Inception made sense!”

Morty insists to Rick that the plot of Inception made sense. Rick replies, “You don’t have to try and impress me, Morty.”

It’s actually a weird theme in this episode that Inception didn’t make any sense. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to read this episode as some sort of Inception takedown, or if its just having fun with it. Sometimes it almost comes across as defensive, for instance Rick later says, “It’s like Inception, Morty. So if it’s confusing and stupid, then so is everyone’s favorite movie.” What makes this theme especially odd is that it wasn’t even that topical – the episode aired in December 2013, more than three years after Inception’s July 2010 release.

I’ve seen rumors out there that Dan Harmon hates Inception, or at least has problems with it, so it might just be an axe to grind for him. A few minutes of googling didn’t turn up any quote definitively nailing this down though. Interestingly, Dan Harmon has said he regrets doing an Inception parody because he found out late in production that South Park had already done an Inception episode (check out the interview here). I think he’s maybe too hard on himself about it – I don’t think South Park’s Inception episode involved mechanized dogs taking over the world, so Rick and Morty still gets points for creativity.

For the record, I enjoyed Inception.

In the time it took you to make this thing, couldn’t you have just helped me with my homework?”

Morty makes a good point here. It seems like a lot of trouble to risk your life going into someone’s dream in order to improve your grandson’s math grade. Of course, helping Morty in math isn’t the real point. It’s interesting to think about what Rick is doing with any of this stuff. The truth is, he just likes going on adventures. He doesn’t want to do things the easy way, he wants to do them the Rick way. The end goal of the adventure is really just an excuse to get out there and do some wild stuff.

I also think Rick has a tendency to build a device that he thinks is cool, then come up with a reason to use it. I think most people who tinker and make stuff will understand that feeling. When you’ve just invented a really badass hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I can’t believe we’re standing around in Mr. Goldenfold’s living room. It’s really weird.”

Rick replies, “It’s about to get a whole lot weirder.” He’s not wrong.

Nice to wheat you!”

This is when Mr. Goldenfold hurls wheat thins at Rick and Morty like throwing stars. I have nothing further to add – I just felt this line deserved its own section here. You can decide if this is for celebratory or shaming purposes.

Don’t be a baby! You avoid getting shot in real life all the time. Just do the same thing now.”

Rick puts in an entry for the “least helpful advice ever” contest.

Snuffles wants to be understood. Snuffles needs to be understood.”

Snuffles comes up with a way to speak to humans. It is interesting that it’s not for a specific, practical reason. He’s not learning to talk so that he can ask them to pass him his favorite toy or something. No, Snuffles has a deeper desire – he wants to be understood.

Can we ever really understand each other though? I mean, another person’s mind is a far off continent we can hear described but can never visit. Does language give us a way in to understand each other? Or are we all just adrift, separated from everyone, even our closest loved ones, by an inseparable rift, never to understand or be understood?

Anyway, talking dogs are cute. Good job Snuffles.

You can’t, like, endow a creature with sentience and then take it away.”

This is an interesting moment of moral clarity on the show, and it comes from Summer, a character who hasn’t done much so far. Of course, her support for the case of not taking away Snuffles’ consciousness is somewhat flimsy. When Jerry asks, “why not?” she responds by saying, “I don’t know, it’s, like, Indian giving.”

An interesting theme to watch on the show is how it uses Summer to explore moral ideas. In the last episode, she was the one who watched Frank die for no good reason. Now she’s making a moral case for protecting Snuffles’ progression. I think the show likes to use Summer to explore some interesting moral ideas because she sits at an interesting intersection in the show. Beth and Jerry are often portrayed as being deeply flawed, somewhat broken people. Rick and Morty are the main characters, but they’re often in so deep they can’t really see the bigger picture. Summer is a good person who happens to see some of the weirder stuff that happens on the sidelines. She’s a good perspective character for seeing the ramifications of Rick’s more problematic decisions.

This is because you don’t give Morty Smith good enough grades, bitch!”

This is the line Scary Terry yells as he slams into Mr. Goldenfold as a rocket, waking him up. Its a sort of anticlimactic conclusion to the storyline.

What’s interesting is that, by ending the Mr. Goldenfold storyline early, the show engages in some structural play. The structure that’s been set up thus far is a traditional A/B story structure. The A plot is Rick and Morty doing Inception stuff in Mr. Goldenfold’s head, and the B plot is Snuffles the talking dog. However, the A plot ends abruptly and early, meaning that Rick and Morty just get tossed right into the middle of the B plot. Until the very end, it seems like the Inception-based plot has just been tossed aside.

If we hurry, we can set up camp in a sewer tunnel or something before they take over completely.”

Rick knows the doggy takeover is coming, and he’s just completely ready to roll with it. Rick doesn’t care at all. He’s almost looking forward to it. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

You were always kind to me Morty. That is why you will keep your testicles.”

One of the funniest visuals to me in the show is when we see a dump filling up with human testicles. It’s a stupid, juvenile joke, but it always makes me laugh. Part of what makes it work is how I can’t see it and not think about how many people have to have had their testicles removed to fill a dump truck. I asked Wolfram Alpha how many ping pong balls could fit in a dump truck, and it said about 310,000 ping pong balls. If we figure a testicle is the size of a ping pong ball, that means about 150,000 men had their testicles removed to fill that truck. That’s the whole male population of a significant city. That dump truck could contain every testicle currently located within the city limits of Pittsburgh, PA (population 304,000, roughly half male).

It’s just like the end of Old Yeller.”

“Oh, Jerry… you mean because it had dogs in it.”