Rick And Morty: Season 7 REVIEW – The Worst Season Yet?

rick and morty

Let’s get this out of the way – Justin Roiland’s absence has cost Rick And Morty nothing. Rick and Morty’s replacement voices (Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden respectively) are pretty much dead-on, and even if they weren’t, would you really care? Likewise, having seen what Roiland turns out off his own back, not having him in the writer’s room can only be a relief.

But given the show’s steady downward trajectory, the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking they’d thrown a baby out with this particular bathwater. This was a degeneration that was still present in the Roiland days, he would by no means have saved it, so more likely it’s a situation like Black Mirror eventually found itself in – having already used up the A-material long, long ago.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be fair to say the well’s run dry. Rick And Morty was always fond of pulling out familiar tropes and smashing them together to see what happened, but the difference here is that now those familiar tropes aren’t recognisable old staples of the sci-fi genre, but instead, elements of the show’s own back catalogue.

The show’s eternal brief, ‘high-concept sci-fi rigmarole’, by nature demands experimentation. What it doesn’t demand is returning to a throwaway joke (and its associated celebrity guest star) from seasons past, to effortfully serve as the basis of an entire episode, which so clearly thinks it’s being audacious rather than repetitive in its sheer laziness. The guest star, at least, wasn’t ‘Elon Tusk’ again.

Where this really becomes an issue is when it tries to shamelessly imitate its own big emotional beats from seasons past. And by ‘shamelessly imitate’, I really mean it, there’s another existential montage set to ‘Look On Down From The Bridge’, and a rapid-fire summation of a man’s life that is for all intents and purposes ‘Roy: A Life Well Lived’ (which the show here honestly believes to be an absolute sentimental mic drop, despite the blithe spirit in which it presented Roy).

The show could have worn this naked recycling – or at least have worn it better – were it a more episodic affair, where viewers could dip in and out. But it burned that bridge forever when it decided to have running plotlines (rather than mocking the very idea, as it did once). Nobody who’s still watching and understanding the show will be able to avoid that ugly pang of recognition.

In a way, you can’t say the show didn’t give us fair warning from the off, with its first ever episode fading out to Rick saying the show’s title again and again and again (“My job. My job. Repetitiveness is my job”). But this is so representative of the show giving into its worst impulses that they might as well give us an episode where Tiny Rick is smeared with Szechuan sauce. They have, at least, not returned to taking Rick’s self-promotion seriously.

On that note, though, there is more than one line present in this season which says nothing that is pretty about the writers’ ultimate worldview. These aren’t ones on which the plot hinges, they’re throwaway cracks, but still, I could not stomach without comment a line suggesting there’s a ‘good kind’ of reality TV, and well-known cult Scientology being treated as something worthy of respect.

And as ever, the most frustrating part is that on the rare occasions they don’t get tangled up in their own convoluted backstory, they can make the old formula work, and work well too. Bigfoot meeting the Pope is the kind of silliness Rick And Morty always thrived on, and I have to respect the casual screw-copyright of having Rick simply capture someone in what he actually, casually calls a pokeball. They’re even perfectly capable of mocking their own bad tendencies (see the header image, and ‘Leg Rick’, which Morty simply abandons in disgust), something for which there is after all plenty of material.

As we see, the kind of blithe merriness I’ve excoriated them for lacking elsewhere is still there – but for some reason is used sparingly at best, despite being their clear strong point. The sheer disconnect here forced me to wonder what’s going on in the writer’s room, or indeed if there still is one, rather than scripts of wildly diverging quality coming in from quite possibly different ends of the earth.

I’m always hesitant to get too personal when I’m talking about the people behind the scenes, but Roiland’s absence provides too good an analogy not to use: they can respond to criticism, and if it turns out there’s an element in there too malignant to stomach, they can simply get rid of it. Rick And Morty has been going for ten years now, it should have at least some idea of what works and what doesn’t.

It’d be a simple list for them to keep in mind, too. Don’t have a celebrity play themselves for the sake of playing themselves. Don’t get too proud of a callback to episodes past. Definitely don’t fool yourself into thinking a reference to a cult ’80s movie is funny on its own. But it does come to something when you’re having to actually say common-sense principles like these out loud.

In short, Rick And Morty has grown desperately, helplessly uneven as it’s aged, and usually this is because it’s getting tripped up by its own history. When it’s great, it’s great, but I fear these bright spots are something like visiting an elderly relative who’s becoming more and more demented, and getting a heartbreaking flash of the person they once were. Which is particularly distressing when, like I say, the ailing patient is only ten.

READ MORE: 10 Best Anime For Beginners to Watch

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.

rick and morty
My advice for both the viewers and the writers: simply cut out the crap.