“My real name is… Armin Tamzarian!”
–Seymour/Armin, “The Principal And The Pauper”
A number of fans point to the 1997 Simpsons episode “The Principal And The Pauper” as the start of the end of the “real” Simpsons—basically, when the long-running animated sitcom “jumped the shark.” In the episode, it is shockingly revealed that Principal Seymour Skinner (one of the key Simpsons supporting characters) was not who he said he was…he was, in fact, an impostor.
“Honestly, you’re doing me a huge favor being shrimps instead of fascists.”
Recently, Renegade Cut released a video entitled, “The Problem With Rick And Morty,” the basic hypothesis being that the Adult Swim cartoon glorified Rick’s bad behavior. In the process, a requisite link to a legion of angry squirmy largely male Rick and Morty fans was made.
I have finally seen the much hyped “Pickle Rick” episode of Rick & Morty. In it, Rick turns himself into a pickle (non-anthropomorphic except for his face) in order to get out of going to therapy with his daughter and the kids. He finds himself swept down a drain, using his mouth to tear neural tissue from live rats and build himself an exoskeleton, fighting a vaguely Eastern European crime syndicate thingie, and then back to the hated therapy he was trying to avoid.
There are a lot of strong emotional beats in “Pickle Rick.” I would even say there are moments of genius. But the episode—the third one of Season Three—marked a turning point for me in terms of the series as a whole. And it wasn’t a particularly good one. Let me explain.