For those able to appreciate the giggly sounds of belching as easily as interdimensional cable programming and quantum physics, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s sardonically sophomoric animated take on man’s place in the universe returned to Cartoon Network for an eagerly anticipated fourth season. Viewers can now binge all 10 intellectualized pop culture-packed episodes of the season on a single Blu-ray disc in Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Rated TV-MA, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 223 minutes, $44.98).
The story of the greatest alcoholic scientist in the known galaxies Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland) and his otherworldly often interdimensional adventures with grandson Morty Smith (also Justin Roiland) offers an acquired taste in cartooning rife with bloody violence, profanity, and absurdist comedy.
Rick and Morty’s family circle
Upon the layers of extraterrestrial encounters and planetary visits presented, the narrative also simply offers a look at a highly dysfunctional family rounded out by Rick’s granddaughter Summer (Spencer Grammer), daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke) and her moronic husband Jerry (Chris Parnell).
The too-short season chronicled stories such as Rick cloning his daughter, Morty getting a pet dragon, and Rick having relations with a planet while paying homages to heist movies, “Terminator,” “Aliens” and a 1980s trend of film characters falling into a vats of acid.
By far, my favorite of the bunch was “The Old Man and the Seat,” examining an existential crisis within the quandary of a shy pooper when faced with a violation of his sacred space.
High-powered celebrity guest voices also add gravitas to episodes led by Sam Neill and Kathleen Turner as the Monogatron Leader and his Queen, Taika Waititi as app-inventing Monogatron Glootie, Susan Sarandon as family therapist Dr. Wong, Paul Giamatti as the Story Lord and Matthew Broderick as a talking cat.
The animators also upped their game this season, and the glorious high definition presentation is ripe with eye-popping colors, especially dazzling in the episode highlighting in the dragon overloaded fantasy episode “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty.”
And, a big bonus, viewers get all of the uncensored versions of the shows, loaded with f-bombs and angry profanity, and none of the beeps heard on Cartoon Network’s versions.
Rick and Morty’s Best extras:
First, viewers can access previously released, short behind-the-scenes looks (averaging 2 minutes) at each episode as explored by key crew members including directors, writers, and Mr. Harmon and Mr. Roiland explaining some of the methods behind the madness.
Next, a 9-minute overview of the production offers key crew members such as producer Sydney Ryan lamenting about the harried pace of the show and the workload, and also reveals lots of creative types huddled in their cubicles, all chronically behind schedule. Sounds like a fun show to work on, not.
Also, five more featurettes (averaging 3 minutes each) cover creating the sounds of snake jazz, the directors, the props, character creation and animation challenges.
Samurai and Shogun
Finally, viewers get the intriguing, 5-minute cartoon short starring the show’s heroes called “Samurai and Shogun.”
Written and directed by well-known anime creator Kaichi Sato, this masterful, bloody and visceral vignette pays tribute to the legendary anime and manga “Lone Wolf and Cub” as Rick plays a samurai protecting a young boy (Morty) from an onslaught of a ninja.
Additionally, not part of the extras package, but thoroughly entertaining addition to any Ricky and Morty fan’s pop culture collection is the Funko Pop! release of deluxe vinyl set No. 694 ($26.99) forever tied to the Season 4 episode, “The Old Man and the Seat.”
Rick and Morty King of $#!+
Aptly titled “King of $#!+,” the 7-inch-tall mini-diorama has a big-headed Rick sitting on a toilet, pants down around his ankles and arms resting on thighs as he stoically contemplates life and death while wearing an ornate purple crown bestowing on him the honor of the King of $#!+.
Details include a grassy green base adorned with wildflowers, a half-used roll of mounted toilet paper, Rick with a swiveling head and dressed in his white lab coat, and, get this, with a push of a purple button within the toilet sitting area, a short selection of complementary sound effects.
Specifically, the sounds include a flush as well as a pair of iterations of noises originating from the large intestine released to the world that would result in the requiring of a flush, if you get my drift.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.