MORTY SMITH

Status: Main Character
First Appearance: “Pilot”
Voice Actor: Justin Roiland

The second-half of the eponymous duo, Morty Smith is an average fourteen-year-old boy. He goes to school, crushes on girls, and plays video games like any other contemporary American teen. If he had the choice, this is all he’d rather put up with, but he has an unfortunate elephant in the room: Rick Sanchez.

Rick constantly drags his grandson through time and space. In a happier universe, Morty might have found skipping school to visit exotic planets and strange creatures preferable. Instead it’s a constant stepping ladder of trauma-inducing nightmares. Bloody wars, murder, vengeance, weird alien logic, and near-death experiences has forced Morty to kill or be killed. Morty is a survivor suffering massive mental issues that is beyond psychological help, causing him to stress out in anger at inopportune times.

In spite of his inexperience, Morty isn’t a cowardly milquetoast. He’s capable of fighting back when necessary. Sometimes that initiative is needed to hone Rick in when the situation gets dicey. While he cannot sway Rick so easily, Morty does serve as his moral center, trying to minimize the damage Rick could or already has caused. Morty tries to do the right thing under dire circumstances. Overtime, he has gotten used to the adventure and perhaps enjoys them to an extent. This has made Morty into a hardened veteran where he’ll make the best of a situation or lessen the damage already caused. At worse, he’ll be apathetic and go with the flow.

Rick and Morty’s relationship is complicated. Rick doesn’t keep Morty around for his intelligence; the boy has special brainwaves that cancel out Rick’s, reducing a trail for the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks to find. Being a tool for his grandpa’s shenanigans has left a bitter taste in Morty. He despises the mistreatment and constant threats, yet is equally offended whenever Rick brushes him off for someone else. Could this be Stockholm Syndrome taking over or does Morty see something in Rick that no one else does?

Either way, you can count on Morty to keep a cautious toe and lend a helping hand. Even if he’s slowly developing a cynical output, this does not prevent him from moving forward. He’s going to die anyway, so might as well make the most of it.

RICK AND MORTY – EPISODE 3: ANATOMY PARK

Ep #: 3
Air date: Dec. 16, 2013
Synopsis: Rick sends Morty inside a hobo’s body where he has built a theme park. Meanwhile, Jerry has to deal with his parents’ new lover.

Most shows require a certain amount of time at the start to establish the setting and characters. Rick and Morty nailed most of their formula from the get-go with mild hiccups. Paying homage to popular films was a prominent gimmick in the earlier episodes. Other than the titular duo’s obvious reference to Doc and Marty from Back to the Future, the second episode, “Lawnmower Dog” took on Inception and A Nightmare Before Elm Street. “Anatomy Park” continues the tradition, this time mashing both Jurassic Park and The Fantastic Voyage.

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Christmas has arrived and Jerry Smith is one excited patriarch. His parents are coming to visit for the first time in years and he wants the perfect family gathering. The rest of the Smiths are apathetic, glued to their tablets and smartphones. Offended, Jerry confiscates the electronics into a bag until the holidays are over.

Rick barges in with a hobo named Ruben. Jerry is about to call him out, but Rick assures him he’s going to be in his workshop the whole day, examining the man as he does every year to ensure he’s in top shape. That’s reason enough for Jerry, surprised the mad scientist is capable of kindness.

Jerry’s parents, Joyce and Leonard, soon arrive with a man half their age. Jacob is an open and friendly fellow who gets along quickly with the rest of the Smiths, but Jerry is confused what exactly his involvement with his parents are. The older Smith couple isn’t helping with their cryptic speech. After Leonard’s brush with cancer, the pair wanted a visible change in their lives and Jacob was the answer. They don’t elaborate any further than that, so Jerry gathers everyone in the main room while Rick drags Morty away to his workshop.

Ruben is going into shock, keeping Rick busy. He needs Morty to find someone named Dr. Xenon Bloom so he can figure out why Ruben’s fading. Rick uses a machine to shrink Morty to microscopic levels and pumps him into Ruben.

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Jerry’s assumption was way off. Rick’s been trying to keep Ruben alive, not out of concern, but because his body is the source for an amusement park called Anatomy Park. It’s a side business venture Rick’s been cooking up with Dr. Xenon, just to give you an idea on how low the man would sink that he managed to convince a desperate hobo to be part of his weird experiment. Morty is flabbergasted at the park’s existence. Rick is just a little testy when he thinks Morty is making fun of the Pirates of the Pancreas Ride, his personal pet project.

Morty boards a train down to the liver, home of the Haunted Liver tour. The entire place is in disarray, ruined by years of alcoholism. After a brush with an animatronic werewolf, Morty runs into a small group of survivors. Leading the charge is Dr. Xenon Bloom himself, a sentient amoeba and the brains behind the park. The rest are all human: Poncho is the trigger-happy muscle, Roger is presumably a zookeeper what with his Steve Irwin look, and Annie is a young researcher who happens to be a hot teenage girl. Morty surprises no one when he develops an instant attraction to her.

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Rick establishes communication and discovers the security system has been shut off and all the exhibits turned loose. Dr. Xenon explains that Anatomy Park isn’t just fun and games, but a museum of humanity’s living diseases. Morty bares witness to one when it strikes the team: Hepatitis A.

Jerry’s discomfort increases when he catches Jacob wiping Joyce’s lips during dinner. Though Joyce tries to cover it up, Leonard decides life is too short and confesses. Surviving cancer reminded the old couple to reflect on forty years of marriage. Life is fleeting and to make the most of it, Joyce took Jacob as her lover while Leonard willingly watches whenever they’re involved. The rest of the family—especially Beth—congratulates the trio on their newfound happiness. Jerry is displeased, a reaction Summer especially takes with karmic glee now that his ideal Christmas is crashing down on him.

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Morty’s team escape Hepatitis A only to realize Ruben’s brain isn’t getting enough air. It’s why security was down in the first place. Their new goal is to find the source of the problem. Another survivor—a guy in a mascot costume—joins them. Inside the respiratory system, Morty volunteers to look for a blockage, but a bushel of Tuberculous bacteria is hot on his trail. Poncho guns them down, but damages Ruben’s lungs in the process, forcing the old hobo to cough. The team nearly looses their grip, but only Mascot Man ends up the unfortunate victim. In one of the show’s gruesome moments, the whiplash kills the man by ripping out his skin and muscle.

Morty informs Rick that Ruben has tuberculosis. Just as Rick is seconds away from curing him, the man flat lines. Unwilling to go the extra mile to revive a dead man, Rick tells Morty if he’s unable to escape, then he might as well visit the Pirates of the Pancreas display.

At this point, the only way out is through the digestive system where a growth ray is secured and ready for use. Dr. Xenon discreetly informs Morty that the system shutdown was an act of sabotage. He suspects Annie since she’s been written up several times, but that doesn’t stop Morty from flirting with her.

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The crew passes the small intestines, home of an It’s a Small World-ish singalong ride. It’s exactly as creepy and ear piercingly as it sounds. Gonorrhea crashes the party, but Dr. Xenon claims they’ll be safe if they don’t move. He’s mistaken and Gonorrhea crashes their boat. They swim to shore, but they’re still trapped. Morty quickly points out that the dying corpse has been giving out gas. Poncho takes the suggestion and throws a lit match to the water Gonorrhea is in, blowing the creature up. Annie is so impressed, she hugs Morty. As straight as the homage plays out, “Anatomy Park” more than makes up for it through its creative use of human diseases and organs as obstacles for our heroes to bypass. The monster designs are particularly creative and appropriately ugly.

The Smiths gather in the living room to bond while Leonard plays the bongos. Except Jerry. He chooses to pout. Beth tries to cheer him up, but the moment is ruined when Summer’s boyfriend, Ethan, bursts in. He’s pissed Summer hasn’t called back and the two get into a shouting match. Jerry is surprised Summer has a boyfriend. Jacob thinks he should be more involved with his children, a condescending remark in Jerry’s eyes.

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The team reaches the sphincter where the ray machine is. While Roger boots it up, Morty spots a creature slithering inside Poncho’s bag. Dr. Xenon recognizes it as Bubonic Plague. Poncho was the saboteur. Taking Annie hostage, Poncho intends to sell the plague to whichever country is willing to pay the highest bid, all out of spite towards Dr. Xenon whom he hated working for. Morty fights back, but is no match for Poncho’s strength. He gets his karmic justice when the plague bites him in the shoulder. Poncho topples over the catwalk and falls to his death. The team isn’t out of the woodwork yet; the sphincter dam is about to burst. Everyone escapes, but Roger’s foot is caught in the machine. The dam bursts, killing him. Morty comforts Annie as she cries into his arms.

Jacob steps in to try and help Ethan with his anger issues. At first, he’s reluctant, but then confesses his brother “made him feel like a girl.” Ethan breaks down until Jacob reassures him that he is who he is. Ethan and Summer reunite, making out just a little too inappropriately in front of everyone. Joyce is proud of Jacob and doubly makes out with him while her husband watches from a closet. For a show that could have easily dived into bad jokes at the expanse of other people not considered “normal” within contemporary society, “Anatomy Park” never resorts to cheap tactics, choosing to treat its subject matter with great maturity when needed. Joyce and Leonard’s polygamous relationship and Ethan’s abuse are both handled sympathetically. Not bad for an adult animated show.

Jerry’s reaction is understandable because it’s sudden and unexpected of his parents. He storms out when it becomes clear the rest of the family is not going to support his negativity.

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Speaking of making out, Morty and Annie are at it in a theater where an animatronic Ruben is explaining his life’s story while Dr. Xenon is gorging on ice cream. The corpse starts to decay and fall apart, threatenng to cave in the surviving crew. Rick is trying to find a way out, but a despondent Jerry wanders in to apologize; right now, Rick’s the sanest relative in his eyes. He instantly opts out when he witnesses the old geezer shoving dynamite inside Ruben’s body though. Rick tells Morty to go to the left nipple hole as he dumps the body into his spaceship. Dr. Xenon suggests taking the bone train (called because it’s connected to the skeletal system.)

The bone train lacks an auto-pilot button, meaning one of them has to stay and manually operate it. Neither teen is eager to volunteer. Dr. Xenon apologizes, realizing this was all his fault to begin with and operates the vehicle himself. An outbreak of E. Coli ambushes them just in time for the kids to board the moving train. Xenon has no such luck; he realizes the controls did have an auto-pilot button, but by that point it’s too late and he’s consumed by the E. Coli.

Rick flies out to space, lights up the dynamite inside Ruben, and kicks the dead man out. He then uses the ray machine to expand Ruben until he’s large enough to cover the entire United States, gaining the attention of everyone below. There was no reason for Rick to have gone this far, but he’s not one to leave his tracks behind. Rick doesn’t care to find a straight solution. He could have just shrunk himself and waited for the kids, but no, he had to pull an elaborate plan that probably only made sense to him.

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Morty wards off the E. Coli, but Hepatitis A blocks the upcoming track the train is on. Morty tries to stop the bone train and veers off course, crash landing to their destination, the nipple hole. Morty and Annie have no time to admire the view with Hepatitis A gunning after them. They’re saved at the last minute by Hepatitis C who gives them a thumbs up before walking off. Rick rescues the two in time for Ruben to explode into pieces.

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Despite Jacob’s advice, Beth is doubtful her marriage with Jerry will survive with his current personality. Then the sky rains blood, putting some perspective in their lives. Everyone is panicking until Jerry reassures them. Having just watched the news, he states everything will be mostly alright. He lets bygones be bygones and accepts Jacob into the family. Jerry then relinquishes the electronic devices in an effort to calm his family.

Rick flies Morty and Annie home, sad Anatomy Park will never have a shot now that Dr. Xenon is dead. Annie enthusiastically announces that she studied under Xenon; she might have the knowledge to make a second Anatomy Park, including Pirates of the Pancreas. That’s more than enough for Rick to shrink Annie for round two. Morty is upset since he felt something growing between him and Annie, but Rick dismisses it.

The duo reunites with the rest of the Smiths, all consumed within their phones and tablets. Rick calls them out for being slaves to the machines while Jerry amusingly shrugs.

The stinger opens with Rick during an on-call meeting with Annie and her new group. They’re unsure about Pirates of the Pancreas, but before they can give a reason, Rick cuts them off. He angrily rants to Ethan, the new carrier for the theme park. Ethan asks when he’s getting paid, but Rick is too huffy to care.

JERRY SMITH

Status: Main Character
First Appearance: “Pilot”
Voice Actor: Chris Parnell

Brave. Smart. Handsome. Charismatic. These are not words to describe Jerry Smith, though he wish they could.

It’s hard to say when Jerry’s problems began, but it definitely hit rock bottom when he impregnated his high school girlfriend Beth. Choosing to keep their daughter, Summer, Jerry and Beth made something of a life with each other. However, they’re both constantly struggling to find the closure they desperately want.

Jerry is a horrible ads salesman unhelped by his general inaptitude and lack of grace. He dreams of a better life, one where his masculinity isn’t under constant threat and his family respects him both as a husband and father. He constantly seeks out any validation and sense of self-worth, often losing his dignity in the process. Jerry is fully aware of how pathetic he is. His wife constantly puts him down, causing him to counter her superiority complex with passive-aggressive remarks about her job. Yet he would be devastated without her, so he constantly finds ways to keep their marriage solid. His cowardly attitude means he’s an easy target for Rick to make fun off, though getting Beth pregnant during their teen years likely didn’t endear him any further with the old man. Needless to say, Rick is an unwelcome parasite in Jerry’s home.

It’s only when he’s desperate or prompt that Jerry channels his inner courage. He’s proven to be capable, but gets very little opportunities to show it off. Until he finds satisfaction with his life, Jerry will always remind a loser.

RICK AND MORTY: EPISODE 4: M. NIGHT SHAYM-ALIENS!

Ep #: 4
Air date: Jan. 13th, 2014
Synopsis: Rick, Morty, and Jerry are stuck in an alien simulator until Rick gives them the recipe for concentrated dark matter.

Something’s up with Morty. He’s chipper than usual, which Rick suspects. What’s stranger is Beth speaking in an uncharacteristic monotonous voice. Morty acts more like himself when he cautiously notes his mother’s emotionless droning. Rick’s response is needlessly cruel (even for Rick) for reasons Morty can’t comprehend.

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Morty brushes it off once he’s in school. Mr. Goldenfold challenges him with a math question to which he only sort of guesses correctly. Goldenfold accepts the answer and invites Morty to the front while students cheer him on like he’s some kind of hero. Goldenfold announces that he’ll be teaching the class from now on. Morty isn’t sure what to bring up until a student asks a very specific question: how does one make concentrated dark matter for accelerated space travel? They egg him about his scientist grandfather, but Morty is unsure since Rick was very clear that under no circumstances should any of his secrets get out. Jessica attempts to seduce Morty to get him to confess.

Rick dives in at the last minute and drag him away for a “family emergency.” Goldenfold threatens to give Morty an “F”, but Rick claims he doesn’t care and takes him to the boy’s locker room. He turns on the showers and tells Morty to get naked while he takes off his own clothes. Morty is excruciatingly uncomfortable with this. Rick explains they’re not in Earth, but a massive alien simulator built inside their spaceship. The Zigerions are the galaxy’s most ambitious and least successful con artists and they’ve been trying to get Rick’s recipe for concentrated dark matter for ages. Luckily, that have a weak spot: they don’t like nudity, hence the nakedness. They won’t spy on them while they’re in the shower together. It still doesn’t make it any less better that Rick is willing to undress in front of his grandson, but that’s Rick for you.

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Incredibly, this is all true. The Zigerions are averting their gazes at the unsightly appearance of Rick and Morty’s naked bodies. Their leader is dead set on obtaining that ingredient though. Further complication arise when they accidentally abducted another human: Jerry Smith. The guy has no idea he’s in a simulation, but he has bigger fish to fry: Jerry has an important presentation to give. None of the Zigerions cares what happens to this man and reduces the simulation’s processor power. Not that Jerry notices. Any time something glitches, his eyes veer off in another direction that he never notices the visual weirdness. Being something of a dunce, Jerry never picks up on the strange behaviors emulating from the holograms either. Ahh well, at least he has soothing “human music” to calm him down.

Rick tries to convince Morty the world they live in is fake, pointing out inconsistencies like a man putting a bun between hot dogs, a senile old lady walking a cat, and a pop-tart exiting its toaster home and driving a toaster car. The last one convinces Morty, but before the two can debate the merits of pop-tart livings (why would they drive a toaster car anyway?), they need to find an exit. An ambulance suddenly pulls over. Two EMTs ask for ten CCs of concentrated dark matter in order to save the dying president. Rick doesn’t buy it and shuns them off. Normally he’d take whatever annoyances the Zigerions throw at him, but they brought Morty into the mix and that he cannot abide.

Jerry pitches his new ad slogan for apples (“Hungry for Apples”) with all the charisma of a sputtering dishwasher. He’s so desperate he fails to realize the people he’s pitching to are dead-eyed and prone to repeating “yes” to anything he says. But it sells his slogan and Jerry is none the wiser. Confidence boosted, Jerry phones Beth for a romp together in bed, equally failing to hear Beth’s flat voice or the fact that he’s walking past the same three human simulations multiple times. “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” is noticeably good at presenting the glitches as genuine stuff you’d see in video games and computer animation. Characters glitch out of frame or into solid objects; objects are frozen in midair; and with the Zigerion’s partial knowledge of humans, certain things are just off enough to make you wonder, Pop-Tarts notwithstanding. It’s one of those things that you must see in motion; stilled frames and descriptions can only say so much.

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Rick and Morty stage a rap concert in order to trick the Zigerions. To overload the simulation, they gather a large group of people and ask them to do very specific things. Too much command input freezes the system, giving the duo a minimum amount of time to make a break for it. Free of the simulation, Rick plans to invade the central processing room so he can scam those aliens back. Unbeknownst to them, this is all part of the Zigerions’ plans.

Meanwhile, Jerry is swimming in the afterglow, unaware Beth hasn’t moved the entire time they were in bed together. In a fit of lust, he told her not to. It says a lot about him that he’ll take any little satisfaction he can to validate his life. He’s too self-absorbed to see the blatant uncanny valley even if it’s literally staring at him with their dead fish eyes. Jerry suddenly realizes his life is too good. Just when you think he’s figured things out, Jerry only comes to the conclusion that he is a fraud.

Inside the central processor room, Rick and Morty steal as many of the crystal chips as they can, occasionally horsing around as they chuck the sharp objects back and forth at each other. It is an odd behavior for sure since Morty would never relish a moment of fun during a crisis. Likewise, it’s just as strange for Rick to give the kid a friendly noogie. It would be a genuinely heartwarming scene except for how wrong it is. This really should tell you all you need to know about Rick and Morty.

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Jerry confronts his boss and tearfully tells him the slogan he made is a derivation from the “Got Milk” ads. As his boss continues his parade of “yes” between each sentence, Jerry accepts that he is fired. He has a last minute change of heart and says he deserves both a promotion and a nominee for best commercial. He gets both and Jerry walks off with a skip in his step, just barely missing his boss glitching through his desk.

Rick and Morty sneak aboard an escape pod and return home. With the chips in hand, Rick can do some real science. Once they reach his garage, Rick tries to inputs the password to his safe, but it keeps denying him. The entire area glitches before their eyes. The Zigerion leader reveal the whole thing was a trick, Rick and Morty was in a simulation within a simulation. The Zigerions already knew how to make concentrated dark matter, but now that Rick inadvertently revealed the code to his safe, all his advanced scientific secrets will be theirs. They attempt to imprison the two, but Rick drops Morty’s pants to distract them long enough to escape. They run into a prison cell where Rick switches the gravity function off to further inconvenience them.

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Jerry accepts his coveted Appley Award. He finally achieved everything he’s ever wanted, so naturally the simulation chooses now to glitch out. Jerry is left in a cold, empty room with no reward, no respect, and no trophy. Rick and Morty bump into him and drag the sobbing Jerry away, his dream once again shattered.

The escape pods are a no-go with guards blocking them, so they make their way to the air docks. Rick steals an spaceship and flies off. With the Zigerions hot on their trail, Rick asks Morty to grab a specific set of chemicals to make concentrated dark matter so they can use it to hightail it out of here. Morty grabs all the right ingredients in an odd bit of luck, mixing them under Rick’s orders. Before they can use it though, the system glitches again.

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In a twist worthy of the title’s namesake, the entire thing was yet another simulation. Even more surprising, the Morty that Rick’s been traveling with the whole episode was a simulation himself! What a twist. The Zigerons never had the recipe for the dark matter, but they sure tricked Rick into revealing it. Now that they got what they wanted, Rick and Jerry are free to leave.

Rick tries to cheer Jerry up, even if it comes off as passive-aggressive. After all, you’d have to be a colossal idiot to fall for a simulation that wasn’t even trying. Jerry calls him out since the Zigerions also made a fool out of Rick, so maybe a little respect is in order. To Jerry’s surprise, Rick agrees. In fact, Rick takes the whole situation very well in spite of what happened.

Not a minute later, the Zigerions recreate the mixture and pay for it with a massive explosion that kills them all.

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Rick knew he was being played all along, so he gave them a fake recipe. This episode is brilliant because the clues are all there. Everything, from Rick playing the sap to Morty being a fake can be pinpointed via subtle word cues, odd character behaviors, and Rick’s mannerism. “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” is the kind of episode that is worth watching repeatedly to pick out all the well placed hints.

The stinger ends with Jerry trying to pitch his apple slogan to his real bosses. They immediately fire him.

The next one centers on a drunken Rick stumbling into Morty’s room. He comforts the sleeping boy with compliments. The sweet moment is completely turned over its head when he pulls a knife to Morty’s neck. Rick demands to know if he’s a simulation. Morty’s panicked crying is more than enough to convince Rick and he drops unconscious on the floor while a scared Morty cradles his knees.

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BETH SMITH

STATUS: Main Character
First Appearance: “Pilot”
Voice Actor: Sarah Chalke

Beth Smith had the potential to be someone great. As the daughter of Rick Sanchez, she’s inherited many of his traits. She’s no super scientist, but her intelligence and dexterity has given her the necessary skills to be a competent surgeon. Unfortunately she feels her talents are wasted treating horse hearts instead of humans.

At the age of seventeen, Beth made the decision to keep her child and marry Jerry. While she lives a normal, comfortable middle class suburban life, she often dreams of what could have been. Stuck with a hapless husband who constantly embarrasses her with his neurosis; a father who only recently came back into her life; a severe drinking problem (also inherited from Rick); and a degrading job, Beth’s life is stuck in a rut. She’s extremely bitter and often in denial of her problems. Whenever confronted with them, she often drinks or takes it out on her husband, demeaning him through her superiority. This often gives the impression that she’s cold and standoffish. Her need to be the very best is also a cry for her father’s attention. Rick left her many years ago for reasons she can’t comprehend (and he isn’t talking), leaving her with abandonment issues. No matter what Rick does and how bad it can get, Beth will often excuse her father just so he won’t have a reason to leave, soaking up whatever praises he has.

While Jerry has shown something of an emotional need for Beth, the latter often thinks about leaving him to pursue her goals. No doubt their lives would be fulfilling without their co-dependency on each other, but it’s ironically what keeps them sane. Jerry may not be half the man Beth thinks he needs to be and her issues could fill the Grand Canyon, but the two are very much in love. When they’re especially prompt, they tend to bring out the best in each other. If they can just get past their ego and victim blaming, Beth and Jerry might still have a future after all.

RICK AND MORTY – EPISODE 5: MEESEEKS AND DESTROY

Ep #: 5
Air date: Jan. 20th, 2014
Synopsis: Morty bets Rick that he could plan a better adventure. Meanwhile, the Smiths achieve their dreams through the Meeseeks, but Jerry runs into a problem with his.

Aboard an abandoned alien spaceship, Rick and Morty are on the last leg of their journey. Curiously, they’re running away from the Smiths family. In reality, they are alien spirits who managed to possess clones of Jerry, Beth, and Summer from an alternate dimension. They pin Rick down, forcing Morty to trap them Ghostbusters-style despite his initial protest. Alien or not, they still look and at times, behave like his family. Morty saved the day, but at the cost of his sanity yet again.

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Rick casually teleports them home where Morty pukes his gut out. While Rick has taken it in stride, Morty is fed up. Adventures are suppose to be fun and delightful, which is anything but with these two. I guarantee by the end of this episode, aliens mimicking his family is going to be the least traumatizing thing Morty has and will deal with for the rest of his life. Either way, he is done and opts out. Rick tries to persuade him, eventually culminating in a bet between the two. Morty can pick the next adventure, but if they bail halfway, then he loses all right to complain and is forced to do Rick’s laundry for a month. If Morty wins, he’s in control of every tenth adventure.

The Smiths—the real ones—barge in, begging Rick for help with their mundane tasks. Rick tiredly agrees, but Morty thinks he’s chickening out of the competition. That’s enough to ruffle Rick’s feathers, so he solves the Smiths’ problem by giving them a Meeseeks box. By pushing the button on the box, a Meeseeks appears. They are tall, bulb-headed Muppet-looking creatures with a friendly demeanor. With their persistent “can-do” attitude and a kindly catchphrase (“Hey, look me, I’m Mr. Meeseeks!”), they’re the kind of creatures you’d see hosting a preschool show. Even their inners are literal fluffs. A Meeseeks is able to handle any request the user asks of them as long as it’s kept simple. Once fulfilled, they poof away. Summer is a bit disturbed by the implication that these sentient creatures die as quickly as they come, but Rick assures her they’re cool with it. He is not kidding. Rick dumps the box on them and leaves with Morty.

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Giving the Smiths access to the Meeseeks is the equivalent of opening Pandora’s Box. If anything, this is further proof how little Rick gives a crap about the consequences. Jerry is cautious, but Summer and Beth dig right in. Summer wants to be popular in school while Beth wishes she was a more complete woman. Jerry chides them both for “doing it wrong”, then follows Rick’s advice: he wants to take two strokes off his golf game. We all know how well this will blow over.

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Morty takes Rick to a fairy tale-like world. Following the grand tradition of fantasy narratives, Morty is in want of a quest. Coincidentally, the local village they stumbled upon is in desperate need of money. A giant beanstalk is said to have untold riches from the giants above. Morty is game, but Rick is unimpressed.

Summer’s Meeseeks holds an attendance at her school. He gives a passionate speech on why being her friend is a wise choice. She is instantly showered with her fellow peers. Principal Vagina discreetly asks the Meeseeks’ advice on his current custody battle, but the Meeseeks vanish, having fulfilled its task.

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Meanwhile Beth and her Meeseeks is dining out at a restaurant. She airs out her concerns, unfulfilled with life. Sure, Beth is putting herself through veterinary school and she largely regards herself as a successful surgeon, but she’s going through the motion. Her heydays as a wide-eyed girl ended when she got pregnant at seventeen. The Meeseeks tells Beth she doesn’t stop being an individual just because she sacrificed a lot. Sometimes the best thing to do is being honest with her loved ones, even if it means setting them free. Beth takes this to mean that she should finally divorce Jerry. Teary-eyed, but with renewed hope, she edges closer to kiss the Meeseeks, but he evaporates. A waiter asks if she wants more wine, but Beth thinks she’s had enough.

Jerry, however, is not doing so hot. Despite his Meeseeks’ advice, Jerry can’t seem to improve. He’s getting increasingly frustrated and the Meeseeks realize that he alone cannot complete this task. So he pops out another and ask for that Meeseeks’ help.

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Rick and Morty climb the beanstalk to the giant’s home. They hide behind a cookie jar when the giant wanders in. Not even a second passes before it all goes downhill: the giant slips on water and hits his head on the table. Morty is stunned; his fairy tale journey has suddenly take a swing in the other direction. Worse, the giant has a wife and child. The wife assumes Rick and Morty attempted murder on her husband, so she traps the two in a glass cup before calling the police. They’re sent to prison and interrogated by the cops. Insultingly, Rick continues to egg Morty on his crummy adventure.

Jerry struggles while several Meeseeks shout commands at him, leading him to quote a depressingly relatable line, “Have you ever tried to calm down? It’s a paradox!” The Meeseeks are desperate; living this long is a burden on them. The girls are doing fine, though Beth’s attempt to seduce Jerry with her new hairstyle does nothing for the man. Summer tries to comfort her mother, chiding Jerry in the process.

Rick and Morty are under Giant Court, ready for the final sentence. A lawyer acting for small people rights steps in at the last minute. Because they were instantly accused without having been read their rights, the two are free to go. In spite of everything, Morty remains optimistic. After all, they managed to conquer their problems so far. Morty is confident they can find another way to earn money for the villagers. For now, they have to get down and the only way is a long flight of stairs not designed for tiny folks. Rick tempts Morty to end the adventure and go home, but Morty stubbornly refuses and starts his descent.

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Unwilling to wait for Jerry, Beth is set to go out for dinner. Jerry notices her hostility and joins her, fed up with the golf strokes in spite of the Meeseeks’ protests. Jerry doesn’t care and leaves the creatures to their fate. The Meeseeks has had enough, they just want to die and their prolonged existence (it’s been two days) has caused them all to be on edge. Angry and frustrated, the entire group start to blame and kill each other. The first of Jerry’s Meeseeks stands up and states the problem isn’t them, but Jerry. Killing him means their torture will be over.

Much to Morty’s luck, a small tavern is built into one of the stairs’ side. The two take a load off their feet. Morty is further validated when they meet a friendly slug creature named Slippery Stairs. For 25 smeckles, he’ll take them all the way down the steps. Rick’s bitterness finally gets to Morty though. He tells Rick to either shape up or leave, then he walks off to use the restroom.

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Morty runs into a friendly creature named Mr. Jellybean in the men’s room. A casual conversation turns deadly when Mr. Jellybean gets a little touchy with Morty. This scene is one of the most depraved moments of the entire show. Mr. Jellybean attempts to have his way with Morty in spite of the boy’s protest. Morty struggles and barely makes it out, punching the freak and slamming his head in the toilet. Sexual assault is a heavy subject matter and one that should be treated with kid gloves. How it plays out depends, but when it comes to adult comedy, it can really delve into tasteless territory. Rick and Morty fortunately chooses to not make it a joke. What Morty experiences traumatizes the kid and it’s never played at his expanse. He gets better, but this is just a long string of horrible encounters Morty unfortunately has to get used to in order to survive Rick’s worlds. And you thought I was kidding when I said he’d suffer worse! Everything that occurred on screen is shown without an ounce of comedy. Well, outside of a sentient jellybean groping a human boy. That’s probably absurd enough.

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At a restaurant, Beth starts to inform Jerry about the vacation that she always wanted to take. Jerry nervously assumes (likely correct) that she might use that as an excuse to leave him permanently. Before his feelings can be justified, the parade of Meeseeks crash the place. The couple hide inside the kitchen fridge walk-in, but that does little to sate the Meeseeks. Motivated by their desire to fulfill any request no matter how far, the Meeseeks take nearby civilians as hostages. Armed to the teeth, they give Jerry one last chance to take two strokes off his game. Jerry hopelessly rants about his mediocrity. Beth steps up and pulls a rack apart to improvise into a golf club. She instructs Jerry, then tells him she loves him. That’s enough for Jerry to get the confidence he needs to walk out of the fridge and demonstrate his skill. Using a tomato as a golf ball, Jerry strikes it perfectly into a pot, impressing the Meeseeks enough to finally vanish. One Meeseeks is a bit of a stickler, so he asks for Jerry’s short game. Jerry delivers and the final Meeseeks disappears. Driven by adrenaline, Jerry and Beth passionately kiss.

Morty approaches Rick and waves the white flag. He tearfully tells Rick he just wants to go home. Rick spots Mr. Jellybean stumbling out of the restroom after, realizing who has been messing with his grandson. Rick cheers Morty up by using his gambling wins to pay Slippery Stairs. They can then donate the rest of the money to the villagers. That way Morty can end the adventure the way he wants it. In less than capable hands, Rick’s tendency to skip out on any consequences alongside his boorish attitude means he could have been a terrible character; an excuse for the writers to spout whatever they wanted without scrutiny. Luckily, they found a balance by showing he isn’t always free from criticism. Eventually it’ll become clear that Rick can’t keep running from his past because it will catch up to him. The show also emphasizes his devotion to his family in spite of his lackluster concern for their well-being. It’s rare to be sure, but scenes like this prove Rick cares for Morty and no one has the right to screw him over.

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They return to the village to cheers from the townsfolk. For their efforts, the villagers bring out their King…who happens to be Mr. Jellybean. Morty quickly declines and leaves once Rick opens a portal. Before it closes, Rick quickly shoots Mr. Jellybean dead, much to the villagers’ horror.

Jerry and Beth are lounging in the now ravaged living room. Jerry asks if Beth is still planning that trip. In spite of their imperfect marriage, Beth reassures her husband that unlike the other boys in high school, he stayed for her. She’s not going anywhere. Once Rick and Morty arrive, the couple pins the mess on Rick and his Meeseeks. Rick takes a page from Morty’s book and ends the story neat and clean via convenient fourth wall breaking. Occasionally the show will address the audience, though it’s uncommon. This is also the first time Rick spouts the catchphrase “Wubba-Lubba-dub-dub”, something that sticks with him for the reminder of the show.

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The stinger concludes with the fairy tale villagers having erected a statue of their beloved king. One man approaches another with photos found in Mr. Jellybean’s closet. The man is revolted, but orders them destroyed. He believes the public would be better off if they idolize the Jellybean they know instead of who he truly was.

RICK AND MORTY – EPISODE 8: RIXTY MINUTES

Ep #: 8
Air date: Mar. 17th, 2014
Synopsis: Rick entertains the family by installing their TV to pick up channels from all over the multiverse.

The Smith family is immersed with The Bachelor except Rick. The latter is bored of regular Earth TV, so Jerry challenges him to find a television show Rick loves so that they can make fun of it. Rick accepts and installs an alien crystal on their cable box, giving the Smiths access to thousands of channels from various multiverses.

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Rick demonstrates the infinite possibility of alternate television, showing ridiculously weird concepts like sentient corn cops, a movie about a man eating his own poop, violent Antique Roadshow, an alternate universe where Jerry is a famous movie star, and a teddy bear making a spider-web. My personal favorite is the alternate Game of Thrones where everyone BUT Tyrion Lannister is a little person.

The Smiths family quickly tells Rick to go back a channel with the alternate Jerry, but Rick misreads their intent until they get agitated. They find something better though: Jerry playing Tom Hank’s role in Cloud Atlas. Rick doesn’t see what the big deal is, but the Smiths won’t stop pestering him about it. He hands them a high tech goggles that scans their retina to match their DNA and reveal the many infinite results of their various multiverse selves. Jerry, Summer, and Beth are all over it, but Morty chooes to stay with Rick so they can marathon the interdimensional television.

“Rixty Minutes” is an experimental episode where half of it are composed of skits improvised from the Rick and Morty crew. Thus, I’ll be comprising a list of the major shorts.

*Ants In My Eye Johnson is a man selling various appliances and stored goods. The big difference is that the seller in question literally has ants crawling over his eyes. He is also impervious to pain, which does not bode well when an appliance sets him on fire.

*An ad for a car that is able to travel underwater and sneeze when you honk the horn.

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*Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers Who Are Just Regular Brothers Running In a Van From An Asteroid And All Sorts of Things The Movie AKA Two Brothers – a movie trailer starring two brothers fighting off exactly what the title says. Combines everything you know about brainless action movies and being way honest with its premise.

*Ball Fondlers – Another action-heavy movie trailer or television show in the vein of the A-Team with enough explosives to put Michael Bay to shame. Highlights include an anthropomorphic alligator and a poorly drawn man piloting a helicopter.

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*Saturday Night Life – Starring a Piece of Toast, two guys with handlebar mustaches, A man painted silver who makes robot noises, Garmanarnar, three…uh, uh, uh, uhhhh…he’ll get back to that one, a hole in the wall where the men can see it all, and returning for his twenty-fifth consecutive year, Bobby Mortimer. (Apparently, Mortimer and Piece of Toast hate each other; something about creative differences.)

*A commercial of a man selling fake doors. When he’s done, Rick and Morty watch the man go home, get stuck in traffic, and make a sandwich…where he proceeds to sell more fake doors. It’s still the commercial.

*Gazorpazorpfield – A Garzorpian version of Garfield where Lorenzo Music is still alive to voice the cat. This Garfield also really, really hates Jon.

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*An anti-marriage ad for Trunk People, people with trunks for noses who are involved with both men and women. After, there is a pro-marriage ad for Trunk People.

*Quite possibly the most demented of the shorts, an Expy of Lucky from the Lucky Charms cereal – Top Hat Jones – is trying to eat his meal in peace. Until the kids, complete with stone dead eyes and creepy gazes, literally strap him down and violently disembowel him, eating the cereal right out of his open stomach as the Leprechaun cries out in pain.

*A sexually-charged ad for Turbulent Juice which is designed to clean up appliances and furniture.

*Baby Legs – A buddy cop show where a middle aged man with a literal pair of baby legs is forced to team up with Regular Legs and learn the power of friendship.

*Last Will and Testimeow: Weekend at Dead Cat Lady’s House II – Directed by Alternate Jerry, it’s about an old cat lady who passes away, forcing her nine cats to move her corpse around. Through their action, the old lady secures a job and meets a handsome young man who falls for her. It’s nauseating and for Rick and Morty, that’s saying something! To top it off, it’s rated G.

The subplot deals with the Smiths’ obsession with their better alternate selves. Jerry’s life as a movie star has taken him to new heights where having sex with Kristen Stewart and doing cocaine with Johnny Depp is a regular occurrence. Beth achieves her dream as a surgeon for humans instead of horses. But when Summer dons the goggles, she sees nothing. Beth claims she might not have been born if she and Jerry are living their dreams. Summer tries to find a timeline where she exists and finds her life is about as exciting as dried bread: they play Yahtzee.

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Beth regrettably tells Summer when two people have a child, they put their lives on hold to raise it. This leads to an argument between her and Jerry, thinking they’re blaming each other for not getting an abortion and missing out on the fame and fortune they could have had instead. It heats up until both parents take it out on Summer, blaming her birth for their terrible lives. Summer does not appreciate this and tells them off, saying they shouldn’t be together if they’re not going to be happy together. Fed up, Summer announces she’s moving out of the house, vowing to make better judgment at her age than either of her parents did when they were seventeen.

Beth and Jerry have a moment of clarity, realizing they only stayed together for the sake of their kids. With the oldest leaving, they wonder what if anything they believed in was true. Either they try to stay for each other or divorce.

Later, Jerry breaks the bad news to Rick and Morty that he and his wife will be spending time apart and that Summer was an accident. The latter is news to Morty, so he quietly ventures to Summer’s room. His older sister is in the middle of packing, so she doesn’t want to hear whatever cheap advice he has in an effort to cheer her up. Morty doesn’t, per say. He confesses he is a Morty from another dimension, pointing to the grave from “Rick Potion No.9” where his and Rick’s corpse is buried for proof. He states nobody is born on purpose and no one is special. Eventually they’ll all die, so why not live for what they have, because it won’t matter in the long run. Morty comforts Summer and asks her to stay and watch TV with them.

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Beth is moping in the kitchen, drunk off wine as she watches her alternate self. She may be a successful surgeon, but Alternate Beth is a lonely woman with multiple pet birds. Elsewhere, the rest of the Smiths is watching Movie Star Jerry having a mental breakdown. Down to his underwear and hopped up on drugs, Movie Star Jerry runs from the police on a moped as he makes his way to Successful Surgeon Beth’s house. There, he confesses how much he hates his famed life, wishing he had married Beth instead and had the baby. Every one of the Smiths watching is shocked. Beth, too saw the whole thing from the goggles. Heartfelt, she tearfully runs to Jerry where they make up. Their love life may not be perfect, but they’re very much a family. Rick asks Morty and Summer if they want to watch more Ball Fondlers. Relieved, the kids agree.

The stinger ends with all the Smiths watching a news channel hosted by hamsters living between the buttcheeks of humans. The family has a lot of questions on that one, frustrating Rick who just wants to watch TV. He takes the family to said dimension so they can ask all the asinine questions they want. The Smiths excuses it as a family vacation. Even Rick, previously grumpy, enjoys himself at the end.

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DR. XENON BLOOM AND CREW

Status: One-Shot Characters
First Appearance: “Anatomy Park”
Voice Actor: John Oliver (Dr. Xenon Bloom), Gary Anthony Williams (Poncho), Jess Harnell (Roger), Jackie Buscarino (Annie)

Dr. Xenon Bloom is an anthromorphic white blood cell inhabiting a hobo named Ruben. He and Rick had been collaberating on an amusement park inside Ruben’s body. The project, Anatomy Park, is a Jurassic Park-like theme attraction armed to the teeth with various diseases and human body functions for show.

Dr. Xenon Bloom’s group comprise of:

Poncho – A buff man in charge of security. He is extremely trigger-happy.

Roger – His profession is unknown, but his clothing seem to indicate a possible zoo keeper.

Annie – An attractive teenage girl whom Morty has a crush on.

Something goes awry, so Rick shrinks Morty and injects him inside Ruben to find the problem. After meeting Dr. Xenon, they find out Anatomy Park has been sabotaged. On top of that, Ruben passes away, meaning his body is slowly starting to decay.

After a bit of sleuthing, Morty targets the culprit: Poncho! Poncho admits his crime, resentful of Dr. Xenon’s mistreatment of his employees. He’s also stolen Bubonic Plague because he intents to sell it at the black market. Poncho holds Annie hostage in a bid to escape, but Morty tackles him, causing the man to fall to his death.

The team reach the Schincter Dam where a machine can unshrink them. Unfortunately the dam bursts, forcing the team to abandon it and run to safety. Roger’s foot gets stuck on the machine though, killing him.

The surviving crew board the Bone Train, though Dr. Xenon stays behind to operate it manually. By the time he realizes there had always been an automatic system, a group of E. Coli kills him.

Morty and Annie remain the only survivors of Anatomy Park. Rick rescues the two, but he’s upset the project failed. Annie steps in, saying she studied under Dr. Xenon. With her knowledge, they can create a better, safer park. Enthusiastic, Rick shrinks Annie, leaving a frustrated Morty behind.

SCARY TERRY

Status: One-Shot
First Appearance: “Lawnmower Dog”
Voice Actor: Jess Harnell

Scary Terry is the “legally safe knock-off of an 80s horror character with miniature swords for hands instead of knives” that haunts people’s dreams. Using a dream device he invented, Rick drags Morty inside Goldenfold’s subconscious so he can plant a subliminal message to push the math teacher into giving Morty all “A”s. Their constant interference forces them into a creepy boiler room deep in Goldenfold’s mind. There the dreaded Scary Terry resides.

Scary Terry chases the duo until Rick gets the bright idea to actually hide from the monster. It works well enough for Scary Terry to call it a night and head home. It turns out scaring is merely his job. When he’s off the clock, Scary Terry is a dedicated husband and father and a pleasant person to be around.

However, things haven’t been going well with him lately; Scary Terry is getting increasingly frustrated at his failures. Rick and Morty sneak into Scary Terry’s house after he’s asleep and uses the dream device to penetrate his mind. They find out the monster has his own demons to combat: Scary Terry was relentlessly bullied as a teenager and this has taken a negative effect on him his whole life. Rick and Morty stand up for the Young Scary Terry, earning his gratitude once he wakes up.

Scary Terry pays back the favor by using his abilities to shift between dreams to send Rick and Morty home.

He is later seen hanging out with Rick in the dream world, smoking weed and presumably a happier person than he was before.

LEONARD AND JOYCE SMITH AND JACOB, TOO

Status: One-Shot Characters
First Appearance: “Anatomy Park”
Voice Actor: Dana Carvey (Leonard), Patricia Lentz (Joyce), Echo Kellum (Jacob)

All Jerry wanted was a nice Christmas dinner with his family, but between the apathetic Smiths and his parents’ big surprise, it would prove too much for the highly stressed man.

Leonard and Joyce Smith are Jerry’s kindhearted parents. Contrasting Rick’s entitlement and callous attitude, the elder Smiths are affectionate and caring. Recently, Leonard recovered from a stressful battle with cancer. Realizing how short life is, Leonard and Joyce decided on a more adventurous course to spend the rest of their days: an open marriage. Enter Jacob, a man several decades younger and the willing participate to their newfound polygamy. Joyce and Jacob would make love while Leonard happily witness the act nearby (sometimes in a closet, sometimes in costume.)

Leonard and Joyce arrive at the Smith household in “Anatomy Park”, keeping Jacob’s true nature a secret. It becomes clear right off the bat that Jacob is just a little too friendly with them, so Leonard and Joyce reveal their new lifestyle to the family. All but Jerry support them, helped by Jacob’s easygoing personality. Jacob is a well-mannered and helpful man, almost too good for this Earth. He easily gets along with everyone and solves problems with a gentle hand. He demonstrates the latter when he guides Summer’s boyfriend, Ethan, to face his anger issues.

Jerry spends most of the episode in the frumps and only changes his mind when it rains blood, caused by a giant hobo floating above Earth. Rich had enlarged the man in order to save Morty and destroyed the body by loading it with explosives after. Jerry may not necessary get his parents’ choice, but he finally accepts Jacob into the family.