- Justin Roiland’s exit from Rick and Morty may be the best thing that could have happened to the series, as it prompts much-needed change and revitalization.
- The premiere of Rick and Morty season 7 cleverly subverts audience expectations and addresses past criticisms, showing that the show’s creators have listened and taken risks.
- The episode offers resolutions for stagnant storylines and brings back beloved characters, proving that Rick and Morty season 7 is taking a stronger and more interconnected approach to storytelling.
Since Rick and Morty season 7 already needed to upend the show’s tired formula, Justin Roiland’s exit is starting to look like the best thing that could have happened to the series. When Rick and Morty debuted, the show was an instant sleeper hit. Over the following years, its critical acclaim gave way to mainstream popularity as Rick and Morty grew from an obscure but critically beloved Adult Swim hit into a major pop culture phenomenon. However, the hype inevitably led to backlash and, after Rick and Morty’s show-shaking season 5 finale, the series was accused of coasting on audience goodwill in season 6.
That became the least of its worries when Rick and Morty season 7 was jeopardized by revelations about its star Justin Roiland. He was accused of domestic battery in January 2023, prompting Adult Swim to sever ties with the actor. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7’s creators needed to replace the voices of both the show’s title characters while also addressing complaints about its lackluster sixth season. This would have been a big ask for anyone but the show’s creative team appears to have risen to the challenge. Rick and Morty season 7 episode 1, “How Poopy Got His Poop Back,” shows that Roiland’s exit could be a good thing.
Rick & Morty Season 7 Is Finally Breaking A Tired Series Formula
Two consecutive seasons of Rick and Morty ended on major cliffhangers, only for the show to then add in a stinger starring fan-favorite supporting character Mr. Poopybutthole. While this felt fresh in the season 5 finale, it was little more than a formulaic box-ticking exercise by the end of season 6. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7 revealing that Mr. Poopybutthole was now living with the Smith family in the premiere’s opening moments effectively subverted the expectations of the show’s viewers. Recently, Poopybutthole had been a tragic meta-character who commented on the show’s events but never interacted with its heroes, but “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” changed this.
By picking up right where season 6’s stinger left off, the cold open of “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” tacitly acknowledged that the show wouldn’t get away with rehashing this familiar formula again. The show proved that its creators had listened to criticism of season 6 as Mr. Poopybutthole’s grim, repetitive storyline was finally addressed and eventually solved by the show’s main characters. This also allowed “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” to take a few other supporting characters out of their unofficial retirement with Squanchy, Gearhead, Birdperson, and Gene returning for this story. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7’s risky self-parody paid off.
Mr. Poopybutthole’s Story Offered Resolutions For Several Characters
Not only did “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” offer a conclusive character arc for Mr. Poopybutthole, whose story had been stagnant for years, but the episode also revived a few other plots that the show had seemingly forgotten about in season 6. Birdperson was confirmed to still be friends with Rick, Squanchy was confirmed to be alive, and it even turned out that Rick hadn’t lost his mind completely in his search for Rick Prime. All of these plot threads could have been left dangling if Rick and Morty season 7 continued with self-contained, standalone episodes like those of season 6. However, addressing these mysteries was a stronger approach.
Why Rick & Morty Season 7 Needed Change
Obviously, Justin Roiland’s exit forced Rick and Morty season 7’s creatives to change the story. However, season 6’s formulaic episodes never felt fresh or like they contributed to the overarching stories of the cast, so this change is a doubly welcome one. While Rick and Morty season 7 recasting Justin Roiland with soundalikes seemed risky when it was announced, this turned out to be the least of the show’s issues. Season 7 needed to prove that the show could keep the supporting characters from Roiland’s era around, progress Rick’s plot line, and offer stories that felt like part of the show’s larger universe.
In “How Poopy Got His Poop Back,” Rick and Morty season 7 showed that its creators were up to these intersecting challenges. The return of characters like Birdperson and Mr. Poopybutthole was pivotal to the episode’s story, thus ensuring their presence didn’t feel like pandering, and Rick’s attempts to be a good friend without admitting he was being responsible felt both hilariously in character and indicative of his growth. Thus, “How Poopy Got His Poop Back” did more than prove Rick and Morty can continue without its former star. Instead, Rick and Morty season 7, episode 1 proved Roiland’s exit was what the show has needed for some time now.
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