Television is rarely thought of as a particularly creative field (though I would argue that it is the most influential art-form of our time), and you may wonder why I would bother to dedicate a blogpost to a late-night cartoon written by an already successful television producer. It may seem even stranger considering the fact that the show is so heavily influenced by existing works of science fiction. I feel, however, that Rick and Morty is not only an important and hilarious piece of television, but that it says something very important about two regularly ignored aspects of creativity: parody (and to a greater extent, recycling creative material in general), and the challenge of ongoing creativity.
|Recognize these trademarked characters?|
Let's also look at the man himself, Dan Harmon, and the significance of a second success in his career. As we have seen in class, great creatives often contribute only one major paradigm shift to their domain
before slowing creative output to a relative trickle. This can certainly be seen in the case of T.S. Eliot, who virtually stopped writing poetry after the publication of "The Wasteland," and whose works post-Wasteland are often viewed as insignificant and derivative. After his dismissal from Community, many critics thought that Harmon's ensuing career would be marginal at best. His success with Rick and Morty is not only unlikely, it is indicative of a creative mind willing to re-imagine itself, and suggests that Harmon is brave enough to explore new territory rather than look for success where he has found it easily before. Rick and Morty is not successful because it draws from other successful works; it is successful because in doing so it has blazed new trails all its own.
Here: all six episodes are available in full on Adult Swim's website. Enjoy. The next new episode premiers on March 10. Won't you tune in?