A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show leans on edgy content and at least one morally despicable character to get laughs. It's a successful ploy, but it downplays the realistic repercussions for the characters' behavior. Death, violence, lust, and alcoholism are meant to be comical rather than worrisome, and some racial and gender stereotypes exist as well. Rick's influence over Morty is emotionally scarring, and he bullies him into doing some pretty dangerous things. Little is sacred in the show's content, so expect to hear and see it all.
Positive Role Models
Rick teases and torments Morty into submission, subjecting him to extreme emotional abuse until he complies. He mocks the value of school, encourages his grandson's lustful thoughts about his crush, and is a raging alcoholic. Morty is unable to stand up for himself around his domineering grandfather. Although Morty's dad is aware of Rick's bad influence, Morty's mom encourages the damaging relationship. Of course, this is all meant in fun.
Violence & Scariness
Many scenes are violent, though the animation style lessens the content's impact. Humans and otherworldly creatures exchange gunfire, and those who are hit (usually the nonhumans) spurt blood, explode, are dismembered, and often die. Broken bones, bloody surgical scenes in a vet's office, and violent bullying are common. When humans die, it's usually in a semicomical way, like being frozen and then shattered.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Morty's unrequited lust for a classmate is common fodder for sexually driven content. In one scene, he dreams about Jessica showing him her boobs (the top half of which are shown) and asking him to squeeze them and "knock them around." Background visuals such as wall decor show scantily clad women in suggestive positions. A lesser character's name is Principal Vagina.
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"Hell" and "damn" are frequent flyers.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Rick's alcoholism is central to the plot and drives his erratic and dangerous behavior, all of which is meant to be funny rather than concerning. He's often seen drinking and wears a permanent splotch of booze spittle on his lip.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rick and Morty is intended for mature viewers who can take the copious violence, alcohol consumption, and sexual content in stride. The show centers on a degenerate relationship between an anxious, socially marginal teen and his lunatic lush of a grandfather who drags him into absurd schemes through time and space. In other words, there are no positive role models here; in fact, the show's foundation is the sadistic emotional control Rick wields over Morty. Violence is graphic albeit in a cartoon way, so you'll see body explosions, gushing wounds, weapon use, and some death. Expect some sexually suggestive stuff as well, with hints at nudity (a girl flashes Morty, although only the top part of her breasts is visible) and some bawdy talk about sexuality.
Is It Any Good?
Nurturing, supportive, caring -– these are the markers of grandfathers at their very best, and they're polar opposites to those that describe Rick. He's narcissistic, indulgent, and crass, not to mention a raging alcoholic with no sense of moral judgment. His schemes always spell disaster in some form for his unfortunate grandson, who nevertheless continues to be victimized by Rick's verbal abuse and falls in line time and again.
Rick and Morty does a decent job of putting the fun in a dysfunctional relationship, but it comes at the cost of common decency. It boasts an impressive voice cast, including Sarah Chalke and Chris Parnell as Morty's parents. Still, obviously this isn't one for tweens, and its rampant sexuality and violence make it iffy for most teens. On the other hand, adults could find a guilty pleasure in the characters' bizarre adventures and sci-fi mishaps.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.