REVIEWS

Rick & Morty Presents Mr. Meeseeks

Rick and Morty is a television show originally created as a joke where Marty McFly blew Doc Brown for a Channel 101 pilot, and it is now the current cause du jour cartoon for a theoretical 16-year-old white male who hates everyone and thinks he’s smart but really isn’t that smart because he’s still too dumb to realize that true nihilism is going to require a lot more reading than he’s prepared to do because said 16-year-old is too busy saying “tampon tampon tampon” in the comments section of a YouTube video that will be revealed as the work of an astroturfing Nazi in about three months.

I have watched some of this show.

It’s got that facile intelligence that makes an audience feel smart rather than challenging them because they’re watching a cartoon at 1 am on a Friday instead of doing anything else. Rick & Morty has become identified with Dan Harmon, who comics people will not remember was a cowriter on SCUD back in the day (I loved that comic), but is now mostly famous for sexually harassing his staff on the NBC sitcom Community. The show’s voice is the creator, Justin Roiland, writing a Harmon-esque character who comments on science fiction tropes from a bleak “I’m the genius asshole at the center of the universe” perspective. The best joke I’ve ever seen on the show was Rick correcting someone on the difference between “theme” and “motif”.

This comic is an attempt to translate that tone without the clear directorial voice the show has--while it is a bad show, you can't say it’s not strongly developed. This is a faux-existential running bit of a one shot story where minor characters who do menial tasks for people try to discover the meaning of life. That's actually the plot of the movie that killed Monty Python as a creative entity, so two guys you’ve never heard of are sure to do a great job this time around.

The “Mr. Meeseeks” are supposed to be a joke about the gig economy but the whole routine here is positioning a “life is meaningless” speech on every third page and then end the whole thing with either casual violence, ironic misogyny, or a “that’s stupid, this is the real world, I’m busy”. All characters are poised to explode into speechifying, but in a Dan Harmon-y way, rather than the Sorkin, Mamet-y way. It’s a series of facile lectures about something the writers probably don’t believe in anyway. It the show’s tone.

That’s how all the shows end, and this hastily slapped together comic book ends with the characters discovering that the meaning of life is variable (aka a cop out) and then disappearing, with their work being treated as a waste of time by the real characters. Rick/Harmon/various characters often brings up real life chaos or inequality but do so merely to justify the urge to act with moral impunity. (Mr. Meeseeks at one point brings up how Fast Fashion is causing environmental collapse, for example). I would say it’s probably the same thing for the audience. It’s either a diversion away from the cruelty of day to day America or it’s an affirming practice that your self-directed behavior is rationalized by the world being an unending hellscape. I guess it’s okay that such a thing is popular considering that even hinting that we’re not going to be okay (and we are not going to be okay, billions are going to starve to death in our lifetime) is verboten during our current era in nearly all media. It’s not a functional critique, it’s a false one, but maybe false critiques are all we can handle right now. How’s that for pop nihilism?

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31 Responses to Rick & Morty Presents Mr. Meeseeks

  1. Chris Thomas says:

    This might be the dumbest article I’ve ever read

  2. Omar Motif says:

    Terrific, a reaction to a TV show based on a reaction to someone else’s reaction. And motivated by its imagined viewership’s imagined motives. But it’s the SHOW that’s “facile.”

  3. Bella Roustaine says:

    This show is very stupid and panders to a very limited group of people, but yikes. Show us on the doll where you were touched. I understand vitriol get clicks on blog post journalism now, but perhaps you should go outside and interact with real 3 dimensional alive people. Don’t send the Twitter rage mob after me though, my feelings can’t take it.

  4. Some random 16 year old watching cartoons at 1 AM on a Friday! says:

    You’re very bad at your job.

  5. Someone with an actual degree says:

    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty (something *I’m sure* your “Bachelor’s Degree” in Creative Writing from a *very prestigious* liberal arts college has awarded you). The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer’s head (so it’s no surprise that you found the theme/motif joke to be the funniest). There’s also Rick’s true nihilistic outlook (something that I’m concerned you still don’t actually understand, even though you specifically reference needing to do much more reading. What exactly were you doing during all of your free time at “college” while you were earning your “degree?”), which is deftly woven into his characterization — his personal philosophy draws heavily from Narodnaya Volya literature, for instance (I trust you’re familiar). The fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these jokes, to realize that they’re not just funny — they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Rick & Morty truly ARE idiots (don’t worry, it’s not your fault) — of course they wouldn’t appreciate, for instance, the humor in Rick’s existential catchphrase “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub,” which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev’s Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I’m smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Dan Harmon’s genius wit unfolds itself on their television screens. What fools.. how I pity them…

  6. Kevin says:

    I used to write for a university student newspaper. The worst kinds of garbage got passed off as “cultural journalism”. This was worse. I didn’t even finish reading the initial run-on sentence before deciding it wasn’t worth my time.

  7. Rick not Sanches says:

    Did someone watch a good 7mins of a real episode, then just ask their friends what they thought about the show, then wrote the most repulsing thing I’ve ever read. Don’t even really know where this was going? You’d love Rick and Morty if you even seen the meeseeks episode.

  8. Someone with a better degree says:

    Wow. So hey, I love Rick and Morty, and think the author of this pointless article is doing his underwhelming best to be edgy and unique, but holy shit the guy above me is ten times worse.

    “You’re just not smart enough to understand the depths of this show, whereas I’m so super smart and cultured that I alone grasp the true depth and breadth of the genius present in every moment of every episode!”

    I do think the show has some clever commentary, and a few of the best jokes are definitely pointed at people who have a baseline understanding of a mixed bag of scientific principles. That said, there’s plenty of fart-slapstick-swearing humor available too – indeed, the juxtaposition of the simple and complex make for some of the best comedy in the show.

    While I get a lot of enjoyment out of the show, I know other intelligent people who don’t, and that’s fine. Exceptional intellect is not required to enjoy this show, nor does enjoying this show serve to illustrate one’s intellectual prowess.

    I’d heard there were people spouting this “you’re just not smart enough to GET it” response to critics, but actually encountering one in the wild is depressing. It’s a cartoon, bud, not a treatise on quantum physics. Climb out of your own asshole and settle down, because you’re being Rick-diculous.

  9. Mr. Meekseeks #37833429 says:

    Your only redeeming quality is that you like Scud. The rest of this article is trash, I hope it was meant as a joke. Which would be something you laugh at, you remember what it is to laugh right?

  10. Jared says:

    Looks like this guy and the word “facile” have some catching up to do.

  11. Rob says:

    I gave up reading your stupid piece. Long Live Rick and Morty!!!

  12. Derkaderk says:

    Love it

  13. Physics 101 says:

    As spoken by someone who has no understanding og physics and philosophy, but spends his time reading comics. Maybe he himself is the 16 year old boy he speaks about (:

  14. Mike McKeown says:

    Theoretical 16 year old white males? I’m 52 and my husband is 31. We cannot wait for the new season as we’ve all but worn the TV out with endless plays of the previous three. I introduced it to my dad (84) as he’s often awake til 4am taking care of my mum who has severe Altzheimers. He now laughs telling me about his favourite bits. We’ve both seen more s**t than your limited bubbleworld could ever process, and find Rick & Morty to be brilliant, engaging escapism. Just bear that in mind while you’re guffawing with your colleagues about an anecdote you found in Kafka.

  15. Rocky Lorraine says:

    Probably what you wanted.. clicky mcclickface and all.. however, like many others, I’m also here to write a comment discouraging you from continuing down this career path. UBI has more merit for having the possibility of taking you out of the labor pool. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

  16. Pete says:

    Trash. #learntocode

  17. Someone named Jared who's better than that other guy named Jared & also has a degree says:

    Nah, this piece is right.

    That show is trash, this comic a cash-in, & if you’re outraged by this write up, you’re very, very sad. But you deserve any & all inconvenience. No one cares how smart you think you are.

    And also, if Dan Harmon was such a genius, he’d treat women better. Duh.

  18. RJ Casey says:

    Glad to see that Rick & Morty fans never fail to live up to their own disconcerting reputation.

  19. PackerofShit says:

    This sounds like a circlejerk between 3 guys who feel they desperately need to distance themselves from the theoretical (Jesus Christ 😂) 16 year old neck beard they demonize so hard, and instead only offer a version of an identity that is ironically more toxic Rick than anything. Smug, know it all, and dismissing due to clear internal bias.

    Maybe next time it’s 1 am, instead of tightening your sphincters and lording about how above it all and cool you are, instead light a joint, sit back and try to just enjoy an episode of funny sci fi high jinks.

  20. JesusChrist says:

    Lol.

  21. The Ghost of Eugene Bazarov says:

    Somebody post the Navy Seals copypaste too.

  22. W. Dal Bush says:

    This is an amazing amount of people who came to a website they don’t frequent to tell a reviewer they don’t know that he’s wrong about a TV show he doesn’t enjoy and a comic book he didn’t think was very good.

    I genuinely hope they stick around on TCJ to comment on every other review and news item.

  23. Lucas wuz here says:

    As a minor and a fan of the show I do I have to say that this article holds some valid points. Aside from its repeated (and unexplained) reference to misogyny, it’s a pretty reasonable. Rick and Morty doesn’t require you to be smart. The world isn’t that bad and the level of knowledge to enjoy this show is honestly pretty low. The show is great at making you feel clever and just feel in general which is why it’s so popular.

  24. Not Gullable says:

    W. Dal Bush I’m sorry but no, I assume most that have came here are here with the sole intent of putting this ill educated argumentative poor excuse for a writer in his rightful place, this “writer” has written this for no other reason than to get a negative response “It’s all he could hope for” he has no clue what the show is or what it’s about, watching a total of 10 minutes doesn’t mean he has the knowledge or right to discuss a show in depth that he isn’t educated on, this show is made to make people laugh nothing more and there are far to many idiots in this world that think that “Cartoons” should have far more substance to them to suit their specific tastes to let them pretend they are more intelligent and also let’s them show off to friends that aren’t actually their friends. Stop treating these cartoons so serious and stop giving this joke of a writer what he wants which is a big reaction to his very poor writing.

  25. Kristina says:

    You have no idea what you’re talkin about. This is a horribly written article. I did not finish it. I will not finish it. You should not continue to write. Have a good day.

  26. Oliver says:

    I have a chemistry degree and I neither read this review nor have any intention of ever watching ‘Rick and Morty’. Beat THAT.

  27. Malloy says:

    Kafka Rules!

  28. Josh04 says:

    hah, this piece rules, and the comments are the icing on the cake

  29. Christopher M says:

    Nice to see Rick & Morty fans taking some time out of their busy day of doxing each other on 4chan to lose it at a negative review. Anyway, good to see more writing from Witzke, keep it up, man.

  30. Trent says:

    *reads the comment section*

    …ok, who linked this piece on 4chan and reddit?

  31. Ben says:

    Just so everyone is clear, the post that starts with “To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty” is a popular copypaste meme, I don’t know if it was always a troll or if it was originally a legitimate post, but either way it has long since been coopted by people looking fir a reaction.

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