The Lie of Happiness
Talk to your average college kid about the animated and highly-creative television show “Rick and Morty”, and they will either look at you puzzlingly or jump with excitement. I am an individual in the latter category due to the fact that the show’s episodes are not only entertaining, but continuously baffle my mind.
Rick and Morty, with its third season currently airing, features a drunken scientist named Rick who is the most intelligent man in all universes and his grandson and sidekick, Morty, a young, whiny, but kind boy. The two go on adventures all over the multiverse with Rick’s portal gun, traveling to other universes, planets, and interacting with a variety of species. The catch with Rick and Morty is the fact that the characters themselves are simply one version of who they are. There are infinitive other Rick and Morty’s who live on other planets and universes. The most recent episode of the show features a version of Rick named Simple Rick, whose greatest achievement is not some crazy experimental science project like most Ricks but instead his daughter, Beth.
The Rick who captured Simple Rick and his memory has completely taken control of another man of equal intelligence and has used him for a product for all other Ricks. They have captured “the impossible flavor of his own completion” in a wafer for all other Ricks to eat. All other Ricks in the multiverse struggle with themselves to be happy and complete, so they use the one Rick that somehow has. Is Rick and Morty using the art and creativity of their show to somehow justify humans’ seemingly never-ending search for happiness? Are they making fun of it?
The destructive and manipulative aura of the show deepens when one of the Ricks working in the Simple Rick’s Waffer Factory retaliates and attempts to prove to the others that it is a crime to capture someone and use them for their own memory. He gets caught, manipulated into believing he did become free and make a difference, is shot, and is now the new version of Simple Rick. The amazement behind the deceivingly not harmless show of Rick and Morty demonstrates the ability for even those of equal intelligence to use each other by manipulation and flat out lies.
What does this demonstrate to the general college kid watching the show? Possibly to watch his or her back, for the smarter our technology gets the smarter we need be to keep our own identity and individualism in current society. Is is better to live in pure bliss, being clueless of all surroundings? Or should we always fight for the truth? And what happens when those who fight for the truth are in turn manipulated into the one lie they are trying to expose? Who gets to determine another’s happiness?