Rick and Morty - Season 1, Episode 3: Anatomy Park
Morty helps Rick save a microscopic amusement park hidden within a homeless Santa from total destruction, as Jerry attempts to make real human connections with his family that he may come to regret.
December 16, 2013
Executive Producer(s): Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Delna Bhesania, Keith Crofford
Director: John Rice
Writer(s): Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, Eric Acosta, Tom Kauffman, Wade Randolph
Starring: Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, Sarah Chalke, Dana Carvey, John Oliver, Daniel Benson, Jackie Buscarino, Dan Harmon, Jess Harnell, Echo Kellum, Patricia Lentz, Rob Schrab, Gary Anthony Williams.
Distributor: Cartoon Network
Genre: Animation, Science Fiction, Comedy, Adventure
Rick and Morty is an American animated series created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network’s adult swim late night time slot. Inspired by an animated short created by Roiland entitled “The Real Adventures of Doc and Marty” (which in itself is based on the modern classic Back to the Future), Rick and Morty premiered on December 2, 2013 to rave reviews. The series went on to complete three critically acclaimed seasons for Cartoon Network. Rick and Morty has been nominated and won multiple awards including The Prime Time Emmy Awards, BTVA voice acting awards, The Saturn Awards, The Golden Globes, and many others. Rick and Morty’s third season (which concluded in October 2017) was awarded the title of Television’s #1 comedy series for adults 18 to 34. Naturally, with such a cult following and universal critical reception, in May 2018 Cartoon Network ordered an additional 70 episodes of this historic series.
As anticipation grows for new material, Rick and Morty lends itself well to multiple rewatches. Every episode is packed with fast-paced humor, thought provoking concepts, and punchy one liners that can easily be missed. Upon rewatching the episodes, I have discovered hidden references, concepts, and quiet jokes that went seemingly unnoticed during my first watch. I invite you to join me in rediscovering and/or introducing you to the series as I dive into and analyze every episode while we try to patiently wait for the new season.
*Content Warning: This show is intended for mature audiences*
Spiritual Content: The family celebrates Christmas as Rick plays God with Ruben and his bodily functions.
Violence:Poncho uses a machine gun and grenades to attack the multitude of threats they encounter inside Ruben.
Language/Crude Humor: A joke about rapey pirates is made. The shadow of a phallus is seen on a mountain side. The word b***h is used frequently.
Sexual Content: Summer and Ethan kiss while they commence in heavy petting. Morty and Annie kiss. Annie gives Morty permission to explore her body. Jacob is revealed to be Joyce’s live-in lover. Leonard confesses to watching and enjoying watching his wife Joyce and Jacob make love.
Drug/Alcohol Use: Wine is served at the family dinner table.
Other Negative Themes: Sibling sexual abuse is explored.
Positive Content: Breaking away from individual electronics in order to make more human connection and communication is a major theme.
Jerry prepares Christmas dinner while waiting on the arrival of his mother and father. Jerry walks into the living room to find his entire family on their mobile devices. Jerry confiscates the families electronics in order to spend family time together. Rick comes home with a guest and introduces the family to Ruben, a homeless drunk dressed as Santa Clause who Rick offers a free yearly medical evaluation. Rick escorts Ruben to his workshop as the doorbell rings. Jerry’s parents, Leonard and Joyce Smith, enter with a guest of their own. Leonard and Joyce Smith introduce the family to Jacob, their live-in house guest.
Rick returns in need of help and drags Morty into the garage. In the garage, Morty finds Ruben dying on an exam table. Rick instructs Morty to find someone by the name of Dr. Xenon Bloom who is inside Ruben. Rick shrinks Morty using a shrinking machine and injects him into Ruben. Morty, now microscopic, approaches Anatomy park, an amusement park Rick has built inside the body of the homeless man.
Morty arrives at the entrance to Anatomy Park and is amazed by some of the park’s attractions, such as Spleen Mountain, Bladder Falls, and Pirates of the Pancreas. Rick instructs Morty to head to the liver where Dr.Bloom’s distress beacon is located. Morty arrives at an attraction called the Haunted Liver, which is still under construction. Morty meets Dr. Bloom and is introduced to Poncho, his security guard Rodger, and Annie, his beautiful assistant. Dr. Bloom explains for some unknown reason, the park’s security system is down and the park attractions are compromised. Suddenly, they are attacked by a large ferocious Hepatitis A Monster.
Jerry, Beth, Summer, Leonard, Joyce, and Jacob are at the family dining table as Jerry asks what the true nature of Jacob’s relationship with his parents i . Leonard explains to the family that Jacob is Joyce’s lover. Shortly after, the family sits in a drum circle on the floor. Summer’s boyfriend Ethan barges in frantic and angry because he hasn’t been able to get in contact with her due to her phone being taken away. Jerry was unaware Summer had a boyfriend. Jacob tells Jerry he should be more invested in his family.
Morty and the rest of the park staff escape being chased by the Hepatitis A monster and arrive at the respiratory system. As they try to find a way to escape, Tuberculosis germs attack them. Poncho attempts to kill the Tuberculosis, and accidentally shoots a number of alveoli which causes Ruben’s lungs to collapse, causing him to die. Rick explains Ruben’s body will begin to decompose and they must escape through the emergency exit in the rectum. While on their way through the small intestine river, they are attacked by Gonorrhea. Morty realizes the body is filling with gas, and Poncho throws a grenade at Gonorrhea and kills it.
Morty and the park staff arrive at the emergency exit at the Sphincter Dam. Morty notices a creature in Poncho’s backpack. Dr. Bloom realizes the creature is the Bubonic plague. Poncho takes Annie hostage and admits to sabotaging the park’s security system and stealing the virus to sell to the highest bidder. Morty attacks Poncho. The Bubonic plague bites Poncho, and he falls to his death. Morty and the rest of the park’s staff run from the Rectum Dam as it falls, killing Roger.
Jacob councils Ethan in order to discover where his anger comes from. Ethan confesses to Jacob he was molested by this brother. Ethan embraces Summer and kisses her in front of the family. In celebration of Ethan’s breakthrough, the rest of the family applauds. Jacob and Joyce embrace and share a kiss themselves. Jerry is repulsed and disagrees with the relationships. Jerry storms out.
Rick comes up with a plan to rescue Morty, Annie, and Dr. Bloom. Rick interrupts Morty and Annie from kissing, and instructs them to get to Ruben’s nipple. Rick stuffs the body of Ruben into his flying car. Morty and Annie enter the Bone Train which will lead them to the nipple. Dr. Bloom operates the train from the platform as a swarm of E.coli bacteria kill Dr. Bloom. Rick flies into space and ejects the corpse of Ruben into space over Earth. Rick shoots the body of Ruben with an enlarging ray. Ruben expands to the size of the continental United States and hovers over the entire country.
Morty and Annie are on the train racing to the nipple. The train gets derailed by an attack from Hepatitis A. After the train crashes, it rests just at the entrance of the nipple. Hepatitis A corners Morty and Annie. Suddenly, Hepatitis C attacks Hepatitis A. Rick flies into the nipple to pick up Morty and Annie. They enter Rick’s car and fly away just as the explosives inside Ruben’s body explode and cause the country to be covered in a shower of blood.
Jerry returns the family’s electronics. Rick, Morty, and Annie return to the garage. Rick laments over the loss of Dr. Bloom because he was the only one who has the knowledge to creat an Anatomy Park. Annie assures Rick she is able to continue Dr. Bloom’s work because she studied directly under him. Rick instantly shrinks Annie and stores her away. Morty is upset because he really liked her. Rick and Morty enter the living room to find the entire family using their electronic devices and not engaging with each other. Rick scolds the family for being emotionally detached during Christmas.
Rick and Morty continues to excel in its ability to parody pop culture media without feeling like a cheap knock off. By owning and being up front with its parodies, Rick and Morty explore the ridiculousness of a biology-themed amusement park within a living man, such as the ridiculous notion of recreating Earth’s most fearsome creatures for our own amusement in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Jerry and the Smiths explore human connection and discover the definition of the American family is changing. With stunning and grotesque visuals, creative writing, and great performances by the voice actors, the third episode in the series is one that fits into the Rick and Morty saga well.
From the outside looking in, this episode may look like a cheap knockoff of Jurassic Park. Yet if you dive deeper into the subtext of this episode, you may find a contrasting exploration of not only the human body, but also human emotion. In typical Rick fashion, Rick attempts to play God as he constructs an entire amusement park inside a human being for his own entertainment. Rick literally controls the internal function of his subject Ruben. Just as God destroyed his creation with the Great Flood when the Earth was full of wickedness in Noah’s time, Rick also destroys his creation who was riddled with diseases leading to a literal rain of blood.
As Morty and the Anatomy Park staff travel through the body of Ruben as he decays, they explore the inner workings of his body. We come across the viruses and diseases which lead to Ruben’s death. In contrast, we explore the emotional inner workings of Jerry, his family, his parents, and Jacob. Jerry’s desire to have a more human Christmas with more of a connection leads him to discover that with his father’s permission, his mother is in an open sexual relationship with a much younger man. Jerry also becomes aware of his daughter’s relationship with Ethan, her boyfriend.
We dive into Ethan’s psyche and learn he was sexually abused by his brother, which leads him towards burst of anger. We learn the story of Jerry’s parents and Jacob and are given details of their exploits. They express how it gives them a reason to live in their old age. While Jerry is disgusted by his parent’s relationship with Jacob, along with the exploration of Ethan’s past, we also comb through Ruben’s decaying body and how many deceases it carries. While Jerry and the family explore the human psyche, Morty and the Park’s staff explore the physical human body. Both Morty and Jerry look to escape the revelations of their discoveries. Morty returns home as the body he explored explodes and is destroyed, while Jerry returns the family electronics thus ending and destroying the exploration of human emotion and connection.
Once again, on the surface Rick and Morty seems to be just an everyday, run-of-the-mill parody cartoon which relies on pop culture references to survive. Though rich with entertaining references, Rick and Morty manages to stitch in thought provoking, theological, and psychological elements.
+Engaging pop culture references
-Gross out humor
-Some lazy convenient writing