If you’ve been following my incessant ramblings on how much I completely adore series 2 of Rick and Morty, you’ll know this next sentence is hard for me to say; I think this episode dropped the ball a bit. That’s not to say it was bad, at all (there’s some absolutely golden jokes in this episode, and 2 fantastically ridiculous songs I am definitely sneaking onto my birthday party playlist later this month), but the main plot was just lacking somehow. Rick and Morty is at it’s best when it’s taking a trope and turning it upside down, or poking fun at something in a new and inventive way. The issue with Get Schwifty is that the episode centres around two themes that have been taken apart by comedy many times before; reality TV and organised religion, but there’s nothing really new happening here. That being said, a slightly sub-par episode of Rick and Morty is still better than most everything else I’m watching currently, so I can’t really complain!
The episode opens with an enormous disembodied head floating in the sky, messing with Earth’s gravity, causing all sorts global disasters and demanding we show it what we’ve got. For the majority of the Earth’s population, this means absolutely diddly squat, whereas Rick knows that this big old head is a Cromulon, and that the only thing that will save Earth from annihilation is a live performance of an original, catchy pop song. Whilst Rick and Morty travel to the Pentagon to inform the President, Summer, Beth and Jerry get drawn into a new cult that has formed since the appearance of the giant head. There’s some cracking jokes on both sides (I was particularly tickled by the idea that an earthquake had hit the Grammy Awards presentation, leaving only Ice-T to help save the world), but it felt like the main story didn’t have much in the way of stakes. Following Rick and Morty’s improvised performance of the insanely catchy ‘Get Schwifty’, the stakes go from ‘save Earth from certain doom with music’ to, well, ‘save Earth from certain doom with music’ as the Earth is transported to Cromulon territory in order to take place in an inter-galactic music competition. Morty’s anxiety under the pressure of saving the world was quite entertaining, and the return of Bird-Person (with Tammy still in tow) was a lovely touch, but the message behind this of trying to worry less (and to trust in Rick’s almost-always right-ness) doesn’t really hit home the way other episodes have. (It’s also a message I don’t see Morty taking in any time soon; he’s seen on many occasions that Rick is usually a) right and b) able to get them out of whatever sticky situation they’re in, so it’s hard to feel that this will be a moment of enlightenment for Morty in any real way).
The Smith family sub-plot is a little more interesting (and a little smarter); it’s not really a take down of religion, so much as a commentary on how we as a species try to find reason in situations that are perhaps beyond reasoning, and how we’ll believe almost anything if it makes us feel safer. It’s nice to see Summer, Beth and Jerry get something a little more substantial to do and there’s some fantastic comedy in there too; the idea of sinners (sins include ‘thief’, ‘Goth’ and ‘movie talker’ – I wholeheartedly agree with that last one!) being tied to a bunch of balloons and sent off into the sky was just inspired.
Whilst Get Schwifty wasn’t this series’ top material (to be fair, it’d be so hard to top Auto Erotic Assimilation and Total Rickall), it contained Keith David as a completely perfect and hilarious President, an Ice-T gag that had me almost crying laughing, and Bird Person’s fantastic ‘dick move’ line (a quote I shall definitely be using in my life whenever anyone does anything I don’t agree with), so it’s still alright by me!
Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StacebobT)