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Instead of “Interdimensional Cable” Rick and Morty is offering us something different and so much better with “Morty’s Mind Blowers.”
After an adventure which leads to Morty being traumatized more the usual, he asks Rick if it would be possible to erase his memory. It turns out this isn’t the first time that Morty has made this request. Rick takes Morty to a chamber which stores tubes that contain Morty’s memories and Rick uses them to blow Morty’s mind.
Rick describes the “Morty’s Mind Blowers” as a clip show based on clips you haven’t seen before and it is really a collection of sketches that are loosely connected by that framing device. It has even less story than the “Interdimensional Cable” episodes, but the skits in “Morty’s Mind Blowers” are much funnier.
The novelist/video game critic Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw argues that creativity works when there are enforced limitations, and that is true for Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty has a wide scope because of its multiverse setting, but there is still a heart at the center of the series because its adventures center around the two main characters, operating within a clear set of rules. Without these rules, like in the “Interdimensional Cable” episodes, then half of the episode is just made out unfocused skits on TV (that seems like a first draft) as Rick and Morty comment on them. In this episode, the memories were forced to be mini-stories and it was all the better for it.
The memories are consistently funny and offer a mix of Rick and Morty‘s style of humor: surrealism, existentialism, movie parodies, and Rick’s willingness to do anything to save his own skin. The memories are split into three categories: horrible mistakes Morty wants to forget, Morty discovering when his family sucks, and embarrassing Rick moments. Some personal favorites were when Morty finds out who really runs the world (a joke that I like to think is a reference to American Dad) and when Rick and Morty are trapped in an alien collection which leads to a quick retelling of the 1997 sci-fi film Contact. Both have dark yet hilarious outcomes. The episode has even more existential humor than usual, starting with Morty having all the knowledge of the universe in his head, an alien questioning his race’s version of the afterlife, and Morty experiencing true level.
The episode even satirizes Rick and Morty‘s own use of emotional moments when, in one of Morty’s memories, his family has to save the teenager from an alien parasite. It starts off with sentimental music before turning into a big joke. It’s what Rick and Morty does: it subverts itself as well as the sci-fi genre as a whole.
“Morty’s Mind Blowers” also offers a number of callbacks to previous episodes. The Meeseeks, the female Gazorpazorps, Mr. Poopy Butthole and Snuffles (AKA Snowball) all make an appearance and the ending of the Squirrel story is a reference to “Rick Potion #9.” When Morty puts on the helmet that allows him to see his memory, his pupils roll up into his skull and it causes Morty to challenge his own existence just he did in “Mortynight Run” after he played “Roy: A Life Well Lived.” Even when Rick accidentally destroys some of Morty’s memories and states the need to label the memory tubes better, it seems like a reference to when Rick and Morty crossed over with The Simpsons during a couch gag where Rick cleans his test tubes with saliva. From a structural point-of-view “Morty’s Mind Blowers” is similar to “Total Rickall” because of all flashbacks, particularly when the Smith discovers their real memories and see that they as dysfunctional as any other animated family.
The episode adds evidence to the fan theory that Rick knows he’s a cartoon character. He breaks the fourth wall a few times and says he had to edit some of the memories to help them as a narrative. However, this is Rick and Morty so the writers will most likely disprove this theory in the near future just to troll the fans.
On a final note, one of the shorts introduces the character of Beebo. He only appears in the episode for 30 seconds but he is unbelievably cute and it would be easy to picture stuff toy versions of him being sold.
In the grand scheme of Rick and Morty‘s canon “Morty’s Mind Blowers” is a non-consequential entry, yet it doesn’t stop it from being a funny collection of shorts. If there is a “Morty’s Mind Blowers II,” it needs to match the quality of the original.