Rick and Morty is an adult animated science fiction sitcom, created and premiered in 2013 by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. It chronicles the adventures of an American family, the Smiths. Jerry and Beth are the parents, Morty and Summer their children, and finally Rick, Beth’s father. Like The Simpsons or The Griffins, Rick And Morty is indeed a family show. But unlike the other animated TV series, the focus is shifted to the relationship between the grandfather and his grandson.
A younger McFly
The adventures often see as protagonists Rick and his nephew Morty, and take place not only on Earth but also around space. An infinite number of planets, stars, and parallel realities. The series is considered as cosmic horror. In fact, it has its origins in an animated parody of Back to the Future, created by Justin Roiland for the festival of short films Channel 101. Later, it was turned into an animated TV series, following the instructions of the Creative Director of Adult Swim, Mike Lazzo, as stated in an interview with the creator.
The human tragedy
It is not, however, mere science fiction, but much more. The work of Dan Harmon, (the same creator of Community) brings a deeper meaning to the series. Rick’s vision refers to cosmicism, a literary philosophy created by the writer H.P. Lovecraft that shows how human beings are irrelevant in what is the infinite cosmic panorama.
“If life is really meaningless, then everything makes sense. If the universe has no center, the center is where you are. Which is simultaneously a tragedy and a miracle”. Says Harmon in a video where he summarizes the inner theme of the series. The show’s writers seem undecided whether Rick and Morty will ultimately point out humanity’s tragedy or the absurd.
The viewer must wait and provides himself a solution to the question. Is this a meaningless world or people just need to dwell in the absurdities of the multiverse?
This perspective comes, though only partially, to another animated adult series that has lately faced philosophical themes: BoJack Horseman. In this animated series, much more present is the theme of existentialism, which overturns the question in a personal and intimate conception.
Multiverses, endless stories
Rick and Morty is a partially horizontal show, meaning that there is a serial narration that extends to the whole series, but each episode has another smaller storyline ending in 25 minutes.
In the course of the four seasons, Harmon has opened and closed countless passages between universes. By doing this, they left behind specific events, worlds, and races in order not to return there again. But it is also so meta television and is self-aware that the characters end up stumbling over their own disasters by trying to find a remedy and at the same time triggering even bigger catastrophes. This creates endless stories and infinite seriality.
But even more remarkable is the influence that Rick And Morty have. It not only has won 3 Emmys, but also won thousands of fans worldwide, that everyday post on the Reddit Page which has 2 million and more members.