Why Rick and Morty is the Best Show on Television

Let’s do an experiment: Think about your favorite show.

Now, is it Rick and Morty?

If the answer is no, then you’ve never seen Rick and Morty.

They don't pull punches.

As of this writing, I think Rick and Morty is the best show on television. I love it so much that I’ve actually become angry at other shows for not living up to the high standards of humor, character development, drama, and action that Rick and Morty consistently delivers. The show has actually altered my standards for entertainment, which might be seen as a bad thing.

I suppose I should just explain a little bit about why I like the show. This post only really exists so I can stop going on twenty-minute rants about why everyone should be watching it.

So first, let’s talk about my “biases.” I routinely hate traditional situation comedies. Popular mainstream successes like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory are a snooze-fest for me. I’m not saying this to brag about my “edgy underground” taste, but just to illustrate where I’m coming from and how Rick and Morty took me by complete surprise.

After a horrifically disappointing experience with 5 full episodes of Bob’s Burgers, a few of my trusted friends started recommending Rick and Morty to me, saying it was right up my alley. I was hesitant at first, since Adult Swim shows are often hit-or-miss for me.

Rick and Morty centers on the two titular characters. Rick, a genius scientist, has moved in with his daughter’s family. He spends his days drinking, taking trips to alternate timelines, and corrupting his grandson, Morty. Morty is the quintessential nervous teenager.

They go on insane, frequently life-threatening adventures that take influence from every sci-fi piece of media that you’ve ever loved. Their relationship bears a passing resemblance to a sociopathic version of Doc and Marty from Back to the Future.

I first approached Rick and Morty with absolutely zero expectations. After just one episode, I was hooked. Within days, I had devoured the entire first season. When I’d finished, I watched it again.

At first, the animation was a bit of a put-off. It brought up bad memories of a dozen other try-hard animated comedies that try to “out-gross” and “out-random-joke” one another. Two things in the first season let me know that something in this show was very different:

  1. The way Rick spoke. His chaotic, stuttering, emphatic line delivery was unlike anything I’d heard before. This is probably because the creators improvise many of the lines. Rick speaks like a man with a thousand competing thoughts at once, which makes sense since he’s a genius.
  2. The show constantly throws in serious concepts such as depression, suicide, and divorce at you under the veneer of crazy antics.

When we turn on a drama, the viewer expects characters to grow, change and experience revelations about themselves.

When the big dramatic moments happen, we enjoy watching them but many of us can’t shake the feeling that we kinda knew they were coming all along. Either that or you have the rare gift/curse of being completely unaware of common TV tropes.

By contrast, Rick and Morty lulls you into a silly stupor. Just when you’re enjoying the antic-filled adventures of our heroes, they hit you with a drama bomb. Notes of loss, suicide, depression, narcissism and divorce appear without warning. This surprise produces the most incredible effect on the storytelling. Because these darker concepts are initially concealed in the veneer of wacky sci-fi adventures, they have a much stronger impact than your typical dramatic show.

If you’re in a hot tub and someone pours warmer water on you, that might be nice. That’s what your favorite drama does.

If you’re in an ice bath and someone pours the hot tub water on you, it’s going to have a much stronger effect. It’s going to burn. You’re going to feel it. That’s what Rick and Morty does with its dramatic moments. They lurk beneath the surface of comedy and surprise you when you don’t see them coming.

In conclusion, this show is not only my favorite comedy, it’s also my favorite science fiction show and my favorite TV drama (don’t worry Breaking Bad, nobody will ever take your place). Give it a watch, if you haven’t already.