Rick & Morty’s Season 6 Premiere Secretly Criticised Its Formula


Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Rick and Morty season 6, episode 1Rick and Morty season 6, episode 1 saw the series insult an earlier outing of the Adult Swim hit and criticize its earlier seasons in the process. Rick and Morty has changed a lot since the anarchic sci-fi comedy debuted in 2013. While its sense of humor is still as gleefully absurd as ever, Rick and Morty’s later seasons feature far more character development and much more focus on overarching plots than the earlier, sillier seasons.

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To acknowledge this tonal shift, Rick and Morty’s season 6 premiere featured a line that joked about how much more comparatively formulaic the show’s earlier seasons were. “Solaricks” (season 6, episode 1) saw Rick, Morty, and Jerry sent back to their realities of origin while Beth, Space Beth, and Summer attempted to get them back to one shared universe by the episode’s end. Near the close of Rick and Morty’s season 6 debut, the Smiths visited a version of Jerry who was stuck with a particular toxic set of Smiths.

These versions of the Smiths sniped at Jerry across the dinner table, with Rick, Summer, and Beth criticizing him while Morty blithely announced that he was expelled from school. Jerry eventually left the dinner table and answered the door, where he received a warm reception from a less dysfunctional set of Smiths. Rick apologized for the state of this Jerry’s reality, saying it felt like a season 2 episode of Rick and Morty. While viewers (and critics) praised Rick and Morty season 2 upon its original release, in retrospect, Rick isn’t wrong. Rick and Morty didn’t do much in terms of character growth during the episodic outing, focusing on spoofing The Purge over deepening the connections between Rick and Morty’s central characters.

How Rick & Morty Season 6 Mocked Earlier Seasons

Rick and Morty‘s season 6 premiere worked in a subtle jibe about the lack of character development found in earlier seasons when Rick admitted that Jerry’s reality had “season 2 vibes.” The fact that this concession came after a bitter, unfunny scene where Jerry’s family ganged up to insult him made it an interesting admission. The Rick and Morty line effectively admitted that earlier seasons weren’t particularly interested in character growth and, while season 2 did have a solid grasp of the show’s basic character dynamics, the series was stuck in a rut when it came to playing them out week upon week compared to the smarter, riskier later seasons.

Since Rick and Morty season 6’s serialized storytelling gives the show more opportunities for character development than ever before, this admission came at a great time. The Rick and Morty season 6 joke could be seen as the show’s creators implying that this outing will feature more character growth and fewer standalone outings, moving away from “season 2 vibes” and toward a more cohesive, consistent whole. If that is the underlying meta-message of the season 6 premiere joke, Rick and Morty’s “Solaricks” certainly provided proof that the series is starting to take its characters more seriously going forward.

New episodes of Rick and Morty air Sundays on Adult Swim.

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