The kind of show that rewards knowledgeable viewers has always been Rick and Morty. Fans have been tormented by questions like “Where is Tammy?” and “What is Evil Morty’s strategy?” as the show carries on cheerfully. One of those puzzles, however, is not www.Story-Train.com. The joke website urging viewers to plunge into consumerism at the end of Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 6 is just a clever piece. And it is using all of us.
“Never Ricking Morty” was immediately apparent as the season’s “Interdimensional Cable” replacement. The episode is made up of a series of strange vignettes about Rick and Morty escapades we’ve never seen thanks to a train full of passengers who either love or hate Rick. In this crazy programme, that is pretty normal. But as the programme progresses, it becomes abundantly evident that what’s really going on is even more absurd and baffling.
The Story Master, a Snowpiercer-like ruler who only cares about creating the best story imaginable, is actually in charge of this train, it turns out. Huge events take place that Rick rationalises away as either non-canon or potentially canon, such as Tammy fighting Summer with a light sabre. The truth is made clear after Rick and Morty use the narrative of Jesus to defeat Story Master. They were never our primary Rick and Morty or even a Rick and Morty who might have actually existed. They were, in fact, narrative devices ensnared on a toy called the Story Train.
The “Never Ricking Morty” ending bumper has a commercial for the Story Train toy, in keeping with Dan Harmon’s penchant for making up fake commercials. However, http://www.Story-Train.com doesn’t exist, despite the commercial’s urging that viewers feed the beast that is capitalism. Fans have been perplexed by the dead link ever since the episode’s debut.
ok ok who else googled the story train website #RickandMorty
— karma ? (@moodxgabb) May 4, 2020
I was certain the Story Train website would be real… #RickandMortypic.twitter.com/sBHOJp612f
— ᑕᕼᖇIᔕ ᔕOYᗩᑎGᑕO (@csoy13) May 4, 2020
I actually tried to find the train by typing the website in the browser address bar.
— @Splash Lights Photos (Back in the Game For Now) (@Two_Cams25) May 4, 2020
Owning your own Story Train would be wonderful, but it’s unlikely that it will ever happen. Why? Because the episode’s purpose was never to encourage mindless consumption of goods. mocking Rick and Morty’s popularity was done.
Even the concept of the Story Train and its elliptical track pokes fun at the programme. Harmon has long been vocal about the Circle Theory of Story, the formula he has used to craft every programme, episode, film, and other piece of writing. Even more self-mockery is displayed by showing viewers a tonne of sequences that are action-packed and thrilling and that were prominently featured in the promo for these upcoming episodes. Harmon and Justin Roiland have been warning fans not to take anything in their show too seriously ever since people began deconstructing the opening titles of Rick and Morty. What better way to emphasise that point than to figuratively lock Rick and Morty within an anthology episode?
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Rick’s intoxicated monologue about the importance of blind capitalism also fits within that parody. The person who penned a Community character who went by the name Subway legally changed his name to start this programme. Harmon’s ethos has long included skewering capitalism while simultaneously adhering to it. And it was about time for these co-creators to make fun of the genuinely insane quantity of shirts, toys, games, underwear, and Rick-on-wheels trucks Adult Swim has produced for this programme.
What then did the creators of this strange and excruciatingly intelligent show do? They created an episode highlighting all of their cliches and plot devices. Then, as a tribute to their own show’s unbridled consumerism, they transformed that episode into a protracted, intricate commercial for a toy. The domain for http://www.Story-Train.com was then registered by Warner, the owner of Adult Swim. We all connected, then.
Rick and Morty has us all by the balls. But in the end, it’s difficult to be particularly angry. Owning a Story Train would have been really wonderful, regardless of any deliberation, objections, or second thoughts.
Update: It appears that story-train.com now takes users to the Rick and Morty website. You can buy schwag there and feed the capitalist monster, so you best believe that.
Sundays at 11:30/10:30c, new episodes of Rick and Morty air on Adult Swim.
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