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The purposeless driven life

Rick and Morty: The adventures of an alcoholic grandpa and his naive grandson reveal some insights about the meaning of life.

The cult TV show Rick and Morty is probably the most brilliant piece of work on television today. It’s a show about the adventures of alcoholic mad scientist Rick and his fretful naïve grandson Morty. Together, they travel across multiverses with an infinite number of realities, and they find themselves in conflict with beings from other dimensions, planets and realities. Every episode summarizes one of their adventures — be it in a planet where dogs are evolved and become the owners of their humans; to another planet ruled by ultra-feminist women. The show presents numerous political, scientific, and even religious conventions — and then makes fun of it all by belittling everything we accept as true, saying that we don’t actually know anything — because we haven’t really seen what’s across the universe.

The philosophy of the show is expressed through Morty, who tries to convince his sister Summer to take it easy when she finds out that her parents had actually wanted to have her aborted. He says, “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die.” The reason for him saying this stems from the fact that he has actually seen the entire universe. Discovering that we are not the only living creatures in it means that we as humans are not that special — almost meaningless, in fact — and it is this meaninglessness that we are forced to struggle with as viewers, because as humans, we have to believe that life has a higher purpose. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Now remember, all of this is revealed in two-dimensional animation. No state-of-the-art CGI or award-winning cinematography here — just a lot of farting jokes, phallic doodles, and existential anxiety. The pilot of the show is not the strongest; it actually makes you uncomfortable, the way that Rick, who is always slurring and burping to suggest his dependency on alcohol, is almost abusive in his approach to his grandson Morty, whom he pulls away from school to go with him on his adventures. In their first episode, Rick tricks Morty into going with him to a planet where he can steal some of the seeds from their “mega trees” so he can use it for a scientific project — but in order to sneak the fruits back home to earth, he forces Morty to shove them up his butt.

Rick turns himself into a pickle mad man in one of his crazy experiments.

While the first two seasons were a lot of fun to watch as they painted ridiculous, often hilarious alter-realities, season three, which is currently ongoing, takes us more into how this expansive knowledge of the world is affecting something genuinely human: relationships. The cartoon gets more and more real, and after a long day of toiling at a job, it’s the perfect show to watch to remind you that the hard work may be meaningless —that maybe it doesn’t matter, after all — but at least it pays the bills! The thought is not as depressing as one might think. Rick and Morty allows us to revel in the idea that we have no purpose, and it is a gift, this purposelessness. It’s the thought that maybe there is no finish line, and while we can, we should just relax and enjoy the ride.

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Rick and Morty Season 3 is available to watch for free on YouTube. New episodes are aired weekly.

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