24th Aug2015

‘Rick And Morty 2×05: Get Schwifty’ Review

by Gretchen Felker-Martin

“It’s possible that we may have been correlating some things that were not related at all.”


‘Get Schwifty’ is a long way from Rick and Morty‘s best, an uneven twenty-odd minutes hewing closer to the tepid satire of South Park than to the show’s signature blend of gonzo adventure, ugly emotion, and I-don’t-give-a-shit alien names. The big-picture government stuff, despite the presence of Keith David as the dulcet-toned President of the United States, feels canned and clumsy, an unnecessary segue into the hugely superior conceit of the Cromulons forcing entire planets to participate in an idiotic reality show. The sequence in which the first Cromulon descends on Earth, its cosmic ass inelegantly presented to the camera, promises an absurd trip through whatever Zardoz-esque hell world this thing is prepared to drag us to. The incredible speed with which society collapses while the Cromulon, a tremendous yellow head, drones “Show me what you got” again and again is poetry.

Getting to the Pentagon (Not the Pentagon. The lame one. Here on Earth) takes up the episode’s first four or five minutes, and once Rick and Morty get there it doesn’t amount to much as a setting. The president is reasonable, his top general is a trigger-happy nutcase, and Ice-T is a cosmic entity who doesn’t give a fuck but later learns to care. Oh, and Morty still has trouble trusting Rick. It’s broad stuff, and some of the show’s weakest material since ‘Raising Gazorpazorp.’ The B-plot, always a coin toss in any given episode of Rick and Mortydoesn’t do much better. Summer becomes a fanatical cultist in a new religion founded by Principal Vagina, Jerry and Beth go through a humorously condensed version of their typical emotional kiting, and a lot of silly assumptions get made and then pointed out. There are flashes of the show’s usual wit, like when a contestant planet’s band tries to talk about the meaning of art and a Cromulon shrieks “DISQUALIFIED” before incinerating the band’s entire homeworld, but they can’t gloss over the mess.


‘Get Schwifty’ has two major things going for it. One is the title track itself, a loosely improvised jam by Rick with beats by Morty. Watching Rick pull the Earth’s stay of execution right out of his ass with lyrics like “take off your pants and panties, take a shit on the floor, it’s time to get schwifty, I’m Mister-I’m Mister Bulldops” gives the whole conceit the surreal, “fuck it” diffusion it demands. It’s pretty catchy, too. When the government is folded back in and Rick has to give a repeat performance as part of the Cromulons’ reality show, things fall apart. Rick’s tension with Morty over apathy and empathy feels stale, recycled from better episodes like ‘Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind’ and ‘Rick Potion #9.’ Morty’s departure never feels like a real problem because every spare second in the episode’s running time is eaten by off-brand Dr. Strangelove or by the slow-moving B-plot.

The other big win is Morty’s journey through the portal gun. The landscapes he finds himself lost in are some of the most beautiful the show’s animation team and background artists have produced. Crumbling ruins, tangled black spires, and the return of the planet of farting butts paint a grim picture of Morty’s helplessness to navigate the multiverse. His brief rendezvous with Bird Person(which features the best joke in the episode, Tiffany’s sultry “You know what this human eats. Bird dick.”) sets him back on track and convinces him to give Rick another chance, complete with pictures of a younger Rick living large and holding a terrified-looking baby Morty, but it all feels fairly perfunctory. The episode ends with Ice-T deflecting a plasma beam, the Earth farted back into place, and the president telling Morty no one will ever believe him if he tries to brag about what happened. ‘Get Schwifty’ is a stumble for the otherwise superb season 2, but it’s not without its charms.


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