Can we talk about Ice-T for a second?
I’m of two minds about this episode of Rick and Morty. On the one hand, it is absolutely the funniest of an already really funny season. Ice-T! That backstory! He is literally Ice and from a planet where he is the letter T! He sacrifices himself because Rick made him care! President Keith David! Get fucking schwifty!
On the other hand, while it’s probably not feasible to get good-lord-why-does-this-cartoon-make-me-feel-existential-dread levels of sad every episode, I kind of… missed it?
So, okay, I’m on vacation. My boyfriend, who has never seen Rick and Morty, was watching this episode over my shoulder (right now, he’s making me a cheese plate because he’s lovely). As I was watching it, I didn’t feel like he was really “getting” why I love Rick and Morty so much. And I realized it was because it wasn’t giving me that sinking, horrible, pit of my stomach sadness.
For good or for ill, that’s become Rick and Morty’s calling card. It’s fine that’s it’s creatively fucked up, but I don’t think just being weird or wacky is all that interesting on it’s own. “Get Schifty” landed on wacky and just kinda stayed there. At the end of the episode I was sort of like, “that’s it?”
Don’t get me wrong, the b-plot with the rest of the fam and Summer joining that terrifying cult was dipping its toes into the show’s usual territory. Making fun of religion is pretty easy, all things considered, but I liked the angle they had on it. Humans being fill in the blanks when they don’t understand things fully. It’s just what they do. It becomes a problem when they use the myths they’ve made up to dictate the behaviors of others. It sucks. We’re not super great at that kindness thing a lot of the times.
I also enjoyed the gentle jabs at reality television—it is, in a lot of ways, cruel and barbaric to make people compete for a chance at legitimacy or love—but it’s easy to make those observations. If you’ve lived through the writer’s strike in 2007 you’ve heard a lifetime of jokes about how reality television is bad.
All of the components of this episode, while still funny (Ice. T.), felt a little lazy to me. It’s easy to make fun of religion. It’s easy to make fun of reality television. It’s easy to goof on the government or pop music. And while “Get Schwifty” found interesting ways to approach these topics, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland almost never do what’s easy. And that’s what I love about Rick and Morty.
I will say one thing for “Get Schwifty”—President Keith David is correct, that song is a jam. Can I get an MP3 of that, Adult Swim?
Gita Jackson has dedicated her entire adult life to wading through the marginalia of popular culture and finding gold.