By Chris Zuver, A and E Editor
After more than a year of delays and eager fan complaints, the third season of Adult Swim’s cartoon “Rick and Morty” debuted, to everyone’s surprise, on the night of April 1. Yet, it was not until three months later on July 30 that the season began to air regularly. Since then, a new episode has premiered on Adult Swim every Sunday. Fans, and myself included, could not be happier.
For those who do not know, the show revolves around Rick Sanchez—a nihilistic, arrogant, space/time-traveling scientist-and his good-natured but naïve grandson, Morty Smith. Rick is a man with a dark past and seemingly has nowhere else to go, and so he lives with his daughter’s family, who constantly gets caught up in his antics. To be fair, however, though Rick often starts the problems, he is sometimes dragged into situations without warning.
There probably are not many left who have not at least caught wind of the show by now and their zany catchphrases like “Wubalubadubdub!” or “I’m Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!” Though it is over the top and downright absurd, the dedication of the young shows’ fan base should not be underestimated.
For instance: the April Fools’ Day debut, Rick escaped the Galactic Federation’s prison and sabotaged their entire government, but not before traveling back in time to the late 1990’s to pick up a pack of discontinued Szechuan McNugget sauce which he dearly craved from McDonalds. Because of this, fans went wild, signing petitions to the food chain to bring the Disney’s Mulan-themed promotional condiment back onto the market. McDonalds even delivered, to an extent, shipping two full containers of the stuff to co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.
So far, season three has been no disappointment and has upped the ante, with even more clever writing, a deeper exploration of characters, guest star cameos, and breakneck speed plot progressions.
While currently half of the new season has aired, there are already enough mysteries and topics for fans to discuss and theorize about for weeks. We have seen guest stars such as Tony Hale, Susan Sarandon, Danny Trejo, and even rapper/singer Logic, who appears as himself. We have also seen several new characters and scenarios that parody other fictional series, such as a post-apocalyptic world that resembles “Mad Max,” and a group of galactic superheroes known, ironically, as The Vindicators.
Though each episode thus far has its share of reasons to be mentioned, none are as absurd or intense as the episode “Pickle Rick,” which fans may recognize from a rough sketch of the episode that was previewed months ago. In the episode, Rick decides to transform himself into a pickle in order to escape a counseling session with his family. This attempt to escape confrontation gets out of hand when he is washed into the sewer, left to fend for himself with only his wits. Rick battles his way through hungry sewer rats, Russian secret agents, and trained assassins, only to end up at the counseling session anyway. Besides the brilliantly-written dialogue and action sequences, the episode is a celebration of the character of Rick, for better and for worse.
“Rick and Morty” is undoubtedly the most talked-about show on Adult Swim today and with good reason. Each episode deals with science, philosophy, and social issues, but it never takes itself too seriously. The show fits the half-hour format of other great adult cartoons like “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” and “Futurama” and seems to be on its way to the same level of prestige. If you are looking for some comic relief this fall, check out the third season on Adult Swim.