Why I Stopped Watching Rick And Morty

UPDATE: On January 24, 2023, Adult Swim announced that it "ended its association" with Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, but the show will continue. The original story follows below.

Once upon a time, Rick and Morty was my comfort show. I’d seen every episode countless times, owned a few too many pieces of official (and unofficial) merch, and even had a weekly date set with a group of friends who all watched the animated comedy. But, somewhere along the way, I just stopped watching—and the next thing I knew, the show was six seasons deep and I had stopped being a fan.

Aside from the fact that I was aggressively depressed when I watched the show for the first time (that’s not Rick or Morty’s fault, though), something about this series just kind of soured for me over time. In this article, I’ll be breaking down exactly what went wrong (in my eyes) with my relationship with Rick and Morty.

Mr. Poopybutthole on Rick and Morty

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Remember When The Writers Used To Take Their Time?

Not to totally hit you with a “Back in my day…” but back in my day, we had to wait years in between seasons of Rick and Morty. That’s because the writers were taking their time.

Seasons 1 and 2 are full of plotlines that blew my mind on the first watch—the kind of stuff that will make you say, “How did they possibly come up with this?” The answer is literally just time. They had a long time in between seasons to work, because they were writing an Adult Swim show with a niche audience.

When the show became a huge hit and Adult Swim ordered 70 episodes, the writing was bound to take a hit. And that’s not to say all the writing is bad after Season 3. That would simply be untrue. But the quality of the plots and world-building definitely decreased for me as the show progressed.

Rick and Bird Person on Rick and Morty

(Image credit: Adult Swim )

Too Many Callbacks To Old Jokes

I love a good callback as much as the next guy. At a certain point in Rick and Morty’s run, however, episodes started to feel like callback reels, devoid of new jokes. 

I don’t mean to shit on the show for being self-referential—but in a series where one of the main gimmicks is nihilistic randomness, callbacks to previous episodes don’t necessarily work. I’m supposed to forget that the original Summer, Beth, and Jerry are dead (because nothing matters), but I’m supposed to remember that it’s funny when I see a plumbus (because some things do matter)?

I understand the appeal of callbacks for long-term fans of the show, but when any series starts to rely too heavily on its own in-jokes, it runs the risk of alienating possible fans who don’t know every detail of the lore that's being referred to so often.

The death of Maximus Renegade in "The Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender"

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Too Much Gore

I hate gore. Even if it’s animated gore. Why is there SO much gore in almost every episode from Season 3 on?

I’m sure this won’t be the most popular opinion on my list. Some people love gore. I happen to think that it is often a byproduct of lazy writing. I know that’s not always the case, but we’ve already covered that the writers needed to start cranking out episodes a lot faster after the third season. 

The Season 3 episode “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” was particularly over the top for NO reason—all of the booby traps in the episode result in brutal, bloody, gut-filled deaths for the Avengers ripoffs, leading to the same vibes as The Suicide Squad. By the time the gore-filled Season 4 premiere aired, it almost felt like the show had been trying to desensitize me to goriness.

For me, gore always feels like a crutch. It’s always shocking, sure, but there’s no nuance. It’s not hard to imagine that if every character on screen blew up, their intestines would be all over the place. So why do I need to see it animated frame by frame?

The main characters in Futurama.

(Image credit: Fox/Comedy Central)

I Started Watching Futurama

I got into Futurama AFTER I stopped watching Rick and Morty, but it only took a couple of episodes for me to start seeing how much of my formerly beloved animated show is clearly inspired by (slash stolen from) Futurama

I’m not throwing shots here—obviously, the Matt Groening comedy doesn’t own the concept of interdimensional space travel, and two shows can be similar without being “plagiarized” from one another. However, a lot of the stories, jokes and even the general attitude of the show feel very reminiscent of Rick and Morty. Until you remember that Futurama ended the same year the Justin Roiland/Dan Harmon series premiered.

From the way items and inventions are named to the “nothing matters” theme, you’ll find similarities to Rick and Morty in pretty much every episode of Futurama. Look how similar Fry and Morty are, for god’s sake.

Rick and Rick and Morty

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

How Long Can I Root For Characters I Don’t Like

Rick has close to zero redeeming qualities. At what point does that get old?

For me, it happened around the time when a handful of overzealous fans doxxed female writers on the show for “changing” their beloved cartoon. That’s when I realized that despite the fact that Rick is not a protagonist, a lot of the show’s fans see him as one.

No, not all the fans are hateful internet trolls. But that loud minority made me realize how boring it was getting to root for Rick, who’s always at his worst, alongside fellow fans who idolize him. Point being—if you find yourself identifying with Rick Sanchez, the Joker, or anyone on The Boys—turn off the TV and seek therapy.

All this being said—I’m willing to admit I’m wrong. For all I know, Seasons 5 and 6 of Rick and Morty are the greatest seasons of television of all time. But in light of the recent news to come out about Roiland, the show’s co-creator, it’s likely I won’t ever tune in to find out one way or the other.

The latest season of Rick and Morty premiered on Adult Swim in August 2022—but you can stream episodes of Seasons 1 through 5 on Hulu, or with a subscription to HBO Max.

Or, you can check out episodes of my personal favorite interdimensional adult cartoon, Futurama, with a Hulu subscription.

Emily Marek
Writer

She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.