Rick and Morty, the intellectual animated comedy that airs during Adult Swim’s broadcast time on Cartoon Network, has captured its audience by mixing cheap humor with the philosophical topics of existentialism and identity.
Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland the show was originally based on a project of Roiland’s called Channel 101. The show has a feel akin to Doctor Who meets Futurama meets your philosophy 101 professor. With a noncontinuous storyline the series is wacky in its own unconventional way.
The title characters are uniquely different; however, they compliment each other in a way you might not expect.
Rick is an elderly genius with a drinking problem; he’s essentially a cross between the Doctor and your average mad scientist, minus all the timey wimey stuff of course. Morty is Rick’s grandson and tags along for most of Rick’s adventures. He often whines and doesn’t understand everything Rick explains to him, but he’s 14 and just beginning to understand what it means to be alive so it’s easy to forgive him. Justin Roiland voices both characters, which helps to create a powerful chemistry between the two family members.
Harmon and Roiland retroscript the entire series making the voice acting all the more impressive. Roiland isn’t the only stand out, Chris Parnell, who you may recognize as Cyril from Archer voices Jerry Smith, Rick’s son in law (Morty’s father) and does a fantastic job of vocalizing an egotistical, unemployed father. His acting resonates especially well in an episode where Jerry is taken to Pluto to tell its inhabitants that they are in fact living on a planet.
While “Rick and Morty” often takes viewers to the far reaches of space and across numerous dimensions its status as an animated comedy is never lost. Crude jokes, both cheap and intelligent are scattered throughout the unconventional narrative thanks to the retroscripting. By using such a technique actors improvise every line except those necessary to move the plot.
Though the series is still in its infancy, Cartoon Network recently approved it for a second season and is due out in 2015.