The Ricklantis Mixup
I’ve previously criticized this series for getting too far up it’s own ass with melodrama and family dynamics, but other than in fleeting moments, we’ve never seen a true dramatic episode like “The Ricklantis Mixup” before. Like any good sci-fi, this episode was highly topical and touched on a ton of contemporary issues, including police brutality, racial prejudice, class inequality, and the looming threat of authoritarian takeovers.
Rick and Morty has never shied away from heavy content. The series has followed the collapse of Beth and Jerry’s marriage, Morty’s sexual assault at the hands of Mr. Jellybean, and Rick’s attempted suicide. In the past, a shift from comedy to drama has been the death knell for several Adult Swim series, but the rabid popularity of Rick and Morty means its creators have a greater license to experiment with their show and its content.
The return of Evil Eye Patch Morty from “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” is a part of the greater shift to post-postmodernism that is surfacing in adult animation. It is a continuation of David Foster Wallace’s concept of New Sincerity, an honest and empathetic iteration of nihilism that has been divorced from the irony, skepticism and cynicism characteristic of postmodernist works. Rick and Morty both acknowledges and rejoices in the fact that life has no existential meaning.
It’s pretty weighty stuff from a series that started off as a Back to the Future parody, but at the same time, that’s exactly why Rick and Morty is what it is. At heart, this series, and several other post-postmodernist works, are a Millennial rejection of Gen X’s culture of apathy and cynicism. It is a casting off of self-satisfied irony, self-reference, and insincerity in drama.
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t