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7 Shows like Rick & Morty: Adult Twists

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorAre you constantly trying to convince people that animation shows aren’t just for kids? Do you always use ‘Rick & Morty’ as a prime example for animation shows that appeal even to the forty-somethings amongst us? Then you’re going to be happy to hear there are more TV shows like ‘Rick & Morty’ that fit this genre: ‘Bojack Horseman’ (2014 – Present), ‘Adventure Time’ (2010 – Present) , ‘Daria’ (1997 -2002) and ‘Ren & Stimpy’ (1991-1995). ~ Roxanne Sancto

Rick & Morty and Their Crazy Journeys through Space and Time

Rick Sanchez (voiced by Justin Roiland), a genius –albeit alcoholic- scientist who resides in his daughters garage, isn’t interested in the day to day lives of his family and it’s not all too hard to understand why. Think about it: Would you rather fret over your homework or your marriage, or take off in a spaceship and meet intergalactic creatures en route to solving important missions? See what I mean?

Rick seems to have found his perfect wingman for these space missions in his grandson, the doubtful but kind Morty, who often finds himself in dangerous situations thanks to Rick’s carefree approach to… everything.

The second season of ‘Rick & Morty’ premiered on July 26th and while it still follows Rick’s drunken plans and executions and Morty’s terrified pleadings from the passenger seat, it has taken on a more serious tone in that it now seems to delve deeper into Rick’s feeling of purposelessness, following a failed mission.

If you’re interested in more animated adult TV series like ‘Rick & Morty’, which offer a new approach to satire and character studies, check out the four shows listed below. Get ready for some harsh realities, loveable characters and a whole lot of sarcasm!


Shows Similar to ‘Rick & Morty’…

‘Adventure Time’ (Cartoon Network, 2010 – Present)

I’ve always liked the idea of growing up with animals or better yet – being adopted by a pack of dogs or a bear like Baloo. Finn the Human from Adventure Time is one of these fortunate kids who was adopted by Joshua and Margret – the parents of a shapeshifting bulldog named Jake.

Together, Jake and Finn travel through the Land of Ooo in search of adventure. The Land of Ooo is a post-apocalyptic world full of strange, colourful creatures like BMO (Beemo), a robot shaped like a game console, the Lumpy Space Princess who is made out of purple, irradiated stardust or Hunson Abadeer, the Lord of the Nightosphere who bares resemblance to a cartoonish Dracula and sucks the soul out of people.

This is an animation show that appeals to all ages. Much like ‘Rick & Morty’ and ‘The Simpsons’, it incorporates adult humour in a child-friendly setting. Since its beginnings in 2010, ‘Adventure Time’ has become extremely popular with kids, teens and adults. It deals with mature situations that adults can relate to and children may learn something from whilst keeping it light-hearted with plenty of slapstick comedy.

Similarity Match: 80%
Just like ‘Rick & Morty’, ‘Adventure Time’ is full of imaginative, colourful and fun (as well as dark) characters and in both shows, the protagonists are heroes in their own right.

‘Bojack Horseman’ (Netflix, 2014 – Present)

You would think that the subject of the shattered celebrity ego has been more than exhausted by now. Showtime’s ‘Californication and our favourite, self-sabotaging scribbler, Hank Moody (David Duchovny) led the way and FX followed with this years’ ‘Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll’, starring Denis Leary in the role of the egomaniacal Johnny Rock. But now there’s another forgotten celebrity in town and who would have thought that animation was just the formula needed to bring new life to a tired subject.

Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) is an anthropomorphic horse who once enjoyed widespread celebrity with his 1990’s sitcom Horsin’ Around. Now in his fifties, he spends his days lazing around the house in his bathrobe and boxer shorts drinking beer whilst watching reruns of his show with his housemate Todd (Aaron Paul).

Unlike his rival Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), the happy-go-lucky yellow Labrador, Bojack Horseman has become a public joke thanks to his self-pity and bitter need for attention. In an attempt to reconnect with the public, he hires Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) to write his memoir.

Similarity Match: 70%
While the worlds of ‘Bojack Horseman’ and ‘Rick & Morty’ are very different, the subject matter is similar in that the protagonists in both shows are trying to make their mark in life whilst simultaneously adopting a “Me vs. Them” attitude.

‘Daria’ (MTV, 1997 – 2002)

In the late nineties, when MTV was still considered to be a great source for music and shows (Beavis & Butthead, Yo! MTV Raps), the channel introduced the sharp-witted, high-school outcast Daria Morgendorffer (Tracy Grandstaff) and her misfit friends Jane (Wendy Hoopes) and Trent (Alvaro J. Gonzalez).

Daria is proud to be an outcast – especially when the only other alternative is becoming someone like her sister Quinn, a shallow puddle who is all about appearance, gossip and status. Daria observes life around her with a cynical but honest eye and does not shy away from sharing her genuine opinions on popular culture and the division of social groups.

If ever there was an animation show that perfectly depicted the realities of high school life, it’s ‘Daria’. It portrays a world where teenagers reach popularity based on looks rather than personality and grown-ups choose their acquaintances and social circles based on status rather than actual friendship. Daria and her friends prefer to move outside of these circles and instead of feeling inferior to their peers – as is often the case in these settings – they take pride in their non-conformity and ultimately, feel superior to their cheerleading and football playing school mates.

Similarity Match: 50%
Unlike ‘Rick & Morty’, the animation and colour scheme in ‘Daria’ is quite simple and the subject matter satirical and realistic in a humorous, down to earth manner, but anyone who enjoys characters who like to lash out at society and 90s pop-culture will love this.

‘Ren & Stimpy’ (Nickelodean, 1991-1995)

Granted, the first time I ever came across ‘Ren & Stimpy’, it must have been at least eleven o’clock at night, but still – I couldn’t help double checking to make sure this show was really being aired on Nickelodeon and sure enough, it was indeed Nickelodeon. ‘Ren & Stimpy’ is definitely not what you’d expect from a channel that is known for shows like Rugrats.

Ren is an intelligent yet slightly psychotic Chihuahua who usually lets his anger out on his room-mate (or life-partner, as has also been suggested), the goofy, carefree cat Stimpy, frequently calling him an “eediot”. Ren is typically in a foul, grumpy mood and due to his expressive nature, finds it difficult to mask negative and exaggerated emotions.

Unlike Ren, Stimpy doesn’t really show a wide range of emotion. He can always be seen with a ditzy smile on his face, his tongue hanging limp to one corner, his eyes bright with enthusiasm. His major concerns are pleasing Ren and tending to his well-being, or playing strange games like Don’t Pee on the Electric Fence. The only time I remember seeing Stimpy not smiling for the lengths of an entire episode, was when he loses the love of his life: His own fart.

‘Ren & Stimpy’ is a crazy show that often depicts nasty details in an extremely graphic manner – whether this be one of Ren’s infected teeth, soaring with puss and expelling strong odors, or a scene showing Ren sawing a log that is resting on Stimpy’s very human-like butt in half, imitating sexual motions and even the stereotypical post-climax scenario.

Due to the nature of the ‘Ren & Stimpy’ show, Nickelodean ran into quite a few problems with it Standards and Practises. Spümcø continued to produce the show from 1991-93 and Games Animation took over from 1993-95. ‘Ren & Stimpy’ has reached cult status since.

Similarity Match: 50%
In terms of storyline and characters, ‘Ren & Stimpy’ and ‘Rick & Morty’ don’t have all that much in common. But where these shows do find similarities, is in the creativity of its characters and strange story lines.


If You Like ‘Rick & Morty’, You Will Like…

If these shows aren’t enough to satisfy your binge-watching needs, there are a few other shows like ‘Rick & Morty’ I can suggest.

‘Bob’s Burgers’ (Fox Broadcasting Company, 2011- Present)

This animated series is about the Belcher family, who run a burger joint. Head of the family Bob, grew up in the restaurant industry, with his father, Big Bob Belcher owning a diner.

Unfortunately Bob’s business sense and luck isn’t the best, so he is constantly struggling to stand out against his rival, Jimmy Pesto’s Pizzeria, and is often hit with a series of unfortunate events: A fire, vermin infestation, etc.

Bob’s wife Linda is a tad eccentric but always by his side. They have three kids together: the geeky eldest Linda, boding musician Gene and the cunning little Louise.

‘Brickleberry’ (20th Television, Viacom Media Networks, 2012-2015)

Another fun series like ‘Rick & Morty’ is ‘Brickleberry’. It concentrates on the park rangers of Brickleberry National Park: Steve, the intellectually challenged “Ranger of the Month”, Woody an ex-military man, Connie who’s all about “lesbian strength”, Denzel the gerontophile, Ethel the hot environmentalist and Malloy the narcissist grizzly bear.

Have a look at this article if you want to watch some other great shows like ‘Brickleberry’.

‘The Venture Bros.’ (Cartoon Network, 2004 – Present)

‘The Venture Bros.’ is a great animated series focusing on the two atypical teenage heroes Hank and Dean Venture, who are riddled with insecurities and their father Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture, a super-scientist.


Binge-Watching Addiction

We all have our eccentricities, but it seems to me that, the older you get, the more apparent our crazy little tendencies become. According to my 99 year old great-grandmother the reason for this is simple: The older you get, the less you care about what other people think.

Are there any shows you think would fit into this category?

Let us know!

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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