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The Philosophy of Rick and Morty

Melody Beattie, Staff Writer

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Rick and Morty is a cartoon show released to Adult Swim in 2012 and was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harman. This show follows main characters Rick Sanchez, a mad scientist, and his naive grandson Morty. It’s more or less the plot of back to the future but instead Marty, er-Morty never tries to hit on his mom and doc is an alcoholic.


This show is deeply rooted in old sci-fi horror and while it pays homage to a wide spectrum of sci-fi and horror, it has a weakness for the sci-fi tradition-cosmic horror. Taking after HP Lovecraft, an author who specialized in horror fiction, like Lovecraft, Rick and Morty uses the cosmos as a way to explore deep philosophical questions by imagining what is deep in space.


Cosmic horror is more about the vast unknown or unknowable rather than gore and jump scares. Ricks portal gun in the show presents us with the unknown every time he uses it. As he jumps throughout the portal with no fear we are often show different realities, some terrifying, some hilarious.


The creators of the show reference many different films every episode. Some of these include when they go to a dimension that they are having an annual purge exactly like the movie the Purge. Or the episode “Rick Potion No.9” which is a reference to the Sandra Bullock film from 1992. In the episode Rick “Cronenberg’s”  up the world and have to change dimensions. The word cronenberg is from a horror film director named David Cronenberg.


This show is mostly circled around the hard question: Are we significant? Which was a common question for HP Lovecraft. When confronted with an infinite amount of realities and dimensions it often leaves the main characters questioning their existence.


In the episode “ Get Schwifty “ the earth is approached by a giant flying head threatening to destroy the world if they don’t prove what it takes to survive. Later in the episode it is proved that they are on a reality tv show for the giant flying heads or Cromulon planet as entertainment.


To play around with this question even more in the episode “Rickty Minutes” Morty confesses to his sister Summer that on one of his adventures, his dimension was ruined so they go to the reality where they’d died and took their place. After having to come to the realization that he could easily be replaced at any time he tells his sister  “ Nobody belongs anywhere, Nobody exists on purpose, everybody’s going to die, come watch some tv.” Which is is answer to the impossible question Are we significant? Ricks answer to this and to many other questions is to not think about it.
Rick and Morty can be a very dark show at times and takes hard topics. But if you can get passed all the darkness of the show you will see all the great comedy. Whether its Rick making fun of practically his whole family but mostly his son in law Jerry who is the opposite of him, or he’s singing a duet with his grandson about getting swifty to get rid of giant floating heads. The possibilities of this show are endless and all fans of Rick and Morty including me can’t wait for season 3.

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The Philosophy of Rick and Morty