There will never be a day when the statement “Guest Starring Werner Herzog” won’t make me laugh. If you’re going to be Werner Herzog levels of self-important, no matter how extremely talented you are, then please, please be able to channel that into making me laugh. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? is one of my favorite films of all time; the man is afraid of chickens.
“Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” is a sequel of sorts to the season 1 Rick and Morty episode “Rixty Minutes.” I’m not sure it works very well to do this gag a second time. It’s clear that everyone is having a lot of fun, which is nice to see. The sketches are still as weird and absurdist as they were the first time. But it struck me as a little Napoleon Dynamite-esque, where the humor is reduced because I know what to expect. In “Interdimensional Cable 2,” I just felt like I was watching all the b-sides from “Rixty Minutes”. The only sketch to really get a laugh out of me was Jan Quadrant Vincent 16, for its specific, strange cultural reference and its skewering of ‘80s style science fiction action movies. But in the end, I found myself agreeing with Summer, that it was all relying far too much on juvenile gross out humor and violence. Morty’s angry response, essentially that she shouldn’t ask creators to cater to her specifically, just made me feel like the show was yelling at me for being bored. And I love gross out humor, I love violence, but seeing what amounted to basically a thousand iterations of the same joke makes it all lose its impact. Yeah homies, you can make whatever show you want to make. Doesn’t mean I need to suck your dick for pursuing that right.
Speaking of dicks—I did end up really enjoying the A-plot, where Jerry needs to donate his penis to save the life of the Werner Herzog voiced Shrimply Pibbles. Jerry’s penis will make an ideal replacement heart for a renowned cultural leader, and while he wants to keep his penis, he needs to satisfy his ego, his desire to be seen as a good person.
Shrimply Pibbles was a delight. His monologue about how human society was penis centric was just fucking incredible. While I’m in that specific subset of people that finds literally any mention of Herzog innately hilarious, it was still great to hear him say, “It’s funny to say they are small; it’s funny to say they are big. I’ve been at parties where humans have held bottles, pencils, thermoses in front of themselves, and called out ‘Hey look at me, I’m Mr. So-And-So Dick! I’ve got such-and-such for a penis.’ I never saw it fail to get a laugh.” Yep, that’s right Werner. Now let’s talk about that time you ate a shoe.
It ends up being a prescient monologue for what Jerry will later do—while he can’t weasel out of donating his penis (Beth is obviously excited at the prospect of him having an alien engineered prosthetic), he’s dismayed when it’s discovered he’s chickening out. Jerry doesn’t want people to hate him—he’s a good person! Jerry would rather give up his penis than have people hate him. The final speech from Beth, after he holds the doctors hostage to force them to donate his penis and is shot 57 times, is all about giving up on that. And hey, I get it. I’m a writer on the internet. Sometimes people are just gonna hate you.
But on the whole the episode was just incredibly uneven in a way that surprised me. I was thinking today, “When am I gonna stop giving Rick and Morty episodes 9s and 9.5s?” Well, that day’s today. Hope it picks up before the end of the season.
Gita Jackson has dedicated her entire adult life to wading through the marginalia of popular culture and finding gold.