My nigh-on obsession for Rick and Morty really kicked in around Episode 8 of Series 1, ‘Rixty Minutes’. The crazy improvised interdimensional TV shows had me actually crying laughing, whilst the emotional impact of Morty and Summer’s ‘Come watch TV’ conversation really set the episode apart and raised it up to the tippety-top. It’s remained my absolute favourite episode since I first saw it (thought ‘Auto Erotic Assimilation’ and ‘Total Rickall’ have come very close), and often find myself wondering what other weird and wonderful televisual gems might exist out there in the multiverse. ‘Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate’ is the show’s first attempt at making a direct sequel, as we get to see more TV show madness (huzzah!). The episode sees Jerry being admitted to an alien hospital (alien to us, that is) after consuming mutant bacteria that Rick had been keeping in their freezer. While Rick hacks the hospital waiting room TV to access interdimensional cable for he, Summer and Morty to watch, Jerry has to deal with possibly donating his penis to save the life of one of the most important Civil Rights leaders in the galaxy, Shrimply Pibbles.
Whilst this instalment never quite reaches the superb comedy or emotional heights of ‘Rixty Minutes’ (even Rick admits this would be difficult to do in one of his wonderful fourth-wall-breaking moments), I absolutely loved this episode. I cannot get enough of Roiland’s drunken improvisational ramblings, and so any episode giving me more of that is going to be a hit in my book. I would love to be a fly on the wall of the recording booth for these sessions… Particular hits for me included Jan Quadrant Vincent 16 (a Two Brothers-esque trailer about a movie set in a world where there are 8 Jan Michael Vincents), The Adventures of Stealy (in which Stealy (potentially of the same species as Mr. Poopy Butthole?) breaks into offices and steals their equipment), Man vs Car (what it says on the tin), Lil’ Bits (“Hey, is your mouth tiny and small?”) and How Did I Get Here (how did she get there?!). I realise that I’ve named a lot of skits there, but I’ve barely scraped the surface of the insanity presented to us in this episode. I mean, there’s Eyehole Man, for crying out loud, and he’ll beat the snot out of you if you try eating his Eyeholes cereal…! The fact that all of Roiland’s stutters and titters are kept in just makes it all the more funny, and I could probably sit and watch interdimensional cable all day myself.
Jerry’s side story is basically one long, hilarious dick joke that fits with Jerry’s personality perfectly; it flip-flops back and forth as he struggles with his need to have everyone see him as a good person versus his want to not be separated from his penis. We’ve seen that Jerry really just wants people to like him, and so he immediately jumps on the opportunity to appear as selfless by giving up his penis. Of course, the further along in the process he gets, the more he really just wants to keep his manhood, and things just escalate from there. After being told that the transplant will now use a state of the art synthetic heart that will be even better than his penis, he holds the whole operating theatre hostage and attempts to have them take his penis instead. It’s a very funny arc, and there are some great jokes throughout, as well as some fantastic guest voices. My particular favourite here was Werner Herzog appearing as an alien that tries to explain to the doctors just how much importance is placed on penises in our culture; “I’ve dwelt among the humans. Their entire culture is built around their penises. It is funny to say they are small, it is funny to say they are big.” The moral to this story, in the end, was that maybe we shouldn’t put so much credence into what others think of us, and perhaps just do what we want and/or think is right and not sweat it too much, and I rather liked it. I see a little of myself in Jerry, in that I often find myself second-guessing myself based on what I think I should be doing, rather than just doing what I want or what is right, and so I quite enjoyed this outcome, even if it wasn’t the kind of kick-in-the-heart lesson that Rixty Minutes delivered.
As is the nature of sequels, it’s almost impossible to judge ‘Interdimensional Cable 2’ separately from it’s predecessor, and whilst it was a thoroughly enjoyable and amusing 22 minutes of television, it’s just not ‘Rixty Minutes’, you know? Roiland has stated at conventions that the interdimensional TV schtick will be Rick and Morty’s ‘Treehouse of Horror’, suggesting an episode like this each season. Maybe future instalments will be easier to review, as perhaps we won’t hold them up to the super-high standards of ‘Rixty Minutes’, and I’m incredibly game for getting more insane TV shows, trailers and adverts plonked in my eyes. Except the Butthole Ice Cream Parlour, because that’s the kind of stuff you just can’t unsee…
Reviewer: Stacey Taylor (@StacebobT)