Rick and Morty: Childrick of Mort
May 25, 2020 5:05 PM - Season 4, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Miracle of life broh. Whole family in this one broh.

Rick And Morty go camping and have a family-friendly time (Zack Handlen for TV/AV Club; rating: B)
The idea of Rick fucking a planet is one of those jokes that you’re only supposed to think about enough to make the story work. It’s a funny reveal before the opening credits, and then Gaia starts giving birth to an endless font of weird, clay-y looking creatures, aaaaand we just sort of elide how any of this is possible. Which is fine, really, 9/10s of the show’s technology is just magic with the serial numbers filed off. It does harken back a little to “Auto Erotic Assimilation” (S02E03 on FanFare), which introduced Rick’s ex-girlfriend Unity, a hivemind that controlled an entire population ala the Borg—that episode actually spent some time underlining the appeal of the fantasy and how it might actually work, and while it wasn’t exactly a complex and nuanced take on romance, it at least felt more complicated than the sight gag we get here.

But, like I said, it’s fine, because “Childrick of Mort” isn’t about Rick’s relationship with Gaia. Gaia isn’t a character, really. The episode is more concerned with Rick and Beth bonding over being really smart and kind of shitty (even as Beth works very hard not to be); Jerry’s patheticness making him a leader (while still being extremely pathetic); and Summer and Morty hating camping and trying to prove some kind of point about video games and getting high. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s much thematic point to any of this, apart from the reminder that Rick is a fairly shitty human being and families are kind of fucked up. Also, don’t huff brake fluid, although if you do, apparently there’s a chance you’ll kill God. Well, a god. Reggie was just a Zeus, it’s not that big of a deal.
Inside the episode (2 minute video from Adult Swim)
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One line from that excerpt above shows why I almost completely ignore the AV Club these days: "Summer and Morty hating camping and trying to prove some kind of point about video games and getting high." The point couldn't be more obvious: it's taking the piss out of every movie where someone's self-indulgent hobby gets some sort of external validation via some absurdly specific plot twist; The Last Starfighter is only the most obvious example of this.

It was another good episode that was completely honest about family camping trips that were supposed to bring everyone together but instead end up with people doing whatever they feel most comfortable doing: Jerry goes full primitive (the bit where the clay man reacts when he pulls out a lighter is beautiful), Beth joins Rick in a bit of impromptu society-building, and Morty and Summer find a way to get their respective fixes, sort of. The thing about being away from civilization is that you can also get away from each other, at least some of the time.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:02 PM on May 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

I pretty much agree with everything Zack Handlen said in his review but this episode was a C at best for me. The continual Jerry-bashing felt too mean-spirited, to the point where I was just not enjoying spending time with this family of assholes. The “Rick fucks a planet” premise was more interestingly covered in the Unity episode, but this one didn’t have that episode’s emotional payoff. And the only thing that saved the whole Family-Guy-style protracted fistfight with Zeus was that Rick lost and was saved only by chance.

There were of course hilarious moments, like the one-second focus on Jerry saying “They do?” when Rick says that snakes look like dildos, or Beth’s question “What are you doing?” to Jerry being answered with “Camping.” But the Societal Critique segment with Beth and Rick sorting and molding the babies into Earth jobs felt cringey in an r/im14andthisisdeep way.

All props to the art team, who when they have to create dozens of aliens for an episode, always resist making them all look exactly the same. So many clay person designs! Much appreciated.
posted by ejs at 7:52 PM on May 25, 2020

They really are all awful people. I did like that they made a point of Rick being all thankful to the kids and saying he has their back, before throwing them under the bus just minutes later.
posted by Marticus at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

I feel like this season is the creators making it absolutely clear there is no redemption for Rick. It feels like a direct response to the unwanted fandom Rick has. It's definitely been playing out over all the seasons but early Rick had some relatable moments but now it feels like all his humanity has been stripped out.

They also seem to be making Summer into Rick-lite personality wise. Morty specifically calls it out here.

I still like the show but it's certainly not must watch anymore.
posted by M Edward at 10:56 PM on May 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I liked the bit where Rick finds out what Summer was vaping - "Holy *** Summer, were you smoking this? You were basically inhaling brake fluid, Jesus!" and then three seconds later he takes a puff himself.
posted by Umami Dearest at 7:21 AM on May 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

They also seem to be making Summer into Rick-lite personality wise. Morty specifically calls it out here.

Everyone, except Jerry, is becoming more like Rick, because Rick is still someone they all look up to for various reasons. Morty is his choice sidekick and we see Rick rubbing off on him, even when Rick is an asshole to him, like in the prior episode. Summer envies what Rick has with the adventures and bonding (especially as her parents aren't too close to her). Beth is still (and rightfully) upset that Rick wasn't there when she was growing up.

I agree with ejs, everyone is increasingly harsh on Jerry. He's becoming more like Homer Simpson, an idiot to be the punch(ing) line. There are moments of redemption or elevation, only to be dropped from a taller height. But Jerry does envy Rick, for his impact on the family and how they all revere him.

Back to this episode: When Jerry was given god-like powers, Rick mocks because he didn't do anything noble with them, as if Rick was ever a noble god. Which really hammers in the point: this is a dysfunctional family sitcom, with a lot of sci-fi hijinks. The sci-fi premises are interesting, funny, and diverse, but at the core, they're all petty, broken people. No one is noble, everyone is selfish. They have their redeeming moments, so it's not all emotionally monotone, but sometimes those moments of redemption feel like they're there to highlight how awful everyone can be to each other (and themselves).

One line from that excerpt above shows why I almost completely ignore the AV Club these days

Yeah, I gotta stop linking to them for these reviews. Other reviewers with AV Club have some insightful reviews for other shows, but I've had to skip paragraphs that Zack wrote to find something that's not just shitting on the show in the name of criticism (paired with a rather positive rating).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on May 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Bonus: a few screencaps. Any ideas about what 2R-F181 might refer to with that planet name? I did a quick search but found nothing.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 AM on May 26, 2020

I like the Avocado reviews a lot. Review of this episode. They also do reviews for Bob's Burgers, which I highly recommend.
posted by Pendragon at 3:59 AM on May 27, 2020

That's pretty good, Pendragon! Bookmarked for a deeper delve in their other reviews.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2020

I don't think Jerry is Homer. Not early Homer at least.(The Simpsons now is vastly different than the Simpsons from 15yrs ago but that's a different conversation.)

Jerry feels to me like a scathing call out of a certain kind of middling white guy. Jerry is the NPR listening "woke" dude who is one minor criticism away from taking the red pill. Rick knows this and continually tries to show everyone by getting Jerry into situations where he could "be best" and instead Jerry always takes the selfish path of least resistance and easy out.

Unfortunately, and pointedly imo, the Non-Rick characters always see everything Jerry does as oh that's just dumb Jerry what are ya gonna do shrug but for me it's not hard to see how insidious all his decisions are whenever he gets the slightest modicum of power or respect.

When Rick ends up at the cabin to kill Jerry and save his family at first glance it looks like Rick is in pure villain mode but man, give a middling seemingly harmless white guy an audience with other "throwaways" and all of a sudden he's overthrowing society and trying to murder his wife.
posted by M Edward at 8:04 AM on May 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

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