Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty, while distant from being a basis of political propaganda, have been packed with good old science fiction while having a subtle social criticism wrapped of callous jokes.
Rick, a sociopath and alcoholic scientist which was entitled as the smartest mammal in the universe runs the spontaneous intergalactic adventure with his alter-ego grandson, Morty. This animated science fiction television sitcom, specially, my favorite, sixth episode of season two, “The Ricks Must Be Crazy,” has poked fun at various significant issues in today’s society.
Slavery with extra steps
The episode runs around Rick trying to fix his Space Cruiser’s ‘Microverse battery’ when it behaved wrong in the middle of their alternate multiverse adventure for movies and ice cream. Inside the battery is a universe inhabited by sentient beings whose sole purpose is only providing Rick free electricity to power his engine and charge his phone and stuff.
This is unknowingly done by the people of the Microverse by stepping continually on a device made by Rick called the Gooblebox, which converts their movement to generate electricity sending 20 terawatts of juice up to Rick’s engine.
Upon seeing this, Morty reacts to his scientist grandfather for “enslaving” an entire planet for the sake of energy. Rick, however, argued that he just created a functioning society whose byproduct is electricity. Morty rebuts seeing through Rick’s poor rationalization and convinced that the Microverse’s civilization is founded on “slavery with extra steps.”
The civilization Rick made is a metaphor of Marxist interpretation of capitalism. Which the people in the labor produces surplus value, and regarded as the profit of the capitalist. Surplus value is the additional value which the worker produces but does not getting paid for, which is an abundant setup in the country, allowing capitalist to gain.
The surplus value is in the form of additional energy generated by the Microverse beings, as most of the energy is silently taken by Rick for his own gain. Same rationalization with the defenders of capitalism, they see this setup as justified as it enables society to function.
How lies power society
In order to maintain such system, Rick disguised as an ruling elite alien and established culture and thought some of its made up language like “fuck you” as an equivalent for peace and “blow me” as a reply. There is also an event like Ricksgiving, as well as the education system which is centered around legitimizing Rick as an elite and a hero.
This is similar to how our present culture is engineered to legitimize certain people and groups: not because of their moral uprightness, but relative to how they advance the narrative of the ruling elite. In our case, this may be seen in how holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day both encourage the expression of love through consumerism – through purchasing things – in spite of supposedly being about generosity.
The problem of Rick’s Microverse battery is that, people of the Microverse, led by brilliant scientist Zeep Zanflorp has made a device similar to Rick’s battery, which is also has a universe inside called “Miniverse” and has the same setup. Rick pointed out Zeep’s method of gaining energy as “unethical,” using the same words Morty used to criticize Rick and Zeep used the previous words of Rick to justify the means.
Rick convinced Zeep to went inside the Miniverse and learned that there is also a move that obsoleting Zeep’s invention by creating a similar device battery which to be called “Teenyverse” but still in the making.
this show presents us, although in a comedic manner, the moral dilemmas surrounding modern day slavery and how the status quo justifies it. It also challenges our pride: how far are we willing to justify how things are in spite of the exploitation and deception being experienced by people? And are we only so willing to rationalize slavery just so we can run our cars and charge our phones?