Tor.com content by

Destiny Soria

Rick and Morty and Nihilism: Why We Embrace A Show That Cares About Nothing

When I decided to major in English, my parents thought I might use this highly versatile degree to pursue law or medicine. Little did they know that I’d end up applying that (much too) expensive education to analyzing a television show about a drunken, sociopathic mad scientist with a flying space car. Rick and Morty, created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, is pretty much an instant cult classic. Kayla Cobb calls it “a never-ending fart joke wrapped around a studied look into nihilism,” and personally I think she hits the nail on the head with that description. There are probably a thousand different philosophical lenses through which you could study this show and never get bored. And probably someone who is better versed in philosophy should do just that (because yes please!)

The best I can do is follow my own layman’s curiosity down the rabbit hole. What exactly is it about this show’s gleeful nihilism that appeals to so many fans, the vast majority of which would not consider themselves nihilists in any sense of the word? The draw of the show is strong for Millennials in particular, which is odd, since we’re the ones who obsess over Queer Eye’s unbridled optimism, Marie Kondo’s blissful joy, and Steven Universe’s wide-eyed hopefulness in equal measure. In a society enamored by the concept of self (self-care, self-responsibility, self-love), what is so fascinating about a fantasy world that revolves around the destruction of any sense of individual importance? As Morty so succinctly tells his sister, “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die…Come watch TV.”

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Turning Fury into Unicorns: How to Write Through Anger

“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs. Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”

–Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

I want to talk about anger. Well, not really. I’d actually like to talk about unicorns or salted caramel frappucinos (the poor overlooked stepsister of the pumpkin spice latte) or lavender chamomile pillow mist because it is the best invention of all time.

But every time I put my fingers on the keyboard all that seems to come out is anger. With every passing day, the space inside me for unicorns, frappucinos, and lavender chamomile shrinks, while my capacity for pure, incandescent fury only seems to grow and grow.

You know that old writing advice, to write what you know? Well, this is what I know. I know that we all hold a universe inside ourselves, with emotions as scattered and varied as the stars. I know that sometimes those stars shoot through us with celestial splendor. And sometimes those stars collapse into an all-consuming black hole.

[We can either get lost in the fury or turn it into something good. So I decided to write books.]

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