There’s a circular sort of mindset about animation. The original thought was of it being tailored toward adults. Then, at some point, animation was accused of only being for kids. There’s a generation lost to the fact that Johnny Quest, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons were all originally prime time fare. When The Simpsons showed up in 1989, there were cries of it eating away the brains of youth (thanks Barbara Bush). Of course, after that we moved on to The Critic and Family Guy (and Duckman for a brief time), but there were also Animaniacs and Freakazoid and Batman: The Animated Series. Oh, and Gargoyles and Futurama.
Most recently, a show started up that is well written, with a sometimes loose improvisational feel, that is totally for adults. I told a friend that he should watch the show and his response was: “I’m not 14 anymore, cartoons are for kids.”
What he called a kids show, of course, is Rick and Morty; the brainchild of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (of Community and Monster House fame). It’s rapidly become one of my go-to pieces of television when I can’t find anything else to watch. It is one of the few series that I WILL buy the DVD/Blu-Ray set for because I support it that much. I love the show SO much that I’ve joined forces with my Apathetic Enthusiasm co-host Travis to start a Rick and Morty podcast called Interdimensional RSS, conveniently located over at ApatheticEnthusiasm.com! (Check out the inaugural episode here!)
For this month’s Top Ten, I wanted to rank my favorite Rick and Morty episodes (though I will watch them all 50 more times). Let’s begin.
#10. Pilot (Season 1) – This is what started it all! (Actually, that’s not entirely true… Doc and Marti is what originally started it, a more direct parody to Back to the Future… I digress). This is not usually the first episode I show people because it doesn’t properly set the tone for the rest of the series. Rick is way more manic and drunk and his burping is through the roof… but if you watch it again after getting into the series, it really is a funny episode. The audio commentary about Justin Roiland’s final lines is pretty interesting… in that he just kept talking.
Quote of the episode: I’m sorry, Morty. It’s a bummer. In reality, you’re as dumb as they come. But I needed those seeds real bad and I had to give ’em up just to get your parents off my back. So now we’re gonna have to go get more. And then we’re gonna go on even more adventures after that, Morty. And you’re gonna keep your mouth shut about ’em, Morty. Because the world is full of idiots that don’t understand what’s important. And they’ll tear us apart, Morty. But if you stick with me, I’m gonna accomplish great things, Morty. And you’re gonna be a part of ’em. And together we’re gonna run around, Morty, we’re gonna do all kinds of wonderful things, Morty. Just you and me, Morty. The outside world is our enemy, Morty. We’re the only friends we’ve got, Morty. It’s just Rick and Morty. Rrrick and Morty and their adventures, Morty. Rick and Morty, forever and forever, a hundred years Rick and Morty, s… things. Me and Rick and Morty runnin’ around and Rick and Morty time. Aaall day long forever. All, a hundred days Rick and Morty forever a hundred times. Over and over Rick and Morty adventures dot com W W W dot Rick and Morty dot com W W W Rick and Morty adventures all hundred years. Every minute Rick and Morty dot com W W W hundred times Rick and Morty dot com.
#9. A Rickle in Time (Season 2) – A great season 2 opener. This one leads off at the tail end of Ricksy Business. Time has been stopped for 6 months and in order for things to catch up, they can’t make contact with anyone who was frozen in time. This creates the foundation of a spectacular 64 panel animation of uncertainty. It’s a trip to watch.
Quote of the episode: Man, that guy is the Redgren Grumbholdt of pretending to know what’s going on.
#8. Meseeks and Destroy (Season 1) – Ooooh weeee! When Kris asked me if I was doing a Top 10 this month, I said, “Caaaaannn do!” This episode is a fan favorite, primarily because of the lovable Meseeks. The Meseeks exist and cease to exist just as soon as their singular purpose is fulfilled but they can’t seem to help the incompetent patriarch of the Smith family improve his golf game. There’s also a side story about Morty running the adventure, and a creepy Mr. Jelly Bean.
Quote of the episode: Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the violation of Civil Liberties
#7. Look Who’s Purging Now (Season 2) – Sometimes you don’t realize how many times you’ve actually seen a story recycled until someone points it out. In this episode, Rick and Morty stop onto a planet that purges: the society is crimeless because one night a year everyone gets to fulfill their destructive urges. It does a great job of making fun of that concept and even gives us a glimpse of Rick not being able to stomach THAT much violence.
Quote of the episode: Morty, are you alright? Why are YOU with Taddy Mason?”
#6. Ricksy Business (Season 1) – Rick, Morty and his sister Summer throw a party at the house while the parents, Jerry and Beth, head out to a Titanic tourist attraction. It’s another great episode that introduces some unique and hilarious characters. This is the first time we meet Birdperson and the wonderful Abradolf Lincler.
Quote of the episode: Prepare to be emancipated from your own inferior genes!
#5. Something Ricked This Way Comes (Season 1) – Those of you who know me know that I love Anthologies. I do a podcast about The Twilight Zone, and I wrote a Geekade Halloween article about Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow. When a certain Mr. Needful comes into the town and pulls the Needful Things plot out, Rick steps in to use SCIENCE against all of the hokey twists of all of the items. It’s the episode I recommended to my wife when I first started watching (because she got called out by the creator of Booth at the End for criticizing him). There’s another subplot about Pluto, the highlight being Rich Fulcher, but that’s not where this episode shines.
Quote of the episode: Looks like we’ve got… haunted boxing gloves that will make you the heavyweight champion in 1936, and then you’ll be trapped there, winning the same fight for eternity. I can take out the “eternity” and the padding, and then you’ll have some time-traveling mittens.
#4. Total Rickall (Season 2) – God… one of the great things Rick and Morty does is to build episodes off a cool concept. In this one, *someone* brought a parasite that replicates by feeding off of people’s memories. Realizing this, Rick locks everyone in the house. Through the course of the episode, hundreds of new characters, most of them parasites, infest the Smith household. Pencilvester, Photography Raptor, and Sleepy Gary all make an appearance. This episode also introduces us to a fan favorite, Mr. Poopy Butthole (also a star of his own comic series by Sarah Graley).
Quote of the episode: He told me to tell you he’s sorry you didn’t have bad memories of him?
#3. Rixty Minutes (Season 1) – This is my go-to “you have to watch this show” episode of Rick and Morty, although I’m starting to know better. This episode is really the one where, after people start to understand the tone and humor associated with Rick and Morty, things really get kicked into 12th gear. It’s more of an excuse to do improvisational sketch animation comedy than it is to have a good episode, with Rick installing an interdimensional cable box with shows from infinite realities. Two Brothers, Gazorpazorpfield, and Ants in My Eyes Johnson are some of the highlights. It, realistically, is MY #1, but there are better episodes for people just hopping on board.
Quote of the Episode: Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.
#2. Anatomy Park (Season 1) – As a fan of Inner Space, the Dennis Quaid/Martin Short comedy, this is a wonderful episode. Rick takes Morty into the body of a homeless man where Rick has set up a theme park, complete with rides, attractions, and a Jurassic Park style break down.
Quote of the episode: Do yourself a favor and pop by Pirates of the Pancreas. Obviously I’m biased, but I think it’s great, Morty. It’s a bunch of *belches* pirates running around a *belches* pancreas. We don’t whitewash it, either, Morty. I mean, the pirates are really rapey.
#1. Lawnmower Dog (Season 1) – There’s so much to love in this episode. A dog that becomes intelligent and takes over the human race? An Inception-style storyline that takes us all the way to a Nightmare on Elm Street parody? It’s solid gold. One of the great things about this one is that the A and B stories actually come back together (which is something that, as much as I love the show, it doesn’t always do effectively).
Quote of the episode: Where are my testicles, Summer?
And there it is! What are your favorite episodes of the show? I love every one of them, but I only had 10 spots! Let me know in the comments, hit me up on our Twitter @RickandMortyPod or shoot us an email: RickandMortyPodcast@gmail.com