The Big Picture: You Are Wrong About Pickle Rick

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Gizen:

I'm just advocating that the same logic applied to geek fandoms

In order for that to happen, it needs to finish being absorbed into the mainstream, which, for as much as people like to talk about how much more mainstream geek culture has become, that transition is not yet complete. Sports is still considerably more mainstream than a cartoon about a scientist. It probably always will be. And until such time as that changes, people in geek fandoms acting like douchebags are only going to pull more negative attention that makes it harder to simply write them off as that idiot that every large group has.

Transition is not yet complete - but its getting there...

I would argue: A lot of geek culture is mainstream - star wars, marvel superhero stuff... even crud like Big Bang Theory

What you have to keep in mind is that there are a lot of sports that aren't mainstream. A lot of sports that are really niche and relatively unknown to the public at large. Hell, some sports are very popular for a couple of years, then they fade again - just like specific geek fandoms.

Take Jai Alai for example - nobody today has heard of it, but it was all the rage in the 70s.

https://www.topendsports.com/sport/extinct/list.

Fandoms will come and go - some things will fade from popularity, new things will come in. I don't expect Rick & Morty to ever be as mainstream as Star Wars, but I don't expect expect Swamp Soccer to get ESPN coverage any time soon either. Not all cartoons, and not all sports, will ever become popular enough to garner mainstream attention or acceptance.

To this end, again, I re-iterate my original point: R&M is a small fringe element of the larger geek fandom that Bob talks about - its so small, compared to the larger more mainstream accepted franchise fandoms (star wars and whatnot) that I consider it silly and non-sensicle to paint all of geek fandom with a single brush, based on the actions of a small number of R&M fans. By this logic, I think that Bob's statement is wrong, even though I understand what his sentiment seems to be

I have always found Rick to be an incredibly tragic character. Blessed with cosmos shattering intellect but no true drive to use it for good.

Perhaps he knows so much that he knows when the universe will end and there is nothing he can do to stop it, or that anyone can do to stop it.

He is a complete asshole but that also doesn't mean he is always wrong.

He is reckless and a complete psychopath, he understands too much but inversely does not care about anything either.

I love the show, but I'm not going to scream "Pickle Rick" in a crowded mall or make a fast food worker's shift hell because they ran out of promotional condiments.

PsychedelicDiamond:
I'm not gonna go as far as to say that Rick and Morty is a show for idiots and assholes but one thing I will say is that Rick and Morty is a show about idiots and asshole, a lot of which see themselves in it because they feel like it's portraying them sympathetically. As someone who actually pay attention to the things he watches I'm well aware that Rick isn't supposed to be an inspirational character by any means but on occasion I feel like it's something the writer tend to forget. Not always, mind you, when they do play off of that is when the show comes closest to being more than shallow parody of various science-fiction properties whos defining feature it is to be worse at it than Futurama. But most of the time it's hard not to roll my eyes at it.

The reason why it's so dang tempting to miss that Rick is actually an awful person is because of how rarely he ever faces consequences. In any other show he'd make a really fun villain. A competent but ruthless and irresponsible mad scientist who's given in to his most selfish urges, coming out acting like... well, an overgrown fratboy with a god complex. In Rick and Morty he's a protagonist and he gets away with most of what he does.

Let's take one of my favourite cartoons for comparison: Venture Brothers. One of my pet opinions I like to annoy people with is claiming that Dr. Venture is Rick done right. They're pretty different characters in a lot of ways for sure but they do cover some common ground. Both are mad scientist with questionable ethics, both act as the parental figures to two teenagers which they recklessly endanger, both have major substance abuse issues, both never learned to take responsibility for their actions. The key difference is that Rusty Venture is a failure. His entire life is pretty much the logical and realistic consequence of his actions. He's a washed up, bitter loser in the shadow of his much more talented (though, as a person, even more awful) father and his even more talented (and, as a person, much better) younger brother. Being a failure is what makes Rusty likeable. When he does manage to score a victory you're actually somewhat sympathetic because, as bad as a person he may be, he does deserve a break once in a while. Rick, most of the time, is portrayed as an escapist character who gets away with most of what he does. There are a lot of people who are very eager to idolize an awful person if that person does the things they wish they could do. That makes him an inspirational character for assholes and very dislikeable one for people who actually want to see him get his comeuppance which he practically never gets.

This. Everything you just said is awesome. It's my main beef with Rick and the show. Hell, it's partially why I haven't bought season 3 yet. Honestly, when season 4 does come out, I want to see Rick get punished more, and wrap up the storyline about Evil Morty. Once that is finished, I am going nowhere near season 5. And similar to Orel, I hope that Morty and Summer becomes better people than either Rick, Beth, and Jerry. Especially the former two. Season Three really made me hate her.

PsychedelicDiamond:
I'm not gonna go as far as to say that Rick and Morty is a show for idiots and assholes but one thing I will say is that Rick and Morty is a show about idiots and asshole, a lot of which see themselves in it because they feel like it's portraying them sympathetically. As someone who actually pay attention to the things he watches I'm well aware that Rick isn't supposed to be an inspirational character by any means but on occasion I feel like it's something the writer tend to forget. Not always, mind you, when they do play off of that is when the show comes closest to being more than shallow parody of various science-fiction properties whos defining feature it is to be worse at it than Futurama. But most of the time it's hard not to roll my eyes at it.

The reason why it's so dang tempting to miss that Rick is actually an awful person is because of how rarely he ever faces consequences. In any other show he'd make a really fun villain. A competent but ruthless and irresponsible mad scientist who's given in to his most selfish urges, coming out acting like... well, an overgrown fratboy with a god complex. In Rick and Morty he's a protagonist and he gets away with most of what he does.

Let's take one of my favourite cartoons for comparison: Venture Brothers. One of my pet opinions I like to annoy people with is claiming that Dr. Venture is Rick done right. They're pretty different characters in a lot of ways for sure but they do cover some common ground. Both are mad scientist with questionable ethics, both act as the parental figures to two teenagers which they recklessly endanger, both have major substance abuse issues, both never learned to take responsibility for their actions. The key difference is that Rusty Venture is a failure. His entire life is pretty much the logical and realistic consequence of his actions. He's a washed up, bitter loser in the shadow of his much more talented (though, as a person, even more awful) father and his even more talented (and, as a person, much better) younger brother. Being a failure is what makes Rusty likeable. When he does manage to score a victory you're actually somewhat sympathetic because, as bad as a person he may be, he does deserve a break once in a while. Rick, most of the time, is portrayed as an escapist character who gets away with most of what he does. There are a lot of people who are very eager to idolize an awful person if that person does the things they wish they could do. That makes him an inspirational character for assholes and very dislikeable one for people who actually want to see him get his comeuppance which he practically never gets.

This is so well put. Damn. I've never really thought about how the two shows are inversions of each other. Rusty should give the entire cast of Rick and Morty the speech he gave OSI and the GCI at the end of the most recent episode.

Can someone love the show, not be an arsehole, and also not be smart enough to fully "get it"?

Because I'm pretty sure that's me. The arsehole part is debatable.

Anyway, one thing that often seems to go unremarked upon by people who consider Rick something to aspire to is that for all his basically superpower-level genius, he's fundamentally unhappy. Didn't one episode end with him making an earnest attempt to commit suicide and only failing because he was drunk?

Zhukov:
Can someone love the show, not be an arsehole, and also not be smart enough to fully "get it"?

Because I'm pretty sure that's me. The arsehole part is debatable.

Anyway, one thing that often seems to go unremarked upon by people who consider Rick something to aspire to is that for all his basically superpower-level genius, he's fundamentally unhappy. Didn't one episode end with him making an earnest attempt to commit suicide and only failing because he was drunk?

Yup. There are actually multiple episodes that focus on precisely how miserable Rick is most of the time. It's part of the reason I was so shocked that there are people who think he's an aspirational character. He's hilarious and entertaining but he's also a monster. Heck I thought that was the point of the whole thing?

Zhukov:
Can someone love the show, not be an arsehole, and also not be smart enough to fully "get it"?

Because I'm pretty sure that's me. The arsehole part is debatable.

Anyway, one thing that often seems to go unremarked upon by people who consider Rick something to aspire to is that for all his basically superpower-level genius, he's fundamentally unhappy. Didn't one episode end with him making an earnest attempt to commit suicide and only failing because he was drunk?

I don't think anyone of consequence would judge you for just enjoying the show

I certainly wont - and even with bob's analysis here, then I doubt any of us would lose much sleep if bob thinks less of us for not fully understanding the deep deconstruction meta-themes of the show

ewhac:
I don't know anything about its reportedly toxic fanbase. But after watching the first season, I found myself describing Rick and Morty as the show that asks the question: "What if The Doctor was a nihilistic, alcoholic misanthrope?"

I always preferred "What if the Doctor was Dr. Gregory House?" instead.

ewhac:
The off-handed reference to Sherlock Holmes reminds me of a Facebook meme that went by a few weeks ago, wherein the ghost of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visits Steven Moffat and profusely thanks him for accomplishing what Doyle could not -- make people hate Sherlock.

The comparison to House also didn't go unnoticed. I used to watch that show quite regularly, and found myself puzzled by House's increasing tendency toward petty vengeance and self-destructive behavior. House was clearly a profoundly brilliant man, and a profoundly unhappy man, and his inability to will himself into happiness with his brilliance likely just compounded the problem. In this sense, I think House bears the strongest resemblence to Rick.

It's worth noting that the original pitch for House was essentially "What if Sherlock Holmes was an American doctor?" That why his name is a synonym for a homonym of "Holmes" and he has a doctor friend whose name starts with W, ends with -son and serves primarily to humanize him. He also lives at apartment 221B on Baker Street. They were really trying to spell that connection out to people.

webkilla:
1) Claiming that there's a "tragically oversized" population of nerd culture fans who think they're free to be colossal pains in butts about their fandom

I just watched a youtube that actually addressed the topic of toxic fandoms, and the logic it has is quite sound - even if I don't agree with the examples it used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCKF2_-Zsw0 - the "pains in butts" Bob is talking about, are but loud minorities.

2) The rick & morty fandom's sauce incidents... as with the above - that was AFAIK a tiny minority of R&M fans who were insane enough to do that.

I get that it has given the entire fandom a bad rep - but someone as "fandom-savvy" as Bob has to know that you do actually have the option of simply dismissing such episodes, instead of apologizing for it. "Ya that was some fringe crazies, so what?"

Both of these allow him to invoke "toxic masculinity" while remaining otherwise within his wheelhouse. For the same reason he won't talk about the Steven Universe fanbase which has done far nastier specifically because it would make him some variety of bigot because the groups he'd be attacking aren't considered an acceptable target.

So, why no new Big Picture today? Crap, he didn't get fired again, did he?

I've not really met any Rick and Morty fans who wouldn't agree Rick is an arsehole- the whole point about his character is you have someone who is so intelligent he can overcome anything but is limited by having a terrible personality and making bad decisions which harm others. If he was a good character, he'd basically be massively overpowered and the show would get boring quickly.

You can still like Rick though, as a character.I think he relates well to certain people who either are, or think they are, geniuses frustrated by the limits society puts on them. Fans may also be envious or admire the sheer amount of freedom that Rick has- he is able to pull all sorts of shit and get away with it. Psychologically I think a lot of people would like to have that freedom but are constrained by things like jobs, their personality, culture and social etiquette.

In the end, Rick's a fun indulgence into a consequence free lifestyle, but the show's creators could well be right that that it would turn you into a complete arsehole- and in the end the vices you'd accumulate turn into your own limitations, as happens with Rick.

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