Spoilers below for the latest episode of Rick and Morty, so be warned if you haven’t yet had a taste of this scrumptiousness.
For all that Rick and Morty may have been light on lore-building narratives in the first half of Season 7, (with more directly canonical adventures promised by Adult Swim’s boss, the show certainly hasn’t dropped the (meat)ball on delivering moments that are as thought-provoking as they are bile-provoking. The hyper-dark episode “That’s Amorte” delved into cannibalism, food ethics, suicide, and interplanetary empathy, making for quite the surprisingly buffet of emotional and physical responses. The ep’s stellar writer Heather Anne Campbell explained the idea behind the spaghetti dinner story, which will no doubt be bouncing around the ol’ noodle for days to come..
In “That’s Amorte,” the Smith family’s enjoyment of Rick’s non-Italian entree is mostly reversed by the gutsy reveal that the so-called spaghetti and sauce actually come from the corpses of a near-human alien race whose innards turn into an edible delight when they take their own life. And that’s just the opening gambit, with the story taking unexpected turns while ramping up the shrewd chaos. Speaking to Variety, Campbell explained the impetus behind putting the Rick and Morty microscope on where the things we adore come from. In her words:
There’s so many different ways in which we are barricaded from the truth of everything that we enjoy, and I think that the puzzle of being alive is how to reconcile that. When a wolf eats a rabbit the wolf’s not, like, worried about it. It is a very specific experience to being human, to being conscious of something in a way that nothing else in the animal kingdom seems to have to digest.
That capsule of an idea would be an interesting one to see adapted by an assortment of TV shows, but I can’t imagine any of them would deliver the message in the quite same sharp and horrifying ways as Rick and Morty did. And not just because it would be harder for live-action series to pull off giant blood-soaked colanders awaiting jumpers in the waters beneath bridges.
R&M’s co-executive producer Heather Anne Campbell, who also co-hosts the excellent video game podcast Get Played, also addressed the inspiration for the genuinely emotional and poignant memory montage that finally convinced Morty to stop eating the spaghetti.
What was most important to me about that sequence is that when we see those montages of people’s lives in movies, they always follow a very standard arc. Interested in a thing, gets a job at the thing, makes the thing. And life is not not at all like that. It is a huge number of detours and disappointments that make your life; it’s not a direct path. It’s like a river with a bunch of branches.
The character’s life-before-his-eyes montage certainly wasn’t a highlight reel in the traditional sense, as it told a story of young love that evolved and survived a lifetime, though not all in one swoop, with fighting, death, other relationships and more as obstacles in their path. It was easily one of the sci-fi comedy’s biggest heart-tuggers, and that emotional spin could be enough to put “That’s Amorte” in the annals of Rick and Morty’s best episodes ever. And if it inspires an actual line of Morty-branded canned spaghetti, that can only help. Or wait, did I mean hurt? One of those.
It doesn’t take the transmogrified brains of an alien species to understand how to watch and stream Rick and Morty, with new episodes airing Sunday nights on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m. ET, and streaming with a Max subscription.