I suppose it was inevitable; Morty isn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer of sharp tools, and given the way his sex drive overrides his common sense on a regular basis, sooner or later, he was going to get some poor girl pregnant. I just didn’t expect it to happen this quickly, or for the girl to be a sex robot he picked up in an intergalactic pawn shop. Given what the poor kid’s already been through on his various “adventures” with his grandfather, you’d think Morty would know better than to take a strange sex-bot home with him. Literally everything that’s happened to him on the show up until this point would suggest that such a decision could only end horribly, and while things don’t turn out as bad as they might have, the kid still gets stuck raising an alien male obsessed with killing and conquest. So, lesson learned: Don’t fuck a sex-robot, because it might be a birthing machine designed to keep alive an alien race that has divided its genders into two distinct, incompatible species, and if that happens, your son will grow up to write an unflattering book about your attempts to keep him from killing everyone.
As lessons go, that doesn’t have a wide radius of application, and really, what Morty goes through with Morty Jr could be seen as an exaggerated metaphor for what happens between every parent and child. You raise ‘em, you do your best, you still inevitably fuck up, and they end up blaming you for everything that’s wrong in their life. Rick tells Summer that no one learned any lessons, and it’s sort of a joke, sort of an effort to get her off his back, and sort of the truth. Morty probably won’t be having aggressive sex with any robots anytime soon, but when it comes time for him to have kids of his own (in some unimaginable future in which these aren’t static cartoon characters but real life people who age), he’ll go through about the same process, albeit hopefully with some support from a romantic partner and a bit less concern about homicide.
As entertainingly over-the-top as the storyline is, it’s a surprisingly level-headed look at the challenges that face anyone trying to raise a child. Beth and Jerry offer Morty advice on what he should do, but it’s contradictory, and the minute anything goes wrong, the blame falls on Morty’s shoulders. Regardless of how good his intentions are, the poor kid ends up lying to Morty Jr. (by telling him there’s poison gas outside, in a desperate and doomed attempt to keep him indoors), shoving him, and denying the child’s innermost dreams. Admittedly, those dreams are dangerous, and are only ultimately kept in check by a lucky visit from the monstrous creator of Marmaduke, but if you take away the specific context, it plays like every the nightmare of every new parent (or every childless person wondering if they should ever have children). Kids are a no-win scenario, at least in terms of Mom or Dad’s own personal ego and sanity, and the fact that “Raising Gazorpazorp” manages to get this idea across while still ending on a moderately optimistic note (Morty Jr. may have “turned” on his dad, but he still turned into a functioning member of society and didn’t, so far as we know, murder anyone), is impressive. Also, very funny.
Less impressive, but still on the whole pretty funny, was Rick and Summer’s trip to Gazorpazorp. It’s a shaggy dog type of plot, in that the reason Rick decides to travel to the planet is to try and find Morty Jr. some off-world parents, a goal which turns out to be irrelevant; mostly what we get are some jokes about a society in which the men and women have split off entirely, leaving the men to war on the planet’s surface, and the women to exist peacefully somewhere else (up in the mountains?), giving anyone who breaks the law the silent treatment and relentlessly reassuring one another that “I am here if you need to talk.” Summer is briefly treated as an equal, with Rick as her slave, until she lets slip that she comes from a planet where men and women are sort-of-but-not-really treated as equals.
Gender satire like this tends to leave me cold, as it always seems to draw its jokes from a mid-’90s notion of what “men” and “women” are really like—ha ha, did you catch last night’s episode of Home Improvement, men really are pigs, etc. But the episode commits to the premise, and the gags are clever enough that if you squint, they sort of work as a subversion of stale “what if women ran the world” premises. Plus, Summer gets more screen-time, and while it doesn’t change the fact that she’s still basically a regular teenage girl (imagined by 40-something dudes), she’s smart enough to save both her and Rick’s lives in the end by pointing out that the top she’s wearing was designed by a gay man, thus throwing the Gazorpian women’s gender fascism into confusion. For once, Summer takes an active part, and her and Rick’s bickering is a nice change of pace from Morty’s desperate pleading (and bickering); it’d be cool to see her getting involved more in the future. Also, the Gazorpazorp storyline has a reference to Zardoz (the floating head that delivers the sex robots), which is just terrific. All in all, it’s good to have new Rick And Morty back on our TV screens.
- I really hope Morty washed that sexbot with boiled water and rubbing alcohol before he went to town on it.
- The scene of the family sitting awkwardly at breakfast while Morty fucks his sexbot upstairs is great, because nobody really knows what to do. “Intervening with puberty? You’ll turn him into Ralph Fiennes in Red Dragon.”
- Rick wants to kill the baby. “Don’t name it-” “Morty Jr!” “Crap he named it.”
- “2003 just called and wants its easy target back.” -Rick (followed by Jerry’s desperate attempt to one up him, which was too pathetic to transcribe)
- There’s something bracing about how directly the show deals with sex. Morty is a teenager, so he wants a sexbot. Rick opens a portal to a planet full of sex-crazed males, so Summer gets grabbed and nearly raped. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s refreshingly uncluttered. (Of course, it helps that Summer did not, in fact, get raped, because that would not be the first step on the road to Laughsville.)
- Morty Jr. grows fast. It sounds like they had an actual little kid doing his voice during his adolescent hours, and there’s a great bit of animation when Morty Jr. looks outside. He says, “Daddy—can I go outside?” in this sweet, completely unthreatening tone, but his eyebrows go down and he grins, which is both creepy and hilarious.
- THE PENIS IS EVIL. (That is a reference to Zardoz. If you do not get the reference, go watch Zardoz. You probably will not thank me later.)
- Wubba lubba dub dub!