Racist snakes

Video Racist snakes

A confession: I’m in something of a problematic relationship. And that problematic relationship is with a TV show.

We started out joyously, as is often the way of first loves. A friend introduced us and it was binge-watch at first sight. I couldn’t see anything I didn’t like. And there was so much to discover together – I was three series late and it was on Netflix! Truly, those early days together were our best. But it didn’t take long to realise this relationship wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. You see, there were others.

I know, I know. You can’t expect a TV show to “go steady” with you. But, like realising your partner has a string of exes all into fetish clubs, or historical re-creations, or Tough Mudder, it’s made me question if the relationship is a healthy one. Am I… one of them?

The show is Rick And Morty, the fourth series of which has just restarted on E4 before landing on Netflix next month to sit alongside the first three, and I’m a little obsessed with it. It’s consistently brilliant, deliriously inventive and, for me, is the funniest show on TV by some distance. I love it dearly. It’s the other people who also love it that are the problem.

Imagine being a Millwall fan, but where Millwall play Barcelona-esque tiki-taka football and you start to appreciate the irony.

But let’s start with the show itself. Rick And Morty is an animated series from Dan Harmon, previously best known as the creative genius behind sitcom Community.

In format, it’s a mash-up of Doctor Who (except the Doctor has a drinking problem) and Back To The Future (except Doc Brown has a drinking problem), with a hint of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy thrown in. In America, it ended its third series as the top-rated show on its network, Adult Swim, and the most popular TV show among people in the 18-34 category (AKA the advertising sweet spot).

It sees Rick Sanchez as a cynical, universe-weary, planet-brained scientist who has invented a device that allows him to travel between parallel universes with the trigger-pull of a porthole gun. And because every genius scientist who goes on crazy adventures needs a sidekick, his nervous grandson, Morty, tags along in order to have everything explained to him (and, hence, to us).

And, boy, do we need things explaining, because each Rick And Morty episode is less like an episode of The Simpsons and more like the fever dreams of a theoretical physicist.

The show titles are often parody puns (“Lawnmower Dog”, “Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind”, “Total Rickall”, “The Rickshank Rickdemption”), but the episodes themselves don’t work simply as parodies. Granted, among the four series there are riffs on The Purge, Mad Max, The Avengers (our “heroes” include someone who can summon a ghost train and a creature made of a million ants), Ocean’s Eleven and The Terminator. But rather, they take the central sci-fi ideas of each then push the logic of those ideas as far as they can go. And then push them some more. And then keep going.

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