Time and time again, Rick and Morty has returned to the same point: as intelligent as Rick (Justin Roiland) is, he’s incapable of change. Yet one of the grossest episodes in Season 6 directly challenges that assumption. “Analyze Piss” stands as the spiritual sequel to “Pickle Rick”, an episode that not only follows Rick as he goes to therapy but shows him actually learning from it. Spoilers ahead.
After being confronted by another batch of wacky supervillains, Season 6, Episode 8 follows Rick as he goes to Dr. Wong (Susan Sarandon) with a clear problem. He wants this “never-ending sea of angry nerds” to stop attacking him. In response, Dr. Wong gives Rick possibly the most therapy-approved advice in the history of the universe. If Rick truly wants to be rid of these zany characters, then he needs to stop responding to them.
True to form, Rick takes Dr. Wong’s advice as a personal challenge, and, by his own metric of success, it’s a competition that he almost immediately loses. When he ignores a foe by the name of Piss Master (Will Forte), it’s Jerry (Chris Parnell) who steps up to defeat him, not Rick. Likewise, when a mean green bean later looks to Rick for a fight, he finds his match thanks to a buckle-wielding alien instead of apathetic Rick. The more Rick ignores the toxic and odd characters around him, the more he comes to realize that he never actually “needed” to confront these foes. Instead, he was being pressured by their desires, allowing their insecurities to define how he lived his life and transform him into the person they wanted him to be. It’s only by stepping out of the fight that Rick is able to retake control of his life.
Somehow this culminates in Rick donning the pee-soaked clothes of his former enemy, Piss Master, to fight crime. But much like Dr. Wong’s other episode — “Pickle Rick” — there is a surprising amount of depth behind this ridiculous episode.
“Analyze Piss” doesn’t just question Rick’s coping mechanisms and emotional maturity. It questions those of the show itself. For six seasons now, Rick and Morty has defined itself through conflict. Some alien threat emerges, and more often than not, the comedy comes from Rick’s overblown response to it. By breaking this cycle, Rick and Morty isn’t merely pointing out that this feedback loop is, in fact, unhealthy. It’s highlighting that this show as well as most television in general glorifies unhealthy patterns of behavior for entertainment’s sake. Much like how “Pickle Rick” proved that unresolved issues often stand alongside elaborate power fantasies, “Analyze Piss” proves that these toxic cycles can be broken without sacrificing quality or humor.
If this were any other show, this Season 6 episode would have pitted Rick against Dr. Wong. The comedy would have deprived from the two selfishly competing over which technique for self-betterment was “best” or Rick continuously misreading Dr. Wong’s guidance as a challenge. Instead, Rick and Morty remains respectful to both of these characters’ intellect and motivation. Of course when Rick finally decides to take therapy seriously, he essentially speedruns it. Now only time will tell if Rick has really changed for the healthier or if this was a fluke.
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