Culture Feature

I Animated Memes, Muppets, and Statues with "Deep Nostalgia"

MyHeritage's new software makes it a breeze to turn creepy artwork into horrifying animation...

In recent years machine learning programs have revolutionized the field of video editing.

So called "deepfakes," which require minimal training, access to a lot of footage, and no special equipment have made it possible for ordinary hobbyists to seemlessy and effortlessly superimpose one person's face onto another person's body.

Keep Reading Show less
TV Reviews

"Rick and Morty" Just Invented a "Fifth Wall" (and Busted Right Through It)

It doesn't make much sense, but it's a hell of a lot of fun

The phrase "breaking the fourth wall" refers to the idea that the audience of visual storytelling is watching through an invisible barrier.

If a normal living room has four walls, the set of a sitcom living room has three, and the camera peers through the empty space where the fourth wall would be. Ignoring the camera, the audience, and the incomplete room maintains the basic illusion of the sitcom's world—the illusion that the living room has a fourth wall. When a work of fiction acknowledges that it isn't real—as Rick and Morty has been doing since its early episodes—that is breaking the fourth wall. It's usually what people are talking about when they refer to a work of fiction being "meta."

Keep Reading Show less
CULTURE

Jenna Jameson Just Accused a Buzzfeed Reporter of Being a Pedophile

She has left the earth behind to become a full-blown right-wing conspiracy nut.

On Saturday night Jenna Jameson tweeted screenshots of a tweet and a blog post from Ryan Broderick, a senior reporter at Buzzfeed News, with the text "You monsters can't hide, we see you."

The tweet was part of a series on the topic of elite pedophilia that Jameson sent out Saturday evening, including a link to a video attacking Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon for "Daryl," an offensive sketch he made in 2009. According to the video that Jameson shared, a comedic performer using a doll to simulate sexual crimes (in undeniably poor taste) is evidence that he actually endorses those crimes, and according to Jameson's tweet, screenshots of jokes Broderick made eight years ago indicate a "persistent sexual attraction to children."

Jenna Jameson is possibly the most famous adult film star of all time, and she used that career to launch a massively successful website and a best-selling autobiography. But you wouldn't know that from scrolling through a Twitter timeline dominated by tweets praising Donald Trump, attacking Planned Parenthood, and criticizing vaccination laws. It's not how she earned her fame, but to more than 720,000 twitter followers, Jameson has become little more than an unhinged conservative commentator.

When Jameson left the adult film industry in 2008, she did so with a dramatic proclamation that she would "never, ever, ever spread my legs again in this industry. Ever." Since that time she has gone through a number of transformations, including becoming a mother to three kids, converting to Orthodox Judaism, going sober, and achieving some dramatic weight loss. But none of her transformations can compare to her political realignment.

Jenna Jameson Weight Loss Instagram

During the 2008 Democratic primaries she was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton and resented the fact that Republican administrations often targeted the adult film industry "to make a point," but by 2012 she had shifted to supporting Mitt Romney, citing economic motives—"When you're rich, you want a Republican in office." A few years later, seemingly motivated by a growing antipathy for Islam and a suspicion of Syrian refugees, Jameson announced her support of Donald Trump in November of 2015. And in various tweets since then she has attacked LGBTQ acceptance, endorsed T.I.'s concern for his daughter's hymen, and promoted military action against Iran. So far so awful, but there's nothing that unusual about the politics of patriarchy and hatred in America. Things only become really weird when hateful people attempt to take the moral high ground from the rest of us.

According to the worldview of people like Jenna Jameson, anyone who thinks abortion rights should be protected hates babies, and anyone who thinks children should be taught not to feel shame about sex and sexuality has some nefarious motive. According to them, any sense that we are trying to build a more humane world can only be a front to cover up some evil plot. Enter Comet Ping Pong and the Pizzagate conspiracy.

Pizzagate

Hollywood, Democratic politicians, and the liberal media elite are all, apparently, entangled in an elaborate satanic child sex trafficking operation that involves coded social media posts and a basement in Washington D.C. that doesn't exist. The fact that a social media account for a pizzeria with ping pong tables makes frequent references to cheese pizza and features images of children playing ping pong is a deeply suspicious puzzle, the name Alefantis is an alias based on the French "les enfants," and a gay man can not care about children without being a pedophile. And central to the whole scheme is the woman Jameson once hoped would be president: Hillary Clinton.

These are the absurd overreaches that separate the Pizzagate conspiracy from the sickening reality that the Jeffrey Epstein case began to lay bare. It has become an undeniable fact that there are networks of wealthy pedophiles who use their power to protect themselves and each other from exposure and prosecution. In many ways this revelation has come as part of a general change in the conversation around sex abuse.

People like Dan Harmon and Ryan Broderick probably don't need to push the envelope with jokes about horrifying sexual crimes when there are prominent figures getting away with those crimes on a regular basis—and with the assistance of law enforcement and powerful members of the media. But the idea of looking back at old jokes from 2009 or 2012 and seeing them as evidence of participation in those crimes is absurd. It implies that literally everyone in the media is involved and has known about these crimes all along. It implies that Tom Hanks is a monster. And that kind of implication is the foundation of Mike Cernovich's "journalism"—of which Jenna Jameson is apparently a big fan.

Since inspiring a man to take an assault rifle into Comet Ping Pong in late 2016, alt-right star Mike Cernovich has focused on cataloguing jokes about child molestation as evidence of actual perversion and involvement in the vast child abuse conspiracy. Ryan Broderick became his latest target in a recent post to his personal website shortly after Broderick published a story that led to the deplatforming of a pro-Trump group that was pushing a conspiracy theory about the Coronavirus. According to the conspiracy theory—which Jameson herself helped spread—a Chinese scientist, who was identified for the purposes of doxing, had created the Coronavirus as a bioweapon for the purposes of sterilization and population control.

Cernovich has been helping to spread misinformation on the topic, and it's hard not to see it as retaliation when he sifts through thousands of tweets to find a joke—since deleted—mocking men who identify themselves as hebephilic to avoid the label of pedophile. Ryan Broderick's 2012 tweet pleading for Barack Obama to legally differentiate "between us good-natured hebephiles and amoral pedophiles" could hardly be more obviously intended as a joke, but that is not a legitimate defense in Cernovich's worldview.

He has previously used similar tactics to get director James Gunn fired from the Guardians of the Galaxy series—a position to which he has since been reinstated. It's kind of his whole deal. What's strange is to see Jenna Jameson falling for this, and being sucked so thoroughly into this kind of conspiratorial thinking that she ends up sharing homophobic propaganda from decades past. Five years ago, Jameson was tweeting support for gay marriage in the United States. Over the weekend she shared a link to a piece of protest writing that has been misconstrued and held up as proof of a pedophilic "gay agenda" since the 90s, in efforts to suppress gay rights.

Where did this come from? There is generally an expectation that someone with a background in sex work will have fairly open and accepting views when it comes to the politics of sex and sexuality, but in all her social media profiles Jameson ignores her past and chooses to label herself as a mom above all else. The natural fears that come with raising children seem to have combined with shame about her past, a convert's religious zeal, and a ton of right-wing propaganda to send her racing away from openness and acceptance. She has converted to a faith that tells her that so much of what she did with her life was wrong—that even her tattoos are wrong.

She wants to protect her children from the kind of mistakes she made and from so many of the scary things in the world. Terrorist attacks, school shootings, sexual predators, bullies. It's understandable that the world could start to seem like it's aligned against her—like there are powerful forces trying to corrupt and harm her children. And even efforts to help children, if they don't match her own plans, start to look like insidious plots. Vaccines will give your children autism. The coronavirus will sterilize them. And sex ed will send them down a sad, dark path that their mother knows too well.

With all the real-world problems that she wants to protect her children from, Jameson has allowed right-wing paranoia to infect her worldview. Religion, nationalism, and the politics of sexual repression provide a sense of shelter… but they also lead her to accuse a random Buzzfeed writer of being a pedophile. She has fallen fully down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole.

TV

The 50 Best TV Shows of the Decade

Did your favorites make the list?

The 2010s saw the advent of binge-watching.

Thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, it was suddenly possible to watch multiple episodes of a single TV series in one sitting without the interruptions of commercials. As the way we watched TV changed, so too did the kind of shows we watched. Gone was the overabundance of vapid, sugary-sweet sitcoms, and in came the era of political satire, dramatic comedies, and searing commentaries on everything from abortion to Hollywood. Summarily, the 2010s saw a golden age of television. Here are our 50 favorites, with the top 25 and bottom 25 listed in alphabetical order.

The Top 25 TV Shows of the 2010s

Atlanta

Atlanta Donald Glover

Atlanta first aired in 2016, with Donald Glover's Earn learning that his cousin Alfred has released a hit song under the stage name Paper Boi. Since then, the show has followed Earn's struggle to navigate different worlds as he takes over managing his cousin's burgeoning music career while also trying to be a good father to his daughter, Lottie, and to prove himself to Van, his ex-girlfriend and Lottie's mother. The show uses varying perspectives to flesh out the city of Atlanta and the complexities of being black in America with surreal touches that highlight the real-world absurdity. Yet despite the heaviness of much of its subject matter, it frequently manages to be among the funniest shows on TV.

Barry

Barry Bill Hader

For anyone who ever wondered whether or not SNL-alum Bill Hader could carry a serious TV show, Barry answers with an overwhelming "yes." To be clear, Barry is technically a dark comedy, or perhaps a crime comedy-drama, but Bill Hader brings a level of unprecedented seriousness to his titular character that oftentimes makes the show feel like a straight tragedy.

Playing a hitman who wants to leave his life of crime behind in order to pursue a career in acting, Bill Hader imbues Barry with an earnestness that makes us as an audience truly want him to succeed. This likability serves to make Barry's violent acts all the more disturbing. Barry's greatest success is its ability to effortlessly fluctuate between the quirks of life as a struggling actor in LA and the violent inclinations of a man who murders for a living and can never really escape that truth. It's one of the best character studies currently on TV and is sure to cement Bill Hader as an extremely versatile A-list talent.

Baskets

Baskets Zacj Galifianakis

Baskets premiered on FX in 2016, telling the story of Chip Baskets, an aspiring clown played by Zach Galifianakis, who is moving back to Bakersfield, California to live with his mother after a failed stint at clown school in Paris. Galfianakis' talent for melancholy slapstick makes the show by turns hilarious and touching, but it's his mother Christine Baskets—artfully portrayed by Louie Anderson—whose simple enthusiasm for small-town life makes the show one of the best of the decade. Watching Christine, Chip, and his twin brother Dale (also Galifianakis) heighten relatable family drama to exquisite absurdity never gets old.

Black Mirror

Nothing would be the same without Black Mirror. Though its later seasons have been inconsistent in quality, its earliest contributions were digital horror at its finest, with some of the episodes being downright visionary in terms of how accurately they predicted the near future. From the nostalgic visions of virtual afterlife in "San Junipero" to the eerie foresight of "Nosedive" and its digital ranking systems, Black Mirror made an indelible impact.

Bob's Burgers

Bob's Burgers

Whatever you've heard about Family Guy or South Park, Bob's Burgers is the true successor to the golden age of The Simpsons. The Belcher family offers an update to The Simpsons' satirical view on middle class family life that reflects how America has changed since the 90s—slightly more urban, with less overt child abuse and a lot more economic precarity. And just as with the best seasons of The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers maintains a touching core of familial love and solidarity amid the absurd hijinks and veiled political commentary. Throw in the added value of the frequently hilarious, occasionally moving musical numbers, and Bob's Burgers easily secures a spot as one of the best shows of the decade.

Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman

In terms of the quality of its writing, BoJack Horseman outdid itself season after season. What began as a parody of Hollywood's excesses quickly turned into a searing, and boundary-pushing meditation on depression, addiction, and what it means to change (or to be unable to). Increasingly self-aware and conscious of its hypocritical tendency to obsess over the misadventures of an evil but sympathetic celebrity, thereby glorifying them while criticizing them, BoJack Horseman is the political, devastating, timely, often hilarious show about an animated horse that none of us knew we needed. It's buoyed by the strength of its secondary characters, from the workaholic Princess Carolyn to asexual Todd to self-loathing Diane, and altogether the show takes deep-rooted fears that many share and refracts them in a funhouse mirror that's impossible to look away from.

Broad City

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson began producing an independent web series about their struggles to "make it" in New York City in 2009. Soon, Amy Poehler took interest in the series, and it moved to Comedy Central in 2014. The smash hit comedy was not only laugh-out-loud funny, but a beautiful portrait of a genuinely healthy, supportive female friendship—something TV has historically seen little of. Broad City can be credited for helping to usher in a new generation of female comedy creators and has become a cultural touchstone for millenials.

Catastrophe

catastrophe rob delaney

Catastrophe, created and written by the show's stars, Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, is one of the realest, grossest, and funniest takes on love and the mess of life. Two people entering middle age meet and hit it off, they spend a reckless night together, and when she gets pregnant, they decide to make things work—not realizing how complicated that will be. It's a simple enough premise, but the cutting dialogue and the absurd comedy that plays out as two near-strangers build a life together make Catastrophe one of a kind.

Fargo

Anthology series like True Detective and American Horror Story can be really hit or miss, but in the three seasons that have aired on FX since 2014, Fargo has been consistently great. Maybe it has to do with the leisurely production schedule, the all-star cast, or the near-perfect movie that forms the basis for its tone, but whatever the cause, Fargo delivers murderous midwestern tragicomedy better than any show on TV—and nearly as well as the original. Season three, which followed the rivalry of the Stussy brothers—as played by Ewan McGregor—deserves a particular call-out, with season four due next year and featuring Chris Rock, Timothy Olyphant, and Jason Schwartzman.

Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's stage-play-turned-two-season-TV masterpiece took the world by storm at the end of the 2010s. In the series, the viewer is made into the protagonist's (an unnamed woman played by Bridge) confidante as she uses sex to cope with grief and complicated family dynamics. As the show progresses, the closely protected inner life of the protagonist begins to reveal itself. Many consider the second season to be an essentially perfect season of television, in large part because of the hot priest (played by Andrew Scott). Fleabag is a funny, searing commentary on what it means to exist as a sexual, complicated being in a world with ever-changing expectations of women.

Grace and Frankie

70 is the new 30, or 20, or whatever arbitrary year of life we as a culture are deciding to glorify for no reason, because age is just a number. If you weren't aware that Jane Fonda glowed with money or that Lily Tomlin is our collective spiritual mother, then Grace and Frankie enlightened you. When two septuagenarian women are told that their husbands are gay and in love with each other, the best phase of their lives begins.

Haikyu!!

Haikyu!!

It's almost 2020, the world is upside down, and yes, an anime about high school volleyball is genuinely one of the best shows of the decade. Haikyu!!, literally "Volleyball" in Japanese, is about the trials and tribulations of the Karasuno High School Boys Volleyball Team. Unlike pretty much every other high school sports anime out there, Haikyu!! takes a relatively realistic approach to...well...high schoolers playing sports. In doing so, Haikyu!! translates the genuine passion that goes into high school sports and the real dynamics of teamwork, better than any other show I've ever seen.

The protagonist, Hinata, isn't a superpowered Volleyball God; he's an extremely short boy who can't reach the top of the net, but works his butt off because he loves the game. Likewise, all the other boys in Haikyu!! have realistic strengths and weaknesses (both on and off the court) that they work to overcome with help from their teammates. Haikyu!! is an exercise in wholesomeness––there are no villains, just other kids at other schools who love the same sport our boys do––and in a decade full of so much bitterness, it's a much needed dose of medicine.

Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter

For anyone who likes long-running shonen anime, Hunter x Hunter is, without a doubt, the pinnacle of the genre. While the original manga began publication in 1998, and a previous anime adaptation ran from 1999-2001, the 2011 adaptation re-started the series from scratch and, most importantly, covered the Chimaera Ant arc (or season––kind of––for you non-anime watchers).

The entirety of Hunter x Hunter is fantastic, featuring likeable protagonists, dastardly villains, and a brilliantly creative power system called "Nen." But there's a reason the Chimaera Ant arc is often considered the greatest shonen arc ever, and that's because it's a total deconstruction of the genre's tropes and conventions. Everything from the "always optimistic protagonist" to "the ultimate evil villain" is turned completely inside-out. The Chimaera Ant arc is intensely brutal and ultimately poignant, making us question the very nature of what makes us human.

Killing Eve

Phoebe Waller-Bridge can do no wrong, and even if she could and did, I'd probably still clap. The combination of Waller-Bridge's cutting wit and Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer's flawless performances makes for a TV show that never quite lets you find your balance before sending you spinning again. It's dark and surreal, while managing to still be deeply human.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Being a professional stand-up comedienne is hard, but being Midge Maisel is wrapping chaos in a designer dress. Created by the fast-talking husband and wife behind Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel created a stage for Rachel Brosnahan to showcase her comedic timing and Alex Borstein to be a solid, deadpan pillar within Mrs. Maisel's world of quippy, fast-talking, energy. Also Michael Zegen (Joel) is dead cute.

Mob Psycho 100

While One Punch Man might be manga artist One's best known series (and is fantastic in its own right), his other series, Mob Psycho 100, is profound in a way quite unlike anything else I've seen. The show revolves around Mob, an awkward, unconfident middle school boy with god-like psychic powers. Any other shonen anime would use this premise as a gateway to epic battles (and there are a few, and their animation is absolutely incredible), but Mob Psycho 100 focuses far more on the coming-of-age angle instead.

See, Mob doesn't like his psychic powers because they make him feel weird. So instead of focusing on the one thing he's innately talented at but doesn't like, Mob tries to improve himself in the ways he actually cares about improving––making friends, talking to girls, working out with his school's Body Improvement Club. If anything, Mob's incredible psychic powers are a backdrop for the show's larger message––that no person, no matter what natural abilities they may have, is better than anyone else. Mob Psycho 100 shows that everyone has their own struggles, and that the only person you should ever hold yourself up in comparison to is the person you were yesterday.

The OA

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij's labyrinthine show only ran for two seasons, but it managed to earn a cult following during that time. Deeply weird, profoundly earnest, and full to the brim with observations on the connections between the environment, parallel universes, and technology, the two seasons that we do have are irreplaceable and paradigm-shifting examples of what TV could become, if we let ourselves believe.

Orange Is the New Black

Orange is the New Black

Piper Kerman's post-grad rebellious stage went from a felony to a cultural touchstone. As Netflix's most-watched original series, OITNB boasted a female-led cast and cutting commentary on race, class, and the industrial prison complex.

PEN15

Those who didn't have a gruelingly awkward middle school experience are, by scientific evidence, simply inhuman. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle tell it best in Hulu original PEN15, which co-stars the real-life BFFs (who also wrote and executive produced together) as 13-year-olds. Here, there's no sugarcoating the calamities of tweenhood, whether they're as trivial as thongs and AIM messaging or as weighty as race identity. All delivered with Erskine and Konkle's razor-sharp wit, it's absolutely hysterical to anyone who's lived past the seventh grade.

Rick and Morty

"To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty. The humour is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer's head."

Okay, so first things first, we need to separate Rick and Morty from the Rick and Morty fandom. The Rick and Morty fandom is so annoying that memes making fun of them are barely distinguishable from the things they actually say. But, to be fair, Rick and Morty really is a great show full of smart writing, surprisingly deep characterization, and the exact kind of bizarre, abstract humor that lends itself perfectly to endless memes. No doubt, Rick and Morty will be the defining animated comedy of the 2010s.

Russian Doll

This tightly-wound and big-hearted thriller stars Natasha Lyonne as a jaded New Yorker who gets caught in a loop in time and has to relive the night of her 36th birthday party over and over again. A perfect blend of humor and seriousness, and riddled with quantum leaps and profound connections, it's as satisfying as it is provocative.

Shameless

Shameless

We fell in love with the trainwreck family the Gallaghers when it debuted on Showtime in 2011. William H. Macy brought so much toxic charm to the abusive and neglectful father Frank Gallagher that we actually found him, if not likable, then good television. Emmy Rossum managed to cause tears and laughter within the same scene, and the entire cast was as impressive as their characters were appalling.

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

After the first season of Attack on Titan premiered in 2013, it received so much hype that even people outside of the anime community were raving about it. The show featured an incredibly high-concept premise, following the last surviving humans as they tried to fight back against giant, man-eating monsters called Titans. Had Attack on Titan stuck to that premise, it would have been top-notch action-horror, albeit not necessarily one of the best shows of the decade.

But Attack on Titan turned out to be so much bigger than its initial premise. As the seasons progressed, Attack on Titan reshaped itself time and time again, leading viewers through an increasingly complex, expertly plotted narrative featuring some of the most compelling characters and intensely emotional moments that I've ever experienced in fiction. At its core, Attack on Titan is a deeply thematic contemplation on war, othering, and humanity's will to survive against impossible odds, alongside the moral sacrifices they oftentimes make to do so.

Shrill

It shouldn't be revolutionary for a show to feature a fat female lead, but it is. Shrill, the brilliant Hulu adaptation of Lindy West's memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, gave audiences a badly needed narrative about a woman who is actively seeking to change her life for the better, in ways that have nothing to do with her body. It's funny, it's heartfelt, and it shows a woman getting an abortion and finding it empowering. Woah. Hell yes.

Steven Universe

When Steven Universe first aired on Cartoon Network in 2013, it was a light-hearted and silly children's show with some super-powered action from the Crystal Gems and a lot of silly jokes from their sidekick—the childish titular character. Since then an entire galaxy has been fleshed out around the boardwalk of Beach City where much of the show takes place. Along with the alien gem creatures and their elaborate history, the show has introduced us to a cast of characters that have grown and changed—overcoming insecurities and facing complex questions of love and identity. While Steven matured and developed into a hero worthy of his last name, the show evolved to become one of the best of the decade.

25-50 Top TV Shows of the 2010s

  • American Horror Story
  • Archer
  • Big Mouth
  • Community
  • Homeland
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • iZombie
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Jessica Jones
  • Justified
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Love
  • Stranger Things
  • Suits
  • The Good Place
  • The Newsroom
  • This Is Us
  • True Detective
  • Unreal

VeepThe 5 Worst TV Shows of the 2010s9-1-1

  • Chicago PD
  • Daybreak
  • Once Upon a Time
  • What/If
Adult Swim

Since the pilot of Rick and Morty aired nearly six years ago, the show has become a cult phenomenon, responsible for at least one condiment-inspired crisis, and around 100,000 ill-advised tattoos.

Rick tattoo Pictured: A good decisionTattoo Life

As of May of last year, the series had become such a cultural force that Adult Swim ordered an astounding 70 new episodes, likely to add up to seven seasons of premium Sanchez-Smith goodness. This would put the series total at just over 100 episodes, which is the traditional threshold for a show to enter syndication—meaning a different episode can rerun every weeknight for 20 straight weeks, making it a valuable property for networks to snatch up.

But will any of that conventional TV wisdom even apply by the time these ordered episodes are delivered? More importantly, will those tattoos hold up for the entire run, or will they stretch and fade and have to be lasered off or covered up with characters from whatever show replaces Rick and Morty as the go-to-source for high-IQ pop-culture references? Considering the pace at which episodes have been produced in past seasons, we are looking at at least another decade and change of the familiar high-concept sci-fi shenanigans…or are we?

Rick and Morty Season 4 Opening Sequence | adult swim www.youtube.com

The first episode of season four contains some hints about what the show's future is likely to hold, and it may not be what fans have come to expect. The first clues come from the show's new opening sequence. Each year, Rick and Morty's eerie Theremin theme plays over a new set of frenetic snapshot-scenes sampled from the season. Season four's intro includes five such snapshots that we can comb for clues: Morty as two different horrifying monsters—(1) a mutant tentacle-head sprouting smaller heads, and (2) a kraken-like sea-giant a la Clash of the Titans—(3) a ripped dude with a chin-strap beard beating the sh*t out of Rick, and two scenes of battle within the Smith household—(4) Rick fighting a two-headed goose, and (5) a tiny cyborg creature fighting a bunch of evil snakes.

Also, none of them feature Jerry, so they're definitely about to kill of JerryAdult Swim

The Clash of the Titans scene includes the nostril-headed aliens from "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" and, if I had to guess, I would say that the chin-strap dude—who is wearing two magic-looking rings—may be a send-up of Thanos. Other than that, these snapshots don't tell us much. The series is built on violent confrontation with strange creatures, and Morty is pretty much constantly being transformed into some monstrous shape or another. But when coupled with the episode's conclusion, we may gain some insight. After an eventful day of Morty becoming a monomaniacal, future-focused monster, and Rick randomly battling Nazis, they land on "split the diff" as the moral—both planning for the future and living in the moment—and set off their latest 100-years riff while Summer insults them in the background.

The whole 100-years bit dates back to the pilot, but now that the show has been all-but guaranteed to run into the 2030s, the joke feels a little on the nose, so the writers took the opportunity to establish the ethos for the show going into the distant future. In Morty's words: "Sometimes we'll do classic stuff, other times we'll do whatever. 100 years, Rick and Morty. Not sticking to one path, trying different things making sure to keep out of a rut. Doing stuff; sometimes not doing stuff. Going it alone or together. Making sure we keep our eyes on the prize, but also, sometimes just relaxing."


Rick and Morty Forever 100 Years | Rick and Morty | Adult Swim www.youtube.com


The writers clearly want to avoid the trap that so many long-running series fall into—always pushing things a little further, until it just becomes a parody of itself. So they're announcing a plan to take a more flexible approach to the kind of stories they're going to tell. With that in mind, maybe we can look to the snapshot scenes of the goose and the little cyborg guy as indicative of the show's potentially broader direction. Neither of these scenes are really suggestive of the kind of over-the-top action that this premiere episode—and the series in general—tend to focus on. Sure, they're both violent, but it's a tamer, more domestic violence. Rather than making the explosions bigger, the aliens weirder, and the plotting Rick-and-Mortier, the show seems to be saying that it will spend a bit more time at home, focusing on the Smith family, making room for episodes to be driven by the classic sitcom family drama, with Rick and Morty's irreverent banter, and maybe just a sprinkling of sci-fi craziness.


Rick and Morty domestic scenes Adult Swim


Of course, the other interpretation is that the writers have no idea how they're going to produce so many more episodes, and are trying not to get hung up on any long-term vision. So, with only four more episodes currently scheduled, and another 65 more floating in the ether, speculation may be a bit premature. Of course, the real question is how many of those 65 episodes will end up being shadow-puppet theater that takes place in Dan Harmon's bunker beneath the irradiated waste of 2030s LA. I'm betting 20, but I've always been an optimist.

TV

TV's Most Accurate Depictions of Mental Illness

Rather than glamorizing a correlation between art and despair, these shows portray the unlikeable, unattractive, and unsexy aspects of a self-destructive personality.

Entertainment Tonight

From insane villains to mad geniuses, media has alternated between stigmatizing and romanticizing mental illness.

But a growing number of TV shows are portraying the full realities of neurodivergence with messy depictions of the unsexy struggles that mark daily survival. While shows like Netflix's 13 Reasons Why have been criticized for glamorizing suicide and violence, these popular shows have been hailed for conveying (mostly) accurate experiences with depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma.

1. Jessica Jones - PTSD

Marvel's Jessica Jones | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix youtu.be

Jessica (Krysten Ritter) is a flawed hero who defies the trope of "perfect victim," or a character who experiences a single traumatic event and seems to develop a sense of closure with unwavering grace. Instead, she struggles to cope with her trauma, instead drinking excessively, lashing out at loved ones, and developing self-destructive habits. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg described the series' approach to PTSD, abuse, and sexual assault: "Playing them as honestly as possible was very much the objective from the beginning. The tone is meant to be very grounded and real, so you have to be very grounded and real with whatever subjects you're dealing with. So there was no glossing this over. It was really an exploration of a survivor and her healing, to the degree that she does, in facing those demons quite literally."

2. The Act - Munchausen by Proxy

The Act - Dee Dee scrapes Gypsy's hair Scene | 1x01 youtu.be

Patricia Arquette plays Dee Dee Blanchard, an unstable mother who abused her daughter (Joey King) for decades. Aside from Hulu series' painstaking accuracy in depicting the abuse, Dr. Marc Feldman says the show "presents the horrors of Munchausen by proxy quite well, although this might be the most extreme case in history." He qualifies that The Act is incredibly specific to the actual details of the Blanchard case, but in other instances of Munchausen by Proxy "the mother may have other activities besides just caretaking for her child, whereas in The Act, and in the real case, the mother's life revolved around her daughter and nothing else."

3. Shameless - Manic Depression

Shameless | 'I Am Handicapped' Official Clip | Season 6 Episode 12 youtu.be

Showtime's tragi-comedy about a criminally dysfunctional family takes devastating turns when it comes to depicting addiction, child abuse, and mental illness. Cameron Monaghan's standout performance as Ian Gallagher captures a young man's experiences with bipolar disorder, from being first diagnosed with his mother's disease to finding healthy ways to cope as an adult. Monaghan says he prepared for the role by studying documentaries and autobiographies by people living with manic depression. In the clip above, he fights to keep his job as an EMT after being let go for being a liability.

4. This Is Us - Anxiety/Panic Attack

This Is Us - What Jack Pearson Would Do... (Episode Highlight - Presented by Chevrolet) youtu.be

America's favorite tear-jerker features the quaintly imperfect Pearson family. Sterling K. Brown has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for his performance as Randall Pearson, the intensely driven, optimistic, Type A family man who also has a history of mental breakdowns. In this scene, Randall's psychiatric episode begins with a severe, debilitating panic attack at work, at which point his brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) rushes to his side. Psychiatrists and panic disorder sufferers alike praised the show's portrayal of his symptoms, from Randall's blurring vision to his depersonalization, or feeling disconnected from his body.

5. Rick and Morty - Depression

Rick and Morty : Rick tries to commit suicide youtu.be

Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon's adult animation may attract toxic fans, but the show balances its biting satire with earnest, emotional conflicts. While Rick's self-loathing and depression are primarily the set-up for his misanthropic adventures, the above scene depicts his suicide attempt after being rejected from a genuine love interest. Additionally, the show depicts the realism that depression is self-serving; when Rick is strong-armed into attending therapy (after transforming himself into a pickle), he's frankly told that he makes self-destructive choices because he's unwilling to work towards a healthier outlook on life.

PICKLE RICK IN THERAPY youtu.be

6. BoJack Horseman - Addiction/Depression/Anxiety

Bojack, you're a piece of shit (Bojack Horseman - Season 4) youtu.be

The show's creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg said, "it was never our top priority to be the voice of depression." Nevertheless, the Netflix cartoon about a has-been actor (voiced by Will Arnett) struggling with addiction, depression, and anxiety, captivates audiences with its realism. Combined with satire of the entertainment industry, social media, and our collective vanity, BoJack's self-hating monologues ring true to life. Rather than glamorizing a correlation between art and despair, the show portrays the unlikeable, unattractive, and self-pitying aspects of a self-destructive personality.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


POP⚡DUST | Read More...

The Hollywood Appeal of NXIVM's "Sex Cult"

Body Positivity: Seven Celebrities Who Think You're Hot Just the Way You Are

Why Ainori Love Wagon is the Best Reality Show on TV