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‘Rick and Morty’ season 3 is out of this world

| Monday, September 11, 2017

rickandmortyWEBJOSEPH HAN | The Observer

“Rick & Morty best cartoon out by far” proclaimed rapper Waka Flocka Flame in the midst of the incredibly popular television show’s year-and-half long break between the season two finale and the season three premiere. 

Flame’s tweet embodied the show’s growing following — a legion of diverse fans who patiently awaited the highly anticipated third season. Fortunately, fans finally got what they wanted when the first episode of the show’s third season was delivered quietly and appropriately on April Fools’ Day earlier this year. Although the release of the second episode was delayed until late July, thus far the new episodes have been nothing short of phenomenal.

At its heart, “Rick and Morty” is a quirky animated comedy, making it a perfect fit for Adult Swim — Cartoon Network’s late night adult programming block. The show’s unique brand of humor, championed by the show’s comedy-veteran creators, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, covers everything from fart jokes to elaborately astute satire. Thankfully, the sophisticated humor of seasons past that helped gain the show widespread acclaim has returned in full force for the third season. In the fourth and best episode of season three so far, titled “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender,” the writers of the show blatantly mock the banal superhero-squad movies such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) or the soon to be released “Justice League.”

While the show centers around comedy, it also takes on the task of subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) tackling heavier issues. The season began with the divorce of the two parental figures, Beth and Jerry Smith. What followed has captured how the different characters struggle with the sudden change in the family dynamic. Rick Sanchez, the show’s main character and Beth’s father, goes so far as to turn himself into a literal pickle in order to avoid going to a family therapy session. Subsequent installments question what it means to be a hero in a morally ambiguous world and how people handle their insecurities and dysfunctions. 

The show’s mix of comedy and sincerity is part of what makes it one of the best shows on television today. Each episode takes the viewer on a roller coaster of emotion and thought, elevating the show to a level that so few television programs can reach. The laughter evoked from the show’s witty and sophisticated humor carries throughout, yet at the end of each episode the viewer is often left pondering a much more complex issue or question. It is this mix of provoking commentary and hilarity that leaves fans desperate for more episodes.

Season three has also added more layers to the already complex and dynamic group of core characters and their respective relationships. While Sanchez often appears as a narcissistic and pessimistic high-functioning alcoholic, in multiple episodes this season a different side of Sanchez’s personality has been revealed, one that cares deeply for his grandson, Morty. This new perspective in Sanchez’s psyche is confounding considering how he has stated throughout the show how he believes that caring for others makes one vulnerable and weak.

Morty’s character has also undergone an evolution that would be hard to miss. Throughout the season, Morty has often taken matters into his own hands, demonstrating a newfound maturity in no longer needing his grandfather to step in and save the day. Additionally, the show’s supporting cast of characters, Beth, Jerry and Summer Smith, have all also developed in their own distinct way. 

The sophisticated characters on “Rick and Morty” give the program a more realistic impression of life hard to find in television today. Followers of the show will often witness both the positive and negative aspects of themselves displayed in the characters. The personal attachment to the show’s compelling characters draws fans back to the show every week, making “Rick and Morty” a must-watch television show.

The next episode of “Rick and Morty” airs Sunday, Sept. 17 on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. 

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