The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is my first deep dive into Bojack Horseman, one of my favorite shows of all time. This Netflix series was so groundbreaking in how it told the story of a washed-up sitcom star from the 90s, who just happened to be a talking horseman. It was funny, but dark at times.
Okay, it was dark most of the time. But that’s beside the point.
There this show offered so many profound themes and insights on everything from mental illness to toxic cycles. But in this video, I focus on how this show depicted the world of celebrity and celebrity culture. Because Bojack’s story can’t be told without also telling the story of a celebrity with a great many personal issue. And while his story is powerful, I also think it sheds a light on the dark side of being a celebrity and how it affects people.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is another deep dive in to the sick sad world of Daria, the MTV show that captured the spirit of a sick sad era.
For much of the show, Daria is a harsh, but necessary counter to the absurdities and eccentricities of late 90s Lawndale. When crazy and/or dumb things happen, she’s usually the one to call it out. But in one very unique episode, Boxing Daria, we see a different side of Daria. We see that, beyond the stoic cynicism, there’s some vulnerability that rarely comes out. And when it finally shows in an unexpected way, it makes for one of the best moments of the entire show.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It is my full review, reaction, and analysis of season five of “F Is For Family,” the Netflix show from Bill Burr that threatens to put us through a fucking wall. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my first video about “Daria” and was based on an earlier article I wrote a number of years back. I reworked it a bit to make for a better video. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Depending on the response, I may make more “Daria” videos. Enjoy!
When it comes to season finales, most TV shows are hit-or-miss. More often than not, we get more misses than hits. That’s to be expected. Capping off a season of any show, no matter how acclaimed or celebrated it might be, is exceedingly hard. There’s bound to be a sizable portion of fans who don’t care for it.
When a finale does turn out to be a hit, though, it’s all the more precious. Most of us can count on one hand how many genuinely incredible finales we’ve seen over the years. Some shows are better at it than others and even they’re not always consistent.
Then, there’s “Rick and Morty.” Between its colorful fanbase and unique approach to adult animation, it’s one of those rare shows that dares to raise the bar in unexpected ways. It can be obscenely absurd one minute and genuinely heartfelt the next. You just don’t know what you’re going to get, but you often find yourself wanting more.
I’ve praised this show before for is eclectic insights on everything from romance to nihilism. I’ll probably praise it again in the future for its uncanny ability to raise the bar for absurdity, insight, and pickle-based humor. I consider myself a big fan of the show and the events of Season 5 only made me a bigger fan.
Now, I know I haven’t touched on “Rick and Morty” that much since Season 5 began. A while back, I did post my overall reaction to the Season 4 finale and the intrigue it offered. The underlying theme of that season seemed to revolve around Rick gradually losing control over his family and his ability to manipulate Beth, Morty, Summer, and even Jerry.
Relative to previous seasons, this was a major shift. For the first three seasons of the show, we got used to seeing Rick being nigh-invincible in his ability to control a situation. It seemed like nothing anyone did, including his family, could hope to escape is influence.
Then, after Jerry came back into the picture, it seemed to unravel. We saw Rick becoming more and more vulnerable. He could no longer hold his own against big time threats. It all came to ahead when Space Beth returned in “Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri.” This episode established clearly that Rick, as brilliant and capable as he is, cannot handle everything by himself.
While I thought that finale was good, I didn’t think it was great, especially compared to the dramatic finale we got at the end of Season 2. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the Season 5 finale. That’s the main reason why I didn’t speculate on it or post my reactions to the various episodes leading up to it.
I was tempted. Believe me.
This season had some incredibly memorable episodes. Between giant incest babies and replicants, “Rick and Morty” once again pushed the envelope, as only it could. However, it was the finale that made this season one of the most memorable to date. A big part of what made it so impactful was how it finally confirmed the details of Rick’s backstory.
It played out in a recorded memory that had some elements from “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” but we were led to believe that was mostly fabricated. Now, we know the truth and it’s actually a lot more tragic than we thought.
In case you haven’t seen it, here is what Morty saw of Rick’s story when it played out in his mind.
There’s no way around it. This revelation about Rick’s history has a lot of implications. Suddenly, Rick’s behavior and outlook on life throughout the course of this show has a whole new context to it. This is one of those scenes that can completely change the way you watch previous episodes.
Now, we know what makes this Rick, also known as Rick C-137, unique within a vast multiverse full of Ricks. He was once similar to the many Ricks like him. He was a super-genius capable of creating his portal gun to traverse the multiverse. Many other Ricks walked this same path.
Then, another Rick entered the picture. He offers him a chance to join other Ricks, explore the multiverse, and become godlike in his abilities. However, he rejects that offer, choosing instead to remain close to his wife and daughter. That’s not a trivial decision in the grand scheme of things.
The bigger picture implies that no other Rick has walked this path. They all freely abandon their families and their home universe in order to join this unique segment of the multiverse where they reign supreme. Together, these Ricks ensure that they remain at the top of the pecking order.
Then, this one Rick dares to defy that.
He dares to go against what everyone else does.
Unfortunately, he pays a price for that choice. It costs him his family.
Once again, we see a more emotional side of Rick. We see that this version of Rick that we’ve been following since Season One really did love his family. He really did opt to eschew the multiverse in exchange for a simple life with Beth and Diane. However, the rest of the Ricks couldn’t have that.
It leaves him broken, angry, jaded, and driven. Suddenly, his animosity towards other Ricks and the role he played in various interstellar wars has greater meaning. The same could be said with the general callousness and reckless disregard he often displays towards Morty and his family.
It’s not that he doesn’t care on some levels. The flashbacks make clear that he clearly does. However, no matter how much or how little he cares, they’re not the same as the family he lost. He never even found the Rick who killed them. It’s easy to see how that could break a man, even one as smart and capable as Rick Sanchez.
On top of how this re-contextualizes everything that has happened in the past, it has larger implications for the future. The finale ended with Morty opting to help his Rick and reject “evil” Morty’s offer to join him in venturing to a part of the multiverse where Rick isn’t the smartest being. It’s eerily similar to the decision Rick himself made, choosing his family over a chance at greater power.
This effectively gives new importance to Rick and Morty’s connection. Back in Season One, we’re led to believe Rick only hangs around Morty because Morty’s brainwaves block Rick’s from the various other multiverse threats that constantly seek him out. That might have been true to some extent, but this flashback offers greater insight into why he’s such a threat.
Whereas Season 4 made clear that Rick is vulnerable when he has nobody supporting him, Season 5 also makes clear that he’s still capable of so much chaos. After losing his family, he will cross lines that even other Ricks won’t cross. He’s willing to hurt himself and others to get what he wants because he’s already lost everything.
This opens the door for many more upheavals in future seasons. The Rick who killed his family is still out there. “Evil” Morty is now in a part of the multiverse where beings stronger than Rick exist. What happens if one of those beings finds their way back to Rick? What happens if “Evil” Morty is further broken by his journey?
I keep putting “Evil” Morty in quotes because this finale also accomplished something critical in that part of story. At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to call this Morty evil. He’s just sick of Rick and sick of living in a universe where he’s constantly manipulated by Ricks like him. All he wants to do is escape. If that means sacrificing other Ricks and Mortys in the process, so be it.
That final scene is ominous, but intriguing in so many ways. It leads me to wonder where this will take Rick in his never-ending struggle to maintain what little control he has over is world, his family, and all those around him. This finale reminded us that, despite all his genius and know-how, he tends to lose control easily. When he has no support from Morty or his family, losing control seems inevitable.
Even with all these revelations, Rick is still an asshole. There’s no getting around that. However, he’s now an asshole we can understand on a level that wasn’t possible until this finale. His various struggles and myriad of issues are far from over.
I has left me more excited and intrigued for the future of “Rick and Morty” than ever before. I know it may be a while before we get any details on Season 6, but after this finale, I’m willing to be patient.
To everyone else out there who saw the finale and Rick’s confirmed backstory, what do you think? How do you see Rick and Morty’s story playing out from here? Let me know in the comments.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my full review of season one of “Invincible,” an animated series based on a comic series by Robert Kirkman of the same name. In a year where comic fans have been spoiled by great shows like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” this show offers something different. At the same time, it offers a unique story that fits perfectly with the current cultural zeitgeist. I explain why in this video while also just celebrating my love for this show. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a full review of the first three season of “Paradise PD,” a raunchy animated show on Netflix. I’ve covered this show before during previous seasons. I also don’t deny the crude, obscene humor that this show employs. However, it’s still one of those rare shows that makes the obscenity work.
This video is a more comprehensive effort to celebrate the show’s crude humor, as well as the unexpected heart it explores in the latest season. If you have a strong stomach and a good sense of humor, I highly recommend checking out this show. Hopefully, this video will convince you to give it a shot. Enjoy!
Depending on who you ask, we either live in a golden age of television or a deepening dark age. The rise of streaming media and the decline of traditional TV models has completely changed how Hollywood does business. Some say it’s a good thing. Some say it’ll lead to the utter destruction of the entertainment industry, as we know it.
Is it shamelessly desperate in the never-ending fight for more eyeballs and subscribes? Yes, it is.
Is most of it utterly forgettable and completely unfit for the current media landscape? For the most part, it is.
That’s exactly why “The Animaniacs” reboot is such a wonderfully refreshing achievement. It’s doesn’t just bring back a beloved show that many kids in the 90s, myself included, grew up watching. It perfectly captures the spirit of that show while still embracing a modern aesthetic that fits perfectly in 2020.
It helps that this show didn’t try to completely reinvent itself. It brought back the original voice actors for Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. It didn’t significantly change the theme song, the comedic style, or the overall structure of the show. The only noticeable changes were updated animation and a more contemporary setting.
Everything else is as zany, irreverent, and meta as you remember. It’s the same style long-time fans grew to love in the mid-1990s. Remarkably, that style works just as well 22 years later.
A big appeal to that style is just how self-aware the show is of its absurdities. The Warner Brothers, and the Warner Sister, know who and what they are in the grand scheme of things. They gleefully mock, tease, and joke about anything and anyone that crosses their path.
Some of that humor is more mature than a simple pie in the face. Other times, it’s as simple as Dot hitting her brothers with an oversized mallet. Both brands of humor are still funny and cartoonishly over-the-top.
It’s the kind of humor that works for kids and adults alike. That was a big part of what made the original show so popular and endearing. In watching this reboot, I still found myself laughing hysterically at times.
My inner 90s kid and my full-fledged adult delighted in the same jokes and gags. It never felt like my love of the old show was being exploited or mocked. It just felt like a fresh influx of zany comedy that I had missed for 22 years.
Even the Warners acknowledge in the first episode that the world has changed. The type of humor they did in the 90s just won’t land like it once did. That doesn’t stop them from making plenty of 90s reference, but that’s not the sole source of appeal. It’s just a small part of it.
No matter the era, “The Animaniacs” works by sticking to a simple formula. Put Yakko, Wakko, and Dot in a strange situation, be it the gods of Olympus or in search of a donut thief. Then, let them be their zany selves as they encounter various characters and obstacles along the way. The comedy just naturally emerges from there.
This reboot did not radically change that formula, both for the Warners and for Pinky and the Brain. It just updated the dates and settings while not avoiding the many ways the world has changed.
There are hipster douche-bags running donut shops.
There are self-importance CEOs who don’t give a damn about anything other than profits and themselves.
There are assholes who take up way too much space in a movie theater.
Some of these things existed in the 1990s too, but they’re more relevant to current pop culture trends. “The Animaniacs” gleefully and hilariously rides those waves.
That’s not to say that all the jokes land. Not every episode is perfect. Some jokes just don’t land and not every musical number is as memorable as Yakko’s famous countries of the world song. There are still many more hits than misses. I argue their song about reboots is the best of the bunch.
Now, you could say a lot about how relevant “The Animaniacs” is in this current era of adult animation. There’s no doubt the landscape is very different than what it was during the 1990s. This show was part of its own golden era in the 1990s, but that era is long gone.
These days, adult animation is dominated by shows like “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty.” Those shows still utilize comedy, but their brand of humor is a lot darker, built largely on the increasingly cynical trends that have been unfolding since the early 2000s.
I don’t deny that the kids who grew up watching the original Animaniacs weren’t nearly as jaded as kids today. Even before the awfulness of 2020, generations of kids and adults alike have seen a steady decline in hope for the future. Given that kind of attitude, it’s a lot harder for that zany style of comedy to land.
However, “The Animaniacs” reboot finds a way. It resists the urge to fall into the same dark traps as many other failed reboots. It doesn’t try to be “Bojack Horseman” or “Rick and Morty.” It just tries to be the same Animaniacs we know and love.
That’s what makes it work.
That’s what makes it funny.
That’s what makes it totally insaney, even in a year as insane as this.
That’s exactly why I love it and highly recommend it to anyone with a Hulu subscription.
The following is a video for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a bit of a shift from my previous videos. In this, I try to dissect certain TV tropes from some of my favorite shows. For this video, I’m breaking down how capitalism manifests in two distinct characters, namely Montgomery Burns from “The Simpsons” and Bob Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers.”
I’m very curious to see what kind of response I get here. If you like what you see with this video and want to see more like it, please let me know. Thanks and enjoy!