UPDATE: Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has said the dig was Adult Swim’s idea and he was unaware of it. The original article follows.
Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty has taken a shot at the writing on HBO’s juggernaut fantasy show Game of Thrones via a snarky and to-the-point post-credits gag. Many critics – professional and amateur – have bashed the way Season 7 of Game of Thrones has seemingly forgotten about the rules of time and space in its own universe, rushing faster and faster to fit in more-and-more story – and often abandoning any sense of narrative consistency – as it races through its final stretch of episodes.
Over its first few seasons, Game of Thrones wove a complex web of intrigue based on George R.R. Martin’s dense and carefully-crafted fantasy novels, while only occasionally mixing in big action sequences. However, the show eventually outpaced Martin’s novels and the show’s writers were left to concoct their own plots based on Martin’s outline, and gradually the series lost the intricacy that characterized its early storylines. As the show’s budget has swelled, the plot has increasingly been used merely as a means of setting up spectacular set pieces filled with cinema-quality special effects, and much of the story’s nuance has been lost. Things got even more out-of-hand in Season 7 as the episode count was slashed and writers were forced to speed through events at a breakneck pace.
Someone who works on Rick and Morty wanted to offer their own commentary on Game of Thrones‘ writing issues, and got in a brief but very harsh burn. Viewers who watched all the way through the Episode 6 end credits and post-credits gag noticed one final joke flashing on the screen, a joke at the expense of GoT and the writing on the series’ just-concluded seventh season.
Though the writing arguably was problematic throughout Season 7, things really came to a head during the season’s penultimate episode, which featured a number of credibility-stretching moments centered around Jon Snow’s mission to go beyond the wall and capture a wight. Things became so absurd during the episode’s big action scene that afterward director Alan Taylor felt compelled to address everyone’s concerns, admitting that the writers were forced to take liberties with the timeline in order to cram in all the story that needed to be crammed in.
On Game of Thrones, temporal and spatial logic are sometimes messed with in the name of narrative necessity, and the result as we’ve seen can occasionally seem downright clunky. The animated sci-fi series Rick and Morty is also famous for playing with time and space, but does so cleverly and intelligently and always with full awareness of comedic effect. Sometimes the show can be downright dizzying with its multi-dimensional storylines, but you always feel like the writers know exactly what they’re doing and precisely how they’re messing with you.
With Game of Thrones coming under all this fire, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would perhaps be wise to call up Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for a few pointers about how to screw with the laws of physics and not make it seem like you’re totally in over your head. Maybe they could also help GoT smooth over some of its other issues, like the “complicated” Dany and Jon Snow relationship.
Rick and Morty continues in two weeks with ‘The Ricklantis Mixup’ @11:30pm on Adult Swim.
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