Remembering Seinfeld, An Icon of Television

It’s been almost twenty years since the final episode of Seinfeld aired, and the show still stands as one of the most memorable television shows of all time.

The charm of Seinfeld is that it never takes itself too seriously. While every sitcom is, by nature, not serious, almost all of them eventually have serious consequences or deal with serious issues. In the case of Seinfeld, however, this never happens, and the result of this is a show that is nothing but funny.

With a rather rocky first two seasons, one would be surprised with how great Seinfeld would be from its third season on, especially when it even becomes a parody of itself in the fourth. Seinfeld knows what it is, and it even makes fun of it, with Jason Alexander’s George Costanza pitching to NBC a show called ‘Jerry’, which is about nothing. A friend of mine told me to stick around beyond the first couple of seasons, and that I’d see how special the show really is later on, and he certainly was not wrong.

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In its commitment to staying light, Seinfeld also has minimal character growth for all four of its main characters, and oddly, this is a compliment. George, for example, may move up the ladder career-wise (albeit very slowly) throughout all nine seasons, but he is still as pathetic as ever. Alexander gets better and better in his role as the show goes along, and I’m not just saying this. Comparing first episode George to last episode George, you can see that there’s an overall better performance from Alexander as the years go by.

Similarly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine Benes is all over the place professionally throughout the series, but as a character, she is always the same. Unlike the other characters, there isn’t a distinct characteristic to Elaine, and what this allows for is a lot of versatility in all her stories. There is no denying that Louis-Dreyfus is capable of everything Elaine asks of her.

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The titular character of the show isn’t necessarily its singular main. Jerry Seinfeld, playing Jerry Seinfeld, probably has the easiest job of the lot, because not only is he playing himself, he’s playing a comedian too. However, even so, Jerry is a delight on screen because he is the audience character. He’s sarcastic and genuinely funny. He is perhaps the most real of all the characters, but there’s still a certain flair to him that makes you love him.

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Seinfeld’s stand-out character, obviously, is Michael Richards’ Cosmo Kramer. Richards in real life is irrelevant and I will not get into that, but Kramer himself is such a delight. There is not a single moment with Kramer that isn’t memorable, and every second of Richards’ performance is spectacular. Kramer is quirky, unstable, and there’s always a certain welcome mystery to him.

Cosmo Kramer may indeed be one of the best characters TV has ever seen.

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My one critique of Seinfeld is that its main set, Jerry’s apartment, can have a little bit more life to it. I’m not implying it has to be as colourful as Monica’s purple apartment from Friends, but, it could use just a little bit more colour. There’s a prominent grey to the set, which in fairness is just a regular apartment, but for something we see so often, it could use a little bit more. But that’s just a minor critique, and that’s just me.

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Seinfeld’s laid back nature also enables it to be able to explore virtually any topic in its episodes, and it most certainly does. Seinfeld often handles controversial topics like mental health and death very lightly, and if this isn’t done just right, it could spark a lot of backlash. Thankfully, Seinfeld somehow manages to deliver just the right amounts of everything, and you end up laughing at whatever it gives you.

Seinfeld’s greatest strength, despite all I’ve said, is its memorability. There are a lot of episodes on most sitcoms that are fine but forgettable, but with Seinfeld, nearly all of them are worth remembering, from the episode where Kramer turns his apartment into the set of The Merv Griffin Show, to the episode where Elaine befriends a group of the opposites of Jerry, George and Kramer, to even the brilliant bottle episodes such as “The Chinese Restaurant” and “The Parking Garage”.

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Seinfeld is legendary, and it always will be. It truly embraces the idea of being a show about nothing, and in doing so, ends up being a show with everything anyone would want. The penultimate episode, The Clip Show, admittedly does get a tear rolling down in its blooper reel, and Seinfeld deserves that tear.

Even twenty years on, Seinfeld continues to be watched and re-watched. And it likely will be twenty years from now, too. Giddy-up!

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Silicon Valley: Like The Big Bang Theory, But Better In Every Way

Over time, one comes to realise that the better modern sitcoms/comedy series are those which do not have laugh tracks tacked on. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family and Master of None are just three examples of this.

Silicon Valley, like the last of those examples, is also a drama with an overarching story, which so far has taken place over four seasons. The HBO original follows Richard Hendricks as he tries desperately to get his software company, Pied Piper, off the ground, with his friends/colleagues Jared, Gilfoyle, Dinesh and Erlich.

Set in the titular location, Silicon Valley manages to excellently capture the environment of the world’s leading technology hub, and often becomes a parody of it too. It has quite a vast mix of characters, from CEOs to investors to lawyers to competitors, and it does a great job of balancing all these characters, especially in seasons three and four.

This leads into a criticism of the first two seasons, which do feature stories that are good enough, but are stubbornly one-note when it comes to its characters, except Richard. Erlich, Jared, Dinesh and Gilfoyle are one-dimensional, especially the last two, which does get a little tiring because there are often the same dynamics between the two.

Season three, however, allows for better character development, and it allows the show to live up to its title, rather than just being ‘the Richard Hendricks show’. The humour also steps up from the third season on, and it does feel like the writers seemed to understand what worked in the first two seasons and kept going down those paths. Seasons one and two feature some good humour, but oftentimes it does feel rather unoriginal. Seasons three and four have a certain flair to them, almost as if it could be used as a comparative tool for other shows. ‘It has a Silicon Valley-esque approach to humour‘.

The crowning jewel is season three, for which I cannot remember having found any flaws. While it is clear that the show completely understands what it is in the fourth season, there are certainly some questionable creative decisions towards the end, especially regarding Richard, which sort of make the character’s growth over time a little redundant.

Even as initially one-dimensional as the other characters are, there is no denying that they have their own distinct charms. Erlich is, by far, the funniest, thanks not only to the writing, but also to TJ Miller’s perfect performance. Gilfoyle, the show’s own biggest critic, and Dinesh, the show’s token loser tech guy, play off each other really well as time goes on, mostly because their relationship changes from being one dominating the other, to both trying to be dominant over one another. Jared, who is a really, really strange character if you catch all the absurd throw-away lines there are about his lifestyle and his past, is my personal favourite, being responsible, soft and having all the show’s deepest feelings attached to him.

The show has strong supporting characters too, from the snobbish CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world, Gavin Belson, to Nelson ‘Big Head’ Bagetti, an idiot who stumbles upon good fortune without even knowing it, all the time. And that’s only mentioning two of them.

Finally, it is upsetting that TJ Miller is leaving the show for good, for a number of reasons, and the way his character is written off the show is rather disappointing.

Silicon Valley is funny, engaging and clever, and seems to get better with each season. It isn’t perfect, but it is definitely worth watching.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Silicon Valley: MIHIR

The Punisher is Really Good… Eventually (No Spoilers)

The mandatory thirteen episodes for the Marvel Netflix series has always been a factor that brings them down, but none have been a greater victim of this than The Punisher.

After the positive reception Jon Bernthal’s Punisher received in the second season of Daredevil, his own series was immediately green lit, and it follows a personal story concerning the death of the character’s family, and is in quite a political environment.

With perhaps Jessica Jones season one being the sole exception, the necessity to churn out thirteen episodes – even if the story being told is not worth stretching to that many – has plagued Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the second and even the almighty first season of Daredevil.

When it comes to The Punisher, however, it’s somehow even worse.

It goes without saying that Jon Bernthal is phenomenal as Frank Castle. The supporting cast, even among the stellar supporting casts of the rest of the Marvel Netflix universe, truly stands out, from Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s David Lieberman/Micro, to Amber Rose Revah’s Dinah Madani, Daniel Webber’s Lewis Wilson, Jaime Ray Newman’s Sarah Lieberman, Jason R Moore’s Curtis Hoyle, and the returning Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll.

However, despite the intriguing characters, The Punisher suffers from just being way too long. The first half of the season is a pain to get through, and by episode six, you’re really wondering if it’s worth seeing this through to the end. Your thoughts aren’t exactly helped by the fact that the story is all over the place in the first half of the season, before everything begins to converge and things start to make sense. I’m not saying the first six episodes are bad, like with Iron Fist. It’s just that the matter they provide could have easily been compressed into four episodes, or maybe even three. The first half of the season just drags on and on.

The second half of the season is a different story. The second half of The Punisher is some of the best Marvel Netflix content there is, and is a much needed return to form. As much as you have to struggle on with the show for the first six episodes, from episode seven and on, you just ease through it because it’s so good. The story all comes into one and the dots are connected for gripping, entertaining television, and you do finish the series wanting more.

A standout for me is episode 10, a bottle episode which is not strictly chronological in its storytelling. There’s no real reason for the story to be told that way, but it was interesting and fresh.

The Punisher, rightfully, does not hold back on gore, and commits itself to honouring its titular character. Frank Castle has not only grown from the way he was in Daredevil, he grows throughout this series as well.

Ben Barnes plays antagonist Billy Russo, a former US Marine who was in Castle’s unit during his time in Afghanistan. He falls under the banner of the better Marvel villains, because of his personal ties to the protagonist, and because this is a character that is written well and is played by a good actor.

Another antagonist is played by Paul Schulze, and his name is William Rawlins. I initially wasn’t going to mention him in this article, because Russo is more important, but then I realised that the two main bad guys of the first season of The Punisher are named Bill and Bill. That would make for an excellent team name.

One final gripe I have with this series is that the first few episodes try (a little too) hard to show you that Frank Castle suffers from severe trauma caused by the death of his family, and the show sort of forgets about this in its middle phase.

This is also the first Marvel Netflix series that doesn’t feature Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, and that is a little bit of a disappointment.

The Punisher is a serious drag, until it finally gets going. What it then becomes is something you cannot take your eyes off. Driven performances and excellent supporting characters, along with the lead, are a staple of the show.

If there is a season two though – and this applies for every other Marvel Netflix series – please make it shorter.

Finally, The Punisher’s title sequence and theme song are incredible. Daredevil finally has a competitor for ‘best title sequence’.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Marvel’s The Punisher: MIHIR

 

Master of None: Ironically a Masterpiece

Who doesn’t love irony?

Indian-American comic Aziz Ansari co-creates (along with Alan Yang), co-writes and leads in Master of None, a Netflix original series following Dev Shah, who is a young kind-of-actor-kind-of-chef in New York, and is loosely based on Ansari’s own life experiences.

If you can think about something that is an important aspect of life, chances are, Master of None is about what you’re thinking about. At ten episodes a season for two seasons – with episode nine of season two being an hour long, rather than the usual half an hour – Master of None doesn’t necessarily have an over-arcing story. It can be argued that season two does, but the real focus of the show is about how Dev, and sometimes his parents and friends, deals with the art of life, exploring his professional life, his love life, his relationship with his Indian roots, religion, and everything in between. It’s also a sort of love letter to New York City, and even Italy.

Perhaps the fact that Ansari can relate to the content of the show, along with the fact that he wrote the episodes, fuels him to deliver an excellent performance, that makes Dev charming, funny, entertaining, and most importantly, real. I cannot stress this enough. This show’s biggest strength is in its reality, and how everyone in the show is a human being. It touches on everything it means to live, from being alone to being with somebody, from being happy with your work to not being happy, and from not knowing what you want to wanting something you can’t have.

And it’s funny. Although I wouldn’t really classify this show as a comedy, it is wonderfully funny. Sure, there are episodes that aren’t, but that’s another plus for the show. It knows when to be serious and when not to be. Of course, good humour is expected when a comedian is leading and writing the show, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

Master of None is also breathtakingly beautiful, visually. It looks more like a movie than it does a television show, being in widescreen and really just having so much beauty in almost every shot. There aren’t that many shows that can be great on so many fronts, but this is one of them.

I will stress, once again, that the charm of this show is its reality. You are able to connect to it so well that you just feel like you’re watching someone’s life as it is, and nothing more or less. Master of None captures the essence of living, loving and being complicated, and does so while being a delight to watch.

There aren’t many like it.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Master of None: MIHIR

Stranger Things 2 is a Strangely Mixed Bag (No Spoilers)

I hadn’t expected to be so tired after eight hours of continuous television, but alas, I am wrong. I will soldier on, however. This article has, for a long time, anticipated being written.

Stranger Things 2 follows directly after Stranger Things, even if it is set one year later. I don’t really want to explain the previous season, so you can just go here if you want to read my review for it. Let’s move on.

There are things to love about this season, and some things to not love. First, it’s an episode longer than the previous season, sitting at nine episodes, and given what I’m going to say as this review progresses, it could have sufficed with eight.

The first two episodes of this season really don’t do much, story-wise. They focus more on establishing that the effects of last season are still being felt, and introducing a new character, Maxine, with the first episode even being named after her (MADMAX). While I do like this character, a lot of her background sort of muddles up the whole story, and it really could have been excluded altogether.

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What this brings to the table, then, are two episodes that are just slow. Yes, there are obviously developments regarding the overall plot in the first two episodes, but they’re overshadowed by a lot of – almost – filler.

Episode three is where things really get going, and the momentum carries on to episode four. While both are not nearly the best episodes of the show, they do appear to indicate that things are getting better as the season progresses.

Then episode five comes along and everything falls flat on its face. Episodes five and six are the lowest points of the season. Why? Because they do something that shouldn’t even have been considered.

One of the biggest charms of the first season of Stranger Things was the chemistry and interactions between Mike, Dustin and Lucas. This season splits them up, at least until the last two episodes, and it becomes a bit of a mess. Lucas tries his best to convince Maxine that everything that happened last season is true, Dustin has serious pet problems and ends up having Steve (Mike’s sister’s boyfriend from last season) along for company, and Mike is genuinely on the sideline for the entire season. Once that charm is taken away, Stranger Things proves that it can really start to crumble.

However, things drastically change with episode seven, which is completely its own thing, without any regard for the main story that all six previous episodes were telling. It features only Eleven. Seeing that I haven’t mentioned her so far, this seems like a good time. Eleven’s story arc in this season is, by far, its most intriguing aspect. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Eleven learns everything from who her mother is to what her real name is. As murky as the season is, Eleven’s story is perfect throughout. Millie Bobby Brown’s performance, once again, is a standout and is something well beyond her age.

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Another shining performance comes from Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byer. Having received very little screen time last season – being missing and all – he delivers a surprisingly raw performance this time around. In fact, the way his character is used in the season is also interesting, and I thought he was handled quite well. Winona Ryder, who plays his mother Joyce, also delivers a strong performance, even if it is a little over the top in a couple of instances.

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David Harbour’s character has, perhaps, the most interesting role this season, and Harbour matches its complexity with his acting.

The best episodes of the season (by a country mile) are episodes eight and nine (particularly eight), because they are packed with emotion, and don’t divide anybody. They are the most entertaining, the most touching and the most free-flowing episodes, to which the rest of the season really pales in comparison. It’s these two episodes that remind you of what’s great about Stranger Things, and make you upset when they’re over.

Now, the actual plot of the season is…. Okay. Last season’s was better told and a little less sloppy. It’s not bad, but there are certainly ways in which it can be better.

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The last thing I’d like to touch upon is the show’s commitment to its time period. Some might say it really hits you over the head with the 80’s, but I consider the over the top 1980’s nostalgia a staple of Stranger Things, and personally am a fan.

There will be more. Season two is not the end.

Stranger Things 2 has its ups, but thanks to its downs, which are completely out in the open, it is ultimately a let-down. I am not, however, hanging my head in disappointment, because the last three episodes (along with Eleven’s entire arc) leave you with a feeling of joy. Still, the first season is greatly superior. Strange, how that is.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Stranger Things 2: MIHIR

 

The Blogger Recognition Award

The Blogger Recognition Award is an award for bloggers, recognised by bloggers. Recently, I was nominated by Latte Lindsay and decided to accept the nomination. Its purpose is to motivate further writing and acknowledge the effort that is involved in generating posts. The award is great for bloggers to review and reward each other’s work to create a supportive blogging community.

Once, nominated… If you wish to accept the nomination there are a few rules to be followed, which are:

  • Produce a post about the award
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post you made about the award

All of the information above was copied right from the post on Lindsay’s blog.

A brief history about The Geeky Critic

Or, as it was previously known, Mihir’s Random Reviews.

Starting out on Google Blogger, I created a review blog for no particular reason, other than the fact that I had just finished Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles and wanted to share my opinion somewhere. And so, my first post (which really doesn’t hold up so well today) was born, at the beginning of 2016. I discovered that I really love sharing my opinion about things, and decided I would continue writing on the blog. And now I’m more than 150 posts in the clear.

Since then, I’ve rebranded myself as The Geeky Critic, and moved to WordPress, where there is more creative choice in styling your blog and an active community of bloggers to interact with.

My blog exists mainly for myself. Even today, I don’t get the most reads or the most likes, but none of that brings me down. I’m passionate about books, movies and television, and so I write about things I’m passionate about. I do really cherish my blog, because there’s no place else I can discuss so much about pop culture.

Having said that, I am grateful to everyone who have read any of my posts, and people that follow my blog. It’s good to know my opinion reaches people.

Two pieces of advice to newbie writers

  1. Know what your blog is. Quite a few people – myself included – run a blog and eventually, they don’t know where to go with it anymore. I’d advise you to have your blog be focused so that you virtually never run out of content. Sure, a miscellaneous blog is fun, but not only can you lose track of where your blog is going, it’s hard to develop a faithful audience if your content is all over the place.
  2. Don’t forget to write for yourself. Yes, you should write for people to read, but at the end of the day, your blog is your blog. Write things that make you happy. Write things that you feel like writing. Writing can be a great way to vent, or just let your mind run free. Write for yourself too. Even if it’s not for anybody else.

The blogs I have chosen to nominate

An Insightful Look at Life and the Universe – Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Yes, I do like to watch documentaries. Ha ha.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 13-part documentary series created by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and chronicles the history and future of astronomy, life and the general study of the universe as we know it. It is a remade version of the original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, hosted by Carl Sagan, of which there are books as well.

Before I say anything about the series, it should be noted that Alan Silvestri’s original composition for the title theme and music for the series is unbelievably beautiful.

Cosmos works on three fronts: Real, animated, and metaphorical. The latter is achieved through the way the show voyages through its course, in the ‘ship of the imagination’, which transcends all limitations of humankind to allow us to see, up close, things like the inside of a black hole and surfaces of the Earth (from the past) and other celestial bodies. What the biggest take away from all this is, of course, is the sheer extent to which you are forced to hold your breath at all the incredible visual representations of everything in the universe. You might need to thank modern computer image generation, but everyone on the visual effects team truly created something exceptional, for which ‘a treat for the eyes’ is a laughable understatement.

The animated sections of the show largely exist to tell history of scientific discovery, which in this show, often follows people who have made famous discoveries and also animates their personal lives (for example, Isaac Newton). Quite a lot of the show is dedicated to historical human scientific discovery, and this is a plus point. Unlike anything you learn in school, Cosmos enables you to care for a scientist as you see their struggles and everything they did to achieve what they did. It enables a mass audience to develop true appreciation of those who came before us.

Through Cosmos’ journey, which takes you all the way across time, there is a layer of sentimentality across the whole show; sentimentality of being human, of being alive, of existing at a random star, at a random point of a random galaxy. It is as much a spiritual series as it is an informative one. Of course, the nature of the subject is as such, but it’s wonderful to see how much the series embraces this.

I’ve come so far and have said nothing about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s presentation, because I’ve saved the best for last. Perhaps the world’s best known living astrophysicist, for his presence on the internet and general popular culture, Tyson brings something to this show that nobody else could have. There is, at his core, a burning love for science, and this oozes out of him with every single word he says on the show. Nobody would be as much in awe of any of the history, any of the visuals, or have any appreciation of existing, without Tyson’s voice covering it all. He has you gripped from start to finish, and this series truly wouldn’t have been nearly as good had anybody else hosted it.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is more than just an educational documentary series. It’s something that can provide brilliant scientific insight to an entire generation and beyond.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: MIHIR

 

Which Episode of Rick and Morty Season 3 is the Most Schwifty?

Now that the third season of Rick and Morty has drawn to a close, the time has come to debate about which episode was the best, and which was the worst (or in other terms, which is the most Schwifty and the least Schwifty). Fear not, because I’m ranking all ten episodes from worst to best, and if you would like to read full reviews, click on the headers.

This is entirely subjective, and nobody’s opinion has to be the same as mine.

So with that out of the way, show us what you got!

10: The Rickchurian Mortydate (Episode 10)

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It is quite sad that the season finale is the worst episode of the season, but I suppose that’s just how it is. The Rickchurian Mortydate has a promising start but a rather disappointing ending, that really falls flat on its face. Hopefully, season four comes around soon, so that we don’t have to call this the latest episode of the show for too long.

9: Morty’s Mind Blowers (Episode 8)

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Filling in as this season’s Interdimensional Cable, Morty’s Mindblower’s is an entertaining episode which looks at Morty’s memories that Rick has made him forget, and that’s it. It’s almost a filler episode, which, despite its entertainment value, has to be this low on the list.

8: The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy (Episode 5)

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Let me say that The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy is one of the most entertaining episodes of the season, but the reason it ranks so low is because my first criteria for this list is how I rated each episode when I reviewed them, and this got a 4/5 because I felt the writing was a little lazy here and there.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy is brilliant. It highlights how much everyone overlooks Jerry as a character, and really progresses the relationship between Rick and Jerry.

7: Rickmancing the Stone (Episode 2)

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Rickmancing the Stone, or as I like to call it, the episode that everyone hates, is a great episode. The focus on Morty and Summer trying to deal with their parents’ divorce in their own twisted ways is exactly what the episode needed, and that’s exactly what it delivered.

The episode ends with both of them having found some sort of closure, and it really is good to see that.

6: Pickle Rick (Episode 3)

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Pickle Rick is the most mainstream, most memed and most action-filled episode of the season, and it is excellent. Even though the episode is slightly bogged down by the shrink’s numerous monologues, everything with Pickle Rick (and Jaguar) more than makes up for it. This meme will not die just yet.

5: The ABCs of Beth (Episode 9)

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An episode I like the call ‘that other one that everyone hates’, The ABCs of Beth really emphasises the fact that this season was more about character progression than anything else, and we see Beth at her best, even if her best is borderline psychopath.

The episode even ends with the ultimate cliffhanger of the season, which is still unresolved in the season finale.

4: Rest and Ricklaxation (Episode 6)

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Perhaps on another day, Rest and Ricklaxation would top a ‘best of’ list, but sadly on this occasion it cannot because the top three are just that good.

Rest and Ricklaxation is the most reflective episode of the season, highlighting exactly what makes Rick and Morty Rick and Morty, and truly expressing how important the ugliest parts of them are. Perhaps there will never be an episode like it again.

3: Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender (Episode 4)

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I love this episode more than most people, and I’m not ashamed about it.

Vindicators 3 is an episode about superheroes, the relationship between Rick and Morty, Noob-Noob, loyalty when push comes to shove, how important Morty is to Rick and Noob-Noob. And all of it is perfect. Need I say more?

2: The Rickshank Rickdemption (Episode 1)

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When The Rickshank Rickdemption dropped without warning or announcement on April Fools’ Day (well played, Roiland and Harmon), everyone lost their minds, and the episode that caused the insanity was the best episode of all time (until a few months later).

The Rickshank Rickdemption picks up where season two left off, and it shows how far the show has come and where it will go from here in the best way, with possible hints at Rick’s past and Morty’s and Summer’s loyalties to their grandpa. It is just sensational, and does justice to its Shawshank-inspired title.

1: The Ricklantis Mixup (Episode 7)

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All you can say is wow.

The Ricklantis Mixup (or as I confused it, Tales From the Citadel), is the best episode of Rick and Morty ever. Following multiple Ricks and Mortys across the Citadel of Ricks (not including our own Rick and Morty), The Ricklantis Mixup shows us the life that our Rick chooses not to live, and in twenty-two minutes is able to help us understand the entire way of life in the Citadel of Ricks, and perhaps have the most important reveal of the show.

Of course, while this isn’t touched upon later in the season, it’s sure to come back in later seasons. Evil Morty schemes his way to be president of the Council of Ricks, and who knows where things will go from here?

Not only is The Ricklantis Mixup wildly entertaining, it is also clever, insightful and full of development for the future of the show.

Season four can’t come soon enough. And don’t expect any future episode to be as good as this one. It’s a bar almost impossible to match.

 

 

The Rickchurian Mortydate (Episode 10): Rick and Morty Season 3 Review Run

With the strongest season of a show preceding the finale, one would expect that the final episode of the season would be one for the ages. One would be wrong, at least in the case of the third season of Rick and Morty.

The Rickchurian Mortydate starts off looking like the best episode of the season, and finishes as anything but. Rick and Morty are summoned by the president of the United States to take care of a problem in the White House, and when both of them are too bored by it, chaos ensues when Rick takes on the president head to head. Meanwhile, Beth begins to wonder if she is a clone (an element carried forward from the previous episode) and embarks on a journey of self-realisation.

Finales aren’t the strongest aspects of Rick and Morty, or at least, they don’t feel like finales most of the time. While last season’s The Wedding Squanchers was a brilliant ending to season two, season one’s finale featured a huge party that Rick throws, and this one involves a number of elements that are ultimately inconsequential, overall. Perhaps there could be more to the ending than is let on, especially with the way the camera focuses on Rick, but that doesn’t change the fact that it ends very abruptly. Hopefully, what I theorise about the ending is true, so that as time goes on, this finale becomes a lot better than it is now.

The first two thirds of this episode, despite everything I’ve said, are brilliant. The quality is right up there with the best of the season. The final third is where things get a little messy, as if the creators weren’t too sure how to end the season.

Random observations about this season:

  • Morty has significantly changed. He is smarter, calmer and generally a better character.
  • The relationship between Rick and Morty, especially indicated by the last episode, is now more of a relationship between equals than one between a superior and inferior.
  • As I’ve mentioned multiple times, this season has had more weight than the previous two, and is my favourite season so far.
  • The ending of episode seven could have infinite implications for the future of the show.
  • Jerry’s regular absences indicate how often he is overlooked as a character.

Rick and Morty season three has drawn to a close, and no matter what I think about the finale, the season overall has been the show at its best. Hopefully, the wait for season four won’t be as long as the wait for season three was.

There’s only one thing left to do, although I will have an article ranking all ten episodes coming up soon.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

The Rickchurian Mortydate: MIHIR

The ABCs of Beth (Episode 9): Rick and Morty Season 3 Review Run

Beth Smith. She is pretty much nobody’s favourite character on Rick and Morty. And she gets less spotlight than every other main character. Regardless of anyone’s opinion about Beth, there is no denying that she has had an episode focused on her for a while now.

After last week’s slight slump in quality, the third season of Rick and Morty returns to form with The ABCs of Beth, in which Rick and Beth go to a fantasy land Rick created for Beth when she was a child to look for Tommy, Beth’s best friend as a child who has been stuck there ever since Beth abandoned him. Meanwhile, Morty and Summer spend the day with Jerry, who is dating an alien.

What a wonderful episode. There is something special associated with an episode in which all five main characters are present. In this particular episode, Beth and Jerry are the most important, and seeing them have arcs through the episode is great.

Beth and Rick have a relationship that apparently has significant importance in the overall series, but rarely is explored like it is in this episode. It is certainly not an orthodox father-daughter relationship, and no matter what you think about Beth, she is the best she ever has been in this episode. We see a more fatherly side of Rick than we have before, which we got hints of in Pickle Rick, and the advice he gives Beth can only come from him.

Jerry is Jerry, but I always love to see Jerry. Morty and Summer don’t have huge roles in this episode, but the way they play off their dad is great.

The complexity of this season only continues to grow, and one can only wonder how next week’s finale will be. It is upsetting that we’re almost through with this season, but the excitement cannot be hindered.

This episode ends with something extremely speculative, and I wonder if we will ever get an answer the question it leaves behind.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

The ABCs of Beth: MIHIR