This 'Rick and Morty' Season 5 Opening Credits Bit Gets Me Every Single Time
Let's praise Morty sinking a putt.
Rick and Morty is a show that thrives on insane situations. We've come to expect gross hybrid creatures and all sorts of hellbeasts. In its most recent Season 5 episode, Rick and Morty offered up a loving riff on Goodfellas, involving giant robot ferrets, multiple versions of the Smith family, and, naturally, a floating space incest baby. But nothing in the often very funny episode made me laugh harder than one recurring gag from the opening credits. In fact, in a hit or miss season for the Adult Swim show, one unexpected bit has reliably delivered joy for me every single week: Morty, a known piece of shit, sinks a putt, and then calmly waves at the crowd applauding him. There are no aliens, no monsters, and nothing ridiculous happens. Morty just sinks a putt and does a little wave. It's amazing.
The Rick and Morty opening sequence has always been a cheeky thing. Comprised of moments from the actual series and random scenarios that the animators invented for the hell of it, fans have used it to theorize and predict future plot lines. This year's are more of the same. You can recognize the scene from this week's episode, where the Smiths don anime suits and are sucked up into their ferret Gotrons, and the one from Episode 5, "Amortycan Grickfitti," wherein Summer whacks some walking mailboxes with a baseball bat. Elsewhere, the family's heads pop off and become little bloody spider alien creatures, and Rick gives mouth-to-mouth to a mangled alien known as Noob-Noob. Also, Morty sinks a putt, which is just wonderful.
One of the things that changed most about me over the two years we've been grappling with the pandemic is that I became a Rick and Morty fan. I was reluctant at first, turned off by the conversation around the show more than the show itself, but then I watched every episode in lockdown. And then I watched every episode again.
My favorite installments of the series are when creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon lean into how Rick and Morty's adventures have fundamentally damaged them as people, making them cruel and inconsiderate of the lives they may be disrupting when they bop around time and space. The premiere of Season 5 did this extremely well. The A plot involved Rick's feud with his nemesis Mr. Nimbus, the king of the sea, but the B plot found Morty accidentally ruining a civilization in another dimension because of his attempts to impress his classmate Jessica, who he then inadvertently turns into a time god.
Over the years, Roiland and Harmon have reiterated that neither of these characters are to be idolized: Rick is an egomaniac; Morty has a tendency toward violence and is entirely driven by his id and his teenage libido. That's why Morty sinking a putt hits so hard. It's unusual to see Morty doing something that's not perverted—this season he masturbates into a machine made for horses and unleashes an army of his sperm—which makes it highly suspicious. You watch him sink a putt and you think: What is this little jerk up to?
This season, Rick and Morty has leaned hard into zaniness with varying success. They've gotten some mileage out of Morty and Summer accidentally procreating when one of Summer's eggs is united with Morty's angry vindictive alien sperm, but even the horrifying incest baby doesn't have the existential terror of some of the show's best outings. Meanwhile, an episode like "Rick & Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular," which features Rick and Morty turning into turkeys to get pardoned by the president, falls completely flat. But the content of the episode that follows is no matter. I can always giggle at Morty sinking a putt.