For an absurdist, science-based cartoon show with nihilistic undertones, Rick and Morty sure is full of meaning. On the outside, it looks like any other late-night cartoon, riddled with dick jokes and obscure references that often fly over the heads of its young audience. I mean seriously, what the fuck is a plumbus? However, if you approach the show with an examining eye, you'll discover it continually prods at deep philosophical and existential questions packaged in over-the-top humor allowing it to reach adults and children alike.
Plato credits Socrates with saying, "An unexamined life is not worth living." Rick and Morty will force you to examine life and laugh your ass off at the same time. The show will make you question your existence. It will make you justify your worldview.
If every great work of art is layered in meaning, Rick and Morty is a massive onion. There are puzzles to solve, callbacks, and hidden jokes in every episode resulting in a richer experience for the engaged viewer. I’m intrinsically curious about being and how to act in this life, and thus have always been drawn to philosophy and psychology. I wish I could tell you why, but just like everything else that matters in your life, you simply cannot control what you’re caught by.
When my buddy Dima turned me on to Rick and Morty, I couldn’t quite pinpoint why I loved the show so much until I saw this interview with Dan Harmon, a co-creator of the show:
Rick and Morty is about meaning. It’s about how to come to grips with your cosmic insignificance. DAMN. That’s profound.
Lately, I’ve been interested in the clash between the nihilist vs. meaning-oriented worldviews. Maybe season 3 of Rick and Morty can help us all gain a better understanding of life or, at the very least, help us to ask better questions. Alternatively, Morty could be right: “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s going to die.”
Let’s watch season 3, and break down the universe together.