up in tears as sappy music plays.

Evil Rick: "You're crying? Over a Morty?"

Rick C-137: "No, I'm just allergic to dip shits!" <-- Perfect example of a mask (albeit a rather obvious one).

This scene strikes me as the moment we get closest to Rick's true feelings. Welling up with tears in this moment would not only be extremely hard for a Rick to fake, but counterproductive, particularly in Rick C-137's current situation where he probably shouldn't be showing signs of weakness in front of the evil genius about to kill him. But yet, there it is. We weeps at the memories of Morty and all the times they've spent together. And his come back to Evil Rick: "No, I'm just allergic to dip shit," is simply another--very quickly and quite cleverly whipped up--mask. As clever a come back as it might have been, however, it's really a shitty mask. In fact, it's not really masking anything at all... but it is a clever come back.

I suppose then, that this answers the question of whether Morty is just being used as a human shield, or there's more to it (but there definitely is "it"). Obviously, Morty is more to Rick than a human shield. He's his grandson. But this is lost on Evil Rick:

Evil Rick: "Eugh, pathetic. We both know that if there's any truth in the universe, it's that Rick's don't care about Morties [leans over C-137 with both arms clutching the sides of the beds]."

Not only is the value of family bonds lost on Evil Rick, but he's almost unwittingly contradicting himself here. He calls C-137 "pathetic" for caring for a Morty, and in the same breath says that's impossible, that Ricks don't care for Morties. How is it a truth in the universe, as he puts it, if right before him is empirical evidence that it's not? It's almost like he's trying to convince himself rather than convince C-137. After all, Rick's behavior and the things he says can always, in principle, be construed as a mask. And maybe that's what Evil Rick is trying to convey--that these tears are a mask... but a counter-productive mask? And a mask for what? <-- These questions seem to slip right by Evil Rick.

Then the mob of Morties storm the control room, taking Evil Rick by surprise.

"Do your worst, you little bastards! Kill me! Do it!" Evil Rick says as the Morty mob overpowers him and take him down in a huddle.

Morty C-137 unshackles Rick C-137. "You're lucky I'm not a Rick," he says. "Point taken," Rick says, "but this is-*burp*-no time for arcs," as he gets up and dashes for the control panel. He presses a button that frees all the Morties outside (interesting that it ends up being Rick who saves them, not Morty). The Morties fall to their... freedom (I mean, it's pretty high up for some of them; are we to believe they all survived the fall? And wouldn't some of them catch some skin and flesh on the now opened shackles that line the wall?).

Rick C-137 calls home. An alternate sentinel Rick answers: "Yeah, hello?" "Hey," Rick C-137 says, "what do me and OJ not have in common?" "Huh? Who-who is this?" sentinel Rick says. "I found the real killer, biiitch!!! Get over here!" says C-137.

We cut to Jerry and Doofus Rick putting together a lego castle--sort of a symbol of child-like innocence, something not even Morty could bring himself to be enthusiastic over when it came to constructing a model of the solar system--when two other Ricks come in the room and say "Yo Ding-Dong, we're done here. Time to go."

Doofus Rick tells Jerry this means good-bye. Jerry tries to persuade him otherwise:

"W-w-does it have to? [chuckles] You-you look just like Rick--we could maybe, you know, get rid of him? [Adamantly:] I'm not saying kill him, necessarily. I'm also not saying necessarily not kill him, but..."

Doofus Rick cuts him off with his finger to his lips: "Jerry, we both know it wouldn't work. It's time to go back to our lives." They embrace. Doofus Rick: "I love you, Jerry. I love ya." And he leaves. Jerry leans against the wall, eyes closed, and gives the wall a punch. A few pieces of the lego castle crumble. <-- As much of a fool as Doofus Rick is, he's got all the wisdom and insight as any other Rick.

After the Morties are done beating Evil Rick and his lobster minions to bloody pulps (Hammer Head Morty having an especially good time), several sentinel Ricks come through a few portals along with a few of the leaders for the Council of Ricks we saw in Rick C-137's trial.

"What's gonna happen to all these Morties?" Morty C-137 asks. "They'll go back to their families," says Triceratops Rick (as I call him), "attend school regularly, play video games, date girls... poor little Rickless bastards." <-- Typical Rick-like ego at it's finest. Makes you wonder if this is the main reason, most likely out of many, why Rick is so insensitive. When he told Morty that Morties are useful to Ricks as human shield, he, in his own mind, might of thought of that as a privilege (but I don't think so).

Back at the Council of Ricks, Triceratops Rick declares an official apology on behalf of the council to Rick C-137 for its false accusations. He offers Rick C-137 a free Morty-replacement voucher to which Rick C-137, actually a bit sensitive to Morty C-137's issues of late, cuts them off saying "Not a good time" but takes the voucher anyway.

Walking through the "town square" (or the foyer or whatever) of the Council of Ricks, Morty says to Rick with a smug look on his face:

"Is it time for arcs yet Rick? I did a pretty good job back there for a human cloaking device. Saved your ass."

Rick: "All right, Morty, don't break an arm jerking yourself off."

Morty: "Man, I can't believe you, Rick. That right there--that-that was a great opportunity to show a little humanity, you know--to connect with me a little."

Rick: "Hey Morty [stops and turns around], you want connection, go be part of some stupid club like all those dumb Ricks. You know, maybe I don't connect because I'm the Rickest Rick there is," <-- Is that what defines a Rick? Not connecting? In that case, the very existence of the Council is quintessentially un-Rick-like. "And you know, it would g-*burp*-o without saying that the Rickest Rick would have the Mortiest Morty."

Morty: "It would go without saying huh?"

Rick: "Yeah, it would. Did you hear me say it?"

Morty: "Nah... [To himself] The Mortiest Morty..."

Putting aside this clever device of Rick's (i.e. to evade Morty's criticisms of egoism by feeding him a dose of egoism himself), this concept of the "Mortiest Morty" is uncannily similar to the concept of "The One True Morty". What would make for the "One True Morty"? Presumably the same thing that would make for the "Rickest Rick". This idea that Rick conveys to Morty--that whatever the particular characteristics of an arbitrary Rick, those will be matched by counterpart characteristics of that Rick's Morty--would suggest that whatever insights this episode affords us about Rick's character ought to be matched by Morty's character. So what does it mean that Rick C-137 is the Rickest Rick there is? That he's the most evil Rick there is? No because Evil Rick was definitely more evil that Rick C-137. That he doesn't connect? No, that just puts Rick C-137 on the outside of segment of the "central finite curve" that the Council of Ricks find themselves on. (All Ricks more evil than him would fall on the other side). I personally think it means Rick C-137 is the exact average of all the Ricks--at the peek of the bell curve--he is the exact poster boy for what makes a Rick a Rick. He is exactly midway between the most doofus Rick (which would be Rick J-19 zeta-7) and the most evil Rick (which would not be Evil Rick since we saw on the spectrum that there more evil Ricks than him)--all members of the Council of Ricks being like Doofus Rick because they "connect" while all other Rick's being like Evil Rick because they don't have the capacity to "connect". Perhaps, then, when Rick says he doesn't connect and that makes him the Rickest Rick there is, he means he has the capacity to connect but doesn't give in to it (or masks it).

So what does that say about the Mortiest Morty? It says that he is the one Morty who is exactly right there at the center of the curve, the one Morty who is most like a Morty--that is, he really is the one true Morty. (If Evil Morty is the exemplar of the Morty on the Evil extreme of the curve, then maybe that puts "The Good Morty" on the other extreme, matching up with Doofus Rick (does that make Eric Stoltz Morty the exemplar of The Good Morty?)).

This makes sense out of why the Mortiest Morty could not be the Good Morty--in order for the Mortiest Morty to save the Rickest Rick's ass, he had to be exactly midway between the Good Morty, whom the Morty Cult were trying to emulate by giving up, and Evil Morty, who wouldn't save Rick, any Rick, at all--but this only becomes clear in the next scene. As for the present scene, Rick continues:

"Just don't get too big for your loafers, buster brown. A cocky Morty can lead to some big problems. Can be a real bad thing for everybody."

Morty: "Oh yeah? How's that?"

Rick opens a portal.

Rick: "Uh, I-I'll explain when you're older."

By the sounds of this, it seems like Rick's had some experiences with cocky Morties, or at least has done some research. What exactly does happen when a Morty gets too big for his loafers? One theory on the internet is that Morty just becomes Rick when he's older. That is to say, Rick C-137 is the "old man" version of Morty C-137. He's naive and innocent now, which doesn't exactly fuel his self-esteem, but as he grows older, gaining more life experiences and enhancing his intelligence, he may become cocky, which would describe exactly Rick's personality--and it should be obvious by now how much trouble that causes. This theory adds a special twist to the ubiquitous Rick-Morty relationship--it says that not only do Ricks and Morties consistently team up in order to cancel each other's brain waves, and not only do they team up because of any faint spark of a family bond, but because Morty just is Rick when he was younger. This theory's interesting because it not only adds an additional incentive for Ricks to partner up with Morties, but might even supersede the motive of wanting the protective benefits of a human shield. I mean, we all know Rick isn't big on human connection and family bonding, but to connect/bond with himself adds a whole other dynamic to his psychology that fits so conveniently in an episode devoted to an exploration of Rick's relation to himself. It says that Morty, in the Furniture Town restaurant, was right when he said their relationship must be "pretty special" but he didn't know the half of it. It says that the real reason we see Ricks and Morties always paired up with each other is because it is in the nature of Ricks to want to connect at least with themselves--that is, at least for those Ricks found in the Citadel of Ricks. As for the Ricks on the other side of the central finite curve, well, I suppose they're so devoid of human connection that they don't even care to connect with themselves. But more on this after the next scene:

"Pride cometh before the fall." says one sentinel Rick kneeling over Evil Rick's dead body while other Ricks examine the scene like a bunch of forensic scientists, "I guess he got what he deserved."

"What is that?" asks another sentinel as the first sentinel turns Evil Rick's head exposing a gash through which is seen robotic wiring and circuitry.

First sentinel Rick opens Evil Rick's cranium to reveal nothing but robotic wiring and circuitry. <-- Evil Rick has been a robot all this time.

"My God," says sentinel Rick number two, "I've seen this technology before. This Rick was being controlled remotely, [pulls a device from Evil Rick's head] puppeteered by somebody else. This is the receiver."

Sentinel Rick #2: "Yeah, but where's the transmitter?"

Cut to the scene of Morties being boarded on a few space ships to be transported back to their home realities. Close up on Evil Morty with his eye patch. He turns around and pauses amongst all the other Morties making their way to the ship. He takes off his patch, revealing a couple wires hinging from the seam of his eye. He drops the patch, revealing some kind of circuitry on the inside. He stomps on the patch, crushing the circuitry--obvious because this is the transmitter, effectively snuffing out the trace. He stuffs the wires hanging from his eye back into his skull and continues on inconspicuously with all the other Morties.

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And that's how the episode ends--a real cliff hanger.

It sends one's mind looking for all the implication, and they're not hard to find: for one thing, it means that everything Evil Rick was doing, it was really Evil Morty doing it. This means that Evil Rick really wasn't evil after all--he was just a puppet--and that it was Evil Morty who was the real evil genius behind everything. It was Evil Morty who was killing Ricks and kidnapping Morties. It was Evil Morty who crucified them on the Morty Matrix. It was Evil Morty who wanted the contents of Rick C-137's brain. Why? Well, it seems pretty obvious that Evil Morty absolutely hated Ricks (as many Morties do). Killing Ricks therefore needn't be explained much beyond that. Torturing Morties? Well, since Evil Morty was manipulating his Rick (as sort of a decoy), it still makes sense that he would need a shield to hide him. Since Evil Morty is just as evil as Evil Rick (or would be if this were all Evil Rick's doing), he doesn't care for Morties either (much like Rick doesn't seem to care about other Ricks). And speaking of hiding from other Ricks, we see how convoluted all this "shielding" really is: Evil Morty has at least three layers of shielding--1) Rick C-137 whom he tries to frame, 2) the actual shield of Morties, and 3) Evil Rick whom he also frames (maybe this plot of framing Ricks is a means of demonizing Ricks in front of other Ricks). <-- Number 3) is the last line of defense as he is able to get away in the end undetected. The Council of Ricks discovers the receiver and infers the existence of a transmitter out there, but since Evil Morty crushes it, that more or less makes him untraceable. But the Ricks are aware and will no doubt be looking for him. Like I said, however, it is a cliff hanger, and this is the last we'll hear about Evil Morty and the Council of Ricks throughout the series (maybe Season 3 will shed some light on this).

(There are scenes in the opening credits that aren't taken from any of the episodes from Season 1 or Season 2--most of them are, but a few aren't. There is the one below, for example, in which Jerry, who appears to be helping Morty with his homework, pats him on the back only to loosen the front plate of his (apparently) robotic head. It drops to the table revealing wires, circuitry, and other robotic technology. Meanwhile, Rick is seen behind them trying to usher the real Morty out of the room without either Jerry or robot Morty discovering them. Could this be a scene from Season 3? Could this robot Morty be Evil Morty, imposing on the Smith family as Morty C-137?)

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And what does Evil Morty want with the contents of Rick C-137's brain? Either theory mentioned above might still apply: either 1) Evil Morty is trying to give Evil Rick ultimate Rick genius by amassing all the knowledge and thoughts of all the Ricks and uploading it to Evil Rick's brain, or 2) Evil Morty is just interest in Rick C-137's brain--either because he might as well now that he's got him, or there's something special about Rick C-137. Either way, it doesn't matter that it's uploaded into Evil Rick's brain as he's being controlled by Evil Morty anyway. But what would be so special about Rick C-137 that Evil Morty would want the contents of his brain? More on that below.

So we're hit, at the end, with this twist--but it's a twofold twist: 1) not only is Evil Morty the real mastermind behind the Rick killings, but 2) Evil Rick and Evil Morty were robots. This itself has some interesting implications: the first question that came to my mind when I saw this was: why, then, is a Morty Matrix shield needed? If Rick brains send off such a detectable signal, one would think that must have something to do with the fact that this is a biological effect. Would a robot brain really send off exactly the same signals? My only thought on this is that Rick C-137, when he and Morty C-137 were sitting in that restaurant in Furniture Town, described them as "genius waves"--so maybe they're just waves given off by intelligence period--regardless of the hardware on which it runs. In other words, maybe the "genius waves" are simply patterns of thought and information processing--the same patterns that might be seen in artificial intelligence versions of Rick. If that's the case, then fine, but this isn't explicitly explained, and the fact that Evil Rick turns out to be a robot ought to raise the question of whether his brain would emit the same pattern of genius waves, and if not, what was the purpose of the Morty Matrix.

Another thought that just occurs to me: maybe Evil Rick's brain doesn't give off genius waves, and the Morty Matrix is just another ploy. That is, it isn't serving the function of hiding Evil Rick (and by proxy, Evil Morty) but hiding the fact that Evil Rick is a robot. That is to say, even if someone did discover Evil Rick inside his fortress, he still wouldn't necessarily figure out that Evil Rick is a robot, and the Morty Matrix outside might just be a ploy to convince him otherwise. (Kinda makes Evil Morty seem even more evil than Evil Rick--at least the motive of trying to hide from the Council of Ricks seems more "important" than trying to trick would-be discoverers into believing that Evil Rick is a robot on the off chance that even happens--like Rick C-137 said: it's barbaric overkill.) What spurred this thought on in my mind was the question: well, does Evil Rick's brain give off genius waves? I mean, I suppose we are to presume so given the Morty Matrix, but there is no scene in which either Rick C-137 or the alternate Ricks from the council say: Ah, there it is! The Rick brain waves we've been trying to detect! As soon as we got passed the Morty Matrix, they started beeping like a hot beacon!

I also think the fact that Evil Rick and Evil Morty turn out to be robots is symbolic: it says that in order to be that evil, you'd have to be a robot. No flesh and blood human being could be that heartless, even Rick. Ricks, flesh and blood ones, might suppress their human feeling, mask it as it were, but once in a while, you can see glimpses of caring in the tears welling up in their eyes.

And finally, a thought on what's so special about Rick C-137 that Evil Morty would want the contents of his brain: simply put, he's the Rickest Rick there is. If this Rick more or less defines Ricks, then anyone interested in knowing about Ricks would want to download the contents of this Rick's brain. After all, Evil Rick did say he wanted Rick C-137 to find him. He doesn't exactly say why, but he does follow that up, after a short exchange between him and Rick C-137, with "I'm simply going to download the contents of your brain, and then kill you." In the interim between saying he wanted Rick C-137 to find him and that he was going to download the contents of his brain then kill him, Evil Rick points out how close they are on the Rick spectrum, Super Weird Rick being the only one between them. And since he defined this spectrum as a measure of Rick evilness, it suggests that Rick C-137 is about as evil as a Rick can get before becoming a cold, emotionless robot (that is, in the symbolic sense given above). As for Super Weird Rick--well, he's super weird, maybe a cyborg or something like that. So what does Evil Rick (or Evil Morty) want from the contents of Rick C-137's brain? Maybe just to understand what it's like to have feelings, why sometimes Ricks on the other side of the spectrum (Doofus Rick being the extreme example) let slip feelings and signs that they care. And why, after all, is that essential to a Rick being a Rick.

That the Rickest Rick there is is the Rick who is most evil without lacking feeling that comes with being human nicely captures why Rick doesn't even seem to care for himself. One would think that if one were put into a council composed of alternate versions of one's self, one would get along splendidly--one would, you know, like all those other versions of one's self. But it's obvious in this episode that Rick regards other versions of himself no differently than any other person--and we know how he regards other persons. If the extent of disrespect and insensitivity Rick shows to others is a reflection of his inner evil, then it shows just how evil he is that it goes even as far as himself, that he doesn't even give a shit about himself. But unlike Evil Rick, who's out to kill other Ricks, he seems to be OK with live and let live. This may come from still being human. <-- This also fits nicely into the theory outlined above: the one that says Morty is a younger version of Rick. If this theory is true, then maybe Rick is a little desperate to reach out to himself, but he can't do it to himself as he is now, and so he must try to connect with a younger, more innocent, less threatening version of himself--essentially a version of himself that still has certain redeeming moral qualities. If this is true, then not only is he masking a deeply rooted longing to connect with himself, but it may be the primary motive he had for returning to the Smiths' lives, eclipsing that of needing a Morty shield. But of course, that's something Rick would want to mask even more than his feelings for Morty.

Speaking of masks, this episode leans heavily on the theme of masks--both literally and symbolically. The excuse Rick C-137 gives Morty about why Ricks and Morties are always paired up together--that Morty brain waves cancel Rick brain waves--is one mask (not that it's a lie but it hides the other reason why Ricks hang out with Morties--namely, that Ricks do care for their Morties on some level). Rick C-137's come back to Evil Rick--"No, I'm just allergic to dip shits!"--is another (ineffective as it might be). But there are symbolic masks as well: the Morty Matrix can be seen as one gargantuan mask. So can the fleshy exterior of Evil Rick's body. Evil Rick himself is a mask hiding Evil Morty, and so on.

Obviously, the remnants of human feeling in Rick C-137 is seen by Evil Rick as a flaw. And notice that Evil Rick not only doesn't share this flaw, but a number of other flaws that come with being human: he doesn't drink, he never burps, and he doesn't even stutter--all things that are part and parcel of being a biological human being. So maybe being imperfect is an essential ingredient to being a perfect Rick: being a drunk, having gas issues, stuttering, and yes, not always being able to mask your feelings.

======================================================

PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS:

* Relating to one's self: If you came face to face with an exact replica of yourself, or you had to live with an exact replica of yourself, would you trust yourself? Does the fact that this replica is a separate physical person make a difference to anything? I mean, most of us take it as a no brainer that we would want to treat ourselves right, to pleasure ourselves, to trust ourselves, to like ourselves, and if this was there was to it, the answer to the foregoing questions would likewise be a no brain: yes, we'd say, we'd trust ourselves. But the fact remains that this replica is a separate person, a separate person would could conceivably live his or her own life, be jaded by totally different experience, want scarce resources all for him- or herself (for example, the last piece of cake). If Rick knows that he's an utterly selfish person who doesn't care for anyone but himself (and maybe not even himself), he would know that about an exact replica of himself. And then if they came face to face, what would go on through his mind? Would this knowledge of his selfish ways signal to him that this replica is also going to be selfish? And therefore, should he be on his guard? Why do we really like ourselves? Why do we really trust ourselves?

* Defining a person: Related to the above, there is the question how to define a person. If I were surrounded by a whole legion of gibs, does it make sense to say that there are some gibs who are more gib-like than other gibs? Is there one gib who is the gibest gib there is? Or would each gib be the gibest gib there is in terms of that gib--in other words, does each person define herself as the unique individual she is, regardless or how similar or different from those around her?

* Evil: Is it possible for a person to be pure evil? That is, without a single drop of compassion or human feeling, like a robot? Or is it human nature to always have some ember of compassion and feeling even if deeply repressed and faint? Was it necessary, in other words, that Evil Rick be a robot? Is it the sheer fact of Rick C-137's humanity that makes it difficult at times for him to mask his feelings? Like everyone feels angry sometimes, everyone feel embarrassed, everyone feels joyful--for one to say that he doesn't get angry, never feels embarrassed, has no joy in his life, one ought to ask him: did you get a lobotomy? In the same way, is compassion and humanitarian feeling for other human beings is integral part of the human organism such that it can't be excised as simply as the masks we sometimes wear make it seem?
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:38 am

Rick and Morty - S1E11 - Ricksy Business

Those of you who aren't too young should remember the 1983 movie Risky Business. It's a movie about a young teenager named Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise) who's parents leave on vacation trusting their son to stay out of trouble and be responsible with the house. Joel's friend, Miles Dalby (Curtis Armstrong), convinces him to do all kinds of irresponsible things, starting with calling up a hooker (Rebecca De Mornay) and ending with throwing a party. The house and his dad's Porsche end up becoming a disaster, but they end up cleaning up the mess and paying for the damage just before his parents get home.

^ This might as well be a summary of Episode 11--Ricksy Business. While Jerry and Beth go on vacation, both Summer and Rick throw a party (not together but independently, forcing their respective friends to intermingle), and they not only trash the place, but transport the entire house into another dimension (where the party continues seamlessly), but they manage, with a bit of Ricksy technological innovation (including freezing time in order to give them a chance to clean the place up before Jerry and Beth walk through the front door), to put everything back in order convincingly enough such that Jerry and Beth have no clue that anything happened.

Again, it's another episode that doesn't feature an adventure per se but they do have a whole lotta fun (well, Rick does anyway).

It opens with Beth making the stupidest decision a person could ever make: leaving Rick in charge. He is left in charge of both the children and the house.

"Listen," Rick says, "You have my word as a care giver, everything's gonna be fiiine." <-- Rick giving care? That should tip her off right away.

He's really just trying to blow them off since, in his words, "Morty and I-*burp*-have some synthetic laser eels oxidizing in the garage." Beth's ultimatum is that any damage to the house or the children and no more adventures with Morty.

Where are Beth and Jerry going? Well, in Beth's sarcastic words:

"We will have as much fun as possible on our Titanic themed getaway."

Jerry: "Let's lose the tude, please. It's supposed to be romantic."

As lame as a Titanic themed getaway sounds, in this episode, and in my opinion, Beth is the bitch here. Jerry is trying. Jerry is trying to spark some romance in their crumbling marriage, and even though the Titanic theme is more his passion than hers, he is trying to share it. <-- This will be the secondary story line in this episode while the party will be the main story line, and no overlap.

After a stern warning from Jerry not to move a single thing out of place, they leave. But a little too late. The synthetic laser eels finish, um, "oxidizing", burn a hole in the garage door, and fly out. The garage door falls off the hinges onto the driveway, the three of them barely escaping injury in virtue of conveniently standing right where the hole comes down.

"Well, we've passed the point of no return," says Summer, "I'm having a party."

Back inside, Morty interrupts Summer's phone conversation in which she makes party plans with a friend: "Summer, you can't throw a party! Remember what mom said?!"

Summer: "Yeah, if anything gets messed up, you and grandpa Rick get punished. I'm only a human being, Morty."

Morty: "Rick, tell Summer she can't have a party."

Rick: "Uh, Summer, you can't have a party."

Summer: "Eugh."

Rick: "Because-*burp*-I'm having a party, biiitch!"

Both Summer and Morty react in shock--Morty out of dismay, Summer out of mockery. <-- Morty really is in a bit of a panic over this. He really doesn't want to disappoint his parents, particularly his mom who warned that if anything happens, no more adventures with Rick. He suggests a quiet evening of games and family bonding.

Summer: "Screw that, this is my chance to gain some footing with the cool kids."

Rick: "That's why you party? Boy, you really are 17."

Summer: "Why do you party?"

And Rick responds with my favorite line in the whole series: "To get-*burp*-Rickety, Rickety wreeecked sooon!!!"

Summer: "Just keep your sci-fi friends away from my awesome ones."

Rick: "Yeah, and you keep your awesome friends away from my canapes [leans over a tray of canapes]."

This is gonna be one weird ass party--a bunch of teenagers mingling with aliens, robots, and beings from other dimensions.

Jerry and Beth are on board "Titanic 2"--a mediocre looking ship docked in the harbor. A backdrop of a sunset is strategically placed in the water on the starboard side of the ship. The Smiths along with a small handful of other guests are getting the tour. The tour guide explains to them that the entire experience is supposed to be a reenactment of the Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio movie, particularly the scene in which they "sink into the icy depths." He assures them (Jerry in particular) that the ship is "un-unsinkable".

Everyone, except Beth, are dressed in late 19th / early 20th century attire. Beth is dressed in her usual red shirt and blue jeans. Normal attire on any other occasion, but in this context, she's the one who stands out.

Jerry points to the bow of the ship: "Look, it's the line for the bow."

Beth is not impressed: "Jerry, I'd love to just kick back with a margarita and read. Do you mind if I skip the whole king of the world bit?"

Jerry: "Well, it's not the king of the world bit, that's Jack and Fabrizio [grabs Beth's hat and puts it on her head]. This is where rose says 'I'm flying Jack!' But, whatever. I can be the only one to do it alone."

There are two scenes in Titanic where Jack stands at the bow of the ship: near the beginning with his friend Fabrizio (Danny Nucci), and around the middle when he stands behind Rose with their arms out. Beth is remembering the first scene. That's when Jack yells out: "I'm the king of the world!" Jerry, along with everyone else, have in mind the second scene. I think it's interesting that Beth would assume the first scene, the one nobody remembers, when the second scene, a classic in Western culture, doesn't even occurring to her. Why would it when she thinks of Jerry as a conceited, self-absorbed egoist, not a romantic fool who wants to share a moment together with his wife?

Beth looks around: "Well, what about her?" She hands Jerry off to a middle aged Latino woman sweeping the deck, obviously part of the staff, dressed in an old turn-of-the-century french maid outfit. In response to a warning that she might get in trouble, Beth promises they won't tell and then leaves.

Jerry tries to break the ice in this awkward situation by asking her if she's a Titanic fanatic. She responds yes but that since it opened she's never been able to participate in any of the showcases. Jerry simply goes with the flow with this one: "Happy to help... Rose." She giggles. Between him and Beth, Jerry's always been the more social one, and even though he's not getting what he wanted (a romantic experience with his wife), his people skills easily allow him to make the best of the situation. Beth on the other hand, takes after her father, and with an attitude of being above the rest, doesn't mind being a bit antisocial.

Back to the party: in many ways, I find the party is a lot like interdimensional cable. For one thing, it's a break from all Rick and Morty's crazy adventures. Rick even says: "Morty, listen, we've had a lot of really cool adventures over the last year, but it's time to relax." For another, it's an escape, but unlike in Rixty Minutes, where Rick introduced the family to interdimensional cable, it features every conceivable kind of escape, including physical escape when Morty accidentally triggers one of Rick's reality hopping devices and transports the entire house with everyone in it to a completely alien world. Third, we get a sample of all the wacked out, zany shit that life in the multiverse has to offer--with interdimensional cable, we saw all that zany shit on TV, and here we see it in the variety of crazy, weird characters and personalities attending the party. Even Summer's friends have their fair share of variety.

In fact, I'm going to do what I did in interdimensional cable: I'm going to go through each character, one by one, in a list:

Tammy

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Tammy is one of Summer's friends. A bit of a sexual deviant and somewhat desperate to impress the boys (not unlike Summer's desperation to impress the cool kids), Tammy will make a few appearance in Season 2, playing quite a significant roll in the season finally: The Wedding Squanchers.

Brad

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We know Brad from a few past episodes. He's Jessica's football playing jock boyfriend. Quick to anger and highly insecure, Brad is usually seen antagonizing others and generally causing trouble.

Nancy

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Nancy is a somewhat nerdy, but likable, young girl. She knows Summer from flute practice. Though really wanting to be friends with Summer, Nancy is brushed off by Summer after being ask by the cool girls: "Don't tell me you're friends with her." Summer responds: "Are you kidding me? I don't even know what she's doing here."

Jessica

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And of course, we all know Jessica, Morty's crush.

It's questionable which of the above characters Summer invited and which Rick invited. Unless Summer invited the whole school (and only a small smattering of them showed), are we to presume Summer is friends with Brad and Jessica? She might be. Or maybe Rick invited Jessica as a favor to Morty (which we will have reason to suspect later), but that would be... weird. Brad tags along because, well, wherever Jessica goes, he's gotta go too. And Nancy? Yes, obviously she and Summer are friends, or were friends, so maybe Summer invited her but the minute the comment was put to her: "Don't tell me you're friends with her," she realized she'd better deny it.

Now we get to Rick's friends:

Bird Person

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Bird Person is a very serious and wise man (or some kind of animal). Half bird, half person, he's an old time friend of Rick's. Like Tammy, he will appear a couple times in Season 2 (in fact, with Tammy). Bird Person is quite a significant character in both the series and in Rick's life.

I'm guessing the makers of Rick and Morty couldn't get the rights to "Birdman," which would have made more sense, because of the 2014 movie Birdman, so settled on Bird Person instead. Oh well, it works.

Floopy Doop, Shmoopy Doop, and Gelatinous Mass

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Not really significant characters, but a good introduction to the chaotic mayhem that Rick unleashed into the Smith household. They are part of a brief montage that we go through with Morty as he dashes from room to room in a semi-panic over the mess and the damage being done to the house. He finds the floopy doop eating the entrails of the dead shmoopy doop (or is it the other way around?) as the "gelatinous mass" as he's dubbed at one site on the internet says: "That's why you never invite a floopy doop and a shmoopy doop to the saaame party."

Then Morty hears some thumping upstairs. He goes up to find...

Barfing Alien

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Not sure what to call this guy--barfing alien will do. He's discovered by Morty under the sheets making rocking motions. At first it looks like a couple getting it on. Then it turns out to be this weird oddly shaped alien who's "not feeling too well. I just needed to lie down for a bit." And then barfs some highly acidic goop on Jerry and Beth's mattress burning a hole in it.

Gear Head

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Gear Head is from a reality of gear people, quasi-robot sort of beings who's whole world revolves around gears--they are made of gears, their civilization is built on gears, their culture is obsessed with gears. Here, we are only introduced to Gear Head himself, but in Episode 2 of Season 2--Mortynight Run--we'll get a thorough look at Gear Head's world and another appearance of Gear Head himself.

Scropon

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Not a hugely significant character, Scropon seems like an old time friend of Rick's. We learn that his whole planet was destroyed when Morty comes down (after narrowly escaping Gear Head's long drawn out speech about the Gear Wars) and says "the whole house is being destroyed!" Rick responds while Scropon walks away all dejected: "Oh Morty, this guy's entire planet was destroyed. Have a little perspective."

Squanchy

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Not sure whether Squanchy is supposed to be a cat or what, but he's another significant character who we'll see again in Season 2. I'm not gonna wait 'til we get back to the plot to go through the dialog. I'm just going to lay it out here:

Squanchy: "Hey Rick, squanchy party bro."

Rick: "[Hopping over the table] Ah, Squanchy!"

Squanchy: "Is there a good place for me to SQUANCH around here?"

Rick: "Squanchy, you can squanch wherever you want, man! Mi casa es su casa, dawg!"

Squanchy: "All riiight! I like your squanch!"

Morty: "Uh, Rick, what exactly is squanching?"

Slow Mobius

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A guy who can slow down or speed up time. He makes Jessica walk into the room in slow motion, fooling us into thinking it's just a slowmo scene.

Abradolph Lincler

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Rick sums it up best: "Lincler's a crazed maniac. Just a misguided effort of mine to create a morally neutral super leader by combining the DNA of Adolf Hitler and Abraham Lincoln. Turns out-*burp*-it just adds up to a lame weird loser." <-- Remind anyone of koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur?

Other than that, you might also catch a brief glimpse of Triceratops Rick from the Council of Ricks and one of the stair people from the stair pub in Meeseeks and Destroy. There's also a Plutonian, effectively squashing my theory that Jerry and Morty entered into a simulation aboard that spaceship in Something Ricked This Way Comes, though it doesn't squash the theory that Rick's entire life is a simulation.

Despite Summer's fears, it seems her friends and Rick's are getting along swimmingly. I'm honestly surprised that cool girl called Summer out on inviting Nancy when you have people like Scropon hanging around.

Anyway, the party begins with Tammy talking about how into bukake she is (even though she probably wouldn't do it) when the doorbell rings. It's Brad and a couple of his football thugs. Tammy asks her friend to mess up her hair so she looks drunk. It works: Brad walks by and says "Check it out, Tammy's already drunk. Cool." Summer proceeds to close the door when Bird Person stops her. "The beacon was activated," he says, "Who is in danger?" Summer replies: "Eugh, Grandpa!"

Rick comes down to greet Bird Person with a warm welcome. He reassures him there is no emergence and asks when the last time he got laid was. "It has been a challenging mating season for Bird Person," he replies. Rick invites him in to "get his beak wet."

Morty's running around the house in a panic, picking up empty cups off the floor and throwing them into a garbage bag. "Y-y-you know there's a garbage, right?" he says to no one in particular. That's when we go through the few scenes with the doops, the gelatinous mass, and the barfing alien. Then he comes down interrupting a dull conversation between a bored looking Rick and a sort of hippie looking Gear Head (about how "the thing people don't realize about the Gear Wars is that it really wasn't about the gears at all.") Rick is only too pleased to be interrupted. "Morty!" he says, "Have you met Gear Head? [Morty: Hey, how's it-] Morty here, he would-he would love to hear all about the Gear Wars."

Gear Head: "How familiar are you with the Gear Wars exactly? [Morty: Uuuh, I-not at all?] Oh boy, I envy you. Ok, it was about 754 years ago..."

After escaping Gear Head, Morty manages to find Rick again. That's when he introduces him to Scropon. Rick tells him about how Scropon's planet was destroyed and to have a little perspective. Then Squanchy shows up. After Squanchy goes off to squanch, that's when Rick gives Morty his little pep talk about how they've been through a lot of adventures but now it's time to relax.

Morty: "Yeah, if I relax now, there might not even be any more adventures."

Rick: "Jesus, Morty, you're bumming me out. Can't we just pretend like everything's fine for a few hours? Enjoy ourselves? And then worry about all this later?"

Morty: "Yeah, that's easy for you to say, Rick. You know, you like not caring about stuff..."

These few scenes with Morty running around trying to keep the place clean, trying to make sure everything's in order, stressing out over the house, reveals the real worry wort he can be. I mean, we've always known that about Morty. We've always known that he can get really stressed out when things don't go according to plan, but this scene really brings that aspect out in him. And of course, Rick's Devil may care attitude serves as a nice contrast--the counterpart to Morty, the man who maybe should worry a bit more. It's ironic though that the one thing he's most stressed about is that there might not be any more adventures--the very adventures that always get him all stressed out to begin with. Again, it seems that his highly stressful, almost traumatic experiences, with Rick end up being a reinforcement in hindsight. He doesn't want to stop having adventures with the man who causes him so much stress to begin with. <-- Bird Person will make that patently clear to him near the end.

Morty hasn't quite learned the lesson yet, the lesson of hanging out with Rick: namely, that as much as the situations he gets Morty into are stressful, he will always get him out. Morty really shouldn't worry about his parents coming home to a trashed house because, by now he should realize, Rick will somehow find a way to fix everything. And he does, in an extraordinarily simple way.

Even if we think Rick ought to worry a bit more, his care free attitude here reveals a side to him we don't often see. He's actually happy. He's even friendly. From Bird Person, to Scropon, to Squanchy--he's thrilled to see them, like old time friends. It almost seems sometimes that he wants to reach out and give them a big ol' hug. <-- This isn't the same rude, cynical, grouchy Rick that we're used to. We saw something similar come out in Meeseeks and Destroy at the stair pub after Rick had a few drinks. He started to have a good time. But it doesn't always require alcohol. He was like this with Morty in Rixty Minutes when they just veged out in front of the tube, particularly during the commercial for "Fake Doors". It seems anytime Rick has a chance to relax, to escape from the pressures of all the crises he gets himself and Morty into, a friendlier side of him comes out. He doesn't have to be so serious, he doesn't have to vent his frustration at the stupidity exuded by the people around him, stupidity that often stifles his efforts to get himself and the rest of them out of the situations they're in.

As Morty was saying: "You know, you like not caring about stuff. W-w-what's in this for me?" <-- That's when Jessica enters the room... in slow motion... because of Slow Mobius. Rick tells him to knock it off. Mobius say: "Sorry, dude. I'm just tryin'a... show off my pooowers, brooo." Jessica passes through the room. Rick pushed Morty to go follow her: "Tonight, the only adventure you're on is your cusping manhood." <-- The hint I alluded to earlier that it was Rick who invited Jessica.

Aboard the Titanic, Jerry and "Rose" are having a wonderful time. They're seen running around the ship, holding hands, and pulling stunts like stealing people's cigarettes out of their mouths. They're like a couple of innocent children, not unlike Jack and Rose in the actual movie.

Jerry notices something below: they're stacking planks not unlike those onto which Jack and Rose hung before Jack drowned at the end of the movie. Lucy (the Latino woman) explains: "Every couple gets to recreate Jack's drowning at the end of the movie. It's so romantic." Jerry responds: "I can't wait to do that with Beth." "I don't know, Jerry," Rose continues, "with all due respect, it seems like your wife may not be that interested."

It seems Jerry's found someone perfect for having this romantic excursion with even though he still wants to have it with someone completely uninterested. The latter is desperate to get away, the former desperate for more (and we'll find out just how desperate later on).

Jerry notices the iceberg emerging from the water ahead. Down at the helm, the navigator informs the captain: "Uh, sir, there's not a problem." "What do you mean, there's not a problem?" the Captain replies. "The guidance system isn't putting us on a direct collision course," says the navigator, "This ship is about to completely miss the giant iceberg." "Well, do something!" shouts the captain. The navigator attempts to steer into it, but it's too late. Titanic 2 is fine. "Ladies and gentlemen," the captain says into the intercom, "don't brace yourselves." The passengers watch in stupefaction as the ship passes right by the iceberg. "No!" Jerry bellows out, "What happened?!" Rose answers "The rail system must have failed."

So in a kind of parody, the passengers get to experience a disaster just like those on the real Titanic, except that since they were expecting the Titanic to crash and sink--indeed, since they wanted it to--the disaster had to take the form not crashing and not sinking. The same arrogant over-confidence that had the owners of the original Titanic convinced that their ship couldn't sink had the owners of this Titanic convinced that this ship couldn't not sink--the un-unsinkable Titanic turned out to be very unsinkable after all.

Tammy's coming on really strong to Bird Person (for God knows what reason... we'll find out in Season 2, Episode 10--The Wedding Squanchers). Bird Person warns her: "Tammy, I should let you know, I just got out of a highly intense soul bond with my previous spirit mate." He's like that, Bird Person--utmostly concern with moral principles, and very respectful of women. Tammy replies: "I'm not looking to get into a soul bond, I'm just looking for a [whispers in his ear]." "I believe Bird Person can arrange that." he says.

That's when Nancy comes up to Summer: "Hey Summer, haven't seen you at flute practice in a while." and Summer brushes her off. Rick sees this: "Oh, not cool Summer, this is a party, everyone should be welcome." <-- Even the biggest asshole in the room is nicer to Nancy than Summer is. Then again, we are seeing how a nicer, more friendly, side to Rick comes out when he's just chilling and having a few drinks. So Summer, it would seem, becomes more of a snob at parties while Rick lightens up and stops being his usual jerk self.

Then Abradolf Lincler bursts, and I mean literally burst, into the room. That's when Rick gives his brief explanation on who Abradolf Lincler is. Lincler is another Frankenstein monster, a horrible abomination that Rick created and then abandoned, taking absolutely no responsibility for it. Lincler announces his purpose here: "Rick, you brought me into this world a suffering abomination, tortured by the duality of its being, but I shall finally know peace when I watch the life drain from your wretched body!" He gets into a little scuffle with Brad in virtue of bumping into him. Brad blows the incident up into megalithic proportions, playing on themes of guilt and race, very fitting for a man half Lincoln and half Hitler. Rick eggs on a fight: "Kick his ass Brad! Kick his ass! Kick his ass! Kick his ass!" taunting the rest of the group to join in. Brad does just that--punches him in the face a few times, spilling blood everywhere.

This entire display of macho manliness sickens Jessica. She storms out of the room. Morty goes after her. He finds her sitting on the front steps to the house. He sits next to her, apologizing for Rick. "Eugh! Brad is such a jerk," she says, "He's always trying to prove what a man he is. I just want to find somebody nice and sweet." Morty offers to show her something--Rick's workshop (i.e. the garage).

"Wow, look at all this stuff," says Jessica. Morty shows her a device. It's a hologram generator. He turns it on and it projects a hologram of an array of planets with rings and moons orbiting them, glowing with bright colors. "It's beautiful," says Jessica as she walks around in it.

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Morty: "You know, Jessica, there's something I've always wanted to tell you."

Jessica: "What's that, Morty?"

Morty: "I think that you're the most--"

Jessica: "No, that. Those weird sounds coming from the closet over there."

Morty turns off the hologram. He motions towards the broom closet which is indeed making sounds and shaking. Morty opens it. It's Squanchy, um, squanching. He's got a rope tied around his neck and he's tugging on it with one hand, the other hand is, well, squanching. "Hey!" he shouts, "I'm squanching in here!" In disgust, Morty backs away, uttering how disgusting it is, and backs up into a large device about the height of a grown man, like a giant scepter or flash light, and knocks it over. It activates. It starts charging up. Suddenly, emanating from the device, a giant blue energy bubble forms around the house. Next thing you know, the entire house gets teleported to another planet, possibly another dimension.

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Back in the house, Rick opens the balcony door and looks outside. He says "Huh, big star in the sky, [inhales] oxygen rich atmosphere, giant testicle monsters... we'll be fine, let's party!!!"

Trusting Rick's words, some dude with his shirt off (one of Summer's friends) screams a hearty scream and runs outside only to be snatched up by one of the testicle monsters and eaten (although we'll see at the end that it isn't exactly "eating" that the monsters are doing). In response to this, Rick hits the music on the speaker which blasts out: "Just shake that aaasss, bitch, and le'me see watch'u got," to which Rick shakes his ass along with everyone else.

It seems here Rick is using partying to cover up an awkward situation (you might even say responsibility for the sudden demise of the kid, if indeed he was trusting Rick's words that they'll be fine). In fact, I'd say the whole party is a cover up. He's using it as an escape, just like he said to Morty: "But it's time to relax," and "Can't we just pretend like everything's fine for a few hour, enjoy ourselves, and then worry about all this later?" He really doesn't want anything to interfere with that, even being instantly transported to a strange, unknown dimension with giant testicle monsters, even an innocent kid being eaten by one of them. He'll do this once more during this episode in response to a much more sinister event.

Overlooking the alien landscape, Rick, Morty, and Summer are on the patio with the party continuing on behind closed doors. Rick is scanning for Kalaxian Crystals with one of his devices while Morty is freaking out: "Relax, Morty, relax, it's gonna be fine, all we have to do is go out and find us some Kalaxian crystals... [his device starts beeping] ...oooh shit, motha' fucka'!!! Kalaxian crystals, Morty, just a few miles south of here." In a rush to get those crystals, Morty tugs on Ricks arm as he starts leaving. Rick refuses to go on the excuse that he has to hang back and look after the party (again, wanting the escape of the party rather than the stress of another adventure). Summer agrees, and adds that she should stay too.

Then Lincler and Nancy show up. Lincler's holding a cold can of beer to his head and asks for aspirin. Both Rick and Summer take this as an opportunity to get rid of a couple people they don't want around. Rick sends Lincler off with Morty and Summer ushers Nancy off with them on the excuse that she's "so good at playing the flute". Then they head back inside. This move is kinda mean on Summer's part, but Rick is endangering Morty, not just on account of sending him off into some strange, possibly hostile, world, but with a "crazed maniac" in Ricks own words.

Meanwhile, on the still-afloat Titanic, the captain is passing around coupons for a complimentary plate of "James Cameronion rings" en lieu of the malfunction (or function, depending on how you look at it). Beth tells Jerry she's going back to her room to finish her book and that he should "find that Lucy woman." As soon as she leaves, Lucy shows up and offers to show Jerry something. She brings him down to the cargo area, the one where Jack and Rose make love in the car.

She strips down naked and says "Draw me, Jerry."

Jerry, not surprisingly taken aback, fumbling over words, finally manages to, as politely as possible, decline. She pulls out a gun (not sure from where). "You're gonna draw me," she says, "then you're gonna fuck me in that car over there."

We cut back to Morty, Lincler, and Nancy trekking through the strange wilderness of this bizarre, unexplored world. Lincler says to himself: "It's weird, 'cause I definitely think that all men are created equal, but at the same time..." Morty interrupts him: "OK! Um, the crystals should be really close." Nancy spots them. Again, they're pink. "Wait, something's not right," says Lincler.

Then out of nowhere, a giant two-headed purple lion-like beast jumps out and knocks Lincler over. He shouts at Morty and Nancy to get the crystals while he handles the beast: "Prepare to be emancipated from your own inferior genes," he says. He tackles the beast while Morty and Nancy collect the crystals.

"Summer's gonna like me again," says Nancy. <-- A bit of the same desperation to be liked seen in Nancy as that in Summer. Nancy hasn't had to be cruel to anyone in order to get that, however, not that we've seen anyway.

They collect the crystals and Lincler finishes with the beast. He throws its dead body over a rock and comes out from behind it. Bleeding and injured, he drops and leans against the rock. He says to Morty that he has something important to tell him.

Back at the party, everyone's gathered around Gear Head who's playing them a song on something like a lyre: "♪ ♫ And the gears, they turned for a thousand years until the dark day that they stopped. ♬ ♩"

Morty and Nancy come in with the crystals. Morty announces the important message that Lincler conveyed to him: "I couldn't have done it without Lincler. He said that he's really sorry and that he loves you like a father. He only wanted you to accept him and he hopes that his final act would redeem him in your eyes. He sacrificed himself to save all of us, Rick. He died." Tears well up in Morty's and Nancy's eyes.

"Well, at least he didn't die in vein," Rick says, "He got these crystals." Then Rick crushes the crystals up on the table and forms them into lines, like cocaine, and snorts: "And these babies just saved this lame ass party! WUBALUBADUBDUB!!!" He stands up, his eye dilate and glossed over with blue. "Play something," he says in an almost desperate tone, "som-somebody play something." A giant ghetto-blaster robot pushes the play button on his belly and starts playing... The Rick Dance:



This is the second instance of Rick trying to cover up his pain with partying. To hear the news that Lincler, who was like a son to him, who loved him like a father and only wanted him to be proud of him, who died so he could get high, would cause anyone else great pain and grief, but Rick, being in the habit of covering up his pain with any kind of escape he can manage, chooses to do the Rick dance instead. This is the reason for that desperate tone in his voice when he asked the crowd to play something. Even Nancy, who barely knew Lincler, broke out into tears when Morty relayed the story of his death.

"What... the hell... was that?!?!" questions an understandably appalled Morty. Rick explains that he can get them home any time he wants to, but does Morty have any more of those crystals because "crystal Kalaxian is a really strong but fleeting high." Morty chucks the bag of crystals out the open patio door to be eaten by one of the monsters. "Oh, Morty, you idiot!" says Rick. Morty calls off the party. Rick reluctantly agrees, calling him a party pooper buzz kill, then leads everyone in a round of "booing".

Back on the Titanic, Jerry, in a sweat, is doing the best he can to render a portrait of Lucy as she lays on the couch naked. Still at gun point, she motions Jerry towards the car where she explains what they are going to do. She explains that Jerry is going to "love inside" her so that there is no mess for her to clean up. But just before things get really hairy, a book comes flying out of nowhere and hits Lucy in the back of the head knocking her out cold. It's Beth. "Bet you're glad I think candles are dumb now," she says. <-- Which really makes no sense; if she means she thinks romance is dumb, then how would Jerry be in this situation at all if she did like romance? He'd be with her, not Lucy. And it's almost a case of blaming the victim here. The only reason Jerry's in this situation is because Beth paired him with Lucy. But she does express a bit of remorse in the next scene:

They're at the car packing things into the trunk.

Beth: "I can't help but feel a little guilty. I didn't pegged Lucy for a rapist."

Jerry: "What does a rapist look like exactly Beth? Is it a Slavic man wearing a denim jacket with a patchy beard and the scent of cheap champagne wafting over his blister-pocked lips? [fist clenched under lower lip, looking like he's about to cry]"

Beth: "Wwwhat?"

Jerry gets shifty-eyes as if to say "Oops, did I say that out loud?" This is interesting: this is the first time we catch a glimpse of what Jerry might have suffered in his past--it hints that he was raped as a child. It goes a long way to explain his insecurities. It's also interesting that Beth has no idea about this. It shows he's so ashamed of it he can't even tell his own wife.

He then takes one of the Titanic doors that all the guests get (from the stack of doors he noticed when he and Lucy were gallivanting around the ship) and puts it in the front seat. There's no room left for him. He reaches across the door for Beth, as if clinging to the door like a raft, not unlike Jack and Rose at the end of Titanic. "I'm not going to fit. Beth, listen to me, you're going to get out of here. You're going to go on--" Beth cuts him off and tells him to leave the door. He agrees.

I don't know if this was intended, but I interpret this as a desperate plea from Jerry, as if he's saying "I'm drowning in this marriage, Beth." <-- The whole point of this excursion was to rekindle a little romance, an attempt on Jerry's part to save their marriage, and this, to me, seems like a last desperate attempt to call out to Beth for help via the re-enactment of a romantic scene from Titanic. But Beth, having both feet planted firmly on the ground, is having none of it.

Beth and Jerry start driving. The camera pans to see Lucy hanging underneath the car, just like Robert De Niro's character at the end of Cape Fear. In fact, that's what Lucy keeps shouting out as they drive down the highway: "I'm going to do like from Cape Fear!" before losing her grip and getting run over. In a pool of her own blood, she pulls herself a little ways across the parking lot and then (supposedly) dies.

Rick gets the house back into the hole it left before it teleported to the other dimension. It's a complete disaster: not only are there multiple points of damage, but there's a huge crease around it where the teleportation bubble existed.

"Hey squanchers!" announces Squanchy, "The party's squanching on at my place!" They all proceed out the front door. Summer follows them. Squanchy stops her:

"Uh, no, you're not squanchy enough for a squanchy party."

Summer: "What?"

Squanchy: "Nancy told us what a bitch you are."

Summer: "Guys, seriously. Nancy?"

Nancy: "Summer, you're a bad person. All you care about is having popular people like you. That's not what Abradolf Lincler stood for. Well... it was hard to pin down what he stood for but it's certainly not what he died for."

So Summer gets the shaft. Her attempts to get in with the popular kids by rejecting Nancy backfired. Nancy simply told them (or Squanchy at least) what Summer did and that got them (or Squanchy at least) to think she wasn't squanchy (cool) enough. It's not clear that Nancy flat out told them Summer was a bitch--it certainly seemed, when they were out collecting the Kalaxian crystals, that she still looked up to Summer, expressing her hope that Summer would like her again--but she might have simply relayed what Summer did (rejected her) and they interpreted that to mean Summer was a bitch and explained it to Nancy from that point of view. Either way, at some point, Nancy became convinced that Summer just wasn't a good friend and that it wasn't worth going out of her way to win back her friendship.

In general, it seems the mixing of Summer's friends with Rick's wasn't a catastrophic disaster after all. In fact, it seemed to be a smash. You could even see a nerdy kid from Summer's school leaving arm-in-arm with one of Rick's alien lady-friends. Summer's fears were not only greatly exaggerated, but misguided: by taking Rick's advice--that of welcoming everyone (Lincler notwithstanding)--Summer would have stood a way better chance of making friends with not only the cool kids but everyone. Alas, such are the insecurities and mentality of the teenaged mind.

But Summer seems to learn her lesson: "Next time I party," she says, "I'm just going to focus on getting totally wrecked. [turns to Rick, passed out on the couch]. You're so wise."

Morty meanwhile is trying to clean the place up. Bird Person, who evidently stayed behind, offers to help:



Convenient that Rick shouted out "WUBALUBADUBDUB!!!" right after snorting the Kalaxian crystals. It's not entirely clear that Rick knows what the phrase means--he could have just heard it during an excursion with Bird Person or while visiting his world and decided it sounded catchy and appropriated it for his own use--but if he does know what it means, it's a clever way of crying out for help without anyone actually realizing he's doing it. Another interpretation is that Rick understands what the phrase means unconsciously--maybe he learned the phrase from Bird Person or when visiting his world but subsequently forgot--then later, the phrase simply came to mind--from his unconscious--in a moment when he was trying to cover up his pain by doing something like partying (or watching interdimensional cable, or drinking booz, etc.) and tricked himself into thinking he coined it as an expression of having a good time. We will learn in Season 2, Episode 7 (Big Trouble in Little Sanchez) that Rick's unconscious can be extraordinarily ingenious.

It's funny how Bird Person's first words when Summer met him at the door were: "The beacon was activated. Who is in danger?" It wouldn't be unlike Rick to invite Bird Person to his party by activating a distress beacon, but this could also be taken metaphorically. If partying is one of Rick's ways of covering up his pain, then by inviting Bird Person to his party, it wouldn't be unthinkable that Bird Person would interpret this as like distress beacon, a sign that Rick is in danger. He does follow that up, once he sees that Rick is OK (on the surface), with: "I am pleased there is no emergency," so even if Bird Person means this metaphorically, he isn't making it obvious. On the other hand, it could be a metaphor only at the level of the writers' intentions, or perhaps it's just me. Any way you cut it, however, such a metaphorical reading is not completely groundless.

Bird Person's speech also focuses Morty's attention on the duality of his feelings about Rick--he makes Morty think, for the first time in the series, about how he seems to want, and at the same time not want, to continue going on adventures with Rick. But nevertheless, he makes a choice: "You know what, you're right! I shouldn't even care. This is probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I'm sick of having adventures with Rick!" Bird Person seems to think he made the wrong choice, however, as he thinks Morty is just telling himself whatever helps him sleep at night. And he's probably right. Actions speak louder than words: all this time Morty's been freaking out over his parents catching them in the act of destroying the house (or the aftermath thereof), suggesting that he'd prefer to keep going on adventures with Rick.

It's ironic then that as soon as Summer announces that their parents are right around the corner and after Bird Person leaves, Morty desperately tries to wake Rick up to do something about the mess--actions speak louder than words. Rick wakes up and sluggishly asks for the thing with buttons and lights and that beeps--his brain obviously not working so smoothly after a night of heavy drinking (which is odd considering he's constantly stuffing his face with booz all the time anyway--more on this below). Summer, through a stroke of luck, finds it. She hands it to Rick, and Rick presses a button on it, sending out energy waves of some kind in all directions.

Rick directs them outside to see what just happened: they open the door to see their parents walking up the walkway to the door--frozen. Rick steps out and leans against the edge of the doorway:

Rick: "Yeah, e-e-everything's frozen in time. Yeah, and Slow Mobius thinks he's all that."

Morty: "For how long?"

Rick: "I don't know. How long do you guys want? A week? A month?"

Summer: "Can we start cleaning the house and see how we feel?"

A montage follows of Rick and his grandkids having fun. It starts out with Morty vacuuming the living room rug while Rick sweeps and Summer dusts, then cut to a scene of all three painting the now repaired wall (the one Lincler busted through to make an entrance), Rick accidentally splattering paint on Summer right before, in the vein of a little fun, she splatters him back with Morty joining in. They chase each other around the house with paint (with oodles of time, nothing really matters anymore). The scene cuts to them sitting around the dining room table carving out pumpkins--suggesting they made it to Halloween--and next, putting those pumpkins on their parents' heads. Then they run around town pulling down everyone's pants (3 out of 4 of them wearing no underwear). And finally we see them walking out of Better Buy with a large screen TV. The montage ends with all three sitting on their front lawn watching--guess what--Titanic on that TV.

This montage sort of introduces another form of escape--freezing time--and it portrays it as sort of a wholesome form of escape--not a self-destructive or mind numbing one--especially when shared with family. At the same time, however, one has to wonder why, if Rick is always going for these forms of escape, does he not just use his time freezing device all the time? There are repercussions to freezing time, however, as we will see in Episode 1 of Season 2 (where it will pick up exactly where this episode ends). Not to mention the fact that Rick would continue to age as the world remained frozen, which is probably something he would want to limit; and also that there are things in life that can only be enjoy through the natural passage of time--spending time with family, for example--which Rick would have to give up were he to freeze time indefinitely. That being said, we don't know how long Rick's had this technology for. It could be quite recent. It's the only time in the series he uses it, however, so it's still a fair question to ask why he doesn't use it as an escape more often (not that we necessarily know he doesn't).

Also, with a limitless amount of time, Morty seems to be able to relax. Whereas before, he reacted with panic to any minor damage to the house, he now plays along when Rick and Summer's paint war game cause even more damage. He now knows why Rick was never worried. Rick had absolute control over how much time they had to fix everything before Morty's parents came home.

As an aside, I've always wondered, in these movies where time is frozen except for a few characters who get to walk around in the frozen environment, how the physics of such a scenario would work out. Obviously, if they're still walking about, indeed if they're breathing, they must be able to push air molecules around. If they can pull down people's pants, then they obviously can still manipulate objects in the environment in the same manner as in ordinary cases. What exactly makes things "frozen in time" then? There's even a man, which we will see at the beginning of Episode 1 of Season 2, who's frozen in the air (he's falling off his roof). But gravity hasn't disappeared as Rick, Morty, and Summer seem well anchored to the ground. Gravity is a force of nature, just like the force of their hands pulling down pants, so why it doesn't continue to work on the man falling from the roof seems unexplained. Also, if they can still manipulate matter, what would happen if they started a car? Would it run as usual? But that would mean the engine would be set in motion, it would be triggered to move forward in time as though it were set free from being frozen. And what about the heat in the air? If all the air molecules beyond the local vicinity of the point where Rick set off those time freezing waves are frozen, then they must be ice cold (heat is the vibration or movement of molecules). But since the air in their local vicinity (around the point where Rick set off the time freezing waves) are moving and thus maintaining a comfortable temperature, the warmth in the area should have immediately radiated away, resulting in their literally freezing. And what about light? Does light continue to shine? That is, to travel at 300,000 km/s? If everything's frozen, then presumable so too is light. Thus, they shouldn't be able to see anything. In order to see, light must travel from objects to their eyes. But if light is frozen, it cannot do that and so everything should be pitch black. (Yes, this is an over-analysis, but still...). In brief, I'm not convinced these time-freezing scenarios (where a few characters are exempt from freezing) aren't subject to a few physics paradoxes.

The credits roll on Titanic.

Rick: "Worst movie ever."

Summer: "Dumb."

Morty: "Boy, what a waste of time."

They all laugh at the pun.

Morty: "Hey Rick, you know this whole time, I haven't once heard you say that wubalubadubdub thing that you usually say."

Rick: "Don't need to, I have a-*burp*-*burp*-new catch phrase."

Morty: "Oh yeah? W-w-what's that, Rick?"

Rick: "I love my grandkids. [puts his arm around them]."

They hug him back going "aaawww".

Rick: "[lets go of them] Psych! Just kidding. My new catch phrase is [stands up]: I don't give a fuuuck!"

He hits a ghetto-blaster sitting at the side of the house. It plays that same song: "Just shake that aaasss, bitch, and le'me see watch'u got!" Rick shakes his ass and sings along. Summer joins in. So does Morty.

You wouldn't expect Rick to express his love for his grandkids without a "psych", would you? He can't be that obvious (even though, by now in the series, he is).

The fact that Rick responded to Morty's comment with "don't need to" might suggest that he knows full well what "wubalubadubdub" means, but then again, I wonder if he simply overheard Bird Person's speech to Morty while he was half passed out on the couch. But in any case, it indicates that the fun he had with his grandkids causing mischief all over a frozen town was fulfilling for him. It really does seem like family connection is what he's lacking in his life.

So to wrap things up--not only for this post but for this analysis of Season 1--I figure why not let Rick do it himself:



Notice that the neighbors house has a huge chunk taken out of it.

And if anyone's wondering how long they leave time frozen for: 6 months. Episode 1 of Season 2 mentions this in the beginning.

=== === ===

AFTER THOUGHTS

Both storylines--the primary one and the secondary one--are spoofs on popular movies--Risky Business and Titanic--and then there's a brief hat tip to Cape Fear. I wonder if this is on purpose.

And about Rick's mind being a bit dull when he wakes up with a hangover--he drinks all the time anyway, so why isn't he hung over at any other point? Why isn't his mind dull more often? There's a theory on the internet that says Rick isn't really drinking alcohol from that flask of his. The only episodes in the series when he actually became drunk were this one and the pilot when he took Morty for a flight in his makeshift spaceship, and at both times, he wasn't drinking from his flask. In the pilot, he was drinking from a wine bottle, and in this one, he always had a red plastic cup in his hand. He was drinking a bottle of wine when he was eating dinner alone after burning down Curse Purge Plus in Something Ricked This Way Comes, and he did have a few drinks at the stair pub in Meeseeks and Destroy, but I wouldn't say he got totally smashed in these scenes. The theory says that what he's drinking from his flask is actually a drink diluted with those seeds he got Morty to shove up his ass in the pilot. We saw how those seeds made Morty temporarily smart, and the theory has it that Rick's genius is actually an effect of his constant self-medication with these seeds. He's not really that smart in other words. This is the real reason, the theory says, why he wanted those seeds in the first place. This also explains why he's so dull at the end of this episode--not only is this one of the rare occasions when he's hung over, but he's running low on his smart juice.

In fact, this fits nicely with the other theory mentioned in the last episode--the one that says Rick is really an old-man version of Morty. It could be that Morty, at a later point in his life, becomes fed up with being so dumb, and remembers back when Rick had him shove those seeds up his ass and became smarter, and decided to find a way to get those seeds--thus becoming the Rick we know today. It may not even have been that hard for Morty to find them. It would be likely that Rick had some stashed away somewhere, and all it took was for Morty to find them and consume them in order to become smart enough to figure out how to get more--like hopping across dimensions to the worlds from which they originated.

This would even fit with the Back to the Future theme--the movie that inspired the Rick and Morty series: Back to the Future involved Marty going back in time, screwing up events such that he would no longer be born, and having to remedy the situation to make sure he doesn't disappear from existence. In Rick and Morty, it might be that Rick travels back in time to ensure that Morty, the younger version of himself, becomes the Rick he is. <-- Not exactly the same plot, but close enough--both involving a man going back in time to ensure that he becomes the person he is. And if this is true, there is no more convenient place to put it than in the Pilot.

Looking back to Episode 1 for my research into some of this, it's uncanny how many parallels to the current episode I found. The first thing I stumbled across was another slip of Jerry's tongue hinting at a rape experience:

Jerry: "Well now you can build baskets, and watch Paul Newman movies on VHS, and mentally scar the Boy Scouts every Christmas."

Beth: "What does that mean?"

Jerry: "It's personal."

Also, most of Rick's friends at the party were there at the security gates where Morty almost got anally probed for those seeds:

Image

Why would a bunch of strangers in a line up for security all of a sudden show up at Rick's party. Did Rick just spontaneously make friends with them while Morty was in the washroom? It's more likely that this is all staged, that Rick is setting this all up as a plot to manipulate Morty--something like my theory that Rick wants to brainwash Morty, or the theory that Rick is an old-man version of Morty--as in, Rick understands that if Morty is to one day become him, then he has to somehow introduce him to the effects of these seeds. Rick's alien friends are involved somehow, helping Rick to set all this up... but that's just a theory.

(On the other hand, they are an alien species--are we really supposed to be able to tell the difference between one individual of an alien species from another? That would be like seeing a monkey and then later seeing another monkey of the same species and concluding it's the same monkey just because we can't really tell them apart--but then again, is it just coincidence that all these aliens happen to be in the exact same scene together?)

There's also one weird looking dude at the party who I swore must have been one of Rick's alien friends, but it turns out he's actually a student at Morty and Summer's school:

Image

Finally, I wonder if Jerry being forced at gun point to spark some romance with Lucy was a symbol, blown 10 times out of proportion, of what Jerry was doing to Beth: attempting to rekindle some romance by forcing her to do something she didn't really want to do. How can romance be kindled that way? I hardly think it's fair to say Jerry's forcing Beth to partaking in this little romance getaway, but he's expecting something unrealistic: to inspire feelings of romance in a woman who just isn't willing.

And if this is symbolic of just that, then is it underscored by an even deeper symbolism: that of trying to live out a fantasy? By trying to re-enact a fictional tale, is Jerry trying to cover up what is patently obvious to everyone else? Rick did say, after all, in Episode 6--Rick Potion #9--"I think a blind man can see that Beth is looking for the door." In other words, even if Beth has to act out the part of a young Rose madly in love, that at least temporarily fills some of the emptiness in Jerry's heart.

=== === ===

PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS

To be honest, I couldn't think of a lot of philosophical implications that this episode affords us--well, there's plenty, but none that we haven't covered in previous episodes. In fact, this is another thing it has in common with Rixty Minutes (although not as much). I suppose there's Summer's approach to making friends. Why don't we start with that:

* Choosing sides vs. befriending all: What is the best strategy for forming alliances and making friends--in the short run and the long--is it by picking a group at the expense of another, or trying to accept all?

* Partying: a form of escape or a way of celebrating.

* Can living out a fantasy rekindle romance in a relationship? If one of the partners is not into it, does that work against the rekindling of romance?

^ Lame, I know, but like I said--a bit philosophically dry, this one.

But wait, I just thought of one more:

Adventures: love 'em or hate 'em? What does Morty's love/hate relation to the adventures he goes on with Rick tell us? Haven't we all been in situations like this before, situations where the experience itself was grueling but only because we had no idea what to expect? Because we didn't know if things were going to be okay or get worse? Because we had no control over the outcome? And all that uncertainty, that lack of control, made the situation so stressful and traumatic. But in hindsight, when we look back at the experience and remember that we came out of it alive, okay, with no scars, we see only the thrills, the excitement, the wild and crazy ride that it was. And this gives off sort of an illusion that it was actually fun? And we want more of it? And is it really an illusion? I mean, sure we didn't actually have fun, but maybe the stress and worry were the real illusions--that is, if in fact nothing terrible happened after all. And if we could go back and live it again, we surely would, this time knowing that there'd be nothing to stress over. Can experiences like these, despite the stress of not knowing how things are going to turn out, reinforce our willingness to jump right back into them if only because looking back on them acts as the real reinforcement?

WOW! ^ Look at that! Made it all in one post!
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:02 am

I almost forgot (well, I did forget): the post-credit scene.

There's not much to it, just a hint that we might not have seen the last of Lincler. He awakens at the same rock where he died (or we thought he died) and utters the word "revenge". He then gets snatched by one of the giant testical monsters and gets shoved into one of its orafices (a hole on the lower side of its body). More testical monsters gather round. One of them pulls out the kid who got snatched up by them earlier in the episode. The first one pulls out Lincler. They swap them. They repeat with other testical monsters, swapping the two characters in and out of each other's orafices, like a giant alien orgy. They get positioned faced to face with each other. Lincler says: "I don't understand. Are you enjoying this? Do you like this?" The kid says: "Yeah, you know it, daaawwwg." And they continue indefinitely.

Not that there's anything significant to this, just that the kid didn't really die (and appears to be enjoying himself) and that Lincler may come back in future episodes for more revenge.

And one last thought: if this theory about Rick being an old-man version of Morty is right, it means that Beth is both his daughter and his mother.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:35 am

Ok, I took enough of a break.

I actually considered abandoning this thread. I started losing steam somewhere around Close Encounters, but I've had a good break, and my Rick and Morty passion has been rekindled. I'm going the whole nine yards.

This time around, I swear I'm going to put an effort into keeping each episode analysis short (within reason). That's the way it started out with the Pilot. I went with the assumption that the reader already watched the episode, and all I had to do was go through it one time jotting down notes, and then expand on my notes in the actual post. It was at Meeseeks and Destroy when I started taking a different approach: the approach of building each post as I watched the episode. That's when I started recording all the minutia, every little detail that I deemed remotely relevant. I also switched attitudes about my assumption that the reader would have seen the episode already and started writing as though it was important to layout the entire storyline background. I'm going to return to my original approach: watching the episode and taking notes... then cherry picking from my notes and expanding on them where it seems most fitting. I don't want to return to the brevity of my analysis on the Pilot or the first few episodes of Season 1, but I definitely don't want to go over the 60,000 character limit on posts this board has in effect--I'm going to aim for something in the middle, something on the order of Meeseeks and Destroy or Rick Potion #9. We'll see how that goes.

Anywaaay... Welcome to Season 2!!!

Rick and Morty - S2E1 - A Rickle in Time

Episode 1 of Season 2 starts off with a bang. Right away we are pulling right back into the Rick and Morty universe with an intensity double that which we went through in the first season. At least that's how it felt to me. A Rickle in Time is pretty intense. It requires almost twice the concentration and ability to follow as any of the episodes from Season 1. It almost feels like the writers were trying to kick it up a notch--not unlike how Meeseeks and Destroy and Rick Potion #9 did the same--like saying: okay, we're in the next season, we gotta do something extra, something more--we can't just give you more of the same.

This episode plays on concepts from quantum physics. It's unclear whether the writers only intended this episode to be a spoof of quantum mechanics or they were slyly putting forward a theory of quantum physics. If they were, it would mean the writers believe in some form of quantum consciousness theory. But we'll flesh that out later.

As for the secondary plotline, it's Beth's turn to bring out the ego; Jerry, meanwhile, puts his aside. <-- I don't know if this counts as another case of "manning up" but it is one of the rare moments when Jerry rises above his own ego, like he has absolutely no insecurities.

This is also an episode where both Morty and Summer get to take part in the main storyline as Rick's side kicks--in fact, we're going to see Morty and Summer teaming up together in the main storyline (with Rick) a lot more in Season 2.

But enough with intros... the episode begins exactly where Season 1 left off: Jerry and Beth are still frozen in time, exactly in the same positions, walking up to the house with angry scowls on their faces. Morty is vacuuming Jerry's shirtless upper body. It's been six months. The house is all repaired and cleaned up (except for the inescapable crack surrounding it). They're getting ready to unfreeze time.

"The whole point about freezing time was to stop giving a fuck," says Rick. He explains to the kids that since time's been frozen for so long, "the world's time is gonna be fine, but our time is gonna need a little time to, you know, 'stabilize'."

Morty: "Our time is gonna be unstable? What does that even mean?"

Rick: "It means relax and stop being a pussy, Morty. I thought you'd have learned that by now."

^ So echoing a few of the themes from the last episode--not just that freezing time allows them to stop giving a fuck but the idea that the solution to their oh-so-immanent problem (Jerry and Beth were right in the driveway) was so simple and Rick knew how to put it into action all along. The lesson he's expecting Morty to learn is that there ain't no problem he can't fix--a little cocky, but in most cases true.

Right before unfreezing time, he warns the kids: "...don't touch your parents or we could shatter into countless theoretical shards." (not sure what "theoretical" means here).

Jerry and Beth storm through the door, Jerry shouting. It only takes a second for them to realize something's suddenly changed. Jerry swears the house looked trashed. Going in for a hug, Beth is greeted by Rick crossing his arms and the kids backing away (it would "literally destroy them" as Rick puts it). Rick drops a wad of cash on the ground and kicks it over to them, suggesting they go out for ice cream. <-- This--the whole notion of them shattering into countless theoretical shards--is, I think, just a device to spin off the secondary plotline--it gives Rick the excuse to send them off for ice cream, tantalizing them with $500.

(In the interim between Season 1 and Season 2, I came across an observation on the internet that Rick and Morty feature ice cream a hell of a lot.)

Jerry motions towards the stairs to get something before they leave. That's when Beth notices his shirt is on backwards (Morty's goof). Jerry responds: "Yeah... I like it this way, I'm not stupid." <-- Saved by the ego. Not only that, but this, to me, seems like a clever little bit of commentary about how we sometimes fear the worst when people discover that something's off, something that is the result of some secret ploy or shenanigans we carry out. But often, we can rely on people's unconscious confabulations (and in Jerry's case, ego), the result of which is a much more plausible or down to Earth interpretation of what's going on. I mean, why on Earth would Jerry interpret his shirt being on backwards as: OMG, Rick and the kids must have frozen time, removed my shirt in order to vacuum me, and then carelessly put it on backwards. Even without his ego, Jerry is far more likely to confabulate something that would make a hell of a lot more sense at least to him.

After Beth and Jerry leave is when the main dilemma of the primary plotline begins. It starts with Morty and Summer bickering over who dropped the ball on the task of putting a mattress under Mr. Benson, who was in mid-fall off his roof when they froze time. Each blames the other, which turns into a bit of shoving. The uncertainty that this causes in their heads results in time fracturing--their reality literally splits in two with copies of each of them harboring each one:

Image

This is what Rick meant by "our time is gonna need a little time to, you know, 'stabilize'."

He asks: "Were either of you guys uncertain about anything just now?" Morty 1: "Am I talking right now?" Morty 2: "I think so." Morty 1: "Wait, who said that?"

^ It's a bit hard to follow along when the dialog splits into parallel lines like this. This won't be the first time it happens. This is what I meant when I said this episode requires a bit of a boost in concentration and ability to follow along (one of the reasons). One thing we get out of this is that they are aware, to some extent, about what's happening in the parallel timeline. Morty *sort of* hears what his counterpart says in the other timeline. <-- Although, this is less than clear as well--did Morty hear his counterpart, feel him, intuit him, think his thoughts, or what? Not sure.

Anybody who knows a thing or two about quantum physics will recognize where this is going. Rick asks if either of them were "uncertain". Uncertainty, apparently, causes a split--or what's known to quantum physicists as "superposition" or the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum physics. "Uncertainty" in quantum parlance obviously doesn't mean just being uncertain about something--it actually refers to the inherent state of things being undetermined. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that if you precisely measure one of a conjugate group of variables (like a particle's position) you can't simultaneous measure or know with equal precision any of the other variables from that conjugate group (like a particle's momentum). IOW, if you know a particle's position, you can't know its momentum, and visa-versa. <-- There is embedded in physics this inherent uncertainty. And they will tell you, these quantum physicists, that this uncertain really is inherent, not just epistemological or psychological, that the uncertainty of a particle's position, for example, literally means that the particle has no precise singular position.

This has lead to a lot of popular interpretations of quantum mechanics (I'm not even gonna call them theories), one of which is the "many worlds" interpretation--not unlike the many worlds in the Rick and Morty universe (or multiverse)--although that's a somewhat different concept (and in this episode, by the way, the splitting of timelines isn't quite the same as the multitudes of realities that Rick and Morty venture off into in most other episodes, but that will be explained in a bit <-- Just something to keep in mind). The Many Worlds interpretation of QM would have it that the superposition of particles (it's having no precise location, or momentum, or energy, or spin, or whatever) is really the particle existing in multiple universes at the same time. For example, in one universe, the particle is over here, but in another universe, it's over there. When we measure the particle's position, we find out which universe we are in--the one in which the particle turned out to be at location X--but even after that measurement, the particle's position becomes uncertain, which is to say that the universe is in a perpetual processes of splitting into ever more copies of itself, each housing particles in different positions, momentums, energy, spin, etc.

What's going on in this episode is that the writer's are playing off this theme at the level of human beings and spinning the concept of "uncertainty" to mean psychological uncertainty--when Rick, Morty, or Summer become uncertain about anything, that results in their timelines splitting (just like the "uncertainty" of a particle's state resulting in the splitting of that particle's universe). If we take this one step further--say by bringing in one or another theory of quantum consciousness--then we *might* be able to interpret "uncertain" to literally be psychological uncertainty. Quantum consciousness theories say that states of particle superposition are literally the result of consciousness being in a state of uncertainty or indecision, and when that consciousness finally settles on something, the particle's state of superposition "collapses" (another quantum term) to a more precise state. It says, IOW, that particles are conscious, and sometimes get confused, resulting in their world "splitting"--just like what's happening to Rick, Morty, and Summer.

Obviously, this is an effect of time being frozen for so long, as if to say: the longer time is frozen, the greater the scale on which the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has its universe splitting effects.

Anyway, they make their way into the garage, Morty and Summer a bit desynchronized from their counterparts at this point, where Rick pulls out a contraption, turns it on, and sees two green dots on the screen:

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"Oh crap," Rick says, "are you kidding me? Two dots? There never needs to be more than one dot!" <-- Obviously a measure of how many timelines they've split off into.

Rick then explains (or tries to explain) what's going on:

Rick: "Our time is fractured. You two somehow created a feedback loop of uncertainty that split our reality into two equally possible impossibilities. We're exactly like a man capable of sustaining a platonic friendship with an attractive female co-worker. We're entirely hypothetical."

Morty: "But I thought there were infinite timelines."

Rick: "We're not an any timeline dummy."

I've tried to analyze Rick's words "a feedback loop of uncertainty that split our reality into two equally possible impossibilities," and came to the conclusion that they're inherently unclear. For instance, I'm not sure what the "feedback loop of uncertainty" is. I don't imagine it's time looping back on itself because it seems the structure of time in their current when-abouts has simply forked, not looped on itself. The term "equally possible impossibilities" makes a bit more sense (though I think it should be the other way around: equally impossible possibilities): coupled with the notion that they're "completely hypothetical", it implies that they've entered a state that is incompatible with reality--they can't be real--but rather than simply not exist, they seem to exist in two mutually exclusive "pending" states--that is, states whose existence are "undetermined" or "uncertain". It's almost as if the mutual exclusivity of each state resulted in each one harboring only half the reality of what would otherwise be a fully real state--so they're somewhere between fully real and utterly unreal. Not quite sure this is the same as being "entirely hypothetical" <-- That phrase seems to imply a different type or quality of existence rather than a degree of existence--as if the universe needs to take a moment to contemplate hypothetically on the two possibilities before deciding which is to be real and which isn't. In any case, this is all a play, as I said before, on QM concepts--more science fiction than science fact (in case there was any doubt).

That aside, I want to point out that throughout this scene and the few to follow, Morty and Summer are a bit scattered--that is, desynchronized from each other--while Rick seems totally synchronized.

Also, I'm having a field day looking for Easter eggs in this episode. It's like those "spot the differences" games on kids menus at family restaurants--you know, like this: http://www.education.com/worksheet/arti ... fferences/. I haven't found any, but if anyone spots something, please let me know.

Rick opens the garage door to show what he means by "we're not on any timeline". The world has completely disappeared. All they see in the black void of space are a few clumps of dirt and trees floating around, and cats... lots and lots of cats.

"I assume they're Schrodinger's cats," says Rick, "er, actually, I assume they both are and aren't... just like us." <-- Schrodinger was another pioneer in quantum physics and proposed his famous thought experiment of the cat that was both dead and alive at the same time--again, an example of "superposition", the idea of a thing being in more than one state at the same time.

This is the state of limbo that they, and the house with most of the property (coincidentally, along the crack surrounding the house created by Morty's inadvertent teleportation in the last episode), are suspended in--a state of being nowhere but still somewhere. They've been removed from actual reality for the time being. So Rick's words "we're not on any timeline" mean: none of the timelines belonging to the actual multiverse. But still, they must be on some timeline--time is going by, after all--just ones removed from the actually existing multiverse.

Speaking of the actually existing multiverse, Beth and Jerry are returning from Stone Cold's Creamery, apparently having spent $480. They are driving with ice creams in their hands. Jerry hits a deer. They get out. Beth checks the deer. It's still alive.

Beth: "[in a dejected tone] If we were near a hospital, I could treat it, but I... I think we have to just..."

Jerry: "Hey, it's ok, this is just something that happens. And even if we were in a hospital, what could we do? You're a horse surgeon, not a deer surgeon."

Beth: [turns to Jerry with arms crossed] "Sooo..."

Jerry: "Well, don't different animals--"

Beth: "Require different skill levels to keep alive?"

Jerry: "Oh God."

Beth: "[grabs the ice creams] Get the deer and the car, Jerry."

Jerry: "[with head hung low] Yes, Beth."

This is how the secondary storyline begins. Jerry inadvertently sets off Beth's insecurities. Beth is now on a mission to prove that she can fix a deer just as well as she can fix a horse. It's no longer about the deer, it's about her own ego. This exchange also sets the tone for Jerry's attitude throughout the secondary storyline. Jerry starts out trying to be supportive, but when he slips up with his comment about it being a deer, not a horse, Beth takes it completely the wrong way. This will be the manner in which they play off each other throughout the rest of this episode--not a hell of a lot different than in most other episodes, but in this one, it's about how it unfolds in the end that's unique.

Back to the main storyline, Rick is about to (try to) fix things. He begins by saying "This is why you don't freeze time, you guys," which answers our question from the previous post: Why doesn't Rick use freezing time as another form of escape? He continues: "It's incredibly irresponsible," to which Morty responds: "And you did it so we could clean the house after a party?" Brushing this off, Rick frantically tries to tinker with his time-fucking device (let's just call it that). It's the same device he used to freeze time in the last episode. In both "possibilities" (as he calls them), he puts (yet again) a pink crystal into it.

In this scene, it's funny watching how Rick remains totally in sync with himself across both possibilities while Morty and Summer are totally out of sync. In one possibility, Morty is to the left of Rick while Summer is to the right. In the other possibility, it's the opposite. The only desynchronicity between the Rick's is his eyes. He's caught eyeing Morty more often (because he tends to address him more often) and so his eyes shift towards Morty, resulting in the Rick's eyes shifting in opposite directions... but that's about it. It's obvious that Rick knows what he's doing.

"All right," Rick finally says after sealing up his time-fucking device, "since this time crystal exists in both possibilities, and since it's impossible that I didn't nail this, I'm probably about the press this button in both possibilities at exactly the same time." And he does so. The possibilities merge towards each other, but the minute they finally overlap, Summer and Morty start shouting out in pain. The possibilities tremor and don't quite settle into each other. Then they revert back to their original separation.

Obviously, Rick doesn't realize that they're on opposite sides. Morty can't merge into Summer, and Summer can't merge into Morty (the attempt of which apparently hurts). But he soon figures out that they're the culprits. He gives them shit for being so uncertain:

"What the hell do you either of you two have to be so uncertain about? Your brand of zit cream? Which chair to sit in while I do everything? Come on, spit it out!"

Morty begins by digging into Rick for all the unfair things he does to him. Then Summer takes her turn. The dialog overlaps between the two possibilities so it's incredibly hard to decipher what exactly each character is saying. But for those who reeeaaally care, here's the script.

From the dialog, Rick figures out that the two have switched places. Not sure how. Also not sure how he figured out before (when he went on that rant about what they had to be so uncertain about) that they were the culprits (obviously not so much that they had switched positions, but that there was something "desynchronized" about them). Probably because, in his mind, he himself could easily be ruled out because of how cock-sure he is about everything (though there's obviously a difference between being cock-sure and being right), and everything else in their immediate surroundings being inanimate matter (well, except for the cats). So what else is there but Morty and Summer to be uncertain? But something about Morty's and Summer's grievances towards him tipped him off that they're on opposite sides of him. So he fixes it by swapping them around... that is, in one possibility. In the other possibility, he just sits them down. How each Rick knows what action to take (whether to swap them or just to sit them down) is a mystery to me. I'm guessing their dialog must have tipped him off (somehow) about whether the possibility he was in was the "deviant" or whether it wasn't. After all, the split happened once Summer, in one possibility, shoved Morty. Perhaps this was the deviation. Perhaps, if time wasn't so "unstable", only one of those possibilities (i.e. shoving or not shoving) would have happened (like a dominant vs. recessive gene). That is to say, perhaps not both possibilities are equally likely, and so the less likely possibility (Summer shoves Morty) is the "deviant". Somehow, based on their dialog that Rick pulls out of them, he figures out which possibility they're in. If they're in the deviant possibility, then in Rick's mind, the right thing to do is to return them to the non-deviant possibility (i.e. swap them), otherwise just sit them down and let the other Rick merge them.

"Now listen," Rick says, "I know the two of you are very different from each other in a lot of ways, but you have to understand that as far as grandpa's concerned, you're both pieces of shit. Yeah, I can prove it mathematically. L-l-le'me grab my whiteboard. This has been a long time coming anyway."

He grabs his white board and pulls it into the middle of the garage. This is a bit of comic relief, I'm sure, especially given they have very little time to fix things. But I think there is a motif behind it: after swapping Morty and Summer, Rick figures the rest will be a walk in the park, so he takes a bit of time to just dick around (a bit less than 4 hours). <-- We've seen this before--his wildly over-confident attitude--but when we come back to the main storyline after following up on the secondary storyline, we'll see that his whiteboard demonstration is going to instill a tiny little something into Morty that will desynchronize the situation again (and maybe even in himself as well) such that we can say: he should have done it when he had the chance.

Beth and Jerry pull up to the animal hospital and lug the deer through the door. Beth announces to no one but patients: "Emergency! Wounded deer coming in!" Then she barges in on a surgeon and her nurse operating on a snake. "I'm a certified horse surgeon," she says, "and this deer needs medical attention."

Right away, we see that Beth is not in her right mind. She comes in announcing "wounded deer" to no one (there's no medical staff in the scene, just a few patients waiting), and upon barging into the operating room, she tells the doctor that she's a certified horse surgeon and this deer needs medical attention. <-- That's like me walking into a mechanic shop and saying: I'm a certified computer scientist and this car needs mechanical attention.

Beth and the doctor have a few words, the doctor saying: "...as a horse surgeon, I'm sure that you know that deer have much smaller, much more intricate organs..." Beth: "As a fact, I'm sure you know that a deer is much closer to a horse than you are to a doctor. So let's save the measuring for when our dicks our out! It's time to save a life!" (Do deer and horse actually share a common ancestor?)

The doctor pulls the snake away from the table, saying "Jeez," as Beth slaps the deer onto it. Apparently, a deer's life is more important than a snake's.

I'm also wondering if these are supposed to be hints at sexist undertones. When the doctor says "That's my nurse," I get the impression we're supposed to be surprised by this--as in, it's the female who's the doctor and the male's the nurse? Either that or it's totally me and my sexist expectations, but assuming it's not, I think we're supposed to presume that Beth was talking to the doctor when she said: "nurse, please move that snake," and when she made that snide comment about deer being closer to horses than she is to a doctor, she's trying to save face after her sexist goof up (maybe even projecting her own insecurities about whether being female has held her back in being a qualified horse surgeon). Either that or the writers had to make the doctor female and her nurse male in order to avoid a lawsuit from angry feminists--though if that were the case, I don't know how they would have gotten away with Raising Gazorpazorp.

Anyway, Beth notices that the deer's been shot, which means it would have died anyway if Jerry hadn't hit it <-- In case Beth was thinking she's the hero who cleans up Jerry's mess. On the contrary, if Jerry hadn't hit it, the deer would have surely died from the gun shot wound.

Then the hunter comes in. He orders them not to operate. He informs them that he shot the deer. He saw Beth and Jerry hit it and he followed them to the hospital. He tells them the deer is his property. While Beth looks around the operating room for supplies, demanding anesthetic and deer saline, the doctor says to the hunter that she took a vow: not to allow any harm to come to an animal. The hunter calls his lawyer.

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^ Please have a look at Rick's whiteboard drawing? Can anyone make out what it means? I mean, Rick basically explains the punch line--that he's smart and they're dumb--and you can see it symbolized in the way their brains are depicted like steaming piles of shit while Rick's brain is big, plump, and full. But I'm looking at some of the details. For example:

Summer ≃ Morty
iff ∃a MAPPING f1s → M
WHERE ∀x ∈ S ∃! y ∈ MS + (x,y) ∈ f

^ What does that formula mean. Near the center of the whiteboard, Rick seems to have drawn stick figures of Morty and Summer. Morty's blue and Summer's pink, and beneath them are the symbols for male and female except switched around to be under the opposite sex. They're still the appropriate color--blue for male, pink for female--and most likely has something to do with Morty and Summer having switched spots. I just don't know what sex has to do with it. Would the merge have worked if they were same sex siblings? Anyway, I also looked for difference between the top image and the bottom image, but I've scanned it over multiple times and I really don't think there's a difference.

"So in conclusion," Rick concludes, "you're both equally mercurial, overly sensitive, clingy, hysterical, bird-brain homunculi, and I honestly can't tell the two of you apart half the time because I don't go by height or age, I go by amount of pain in my ass, which makes you both identical. All right, everything resolved? Everybody nice and certain about their position in my world?"

They both answer with dejected looks: "Yes." <-- They really look like they've been put in their place. Rick certainly resolved things by bringing a whole lotta certainty into their lives--certainty that they're both little shit heads. It may not be pretty, but it least it did the trick. Or did it? Right when Rick thinks he's got everything resolved, he tries to get the show back on the road:

"Sit still," Rick instructs them, "A-*burp*-rms down. I'm gonna do this again; this time, be like grandpa."

Morty 2: "You mean drunk?"

Rick 2: "What's that? You got something to say?"

Rick 1: [at the same time] "And awaaay we go [pushes the button]."

Morty 2: "No."

Rick 2: "And awaaay we go [pushes the button]."

^ Morty #2 puts the whole thing out of sync again. The two Ricks are now repeatedly pushing the button at different times from each other, both saying "Huh, that's weird." Rick may have made Morty and Summer pretty certain about being stupid little pieces of shit, but that comes along with resentment. Morty, consequently, felt a bit of uncertainty over whether to vent that resentment or not, the one Morty deciding to hold back, the other to say "You mean drunk?" If Rick had taken the opportunity to merge them before the whiteboard demonstration, Morty wouldn't have felt this way. But Rick's cocky attitude--thinking that because he fixed things, he had enough time to lecture his grandkids about why they're so dumb--did them in again. Morty #2's comment not only counts as a desynchronization between the two possibilities, but it desynchronizes the Rick's as well. Rick, unable to let a jab like Morty's slide, had to talk back, temporarily blinded by his ego to realize this may desynchronize him from his counterpart. And now they're fucked again. This time, however, it's Rick who's desynchronized.

I just love the next scene. I think it's worth posting a video:



Now a word on paranoia. This scene sums up pretty much everything I'd like to say in the Society, Government, and Economics forum (if I ever posted there). Even there, we have people feeding their own paranoia, making it real. This is one of the dangers of paranoia, that it has the tendency to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in exactly the way Rick's paranoia about his counterpart trying to kill him resulted in his counterpart really trying to kill him (and visa-versa). I tried to explain this to James one time (whether he bought it or not, or understood it, I cannot say):

gib wrote:It's interesting how what may begin as mere psychological paranoia can turn into reality. Take the gun stand-off I described earlier. Two men only really get into such a situation if they mistrust each other. That's true even if the mistrust is misplaced for both men. The first man to pull his gun obviously mistrusts the second man. But now the second man has proof that the first man cannot be trusted (would you trust a man pointing a gun at you?). So he pulls out his gun too. Now they're both holding guns at each other--both have proof--and all of a sudden, the threat is real.


But back to Rick & Morty, everybody understand what happened there, right? Rick took the crystal, which transcends time lines, and attached it to a loop-kinda-thingy. The loop-kinda-thingy in turn was attached to a gun. It's basically setup so that the bullet, when fired from the gun, goes through the loop, and the crystal in turn turns the loop into a time-line hopping portal. In effect, when the bullet is fired from the gun, it goes through the loop, which is a portal, and gets transported to the other time line. Rick fires the gun at his own head so that when the bullet goes through the portal, it will penetrate the other Rick's brain. Pretty clever... and at the same time stupid. This, of course, causes Rick to be incredibly uncertain which ends up splitting both time lines, once again, into two, for a total of four.

(Ironically, it was Rick who sabotages himself--by coming back at Morty--but not intentionally.)

(Also notice, in the scene above, that Morty and Summer become desynchronized again).

I like how Rick felt like he was defending his grandchildren: "Is this what you want, you sick fuck! You wanna see children die!" <-- It's one of those moments where the good in him comes through.

"You son of a bitch," Beth says, "You don't stop living until I say so!!!" <-- Yeah, no ego there. I think this happens a lot--ego beating its chest in the name of altruism, or at least selflessness. It's one of the few outlets the ego gets in order to stroke itself--being the hero: we get to, at once, stand in the spotlight and do it for a (allegedly) selfless cause.

The hunter's lawyer enters the operating room, informing everyone about "Brad's Law". Brad's Law states (according to Rick and Morty): "Any deer shot by a hunter is that hunter's property regardless of how far it runs or who intercepts it before it dies." He goes on to say that he can't stop Beth from performing the surgery but technically she's performing it on venison (deer meat). The hunter responds to this: "Actually, I've decided not to eat it. All this fear and conflict... I'm sure it's ruined the meat. I'm just gonna use the head for my rec-room wall."

^ I can't help but get the impression that this line is meant to boost the public perception of conservatives. It almost seems to say of this 2nd Amendment loving riffle carrier: I really do only use guns for food. And moreover, I'm a very spiritual person deep inside--I believe the food I hunt is sacred--"fear and conflict" end up ruining the meat. Oh, it's such a travesty! I'm depressed! <-- Maybe? Maybe not?

Anyway... Beth is going nuts at this point: she's yanking the intestines out of the poor creature, splattering blood on everyone, shouting: "I will reach into Heaven and pull your screaming deer soul back!" to which the doctor, once again, says "Jesus".

The gun fire has ceased at this point, but the Rick's are still extremely paranoid of each other. They are creeping around the room trying to "watch out" for each other. They are completely desynchronized. Interestingly, the Morty's and Summer's are all synchronized again. Rick, once again, gets the bright idea to shoot himself. This time Morty comes up behind him (in all possibilities) and knocks him on the head with a fire extinguisher before he can do it.

Rick's out cold. Now Morty and Summer have control of the situation.

Morty: "...if all of me knocked out all the Rick's, and you peed in all of your pants, doesn't that mean that we're all synchronized?"

Summer: "Right."

Morty: "Ok, so from now on, whatever we do, we have to be certain. [picks up the gun and removes the crystal, places it on the counter]"

Summer: "Right."

Morty: "I think I'm certain we're F'ed in the A."

^ At least he's certain about something.

Some time passes...

Cut to a scene in which Rick is in a cage. The Morty's and the Summer's are, again, desynchronized. They're not all on the same sides as each other. One Morty is sitting down cross-legged. One Summer is also sitting. Rick comes to. He asks what they did. Morty explains what happened--that he was acting crazy and caused another time fracture. Summer adds that he tried to kill himself. Rick explains that now that time is fractured into four pieces "our problem is two times bigger and we've got half as much time to solve it." He asks to be let out and Summer demands proof that he's not a threat to himself. So Rick does this:



(^ Again, one of my favorite scenes.)

Then Rick just breaks out of the crate without any effort. Apparently the bars and roof weren't actually hinged together. Not sure if Morty and Summer knew they weren't hinged together, then again I don't know how they wouldn't know--they put it together with Rick inside--but then why didn't they seal it shut? Maybe they couldn't. Maybe they didn't have the materials and just hoped Rick wouldn't know or try. It's just misleading that Morty says: "If you could get out that whole time, why didn't you?" <-- Maybe it should have been: "If you knew you could get out that whole time, why didn't you?" <-- That way, at least, it would be clear that Morty and Summer were playing on Rick's knowledge, not his actual physical entrapment.

In any case, Rick responds that he wanted to be certain before doing it--and I guess Summer set him up to be so certain--that is, by prompting him to calling himself and making up for his attempted homicide (suicide?) earlier. They start bickering.

Then Testicle Head shows up (that's not his actual name, but Rick later describes him as having a giant testicle for a head):

Image

Testicle Head is a being from the "4th dimension" as he puts it--a being who whips through time and across dimensions like driving around the neighborhood. To him, Rick hopping across dimensions with a portal gun is like child's play. He notices that they'd fucked up their timeline:

"Oh, see, you broke time, and you thought you could just stick it back together with this? How you think you gonna move time while you're standing in it, you dumb ass 3 dimensional monkey ass dummies?"

He gives them all electronic collars. They're devices that latch closed around their necks, a green light blinking on them to indicate they're on. In three out of four of the timelines, they put the colors on. Testicle Heads says in all timelines: "Eh! Eh! Eh! The three of you, put your collars on!" Three out of four of them say: "We have them on." In the fourth timeline, Rick says: "We're not wearing collars." Testicle Head repeats himself. The fourth Rick, Morty, and Summer concede.

You can tell Testicle Head knows what he's doing. Not only does he keep himself synchronized in all timelines, saying "put the damn collars on" even in the timelines where they do have their collars on, but the three version of himself in the latter timelines somehow know that there's this one oddball timeline in which they don't have their collars on. He calls himself an omniscient 4 dimensional being so perhaps he knows exactly what's going on in all timelines, and furthermore, being 4 dimensional, he might just be a single individual that coexists in all timelines (implying that he can't be desynchronized from other versions of himself).

Anyway, they put the collars on and immediately disappear from the four timelines. They reappear back in the garage of the ordinary reality. Testicle Head fixed everything.

He tells them: "Now keep those collars on so you don't break your weak ass time again."

Rick: "How long exactly do we have to wear these things? They're really embarrassing."

Testicle Head: "Well, since you're going to time prison, I'd say you can keep them on forever."

Testicle Head pulls out a weird worm-like thing and points it at them like a gun. He explains that the only way Rick could have gotten his hands on those time crystals is if he stole them.

Beth is sweating beads as she continues arduously to save the deer's life. The doctor, her nurse, the hunter, and the lawyer are all standing around watching. Jerry comes into the room with a couple men. He says:

"Honey, it's gonna be okay. These men are from the Cervine Institute of Elk, Moose, Deer, and Stag. They can take this deer to a helicopter and fly it to the country's top deer surgeon on a wildlife reserve across the state border, [turns to the lawyer] where your jurisdiction ends."

^ Jerry really pulled it off this time. While Beth, in a hysterical frenzy, is blinded to the fact that her insufficient qualifications and her emotional state of mind are probably causing more harm to the deer than good, Jerry is thinking more rationally. He's actually thought it through: what would be the best course of action to take in order to save this deer's life, he asks himself. This is also one of the rare moments when he's not just doing what he's "supposed" to do, not what Beth expects him to do. He's doing what's right. In fact, we will see later in this episode that there's more here than meets the eye, that Jerry is up to something, something that highlights these points even more, even to the extent that we might say he exhibits a bit of Rick-like genius.

Outside the clinic, the deer is loaded into the vehicle. At the last minute, the lawyer brings up one final snag:

"There is just one more thing: according to the state's veterinarian statutes, this animal can't be transferred until the current attending physician verbally confirms their inability to provide adequate care."

"You heard the man, horse doctor," says the hunter, "You have to say you couldn't hack it."

This really puts Beth into a moral bind: do what's right for the animal or defend her ego. The cognitive dissonance she's probably feeling in this moment must be overwhelming.

Jerry, trying cleverly to reinforce a pride-preserving perspective, says in a timid tone: "We did it." <-- Even when faced with this moral dilemma, Jerry is trying to hint at the idea that even if Beth admits to not being able to hack it, that is hacking it--that is to say, that by saying she couldn't hack it, she allows the deer to be transferred to a place where it will get the proper care that it needs. Jerry's suggesting that Beth can still think of it as "all her"--that in this moment, she can make the decision to allow the deer to be saved or to allow it to die. As challenging as this task if for Jerry--trying to persuade Beth of this point of view--he is quite relentless in trying to handle the situation in the most mature, rational, and diplomatic way possible.

In response to Morty questioning why he's doing this, Testicle Head explains: "You think I want to be an omniscient, immortal being transcending time and space my whole life? I've got ambitions, man. Bringing you in is my ticket up."

Grabbing a monkey wrench from the counter behind his back, Rick attempts to fool Testicle Head into turning around. He doesn't fall for the bit, so Rick tries something else:

"All right, hear me out on this; you're immortal, right? Which means your life is infinite. Okay, well then that means there's a 100% chance that you'll eventually do everything including turning around to look behind you." <-- It's interesting how Rick's thinking works: because it's inevitable, why try resisting?... even though resisting would actually work. In any case, this is good enough for Testicle Head. He says "I cannot argue that," and turns around. Rick knocks him on the head with the monkey wrench. It doesn't knock him out but he loses his grip on his worm gun. Rick catches it. It starts squirming. "God! Gross and weird!" Rick yells before letting it go. The creature squirms towards the road and gets run over by a car. "You killed my gun!" screams Testicle Head. "Summer, Morty," says Rick, "take off your collars!" They do it. Rick takes off his. "What the hell are you doing?" asks Testicle Head. "Good question," answers Rick, "I suppose the answer is... I'm... not... certain."

Their time begins to split again... and then again... and then again. In all possibilities, Rick starts kicking the shit out of Testicle Head. "Stop it!" Testicle Head insists. "Maybe I will... maybe I won't... I'm really uncertain about everything... even kicking your ass!" (although he doesn't seem to be hesitating).

It's funny watching Testicle Head get his ass kicked. If you look at any one timeline, every punch that Rick delivers is matched by Testicle Head seemingly being knock around by invisible forces. It seems even in getting the shit kicked out of him, he remains synchronized across all possibilities. He doesn't fight back, claiming that his arms are only "vestigial". Summer and Morty cheer Rick on, Morty also claiming to be really uncertain about things. From all the blows from all the Rick's in each timeline coming at Testicle Head from all directions, he finally gets his giant testicle head squashed into a flattened mass of flesh like making pizza crust out of a ball of dough (no blood and gore, just flattened). He lies against the counter defeated.

Their world is crumbling before their eyes. The house is shaking, pieces of ceiling are falling, the walls and floor are cracking. Rick explains that they have very little time left and that he needs to fix their collars quick.

"Now hand me that Phillips screwdriver," he says, "Actually, make it a flat-head." At least he says this in half the timelines. In the other half, he says it in the reverse order. This little extra bit of uncertainty causes their timelines to split again for a total of 64.

Jerry: "Look, I know I was kind of a nuisance today, I know it's my fault we hit the deer, and I know you wanted to be the one to save it."

Beth: "Whatever [staring out the passenger side window], how petty would I have to be to care less about an animal's life than my own ego?" <-- She's finally admitting it, though still with an unappreciative tone in her voice.

Jerry: "You'd have to be pretty petty... but you'd still be the woman I married."

The car starts shaking. They're going off road.

Beth: "Where are we going?"

Jerry: "One... last... stop."

They pull out into a clearing in the woods right behind the Cervine Institute vehicle, the one carrying the deer. The men are pulling the deer out on a stretcher. Beth and Jerry get out.

Beth: "Where's the helicopter?"

Jerry: "There is no helicopter. [One man peels off the "Cervine Institute" sign from the back of the vehicle, revealing the "Stone Cold's Creamery" sign instead.] And there is no Cervine Institute."

Beth: "But the top deer surgeon--"

Jerry: "I'm looking at her."

^ This is the surprise. Not only did Jerry's cool and collected thinking back at the clinic get them out of hot water, but it allowed them to get into a situation in which Beth could fulfill her desire to both save the deer and redeem her ego without upsetting everyone and getting into legal complications. He's even rising above his own ego here--he could have just told the Stone Cold gentlemen to toss the deer in a lake while the two of them went home, and he could have gloating about the fact that Beth was wrong--but he orchestrated all of this for Beth's sake, to allow her the chance at finding satisfaction both at fueling her own ego and at saving the deer's life. In fact, in Jerry's eyes, this isn't even a moral dilemma: he really believes she can do it, that her technical background in horses is no barrier to her ability to perform surgery on a deer. He seems to believe it more than Beth does herself, for part of the stress she was under back at the clinic was her own insecurity in her abilities--her determination back there was a bit overkill simply because she felt she had to try that hard to prove herself--but here, out in the woods, with only her husband to watch her (and a couple of Stone Cold's Creamery employees who can't be that significant in Beth's life), it relieve a lot of the stress, thereby giving her time to focus more on the deer than her ego, and ultimate allowing her to do a better job.

Like I said, it's almost a stroke of Rick-like genius--a concoction that satisfies everything: Beth's ego, the moral dilemma of saving the deer's life, the ideal conditions under which to do so, and even scoring a few brownie points for himself. It even redeems Jerry's outrageous tip of almost $480 to Stone Cold's Creamery--without such a hefty tip, would the two Stone Cold employees have bothered to help Jerry out? It's certainly one of the rare moments when Jerry comes through.

A montage follows of Beth performing surgery on the deer while a kind of soft spiritual song with Native American singing plays. Beth finally stitches the deer up just before it wakes up. It hops off the operating table like nothing happened (usually not recommended to ordinary human patients). It gleefully leaps off into the woods. It pauses to look back at them as a Native American steps out from behind a bush and pets the deer. He nods in gratitude to Beth for saving the deer and then goes off with the deer into the woods. All this while they eat ice creams. <-- A bit hyperreal but it's supposed to be a real emotional and meaningful moment.

Beth: "Jerry, this was the most romantic weekend I've ever had."

Compare this to the last episode when Jerry went all out to create a bit of romance between himself and Beth on the Titanic. Why didn't that work? Because he was too focused on his idea of romance. This time, Jerry is 100% focused on Beth... and she sees this. <-- This is what moves Beth, this is what stirs her heart and softens her up (like ice cream).

Rick's got all the collars fixed. He instructs them to put them on. They do. Summer disappears (back to ordinary reality). The other two remain despite having their collars on. Why? Because in one of the 64 possibilities, Morty's collar won't latch closed. His Rick doesn't have his collar on either because he won't do so unless he knows for sure Morty can put his on. All the other Ricks dig into their Morty's, blaming them for not knowing how to put their collars on. "Bring it here," says the Rick in the timeline in which Morty's collar won't close. Morty steps towards him and falls through a hole in the ground, a hole that leads out into the nothingness of this half-real/half-unreal state of ontological limbo. "MORTY!!!" Rick yells.

While all the other Ricks and Morty's are bickering at each other, trying to pass the blame (ironically because it's not either one's fault, but that of some other Rick or Morty in another timelines), the Rick of interest says "God dammit!" and jumps through the hole after Morty. He glides through the emptiness passed chunks of yard, pieces of house, and cats, cats, and more cats. His hair and lab coat flap in the wind, indicating there's at least some oxygen (and maybe air pressure) in this infinite void of nothing, allowing them to survive at least for a while. He catches up to Morty and grabs him.

"Morty, where's your collar? I'll fix it!" he says. "I dropped it!" Morty yells. Without even thinking, Rick puts his collar on Morty. Morty instantly disappears. <-- That goes for all the Morty's. We focus in on one timeline in which Morty suddenly disappears. The Rick of that timeline yells "What have you done to me, Morty!" possibly implying that he thinks Morty, in at least one timeline, killed Rick, explaining why Rick hasn't yet disappeared with Morty. Back in the timeline in which Rick sacrificed his collar for Morty, he says: "I'm okay with this. Be good Morty. Be better than me."

^ This is one of those moments when Rick's inner goodness, his humanity, really shines through. It's a moment where push comes to shove, where Rick has no choice but to either sacrifice himself or sacrifice Morty, and he has no time to think it over. He has to act instinctively, and the outcome is that he sacrifices himself for Morty. The good that resides within Rick is buried way deep down, but when it's called for, it bursts through to the surface with undeniable force.

The words Rick speaks after saving Morty are also very telling. "I'm okay with this," seems to hearken back to Rick's nihilism, his utter indifference to whatever happens in this world, even to himself. That he could be okay with streaming through a dark void of nothingness forever, or perhaps disappearing in virtue of the unsustainability of a half-real/half-unreal state of existence, or whatever may happen to him, testifies not only to the radical indifference he holds towards his own destiny, but to how he values the destinies of others close to him more than his own, as his words "Be good Morty. Be better than me," reveal. He deems his own life a worthwhile price to pay for Morty's, that Morty represents the potential for goodness whereas it is too late for himself. Such moments are far and few between, but when they happen, they prove that Rick is clearly capable of rising above his own self-interest, that he is capable of recognizing things that matter beyond his own ego. <-- This instance here is just a sample of what Rick is capable of, and in the Season 2 finally, we will see another example that blows this one clear out of the water.

But things aren't so bleak for Rick after all. He suddenly spots Morty's collar. "The other collar!" he yells, "I'm not okay with this! I am NOT okay with this!" <-- It's funny how one can accept such a grim fate when things seem hopeless, but then when hope shows its face, the acceptable suddenly becomes totally unacceptable. And why wouldn't it? If you had the opportunity to make a dire situation better, why would you passively accept the situation as it is while letting that opportunity slip through your fingers? Rick swims towards the collar exclaiming what could almost be construed as prayers to Jesus: "Oh, sweet Jesus, please let me live! Oh my God, I gotta fix this thing! [grabs it]. Please God in Heaven! Please God, oh Lord, hear my prayers!"

^ I still haven't quite figured out the full implications of what the writers had in mind with the religious connotations of these words, but I'm sure it must have something to do with the metaphysical implications of a quantum world of half-real/half-unreal possibilities--like God throwing dice and deciding on a whim which possibilities stay and which disappear into oblivion. On a more personal/psychological level, Rick here is demonstrating what he resorts to in moments of desperation. Rick--a staunch atheist most of the time (he says in the Pilot: "There is no God, Summer. You gotta rip that bandage off now, you'll thank me later.")--all of a sudden, in a moment of desperation, believes. And this may be statement on the part of the writers about human psychology in general, that in moments of desperation, we pull out all the stops--even things we wouldn't even dream of trying in less critical situations. Take the other Rick's, for example. We see in the next scene (after the current Rick puts his collar on and disappears) that another Rick (which presumably represents what all the Ricks are doing) is on his knees, eyes closed, and hands clasped in prayer, saying: "Please God, if there's a Hell, please be merciful to me." <-- If the current Rick (the one trying to fix the collar) is only half serious about his prayers to God, the other half meaning it as just a figure of speech, this Rick is totally serious. It shows that so long as Rick has some modicum of hope of getting out of a desperate situation at his own hands, the desperate need to fall back on something that he would otherwise scoff at as a silly superstition meant only for the blind and naive will be minimal, whereas if he has absolutely no hope at all, like the Rick on his knees who knows that he's at the mercy of another Rick getting his collar to work, he'll have nothing left to do but to completely fall back on that silly superstition with full conviction.

It's a nice complement to his last words to Morty before finding the collar: "Be better than me." <-- That coupled with his prayers for God's mercy as he burns in Hell indicate his painful awareness of his own sinfulness, that he doesn't just cover up his imperfections with his typical self-induced ego boosts, or that if he does, they don't completely work. He knows he's a scum bag who deserves to burn in Hell. And if there is any doubt of that, such doubt is wiped away the minute Rick gets the collar fixed:

He puts it on, the light turns green, and just before disappearing, he sticks it to God: "YES!!! Fuck you, God! Not today, bitch!"

Talk about gratitude. On the one hand, it seems like a total lack of appreciation for providence, like biting the hand that feeds. But on the other hand, it might indicate that though Rick prayed desperately to be saved by God, he didn't think there would be a chance in Hell (or Heaven) that God would *actually* follow through. His words "Fuck you, God! Not today, bitch!" almost seem to indicate that, all the while, Rick thought God was trying to thwart his efforts at saving his own ass, that God was the reason Rick was in such a dire situation. It's very much like Rick, after all, to reap in the full credit for his own actions when he gets himself out of a sticky bind. He fixed his own collar, he got himself out of what would otherwise be a bleak and dismal fate, but he only sees it this way after having gotten himself out of the sticky situation he found himself in. And therefore his success represents, for him, a kind of triumph over God's attempt to snuff him out. He may have been praying to God for help before this happened, but an ironic combination of his own ego (he can do this on his own) and his own self-doubt (he's not worthy of God's help) culminate in his sticking it to God when he succeeds.

As I said, however, I think there's more to this scene than the above (assuming I've got it right in the first place), for this bit of commentary about God and Rick's defiance of Him must have something to do, I'm certain, with the greater theme surrounding this episode--namely, that of quantum uncertainly and states of ontological limbo, and what that has to do with divine creation and omnipotence. <-- Can't quite put my finger on it for the moment, so I'm just going to leave it.

In any case, Rick gets the collar on and disappears. The Rick on his knees also disappears in mid-prayer.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:45 am

DAMMIT!!! I almost made under a 60000 characters! And I really tried, I really did! Maybe I should just resign to the fact that the Rick and Morty universe is becoming more complex with every episode. On the bright side, the current post is most likely gonna be between 1000 and 2000 characters only.

Anyway, where were we... oh ya...

Back in ordinary reality, the three are reunited. Rick says: "Yes, I did it! There is no God! In your face! [pointing God-ward]" <-- Ironic that he would continue to stick it to God even after saying "there is no God." It's also interesting that after getting out of the sticky situation he was in, a sticky situation in which he fell back on semi-belief in God, he immediately resumes his staunch atheism.

They all cheer hearty cheers. Rick does the cabbage patch dance. Summer joins in.

Summer: "Hey, wait a second. How come you guys took longer to get here?"

Morty: "I don't know. I think, like, one sixty-fourth of my collars didn't work. It's hard to keep straight now that I have 63 other memories everything." <-- Reminds me of the Ashton Cutcher movie The Butterfly Effect (terrible movie).

Rick: "Yeah."

Morty: "But I feel like one of the 64 Rick's, like, sacrificed himself for me. Maybe. I think."

Rick: "Shut up, Morty. The last time you felt something we all almost died. [pulls out his flask] You little piece of shit."

^ Rick isn't exactly denying that one 64th of himself sacrificed himself for Morty, but he sure seems eager to get off the subject. It's interesting to think about what affect integrating 64 different memories would have on one's psyche, specifically one's certainty about what did and did not happen. It might be incredibly easy for Rick to deny that he sacrificed himself for Morty given that he'd only be one 64th certain that he actually did that. Morty himself seems about that certain that it actually occurred. Good thing they're all wearing the collars.

Then Jerry and Beth come into the garage. Morty and Summer hug their parents with an extreme intensity as though they hadn't seen them for months (and quite literally, they haven't hugged them for months). Jerry pushes them away: "Uh, hold the phone, where did you guys get those necklaces from? Uh, Lady Gaga, table for three, am I right?" Beth laughs hysterically. Jerry continues: "Are you guys Power Rangers... but only on one small part of your necks? Hey, did those things need batteries? Were they included?" Jerry goes on and on with the corny jokes while Beth totally laps it up. It's funny how feeling loved can make the stupidest jokes seem absolutely hilarious. Morty says to Rick: "Doesn't feel so good, does it?" Rick: "No, it doesn't. It hurts." <-- Not sure whether Morty is commenting on how it feels to be his parents' son or how it feels to be Rick's grandson. I mean, both Jerry and Beth are shitty parents and I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to humiliate their children for a bit of self-induced entertainment, but Rick is also verbally abusive (not always for entertainment but still). Rick's response is interesting as well--typically we'd expect Rick to brush this off or deny it or just to tell Morty to STFU--but he admits straight up that it hurts--admitting not only that he knows what Morty goes through but admitting sensitive feelings and vulnerability. <-- But I'm probably over-analyzing this scene as it's obviously primarily meant as a humorous ending to the opening episode to Season 2.

The post-credit scene is a bit humorous as well but I wasn't able to extract any philosophical merit from it. It essentially consists of Testicle Head (apparently with his head repaired) and his buddy (Testicle Head #2) travelling through time in their time bubble to the early twentieth century where they meet up with Einstein, and then beat the shit out of him for "messing with time." Then they leave.

Einstein gets up and utters to himself: "I vill mess wiz time, I vill mess wiz time." as he writes E=MC^2 on the chalk board.

^ Ha! Ha! Funny! Funny! Funny! But not much in the way of philosophy.

===============================

PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS

* Quantum Physics: This is a hotly debated subject, rich in philosophical implications, and surprisingly for a series deeply entrenched in the theme of science, it hasn't yet come up. This is the first episode in which it has. It pivots around the idea of superposition, the idea that there can be more than one (mutually exclusive) reality at the same time. The philosophical question that comes out of this is: what the fuck is this state. To date, no scientist has satisfactorilly been able to answer this question. Well, they have, but they aren't speaking as scientists in this case, but more as philosopher giving their "interpretations" of the results of quantum mechanical experiments. One such interpretation is the "Many Worlds" interpretation, which is more or less captured by the schism of realities that Rick, Morty, and Summer find themselves in during this episode. However, Roiland and Harmon seem to put their own special twist on this theory by depicting the state they enter into as a sort of "limbo" state between full reality and utter non-existence--so it's not a multitude of realities, but a multitude of "half" realities, and this seems to hinge on "uncertainty". It seems, in other words, that reality cannot be determined until the entities involved in determining that reality are certain about what will and what won't be. This ties into another interpretation of quantum mechanics: that it is consciousness which determines reality, that until consciousness knows what it wants reality to be, reality just isn't. Thus, we seem to be given a sort of "hybrid" theory of quantum mechanics by Roiland and Harmon--a hybrid of the "Many Worlds" interpretation and the "Consciousness Determines Reality" interpretation--which can be summed up as: quantum uncertainty results in many "half" worlds--worlds that co-exist but with only proportional amounts of the original "realness" they shared before splitting apart. Maybe this is true, maybe not. Either way, it's rife with philosophical potential. My own theory of quantum mechanics is very close to this except that instead of talking about "many worlds", I would describe the state of quantum superposition as a seamless continuum of "worlds" with no clear boundary, no clear distinction betweem them (thus the seamlessness), and the clarity of what those worlds are, what they consist of (what they mean to beings within them, beholding them), has as much reality as the continuum is precise. In other words, the more definite a world can be about defining itself, the more "real" it can be (at the cost of all other possibilities), and the less definite a world can be about defining itself, the less "real" each possible construal of that definition is (at the cost of a single possibility claiming ontological supremacy). Whatever the case, however, I don't think cats floating in space actual play a part.

* Women and their egos: Men are typically depicted as the ones with the egos. But his episode of Rick and Morty seems to suggest that women can have their moments too. I don't think anybody would doubt this. Women are human too--they too can be ensnared by the desire to prove their might, their abilities, their greatness--whether that be intellectually, morally, or anything else--for the sake of the alluring pleasure of a small ego boost. What's more of an intriguing question is how susceptible women are to this allure compared to men. Are men really more prone to subjecting themselves to ego boosts than women? Or do women simply find their ego boosts in more socially acceptable ways--for example, saving a poor deer's life. <-- I mean, who would object to that? In other words, maybe women are smarter--smarter at figuring out how to put themselves in the limelight of morally sanctioned situations--but nonetheless just as subject to ego stroking as men. Or is it the other way around: maybe women really are that much more concerned about the things that really matter, morally speaking, things that go beyond the ego, and this episode simply highlights one of the pitfalls that sometimes happens in this case: they may be so concerned over the moral import of things beyond their ego, that they can sometimes be blinded to the fact that their egos sometimes sneak in, and they become convinced that they're still focused on the moral objective when in reality, somewhere along the way, it has become all about ego. After all, to not be focused on the ego is to allow one's self to be subject to the tricks of the ego, or at least the unconscious, to not "know thyself". Maybe. The question, for me, boils down to this: we're both human, and human beings are a product of evolution, built to survive, built to protect the self--which is egoism par excellence--whether you're a man or a woman--so when it comes to ego, we are both in the same boat together--but there is nevertheless obvious biological differences--while we are both built to serve and protect ourselves, women seem more focused on the needs of others, especially children, and so they may be be more naturally geared towards altruism than men. But either way, it shouldn't be a question at all that both men and women need to focus on themselves, to a certain extent at least, just in order to survive, and this episode of Rick and Morty nicely highlights the fact that women are susceptible to egoism too--maybe not to the same degree as men, maybe more, but egoism certainly isn't absent from their psyche.

Well, in the spirit of keeping things short, that's all I'm gonna give ya. (sorry, I know you were aching for more :lol: ).

...

Oh, it turns out there were a few Easter eggs:

Image
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:45 am

Again, some extra thoughts:

1) I was thinking of the implications that putting a mattress under Mr. Bensen has--namely, that the three of them, when alone together in a time-frozen world, end up choosing to do the right thing. Mind you, they didn't actually do it, but just the fact that the discussion was had means that, when together, they settle on the morally right thing. I mean, knowing Rick, it wouldn't be unlike him to get the bright idea that as soon as they unfreeze time, they're going to stand on Mr. Bensen's front lawn and laugh at him as he breaks his back. At the very least, no one would hold them accountable if they neglected to do anything. <-- But they didn't neglect. How much of this was due to the influence of Morty and Summer, and how much was just Rick himself, is unclear.

2) There is a bit of contrast in this episode between the lesson Rick expects Morty to have learned by now--namely, that Morty should just relax and let Rick handle everything--and the fact that half way through the episode, Rick almost gets them all killed in the shoot-out he has with himself, so much so that Morty has to knock him out in order to get the situation under control. It's a damn good thing that Morty did this, otherwise Rick would have shot himself in all possibilities, leaving Morty and Summer to fix the situation themselves (well, until Testicle Head shows up). So apparently, there's a lesson for Rick to learn here as well: he's not always in control, and it's a good thing sometimes that Morty worries.

3) I also neglected to tie this scene in particular--the shoot-out--into Close Encounters with the Rick Kind--both involving a multitude of Ricks who have trouble trusting each other and almost killing each other. In this episode, we get a glimpse of how misplaced his distrust in himself really is. Why was he so ready to believe that his counter-part in the other possibility was trying to eliminate them instead of merge them? I think Rick sees himself as a worse person than he really is, and as we saw in this scene, that might just make him a worse person. <-- One might even say he has self-esteem issues.
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- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:22 am

More thoughts:

1) Testicle Head is God: think about it. He's a 4 dimensional omniscient, immortal being who can transcend time and space. <-- That pretty much meets the criteria. Maybe not the criteria for the God (i.e. the Christian God), but a God in any case (Testicle Head #2, his buddy he meets up with to kick the shit out of Einstein after the credits, is another God). He even threatens to take Rick, Morty, and Summer to time prison forever... remind anyone of Hell? But Rick manages to escape hell by killing God (reminiscent of Nietzsche). No wonder there was no one there to answer his prayers when he was trying to fix the collar in the vast emptiness of ontological limbo. I think this is the missing piece of the puzzle I couldn't quite put my finger on when I was trying to figure out the implications of Rick's utterances to God during that scene. God is Testicle Head--the one who decides the outcome of all states of quantum superposition, who would have decided Rick's fate at the end if it wasn't for Rick's clever thinking and ingenuity.

2) On that note, if these alternate possibilities that Rick, Morty, and Summer find themselves in are supposed to be akin to quantum superposition, doesn't that mean at least one of them will survive? As quantum theory would have it, all such states that are co-present in superposition will disappear upon collapses except for one (or a small subset), but this wasn't mentioned in the episode--we are lead to believe that all possibilities will eventually vanish into oblivion.

3) Where did Beth get the surgical tools from out in the woods?

4) After Rick split the possibilities up into four, what would happen to the bullets fired from the gun when they go through the portal? Which possibility would they be transported to?

5) I had an "aaawww" moment when Rick said "Is this what you want, you sick fuck! You wanna see children die!" <-- But then it occurred to me: he's saying this to himself. Does he know something about himself deep down--that he wants to see children die, or at least that he knows he puts their lives in danger (I mean, they escape near death situations in almost every episode)--and this is a way of projecting it onto an alternate version of himself?
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby encode_decode » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:42 am

gib wrote:
Amorphos wrote:Sorry to make this thread a bit hardcore, if I have? It asks those kind of questions, but I actually think getting stuck into deep philosophy with good thinkers is fun, so I don't intend that. :)


No worries at all, my friend. I don't mind my threads being derailed, so long as they produce fun conversation. Of course, I'll continue to post my analysis of Rick and Morty around these conversation, but I'm not going to stop them.

Just reading "deep philosophy with good thinkers" is fun for me - I am finding this thread both entertaining and stimulating.

gib wrote:So you can do away with the physics (or rather leave it in its proper place--the human subjective reality) and keep the info. Info is everywhere, melded with being and quality--the stuff of reality.

Hear, hear.

Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:If there is a "physical TV screen" in the brain as Daniel's book suggests....

Consciousness cannot simply "be" inside the neuronal electrical pathways themselves.

For such a thing...could not percieve the actual TV screen, only the 3 dimensional tunnels of the circuits...not the 2d dimensional image itself...Unless
time factored in and it was rendered...all of the microlayers, as an abstraction...
But there would always have to be some outside entity doing the conversion...Ultimately it could not be done by the brain, in the tunnels themselves...

There is a mystic cloud inside the brain...perceiving the brain...the orb, soul, whatever you like to call it...
That is the only rational geometric explanation.

Wow, I find this very beautiful. I will be thinking of this for a long time to come.

:)

gib wrote:
Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:Could be 50/50. Consciousness might just be receiving. and it could be a fold in space branched off from the 3d space where our brain is that is why cameras cant see it.

True, this is possible, but I don't think the real space "out there" would be anything like the space "in here"--though I believe they would be isomorphic.

I would imagine instead something like an automorphism with some missing information.

gib wrote:This was from your comment about consciousness existing in the "tunnels" of our neurons. It's like each one is a little micro-consciousness. But to me, they are unconscious (I'm certainly not aware of any individual consciousnesses inside my neurons); thus, the micro-unconscious.

This gives me some ideas.

@gib - I have not watched Rick and Morty yet - from reading your posts I think I might have to.

:D
Bounded Rationality is always at work - the flow of mind is an ever changing dimension that is bound to reality, logic and emotion. Possibly and probably more. There are more versions of reality than people.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:13 pm

Wow! Another human being is reading this! =D>

encode_decode wrote:@gib - I have not watched Rick and Morty yet - from reading your posts I think I might have to.

:D


Yeah man, it's a great series. Hilarious as hell and really digs into some deep philosophy; very intense and definitely not PC.

Usually I'm not that fond of the cartoons on Adult Swim--most of them are kinda juvenile and don't rise above the level of potty humor--but I was impressed with Rick and Morty because it was written for an intelligent audience. It sometimes does fall back on potty humor--like having characters named "Mr. Poopy Butthole"--but not always--and once you get to episode #6 of season #1, you get an idea of how deep the writers want to take you, not just intellectually but emotionally.

You can watch both seasons here. Season #3 is supposed to be coming out this summer.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:15 am

My analysis of episode 2 season 2 is coming soon, but I just wanted to post this Rick and Morty promo 'cause I think it's hilarious:



Oh, and episode 1 of season 3 just came out on youtube. It came out on April 1st which lead many fans to expect it to be an April Fools prank but it wasn't. It was legit. And it was sheer genius. I was blown away. I have much to say on it and I might even do a (very brief) analysis on it after s2e2.
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“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:22 pm

Rick and Morty - S2E2 - Mortynight Run

Episode 2 of Season 2 is by far my favorite episode--it's the one most jam-packed with action--unfortunately, this takes away from the philosophical moments--I mean, how much philosophy can one glean from space ships crashing into each other and friends double-crossing friends at gun point--but amazingly, Roiland and Harmon were able to compensate a series of mini-philosophies with just a few large philosophies--and they are quite large, quite deep.

If there is one philosophical genre that this episode strikes at, it is our old friend: conservatism vs. liberalism. If there are two philosophical genres that this episode strikes at, they are our friends: conservatism/liberalism and moral philosophy. In this episode, Morty's own morality gets put to the ultimate test--and it fails--Morty, in the end, is compelled to do the exact opposite which, throughout the entire episode, his conscience drives him to do. Throughout the episode, Morty strives to accomplish X (I won't say what X is, not yet) and ends up doing anti-X. <-- And the punchline is that he does anti-X because he has a brief moment of understand why anti-X is the morally right thing to do. <-- It throws the whole liberalist mentality for a loop, it shoves its face right into its own hypocrisy, eliciting the ultimate in cognitive dissonance.

It begins with Morty learning how to drive: Rick takes him on a space trip through the cosmos--only Morty is driving. Rick says:

"You're gonna be free to go on all kinds of errands for me. [Morty: cool]"

Jerry, clearly right behind them from the camera's point of view, startles Rick by speaking up: "Oh, you still use South in space?"

Just before Jerry startles Rick, Rick gets a phone call and says in a shady tone: "Yeah... Yeah I have it... Where do you wanna meet?... ok, cool. [hangs up] All right, Morty, lessons over. I've got some business to attend to a few minutes south of here." (Clearly, Rick meant behind them).

Rick is startled because he had no idea Jerry was even there. Jerry explains: "We agreed a boy's father should be present when he's learning to drive."

From what I can surmise, Morty must have told his father that Rick was going to teach him how to fly the ship, so Morty and his father got in the ship first, then Rick came in later, hopping in the front passenger seat without noticing Jerry.

Rick says that they don't have time to drop Jerry off back at home. Jerry says: "Cool! Looks like I'm coming along for an adventure."

Rick tells Morty to head to 3924917, which turns out to be a Jerry daycare. Actually, it's a giant rock in space with an establishment built on it (hidden with a cloaking device). Among the many venues of the establishment is the Jerryboree, a daycare for Jerry's from alternate dimensions who somehow ended up tagging along with Rick and Morty on one of their adventures. In response to Morty asking him if he created the Jerryboree, Rick says:

"Are you kidding? I wish I had this idea, well I did have this idea, but I wish I was the version of me who owned it. That guy's rich."

Apparently, this happens a lot... enough for a certain version of Rick to invent a Jerry daycare such as to permit other Ricks and Morties to drop off their inadvertently acquired Jerry's while on an adventure. "Jerry's don't tend to last five minutes off of Earth," Rick says.



Rick fills out a form before dropping Jerry off:

Image

Notice that under "Reason for Drop-Off" there's this:

Image

Threatened to tell Beth what? What secret is Rick hiding from his daughter that he would drop Jerry off here (forever? <-- That is one of the options on the form) under threat that he might let it slip to Beth? Whatever it is, it's not revealed in this episode.

Rick and Morty walk out of the Jerryboree with a ticket. Rick hands it to Morty: "Hey Morty, hang onto this. That number's your dad. If you lose it, we're not gonna be able to get him back."

They resume their primary business. Rick directs Morty to land in a shady parkade, a bit of a rough landing, damaging the ships parked next to him. It's not really mentioned where they are, but it seems like a kind of inner city landscape at night. Krombopulus Michael, a Gromflomite and acquaintance of Rick's (the one he was talking to over the phone earlier), knocks on the passenger side door.

Image

"Hey, Rick! Ha! Ha! Here you go, 3,000 flurbos. Do you have the weapon?"

Krombopulos Michael is an assassin who buys guns from Rick. In the current ordeal, he buys an anti-matter gun because his target can't be killed with ordinary matter. He introduces himself to Morty handing him a card:

"Listen, if you need anybody murdered, please give me a call. I'm very discrete. I have no code of ethics. I will kill anyone, anywhere: children, animals, old people, dodn't matter--I just love killin'."

I find this scene a little ironic given that Rick tries to argue, in response to Morty pointing out how shady this "business" of Rick's seems, that he does his business in public, and is therefore not shady, while at the same time trying to be discrete enough with Krombopulos Michael, who wasn't expected to come right to the passenger side window, such that Morty is as little aware of Rick's "business" as possible. Rick says: "C-can we please... this is my grandson, Morty!" So Rick, who is not afraid to sell guns to assassins in public, doesn't want to do it in front of his grandson.

Upon Krombopulos's leave, Morty questions Rick: "You sell guns to killers for money?" Rick responds: "These are flurbos. Do you understand what two humans can accomplish with 3,000 of these? [Morty: Uh, what?] An entire afternoon at Blips and Chiiitz!!!"

Blips and Chitz is an arcade center, like they have in the movie theater lobbies, with snacks, games, booz, and all kinds of entertainment:

Image

This was the whole plan all along. This entire outing with Morty was intended to be an afternoon of entertainment, just Rick and his grandson having fun, not just a crash course in learning to fly a spaceship in order to run errands for Rick. It's quite a departure from the usual hazards and dangers, and the abuse, that Rick typically pulls Morty through. It shows that when they don't inadvertently find themselves trapped in risky ordeals and sticky predicaments, Rick really is interested in spending some quality time with his grandson, in just going out with Morty to have a good time. The catch here is, of course, that he used questionable methods to get the flurbos required to pay for it. Rick never intended for Morty to witness the exchange, but now that he has, Morty is questioning the ethics behind this entire affair. This throws a bit of a wrench into the situation, one that doesn't quite allow Morty to fully relax and enjoy the time spent with his grandfather.

Morty: "You sold a gun to a murderer so you could play video games?"

Rick: "Yeah, sure, I mean if you spend all day shuffling words around, you can make anything sound bad, Morty. Here, check this out:"

They stop at a game called "Roy" and Rick places a helmet attached to the machine by a thick cable onto Morty's head. He puts a token into the machine. Morty's eyes suddenly roll up into his head:



^ As chock full of meaning as this scene obviously is, it seems a bit out of place, unless I'm missing the connection with the major themes of this episode. Putting that aside for the moment, however, we can ask what was the meaning of this scene? Was Rick trying to teach Morty something, was he just trying to trip him out, maybe distract him from the topic of selling a gun to a killer, just throw a random sample of entertainment at him? What?

Obviously, if this scene means anything, it must be captured by those few simple words spoken by Roy's teacher: "Now is the time in your life when anything is possible." These words are spoken to Roy when he's just a child, and we typically do think of childhood as the time in our lives when anything is possible, when we have yet to sink our roots in deep enough to determine the course of our lives. Yet it makes me wonder: is any time in our lives the time when anything is possible? Why does it have to be early on, in the beginning? Yet it seems that as Roy's life goes by, less and less seems possible to him, at least it appears that way from his facial expressions and such, as if life has taken control of him rather than the other way around. Roy ends up taking a job in a carpet store--What a life! What a choice!--more like life happened to Roy rather than the other way around. But who could blame him, really--it is Morty, after all, who is going through this experience--and thrust upon him by Rick no less, with no warning--he's a 14 year old boy who really has no concept of what it is to take life by the horns and to be the master of one's own destiny--and being put into a simulation in which an entire lifetime goes by in less than a minute, one has to wonder how easy it really is for Morty to make of life (as Roy) what he really wants.

The punchline seems to be: this is a video game that tests your ability to master your own destiny, to determine your own life. How well can you do it? (Makes you wonder how many times Rick has exercised his life skills at this game.)

If this is the case, it's interesting to note how Roy's ability to conquer life and make it his own was at its peek during his adolescence. It was at that time when he made the football team and scored the touchdown. The trophy we see on his desk at the carpet store later in his life tells us that Roy never accomplished anything greater since then, that his life seems to have dwindled rather than blossomed since then. It even seems he clings to his football achievements more than he clings to the achievement of beating cancer, as if the latter is the lesser achievement. What is it about our youth that gives us that vitality, that spark, that spirit to own our lives, the inspiration to go for what we want? What is it about growing older that takes it away? Is it that the cold machinery of society chips away at our will, the social pressures to conform to standards that don't quite fit our unique gifts, our personal callings, that eventually cause us to cave? Is it just the brute facts of reality that we sooner or later come to grips with? Is it just age itself, the biology of our bodies losing energy, our minds losing hope, becoming accustom to mundane routines? Is youth really a limited window? A finite period when we have our only chance to set the course of our lives to what we want it to be? And once lost, we become stuck in a rut that we must live with until we die, like it or not?

Despite how abruptly Morty is taken by surprise, he actually doesn't do too bad given Rick's words: "55 years, not bad Morty." <-- Maybe Morty does have some hidden talent, some above-average ability to take life by the horns. One can only surmise that the game somehow decides when the player has had enough, when there is nothing more to Roy's life worth fleshing out, and therefore injects some random accident by which Roy dies. I mean, certainly, an arbitrary accident like falling off a ladder, which can happen to anybody, can't be a reflection of the player's skill at life. So Morty made it to 55, beat cancer, went back to the carpet store, and the game decided: that's it.

As an aside, I find it very interesting how the Roy game starts out. Roy wakes from a nightmare:

"I had a nightmare. I was with an old man. He put a helmet on me."

^ He calls it a "nightmare". <-- That's what life with Rick is like--a nightmare. Roy gives Morty a taste of what his life would be like without Rick, if it was just "normal". But for the most part, it's dull, unfulfilling. He beats cancer and goes back to the carpet store. He dies by falling off a ladder and breaking his back. <-- Which life is really better?

The game obviously bootstraps itself onto whatever the user was experiencing just prior to the game starting. It uses Morty's experience of being at Blips and Chitz with Rick and having the helmet put on his head as a starting point--blending it into Roy's life seamlessly by rendering it as a dream. What better way to slip one into an alternate life than by render one's original life as just a dream. And the way it ends is exactly the same: Morty comes to after experiencing Roy's death and re-orients himself to his real life, remembering that he's Morty and that he's at Blips and Chitz. His prior experience of being Roy was just a simulation. Both transitions--from each life to the other--are experienced as a sort of "re-awakening", a "coming to". <-- That is to say, Morty/Roy experiences himself as "waking up" to the "real" reality, while the previous reality is either just a dream or just a video game--both take turns being swapped for the "actual" reality.

Nothing comes closer to a perfect analogy to drugs than this. In my experience, this is exactly what it's like being high on drugs (at least the kinds that alter reality on you). Becoming high, one is all of a sudden inundated with insights, visions, and other kinds of experiences that tell the mind: this is the true reality, and what you thought was real was just a dream (or blindness, or ignorance, or a mistake, or whatever)--but then once the high fades and one comes back to ordinary reality, one reflects on one's drug-induced experiences and recognizes them as delusions, dreams, mistakes--one realizes that this is the true reality, always was, all along. With repeated use, one goes back and forth between alternate realities, at one time recognizing this as the true reality, and then upon returning, remembering that now this is the true reality. Eventually, one becomes seasoned, one learns the skill of choosing when to passively take one's experiences as the one true reality and when not to. This seems to be how Rick takes in the experience once he's plugged into the machine.

He plugs himself into the game and at the same time continues a conversation with Morty--like a drug user being flooded with delusions and hallucinations carrying on a conversations with a sober person fully admitting that he knows his experiences are delusions and hallucinations. <-- That's skill right there.

Before this happens, however, Morty, upon shaking off the Roy experience, suddenly remembers what he was talking to Rick about: "Hey, you sold a gun to a guy that kills people!"

Rick: "Look at this: you beat cancer and then you went back to work at the carpet store? Boo!"

Morty: "Don't dodge the issue Rick! Selling a gun to a hitman is the same as pulling the trigger!"

Rick: "It's also the same as doing nothing. If Krombopulos Michael wants someone dead, there's not a lot anyone can do to stop him. That's why he does it for a living. Now excuse me, it's time to thrash your Roy score."

Rick puts the helmet on, sits in the chair, and closes his eyes.

Morty: "You know, you could stop this killing from happening, Rick.Y-you know, you did a bad thing selling that gun, but you could undo it if you wanted."

Rick: "Uh-huh, yeah, [eyes still closed] that's the difference between you and me, Morty. I never go back to the carpet store."

Now, it might just be me, but there seems to be a disconnect here between what Rick is talking about and what Morty went through as Roy. Presumably, what Rick is talking about when he says "I never go back to the carpet store," is that he never goes back on his decisions, or that he doesn't dwell on regret. I didn't get the impression from Morty, as Roy, however, that his going back to the carpet store after beating cancer was motivated by regret or second guessing any decision he made in life. I thought the message was that Morty, as Roy, simply did what he thought he was supposed to do--you beat cancer, you get better, you resume your life (whatever it was)--so either I'm missing something, or Rick's comment is out of place.

Stepping back and looking at this scene in the context of the entire episode, it seems a bit out of place to me. The sequence of experiences that Morty goes through as Roy were certainly chock full of meaning, but how does that meaning fit into the themes, messages, and philosophical quandaries of the overall episode? To be sure, both are chock full of meaning--the Roy sequence and the overall episode--but do they mesh seamlessly together? I don't see how they do (not that they're supposed to, but still).

Rick proceeds not only to thrash Morty's Roy score, but manages to take Roy "off the grid" by doing away with his social security number. A whole crowd of alien video game junkies surround him. One says: "Holy shit! This guy's taking Roy off the grid! This guy doesn't have a social security number for Roy!"

Getting the hint that Rick is not listening, Morty looks at the card Krombopulos Michael gave him. A red light flashes on a digital map, like a GPS unit pinning the location of Krombopulos Michael. Morty takes off to find him on his own.

Back at the Jerryboree, Jerry's had enough. He walks out to the reception area and says to the nurse: "Hi, I'm sorry, I think there was a misunderstanding. I'm an adult and would like to go home, please." The nurse directs him to crawl through a tube on the opposite wall. This strikes Jerry as odd, but he complies anyway. He crawls into the tube and, once deep enough into it, starts slipping down a decline. He gets dumped out into a pool of balls with a bunch of other Jerry's playing Marco Polo. Behind them is a giant statue of Summer with a slide coming out of her mouth ending in another pool. Other Jerries are in that one.

Why would the nurse have directed Jerry to the tube, which obviously leads back into the Jerry daycare? Obviously, to not let him leave. Which is ironic because she doesn't have to use force. She simply has to rely on Jerry's instinct of asking others what he's supposed to do in order to feel he knows what to do. The fact that crawling through a tube in order to get out seems strange to Jerry--especially since he saw the front doors through which he got in--doesn't dissuade him from complying with the instructions. Rick obviously trained the staff at the Jerryboree well. This scene will be contrasted with another scene later in the episode when Jerry attempts the bold move of walking out the front doors on his own accord--that is, without asking permission, without asking how--but we will see how that ultimately ends in Jerry returning to the Jerryboree anyway, reinforcing the point that force is not needed... but more on that later.

Jerry C-137 (presumably) asks another Jerry: "Don't you feel a little patronized?" Then a giant statue of Beth shows up. It's more like a mascot or a giant marionette doll. Her voice can be heard echoing while her mouth doesn't move, like emanating from speakers somewhere.

Beth: "Jerryyy!"

Jerry C-137: "Oh come on, this is ridiculous."

Beth: "I looove you Jerry!"

Jerry C-137: "Aaawww, Beth."

Beth: "Who wants to come watch Midnight Ruuun with director's commentary on? [the Jerry's are all riled up] First one there gets to adjust the picture settings! [leaves the room]"

Jerry C-137: "[unable to withhold his excitement] The factory tint setting is always too high!"

All the Jerries jump out of their pools or whatever it is they're doing and run after Beth, the last Jerry in line saying "The factory tint setting is always too high."

Image

Besides the not-so-subtle hint to the episode's title, this scene always comes to mind whenever I think about Jerry's love for Beth. Hearing those words "I love you Jerry," certainly melts his heart, turns his indignation over being patronized into a longing for romance with the woman he loves. For the most part, Jerry is a selfish man, but we've seen in previous episodes (A Rickle in Time, for example) that Jerry is capable of rising above his own ego and focusing solely on Beth and what she wants. A man wouldn't do that unless he is head over heals in love with a woman, and in this scene we see how easily that love is stirred by just a few simple words.

At a high security establishment of some kind--military, government, intelligence, I'm not sure--we find Krombopulos Michael on top of a building overlooking the barb-wired wall serving as the perimeter of the establishment. He seems to be praying to the moon or some such--oriented skyward in any case--and then opens a locket with a picture of what is presumably his wife or some love of his life (whether dead or alive, we don't know). He folds it into a handkerchief or towelette, kisses it, and stuffs it into his suit. He gets up and says: "Oh boy, here I go killin' again."



^ In the last few seconds of the scene above, we see Krombopulos penetrate his way into a locked down chamber where he finds what looks to be a cloud, or a gaseous entity of some kind, attached to cables that lead to machines built into the walls. The cloud appears to have a few gem-like crystals of various colors suspended within itself. Michael pulls out his anti-matter gun (the one Rick sold him) ready to shoot the cloud when Morty comes crashing into the room through the wall in Rick's space ship (another one of the many twists of irony throughout the series--Rick teaches him how to drive which gives Morty the ability to defy him). Krombopulos is effectively dead.

(It is only a TV show, but it seems wildly unrealistic to me that such a highly secure establishment would be completely unprotected against air strikes.)

Morty gets out and picks up Krombopulos's gun. Another gromflomite enters the room. He points a gun at Morty. The gromflomite suddenly gets split in half by a portal opening that appear exactly where he's position. Both sides of his body fall to the ground. Rick comes out through the portal. He gives Morty shit for crashing their ship into a galactic federation outpost. The cloud interrupts them:

"He saved my life."

Morty asks his name.

"My kind has no use for names. I communicate through what you call... Jessica's feet. No, telepathy."

It's interesting that his form of telepathy seems to involve reading words. He senses the word telepathy in Morty's mind and tries to match that with other English words he already knows, in this case not quite reading it clearly enough and it comes through as "Jessica's feet". It doesn't seem likely that he has to do this with every single word he wishes to utter. "Telepathy" was probably a new one to him. But Roiland and Harmon will make a parody of this near the end.

Rick: "Oh, good job Morty. Y-y-you killed my best customer but you saved a mind reading fart."

Fart: "I like this name... Fart."

Upon Fart's request, and against Rick's admonitions, Morty frees Fart by pulling a lever on the wall. The alarms go off. Rick informs Morty that, Fart being gaseous, he can't teleport Fart through a portal. So Morty ushers Fart into the ship. Rick pleads with Morty: "Morty, come on, w-I wanna go back to Blips and Chitz. I don't want to deal with this." "Rick," Morty says, "you've been clear on the fact that you don't want to help, so just go away." "Screw this, I'm out," Rick says as he opens a portal and walks through it, effectively abandoning Morty to the gromflomites.

Morty tries to start the ship. It won't start. A team of gromflomites enter the room. "Get out of the vehicle made of garbage or we will open fire." Morty keeps trying "Open fire!" The next thing that happen is sheer genius:



One has to wonder if this was Rick's plan all along. Did Rick intend on coming back for Morty before he even left? And if so, did he have this very plan in mind? If not, it's obvious that Rick knew he would have plenty of time to hatch out a plan. Travelling to a different dimension also means having as much time as you want (we saw this in the Pilot when Rick went to another dimension to get the broken-leg serum--he told Morty he spent tons of time there partying with young women, causing his portal gun to lose charge). So even if Rick had no intention of coming back for Morty at first, having all the time in the world means that he could have eventually had a change of heart.

As for the flooding, one can imagine a few scenarios. I imagine that Rick fired his portal gun to the bottom of an ocean. Not sure if he had to be there under water to make it happen or if he could fire his gun from a boat or something. Who knows where the portal that drained the water lead, but I'm sure Rick had a plan for how to escape the flood (and the gromflomites).

If we ignore Rick's genius in this scene, we are still taken aback by the old familiar warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts we get when Rick's good side peeks through the crack. Even though he left in a huff, as if we just didn't give a damn about what happens to his grandson, we see that Rick can't just leave Morty behind. Something inside him eventually gives way and compels him to return to Morty and rescue him.

So once again, Rick saves the day. They take off, killing a few more gromflomites in the process, and make their way to Gear World.

Gear Head is fixing Rick's ship, giving him grief for not taking better care of his gears. Morty is watching Gazorpazorpfield on a TV.

Rick starts a discussion with Morty, trying persuade him to finish the job that Krombopulos started. Morty replies that they're taking Fart back to his home.

"I came here accidentally," Fart explains, "through a wormhole located in what you call: get out of my head, Fart, I know you're in here, la, la, la--No, in what you call the Promethean Nebula."

Finally, Rick agrees to take Fart home.

Fart: "Thank you, Morty. You are not like other carbon based life forms. You put the value of all life above your own."

Morty: "It's how things should be. It's how they could be."

Fart: "I could not agree more," as he hovers over Morty engulfing him. Then he engages Morty an a weird psychedelic mind-meld, like a telepathic trip he takes Morty on while singing "Goodbye Moonmen", a song very similar in style to David Bowie's work:



It's rather cryptic what this scene is supposed to entail other than a brief psychedelic trip Fart takes Morty on, but many on the internet have speculated on the meaning of the lyrics:

Goodbye Moonmen lyrics

To be in a position to interpret the lyrics properly, one must know how this episode unfolds in the end. Therefore, spoiler alert!!! In a nut shell, the song is essentially an adieu to all carbon based life forms. Fart and his gassy kind wish to eliminate all carbon based life, the "moonmen" he says goodbye to in the song. He believes carbon based life is fundamentally self-interested, violent, and destructive. They are in need of cleansing. This is why he tells Morty, "You are not like other carbon based life forms. You put the value of all life above your own." It's when Morty concurs with this that Fart decides to share his vision with him. It's only because Morty doesn't quite understand the meaning of the song that he fails to see the irony of his own words: "It's how things should be." But he will in the end.

I also find it uncanny that this is Morty's second trip in the episode, the first being the life of Roy. In the former, it's Fart who, by telepathy, gives Morty this trip, a life form higher than that of carbon, and scornful of the ways of carbon life forms. In the latter, it's Rick who, by technology, gives Morty this trip, a person who also couldn't give a damn about carbon life forms, but is a shining example of one of the carbon life forms that Fart and his kind scorn. Also, Rick does it as a form of distraction (so it seems) in order to avoid a moral disagreement with Morty, whereas Fart does it as a form of consolidation after reaching a moral consensus with Morty. Rick tries to disconnect from Morty, Fart tries to connect. This might shed a bit of light on the place of the Roy trip in the greater context of the overall episode, but I still can't put my finger on it.

Back at the Jerryboree, the Jerries are hunched over a bunch of computers. It's like a little circle of computers, and they're sending jokes to each other via email... like duck, duck, birdie (golf reference). Jerry C-137 is having a blast. "I almost wish I could stay longer than one day," he says. Pink shirt Jerry sitting next to him responds: "You just might."

Pink shirt Jerry takes C-137 down to the basement, a dark and grungy place, not playful and child-friendly like the upstairs. The place looks grimy, filthy, and run down. The Jerries hanging out in this dive also look a lot less child-like and goodie-goodie. A couple of them are wearing muscle shirts, one's wearing a biker jacket, there's a skin head Jerry, a Jerry with a goatee smoking a cigarette, one drinking a beverage which is probably alcoholic, and so on.

Pink shirt Jerry explains: "These are the Jerries whose Ricks and Morties never came back. They live here now."

Recall that on the form, there was the option to leave Jerry here forever.

Back at Gear Head's shop, Rick is watching Ball Fondlers when suddenly a breaking news report interrupts the show: word has spread that Rick and Morty are wanted fugitives and that they are in the Gear System. Rick questions Fart: why was he being held prisoner by the Gromflomites?

"I am able to alter the composition of atoms, like this," says Fart as he conjures up a bit of an electric storm within himself resulting in a chunk of cold falling to the ground beneath him, "That was oxygen. I added 71 protons to it."

"Terrific," says Rick picking up the gold, "the fart that pooped gold. No wonder every cop in the system is looking for us. Any species that gets a hold of this thing is gonna use it to take over the galaxy. Do you know how inconvenient that's gonna be to my work?"

Then suddenly, sirens outside. Rick looks through the window. Cops hovering in the air around the building. "Somebody dropped the dime on us... Gear Head," says Rick turning to Gear Head who's holding a gun.

Gear Head: "Sorry Rick, the reward on your head is too high. And like you always say, you gotta look out for number one."

Rick: "Number one is me, asshole! You're supposed to be my friend!" <-- Makes you wonder whether Rick is just playing word games with Gear Head or honestly believes that's what the expression "looking out for number one" means.

Gear Head: "Friend?! Do you even know my real name? It's Revolio Clockberg Junior. I belong to an entire species of gear people. Calling me Gear Head is like calling a Chinese person Asia Face."

Rick throws a handful of twigs (which he gets from a nearby box of twigs) into Gear Heads face, getting them caught in the gears where his mouth would be. This distracts Gear Head, while Rick kicks him in the crotch. This opens a little door where his balls would be, revealing inside a set of testicle sized gears. Rick pulls them out, rips out the gears around his face, leaving empty sockets, and shoves the gears from his crotch into the sockets on his face--basically the equivalent of ripping someone's balls out and shoving them in his mouth.

Gear Head falls to his knees in pain.

"Two things I wanna make clear to everybody in this room," says Rick, "Never betray me, and it's time to go." Rick and Morty jump in their ship, and fly through the window.

The next scene is essentially a high speed airborne chase through downtown Gearville (or whatever the city's called). Three gear cops are flying close behind them. Rick fires a laser gun at them through an open window. He flies between the turning gears of some sort of giant windmill, narrowly escaping. The cops aren't so lucky. Then more cops. Rick releases a gun at the rear of his ship. It fires glowing green plasma balls (or something), killing one of the cops.

"Hey Morty, remember when you said selling a gun was as bad as pulling the trigger? How do you feel about all these people that are getting killed today because of your choices?" <-- Indeed, casualties are being taken. This is just another one of the twists of irony Roiland and Harmon like to throw into the series. Morty tries to do what in his mind is the "right thing" only to make things 10 times worse. <-- A typical criticism that the far right often levels against the far left.

"I did the right thing, Rick!" Morty replies. They drag on an argument about who's fault it is they're in the situation they're in, Rick pushing on Morty the point that everything is Morty's fault because he just wanted to play Roy at Blips and Chitz.

Jerry's playing poker with three other Jerries down in the grungy basement. He's playing with goatee Jerry, wife beater shirt Jerry, and shirtless skin head Jerry. He's trying to pitch the idea that they shouldn't have to take this:

"You know what? Screw it! I've got a better gamble for you guys. I say, we escape."

Goatee Jerry: "If you wanna leave, you can just go out the front door."

Wife Beater Shirt Jerry: "You think we're kept here against our will? That would be illegal."

Jerry C-137: "But if you can leave, then why are you still here?"

Skin Head Jerry: "Same reason as you [looks at Wife Beater Shirt Jerry], we're Jerries."

Jerry C-137, intend on proving he's a different kind of Jerry, gets up, goes upstairs, and walks out the front door, no one stopping him.

Rick and Morty's high speed chase continues. More guns pop out on Rick's ship. Rick shoots down more cops. He then gets Morty to take the wheel. They hop seats and Morty, not yet in full control, rocks the ship a bit, causing Rick to topple over.

"Geez, dammit, Morty, who taught you to fly this thing?! Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm kidding. I know that's on me." <-- Funny how he takes the blame here but not anywhere else? Maybe because in this case, nothing terrible happened. But in the case of people blowing up and Gear Town getting destroyed, Rick wants no part of the blame for that.

Then a giant ship comes down in front of them, essentially blocking the avenue down which they're traveling. Fart flies out the window after asking Morty to crack it for him. He flies into one of the cop ships:



^ Did Fart intend for all that to happen? All he did was telepathically inject a vision of the cop catching his girlfriend and his best friend in bed with each other. Was he also controlling his mind when he decided to crash his ship into another ship? I don't think so. Otherwise, why even bother giving him the vision? So somehow Fart calculated with flawless precision the chain of physical events--from ships crashing into other ships, to towers toppling over, to loose gears ricocheting off things and getting jammed inside the large ship causing it to explode--that would occur simply by making the cop feel suicidal. Or was he just expecting something to happen--anything--so long as it was destructive, to a greater or less extent, to the cops. Maybe he intended to drive each cop to suicide one by one, but through an incredibly lucky turn of events, he just had to do it to one.

Also notice that the song plays again in the background. Once again, it symbolizes Fart's menacing intend to destroy all carbon based life forms (are Gear People carbon based?).

And yes, probably around 1000 Gear People were killed--just so that Morty could save a telepathic fart (the same who killed the bulk of them).

After cracking a few fart joke (almost as if he likes Fart now), Rick shouts out as Morty flies off: "Let's get to the Promethean Nebula, so my grandson can finish saving a life!!!"

^ The irony.

^ But it's interesting to note that after this scene, Rick seems all gung ho about this misadventure of theirs--it not only seems like he's on board with Fart being on board, but he's also proud of his grandson and his values (the obvious irony of the whole situation notwithstanding).



^ Jerry's attempted escape here reminds me of a very bad acid trip--like walking the streets of downtown on a Friday night on 8 tabs of LSD--and then he looks so dejected, so defeated, as he walks back into the Jerryboree. Now we understand what Skin Head Jerry meant when he said: "Same reason as you... we're Jerries." <-- Obviously, these Jerries have tried it before. And they know what they're up against, outside the Jerryboree. They know that, as Jerries, they can't hack it. So they stay here. Now Jerry C-137 knows it too.

It also indicates that the abandoned Jerries know themselves, which is why they're so scruffy and "bad ass". Typically, a Jerry has home to look forward to, a family and a society who are waiting for his return. <-- These Jerries have every reason to keep up the veneer of the trim and proper Jerry, the good Jerry who follows the rules and respects the social norms. But once a Jerry realizes he's been abandoned, there's no one left to impress but himself. So he finally relaxes and just acts like himself.

C-137 walks back into the nursery. The "abandoned" Jerries are all gather around a television trying to connect the cables. They manage to convince C-137 (and themselves) that the reason they stay at the Jerryboree is because "it's a hassle out there" and "who needs that".

Then Paul Fleischman shows up and introduces himself to C-137. There is a Paul Fleischman in real life. He's a children's book writer. He typically sports a beard, but without it, he'd probably look just like the character in this episode, so my guess is that this is the Paul Fleischman. It is convenient that he writes children's books since the Jerries here are being depicted as children.

He explains that in some timelines, Beth remarries:

"Don't worry, I treat Beth very well, and I do not overstep my bounds with Morty. Every kid needs a dad but there's no replacing you." <-- The irony being that there's tons of Jerries right in this room who could easily replace him, and particularly at the end where two Ricks swap their Jerries. It's also interesting that this Paul Fleischman became a surrogate father for Morty, indicating that though the Jerry he replaced was abandoned, at least his Morty survived and returned home (or never left). Either something happened to his Rick after dropping his Jerry off or he intended on leaving Jerry there. Either way, one has to wonder what Morty thinks of his father gone missing (or maybe he knows he was abandoned at the Jerryboree).

Fleischman invites Jerry C-137 to help them figure out how to attach the auxiliary audio cable to the TV. They are confused because there's two colors. So are all the other Jerries in the room, each one huddle together with a group of two or three other Jerries gathered around a different TV.

Rick, Morty, and Fart land on a life inhabited planet. Fart says: "The wormhole is 70 of what you call meters what you call north of what you call here." <-- The parody I mentioned of how Fart uses the English language. If he described telepathy to Rick and Morty with the words "...what you call telepathy," then why not use those words for every word in the English language. It makes sense if he uses these words when reading the minds of the people he talks to for a word he hasn't used before, but here Roiland and Harmon are obviously mocking their own script.

Rick: "Morty, take your Fart to his hole and say your goodbyes. I'm gonna find some fuel and take a biiig fat Morty. That's my new word for shit because of today's events." <-- A little less supportive of Morty at this point.

They find the wormhole hidden within a grove of trees. It's hovering about a meter off the ground looking like a giant vagina glowing blue, purple, and white. (I don't think this is typically what wormholes look like and I don't think they usually "hang around" specific spots just a few feet off the ground of some terrestrial terrain, but whatya gonna do, it's a stupid cartoon.)

Morty: "I'm gonna miss you... um... Fart. I-I-I'm really sorry your name became Fart."

Fart: "I will be back soon, Morty."

Morty: "Really? [joyfully]"

Fart: "After I return to the others with this location, we will be back for your cleansing."

Morty: "Um... cllleansing?"

Fart: "Carbon based life is a threat to all higher life. To us, you are what you would call a disease. Wherever we discover you, we cure it. You said yourself that life must be protected even through sacrifice. You haven't changed your mind about that, I can sense your thoughts... [Morty starts welling up with tears]... Morty."

^ Funny that he can sense Morty's convictions but not how Morty feels right now in response to these words.

Morty: "Um... before you go, could you sing a... c-could you sing for me again?"

Fart: "Yes, Morty."

Fart engulfs Morty just like last time. He brings him on the same trip through the psychedelic cosmos. This time, however, he abruptly halts half way through the song from a gun shot wound. It's Morty. He still has the anti-matter gun. He shoots Fart in one of the glowing gems strewn throughout his gaseous body. It disintegrates, eating away at the gas surrounding it.

Fart: "Morty... Why? Why?"

Morty shoots him square in the other gems. With all of them gone and the cloud around them disintegrated, Fart is no more.

This is the conservative message in this episode. Only at the end do we get it. It is a message of careless liberal thinking, of taking action and trying to change the world on principles that have been given absolutely no forethought, actions and attempts to change the world driven solely by unquestioned assumptions. Morty knows that Krombopulos Michael is going to kill someone, and killing is bad. He finds Krombopulos's target imprisoned in a galactic federation facility, and assumes he's an innocent victim. He listens to Fart's pleas to be released and to be taken home. He assumes nothing but good could come from that. The folly of Morty's reasoning is seen not only in the sheer volume of people who died in the pursuit of saving Fart's life, but in his total misjudgement of Fart himself. Fart turned out to be one of carbon based life's greatest threats, a genocidal predator to Morty and his kind. It now all makes sense why the gromflomites were holding him prisoner and why Krombopulos wanted to kill him. Krombopulos was actually on Morty's side, on all carbon based life's side. It's also obvious why the gromflomites were holding him prisoner--like Rick said: "Any species that gets a hold of this thing is gonna use it to take over the galaxy." The gromflomites were holding Fart prisoner, rather than kill him, only because they wanted to learn the secret of converting matter--how to make Fart into a regular Rumpelstiltskin. But all this flies right by Morty, at least until the end, for Morty, judging the situation at face value, believes that he knows what the right thing to do is, and doesn't give a second thought to the reasons why the situation is as it is in the first place, nor to any of the repercussions that might unfold as a consequence of his actions. This is exactly the central criticism that conservatists level against liberals.

It seems obvious from the pain on Morty's face as he kills what, until now, was one of his closest friends, that he realizes how wrong he was, and how foolish it was to utter those words: "It's how things should be. It's how they could be." In defending the maxim of putting all life ahead of one's own, Morty is simply imagining doing good for others, not literally sacrificing his life for others, let alone all carbon based life for a different kind of life. He doesn't fully comprehend the gravity of his words. He just knows that in moral matters, that's the right thing to say. It sounds good to the ear. It feels good to say. It's easy to take for granted as the right thing to do, as easy as a knee jerk reaction. But it only takes a second to think of possible counter-scenarios: should all life be put ahead of one's own? Are there not any circumstances under which this might not be the case? And more importantly, as much as it might sound like the right thing to do, would you be able to do it when push comes to shove? These questions only occur to Morty the moment after Fart explains his intentions to return with his kind to "cleanse" their corner of the cosmos of all carbon based life therein, only when he understands how much he ought to feel threatened? <-- That's more along the lines of conservatist thinking.

Morty comes back to Rick at the ship. Rick is loading green glowing rocks into the trunk of his ship (presumably for his "work"). They take off.

In space, Rick says: "Morty, I know I picked on your core beliefs and decision making a lot today, but I am glad you insisted on getting that fart home. You know, at least all the death and destruction wasn't for nothing, you know."

^ It's hard to tell whether Rick is being serious or sarcastic. He speaks to Morty in a tone that at least Morty could naively believe in. On the one hand, it could easily be construed as a mockery to say that all the death and destruction wasn't for nothing considering that there was a lot of death and destruction for the sake of one measly life form. On the other hand, it is true that at least something good came of this whole affair (at least in Rick's eyes); it would have been worse if after all the death and destruction they caused during the day, they couldn't even get Fart home. <-- But of course, this is the whole irony of the plot. Little does Rick know that Morty, at the end of the day, killed Fart. If there is anyone who should be struggling with cognitive dissonance here, it's Morty.

Morty kinda just sits there with a dejected look on his face, a guilty expression that betrays the difficulty with which he is trying to process this harsh lesson. But Rick takes it as a sign of simple longing, that Morty is sad to see Fart go (which he is, but for reasons far more complex than Rick realizes):

"You miss you're fart friend, huh? [ <-- almost as though he has compassion for Morty, some empathy for how Morty feels] Well, I got a little surprise for you, buddy. While you were gone, I found a wormhole with millions of beings just like him on the other side, and they're all coming to visit."

Morty: "What?! Rick, no! You can't!"

Rick: "Too late, Morty, the hole's opening."

Morty: "No, no, Rick, you don't understand!"

Then Rick let's one rip.

Rick: "There's [laughing], there's a lot more where that came from too."

^ It's not patently clear, but it seems like in these moments when Rick expresses some hints of compassion or sympathy for Morty's cause, he is being sarcastic... but such that he doesn't intend for Morty to actually pick up on the sarcasm, and maybe in a weird way make Morty feel good without having to admit to himself that he's compassionate and sympathetic towards his grandson.

They finally reunite with Jerry at the Jerryboree. The lobby is filled with Ricks, Morties, and Jerries--like parents picking up their kids at school.

"Glad you're safe, Jerry," Rick says, "Whatya say we go home?" <-- Rick actually telling Jerry that he's glad he's safe? Rick just might have a soft spot even for Jerry somewhere in that rotten heart of his.

The Rick we've been following through this episode says to another Rick: "Hey-hey bro, how many people was your Morty responsible for killing today?" The other Rick says, "None, we chilled at Blips and Chitz all day! [turns to his Morty holding out hand for hi-5] Ain't that right, homie?" "Darn right, bro! Roy rules!" And they walk off with their Jerry. "Must be nice," says the original Rick. <-- Obvious, the Morty we've been following this episode was the deviant. Most Morties, we are to presume, just chilled and went with the flow. The result was that he and his grandpa just had a good time--they bonded, they spent some quality time together, no one got hurt--which is exactly what Rick wanted all along. <-- And this fact, that this is all Rick wanted, shows that deep down inside, it's not Rick's desire or intention to drag Morty on these near death adventures or these traumatizing ordeals, but to simply have a good time with his grandson. The Morty we've been following is the one who fouled things up, not Rick. Because of his knee jerk reaction to a moral dilemma (which we are to presume was relatively unique across the Morties), he not only caused more death and destruction than could ever be justified, but ruined Rick's plan of just having a pleasant outing with his grandson.

I'm certain that the "glitch" that fouled up Rick's plan to have a good time at Blips and Chitz was Krombopulos Michael showing up at the passenger side door. Rick didn't intend for Morty to witness the sale. And it was only because Morty did witness it that he was all up in arms about the moral implications of selling a gun to an assassin. What made this Krombopulos Michael approach Rick at the passenger side door and not other Krombopulos Michaels is not clear.

The nurse (or care giver, or Jerry specialist, or whatever she is) brings their Jerry to them. Before they leave, however, another Rick comes up to them: "Hey wait, uh, do you have 5126?" Rick, the one we've been following, asks his Morty to pull out his ticket. Morty pulls out a Blips and Chitz ticket. The Ricks shrug it off and just whimsically decide to swap Jerries. "Uh... wait... what?" the Jerries say.

^ So from here on in, we're not ever going to be sure that the Jerry we're following is the same Jerry we've always been following... not that it matters... it's much like episode 6 of season 1: Morty very quickly gets habituated to the new reality Rick dragged him into. I'm sure each Jerry will do fine.

But what's a bit more interesting about this scene is that the Rick who asked if the other Rick had 5126 is the same Rick we saw at the beginning of the episode when they were dropping their Jerry off. There's a very quick instance in which we see their ticket:

Image

If the Rick asking for ticket #5126 is the same as the Rick who was given ticket #5126, then we have not been following Rick C-137 (or Morty C-137 for that matter) throughout the episode... that is, unless both pairs of Ricks and Morties went through the same misadventures (but we're not given that). We know that the Rick and Morty who got ticket #5126 were C-137s because Rick filled that out on the form at the beginning:

Image

So who knows what dimension the Rick and Morty we've been following in this episode are from.

But why? Why would Roiland and Harmon throw this twist at us. Well, maybe simple because they can. Maybe they want to send out a message to avid and discerning viewers that: you can't always assume you're following the same Rick and Morty, the C-137s. Maybe that's all we ought to glean from this. Who knows.

It also means it's uncertain which Jerry we've been following in this episode. Was he really Jerry C-137 or the Jerry belonging to the Rick and Morty who went through a crazy adventure trying to get Fart home. We may never know.

The post-credit scene consists of an advertisement for Blips and Chitz:



YES!!! Delivered in one post! After thoughts and philosophical questions coming next.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:30 pm

MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS:

Image

^ What's with those tubes coming out Krombopulos's backside and into his head--like they're literally plugged in to the back of his brain--why?

What's a Blip? What's a Chit? <-- Are these like tokens or snacks or the name of a video game? Or is it the names of the owners--like two alien business men? I doubt it. If that were the case, there'd be apostrophes: Blip's and Chit'z.

Did anyone catch the Meeseeks at Blips and Chitz?

As much as Morty might have been naive in his moral convictions, shouldn't we at least praise him for manning up and doing something about it even without Rick's help?

The anatomy of Fart: My initial thought was that Fart is made of anti-matter, which would be symbolic of why he wants to destroy all carbon-based life. Matter and anti-matter don't get along. They cancel each other out. This principle carries through to life itself--all carbon-based (i.e. matter) life and all anti-matter based life are driven to annihilate each other. But then on second thought, I realized this doesn't make sense. When Krombopulos says that he needs an anti-matter gun to destroy Fart, he must be thinking of the protective cloud around Fart rather that the exact substance Fart is made of. Why? Because it just doesn't make sense that anti-matter cancels out anti-matter--if anything, they would affect each other in the same way ordinary matter would affect ordinary matter (I mean, sure, a matter bullet can kill a matter organism, just as an anti-matter bullet can kill an anti-matter organism, but this is not the same physical law of matter and anti-matter cancelling each other out--which I'm saying is what's being symbolized here). So instead I have another theory: the reason Krombopulos needs an anti-matter gun is because Fart would just transform any ordinary matter that passes through his protective cloud into something innocuous. And if anti-matter passes through the cloud, not only will Fart be incapable of transforming it, but it will cancel out the matter of which his glowing gems--the real body of Fart--are made.

And on that note, is the protective cloud around Fart a symbol of the difference between Rick and Fart? Fart is obviously very open and forthcoming; Rick is closed off and hides his true thoughts and feelings from others. Rick puts up a thick, impenetrable shield--the ultimate in hard, solid matter--oblique to the world; Fart puts up a thin, very penetrable shield--the ultimate in soft, gaseous matter--completely transparent to the world. Rick's strategy of self-defense is to keep people out; Fart's strategy of self-defense is to welcome people in and transform them in the process--like he transformed oxygen to gold. Fart indoctrinates his victims with airy fairy flights of fancy; Rick hits his victims with the hard material truth.

And it's ironic that Fart earned his name after one of the worst parts of biological life that we humans imagine. Farts are not only something we humans regard as disgusting but insignificant events in the grand scheme of things. <-- Certainly not a "higher form of life." Yet ironically, Fart likes this name and embraces it--ironic because if he deems all carbon-based life as beneath him--a disease in his words--then what must be think of this name if he knew what even us carbon-based life forms think of this, one of our own, biological functions? Yet, what does it matter? Even if Fart knew what a "fart" actually was, would he think of it as disgusting? Why would he? To him, it would come across as just another arbitrary biological phenomenon--it certainly wouldn't be "stinky"--what would he know of putrid smells, let alone smells period? Rather than feel embarrassed by suddenly learning what his name means, he might just as well ask us: why are you ashamed of it?

When Rick says that Fart can't go through portals because he's gaseous, this is more that a quick gimmick on the part of the writers to give an excuse for why they have to escape in their ship--it actually makes some sense: when Rick fires his portal gun, the plasma blast doesn't actually become a portal until it hits something solid--that is, it passes through all the air before it opens up. <-- Obviously, gas and the portal-opening plasma don't interact--like neutrinos and matter. It's questionable if this is true of liquids as well, but I would think so give that Rick (we presume) flooded the room at the establishment at which Fart was being held prisoner by firing his portal gun to the bottom of some body of water. If the portal-opening plasma turns into a portal upon hitting liquid, Rick could not do this (the alternative to this is that he fired his gun on dry land and then dump a huge body of water into it). But then one has to ask: how would the water pass through the portal at all--that is, once it hit the bottom of the body of water and flooded the gromflomite establishment? One also has to ask: what happens to all the liquid in Rick and Morty's bodies when they pass through a portal. What would happen to their blood, for example? Wouldn't it just spill out on the other side of the portal while the rest of their bodies passed into another dimension, completely dry and more or less dead? And what about all the gas in their bodies, for that matter? If Rick is telling the truth that gas cannot pass through his portals, then we know something's not consistent here: if they walk through the portal with lungs full of air, would they be forced to leave that air behind as they passed through the portal? I mean, it wouldn't kill them. They'd just have to inhale again upon emerging out the other side. But then again, the air in their lungs is not the only gaseous molecules in their bodies. I'm sure there must be some molecules in their bodies, other than the air in their lungs, that, if suddenly depleted, would at the very least disrupt their biological functioning... but I think I'm asking too much of Roiland and Harmon. <-- This is only science fiction after all.

Finally, it's interesting that not only did Morty go through two "trips" in this episode (three if you count the repeat trip Fart took him on at the end), but that Jerry sort of went on a trip during his escape as well--not that it was literally a mind altered state, but it might as well have been. So Morty goes on a "Roy" trip at first, which is just bewildering and core shaking, then he goes on an ecstatic trip with Fart, and Jerry meanwhile goes on a terrifying trip from which he evades. So a mixed trip, a good trip, and a bad trip.

Still not sure how the overall meaning of the Roy trip ties into the greater themes and meanings of the episode in general. Even if we go with the theory that Roy represents what Morty's life would be should Rick have never entered into it, it still isn't obvious what that has to do with themes of conversatism vs. liberalism, or carbon based life vs. higher life, or knee jerk reaction morality vs. informed and carefully contemplated morality, etc. Does the trip Fart took Morty on shed any light on this question? For me, not really. I mean, I guess you could say that both trips involved what life *could* be like--the Roy trip involving what life could be like without Rick, the Fart trip involving what life could be like as a higher being. Another element that might shed some light on the connection between the meaning of the Roy scene and the overall themes and meanings of the episodes is Blips and Chitz itself. <-- I'm wondering if Blips and Chitz is symbolic of anything--the random chaos of life, perhaps, or maybe that life is just a game, not real, perhaps that life could be fun if we just didn't worry, like Morty, about moral atrocities and such. Since the Roy scene is nested in the whole Blips and Chitz scene, and since the Blips and Chitz scene is nest in the overall episode, perhaps its the symbolism of Blips and Chitz that I'm missing and that, if deciphered, would make the connection between the Roy scene and the overall episode more clear.

Finally, I wonder if the psychedelic trip that Fart took Morty on was supposed to be a symbol of how psychedelic drugs are often thought to bring one to a "higher state of consciousness"--that is, a state that would presumably be shared by Fart and his kind, by beings who possess that state of mind as a normal way of life.
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Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:49 am

MORE THOUGHTS:

The Jerryboree and the Citadel of Ricks--A Comparison: both places where each character gathers with other versions of themselves. Yet we see opposite effects coming out of each. Where most Ricks hate each other, most Jerries end up liking each other. The only Jerries who maybe don't are the abandoned one's, but even they don't really show signs of hating each other, just not caring about life. And like the Rickest Rick, the abandoned Jerries are most "themselves". Without anyone else to impress, there is nothing left for them to do but to be themselves. One can almost say that these are the Jerries who have "grown up"--all Jerries who believe they still have a home to go back to remain children, waiting to resume their pampered lives.

How many abandoned Jerries were abandoned due to Morty losing the ticket.

This episode is about a loss of innocence for Morty--partying at Blips and Chitz, going on psychedelic trips, and going against his own morals at the end. The look on Morty's face when Rick is (sarcastically) consoling Morty about losing his friend is that of a guilty conscience. I think this guilt is going to stay with him for the rest of the series. He's becoming more Rick-like every day.

^ And think about how Morty killed Fart. He snapped himself out of a trip right in the middle of it. He lured Fart in with the invitation to sing to him one more time, and used that to his advantage, carefully watching for the opportune moment in the trip to snap himself out of it and pull the trigger. I wonder how much playing the game Roy paid off here, how much experience at dealing with trips it gave him. <-- Another way he's becoming more like Rick.

I find it interesting how Rick was able to shut Fart up when he first tried to read his mind for the name of the Promethean Nebula: "get out of my head, Fart, I know you're in here, la, la, la". It's as if Rick has learned that when Fart begins a sentence with "what you call..." it's time to block out the telepathy.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

“Everyone is always like ‘how do you feel about feminism? how do you feel about feminism?’ and it’s like maybe I don’t wanna fucking talk about feminism, maybe I just wanna be a female producer, because it’s like even being a female producer is so rare it drives people fucking crazy. It’s like my sheer existence is like a political act, I think, to a lot of people. It’s not to me.”

- Claire Boucher
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