The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Moderator: Only_Humean

Forum rules
Forum Philosophy

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:07 pm

My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:43 am

Why am I doing this:

gib wrote:Rick and Morty - S1E4 - M. Night Shaym-Aliens! <-- Title of post

Rick and Morty - M. Night Shaym-Aliens!. <-- Link to video


I'm going to start doing this:

gib wrote:Rick and Morty - M. Night Shaym-Aliens! <-- Title is link
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:08 am

Going back to Lawnmower Dog, there's something I'm wondering:

When Ruben explodes all over the US and it starts raining blood, is this supposed to have religious connotation? What would you think if on Christmas it started raining blood? It's exactly at that moment when Jerry decides to give up his ambitions for wholesome "connecting" at Christmas and just go with the flow. I'm wondering if he took it as a sign that if God wasn't going to make this Christmas "traditional", then who is he to try?

Just a thought.

Now back to M. Night Shaym-Aliens, there's something I'm wondering:

The post-credit scene: Rick comes up to Morty's room and let's him know that he's a good kid, followed by knife to the throat, followed by reiterating that he's a good kid. I think the first show of affection (when he came stumbling into the room) was a setup. I think Rick, just coming home from the Zigerion's now-exploded spaceship (and having finished his mickey) gets the drunken idea to test Morty just to be absolutely sure he's not still in the simulation. He comes in acting all affectionate, hoping to lower Morty's guard, and then pounces on him. The second show of affection, however, I think was genuine, almost like a confirmation to himself that this was the real Morty (not to be confused with the one true Morty :lol:).

^ You never know with Rick. The minute he shows real human feeling, you gotta wonder what he's up to.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Ultimate Philosophy 1001 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:41 pm

gib wrote:
Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:We shall "see".


Indeed, Trixie, indeed.

BTW, have you talked to Chakra yet? He claims to have actually seen a whole new color (but can't remember it).


He's been afk for quite a while now, and the mods have removed my PM ability.
trogdor
User avatar
Ultimate Philosophy 1001
BANNED
 
Posts: 8312
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:57 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:46 am

Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:He's been afk for quite a while now, and the mods have removed my PM ability.


Have you been abusing your PM privileges, Trixie?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby James S Saint » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:13 am

Why do I keep thinking Mork and Mendy? :-?
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
James S Saint
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 25760
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:50 am

You know, James and Trixie, I've been thinking:

I think the color purple is proof that the brain can invent new colors. In fact, any non-primary color is. See, the eye can only really see three colors: red, green, and blue. In order for the brain to mix these colors and get things like orange, yellow, brown, and yes, purple, it has to create new ones out of the primary three.

It has to invent the experience of seeing a color that would make one behave and speak as though it saw a color mid-way between red and green (for example). There is no color receptor in the eye for yellow, but if the brain receives the right amount of signal from the red receptors and the right amount from the green receptors, it will produce the visual experience of seeing yellow.

Purple was an especially tricky one for the brain to create because it is stimulated by both the red receptors and the blue receptors in the eye, and if you look at any ordinary linear color spectrum, you find that exactly mid-way between red and blue, you have a kind of yellow-ish/green. But this color is already produced by the brain as a mix of a certain amount of red and a certain amount of green. So it is already spoken for. In order to invent a new color, the brain had to somehow come up with something that actually looks like a mix of red and blue. That way, the organism can distinguish between when it is seeing a mix of red & green versus a mix of red & blue. It pulled it off with purple. Somehow, purple looks exactly mid-way between red and blue without being a yellowish/green. The brain can invent whatever experience it wants. The only condition is that the neural circuitry for such an experience causes behavior and speech as if the organism was having that experience.

This is the only reason we can draw the color spectrum as a circle--the brain invented two colors that stand mid-way between red and blue.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby James S Saint » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:11 am

gib wrote:You know, James and Trixie

I know one of them.
gib wrote: I've been thinking:

:lol: ..yeah right...


Btw, detecting and naming a color (or anything else), is not "inventing", but "discovering".
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
James S Saint
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 25760
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Only_Humean » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:22 am

It's not even discovering, it's just naming.

Some cultures have the same word for green and blue. They can obviously see the difference between grass and sky, they just denote them with the same word.

English speakers see red and pink as different colours. Russians do too, but they have exactly the same with blue - navy and sky blue are not different shades, but different colours.

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6193
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby James S Saint » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:29 am

Only_Humean wrote:Philosophy [Society] is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
James S Saint
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 25760
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:12 pm

James S Saint wrote:
gib wrote:You know, James and Trixie


I know one of them.


Don't tell me you don't know our beloved Trixie!

James S Saint wrote:Btw, detecting and naming a color (or anything else), is not "inventing", but "discovering".


That would be the case if you bought into what I call the "window to reality" view of consciousness (a.k.a. "naive realism"). The color yellow is just there on the banana, and we merely see it. But my view is what I call the "system of experiences" view--I say consciousness, with its subjective experiences, creates the reality of what it experiences. Therefore, the color yellow is invented first by consciousness (all colors are, even the primary ones). But since this makes it real, we inadvertently end up "discovering" it out in reality. The point is: invention first, then discovery--not the other way around.

Now, I'll agree that the self doesn't invent its own experiences, at least not all of them, but that's because I believe the self is just another artifact of mind being created like everything non-self that we experience. That is, I distinguish between consciousness and self. I prefer to define the "self" in relatively conventional terms--as the person I see in the mirror. For me, the self definitely has a physical presence on top of a mental/spiritual one. It's being projected by the mind just like trees, cars, and tin cans. So in that sense, it makes perfect sense to say "I'm not inventing that, I'm just discovering it."

But naming a color definitely is inventing.

Only_Humean wrote:English speakers see red and pink as different colours. Russians do too, but they have exactly the same with blue - navy and sky blue are not different shades, but different colours.


We do something similar with brown. Brown is really a very dark yellowish/orange.

James S Saint wrote:Philosophy [Society] is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)


So society tries to prevent our intelligence from being bewitched?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Ultimate Philosophy 1001 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:30 pm

gib wrote:
Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:He's been afk for quite a while now, and the mods have removed my PM ability.


Have you been abusing your PM privileges, Trixie?


Not anymore. I am an upstanding citizen now.
trogdor
User avatar
Ultimate Philosophy 1001
BANNED
 
Posts: 8312
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:57 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Only_Humean » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:34 pm

James S Saint wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Philosophy [Society] is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)


I'm surprised you substitute Society in for Philosophy and not language :)
Image

The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.
- Brian Eno
User avatar
Only_Humean
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 6193
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am
Location: Right here

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Arminius » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:28 am

Only_Humean wrote:
James S Saint wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:Philosophy [Society] is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)


I'm surprised you substitute Society in for Philosophy and not language :)

Yes. language fits.
Image
User avatar
Arminius
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5681
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:51 pm
Location: Saltus Teutoburgiensis

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby Arminius » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:39 am

Only_Humean wrote:Some cultures have the same word for green and blue. They can obviously see the difference between grass and sky, they just denote them with the same word.

English speakers see red and pink as different colours. Russians do too, but they have exactly the same with blue - navy and sky blue are not different shades, but different colours.

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. :)

I guess, you know something about the linguistic relativity, Only Humean.
Image
User avatar
Arminius
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5681
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:51 pm
Location: Saltus Teutoburgiensis

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:44 am

Rick and Morty - S1E5 - Meeseeks and Destroy

Unlike all the other episodes so far, Episode 5 begins right in the thick of a terrifying action-packed climax to another one of Rick and Morty's insane adventures. It begins with the fearless duo on some kind space station trying to escape from the rest of the family--or at least "clones from an alternate reality possessed by demonic alien spirits from another dimension's future." Morty knows what he has to do to destroy them, but he can't because "they're [his] parents and sister." But Rick manages to convince him and Morty does what he has to do. The adventure ends with the duo returning to their "home" reality, where his "real" family are without any thing possessing them, with the demonic alien spirits contained in what looks like the ghost trap from Ghostbusters. Morty runs to the corner of the garage and pukes because of how traumatizing the whole experience was. After purging himself, Morty has a few stern words with Rick, talking about how "adventures are supposed to be simple and fun," not "crazy and chaotic," to which Rick responds "That's real easy to say from the side-kick position, but, but, uh, how 'bout next time why don't you be in charge and we'll talk about how simple and fun it is." Morty actually gets a kick out of this idea, saying "Seriously Rick? You'll let me call the shots?" to which Rick agrees--on the condition that if Morty's adventure turns out to be lame and boring, he loses the right to bitch (and do his laundry for a month). Morty ups the ante with the condition that if his adventure is awesome, he gets to be in charge of every 3rd one, to which Rick comes back with: every 10th (personally, I thought this would be a prelude to every season--you know, one episode in every season being Morty's--but season 2 proved this wrong).

I take this whole intro scene to be a kind of "leap" to a higher level of understanding of the whole Rick and Morty theme: it's almost as if it were saying "Ok, by now, we know what Rick and Morty is all about--they go on crazy and chaotic adventures, visit other dimensions and alien planets, dive into alternate worlds and sci-fi realities, and every time they do, they encounter monsters, dangers, and terrifying experiences like 'demonic alien spirits'. It's time we kick it up a notch, add a twist, and maybe do a sort of 'meta-analysis' on this theme--have an in-depth look at what an adventure is all about." This is what this episode is going to examine. It's going to look at certain misconceptions (Morty's) of what an adventure is really all about. And this is also why I think this episode marks a turning point in the series beyond which each episode is no longer just a series of isolated adventures; the first three (plus the pilot), therefore, count as just samples of what the entire series has in store for us, but there are going to be deeper and continuous themes that make the entire storyline more interesting than just that. This episode in particular isn't quite up to those specs but it does count, in my mind, as the turning point after which we will begin to see this playing out.

On another note, there is in this episode, as always, the parallel storyline involving Jerry as the central figure, and in fact the title of this episode--Meeseeks and Destroy--is, like Lawnmower Dog, an exclusive allusion to this secondary storyline. But I suppose there is an interesting twist here as well--we will see, for the first time in the series, Jerry "manning up"--but like the main storyline, not quite in the full sense of the term.

The Meeseeks theme here refers to the "Meeseeks"--a kind of being or creature who, like a Jeanie from a magic lamp when rubbed, can be summoned by one of Rick's inventions--a box that produces a Meeseeks out of thin air when a button on it is pressed. Rick explains to the family after they come barging in making stupid requests they could easily fulfill themselves if they just put a little effort in:

"You press this [a Meeseeks appears and says "I'm Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!"], you make a request: Mr. Meeseeks, open Jerry's stupid mayonnaise jar ["Yessiree!"]; the Meeseeks fulfills the request ["All done!" Jerry: "Wow!"] and then stops existing [Meeseeks "poofs" out of existence]... Knock yourselves out. Just *burp* keep your requests simple, they're not go-*burp*-ds."

They gladly accept the Meeseeks box except for Morty who, more eager to take on Rick's challenge, ushers them out in a hurry: "I've got a bet to win!"

Gathered around the dining room table, Jerry, Beth, and Summer contemplate the box, speculating on, as Beth says, all the possibilities. Jerry tries to remind the family of what Rick said: keep it simple. They don't listen. Before Jerry even finishes his sentence, Summer hits the button first. The Meeseeks appears and she makes her request: "I want to be popular at school!" followed by Beth who requests: "I-I-I want to be a more complete woman!" They both walk off with their respective Meeseeks to fulfill their requests, leaving Jerry to take his time to contemplate his request before rashly jumping into it, saying to himself "You guys are doing it wrong... he said simple."



Here again, we will see the irony of Jerry's life: his attempt to keep it simple results in his request (taking 2 strokes off his golf game) being the most complex to fulfill while Beth's and Summer's, though seeming virtually impossible to fulfill in any simple way, being extraordinarily easy to meet. And once again, the reason will be because Beth and Summer simply go with the (Meeseeks') flow (in fact, Summer doesn't have to do anything--she just has to watch the Meeseeks make a speech to the school that wins them over--I suppose it's the whole school that "goes with the flow").

Jerry has the toughest time taking the Meeseek's advice--everything from "square your shoulders," "keep your head down," to "you gotta relax"--to which (later) he responds: "Have you ever tried to relax? It is a paradox!"--which, again, reveals something about his personality--he tries, he believes in trying, and this is the main crux of his problem: it means he can't relax. But in golf, the key is to relax--only by enjoying the game, or anything, and taking it easy does one perform well. This is also why Beth's and Summer's requests are so easy to fulfill--by going with the flow, they are able to relax, making the Meeseek's end of the job simple. Ultimately, Rick was right--the Meeseeks aren't Gods--they can only do so much--but it requires the cooperation of the other to fully meet the latter's request, and if the latter can't follow through, even the simplest of requests can't be fulfilled.

In fact, Jerry's inability to relax is the impetus for the whole premise of "Meeseeks and Destroy"--the Meeseeks assigned to help Jerry with his golf game gets a little desperate to achieve his goal--you see, Meeseeks have one motive and one motive only--to end their existence--and they know that the only way to do so is to fulfill the request of their summoner--for after that, they disappear. Existence is painful to a Meeseeks, but at least the pain is only experienced after a certain amount of prolonged existence--at first, they seem fine with being brought into existence, but the hope is that the request asked of them will be easy to fulfill, for then they don't have to spend too much time existing. But in Jerry's case, everything the Meeseeks advises seems to fail. So the Meeseeks takes an extra measure: he summons a Meeseeks for himself:



Now while all this is going on, Morty is trying to win a bet. Rick is being pretty honorable, keeping his word and letting Morty call the shots (though still dishing out rude sarcasm at every turn), but the adventure is starting out pretty lame. It starts out kind of comical, actually--the setting is a medieval village with a flute and a lyre playing in the background, like something out of a children's fantasy book, with dragons, sorcerers, and giant bean stocks--in fact, Morty calls it a "quest," not an "adventure".

This is Morty's idea of what an adventure *should* be--something simple and easy--no life threatening "demonic alien spirits"--you know, something he can handle. Rick, on the other hand, is totally unimpressed. They do find a giant atop a magic bean stock, however, whom they are told has riches that could bring the villagers they first encountered out of their poverty (remember: this is Morty calling the shots). But this is where things start to get a little hairy. When the giant comes stomping into the room uttering the quintessential giant slogan "Fe fi fo fum..." they hide behind a giant cookie jar and Rick says, holding up his portal gun, "I'll take us home right now, you just say the word." However, Morty doesn't give up so easily. He says, "No way Rick, this is all part of it. Adventures have conflict--deal with it." <-- So it's not like Morty buckles under the slightest pressure. He knows he's up against a challenge and he knows he has to stick it out, so he presses on.

Rick does keep putting the offer on the table though: he keeps reminding Morty, through the episode, that at any time, if things get too hairy, he can take them both back home with his portal gun. Morty keeps declining the offer, however, and keeps going. In a sense, this serves as a kind of "safety net"--like training wheels on a bike; though Morty keeps declining, he knows he can bail any time he wants--unlike if he were alone, or unlike if he were Rick on one of his adventures (yes, Rick always has his portal gun too--*sort of*--*kind of*--but as we will learn later in the series, the threats that loom over Rick's life are cross-dimensional and can't be made to go away by jumping through a portal).

Anyway, as I said, in the giant's fortress is where things get hairy--right after his quintessential giant utterance--"Fe fi fo fum"--the unexpected happens (and this is key--the unexpected--for the adventure at this point takes a turn completely away from any formulaic fairy tale)--the giant slips on a patch of water on the ground, hits his head on the corner of the table, and bleeds to death on the floor--quite graphic for a children's fairy tale--and I think this is the impression the writer's wanted us to have: that of a bit of shock. I mean, it's nothing compared to some of the more gruesome and violent movie scenes that most adults are used to, but this is why I say it's the unexpected that is key. We certainly don't expect this fairy tale adventure to feature blood gushing out of a giant's head as he bleeds to death all over the floor--would you read such a fairy tale to your children?--and because we don't expect that, we are unprepared, caught off guard, and thus the scene does shock us just a little more than usual.

This is, I would think, what we are to presume Morty experiences--Morty's reaction is that of slightly more heightened shock compared to his "deal with it" just a moment before (even though, ironically, the threat is now extinguished)--and it is a sort of testament to the character of reality: fairy tales tell us how adventures are *supposed* to pan out, reality doesn't care--and yes, they are in an alternate reality, but no less a reality than any other. The point here, I think, is that even if you had the ability to jump to any reality you want, escape whatever hardship you want, you will never escape reality's thwarting of your expectations. So long as it as a reality, it will dictate its terms on you, not the other way around.

Well, if Morty thinks at this point that things can't get any hairier, they do: the giant's wife comes in carrying their now fatherless baby (adding to the impression that this is no children's fairy tale) and says "Oh Jesus, Dale!... You sons of bitches!" and traps them in a drinking glass. Scene cuts to Rick and Morty getting mug shots in a giant police ward. The mood is swiftly turned inside out--from exciting fairy tale adventure to serious trouble. They are now in a very sticky bind from which it is almost certain they can't escape (Rick's portal gun is confiscated, in fact). Rick, as usual, isn't phased by this--he simply continues with the sarcasm and digs into Morty: "Oh boy, Morty, you're really showing me how it's done. Reee--*burp*--aaal straight forward and fun."

But reality can be just as merciful as it can be cruel--just before it seems the duo are doomed to spend the rest of their lives in giant prison, a giant lawyer from a "tiny person's advocacy group" enters the court and produces a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Rick and Morty were never read their rights. Lucky break! Again, it's not so much that reality is harsh, it's that it defies expectation.

And to be fair to Morty, at no point did he lose his cool or his optimism--even after the judge announced his (unofficial) opinion that the two were guilty, Morty says to Rick: "We're gonna be okay, Rick."

Now on their way back down (the court is still up in the clouds), they stop in a tavern cut into the side of the steps (they're climbing down a giant set of stairs) to take a break. Morty digs into Rick at the table--kind of a moment of cheering for the underdog in my opinion--that is, in the sense that Rick had it coming and Morty is in the right to tell Rick off:

"You keep heckling my adventure Rick! You know why?! [Uh, because it's lame?] It's because you're petty, you know?! How many times have I had to follow you into some nonsensical bull crap?! I always roll with the punches, Rick! Why can't you?!"

Morty makes a pretty good point here. He does always roll with the punches, the best he can. But Rick here is going out of his way to be snide and pessimistic. At the beginning, when the adventure was innocent and relatively harmless, Rick called it lame; when they were in the thick of danger, seemingly with no way out, Rick blamed Morty for fucking up, and now that they're free of all that due to a stroke of luck, relaxing at a pub, Rick is still calling Morty's adventure lame. No matter what happens, Rick refuses to play fair. Rick really does owe Morty something here. If not just a little respect, then some show of good sportsmanship for the fact that they got through the thick of it--and it was pretty damn thick--without Morty giving up. But this is Rick refusing to swallow his pride, which is not much more than we can expect from him.

Anyway, Morty takes a break to go to the bathroom where he meets Mr. Jelly Bean (literally a giant walking talking jelly bean). After explaining to Mr. Jelly Bean that he and his grandpa are on an adventure but he thinks it might have gone too far off the rails, Mr. Jelly Bean says "Isn't that what adventures do?" Morty replies "Hey, you know what? You're right. Everything's going fine. I just gotta relax and go with the flow." Now, although this is a sound point--kinda the whole gist of the episode--things once again get a little hairy at this point--really hairy--in fact, I'm inclined to say Morty finally learns a lesson here that highlights the irony of what he just said: everything's going fine because adventures are supposed to go off the rails. <-- He doesn't get it. Imagine yourself on a train and it's going off the rails. Is everything going "fine"? Yes, adventures are supposed to go off the rails, but that doesn't make them fine. The point of an adventure is that things don't go fine--things go South, things become not okay--you must be afraid, you must be traumatized, you must reach that breaking point at which you just want out (wishing you had a portal gun)--what Morty doesn't get is that if you're having fun, that's not quite the idea of an adventure (though it will very much seem like it). So far Morty has managed to keep it together, to stay positive and in control (at least of his determination)--he hasn't reached his "freaking out" point--which means he hasn't really experienced an actual adventure--he hasn't yet lost control, he hasn't yet given up his conviction that things are going the way they're "supposed" to (i.e. how he expects them to)--yet the message he takes home from Mr. Jelly Bean is that just because adventures are supposed to go off the rails that means things are okay--which is a complete oxymoron if you think about it.

This is what Mr. Jelly Bean subsequently challenges--not that this is his intention, but that he puts Morty into a position in which he can't possibly think of this as okay, a position that compels Morty to regard it as something that should never happen again. What does Mr. Jelly Bean do? He attempts to rape Morty. He begins by trying to persuade Morty to "go with the flow" which, if Morty new what he was talking about just a second ago, he would just do in order to make this a "proper adventure". But the thought of being raped doesn't even show up on Morty's radar as something that's "supposed" to happen on an adventure, so he is compelled to resist. Mr. Jelly Bean pushes him into one of the stalls, telling him "Stop being such a fucking tease, you sweet little twat!" (<-- yeah, not really a child's fairy tale anymore).

Morty is in a position now in which he has no training wheels--no portal gun with which he can escape to a different reality, no protective mentor like Rick to swoop in and rescue him--he's pretty much fucked (well, not yet but pretty soon). Where is Rick right now? He's out at the bar having a good time (believe it or not)--there's a brief scene while this is going on in which Rick is singing on stage: "Sweet home Alabama!"--and then later, reaping in his winnings at a lucky hand of poker with the pub locals.

^ It's a real contrast of irony--both are learning valuable lessons here: Morty, that adventures can't always be all fun and games if they are to be adventures at all, and Rick, that adventures can't just be all misery and cynicism, that you've gotta have a little fun sometimes and (in this case literally) make a game out of it.

Luckily for Morty, he gets out of it by (basically) beating the shit out of Mr. Jelly Bean. This is not so much Morty "dealing with it" but Morty reacting to survival instincts. He manages to knock Mr. Jelly Bean out by repeatedly slamming his head on the rim of the toilet with the toilet seat. Then he leaves the bathroom.



Morty reconvenes with Rick, who is winning at a game of poker with the locals, and immediately, the first words out of Rick are: "Oh hey Morty, listen, I'm really sorry about all the stuff I said earlier about your adventure earlier. I'm having a good time, Morty. It's not so bad." to which Morty responds: "Let's just go home, okay? I'm calling it. The adventure's over." <-- It's interesting as both character's, in this brief interim, have completely done a 180 in their respective attitudes. As Morty admits defeat in the bet and asks to be taken home via Rick's portal gun, Rick catches a glimpse of Mr. Jelly Bean stumbling out of the bathroom and wondering off (as if not wanting to draw attention). It's obvious from Rick's discerning eye that he's putting together what just happened: Morty seems obviously defeated and is admitting that he lost the bet while this Mr. Jelly Bean stumbles out of the washroom looking all beat up: they must have had an altercation in the washroom (not sure if Rick infers attempted rape per se) and that Morty has evidently learned a lesson, the lesson that Rick wanted him to learn. So being in the good mood that Rick is already in, and finally being able to take in the satisfaction that Morty has learned this valuable lesson about the nature of adventures (I'm not going to say: because he won the bet), he shows a bit of compassion for Morty and actually goes out of his way to be a good sport:

Rick: "Listen Morty, I just won a bunch of Schmeckles. Why don't we use 25 of them to pay Slippery Stair her for a ride back down to the village and we'll give the rest of the schmeckles to the villagers, huh?"

Morty: "Really?"

Rick: "Sure Morty, yeah. You know, a good adventure needs a good ending."

(According to https://www.reddit.com/r/rickandmorty/c ... alue_of_a/, this is the proper spelling of "schmeckles".)

This is interesting, not only because Rick is now calling Morty's adventure "good" but because, all of a sudden, when Rick is in a good mood, and in charge, the resolution to the adventure becomes obvious, plain in sight. While Morty was talking about getting some treasure somehow, from somewhere, right before they faced the ominous giants steps down, Rick conjures up a simple and elegant solution right there on the spot as soon as he feels motivated to do so (plus an easy way to get down the steps to boot).

Now back to the parallel story about Jerry's difficulty with his golf swing, the problem has multiplied beyond control. The original Meeseeks summoned to help Jerry with his problem has set off a chain reaction whereby each new Meeseeks that the one before summons to aid in the problem summons another Meeseeks of his own. I haven't counted, but looking at the clips of the Meeseeks all gathered together in the Smith's living room, I'd say there are at least 20 of them--none of whom can make any more headway than the other in their ultimate goal to knock 2 strokes off Jerry's golf game. They are gathered together in angst over the fact that none of them can grant Jerry his request--and this is a big deal to a Meeseeks--they've been in existence for quite while in Meeseeks time, and that means they're getting desperate. For a Meeseeks, this literally drives them insane.

Before we get to that, however, a little backtracking is in order to explain Beth's Meeseeks experience (the series has not delved into Beth's life in nearly as much depth as Jerry's, Rick's, or Morty's at this point, but in this episode, it starts to--apologies to Summer, but the two seasons don't really present her as a deep character at all). In their effort to make Beth a "more complete woman," she and her Meeseeks have a meaningful talk over a glass of wine over lunch at some fancy restaurant. Beth summarizes her life story to the Meeseeks:

Beth: "I got pregnant at 17 [with Summer]. And I still put myself through veterinary school. Yes, I'm successful, but... what if I hadn't... I'm just saying, somewhere along the way, I lost that wide-eyed girl from Muskegon."

Meeseeks: "She's still there, Beth."

Beth: "Well... her waistline isn't. [snicker]"

Meeseeks: "Beth [grabs her hand], having a family doesn't mean you stop being an individual. You know the best thing you can do for people who depend on you? Be honest with them, even if it means setting them free."

Beth: "[tearing up] You're saying I should leave Jerry. [The Meeseeks didn't say anything of the sort--Beth just added that in.] I can't believe I'm finally having this conversation."

Beth leans in to kiss the Meeseeks only for him to disappear just before it happens, signifying that he fulfilled his purpose. Beth's words are very telling: she's finally having this conversation, as if it had been repressed this whole time, as if it's what she's always needed to set herself free--to become a more complete woman. However, like Jerry in the simulation of M. Night Shaym-Aliens when he got himself fired, then re-hired, then promoted, then nominated, and finally got himself an award for his Hungry for Apples slogan, Beth has no idea how much she drew herself to this conclusion; the Meeseeks are very simple--they don't have all the answers, but they are very good at nudging you in the right direction such that, as long as you go with the flow that they initiate, you can, with a bit of effort, fulfill your own request.

Anyway, back to Jerry's storyline: as he and the army of Meeseeks in the Smith's living room are working painstakingly on Jerry's golf game, Beth walks in with a killer dress on and her purse strapped over her shoulder. She informs Jerry that she's going out for dinner, and asks:

"Do you want me to be happy or do you want me to be in prison?" <-- Symbolic for leaving the marriage: Beth wants to leave the house (the marriage), in which case she'll be by herself but happy, which is better than together with Jerry in a prison.

Jerry, being caught off guard, offers to take her out. She doesn't seem all that appreciative, responding with a sigh of annoyance when he says "I'll be right there." <-- A bit mean spirited if you ask me, but this is very characteristic of their marriage. The Meeseeks, in response to this, aren't very appreciative either--the last thing they want is to wait for Jerry to come back from a date with his wife before they continue with his golf lesson. So while they're gone, the Meeseeks consort together to figure out what to do about this oh-so-serious problem:



^ So yeah, long story short: they go to war with each other, tearing limb from limb, and then finally concur on the consensus that if they just kill Jerry, they will get all strokes off his game (not just two). <-- Desperate indeed!

Cut to the scene at the restaurant with Beth and Jerry. Beth talks about taking the trip she always wanted to take--to Italy or Greece--to which Jerry responds: "Countries known for their sexually aggressive men." <-- Not sure what the idea is here, but I think it's supposed to convey that Jerry doesn't want to let Beth go.

Suddenly, the Meeseeks come barging in (the lead one literally barges through the window on a white horse), some with weapons including a gun. They shoot at Jerry and Beth. Beth yells: "Run Jerry!" and takes the lead in a dash to the kitchen. She opens the door to the meat locker, allowing Jerry to go in first. They lock themselves in. Like terrorists stipulating their demands, the Meeseeks take several customers hostage. The lead Meeseeks says:

"Meeseeks are not born into this world fumbling for meaning, Jerry! We are created to serve a singular purpose for which we will go to any lengths to fulfill!"

^ What this says about the difference between a human being and Meeseeks is that humans don't really know their purpose--they "fumble" their whole lives looking for it, never knowing for sure whether they've grasped it or not. Meeseeks, on the other hand, know for certain the minute they are created. The question raised by this is: would humans to go to any lengths to fulfill their purpose if they could know for certain what it is? If so, it means Rick didn't have to build into the Meeseeks this extreme determination, this resolve, in order for Meeseeks to be so motivate to fulfill their purpose--they just need to know what it is (which itself doesn't have to be built in: as soon as they are creator, their summoner simply tells them what their purpose is--can't be any more clear than that).

After Jerry despairs a bit about how innocent people are going to die because of his mediocrity, Beth takes charge. She rips a pillar from a nearby food shelf and hands it to Jerry. She instructs him in a commanding tone:

"Jerry, turn around! Straighten your back! Bend your knees, bend them! Square your shoulders. Take a deep breath... [and whispers into his ear] I love you."

^ These three words are the trigger he needs to "man up". He is suddenly infused with confidence--manliness surges through his veins. He kicks the meat locker door open, steps out with the look of a man who's in control of the situation, and with a tomato in hand, puts it on the ground and using the shelf pillar Beth handed him as a golf club, swings at the tomato sinking a hole in one as it lands squarely in a pot on the kitchen table. After exclaiming a unanimous "oooh!", the Meeseeks, one by one, disappear in the reverse order they were created (all but one who claims to be a stickler Meeseeks because Jerry technically didn't prove his short game, but this is no problem for Jerry in his (temporary) state of confidence: he simply putts an onion into a coffee cup lying on its side on the ground).

^ This is what I meant earlier when I said this is the first episode in the series in which Jerry "mans up" but not in the full sense of the word. Just as Morty requires training wheels to have his first successful adventure (sort of, kind of), Jerry too needs training wheels to sort of, kind of become a man--those wheels being Beth and the words uttered from her lips: "I love you." <-- It shows that though Jerry is capable of being a man, he still needs that little bit of external validation to do it--he needs to know that someone else loves him; he cannot do it on his own.

This is followed by a passionate kiss between Jerry and Beth--really passionate as Beth moans in a genuine way that says she was "aroused" by Jerry's show of manhood. <-- It kind of says that the potential for true manhood that is there in Jerry is matched by the potential for their marriage to be salvaged--and this is not the first time we will see this in their marriage.

Rick and Morty's adventure ends with both returning to the villagers cheering their praises as Morty hands the shmeckles to them. Rick says to Morty:

Rick: "Good job, Morty. Looks like you won the bet."

Morty: "Thanks Rick, but I don't know if I should. You know, you were right about the universe. It's a crazy and chaotic place."

Rick: "Well, you know, maybe that's why it could use a little cleaning up every now and then, you know. This one's wrapped up neat and clean because we did it Morty style."

^ So here we are at the end, each of the two main characters echoing the other's attitude from earlier, each one learning valuable lessons from the other, learning to be more like the other. And again, we see that rare side of Rick that betrays a bit of compassion and bonding with his grandson.

When one of the villagers offers to introduce them to their king, who happens to be... *drum roll*... Mr. Jelly Bean, Morty urges Rick to use his portal gun to get them out of there. Rick, having no qualms with this request, promptly does so. And just before the portal closes after them, Rick reaches his gun back through the portal and shoots Mr. Jelly Bean, blowing him up into a plastered mess of blue jelly goo all over the villagers. (There's no indication that this is done on behalf of Morty's request, so we are lead to presume Rick did out of a person desire to avenge his grandson.)

The episode ends with Beth and Jerry in their torn living room (due to the Meeseeks war) talking about their marriage:

Beth: "Jerry, look, we don't have a perfect marriage, but I'm not going anywhere. When we were in that freezer, I realized that the Meeseeks are like the guys I went to high school with: willing to say anything to complete their task."

Jerry: "Was I one of those guys?"

Beth: "The difference is, you didn't disappear afterwards. [hugs him]"

Jerry: "Well, I got you pregnant."

Beth: "Yeeeaaah."

This is pretty characteristic of Jerry and Beth's relationship, particularly Beth's feelings towards Jerry. On the one hand, she does want to leave him, but there will be moments in the series like this one in which something happens that rekindles some of the passion she once felt for Jerry, and this keeps her in a kind of bind--unable to escape like being hooked to something that isn't good for you. This is not an uncommon psychological phenomenon, and we're all familiar with it. You see it often in children when they get into tiffs with each other: little Toby says "I'm never gonna be friends with you again!" but the next day, Toby and his friend are playing freely as if nothing happened. We get into these moods that make things seem so ultimate--like I just want out of this relationship and I'll clearly be happier once it's over--but the mood shifts, it swings the other way, and then we reflect on our thoughts a moment ago: I was silly to think I wanted out of this relationship or that I'd be happier if it were over. Beth seems to be caught in something like this. She has mixed feelings, but she can't feel both feelings in the mix simultaneously. Thus, she either feels one emotion--disgust for Jerry--and is seduced by it into thinking that's all there is to the story--or she feels the other emotion--love--and is seduced by that into thinking her marriage to Jerry is worth saving.

Then Morty and Rick come waltzing in. Rick makes a snide comment about cleaning the place up followed by his new catch phrase:

"Wubalubadubdub!"

^ The only reason this is worthy of mention is that, despite its meaninglessness on the surface, this catch phrase turns out to have a deep meaning which "Bird Person" (a character introduced later in the series) explains to Morty.

But that's it for this episode. Now you know why I say it's a little different than just another isolated adventure. This one's sort of doing a "meta-analysis" on adventures and making a statement on not only the universe being a crazy chaotic place but on what it's like for Rick being the lead in this action seeking, adventure going duo. Yes, he drags Morty through hellish situations, yes he puts Morty's life at risk, but to a certain extent, it's really life itself doing it to them both. Morty, in a sense, is damn lucky to have Rick around who is not only capable of getting him out of sticky situations but can do so with exceptional ease given his brilliance. Like Rick always being there to offer Morty a quick escape with his portal gun, we have to question whether Morty is really ever in any serious danger after all. Things may not always go as Rick plans, he may not always do the responsible thing, but he can fix any situations as quickly as he can mess it up. <-- But this last point is what will come into question in the next episode.

* * *

Now for some final, randomly scattered, thoughts:

Mr. Jelly Bean and the Meeseeks: they seem very similar in certain ways. Both blue for one thing, but also sweet and innocent seeming on the outside, but dangerously psychotic on the inside (at least in the Meeseeks case, that psychopathy had to wait for a level of desperation to be reached, but they did eventually try to kill Jerry and terrorized a bunch of innocent people in the process). <-- I doubt there's anything to this, but the thought did come to mind.

There's also the Frankenstein's monster theme that re-appears in this episode. The Meeseeks are Rick's invention, like the Frankenstein monster, but like Victor Frankenstein, it's questionable whether we can say that Rick recognizes, or cares for, his responsibility for them. How responsible is it to create a creature whose shear existence brings it great pain? Mind you, if the request made of the Meeseeks is simple and can be fulfilled in a timely manner, there appears to be minimal pain suffered by the Meeseeks, and maybe this is Rick's intention: to never burden a Meeseeks with unreasonable or exceptionally difficult requests (I doubt it, but maybe). But even if that's how Rick consistently intends to treat a Meeseeks, the question remains about whether it was responsible for him to hand over the Meeseeks box to his family without giving any thought to the torture they might end up putting the Meeseeks under (and consequently the damage the Meeseeks could end up doing). But it isn't like Rick to take responsibility for his mistakes and the damage he advertently or inadvertently causes; he is far more likely to blame someone else. The theme of the Frankenstein monster and Rick's stubbornness to take responsibility will be especially played out in the next episode: Rick Potion #9.

Now I caught what might have been a minor goof on the part of the writers, but maybe not: the tiny person's advocate actually called it their "giant rights"--which would imply they don't apply to tiny persons. I would chock this up to a goof on the part of the writers if it weren't for the fact that the insertion of "giant" in "giant rights" seems superfluous and unnecessary--i.e. it seems like it would have to be deliberate if it is to be inserted at all--did it simply slip into the script or was that on purpose as a kind of slight of hand to add a hidden underhanded twist?

Finally, the steps scene: this is actually kind of a "boring" scene, and Morty says something interesting in response to another one of Rick's hecklings: "All right, okay, if this was a story, this part wouldn't be included, stupid." <-- In Morty's mind, not only aren't adventures supposed to be crazy and chaotic but they aren't supposed to have boring parts either. And he makes a good point that if this were the kind of adventure you read in stories, the boring parts would simply be left out. But again, the point is that you can't just erase boring parts from reality.

Oh, one more thing: at the start of this post, I said: "(personally, I thought this would be a prelude to every season--you know, one episode in every season being Morty's--but season 2 proved this wrong)" <-- But in the course of writing this post, I started wondering if the reason one episode in ever season didn't turn out to be Morty's is because, in reality, Morty actually lost the bet. Yes, Rick told Morty that he won the bet, but that might have been Rick humoring his grandson (you know, in a moment of affection). In reality, maybe they both knew that Morty lost the bet. <-- But maybe that's just stupid. After all, why would the writers "hint" at one episode in every season being Morty's only to make it so that one episode in every season won't be Morty's?

* * *

Now, as usual, here are a list of philosophical topics to choose from:

> What is an adventure really? What is an adventure "supposed" to be? On the one hand, if you went through a series of trials and mishaps but found it fun and exhilarating, you might call that an "adventure"--and there would be nothing wrong with this word usage--but would it be the kind of adventure you could tell as a story and have listeners on the edge of their seats? The kinds of adventures that really grip us, that we see in action movies--like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Terminator--would most likely have you traumatized if you were the protagonist and were forced to go through it in real life.

> How crazy and chaotic is the universe really? Though this seems to be the main message of this episode, I think the writers were milking it little. They took what's possible in the universe in principle and seemed to sell it as what happens all the time. So yes, things like getting raped, accidentally slipping and cracking your head open, being wrongly accused and sent to jail are all possible, but how often do things like this really happen in ordinary people's lives? Is everyone's life really that crazy and chaotic? Or is this a misunderstanding of the point of this episode? Is the point rather that though life, for the most part, is relatively comfortable and predictable, it's not on account of the universe caring for our safety and well-being. The universe is indifferent and will allow whatever to happen in our lives if that is the course of events that must unfold. We cannot impose our expectations of how life should be onto reality--rather reality, if we're lucky, grants us our expectations, and if we're not so lucky, outright thwarts them.

> Knowing one's purpose in life: what effect does that have on the quality of one's life? In the Meeseek's case, the purpose of their lives is crystal clear from the start--their summoner simply tells them straight up--but as we see, this can lead to great tribulation if the purpose proves cruelly difficult to fulfill. Is a good quality life, then, one in which there is no purpose? One in which a person doesn't care for his or her purpose, or if there is one? <-- In this case, there is never anything left unfulfilled, nothing needing to be made right--so in a sense, there's never anything wrong with the world, and one can just relax and enjoy life.

> How much do we seek out and come to rely on magic wands to solve our problems or make the efforts of life easier? Recall that the only reason Rick gave the Meeseeks box to his family was because they all came barging in making petty requests of him, requests they could have easily fulfilled themselves if they just put a little effort in. Mind you, the requests they subsequently made of the Meeseeks were different, and in Beth's and Summer's cases, not so simple to fulfill, at least on the surface. But that's beside the point. The point is--if a magic wand were sudden dropped into our laps with which we could accomplish whatever we wanted, who would put it aside in favor of putting ordinary human effort into achieving our goals, desires, and life dreams? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

^ I feel this episode should afford a few more topics, but I think that other than these three, the other topics would be one's we've touched on already--for example, the need for external vs. internal validation, trying too hard having paradoxical results, how much we might be inventing our own realities without realizing it, etc., but this is a discussion forum: bring up any philosophical topic you want.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:35 am

As usual, I have more thoughts that came at me after I posted. Here they are:

For one thing, this was not just an episode in which Jerry "manned up", but Morty too--except in Morty's case, he did it at the beginning and on his own accord--unlike Jerry who did it at the end and on accord of those 3 sweet words: "I love you". The son becomes the man before the father.

Not only that but Morty proves in this episode that he's not afraid to stand up to Rick. He may be naive, he may be inexperienced, he may be flat out wrong (thus losing the bet), but he definitely knows how to man up.

I sometimes wonder how important Morty's character is in the Rick and Morty series. Is he a more important character, a more central character, than Rick? It's an interesting question. I think if Rick earns the title of "protagonist" then at least Morty's the "good guy". <-- And he is genuinely good. Stupid, but good.

Morty is like the perfect mix of Rick and Jerry--and genetically speaking, he well might be--he's like the ego between the id and the superego.

Also, something else redeeming about Morty's character, revealed in this episode, is he chose to take on the bet rather than follow the rest of the family to try out the new Meeseeks box. While they go looking for a magic wand, Morty wants to put all his own efforts into what he desires. I mean, he could have done this: he could have followed the family, got himself a Meeseeks, and said: "I want to win the bet with Rick." But he didn't.

Speaking of effort, there seems to be something very paradoxical about the conclusion I drew in the last post: namely, that in order to go with the Meeseeks' flow, you have to put in your own effort (at least for some of it). But Jerry ends up putting in a lot of effort--too much--and it backfires. So what gives? I think it's that Jerry tries to try. IOW, trying isn't off the table when you go with the flow. A lot of flow going does require trying, passionate trying, but Jerry takes it to a whole other level because he values trying in itself. Flow going trying is like peddling really hard when you're biking, while valuing trying in itself is like a dancer thinking too much about her moves and thus fumbles up.

I also thought episode 5 was a good place to tie this whole analysis back into something I said at the beginning, and I was going to in the last post but forgot: this whole theme of jumping through worlds reminds me a lot of getting high on drugs--and remember, I'm watching these episode while high on drugs--and in this episode, the theme of trying to escape prickly situations by jumping into alternate realities comes overwhelmingly to the fore. But it's interesting because the key message seems to be: that won't help you escape. And in my experience, this is so true. The world of drugs can be just as scary, if not more scary (hallucinating "demonic alien spirits"), than the ordinary mundane world. Why? Because drugs don't let you just invent whatever reality you want, like writing a children's fairy tale, they dictate their terms on you. But they certainly can give you one hell of an adventure.
Last edited by gib on Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:45 am

Oh yeah, and is the Meeseeks war a metaphor for religious fanaticism and its outcome? I mean, what is religion suppose to do? Tell us what our purpose is. And doesn't it seem that those with the strongest conviction in their purpose are the most likely to be fanatical and ready to go to war for that purpose?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:47 am

My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:52 pm

I must apologize to anyone who's clicked on any of the links on this thread and consequently contracted a virus (or some kind of malware). KissCartoon didn't used to be this bad, but lately I've been noticing some pretty shady browser behavior when I'm over there (like additional tabs opening--happens in both Chrome and IE for me). Most recently, I was there gathering some research for my next post (in Chrome), and it asks me to install the latest version of Flash Player, so I say: Ok, I'll update Flash Player. The install wizard asks me to do a short survey before continuing (which should have tipped me off right there). I skip the survey and finish the install. Then of course, that fucking disc scan utility comes up that you usually get with viruses. I'm kicking myself. Lucky for me, this one was rather easy to remove (unless it's still hiding deep in bowls of my hard drive)--it actually allowed itself to be uninstalled through the usual Windows 10 channel: Uninstall Programs in Control Panel (usually you can't do that with a virus). But anyway, now I can't see any videos anyone posts here at ILP, including my own. Needless to say, if I did get rid of the virus, it left behind some damage. Uninstalling and reinstalling Chrome didn't help. It happens in IE too. I'll be spending the weekend trying to clean this up (I don't foresee it being that hard).

So yeah, from this point on, be forewarned: KissCartoon is questionable--click at your own risk.

Good news is, the videos are downloadable as mp4's! :D Don't worry, I'll do the work. I'm downloading both seasons as we speak (on a different computer I can re-format any time I want). I'll do 2 or 3 virus scans on them, then upload them to my own website.

Then I'd like to change the links in this thread to point to my website.

Unfortunately though, I can't edit posts a short while after I make them. I'm going to have to ask Carleas or some other mod for help. Hopefully, they'll see this as a reasonable request. [MOD EDIT: this change has been made --Carleas]

Oh, and the videos in this thread are fine--I just got those off youtube.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:15 pm

gib wrote:Unfortunately though, I can't edit posts a short while after I make them. I'm going to have to ask Carleas or some other mod for help. Hopefully, they'll see this as a reasonable request. [MOD EDIT: this change has been made --Carleas]


All right! Carleas is the man!

IOW, all links in this thread which used to point to KissCartoon now point to my server. It's not as fancy or possessed of as many bells and whistles as KissCartoon but it ain't possessed by demonic viruses either. I scanned all videos with Windows Defender, MalwareBytes-Anti-Malware, and SuperAntiSpyware and confirmed they're clean.

You can go to http://www.shahspace.com/R&M/allepisodes.html to view links to all episodes.

Thanks Carleas!
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby One Liner » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:35 am

Lol, people should sit for a license before they get to use computers (comedy of errors)..
One Liner
Thinker
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:00 pm

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:29 am

Rick and Morty - S1E6 - Rick Potion #9

In my opinion, episode 6 of the Rick and Morty series represents a pivotal turning point. This is the point at which we come to understand that the entire series is going to be about not just a bunch of adventures that Rick and Morty embark upon--not just a series of isolated dilemmas that the heroic duo find themselves ensnared in (though that will continue nonetheless)--but a more enduring adventure into the souls of the primary characters involved, an exploration of what makes each character (especially Rick) the person that he or she is, and how they change and evolve. <-- It becomes undeniable in this episode that this is really what Rick and Morty is all about, and each adventure, crazy and chaotic as they are, full of demonic alien spirits, is just a bit of superficial icing on the cake. Personalities, and how they evolve, is an adventure that goes much deeper than immediate scares and trills, and takes more than a season to fully unfold.

In this episode in particular, we get a good look at Rick's character on its deepest strata, and we find that he is not nearly--not even close--as awesome as he likes to think he is. Yes, he is extraordinarily intelligent, and yes, he can get himself and Morty out of any bind he gets them into, but this is matched by an undoing sloppiness and irresponsibility that might as well make him the stupidest person on the planet.

This theme is brought to light by the same old theme that keeps recurring in the series: the Frankenstein theme--and here especially--Rick creates an absolutely grotesque monster and "solves" it in the most irrepsonsible way. And interestingly, it all begins in the same way that all other instances of the Frankenstein theme in the series begin: in Lawnmower Dog, the Frankenstein monster (i.e. an ultra-intelligent and rebellious Snuffles) begins with Jerry asking Rick to invent an intelligence boosting device so that he doesn't have to train Snuffles to not pee on the carpet. In Meeseeks and Destroy, the Frankenstein monster (i.e. the umpteen Meeseeks who go insane and attempt to kill Jerry while terrorizing restaurant customers) begins with the Smith's (save Morty) asking Rick to solve their measly problems with something like a magic wand. In this episode, it begins with Morty (ironically given his steadfast refusal to use a magic wand in the last episode) asking Rick to whip up something to fulfill one of his deepest desires. All things they could accomplish themselves if they put in a bit of effort.

Morty is in love with Jessica, a beautiful girl he knows from school--at least as much in love as a 14 year old teenage boy can be--and the high school "Annual Flu Season Dance" is fast approaching. Morty wants to make the night "special" between himself and Jessica (who hardly notices him)--something romantic that will lead to (maybe) a relationship--so he asks Rick for something like a "love potion".

This idea of Morty's is inspired by a "counter-lesson" that Rick teaches him about girls and love. I say "counter" because it is counter to the lesson that Jerry, in a sort of "birds & bees" talk, attempts to convey to his son. To cut to the chase, Rick tells Morty:

"Listen, Morty, I hate to break it too you, but what people call 'love' is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed. It hits hard, Morty, then it slowly fades, leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it, your parents are gonna do it; break the cycle, Morty. Rise Above. Focus on science."

As an aside, we catch a brief glimpse from this short speech of Rick's of why Rick is so hardnosed and closed off; Focusing on science seems to be, based on this, not just a interest of passion but an escape from a love once pure but since gone bad.

Well, the message certainly hits home with Morty--he does divert his thoughts away from his love for Jessica and onto science--the result being: how to use science to make Jessica fall in love with him! If love, as Rick says, is just chemicals in the brain, then it should be possible to make Jessica fall in love with him by way of a "potion".

Morty walks in on Rick in the garage while he's finishing up his "ionic defibrillator" and asks Morty to hand him a screw driver. Morty puts forward the proposal. Rick rejects it on account of what a waste of time it would be for him, and repeats the request for the screw driver. Morty, as in the last episode, starts to get all pissy, whining about how he's always abiding by Rick's requests, always doing everything he says; and why can't Rick help him out for once? Rick, seeming obviously annoyed by Morty's grievances, goes to the shelf and pulls out a vile of some yellow liquid:

"Listen, this is called oxytocin. I extracted it from a vole. Do you know what a vole is, Morty? Do you know what a vole is? It's a-It's a rodent that mates for life, Morty. This is a chemical released in the mammal's brain. You know, it makes it fall in love."

He follows that up by pouring the chemical into a machine that looks like a slow cooker and asks Morty for a sample of his DNA. Morty begins by unzipping his fly before Rick informs him that he only needs a hair. Rick puts the hair into the machine and pushes a button which churns the liquid into a kinda orange substance. So the potion itself makes whoever it's applied to fall in love, and whoever's DNA is in that potion is whom the person falls in love with. Morty is thrilled.

Before leaving the garage, Morty asks:

"Hey, there's no dangers or anything or side effects, right?"

"W-w-what am I, a hack? Go nuts, Morty. It's fool proof."

After Morty leaves though:

"Huh, unless she has the flu." but shrugs it off. <-- Obvious foreshadowing, and Rick's shrugging it off a sign of his reckless irresponsibility (he kinda is a hack).

Cut to a scene with Jerry and Beth having a discussion in the bedroom. Jerry is obviously in a bit of angst over the prior discussion he and Morty had with Rick. Before teaching Morty about the ways of love (with his "chemical" explanation), Rick points out to Jerry how obvious it is that his marriage is hanging from a thread and that Beth is looking for the door. This coupled with Rick's theory that love fades as quickly as the chemicals has Jerry in a bind. Sitting on the bed while Beth is tapping away at a computer, he asks "Beth, do you still love me?"



^ Here we see a side of Beth that, more than in any other scene in the series, shows how she is truly her father's daughter: completely insensitive but bang on in hitting a person with the hard truth. And she's right: she does love Jerry (sort of, kind of) but only because she makes herself love him. It doesn't come naturally; she has to work at it. And her final comment is very telling: stop asking and maybe I'll love you more; in other words, this very angst he feels betrays a certain insecurity which turns her off--she has to work at making him feel loved but this at the expense of her love for him. It's like love is a limited resource: the more you give, the less you have. (And in this instance, she is already on low, thus the unhindered insensitivity.)

This, for me, reinforces Rick's point: love is a chemical reaction. In Beth's case, it must be biologically stimulated. Jerry has to act in a certain way (confident) and say the right things (or at least not say the wrong things: like "do you still love me?"). There are obviously many forms of love--universal compassion for fellow human beings, for example, or love for one's children, or an inspired commitment to the morality of treating others right. The most selfless form of love, people say, is that which devotes itself to the needs and feelings of others even when at the expense of one's self, which I would classify as a commitment to morality (and specifically when inspired, not when guilted or just out of an impulse to conform to social standards). But Beth here seems to be driven mostly by her own biology--she only feels in love with Jerry when he displays that which turns her on--confidence, security, manliness, etc.--chemical indeed. But like Morty, she is not entirely as vein and base as her father--she still at least tries (which, in accordance with prior themes we have seen, doesn't entirely work, and in this scene in particular, kind of backfires); she puts in the work to at least try to love Jerry a bit more than her biology allows, and thereby kind of "sort of" loves him. <-- But hearing this doesn't feel very reassuring to Jerry, thus making him feel less loved.

Beth gets a text message: a horse is injured and she's needed (along with Davin, another surgeon) at the hospital. She leaves. In Jerry's mind, with a look of consternation, he keeps repeating: "Davin. Davin. Davin..." (the clip above seems to crop the repetition of "Davin" out, but trust me, he keeps repeating it in the original).

Meanwhile, at the school dance, Morty dabs his hand with Rick's love potion and motions over to Jessica. He fakes a gentle collision by which he manages to rub some of it on her arm. The effects are immediate. She turns around and instantly falls in love with him. She falls in love with him hard. She grabs him in her arms: "I love you, Morty. I love you so much it burns." Jessica's "boyfriend" (it's not made clear that Brad is her boyfriend) sees this and intervenes: "Is this punk bothering you, Jessica?" to which she responds: "Leave him alone, jerk! I'm in love with him! He's more man than you'll ever be!" And then she sneezes on him. Her snot particles, along with the flu virus, make their way into Brad's body, and the virus makes its way into his brain. Brad consequently falls in love with Morty too (it's explained later by Rick that the serum piggy backs on the virus). He embraces Morty grabbing his ass: "There's somethin' special 'bout you, Morty, somethin' special."

His and Jessica's noticeably inappropriate behavior results in principle Vagina (yes, that's his name) escorting Brad out of the gym (he doesn't want Brad injuring his football arm). Kicking and screaming about how much he loves Morty, Brad sneezes snot particles into the punch. He sneezes again launching snot particles into the ventilation system (obviously foreshadowing that the whole school's about to be infected).

Meanwhile at the Smith's house, after announcing that he's stepping out to "get some ice cream" (and maybe support his wife at the hospital with his confidence), Jerry exits the scene leaving Summer and Rick alone in the living room. Rick asks "How come you're not at the stupid dance everyone loves so much?" to which she responds "Screw that. I don't want to get sick. It's flu season."--"It is?"--"Yeah."--"Oh-oh."

Back at the school dance, the love serum is hitting Jessica hard: she drops to the dance floor on all fours sticking her ass in the air growling to Morty: "Rip my close off and mate with me for life!" Morty says "Um, can we maybe go somewhere more private?" Then almost immediately, the virus hits the whole school, the love serum piggy backing on top of it. And remember, this love serum is seeded with Morty's DNA. Ergo, everyone falls in love with Morty.

This is quite overwhelming for Morty. The whole gym encroaches on him with beady love struck eyes, without any thought of how inappropriate this is or how it makes Morty feel. Morty is extremely, and understandably, uncomfortable. As soon as they break out into physically fighting over him, Morty makes a dash for the door where (surprise, surprise) Rick is there to save the day:



While explaining to Morty that the serum is piggy backing on the virus (at an alarmingly fast rate), he blames Morty for not telling him that Jessica had the flu: "You know, th-th-th-that might have been valuable information for me, Morty!" This is so incredibly ironic as the dangers of having the flu was information that Rick knew about, that Morty asked for, and that Rick shrugged off the minute it occurred to him that it was an example of the kind of information that Morty asked for--underscoring not only Rick's irresponsible nature and his lack of accountability, but his hypocrisy as well.

To be fair to Rick, however, as soon as he does find out (through Summer) that there's a flu going around, he goes out of his way to make a trip out to the school and rescue Morty, even admitting he made a mistake (as unbelievable as that is according to him). As much as he rejects responsibility for his mistakes, he does try to fix them.

In this case, Rick whips out an antidote he concocted (after he and Morty get into their ship and rise above a zombie-like hord of love struck teenagers):

"We're gonna be fine, Morty, relax. I whipped up an antidote. It's based on praying mantis DNA. You know, praying mantises are the exact opposite of voles, Morty. I mean, they-they mate once and then they, you know, decapitate the partner; I mean, it's a, it's a whole ritual, it's really gruesome and totally opposite, there's no love of-at all. I-I-I basically mixed this with a more contagious virus; it should neutralize the whole thing, Morty. It'll all be over very shortly."

Rick also explains that no one with similar DNA (i.e. Morty's family) is affected by the serum, which is why he isn't the least bit interested in having sex with Morty, and why no one in his family succumbs to what happens next.

During his speech, Rick pours the antidote into a tube on the ship, then after the speech, pulls a lever releasing the antidote (now in gaseous form) onto the crowd. What happens next can only be described by the gruesome transformation scene from David Cronenberg's awful 1986 The Fly:



...except with praying mantises instead of flies:



Cut to Jerry driving like a mad man to catch his wife in the act of cheating on him with Davin. He slams on the breaks at the site of a major traffic jam, a traffic jam caused by what looks like, off in the distance, mayhem and chaos--that is, flames and car accidents, sirens sounding off in the distance. Presumably, we are seeing the first consequences of a world that, in Rick's phrase which he coins later, has been "Cronenberged". Jerry gets out of the car not noticing the herd of pray mantis / human hybrids fast approaching behind him. One of them says "Morty!" Jerry dives across the hood of his car. Another says "You're not Morty! Bring us Morty!" <-- So far from canceling out the love spell that Rick's first serum caused, his second serum resulted not only in these genetic abominations but a whole population of creatures who want to have sex with Morty and then eat him.

Jerry runs and finds a dead police officer slouched half way out of his police car, his riffle on the ground. Jerry picks up the riffle and starts shooting at the praying mantis freaks, blowing their heads to bloody bits. Finishing off the first round of mantises, he says "Nobody's killing me until after I catch my wife with another man." <-- As cheesy as this sounds, this is the beginning of a transformation on Jerry's own part. Just as in the last episode, Jerry *sort of*, *kind of* "manned up", in this episode, he goes through the full transformation and becomes the most manly we'll ever see him--kind of matching the *sort of*, *kind of* turning point in the series that the last episode was compared to how emphatically a turning point this episode is.

Cut to Summer watching the news at home: mantis/human news casters are reporting that Morty's whereabouts are still unknown. "What... the hell," says Summer. She switches the channel to find that even in the Middle East, people have transformed to mantis freaks screaming out Morty's name amidst crazed Arabic ramblings (apparently, this flu travels fast). More mantis freaks crash down the front door. "Where is Morty!!!" Summer bashes one over the head with a lamp and rushes out of the house, dodging mantis freaks as she dashes down the street.

Cut back to Rick and Morty: they've landed out in the desert where no one knows where they are. Rick has a makeshift laboratory setup from a pull-out desk extending from his ship as he works out yet another serum. Turning off a television after seeing that the flu, with the mantis serum, has reached as far as China, Morty is freaking out:

Morty: "Oh my God Rick, the whole world is infected."

Rick: "Yeah it's pretty wild how fast that spread. I've really outdone myself."

Morty: "Outdone yourself?! Wha-wha-wha-Are you kidding me, Rick?! This is not OK! Not only do they all wanna have sex with me, but you know, now they want to eat me afterwards!"

Rick: "Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. Mantises are the opposite of Voles? Obviously, DNA's a little more complicated than that..."

I find this line interesting. It puts a bit of a monkey wrench into the interpretation of Rick's personality that we're going with: that he's simply an irresponsible man who doesn't take accountability for his own actions. Here he seems to be fessing up... after the fact, of course. It's a *sort of* accountability, which I guess is something coming from Rick. On the other hand, this fessing up after the fact might just be what scientists do all the time when they find that their initial theory was wrong--recognize the flaws and the leaps of logic that were there all along. I should know. I'm a computer scientist myself. I come up with a design for an algorithm, I implement it, and it fails to work--this is followed by a bit of reflection: what went wrong? And it doesn't take long to realize: ah, yes, of course my design didn't work! I was missing vital component X! It just seems so obvious after the fact, and it's funny how the brain waits 'til after it fumbles over its own gaping holes to recognize how obvious they were.

Morty is freaking out here. Rick is calm and collected, really quite unbothered by the whole situation. It could therefore be that his fessing up is just a matter of not caring. It's a nice contrast though: while Morty's panicking does little to ameliorate the situation, Rick's nonchalant attitude keeps him focused on finding a solution.

But perhaps the most likely explanation for Rick's fessing up is a subtle manner on the writers' part of making fun of Rick's sloppiness: Rick continues...

Rick: "...you know what though Morty? This right here's gonna do the trick, baby. [holds up yet another serum] It's koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur... should add up to normal humanity."

Morty: "I don't-that doesn't make any sense, Rick! How does that add up to normal humanity?!"

Rick: "What, Morty, you want me to show you my math? I'm sorry--ar-ar-are you the scientist or are you the kid that wanted to get laid."

So Rick fesses up to being sloppy after the fact followed immediately by something even more poorly thought out and sloppy. Even Morty realizes how much of a hack Rick's being in this scene. Rick's nonchallant attitude may keep him focused on finding a solution, but it also keeps him from putting any serious effort into being careful. His response to Morty above betrays a dangerously cocky attitude that results in wild over-confidence, over-confidence that is only corrected by seeing his mistakes after the fact.

Cut to the animal clinic, Beth and Davin (a young, handsome man with flowing blond hair) retire to the office after a job well done on the horse. Davin turns the lights low, plays some soft semi-romantic music, and turns on an automatic candle with a remote control. In response to Beth's question "What are you doing?" Davin replies "I'm playing African Dream Pop. What do you do after a long night?" Beth, demonstrating her faithfulness to her marriage, says she'd better get going and opens the door to leave. Davin shuts the door before Beth can leave. He moves in close as Beth backs off:

Davin: "Just once, I'd like to know... [sneeze! <-- Obviously catching the flu... eyes dilate, face becomes twisted and maniacal-looking] ...what it was like to give your son a bath. [Beth: 'What?!'] What does Morty's skin smell like? [grips her shoulders] How soft-*grunt*-how soft are his privates?"

She shouts at him: "Let go of me, Davin!", pushes him out of the way and runs behind the desk. Davin, on the other side of the desk, transforms, in the same Cronenberg style, into a mantis freak right in front of Beth*. He demands: "Take me to Morty!"

Then, like a swash-buckling hero swooping in to save the day, Jerry kicks down the door. Mantis-Davin turns around: "You're not Morty."

Jerry: "No, I'm Mr. Crowbar. And this is my friend, who is also a crowbar."

Mantis-Davin: "That's stupid."

Jerry proceeds to beat Mantis-Davin with the crowbar into a dead bloody mess on the ground, then says: "Yeah? Well, look where being smart got ya."

Beth comes out from behind the desk and embraces his arm: "Jerry! Thank God!"

Jerry, with a raspy Clint Eastwood voice: "God? [looks off into the distance] God's turning people into insect monsters, Beth. [Looks back at Beth] I'm the one beating them to death. Thank me."

She does: "Thank you, Jerry. [hugs him] Thank you."

Now, I think it's worth taking a screen shot of Jerry here:

Image

Look at his shirt: dirty, ripped up, sleeves torn off, exposing a bit of arm and shoulder muscle--that coupled with the crowbar in hand and the look on his face, staring off into the distance while the woman he loves embraces him in her moment of vulnerability, all adds up to a complete 180 from the Jerry we're used to. He has finally, for real, manned up--like some kind of Rambo or Clint Eastwood--all in the course of a short trip to the hospital.

And what is Beth's reaction? Well, it's too early to tell at this point--her embrace, though certainly from the heart, is too wrapped up in feelings of vulnerability and fear at this point, but it doesn't take much to recognize that this is the Jerry she could really fall head over heals in love with, and that will definitely show through the rest of this episode. And so what if it's instigated, at this point, by feelings of vulnerability and fear, by Jerry's manly "swooping in" to save her--this reinforces the theme touched on earlier: that love is chemical. This is just the stimulus Beth's brain needed in order to feel the intoxicating ecstasy of love.

Cut back (again) to Rick and Morty flying over the city taking in the horror of what they (or just Rick) turned the people into. Rick is no rush. He kinda finds the whole thing amusing and wants to take at least a few minutes to soak it all in. "Just do it already," says an annoyed Morty. Rick asserts that there's no rush and when's the next time he's gonna see something like this. But Morty's not having any of it, and he pulls the lever. The gas descends, engulfing the mantis creatures, and when it clears, everyone looks normal again. Rick gloats:

"Well, what do we have here, Morty? Looks like I was right and you were wrong, huh? I-I-I be-bet you feel pretty stupid right about now, huh? I-I-I bet you feel like the world's smallest man that you were doubting me about this whole thing, Morty."

^ Things go right, and Rick takes credit. Things go wrong, and he blames Morty (or whoever's the closest person around).

But Morty's not listening. Instead he's staring out the window at the people down below. He's noticing something's wrong:

Morty: "Oh, Rick, something's not right."

Rick: "[Takes a sip from his mickey] Yeah, you, you're not right, ever."

Morty: "No! No! Look you idiot!"

Morty pulls Rick over to his side of the ship and forces him to look down below: the people are writhing on the ground in what looks like agonizing pain. What happens next can only be described by that gruesome end scene from Chris Walas's even more aweful 1989 The Fly II:

Image

...except with koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur instead of... well, just some unspeakable abomination of the human genome:



It's too bad Cronenberg didn't actually direct The Fly II--it makes Rick's dubbing of the whole situation as having been "Cronenberged" a little less fitting.

In any case, Rick has seriously fucked up--he's fucked up big time--he's essentially destroyed humanity. Yet he still digs into Morty for this--not so much blaming him but still taking it out on him:

"Bet you're loving this, Morty. This must be the best day of your life. You get to be the maaayor of I told you town. [takes another sip from his mickey] You're welcome." <-- Not only taking it out on Morty, but still managing to take some credit (with the "you're welcome") for giving Morty the opportunity to gloat for being right--as if Morty could ever be happy about this outcome.

Meanwhile, Jerry and Beth are cruising down the street in some kind of makeshift armored vehicle--like something out of Mad Max:

Image

^ It has a chain-linked fence with a few metal panels on the side strapped there by chains, iron bars over top the windshield for protection, all sorts of bladed weapons (swords, knives, machetes) sticking out the grill, a set of extremely powerful head lights propped at the top... Jerry's at the wheel, Beth clutching him, looking frazzled and terrified. They're stopped before a horde of Cronenbergs. Jerry says "Hold on." Beth clutches tighter. He steps on the gas and butchers the horde as he plows through them. He's actually got a sadistic look on his face, like this is a rush for him, Beth just looking shocked, as he not only bludgeons the Cronenbergs, but actually aims for one when he clearly has plenty of room to pass through.

Then he stops the vehicle and steps out (for some reason) with a machete in hand, followed by Beth, now seemingly no longer scared but a kick-ass alpha bitch, with a riffle in hand (presumably the same one Jerry got earlier). Jerry slashes while Beth blows off heads. Jerry even chops a Cronenberg in half with something like a Karate kick... all the while, some hardcore heavy metal playing the background. After the blood bath ends, Jerry looks at Beth and says:

"I wish that shot gun was my penis."

Beth: "If it were, you could call me Earnest Hemingway."

Jerry: "[Pulls Beth in] I don't get it, and I don't need to." <-- Neither do I, frankly. Then they embrace in a passionate kiss. Beth obviously liking it (Jerry likes it too, but that goes without saying).

Then Summer enters the scene. She cries: "Mom! Dad!" They call back: "Summer!" and run to her. She asks:

"Do you think grandpa Rick had something to do with this?"

Jerry: "It's not fair to assume that, Summer."

Beth: "Oh, not fair? Give me a break. He is a selfish, irresponsible ass, and he left my mother. [Comes in closer, caressing Jerry's shoulder and chest.] A real man stands by his woman." Again, they embrace and kiss passionately... kinda making out... right in front of Summer (obviously feeling awkward).

^ This is an interest scenario. Jerry, who is usually the first to point out the dirt on his father-in-law, now defends him on the off chance he had nothing to do with this. And Beth, who usually defends her father even when it's painfully obvious he's in the wrong, now admits passionately that he is a selfish, irresponsible ass. And that he left her mother. <-- This part's important because, though we haven't quite seen it yet, it's the crux of Beth's issues. Jerry's definitely got a whole swack of insecurity issues (well, at least at all other times), but Beth's got her fair share as well. She's got daddy issues. He left her and the family when she was just a girl. But this is the first time in the series she's openly blamed him for doing so. It's almost as if she's now able to do so because Jerry has become the man she's always wanted--as if, finally, Jerry, in this new manly persona of his, is an adequate substitute (at least) for her father, ridding her of the need to defend her father so that she can keep at least one man in her life who can be relied on for protection and shelter.

^ It probably sounds sexist, but there is a wide-spread theory that what turns a woman on is a show of manliness because it demonstrates an ability to protect, provide, and shelter--yes, love, at the end of the day, is chemical through-and-through.

Once again, we cut back to Rick and Morty. Morning is dawning and they're sitting atop a building, just watching Cronenberg world, safe from all the Cronenberg madness. I like this scene because I think it epitomizes everything we've said so far about Rick's personality (though revealing nothing new)--the shrugging of responsibility, the lack of concern, the blaming of anyone but himself, and even the subtle admittance that he "really Cronenberged the world up" without actually owning up to his responsibility--and finally the resolution of coming up with yet another alleged solution:



I like this scene for another reason: we see something of Morty which we saw in the last episode--that he's not afraid to stand up to Rick, and this time we see it mixed with a strong sense of responsibility and morality--Morty actually accepts part of the blame--he did after all play a part in starting the whole chain reaction--none of it would have happened if he just forgot about the magic love potion and handed Rick the screw driver he asked for. <-- Wow! That's taking accountability!

Morty really is an amazing character. He's young and gullible, not very experienced with the ways of the world, it's true, but this demonstration--that of being a man and owning some moral accountability--if it carries through to adulthood, will really make him into an amazing human being.

Yet, at the same time, he doesn't let Rick walk all over him. He insists that Rick take his part of the blame. Though Rick doesn't quite do this, he does move on to look for the next hack.

We cut one last time to a suburban neighborhood--the sun is shining, the bird's are singing, the leaves on the trees are green, there's a paper boy on his bike delivering news papers and a man mowing his lawn as he waves to the biker... everything seems back to normal. The paper, with a picture of Cronenbergs on it, reads: "GENETIC EPIDEMIC AVERTED". We are lead to believe that Rick's last fix actually solved the problem.

Rick and Morty land their ship in the drive way as the garage door opens. They step out as Morty says, "You really pulled a rabbit out of your hat this time." They step into the garage and Rick stands in front of his "ionic defibrillizer" saying to Morty: "Now Morty, what do you say, buddy? Will you hand me a screw driver so I can finish my ionic defibrillizer?" Morty says "Sure thing, Rick." and hands him a screw driver. Rick applies the screw driver to the device:

"I got one screw turn... and two screw turns... and--"

BOOM!!!

The defibrilator blows up. Blood splattered everywhere. Rick and Morty's bodies, after being thrown violently against the shelf, limbs busted, skin charred, and one of Rick's eye balls popped out of its socket, are unquestionably dead.

However, a portal opens right after this and Rick and Morty step through--another Rick and Morty. Rick (the living one) says: "All right, Morty, here we are."

^ This is Rick's solution: abandon Cronenberg world and hijack another that isn't fucked up. He essentially found a reality in which they both died right after (somehow) solving the Cronenberg problem--conveniently allowing them to simply slip into their dead counter-parts' places. Everything in this world is exactly the same as it was in the last world (before the Cronenberg incident) so, theoretically, or on the surface, life should carry on as normal--so long as no one figures out that the native Rick and Morty are actually dead and the one's that took their places are impostors. <-- That's Rick's solution.

Rick essentially abandoned his mess--the ultimate Victor Frankenstein move--he abandoned his family, his daughter, Morty's mother--and poor Morty has no choice but to be dragged along. This is now Morty's new life--a new life Rick serves him on a silver platter.

Before this sinks in, however, Morty has to get over the initial shock of seeing their bloody, broken, dead counter-part selves--with limbs twisted in every wrong direction--lying on the ground in a horrifying mess:

"Oh my God, Rick! Is that us?! We're dead!"

Morty freaks out. Rick tells him to calm down. He won't, he can't. Rick slaps him across the face:

"Shut up and listen to me! It's fine! Everything is fine! There's an infinite number of realities, Morty, and in a few dozen of those I got lucky and turned everything back to normal. I just had to find one of those realities in which we also happened to both die around this time. Now we can just slip into the place of our dead selves in this reality and everything will be fine. We're not skipping a beat Morty. Now help me with these bodies."

After Morty brings up the issue of the reality they left behind, Rick says:

"What about the reality where Hitler cured cancer, Morty? The answer is: don't think about it."

Though this answer is typical of anyone who wants to solve problems by ignoring them, the question is very telling of what drives Rick's thinking: if there really are an infinite number of realities, then for every reality in which a problem is solved, that very solution, in another reality, will be the cause of an even greater problem. What if, in this reality, Hitler would have actually cured cancer if the allies had not killed him? Did defeating Hitler really solve more problems than it created? Rick's point here seems to echo the theme of chaos and craziness we saw in the last episode--more specifically, the theme about how for every attempt at solving a problem, at making the world a better place, you stand a significant chance of inadvertently making the world a worse place. Given this outlook of Rick's, it would really seem that it doesn't matter one iota what you do. Anything you do--whether it seems morally right or morally wrong, whether it seems like a solid solution or a poorly thought-out hack--can result in absolutely any outcome you can imagine. Is it possible that, though this "solution" of Rick's seems like a cop out on the surface, it's really the best one given the options they had available--that anything else, like a "real" attempt to solve the actual problem they faced, would have resulted, like it had two times already, in making the world worse off than it was before? If so, if we really have that little control over the outcomes our actions bring about, why think about it at all?

This very incident they are now enmeshed in--coming face to face with their dead selves--is an prime, and very ironic, example. Rick says, as he holds his dead self in his arms:

"I-I-I don't suppose you've considered this detail, but obviously if I hadn't screwed up as much as I did, we'd be these guys right now, so again, you're welcome."

^ Unbelievable! Even now, Rick is taking credit and making Morty feel like he owes a debt to him. But by a certain logic, he's right. If Rick had actually fixed Cronenberg world, they would have done what these guys did. Come back to their cozy home, went back to whatever it was they were doing (finishing up an ionic defruitalizer), Morty obediently handing Rick a screw driver, and BOOM--killed themselves!

Yet, by the very same token, this could all be accredited to Morty: when Rick first asked him for the screw driver at the beginning of the episode, Morty refused on account of the fact that Rick wouldn't grant him his request of making him a love potion so that Jessica would fall in love with him. <-- They are only alive now, taking the place of their dead counter-parts, because of Morty. <-- Something that, just earlier, Morty accepted blame for.

^ This scene is really brilliant in the way it blends so many paradoxical ironies, at how it brings the whole arbitrariness of causes and blaming and who gets credit for what brazenly to the fore. It's really hard, after you understand this, to simply brush off Rick's point about Hitler curing cancer.

Well, what other choice does Morty have? As usually, he follows suite and does what Rick says: he helps to bury his own dead body so that he can take its place without anyone, even his own (pseudo-)family, finding out he's an impostor in a reality he doesn't belong to.

^ And this will be his reality from here on in. Even we, as we move through the episodes, one after the other, will forget about it. As far as making this "solution" appear seamless on the surface, it works. It really will seem, eventually--even to us as spectators--like this is Morty's ordinary "home" reality--not skipping a beat. You'll see.

But this adaptation, this "getting used to it" and "forgetting about it", has not yet sunk in for Morty. He is really overwhelmed in shock over what Rick has just pulled him into--a traumatizing shock that, ironically, he will get very used to very soon--and yet the trauma of this initial shock doesn't even register on Rick's radar as the following scene makes clear:



Now, there are many corny and cheap adult comedies on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, but I think after watching this episode of Rick and Morty--this scene in particular--one can't deny that the creators are going for something a little deeper, something a little more meaningful than wise-ass fart jokes and juvenile sleaze humor. <-- For me, this was the episode which made this clear. This episode not only appeals to a higher intelligence in its audience but an interest in really thinking about moral questions and what matters to us as human beings. Perhaps, then, the reason I say this episode marks a turning point in the series (and the last, a foreshadowing of this turning point) is merely psychological on my part--but I dare anyone to say differently after watching each episode from the pilot to this one without knowing what to expect. This is why I think Rick and Morty really is worthy of a philosophical dissection, if not just a plot and character analysis (both, obviously, feeding into each other)--worthy in a way that no other adult cartoon is (Simpson coming in at a close second :lol: ).

(And if you think about it, this episode is literally a turning point in Morty's life).

As usual with most of the Rick and Morty episodes, there is a post-credit scene. In this one, we have one worth looking into: whatever happened to Jerry and Beth (and Summer)? Well, in Morty's new reality, nothing really happened to them--life goes on as usual. But in the reality they left behind, here's what happened:



Let's just focus on Jerry, shall we? Look at how frickin' beefed up he is. Jerry, here, has reached the pinnacle of manliness--he's really done better than in the last episode--he's basically the equivalent of Rambo or Arnold Schwarzenegger in, well, any of his movies (except Twins)--he's even got a bullet belt across his chest and a head band around his forehead.

And look at Beth, all snug and cozy on his lap, resting on the couch, looking very comfy and dreamy.

After asking whether she ever thinks about what happened to Rick and Morty, Beth says: "Sometimes... but I'm ashamed to admit, now that they're gone... I'm finally happy."

Why would she be happy that her own father and her own son are gone?

Well, her father, we can understand. I did put forward above the interpretation that, now that she finally has a "real man" who loves and fends for her, she no longer has a need for a father figure in her life to fill that roll... but her son--that I'm still at a loss to understand; perhaps it's as simple as the fact that she is her father's daughter. If Rick can be insensitive enough to not give a damn about the shit he puts Morty through--including, in this episode, forcing him to abandon his own family forever--why can't Beth not give a shit about abandoning her own family--at least her father and son? Or maybe this was just a hole the writer's of Rick and Morty accepted in order to get the point across that, really, she's only happy because she finally found a substitute for her father and the need for a protector and provider that she naively hoped Rick would be.

And just a note: keep in mind that this "happy ending"--at least for Beth--only occurs in the world that Rick and Morty abandoned--the world they hijacked featuring a Jerry and Beth whom are still in conflict, still at each other's throats, and whose marriage still hangs by a delicate thread (although, obviously, in this new reality, if the Cronenberg problem got to the point beyond that of the mantis freaks--i.e. the koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur--then Jerry and Beth must have at least shared a moment in which she got to taste a bit of Jerry's inner manliness).

* Odd that the flu/serum has, at this point, already reached as far as China yet Davin has yet to be infected. I guess the sterility of the operating room bought him some time.

* * *

PHILOSOPHICAL SPRINGBOARDS:

* We've already touched on the question of the crazy and chaotic character of the universe in the last episode, and what implications that has for our attempts to control reality according to our prescribed designs, and this question rears its head again in this episode; except it takes it a bit further. It asks: things not occurring the way we expect notwithstanding, can we even say we are responsible for whatever does occur--even when we know it was our actions that lead to those unanticipated occurrences? Who really was responsible for Cronenberging the world? The intuitive answer would seem to be Rick: it was his recklessly concocted serum, and his decision to infect the population with it, that resulted in the Cronenberg disaster. But then again, he's right that if Morty had just told him that there was a flu going around, he would have been able to warn Morty, and none of this would have ever happened. But then again, if Rick had only flagged Morty down the minute it occurred to him that the mere possibility of the flu might result in disaster, he might have prevented what followed. But then again, if Morty just handed him the screw driver instead of pestering him for a love potion, there would be nothing to worry about. But then again, if Morty did hand him the screw driver, they'd be dead. Does it make any sense, therefore, to cherry pick one cause out of a seemingly infinite sea of others as the one that was the "actual" cause? Is it really that arbitrary, at the end of the day, who we blame?

* Is love just chemistry? I think it is metaphorically, but the question here is: is there nothing more to love than chemicals in the brain making us feel certain feelings. And is all it takes to get those chemicals flowing just the right stimulus? In Beth's case, it seems to be. Although her behavior towards Jerry wasn't quite as pronounced as Jessica's towards Morty, you could say it really seemed like a watered down version of the same thing. That was after Jerry's transformation, obviously, for before his transformation, he just didn't seem to have what it took to stimulate Beth, and so Beth had to "work" at trying to love him (at least she was smart enough to recognize that). If this is just the way our biology works, what does that say about love itself? Surely, there are other forms of love that aren't so reliant on our biology: what about universal love for our fellow men and women, the impersonal kind? What about love for a good friend? What about love for our children? <-- This one clearly has biological links too, but isn't so given to waxing and waning due to stimuli coming and going. And what about love for glory and honor, that which inspires us to fight for morality, for the oppressed and the poor? <-- Is this really a selfless love, or is it for one's own greatness? No doubt, there's brain chemistry involved in all of these (I don't know how we can escape our biology), but are any of them truly selfless? Do any of them rise above simple stimulus-response mechanics? Does it even make sense to suppose that love--whatever form it takes--raises us above our own biology when that very biology, with its tendencies towards love, was crafted by a very long and meticulous evolutionary process? A process geared towards ensuring our survival as best it can? And isn't survival about defending one's self against death? Therefore, how selfless can love really be?

* Last time we had a look at the theme of escaping reality (with a nod towards drug use), questioning whether it really is an escape or not. This time we question whether one can escape one's responsibilities by the same strategy. How effectively can one hide one's mistakes by brushing them under a rug? Is slipping into the places of their dead selves in an alternate reality really a "fix" to the problem that Rick (and Morty by proxy) created? Or is it more of a way to, in Rick's words, "not think about it"--a way to pretend it's not real because, for all intents and purposes, it isn't real, not in this reality. How long can one go on ignoring what one is escaping from? Rick probably can indefinitely, but Morty... the fact that he is an impostor in this new reality, the fact the people he is living with are not his real family--these are not things he'll forget so easily, and though for the most part he will be able to ignore it and fully submerge himself in the fantasy of fitting into a world to which he belongs, these facts are going to haunt him from the back of his mind forever. What kind of escape is ever truly 100% effective?

* * *

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Jessica on the love serum: is this a metaphor for drugs? I mean, it is a high school dance after all; and there's always one in every teenage crowd. Jessica certainly starts acting like she's high on ecstasy--and MDMA is said to function the same way in the body as the naturally occurring neuro-chemical oxytocin, the chemical Rick said he got from a vole. And Morty, when the whole school lustfully encroaches upon him, tries to escape like he's having a bad trip.

Mixed signals from Rick: though it seems clear what we're supposed to get out of Rick in this episode (that he's careless and irresponsible), it comes mixed with signs that he has no problem taking credit for what he's done. I'm not sure this counts as taking accountability, but it certainly contrasts with his more usual habit of blaming someone else. In the case of the mantis freaks, he seems to take credit only to gloat about how he's "really outdone [him]self." And in the case of the full-on Cronenbergs, he says "Boy Morty, I really Cronenberged the world up, didn't I?" but he says it in such a nonchalant way that you could almost guess he's proud of his handiwork. In any case, I think there's more to this character flaw of his--and if I may drop a spoiler alert, we'll get a hint of what this is in Season 2, Episode 6 (The Ricks Must be Crazy): he's better described as an opportunist than irresponsible. He'll take responsibility only when it suits him--i.e. when he can spin it to his credit.

A couple questions: If Rick could find an alternative reality in which his alternate self found a real solution to the Cronenberg problem, why couldn't he also figure out what that solution was? I mean, you may not recognize what that device he puts around his head is (the visors he puts on right before it cuts to the alternate world where everything is made perfect again), but he'll explain it in Episode 8 of Season 1: it's a device that let's you see the world through the eyes of an alternate self in another reality. He's actually looking for an alternate self, one who actually solves the Cronenberg problem. But if he's looking through his alternate self's eyes, why can't he just see what the solution is and apply it to his own world? Furthermore, why doesn't he just jump to that world and ask his alternate self: "Rick, how did you solve the Cronenberg problem?"

Second question: After telling Morty that "there's an infinite number of realities..." he says "...and in a few dozen of those, I got lucky..." <-- But how does this make sense? How is there only a few dozen? Shouldn't there be an infinite number of realities in which he got lucky? Maybe much "less" of an infinity (like the number of odd numbers compared to the number of real numbers), but no matter how rare an event or a set of circumstances, if you allow for an infinite number of chances, there will be an infinite number of those events or sets of circumstances. It's like saying there's a bag with an infinite number of marbles in it, but only a few dozen are red. If we don't assume any limit on what color an arbitrary marble is, there can't just be a few dozen that are red. This point has been brought up before on the internet. I remember finding this observation on google along with a theory that though there may be an infinite number of realities out there, there is only a limit number of them that are accessible (or discoverable) by Rick. This was brought up to account for an odd observation made in Episode 10 of Season 1 (Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind): that the "evil Rick" had cataloged only a finite number of alternate Ricks. Ok, so Rick may have access to (or know about) only a finite number of alternate realities with other Ricks in them (perhaps a finite number of alternate realities period), but the same principle about these realities should apply: if we can think about "accessibility" or "discoverability" as a property of realities, then there should be an infinite number of such realities. Maybe Rick just hasn't had an eternity to find them.

Does Rick leaving Beth in Cronenberg world symbolize Rick leaving Beth when she was a child? It conveniently coincides with just the time when Jerry mans up and becomes more than an adequate replacement for her dad.

Speaking of Jerry, it occurs to me that what began his transformation was jealousy. His original phrase: "Nobody's killing me until after I catch my wife with another man," shows that there was more than one motive for him to blow off mantis heads, more than just self-defense--he was already enraged (and you could tell by the look on his face as he was racing down the road like a mad man). But why does he want to catch his wife with another man? Could it be that he's just as miserable in the marriage as Beth but he needs an excuse to leave her? Jerry can't do anything unless it is deemed socially acceptable, and catching her cheating on him would be the green light to divorce if nothing else was. This aspect of Jerry's personality will be brought to the fore in Season 2, Episode 8: Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate--his inability to do what he wants for himself unless it meets social approval. It's interesting that this is not how things turned out once he got to the hospital. In fact, the exact opposite occurred. He caught Beth trying to fend herself against Davin while Jerry swooped in to save her, thus reinvigorating their love for each other.

Speaking of transformations, we have a complete reversal of rolls between Rick and Jerry. Well, almost... it's more like an inversion of inner personalities with outer personalities--with Jerry redeeming himself and Rick condemning himself. Jerry not only gets in touch with an inner "Rambo" he never knew he had (nor did we) but it completely overtakes him. The old "pussy" Jerry is completely gone. Meanwhile, Rick's exterior demeanor of super genius and always-right and the best-damn-shit-that-ever-walked-the-planet is exposed for the fraud it is and beneath it is a pathetic loser who can't even figure out that normal human DNA is definitely NOT koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur. He's exposed for the drunken, careless, irresponsible, asshole he really is. There's absolutely nothing glorious about him under the lustrous ego. If Jerry finally becomes a "real man", then Rick is exposed for the child he is. They both do a 180--one going from pathetic to great, the other from great to pathetic.

^ Is it possible that the Cronenberg effect, at least the first one where mantises burst out of human shells, was symbolic of this? Symbolic of the inner becoming the outer, or a transformation at the very least?

And finally, I just wanted to point out that not only will Morty never see his real family again, but he'll never get to fall in love with Jessica (not the original one at least). He won't get the girl. The whole thing that started this ends up being an impossibility forever.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:18 am

Well, now that we've gotten through the "turning point" which I feel the last episode was, we can return once again to frivolous superficial adventures--oh I never said we'd leave them behind forever, just that now we know there is a deeper point to the Rick and Morty series than whatever happens to be going on in the midst of this or that adventure. So yes, the adventures will continue on past this point, and will remain crazy and chaotic as ever, but along side that we will also see the unfolding of each character's life and the ways in which they grow, learn, and evolve.

In this episode, for example, we get a more in-depth look into Summer's personality (she's been neglected long enough now)--and even this counts, in my mind, as a "special twist" on the formulaic plot of crazy and chaotic adventure; <-- not only will Summer finally get a chance to be the side kick but Morty will switch rolls with her and play an exclusive part in the secondary plotline only. Furthermore, Beth and Jerry will be, in a sense, pushed out of any plotline whatsoever, though the minimal rolls they will be playing still being situated in the secondary plotline. All they will do in this episode is heckle Morty from time to time when he screws up in his efforts to raise his son.

Yes, in this episode, Morty becomes a father, and we will not only get to have a look into Morty's character when put into a parenting roll, but get to probe into some of the deeper philosophical questions about parenthood.

This is also a good episode to return to a philosophical topic that we only touched on lightly in the Pilot and in Lawnmower Dog--that of conservatism and liberalism; this philosophical line was, in my mind, always attached to some of the other philosophical themes we moved through quite thickly but went unmentioned for one reason or another--for example, the theme of the crazy and chaotic nature of the universe, or trying too hard having opposite consequences. <-- These themes obviously echo conservative values and beliefs--in a word, we can't really control the world nearly as much as we think we can, and many so-called "socialist" attempts to do so, to "improve" the world, end up being economic disasters when put into practice (just read my Reforming Democracy thread for a ton of examples)--for example, attempting to feed the poor making us all poorer in the long run, or raising minimum wage, which theoretically should make the poorer rungs of workers richer, in fact resulting in higher unemployment making the poorer rungs of workers even more poor. In this episode, we will focus on a much more narrow branch of liberalist philosophy (though not always exclusively liberal): feminism.

(Knowing Rick, you can probably imagine how that's going to play out.)

We begin on a tiny planet consisting of just a parking lot (with, by the looks of it, maybe 50 stalls) and a pawn shop. Inside, Rick is negotiating with the owner over a multi-phase quantum resonator (or, as Rick sees it, a broken defraculator--resonators don't defractulate, so by that logic, it's a broken defraculator). Morty, meanwhile, is ogling a sex robot, and being the horny teenage boy he is, he tries to persuade Rick to buy it for him on the premise that it would be a good souvenir to remember Rick by--a clever move on Morty's part as it predictably just takes a bit of ego stroking to bend Rick's arm. He agrees and buys Morty the sex robot.

Image

Back at home, the family (minus Morty) is eating breakfast around the dining room table. What's Morty doing during this? Well, given the rhythmic thumping coming from the ceiling and the shaking of the hanging light above the table, it's obvious that Morty is, well, fucking the robot. Morty takes a break from his sexual escapades to come down in his underwear, wiping away beeds of sweat, and "refuels". He grabs the carton of orange juice from the table, chugs it, and says "All right... back to... back to... b-back upstairs." The thumping begins again.

Jerry: "Well, I'm intervening."

Beth: "Intervening with puberty? You'll turn him into 'Ray Finds a Red Dragon'. [<-- Anybody ever heard of this?] He's at that age. Let's just be proud of him."

Summer: "Jesus, did I really set the bar that low?"

Morty: [Comes back down with a worried look on his face] "Um, Rick, could you come with me please... q-q-quickly?!"

[Rick dashes upstairs with Morty]

Beth: "Okay, now if we hear squeaking, we intervene."

Cut to Morty's room: Rick and Morty stand there watching a pinkish/purple mechanical ball fly/bounce around the room. Gwendalyn, as Morty calls her, has transformed into a ball and is for some reason flying around the room and bouncing off walls. Rick attempts to "steer wrestle" Gwen in an attempt to strap her down and control her, but he's no match for her; he only gets knocked around and thrown repeatedly against the bed; which creates more thumping and prompts the family to rush upstairs, Beth in the lead exclaiming as she enters: "Okay, unacceptable!--Oh."

Then Gwen gives birth to a baby alien-looking thingy. It plops right out of an opening at her bottom, covered in green go, and into Morty's arms. Then Gwen settles on the bed and "unfolds" back into the recognizable sex robot she original was.

Image

Rick pulls out something like a screw driver and deactivates Gwen. She falls back first onto the bed. Rick opens her abdomen and investigates: "Genetic compiler... incubation chamber... yep, this here's some kind of baby maker. And that there's half Morty, half *burp* wh-who knows wh--*burp*--at. It's my bad, guys, I'll--I'll--I'll take care of it," and he pulls out a gun and aims it at the baby.

^ Just as an aside, another minor example of the rare occurrence of Rick owning responsibility for his actions, but of course, only because he figures he has the solution to it (which he can take credit for).

Rick would have shot the baby if it wasn't for the family stopping him. After Rick warns them about the dangers this creature could pose and therefore they have to be careful, Morty says "I lost the chance to be careful, Rick. I'm a father now. You know? It's time for me to be responsible. Isn't that right--[Rick: Don't name it!]--Morty Junior--[Rick: Oh crap, he named it.]" <-- Morty would do this--take responsibility for the position he got himself into. Then Beth says: "Well, dad, it's a living thing. And it's half human." Rick leaves the room, taking Gwen down to the garage to do some investigating, and warns the group before doing so not to let the creature out of their site on account of how dangerous it might be.

In an attempt to find suitable parents for Morty Jr. on the sex robot's home world, Rick manages to trace Gwen's origins to planet Gazorpazorp. He says this out loud to an inquisitive Summer who happened to follow Rick into the garage, inquisitive in a way that betrays a bit of attention seeking and maybe some interest in taking Morty's place as the side kick on one of Rick's crazy adventures. In fact, she says:

"Don't you need a new companion now that Morty's in the family way?"

Rick: "I don't do adventures with chicks, Summer."

Summer: "Oh right, [Rick opens a portal] because there's something about having a wiener [stands right in front of the portal] that would make me better at walking through a hole?"

A huge red, harry hand, like that of the Hulk (minus the color), reaches through the portal and snatches Summer. It pulls her through. "Oh crap," says Rick right before jumping in after her. A big red ferocious looking beast (not unlike what you might imagine an adult version of Morty Jr. would look like) carries Summer off across a landscape scattered with what looks like broken pieces of sex robots just like Gwendalyn. The beast converges with other similar looking beasts. They soon gather in a huddle with Summer being thrown to the ground at the center. Looks like it could be a potential rape scene if not for Rick blasting holes right through their chests with his gun (always swooping in to save the day). They all pile up dead on top of Summer. She climbs out through one of the holes Rick blasted into their chests with Rick assisting her. He says: "Still think it's a good idea to go through holes without a wiener?" Summer responds: "I wanna go home." But before Rick can open a portal back home, a rock comes flying at them knocking his gun clear from his hand and smashes it on the ground. More beasts converge on them. Rick: "Great, now I have to take over a whole planet because of your stupid boobs."

Clearly, at this point, the themes of feminism and sexism are what's at issue in this episode--and clearly, we're going to take a very, very--I'd even say Rick-like--masculine perspective on them. It's nothing new that Rick would be this insensitive and offensive, so even though it will be undeniable (if it's not already) that Rick is sexist (or at least, couldn't care less about being sensitive to sexist issues), this must be evaluated in the context of Rick's selfish prejudices affecting more or less all "isms"--he's just an asshole in general.

And Summer here, being the young teenage girl she is, hopping on board any band wagon that happens to support whatever sounds good to her, will be the first in line to advocate feminist principles with an almost arrogant certitude.

But before any of that plays out, we cut back to the rest of the family. Sitting comfortably on their living room couch, Beth, Jerry, and Morty are spending some "quality time" (I suppose you could say) with Morty Jr. who is resting comfortably in Morty's arms. Jerry begins by telling Morty he's doing great. This is followed by a bit of an argument between Jerry and Beth over parenting strategies. Not that this argumentation is worth delving into, but Beth does say this to Jerry: "Stop filling it with your own insecurity; you're gonna turn it into Morty--uh, mm, Mor-mor-more of you."

^ I find this interesting because it does echo something she said in the previous episode in response to Jerry's question: "Do you ever wonder what happened to Rick and Morty?" to which she responds: "Sometimes... but I'm ashamed to admit, now that they're gone... I'm finally happy." <-- Losing Rick I could I understand, but her own son, Morty... why would losing him make her happy? Here we get a glimpse of an answer: Morty reminds her of Jerry. He has too much of Jerry's insecurities in him. And from a certain perspective, this is true of Morty. His incessant angst over doing the right thing, of taking responsibility, betrays a certain insecurity. It still seems to me, however, that unlike Jerry, Morty is doing it because he really believes in the sanctity of morality--IOW, Morty is motivated by internal validation--whereas Jerry seems more concerned with following moral rules because that's how to maintain social approval. I still think of Morty as a mix of his dad's genes and his mom's (which she inherited from Rick), not just a carbon copy of Jerry as Beth seems to think of him in this moment. More on this theme later will allow us to explore this very muddy mix of psychological baggage in more detail, but for now the point is that the same irksome unlikability about Jerry that irritates Beth so much also resides in Morty, at least from Beth's perspective, which might explain why she could be happy if she never saw Morty again in her life.

(Do we remember, at this point, that Morty is currently engaging with strangers? i.e. people who aren't really his parents? Does Morty?)

Morty, in a moment of intolerance, scolds them both: "Knock it off, both of you! G-Give me him! Give me my baby! [takes Morty Jr. from Beth] Y-your both nuts! I'm going to raise Morty Jr. myself!" and turns on the TV to see something like Mr. Noodles from Elmo's World with a big giant white glove behind him, both of which are dancing (Mr. Noodles-look-alike singing) to the song: "Where's--your hands?--There's--your hands!--and that's how we play handy-hands!"

Image

^ I don't know if this is meant as a bit of irony here, but it almost looks like Morty's impulsive reaction at attempting to "raise Morty Jr. himself" is to turn on the TV in order to escape an "issue"--something we often do as parents as a knee-jerk reaction to wanting to shield our children from the horrors and obscenities of reality. Probably not the most effective parental strategy, but not too bad for a 14 year old boy trying his first hand at parenting (in a moment of rising above the level of immaturity displayed by a couple of actual parents in reaction to their personal issues with each other). So not great but not bad either.

Cut back to Rick and Summer: they're in a tent with Rick repairing his portal gun out of a bunch of sex robot parts while Summer sits on a sort of cushion-looking thingy.



Rick's sexist comments not withstanding, Summer here is portrayed as the archetypal spoiled little rich bitch, the ultimate clueless liberal who knows nothing more but to echo the ethics she's been conditioned to defend and uphold while arrogantly confusing them with wisdom--giving absolutely no thought to what would really happen if the principles she voiced were actually put into practice. What would happen if Rick really considered the burqa a human rights violation worth defending--even in this situation? Well, nothing much to be honest, not so long as Rick kept one hand pointed with his gun at the horny Gazorpians while the other kept working on repairing his portal gun. But Rick's point--that he has to do his work single handed--is obviously not appreciated. The least Summer could do, in other words, is make life a bit easier for Rick by hiding her sexuality from the mindless dumb-dumbs so that he can focus his full energies on getting them back home where she doesn't have to worry about getting raped. It's not like Rick is making Summer wear the burqa to exercise his male dominance over her, but rather to protect her--to temporarily protect her--until he can get them home--at which point he would (presumably) care less if she wore the burqa or not. But this temporary--and frankly harmless--compromise is too much for Summer to tolerate--no, not even that, it doesn't even register on her radar as a compromise. It's only the "human rights violation" that shows up on Summer's radar. The issue here goes deeper than feminism per se, deeper than the violation of human rights--it's an issue with stupidity and ignorance vying for power, with the dangers of carelessness calling the shots, and when practiced with an arrogant righteousness that blocks off any willingness to listen to criticism that might after all be reasonable, it is not only dangerous but destructive, even to one's self.

On the other hand, we do see a bit of arrogant righteousness on Rick's part in the same scene. When Summer asks how such backwards idiots invented robots, Rick, the typical male if there ever was one, acts like he has all the right answers: "Obviously, at some point, the Gazorpians became so evolved that they replaced females with birthing machines. The resultant lack of distraction and hen pecking allowed them to focus entirely on war so they bombed themselves back to the stone age and now they just fight with each other over fake pussy with sticks and rock[s?] all day long." <-- Remind anyone of koala, mixed with rattle snake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur? <-- We will see just how wrong Rick can be even in this episode (just in case we missed it in the last episode).

Then, in the midst of their bickering, a voice from outside distracts them saying something like "Dropping loads!" (<-- really, I have no idea what it's saying). They rush outside to find a giant stone head flying above the crowd of Gazorpians, the crowd chanting in response: "Dropping loads!"

Image

It's conspicuously obvious that this is a parody of the 1974 film Zardoz starring Sean Connery in a distrubingly revealing outfit that no one should have to see. But here it is anyway:



I'm tempted to do a side project on the parallels between the themes of Zardoz and this episode of Rick and Morty, but I'll save that for another time.

Anyway, the giant flying head spits out a bunch of sex robots, the Gazorpians mate with them, and then they fly back up as orbs into the mouth of the flying head. Rick says to Summer: "Summer, grab-grab hold." She does as Rick fires a grappling hook from a gun, aiming for one of the orbs (apparently, a regular Batman). It hooks and he reels himself and Summer in. They slip on board like a Trojan horse.

They find themselves in a chamber surrounded by something like glass compartments in which the robot orbs settle into and come to rest, like a storage point.

Summer, dispensing with the burqa, asks: "Grandpa Rick, where are we going?"

Rick: "Well, obviously, Summer, it appears the lower tier of this society is being manipulated through sex and advanced technology by a hidden ruling class. Sound familiar?"

^ So just a minute ago, Rick was arrogantly pointing out how "obviously" the Gazorpians invented the sex robots themselves. But now it's "obvious" that some hidden ruling class invented the robots. <-- This capricious swapping of theories doesn't exactly lend Rick a lot of credibility despite his over-inflated ego convincing him of just the opposite.

Besides that, his "sound familiar?" innuendo hearkens to the more paranoid extremes of feminist thoughts--i.e. the caricature of the "patriarchy" being raised to the level of a hidden ruling class, a kind of secret government conspiracy run by men and designed deliberately to keep women down--something on par with the illuminaty. Little does Rick realize, however, how true his words are about to prove--except in the exact opposite sense that both he and Summer expect.

Two hooded figures approach them from behind. Rick, acting all street smart, like he's been around the block and knows exactly what to say to these two strangers, starts with: "H-Hey brother--h-h-uh-hey bro. Nice racket you got going on here. Listen, I'm Rick Sanchez from Earth dimension C-137, don't mean ya any harm, comin' in peace [raises the peace sign], it's all cool... in the... uh... good in the neighborhood... is what I was tryin to com--is what I meant..." The hooded beings look at each other and then disrobe.

They are a couple of gorgeous, and very tall, females with six arms (two protruding from their head, not unlike the Gazorpian beasts) and gaudy, almost Egyptian, looking outfits. Kind of reminds me of a cross between the image of Amazonian warrior princesses and the Hindu goddess Kali.

Image

They immediately silence Rick with a psychic choke hold (not unlike Darth Vader's signature move) and lift him off the ground with their telekinesis:



From the frying pan into the fire.

(It's interesting here how both Rick and Summer could be construed as treating the other in a demeaning and sexist manner on the surface, but underneath that, they're really trying to protect each other--Rick telling Summer to put the burqa on, really just to protect her, and Summer claiming Rick as her slave, really just to protect him--and neither one appreciating the fact... we'll see more of this from Summer throughout the episode as she will be in charge from her on in).

Cutting back to Morty and Morty Jr., Morty and his (incredibly fast growing) son are having some bonding time as Morty plays "coochie-coo" with his son.

Morty Jr.: "Da"

Morty: "Oh, what was that, Morty Jr.? Were you--were you gonna say dada? Say dada."

Morty Jr.: "DEATH!!!"

Morty: [A look of consternation on his face] "Mm... dada."

Morty Jr.: "Domination!"

Morty: "Dada?"

Morty Jr.: "Destruction. Domination."

Jerry: [In the recliner reading a news paper] "*cough-cough* Nice."

Rick's warning from earlier rings through. And we've seen how barbaric these creatures can be as grown ups (even if mixed with human DNA, you gotta expect this kid ain't safe).

In an underground labyrinth on Gazorpazorp, Rick and Summer are being lead by the female Gazorpians through an elaborate femtopia. Everything appears built according to a woman's design. And there are absolutely no men. An announcement is broadcasted on the intercom: "The spider, in sector C, is still alive. Plan your route accordingly and expect delays. We're not telling you what to do, we're just sharing how we feel."

They are introduced to Marsha, ruler of Gazorpazorp. She explains after Summer asks what this place is: "Paradise. We built it after the Great Passive Aggression, when the females separated from the males due to their increasingly destructive behavior." They stop in front of a chamber of some kind. Inside the chamber are an assembly line of sex robots just like the one Rick bought for Morty. Marsha continues as they walk: "From here, we dispense mechanical surrogates to maintain our population. Fertilized surrogates are returned here to our nursery." They stop in front of the nursery to witness one of the sex robot orbs dispensing a baby Gazorpian into a tube-like thingy. It drops into a machine that flashes with the female symbol ♀. The baby comes out on a conveyor belt and moves them into a crib looking thingy. Marsha explains: "The females are placed into an educational programs where they can discover a service to our paradise that fulfills them most..." We see a male baby Gazorpian drop into the device, it flashes the male symbol ♂, and the baby comes out onto a different conveyor belt and into a giant sling shot. "The males" Marsha continues, "...they get to play outside," and the baby gets flung through a tube to the outside.

"That was just a baby," Summer says. "And within a day," Marsha's assistant says, "he'll be an adult male Gazorpian, one of the most aggressively violent creatures in the universe."

Clearly, we are to understand that this femtopia is steadfast against men, not just Gazorpian men, but men in general (otherwise, Rick wouldn't be in handcuffs). As with most episodes of Rick and Morty, we once again get a taste for thought provoking contrasts. We see a contrast between this femtopia where the women are smart, civilized, beautiful, and of course sexist, and the tribe of male beasts who are dumb, brutal, ugly, and of course homicidal rapists (I'd say sexist but they seem too dumb to achieve even that).

It isn't explained, but it seems reasonable to assume that ever since the Great Passive Aggression, they evolved along different lines, thus explaining their noticeably different appearances. Considering how the Great Passive Aggression sounds historically situated, it would seem a rather quick genetic shift in their evolutionary transmutation to have develop such a stark contrast in their phenotypic appearances, but we do have to recall how quickly Gazorpians grow.

Speaking of male Gazorpians, Rick explains that the reason they're here is because a male Gazorpian was born on their planet. After slapping him across the face for speaking, Summer explains that it's true. Marsha asks if Summer is the ruler of Earth. "How did you know?" she responds. Marsha responds that it's the quality of her top, a yellow blouse that I guess is "fabulous". She goes on to explain that Earth is in grave danger and that they will give them passage back home in order to terminate the half-Gazorpian beast... after Mojitos.

This is outrageous according to Rick. Mojitos before saving the Earth from a deadly, terrorizing, rapist beast? Rick, being the unhindered, outspoken, insufferable person he is, can't help himself. He makes a stink about it. He shouts: "This place is the worst! I wanna go home!" Summer responds: "Well, it doesn't matter what you want because this is a sane place where women rule." In other words, the blatant unabashed sexism of this femtopia is lost on Summer. Because it caters to her kind, it is "sane". This vain unthinking narrow-mindedness is typical of the teenage mind, but especially in Summer's case. We'll see more of her shallow character in other episodes, especially in episode 11: Ricksy Business. Rick continues: "Yeah, you know what I have to say about that?" and lets out the loudest, most obnoxious, wet-sounding fart--loud enough for the whole femtopia to hear, lasting long enough to do the cameo to get the idea across that the whole femtopia can hear it.

Rick really doesn't know when to call it quits. Not only is he unhindered, outspoken, and insufferable, but it really seems, from this scene, that he is incapable of holding back and keeping his mouth shut. Either that, or he is oblivious to the situation he's in (maybe cocky enough to think he can get himself out of any situation he finds himself in) or doesn't care what happens to him (which we will see, in episode 1 of season 2, isn't so implausible a theory).

The women are absolutely appalled, even Summer: "Grandpa!" she exclaims, a big mistake. "Grandpa?" Marsha questions. "That sounds patriarchal," says another. "It means father of fathers," says Marsha's assistant. The gig is up. Rick is not Summer's slave and Summer is certainly not the ruler of Earth. Again, both are put into a Darth Vader style psychic choke grip and raised into the air.

I'm going to skip the scene of Morty Jr. as a toddler and come back to it later. By now, you get the idea that this new addition to the family is growing into a ferocious monster. I'd like to wrap up with the main storyline and then continue with the secondary one.

Returning to the main storyline, we find Rick and Summer (now also in handcuffs) waiting in line to be judged in something like an express court of law. The girl in front of them is being tried for messy bangs and is sentenced to the silent treatment. Rick "pshaws": "This is gonna be cake." Next, Rick and Summer are up to bat. Summer is charged with treason against womankind and Rick, for "creating the sound of which we do not speak because it doesn't exist." "You are hereby sentence to--" says the judge before being interrupted by Rick: "Wha-wha-what? A night on the couch?" "Death." <-- Crushed by a giant bolder.

As a few last words to let her know how he feels, Rick apologizes to Summer for letting her drag them into this, and that he wishes he could be a better grandpa, and that, for what it's worth, that really is a cute top. This sparks an idea in Summer's mind:

"My top! My top! The same top you complemented earlier! Look! Look at the tag! Read it! [Marsha's assistant: It says 'Marc Jacobs'] [Marsha: Marc? Jacobs? These are the names of the penis.] Yes. An Earth man made this top. Maybe on your planet, separation of the genders is the right thing to do, but on Earth, a certain percentage of our males are born gay, which is why my clothes are better than all of yours."

This speech leaves the crowd of Gazorpian women speechless. Summer seals the deal by concluding: "If you think my top is cute, you cannot execute." <-- Which is silly logic, of course, but if having messy bangs is as serious a crime as it is, wearing a fabulous top is surely worth a pardon.

Thus, Summer saves their bacon. They are provided transportation home where, in Marsha's words, "women are kind of equal but not really."

So back to the secondary plotline, while Rick and Summer are in the thick of their ordeal, Morty gets a gift from Morty Jr., now about 3 or 4 years old (or days considering the Gazorpians' rate of growth). His son hands him a picture he drew. Now ordinarily, this would melt a father's heart, but in this case, the content is rather questionable and would scare any parent to death:

Image

It's a picture of him and Morty standing on top of the world, a sword in his hand, a pitchfork in Morty's, and bloody body parts strewn across the rest of the world. Morty decides it's time to have a talk with his son: "Ok, listen to me, Morty Jr.. I've got to tell you something very important, Ok? Killing is bad! Bad!" Morty Jr. simply laughs and calls his dad silly. Morty emphasizes that he's being serious and that he's got to channel his aggressive energies into something else. Again, he turns on the TV to find an obvious parody of The Wiggles dancing. "I mean, what about dancing?" Morty suggests, "Would you like to learn how to dance?" "I'd like to dance," Morty Jr. says, "on the graves of my enemies."

The mailman comes by and drops some mail through the mail slot. This catches Morty Jr.'s attention. He runs for the door. "Daddy, can I go outside?" Morty, fearing for what might happen if he lets his homicidal son outside, tells him that he can't because the air is poisonous. He brings Morty Jr. back to the living room where he tries to encourage him to dance. "We love to dance," he says. "Why do we love to dance?" Morty yells: "'CAUSE I SAID SO!!!" Morty Jr. runs off crying. A nearby Jerry and Beth reading the paper say: "Nice."

^ What I find interesting about this scene is not so much the horrible little monster we see Morty Jr. turning into, but the exceptions to this. While he did draw a picture of him and his dad seemingly celebrating their victorious massacre over the world, we can note that he's holding his dad's hand and that they are smiling together. He obviously loves his dad. And while he wants to go outside to kill and slaughter his "enemies" (as he puts it), he has no desire to do so to the residents in the house (i.e. his family). I think this theme can be tied into the central moral of the story, which we will come back to at the end.

Anyway, we cut to the court scene at this point (where Rick and Summer are being tried) but we're going to skip that since we've been through it already and get back to Morty and Morty Jr.

Morty Jr. is a teenager now, growing sideburns (or armpit hair), wearing a varsity jacket, and smoking a cigarette while sitting on the couch watching TV.

Image

Morty comes in the room and catches him red handed:

Morty: "Morty Jr.! Smoking?! That is not OK!"

Morty Jr.: "What are you gonna do? Ground me? I can't go outside anyway!"

Morty: "So what?! Y-y-you can do things inside. I mean, you can play guitar, you can masturbate!"

Morty Jr.: "I don't want to masturbate! I want to conquer the planet!"

Morty: "Oh, here we go again. You know, who do you think is gonna love you if you conquer the planet, Morty Jr.?!"

Morty Jr.: "Love, that's all you care about! What about weapons?! What about domination of the enemy?!"

Morty: "All right, that's it, no more history channel."

Morty switches off a program of what looks like footage of the Third Reich. They get into a physical struggle over the remote control. Morty pushes Morty Jr.. Realizing what he just did to his son, Morty anxiously apologies claiming that he didn't mean it. "I can't take this anymore," says Morty Jr. heading for the door, "I'd rather breathe poison than live another minute living with you!" He opens the door, steps outside, and takes a deep breath. After realizing that he's not dead, he exclaims "My life has been a lie!" and starts running down the street continuing his rant: "God is dead! The government's lame! Thanks Giving is about killing Indians! Jesus wasn't born on Christmas! They moved the day! It was a pagan holiday!"

Morty rushes to his father: "My son is going to take over the planet and I'm too young to drive! Can you help me get him back?!" Jerry clears his throat: "I suppose, Morty, I suppose... but first, a deep sip from a very tall glass of I-told-you-so," and mimics gulping down a tall glass of I-told-you-so juice. He takes his sweet time too. "Oh my God," says an impatient Morty, "please, dad, come on!" <-- Again, we see where Jerry's priorities lie: he's more concerned with pointing out that he's right than with doing what's right.

We cut to a scene of Morty Jr. entering something like an abandoned factory in the middle of the night, holding what looks like a bottle of wine. He chugs a huge gulp. He finds an old radio on a window ledge in the factory. He turns it on. It plays a kind of rundown imitation of Moving Picture's Never--the song that plays during Kevin Bacon's dance solo in the abandoned warehouse from Footloose. In fact, just like Kevin Bacon, Morty Jr. breaks out into dance and rips it up all around the building, screaming with rage and anger (not that Bacon did that). The scene ends with Morty Jr. looking up to the sky and ripping off his jacket and shirt. He roars a beastly roar. (reminiscent of the Hulk). He bursts through a brick wall. Roars again. He smashes a truck and flips it over. He rips out a lamp post from the ground and throws it into a smoke stack. Next scene, we see people running and screaming down the street as a car crashes into a parked truck. Morty Jr. comes running around the corner chasing after the people. He continues to smash shit up all over town as he chases them down.

Morty and his dad are driving down another street witnessing all the damage. They see him straight ahead. "Dad! There he is!" yells Morty. Morty Jr., caught in their headlights, turns to them and smashes the hood of the car. They jump out of the car just as Morty Jr. lifts it up above his head. It looks like he's about to crush them when Morty shouts: "Morty Jr., no! It's me! It's dad!" Morty Jr. takes notice of this but doesn't quite seem ready to put his rage aside. He raises the car higher as Morty tries harder: "NO! No! Whe-where's your hands?! Where's your hands?!" This triggers something in Morty Jr. He throws the car to the side (Jerry running to it, saying "My car!" like it's his son). Morty Jr. finishes the song: "And that's how we play handy-hands!" <-- Does this show that with experiences of a loving bond with family in the background of one's memory, one can overcome even the most fierce rage?

Summer and Rick enter the scene. They land in a pink spaceship. Rick jumps out: "Get out of the way, Morty!" and pulls out his gun. Morty jumps in front of Morty Jr.: "No!" "Morty!" Rick tries to reason, "That's one of the most violently aggressive creatures in the universe!" Morty tackles Rick to the ground. "He's my son!" he says, "And if you hurt him, y-you'll have to kill me, Rick!" The look on Morty Jr.'s face upon hearing this speak's volumes:

Image

This is not something any male Gazorpian has ever heard--the idea of someone willing to sacrifice their life for another. Indeed, no male Gazorpian (as far as we know) has ever experienced having a father, let alone a loving father, and the sudden realization in this scene of what the love of a father means is priceless.

Morty Jr. suddenly looks around him. He looks at all the damage he's done (including Jerry's car and the hurt feelings caused by that seen on Jerry's face).

"Dad," he says, "I'm so confused!" Then he and Morty sit on the curb and have a father-to-son talk:



Then Brad Anderson, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip Marmaduke, shows up. He concurs with Morty's advice of channeling one's murderous energies into something creative, claiming to be "haunted by uncontrollable thoughts of mutilation and sexual assaults on a near daily basis," but he channels it into his work. Well, this convinces Morty Jr.. He says he always wanted to see his face on the back of a novel: "What I really want to do is slit people's throats, but beyond that..." Morty gives him some encouraging words, and Morty Jr. decides it's time he gets a place of his own. They hug and Morty Jr. takes off, jumping from house top to house top (like the Hulk) until he disappears.

Jerry approaches Morty: "Soooo, I assume this novel your son writes is going to be pay for my rear axle?" <-- Completely oblivious to the meaningfulness of what just went on between Morty and his son (but we already know Jerry for the dufus he is).

Rick and Summer kind of wrap things up with a short discussion about what they've learned from this whole affair:

Rick: "Isn't it interesting Summer that after all that stuff we just did, nothing really mattered and there was no point to it? Kinda makes you wonder, huh? About nothing!"

Summer: "Are you sure it doesn't make you re-evaluate your policy about taking girls on adventures?"

Rick: "No. [in a thoughtful tone] I'd say given what we've been through that I was right the whole time and any epiphanies about gender politics were a projection of your feminine insecurities. But Heeeyyy! Why don't you have a pink spaceship! [drops keys into her hands] Go ride around and have a jolly old time. Maybe that will shut you up."

Rick's point is a bit reminiscent of the theme we encountered in the last two episodes--namely, about how the universe thwarts our attempts to control it. After all, they set out to return to Earth in order to save it from the blood thirsty monster that Morty Jr. had become, ready to kill him on sight with Rick's gun, but Morty (the thwarting force of the universe, at least in relation to Rick) not only stopped him but solved the problem by a completely opposite approach--not through aggression but through love. He had a heart-to-heart talk with his son and thereby convinced him to channel his aggressive energies into something constructive (we'll see in the post-credit scene how this pans out). In other words, Rick and Summer didn't have to do anything at all. (Makes you wonder what would have happened to them if the femtopians could have predicted this).

Anyway, Beth somehow rendezvous with the group, questioning where Rick and Summer were this whole time. Summer explains that they were on Gazorpazorp and asks: "Where were you?" "I was reading a newspaper," she responds. Rick plays on this: "Oh, that's interesting Beth. You know, it's funny, I-I-I heard about a little news myself. Take a look. T-t-take a listen." And he farts. The girls just laugh. Rick reacts: "Wubulubudubdub! Thi--*burb* *burb*--s world's--*burb*--still gotta--still gotta chance! Yeay! Ha! Ha!" Even Morty and Jerry enter the scene and laugh with the group.

Now, I don't think Rick's point is that if women would just laugh when grown men fart, the world would be a better place--I think his point is that, when it comes to the sexes, we are not as polarized as the Gazorpians. In fact, I think this is the take home message of this episode: that for all the faults each sex finds in the other, segregation is not the answer. In fact, all segregation will do is amplify the faults in each sex. Men will become more vulgar and brutal and women will be more stuck up and vane (they actually wouldn't laugh at fart jokes! Imagine that! :shock:). Taken to extremes, they may become so polarized in their ways that it will determine their evolutionary path, making their flaws genetically hard wired. And why wouldn't they become polarized? All they have to learn from is each other (I believe psychologists call this effect: group think). Each member of the group reinforces the flaws of that same group. What happens, in contrast, to a society in which men and women are mixed together is that we water down each other's extremes and faults. The result is not just that women can (sometimes) find the humor in men farting but that men can learn to be better fathers, to care for their offspring, to understand the value of altruism as opposed to conquering the enemy. What Rick sees here is an appreciation on the part of each sex for the other, and this signals to him that the inter-mingling of the sexes, the close intimate contact, is (so far) still working.

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

The post-credits scene sheds a bit more light on Morty Jr.'s relation to his father, and on Gazorpian aggression in general. We see Morty Jr. on TV being interviewed about his new book "My (Horrible) Father":

Image

In a well-groomed suit, looking all civilized and educated, like a true intellectual, Morty Jr., now probably around 50 in Gazorpian years, reveals to being locked in the house throughout his childhood, and being threatened by poison gas, and that there was violence (not mentioning that this was more from him than his father), but that there was also dancing.

Beth says: "It's a thankless job, Morty. You did the best you could."

Morty: "I hope he's eating enough."

It brings up a question in my mind: so Morty Jr. has done away with violence, but at what cost? Or rather I should ask: has he really? If publishing a book named "My Horrible Father" and going on national television to promote it doesn't count as violence, then at least it should count as passive aggression--not unlike the "Great Passive Aggression" the femtopians went through. Morty Jr. is violent--by nature--and purging that through writing a book doesn't get rid of the violence--it merely diverts it through other channels--in this case through an attempt to publicly shame his father and tarnish his reputation (I also question why Morty in particular is targeted--Morty Jr. could have taken out his (passive) aggression on anyone, but he chose his father in particular; does he resent his father for making him curb his violent tendencies?).

And what does Beth's statement mean: it's a thankless job but you [Morty] did the best you could? On the one hand, it echoes a kind of resentment: she's gotten no thanks for all her efforts raising two children, but yet she understands the position Morty's in--she understands that "parents are just kids having kids." And speaking from experience, this rings so true--parenting is just winging it--so you just try to do the best you can.

And then there's Morty's response: I hope he's eating enough. Right in the midst of watching his own son tear apart his reputation before the whole nation, all he can think about is whether he has enough to eat. A true parental instinct if there ever was one. While Beth is griping about not being thanked for being a (frankly quite shitty) parent, Morty is ever thinking about his son's welfare while receiving the most thankless criticism a child can give a (frankly quite awesome) parent.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

I think a comparison between this episode and episode 5, Meeseeks and Destroy, is in order. Both involved one of the Smith children taking the lead in the adventure. How did Summer measure up to Morty? Well, if you think about it, Summer blew Morty out of the water. Not only did she simply take the lead without Rick's consent, but Rick was powerless to do anything about it (no training wheels for Summer), and there was no question, at the end, who saved their bacon, unlike in Morty's case in which he "caved" prematurely. Not bad for girl. :evilfun:

On the other hand, one might say it was too easy for her--surrounded by femtopians in a woman's paradise--unlike in Morty's case where there were numerous and constant dangers all around. But back to the first hand, this creature comfort Summer enjoyed didn't last--when she let slip that Rick was really her grandfather, they were both in deep doodoo. None of this was her choice, however, unlike Morty who willing dove into the heart of danger, but the fact remains that she did save the day in the end--indeed, she saved Rick's ass--whereas Morty bailed and Rick had to hold him by the hand in order to redeem the adventure.

On a completely unrelated note: I find it interesting that in this episode, Morty learns (and practices) some of the most important lessons of parenthood--and yet at the same time, he is technically an orphan himself--we must recall that he is in a reality that is not his--these are not his real family--in fact, you could say, in a twisted sense, that fathering this alien Gazorpian *might* be the writers' way of "connecting" him into this new reality such that he can now say he really does have family here, he is genetically connected, he belongs. (it should be noted however that we technically are not told that planet Gazorpazorp is necessarily in the same reality in which this episode takes place--all Rick tells us is that Gwen's origins are from planet Gazorpazorp... but in the same universe? But even if not, at least we know that Morty Jr. is Morty's true son, and therefore the ties that bind them together are real, whether or not either of them truly "belong" to the reality the reside in).

^ And just as an aside, let me mention a point that's been made amongst Rick and Morty fans and theorists that at the beginning of each episode, we technically don't know that the world we're situated in, the world in which we find Rick and Morty (and all the rest) at the start of the storyline, is the same world that we ended with in the last episode--if there are an infinite number of world, each one potentially featuring a version of Rick and a version of Morty (and versions of all the rest), then technically we have no right to say that this Morty, in this episode, is the same one who was forced to abandon his home reality in episode 6. In other words, my point above may be completely ungrounded. Maybe this really is his true family after all. <-- Just sayin'.

#######################################################

So what are the philosophical springboards this episode gives us?

* Sexism and feminism! This is a whole can of worms that can't just be opened without going into a whole novel of questions, issues, and points that one can raise. For all the nasty details, I refer the reader to my thread feminism and sexism. But in the context of this episode, these questions, issues, and points can be narrowed down. How 'bout this: do we only see the extreme of each other's faults--men and women that is--do men who are bitter at women see them as the snobby passive aggressive femtopians that are depicted in this episode, even though most women are more like Summer and Beth--capable (with some effort) at finding the humor in dumb male fart jokes? And what about women who are bitter at men? Do they see men as like the male Gazorpians? Sadistic, dumb, rapist animals, ready to go to war and rip the shit out of innocent victims just to satisfy some psychopath need for violence? And is this just a distorted exaggeration when really most men are more like Morty--able to show love and selflessness when put in a position where that is the morally right thing to do? And what about women? Would a more realistic lens focused on women reveal an openness to being more laid back and easy going?

* How much can love and selflessness, when shown to another, help that other to overcome tendencies towards violence and aggression? Does demonstrating love and selflessness show others another way besides violence and aggression? What about those for whom violence and aggression comes natural? Is love and selflessness enough to overcome genetically hardwired tendencies towards violence and aggression? And furthermore, how healthy is it, really, to divert one's natural tendencies towards something more constructive or socially acceptable when that natural tendency is completely destructive and socially unacceptable? One could say that Morty Jr. certainly made a success of his life--publishing a book and being interviewed on national television is quite an accomplishment indeed--and no one got hurt (at least not physically)--but is he happy? Does he seem fulfilled? Or will he be, like Brad Anderson, "haunted by uncontrollable thoughts of mutilation and sexual assaults on a near daily basis" for the rest of his life? Would he have been better off being allowed to give in to his violent tendencies and his aggressive impulses? He certainly would have ended up in prison if not eventually killed; not to mention at the cost of several innocent lives. But could he have felt more fulfilled (even in prison)?

* Liberalism and conservatism: as I said earlier, this philosophical topic has always been there in the background, but only in this episode does it come glaringly to the fore. Summer is clearly an outspoken advocate for liberal principles--to a fault: she defends them at the most inappropriate times--not just inappropriate, but at times when it is dangerous to do so--this without having the faintest clue how dangerous it really is. Are the conservatives right in criticizing liberals on this point? And do liberals have an equally weighty criticism to level against conservatives? What would that be? In the context of this episode, that might be the insensitivity of conservatives to the issues that really matter to liberals--this hearkens back to Rick's inability to shut his mouth in situations when not only is he being offensive, but oblivious to the dangers that his outspoken, opinionated mentality get him and Summer into. So it stands to question: are both sides stubbornly insensitive to the important issues and perspectives of the other side? Would learning to be more sensitive, to try to understand things from the other side's point of view, be conductive to lessening the animosity and polarization that divides each side from the other?

^ There you go--a smattering of philosophical questions to chew on--do with them what you will. Until then, I'll be working long and hard on my next installment to this thread: episode 8: Rixty Minutes.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

Re: The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Postby gib » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:05 am

Here are my day-after thoughts:

When Rick and Summer first enter Gazorpazorp world, Rick says to Summer "Still think it's a good idea to go through holes without a wiener?" and she responds: "I wanna go home."

Later, in Femtopia, Rick complains: "This place is the worst! I wanna go home!"

This seems on purpose. I think the writers are trying to mirror each character's sentiments when in the other gender's domain. Of course, Summer says it out of fear, whereas Rick says it more out of being a big baby.

Also, the scene in which Rick gets locked in a psychic choke hold (the first one): when he gets released and drops to the ground, he says "What's the opposite of wubulubudubdub, am I right ladies and gentlemen?" In case you haven't seen episode 11, Ricksy Business, the following is a SPOILER ALERT!!!--we learn from Bird Person that wubulubudubdub means "I am in great pain, please help me." <-- So what does that mean here? The opposite of wubulubudubdub would be "I am in ecstasy, please don't help me." Are we to understand that Rick actually enjoys being psychically choked by a couple sexy Gazorpian babes? There was that scene in Lawnmower Dog when Rick was dressed in some S&M sex gear:

Image

^ I guess he's into that shit.

And the burqa scene: were the writers trying to make a statement about Middle Eastern / Muslim culture? I don't know about this. It hints at it for sure. But surely Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are bright enough to realize that, while wearing the burqa in order to avoid being raped seems realistic in Summer's case, it's the most pathetic sad excuse for Middle Eastern men to take absolutely no accountability for their own sexual impulses. Men certainly are a bunch of horny sex-obsessed meat heads, but it ain't that hard to reign in our urges. You don't see Western men raping women on every street corner.

Also, did anyone notice all the Rick flags on Gazorpazorp?

Image

Obviously, Rick's approach to taking over a whole planet because of Summer's stupid boobs was to make himself into a God that the male Gazorpians would worship. But what's with the eyes. It looks like he's got skin folded over his eyes. <-- Weird.

And has anyone thought that the scene of the sex robots returning to the giant head looks a lot like sperm penetrating an egg?

Image

Image

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.

And finally, would a femtopia really consist of nothing but young gorgeous fabulous hotties? Wouldn't there still be old, fat, and ugly chicks hanging 'round? I would think even more so since the bulk of women's efforts to pretty themselves up is to attract men.

And finally, does Summer literally own a pink space ship now?
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

It is impossible for a human being to go through life not thinking irrationally even if they think of themselves as rational
Also just as irrational decisions are not always bad then rational ones are not always good no matter what the intention
- surreptitious75

The rating of rationality can be higher and always is higher than the person trying to be rational. Rationality is less emotional than the person delivering it.
- encode_decode

Is that a demon slug in your stomach or are you just happy to see me?
- Rick Sanchez
User avatar
gib
resident exorcist
 
Posts: 8506
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm
Location: lost (don't try to find me)

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot]