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How Rick & Morty Season 5 Episode 5 Mocks You For Hating Jerry

Season 5, episode 5, “Amortycan Grickfitti,” of Rick and Morty comments on “coolness” and “cringey-ness” as well as mocking fans for hating Jerry’s character. The episode focuses a great deal on social dynamics, with Morty and Summer taking Rick’s sentient and vicious ship for an interdimensional escapade to impress Bruce Chutback, the new “cool kid” at their high school.

But Rick, Beth, and Jerry are off on their own mini-misadventure. Rick has been entertaining Cenobites (beings from the Hellraiser universe), with Jerry as the subject of their “pain=pleasure and pleasure=pain” type of entertainment, in order to pay back a debt. While doing karaoke at a bar, Jerry once again provides the Cenobites with laughs while being his authentic self. It’s sad for Jerry because he’s actually having a good time and feeling well-liked. But that illusion is shattered when he’s in a bathroom stall and overhears the truth about everyone’s perception of him. Understandably, he’s bitter, hurt, and feels as though he’s been made a fool of.

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But at the end of the episode, Rick realizes the unfairness of bringing Jerry along for the reasons he did and apologizes to him in a moment of sincerity. He understands that it was wrong to use Jerry’s personality and sense of humor as a way to satiate the Cenobites’ hunger for suffering. Rick says to his son-in-law at the end of season 5, episode 5 of Rick and Morty, “You’re way less cool than me, but it’s not cool of me to celebrate that. If I’m genuinely cool, I should be able to love you…which I, therefore, do. The sentiment is still riddled with a sense of superiority, and it’s a bit of a backhanded compliment. But for Rick, saying something like this to Jerry is a huge step and one that’s surprisingly earnest and compassionate. Jerry has long been the show’s punching bag, with terrible things tending to happen to him and his purposely cringe-invoking, corny dad joke vibe. So it’s interesting that Rick shows such self-awareness in this moment. The scene reads not just as though it’s criticizing everyone who’s been laughing at Jerry’s expense in the episode, but also speaking to the viewers who love to hate Jerry, as well, and to the idea of mocking “uncool” people as a whole.

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Many shows and movies have a specific character who seems to be there to attract eye rolls and condescending or pitying snickers. Jerry certainly isn’t the first of his character’s kind. And his fictional misery can be very funny, as with Rick and Morty’s season 5, episode 2 post-credits scene. But what Rick says about the “uncoolness” of celebrating the perception of holding a higher social standing than someone else is actually quite meaningful. In the show’s typically meta fashion, it forces viewers to, even if only for a second, reevaluate what’s so fun about laughing at someone like Jerry, especially since he’s such a good-hearted guy.

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The Cenobite-centered subplot also works nicely with the social hierarchy and themes of fitting in that Morty, Summer, Bruce, and Rick’s ship face throughout the course of the episode. Though season 5 of Rick and Morty has stayed true to the show’s preposterously zany and irreverently witty nature (a perfect example is “Rickdependence Spray,” where man-eating sperm were on the loose), it’s also seemed to lean into compassionate societal commentary, such as the plausible theory that Planetina in “A Rickconvenient Mort” parallels Britney Spears’ tragic conservatorship situation. “Amortycan Grickfitti” certainly keeps both themes alive.

Next: Rick & Morty Season 5: Is Rick’s Ship Alive?