Rick and Morty might be one of the most hilarious shows airing on television today but it’s also a bleak, depressing, demoralizing take on existence.
Adult Swim recently released a featurette with the show’s co-creator Dan Harmon in which he talks about one of the most pervading themes of the series. While the show isn’t set to come back until later this summer, this clip might scratch that self-loathing itch. Check it out above.
Harmon is known for his sardonic sense of humor that was also a consistent theme in his NBC show Community. Rick and Morty explores the philosophy more in depth, with Morty having been slowly but surely corrupted by Rick’s existential outlook on life.
“Do I agree with Rick that nothing means anything? No I do not,” Harmon said. “Because the knowledge that nothing matters, while accurate, gets you nowhere. The planet is dying, the sun is exploding, the universe is cooling, nothing’s gonna matter; the further back you pull the more that truth will endure. But when you zoom in on Earth, when you zoom in to a family, when you zoom into a human brain and a childhood and experience, you see all these things that matter.”
The video plays with some of the most emotional and resonant scenes of Rick and Morty, with some comical bits added to break the tension, but Harmon’s thesis is the showcase here.
“We have this fleeting chance to participate in an illusion called ‘I love my girlfriend, I love my dog.’ How is that not better?” Harmon said. “Knowing the truth, which is that nothing matters, can actually save you in those moments… Once you get through that terrifying threshold of accepting that, then every place is the center of the universe and every moment is the most important moment and everything is the meaning of life.”
It’s worth watching if only to get a glimpse into not only how Rick Sanchez operates, but also how Harmon approaches the series narrative. Whether you’re just hoping to find some love in your life or, maybe, get a taste of that Mulan szechuan sauce, it’s all relative in the bigger smaller picture.
Rick and Morty returns to Adult Swim sometime this summer.
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Rick and Morty is Adult Swim's most scientifically accurate animated comedy. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, it catalogues the bizarre misadventures of a bored scientific genius/drunkard and his socially awkward grandson, Morty. Their exploits tend to have unintended consequences for Morty's dysfunctional family, especially his unfailingly mediocre father, Jerry. Watch Rick and Morty battle everything from interdimensional customs agents to Cronenberg monsters.