If the universe is indeed run—as users of cutting-edge psychedelic drugs will occasionally suggest—by nine-foot-tall interdimensional locusts with lawn-mower voices and glittering, loveless minds, who program our life patterns on cold locust computers and grind their forelegs appreciatively over our sweatier delusions and sentimentalities; and if (as I personally suspect) these giant locusts from time to time hack our entertainment systems in order to disseminate their confusing and inhuman values, like the Russians did with Facebook, then I know what they’re up to right now. Our insect overlords are busy writing the fourth season of Rick and Morty.
The animated sci-fi sitcom created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, which ran for three seasons on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim nighttime programming block, is officially on hiatus. But in the spring came the news—the daunting, locust-delighting news—that Adult Swim had commissioned an additional 70 episodes of the show. At the previous pace of 10 or so episodes a season, that’s seven more seasons. Seven more seasons of Rick and Morty? Jesus Christ. This show is already a kind of pop-cultural omega point, a metaphysical ultimatum, a slurping spoof spiral, an uncorked algorithm of chaos that produces chaos-ripples in the actual, non-TV world. If you know any 18-to-34-year-olds, they likely enjoy, or perhaps fearfully consume, Rick and Morty: It was the No. 1 comedy in America for that age bracket last year. Its fan base is fetishistic and wildly entitled. Last year, after a Rick and Morty episode referenced a certain long-discontinued Chicken McNuggets dipping sauce (Szechuan, not seen since it was a product tie-in with the Disney movie Mulan in 1998), McDonald’s tried to make friends with the fans by reissuing the sauce for a limited time. But—such foolishness!—it didn’t produce enough. The fans freaked out, roaring for their sauce packets and frightening McDonald’s workers. Pure, dizzying, late-capitalist entropy. Ice-creaks of astral mirth from the locusts.