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Unraveling the Chronological Quirks: A Rick and Morty Time Travel Retrospective

4 Mins read

Ah, time travel. It's the sci-fi gift that keeps on giving, sparking endless debates and causing many a fan to scratch their head in bemused bewilderment. Few shows have meddled with this concept as gleefully and irreverently as Adult Swim's "Rick and Morty." Let's dive into an episode that stands as a testament to the show’s unique take on time-travel tropes: the infamous The Ricks Must Be Crazy.

From the get-go, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland made it clear that "Rick and Morty" wasn't going to be your typical animated series. They've tinkered with multiple universes, conscious dogs, and Cronenberg monsters, all while maintaining a style of humor that dissects everything we loved (and questioned) about our favorite genres.

One could argue that "Rick and Morty" has a complicated relationship with time-travel. Sure, they've got an entire box labeled time travel stuff sitting on a shelf in Rick's garage but notably in the garage of a man who is seemingly uninterested in using it.

So when they decided to mess with time, they didn't just play it straight – they did it in a way only "Rick and Morty" could.

The Episode in Question: The Ricks Must Be Crazy

Plot Snapshot: In this wild ride of an episode (Season 2, Episode 6), Rick’s car battery dies, which wouldn't be much of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that his battery is powered by an entire miniature universe—dubbed the Microverse—where inhabitants unknowingly generate power for him by stepping on "Gooble Boxes."

It takes the cake for being meta—here we go with worlds within worlds within worlds. We have:

  • Our Universe, where Rick needs to fix his car.
  • The Microverse, created by Rick.
  • The Miniverse, created by Zeep Xanflorp within the Microverse.
  • And finally, the Teenyverse within that Miniverse.

Mind-bending? Oh yes.

Time Travel? Or Something Even Weirder?

The unique twist comes from Rick and Morty literally walking among these universes and meeting their creators – which is more of a spatial than temporal journey. But when we get down to it all worlds operate independently with what seems like their own flow of time. As such when Rick jumps from one universe to another he experiences those world’s subjective timelines—lending us a kinda time-travel flavor without breaking traditional rules.

The Ricks Must Be Crazy does not really dive into traditional time travel per se—it sidesteps actual chronological shenanigans for a frankly trippier concept of nested realities. But here's where it gets spicy: the pacing of technological development across these universes showcases evolution occurring at different rates. This discrepancy suggests that while not directly manipulating timelines, the episode still allows for interactions where time behaves differently based on perspective — a classic brain tease in any sci-fi fan's book.

Not Your Grandfather's Time Machine

Now let's unpack some heavy stuff hidden under those layers of sci-fi comedy goodness:

  • Ethical Dilemmas: Creating entire universes just to run your car might seem ridiculously far-fetched. Yet, this episode asks us cheekily: aren’t our own resource consumption habits often just as exploitative? Just without mini civilizations tucked away in our Duracells.

  • Creationism vs Scientific Achievement: Another subtle jab comes at the expense of Zeep Xanflorp (voiced by legendary Stephen Colbert), who plays god in his universe until he realizes he’s just another cog in someone else’s machine—a stunning commentary on existentialism if there ever was one.

  • Intelligence War: The constant one-upmanship between Rick and Zeep becomes a metaphorical arms race—a thought-provoking satire on intellectual pride and technological warfare.

Going (Meta)physical

Where "Rick and Morty" really shines is its ability to make you laugh uncontrollably while simultaneously contemplating life’s deepest philosophical quandaries. This episode toys with preconceived notions about creators and their creations. Offering up an endless matryoshka doll of reality—all while punching you right in the gut with deep-cut humor about existence itself.

Meanwhile, back at Rick's broken-down spaceship, we're treated to another subplot centered on sentience—this time involving Summer staving off potential threats under instructions from a most Platonic Ship AI. Moral absolutes are questioned as things get progressively more gruesome: Can violence be justified if it’s to protect someone?

Venturing this deep into meta-commentary could’ve easily tanked another show—yet here we are cheering for more as credits roll.

This analysis also points out how underneath all its chaos and comedy, "Rick and Morty" presents complex scientific concepts like nothing else on TV—and does so hilariously while also being educationally sound(ish).

Was It All Just Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey… Stuff?

So while The Ricks Must Be Crazy expertly avoids direct discourse on Marty McFly shenanigans or paradoxes ad nauseam; it succeeds where so many other shows fail—by offering fresh takes on well-worn tropes without ever feeling stale or derivative.

And therein lays its brilliance: "Rick and Morty" manages to both engage with and completely sidestep the established rules of televised time travel—a near-impossible feat pulled off with uncanny panache.

Perhaps at some point we’ll see our titular duo harnessing Kronenbergian flux capacitors—but until then; I'm content exploring galaxies where spatiotemporal mechanics get weirder than three-eyed creatures belting out show tunes (lookin’ at you Birdperson).

What did you think about The Ricks Must Be Crazy? Was it just another day in a multiverse of madness or did you find deeper meaning among its layers? Chime in below—it's Schrödinger's chatbox until you do!

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