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Here's why the backlash against Rick And Morty's female writers is unfair

“I’m gonna need you to take your opinions …”

RICK AND MORTY returned to our screens earlier this month after a long, long wait for fans.

For the unfamiliar, the animated sci-fi romp follows cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily influenced grandson Morty Smith, who split their time between domestic family life and interdimensional adventures.

From the people who brought you Community, it’s a fun series that’s garnered a cult-following, which explains the level of hype surrounding its return this summer.

However, the most recent episodes have drummed up mixed reviews from fans so far.

Adult Swim – the programming block which homes Rick & Morty – was at the centre of criticism in 2016 after it announced a new slate of shows that featured no female creators. Creative director Mike Lazzo was accused of sexism after he seemed to say that women create “conflict” in writers’ rooms, although he clarified his statement later.

“What I actually said was, women don’t tend to like conflict, comedy often comes from conflict, so that’s probably why we (or others) have so few female projects,” Lazzo said.

There’s been commentary in Facebook fringe-groups surrounding the introduction of female writers, with a select few fan coming to the conclusion that their addition is responsible for the decline in LOLs this season.

The female-centred arcs are also under scrutiny, particularly the character development of Morty’s teenage sister Summer, and the effect their parents’ divorce is having on their mother, Beth.

Let’s stress that this is a show which has its roots in fart jokes.

“It’s a show that confirms that nothing matters, and then high-fives you, pats you on the back, and makes you feel better,” Dan Harmon, one of the show’s creators, said a week before the show’s long-delayed Season 3 premiere last month.

A lot of the frustration with this season comes from an obvious place. The show’s legion of fans has grown ten-fold, as people had over a year to catch up on the first two seasons. Undoubtedly, the long wait also contributed to the increased level of anticipation for new material.

This snowballed, meaning the level of expectation also soared. It’s what led to the delay of the series release too, as the show’s creators fell victim to the pressure of perfectionism.

The show has built its reputation on balancing critiques on the question of life’s purpose to planets filled with testicle monsters. As the show veers more towards the former this season, the fans directed their blame at the female writing staff.

Take episode 2 for example, ‘Rickmancing The Stone’, in which Rick, Morty and Summer travel to a post-apocalyptic wasteland with vehicles, with tribes of barbaric marauders waging war on outsiders.

It’s a very clear tribute to the Mad Max franchise – a franchise which boasts one of the best feminist revolution movies of the decade in Mad Max: Fury Road. And yet, many took issue with Summer’s prominence throughout the episode.

Bear in mind that we are also only three episodes in to the new season.

The writers have barely begun to scratch the surface on what are complicated storylines for a show that can swing crude at the drop of a hat.

It’s necessary that they’re given a fair opportunity to prove themselves, having earned their place in that writers’ room.

Who better to write female characters and the plots concerning them than people that actually have experience in being females?

Most importantly, the heart of what makes Rick And Morty great hasn’t been lost because of the introduction of female writers.

Case in point – Pickle Rick, seen in the most recent episode of the same name.

The core synopsis of the episode follows the family beginning therapy, but not before our beloved protagonist turns himself into a pickle. Obviously.

In an episode where there’s arguments made for and against therapy, and also an 80s-esque actions sequence which sees a robot-pickle go on a murderous rampage, it’s proof that there’s a time and a place for both.

More female-centric storylines and increased character development doesn’t automatically mean an end to the irreverence we’ve grown to love from the show. So cool your jets.

Ultimately, if you just feel this season is weaker in general, that’s obviously subjective.

And if a fan is to feel that strongly about its supposed downfall, by all means, stop watching.

At the end of the day, no one “belongs” anywhere. No one’s fated to do anything. Everyone’s gonna die. And that’s OK.

But let’s just stop with the woman-bashing for once, ok?

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