Rick and Morty Recap: “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate”

24 minutes of unfiltered Roiland.

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Catch up on the rest of the Rick and Morty recaps if you’re behind!

The Recap: Jerry is rushed to an alien hospital after eating one of Rick’s experiments, only to be told his penis would be a perfect heart candidate for the universe’s foremost civil rights leader; meanwhile, the family kills time watching commercials.

I confess to feeling a bit redundant here. There’s not a lot of emotional resonance or meaningful character development this week, and I don’t mean that as a knock. I might be here for the show’s secret beating heart, but turning an episode over purely to jokes now and then can be an effective change of pace. You can only hammer the audience with bleakness for so long before they stop caring about it, after all.

The downside to that as an analyst is that any discussion of this sort of episode inevitably falls to just listing jokes, which is redundant at best and moreover pointless given the intense subjectivity of humor. With that fact as a given, let’s at least talk broad strokes.

The premise of this episode is a familiar one: it’s “Rixty Minutes” with a different frame, a product of Roiland’s love of weird, nonsensical improv (they announced that they intended to make the commercial episode a season thing way back in the season 1 director’s commentary, so it’s not exactly a shock … if you are an obsessive collector of factoids, which, y’know). I couldn’t be happier about the fact, given that it’s a simple enough concept to be incredibly versatile and allows us a peek into the weird tidbits of ideas that weren’t meaty enough for full episodes.

While I’d say “Rixty Minutes” had, overall, the a stronger ratio of hits to misses, this round manages to keep the momentum fast enough and the variety wide enough that the duds(octopus man?) don’t linger in your mind nearly as much as the hits (I’m still laughing about “How Did I Get Here?”). Even better, the audio isn’t left to flounder and die on its own. I’m not sure what the breakdown is as to what Roiland has a strong visual concept for and what he hands to the boarders to go wild on (though I would, in fact, like to know this thing), but the result is that even when the audio isn’t working there’s something on screen to either elevate the joke or just provide some separate, interesting visual detail – Summer, Morty, and Rick reacting the commercials might actually be my favorite bits of the episode. And really, given that the next episode preview had me at “cat-people version of The Purge,” I can’t exactly said to be above gimmicky concepts.

As for the Jerry subplot, there might actually be less to say there. It’s a dick joke inflated to a frankly admirable level of absurdity and then kicked up a few more notches, never as interested in the light commentary it brushes past as it is in seeing how far it can push that joke (you can tell because it cuts the episode off pretty much the second the dick thing is resolved, having never once cared much about the whole galactic Gandhi thing). Given that Jerry spends this episode closer to his fairly weaselly season one personality, it winds up being pretty entertaining to watch the cringe pile on. And then it’s over, the frame having done a competent job of holding the really sparkling bits together and the episode as a whole another addition to the show’s brief cries of pure id.

I also spent some time mentally sketching out the main cast as an allegory for broad impressions of various internet subcultures. Y’know, where Summer is Tumblr’s compassion handicapped by a gullible streak, whose confidence that they have the right answer is often belied by a dangerous lack of greater context; and Reddit-Morty is basically a good kid who is often first member of the Smith family to discovery new galactic mysteries, but he’s also becoming kind of a little shit who has unresolved issues with women; and Jerry is explicitly Youtube comments and Rick is probably a certain unnamed image board, and I imagine Beth is the bitter defensiveness and drunken mourning of the past that is Facebook.

But then I realized I’d spent too much time thinking about a single line of venting (that’s the whole episode in a nutshell, isn’t it? creative venting writ large, and we’re all anticipatory but also unnerved in the front row) in the script, and that no one could possibly benefit in the ensuing discussion, and I went to watch more TV instead. It seemed like the Rickest thing to do.

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Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; they’re unprepared for the final two episodes on so many levels. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.

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