For many millennials, this quote is recognizable as Rick’s catchphrase in Adult Swim’s hit comedy “Rick and Morty.”
The show’s most recent season ranks “Rick and Morty” as the number one TV comedy for the 18-34-year-old demographic so far in 2017, according to Adult Swim and Nielsen data.
The show debuted in Dec. 2013 and the second season premiered in July 2015. While the first two seasons were popular in the target demographic, there was a two-year gap between season two and three — the latest premiered in April 2017.
The spike in fandom occurred during season three as the show had an 81 percent increase in viewership. Season three averaged 2.5 million live viewers overall, according to Nielsen.
Robert Foschia, adjunct professor of communication, teaches a course called “Criticism of Media and Society” at Saint Vincent.
Foschia tried to explain the recent “Rick and Morty” phenomena and the cult following it inspired amongst its millennial audience.
“It’s just thirty minutes compared to the hour for other Sunday night shows,” Foschia said. “It’s easily accessible for streaming, very ‘meme-able’ and speaks in an ‘internet-y’ way, in that it mocks itself and has self-conscious jokes, as well as a really unique combination of highbrow and lowbrow humor.”
In his class, Foschia discusses various communicative perspectives and theories and applies them to popular culture as an interpretative base to work from.
“We study Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm, where Fisher describes how stories can function as arguments, so long that they have an internal logic and a recognizable moral,” Foschia said. “Shows like “Rick and Morty,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead”— they all provide a far less sunny or rosy story than Fisher seems to desire, so they frustrate his theory a tad.”
To this point, some critics have observed various philosophies that intertwine throughout the show. “Nihilism” is most often used to describe the nature of some characters, such as Rick — a brilliant alcoholic scientist.
In the episode “Rixty Minutes,” fourteen-year-old Morty, tells his sister Summer: “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die.”
Such sentiments are commonly expressed throughout the show, which prompted Sarah Marshall, contributing writer for “The Week,” to write: “There’s something about a cartoon world that gives nihilism just the right conditions to flourish.”
Foschia believes the show’s plot is what draws its audience’s attention “mostly for its absurdity.”
“I’m not sure if there is social commentary outside of being irreverent towards tropes, ideas, clichés,” Foschia said.
Stephen Selden, freshman accounting major, says he “cannot wait for season four.”
Selden, a nineteen-year-old who falls in the 18-34 demographic, says the show “mainly focuses on millennial’s who have a certain comedic liking.”
Selden’s remarks back Foschia’s theory as to what draws millennials to
Foschia said, “you can always tell what is flirting around in the consciousness [of millennials] by Halloween costumes.”
“If I could buy stock in a “Rick and Morty” costume company this year, I’d be able to pay for my coffee habit,” Foschia said.
Photo: Adult Swim/Harmonious Claptrap