Five ‘Rick and Morty’ Episodes That Are Incredibly Hard to Watch Now
The future of Rick and Morty these days is about as solid as limited edition Szechuan Sauce. As most of us already know, co-creator Justin Roiland was arrested on domestic abuse charges, which were eventually dismissed, but news of that investigation led Adult Swim to cut ties with Roiland and remove him from Rick and Morty. The arrest also sparked additional reporting that uncovered further allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct and all-around gross behavior.
Given this news, and other controversies surrounding the show, it’s impossible not to see certain past storylines in a different, more uncomfortable light. Granted, Roiland didn’t write all of these episodes — as he’s apparently been too busy giving tours to porn stars and playing with Nerf guns to contribute to the actual writing process in recent seasons — but, as the co-creator of the series, and the performer behind the two main characters, Roiland is inexorably linked to the first six seasons of Rick and Morty, making it difficult to rewatch episodes such as…
‘Big Trouble in Little Sanchez’
Stories about adults masquerading as teenagers in order to attend high school are almost always creepy — it was even gross when Drew Barrymore did it, and Drew Barrymore is a goddamn charm machine. Given that Roiland has been accused of “grooming” teenage girls as young as 15, this story about Rick transferring his consciousness into a teenage clone body so he can hang out with high school students just hits differently now. Like in a bad touch kind of way.
In “Raising Gazorpazorp” — the one where Morty has a baby with a sex-bot — Rick and Summer are imprisoned by a society of female aliens that act violently hostile toward Rick and are disgusted by his farts. In the end, the women are only pacified when Summer illustrates that her “cute top” was made by a man: Marc Jacobs.
Obviously, these jokes are knowingly button-pushing in their conspicuous sexism, but what makes the episode even worse in retrospect is the revelation that the show had no female writers until the third season. In hindsight, it’s perhaps no surprise that this story about a society of aggressively intimidating, abjectly humorless, man-hating women came out of a writers’ room that, at the time, had an unofficial “dude’s only” policy, which, as Roiland claimed, just happened “coincidentally for some reason.”
‘Rest and Ricklaxation’
One of the better episodes of the show’s third season, “Rest and Ricklaxation,” finds the duo purging their toxic selves at an alien spa. But in the end, they reintegrate with their worse halves after realizing that their projected faults are still, ultimately, a part of their identities. Sure, our negative qualities are a part of our humanity, and what we think of as faults are sometimes strengths, but Rick and Morty’s toxic doppelgangers are objectively awful. And Morty, as annoying as he may be, is clearly more respectful to Jessica once he’s purged his toxic self.
Knowing now that Roiland’s negative qualities are allegedly so harmful to others, hearing him sum up the message of this episode by stating that our “worst qualities” are “still a part of who we are,” so “you just got to fucking own it,” kind of makes the whole thing feel like a rationalization for truly terrible behavior, even if that wasn’t necessarily the intention.
Also, the fact that the episode features an adult picking up a 14-year-old at a bar doesn’t seem great.
‘The Rickshank Redemption’
The episode’s McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce-based punchline was a good one, but it’s since been completely ruined by the ensuing fan riots. The whole joke of the episode was that discontinued fast food sauce was the stupidest possible motivation for Rick’s actions. Seeing throngs of people losing their shit over this goddamn sauce is not only irritating, it’s a complete joke-killer.
Also, the “Pickle Rick” episode has similarly been ruined, mostly because of this Szechuan Sauce obsessed d-bag:
No McDonald’s worker deserved any of that shit, not even the dude that refuses to fix the ice cream machine.
‘The ABC’s of Beth’
In “The ABC’s of Beth,” Rick brings Beth back to her childhood fantasyland that he created: Froopyland. There they discover that her old friend Tommy was left behind and only survived by having sex with the magical creatures of Froopyland and eating their offspring in an “endless cycle of cannibalistic incest.”
This story about re-visiting a once happy place that used to be an enjoyable distraction, only to find that it has now been tainted by the revelation that it’s run by a power-hungry sexual deviant is, well, now retroactively one the most meta things the show has done.
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