'Rick and Morty': The Iconic "Meeseeks and Destroy" Story Circle, Explained
Every episode of ‘Rick and Morty’ is a balls-to-the-wall thrill ride from start to finish and jam-packed with as many insane jokes, characters, and weird crap as possible. But Episode 5 of Season 1, “Meeseeks and Destroy,” might take the cake.
This is the Mr. Meeseeks episode, where things go from weird to super weird and get really uncomfortable really fast. An army of magical task rabbits go insane and try to kill Jerry; Rick and Morty kill a giant; and Morty gets attacked by a human-sized jelly bean. And that’s not even everything.
If you’ve been following along with this series, then you already know that co-creator Dan Harmon follows an eight-part story circle to make sure everything he writes comes out as a coherent story. This episode was a challenge because as far as the Rick and Morty storyline went, it was basically just an unconnected grab-bag of weird ideas and jokes that the show’s co-creator, Justin Roiland, had thrown onto the page.
Harmon says in the episode’s commentary track, “At a certain point, it was just, like, things were getting so ridiculous with what we were making up that I said, ‘Well, okay, we can do all this, with the Booby Buyer, and all that stuff, if we go back to the beginning and have Rick and Morty say ‘This story is about adventures and whether or not they’re good or bad.’”
“I feel like this is a reflection of you and me, story-wise,” responds Roiland. “Like you’re Rick, and I’m Morty, and it’s like ‘I’m gonna lead an adventure!’ And you’re like, ‘All right.’”
In a complex way, this episode is a story about stories. As Rick and Morty travel along their typical story circle, the journey is about making a good story. Morty makes a bet with Rick in the hopes that he can prove himself worthy of leading an adventure, and Rick spends the whole time pointing out how boring and predictable Morty’s quest is.
Taking a meta-look at their own adventure arcs is absolutely up Rick’s alley. Rick is the smartest human of all time, and he is often seen making coy jabs at the fact that he’s in a TV show. Occasionally, he even breaks the fourth wall. It makes perfect sense that his own sense of adventure is skewed and that he would be deathly bored by a pre-packaged, seemingly aimless journey.
However, the fact that it’s aimless actually ends up leading both characters into complete story circles, including Rick. Which means Rick actually changes at the end of this one! It’s the first time that happens in the show’s run. And it’s not just a half-assed “Rick change,” but a legit, tangible, emotional case of character development.
Mr. Meeseeks is also in this one, but to find out if he follows a story circle of his own, you gotta click that play button up top. Or don’t! Live in the shadow of mystery for the rest of your life, never knowing what the answer is. What’s it to me? I’ll answer: It’s my job. Please watch the video, or I’ll get fired.
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