WarningMight contain spoilers.

Funny and enjoyable but unnecessarily, gratingly, disproportionately nasty, mean, and cynical (as well as gross, from time to time)—the influence of Rick and Morty on Alex Hirsch cannot be understated. Sadly lacking the gorgeous animation of Gravity Falls as well (notwithstanding the little references like Randy’s design and the pyramid). This isn’t as clever a show as it believes itself to be, more’s the pity. It would be so much more effective if the entire cast weren’t already jaded, cynical, and foulmouthed in the extreme (an approach already perfected by Archer). The story of a cheerful, good-natured, well-intentioned group of people who run the world in blissful ignorance of their own limitations while alienating the less socially adept but brilliant woman who does all the work would be far more interesting and filled with potential.

There’s commendable attention to detail: the Animorphs covers and the Doom screen in ‘Sex Machina’, the recreation of the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial poster in ‘My Big Flat Earth Wedding’, the *NSync jokes in ‘Inside Reagan’, and so on.

Reagan is thoroughly unlikable. That would be irrelevant if she had any compelling qualities, but as it stands, there’s no reason to empathize with her except that she had a bad childhood and she’s more competent than the others. The show struggles to balance the appearance of a friendlier story with the cruelty (but not nihilism) of a recent Dan Harmon production. ‘The Brettfast Club’ is the most obviously influenced by the latter, and while it’s good, it unfortunately throws into stark relief the lack of substance in the cast, plot, and world.

The second half of the season improves matters by spending less time at Cognito Inc and involving a little less Randy. It feels like the finale could be the beginning of the real show. More restraint and less cynicism would help it soar. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg get what’s coming to them, though?

Between the animation and John DiMaggio’s performance, Glenn Dolphman is easily my favourite character.