Rick And Morty: 5 Ways It’s Similar To Community (& 5 Things It Does Differently) – Screen Rant

Posted: December 16, 2020 at 12:58 am

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Dan Harmon was behind both Community and Rick and Morty. Here are ways the shows are similar, and what they do differently.

From a failed pilot on Fox to getting removed from The Sarah Silverman Program, it seemed like television didn't love Dan Harmon the same way that he loved it. However, that all changed when he got to create Community, a cult-hit comedy series about the trials and tribulations of college life. Sadly, Harmon would see the same rejection that plagued him for years and was removed even from his brainchild (though he'd return soon enough).

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His other seminal series has been the Adult Swim giant, Rick and Morty, which has penetrated the zeitgeist as a sci-fi epic and gotten a lot of kids in trouble for staying up late. Given that they're from the same mind, it's a given that there are some similarities between the two Harmon works, but Rick and Morty has still done a lot to maintain its own identity.

Something that's just embedded in Harmon's DNA is the capacity to call out television tropes on-screen while also calling out the fact that a character is calling out things. This confusing eye on an eye is the meta-humor and dialogue that has made Community and Rick and Mortyseemingly smarter than their television colleagues.

While Rick and Morty's writing prides itself in being mostly improvised, it still facilitates the same genre self-awareness that made Community so inventive. If anything, this type of writing is even more necessary for a series about the "Smartest Man in the Universe."

While Community has always dipped its toes into action/adventure tropes and science fiction, it always had to revert things back to reality. Set in a community college, Dan Harmon ran the risk of doing what Charles Schulz did to Snoopy if he were to let the school get too fantastical to still maintain its human charm.

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Fortunately enough, none of those concerns exist in a series about exploring, saving, and destroying the world with the half-baked experimentsof a mad scientist. Using animation to its fullest extent, Dan Harmon got to revel in the type of high-concept, surreal adventures that he could only ever dream of implementing in Community.

Television can take Dan Harmon away from Jeff Winger, but it can't get the cold lawyer's voice out of his head. With plenty of disillusionment and hardship going on within his own life, Harmon is famous for bringing his pain onto the screen and allowing it to entertain and empathize with the same lonely outcasts that his shows attract.

In Community, the main cynic of the series was the cold, calculating, and street smart Jeff Winger whose always had to fend for himself, though his same capacity for being realistic has bled into the study group every now and then. In Rick and Morty, every character besides Jerry Smith seems to have been infected by Rick's logic and skepticism and now battles the cold truth of reality more often than they actually fight aliens.

One of the most subtle differences between Community and Rick and Morty is the change in character dynamics. Community focused on a close, friend group comprised of people from starkly different backgrounds. This always kept the faces fresh in the series while also bringing a constantly different voice on the topic at hand.

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Rick and Morty, however, has a much closer dynamic, bringing the family close to a family with their own, interwoven stories but a much more familiar understanding of one another. They don't have the same intermingled romances or buddy themes from Community. If something goes wrong between the Smiths, it's not just a group of friends growing apart from one another but an entire family falling apart.

Meta-humor just wouldn't be the same without a wide, lexicon of movies and television to draw from. One of the most famous elements of Community was its long line of genre parodies that helped paint college life as this one, big movie waiting to happen.

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While most Rick and Morty stories aren't as obviously derivative, they do have parodies of Mad Max, The Nightmare on Elm Street, The Purge, and the entire heist genre under their belt, and their dialogue is rife with actors constantly trying to one-up one another with what celebrities and films that they know.

Community may have had its fair share of adult situations; but at the end of the day, it was a family sitcom that always held back from being even cruder and more immature than it already was. That same restraint is gladly not seen in the Adult Swim landscape which eats adult situations for breakfast.

With the freedom of a network literally dedicated to being as mature as possible, Rick and Morty's dialogue reaches new levels of color as it allows its cast to use the full expanse of the urban dictionary to their advantage. While plenty of this dialogue is still heavily bleeped, the series isn't making the job of the censors easy.

While Community and Rick and Morty may be advertised as comedy series, they've managed to maintain the imaginations of their audience by taking some of their more adventurous and physical elements seriously. This is more apparent in Rick and Morty where the titular duo's adventures are constantly putting them at odds with galactic federations and killer aliens.

Community, however, was directed by the Russo Brothers, the same, acclaimed duo responsible for the recent films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They allowed the action and camera work in the series to be much more dynamic, with episodes like the paintball series and "Pillows and Blankets" having their clear influence.

As action-packed as Community may have gotten, the series never treaded even close towards PG-13 territory. Not wanting the show to get much more colorful than paintballs would allow, Community kept its violence and gore to a minimum. Rick and Morty has no restraints and uses the color red more often than the silver in Rick's hair.

Taking full advantage of the dangers of the universe and Rick's own disillusionment, the series has gotten bloody and killed multiple characters with ease, almost to the point where it seems like Rick and Morty are the real villains in the series.

It's weird thinking that a show about community college and a show about a drunken scientist share the same proclivity for alternate dimensions. But that's the type of world(s) that Dan Harmon lives in. Rick and Morty obviously loves to utilize Rick's portal gun to go on a variety of mind-bending adventures, and the duo have even utilized the infinite expanse of possibility to skirt grander consequences.

Community gets to share that same, high-concept thread with one of their most famous and critically-acclaimed episodes to date, "Remedial Chaos Theory." Here, a dice roll creates Community's iconic, alternate timeline gag as well as the "Darkest Timeline" that haunts the study group for a couple of seasons.

One of the greatest advantages that Rick and Morty has over Community is how its story and settings don't have to be limited by resources and budget restraints. While the audience has grown familiar and even adoring of Community's study room, it is only a symptom of a series that never tried to stray too far from Greendale.

In Rick and Morty, one would be hard pressed to accurately describe the Smith household given that most of the show's adventures are exploring some strange and visually exciting world. Straying further and further from a small, community college in Colorado, Rick and Morty always has a fresh, new background to delight fans.

NEXT:Rick And Morty: 5 Things That Changed After The Pilot (& 5 That Stayed The Same)

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Rick And Morty: 5 Ways It's Similar To Community (& 5 Things It Does Differently) - Screen Rant

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December 16th, 2020 at 12:58 am

Posted in Self-Awareness