Is it possible to watch Rick and Morty with my 10 yo?
August 3, 2017 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Rick and Morty is awesome. My son would love it, it could be our favorite show ever, except, well, it's Rick and Morty. And he's (almost) 10.

I really think R&M could be our all-time favorite thing to watch together.

I'm not a prude and I'm not bringing him up to be one, either, but the show has a bunch of things I don't think I'd be comfortable watching with him. Not just the sex stuff, though that is part of it, also the general nihilism might be a bit much. I don't care about swearing, at all.

Plus, R&M is currently all over the YouTube channels he watches, and I've already told him it's great, but he can't watch it, which feels odd in itself.

What do you think? Have you watched R&M with a child under 14? Did you skip some parts / episodes? Should we watch it together and just put some parts off limits? Or wait a few more years?
posted by signal to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd wait. There's too much in it that isn't age-appropriate for a preteen. My son is eleven and I won't be watching it with him anytime soon (having said this, it's a great show. The Mrs. and i love it...).
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:53 PM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm 37 and some of Rick and Morty is too much for me. As you say, it's the nihilism. Things get real dark real fast sometimes. I wouldn't risk it.
posted by ewok_academy at 2:55 PM on August 3, 2017 [14 favorites]

My kid is the same age as yours - he always picks up things from the shows that he watches, and there are a lot of things I wouldn't want him to pick up from Rick and Morty. A whole lot of things.

Common Sense Media says:

Parents need to know that Rick and Morty is intended for mature viewers who can take the copious violence, alcohol consumption, and sexual content in stride. The show centers on a degenerate relationship between an anxious, socially marginal teen and his lunatic lush of a grandfather who drags him into absurd schemes through time and space. In other words, there are no positive role models here; in fact, the show's foundation is the sadistic emotional control Rick wields over Morty. Violence is graphic albeit in a cartoon way, so you'll see body explosions, gushing wounds, weapon use, and some death. Expect some sexually suggestive stuff as well, with hints at nudity (a girl flashes Morty, although only the top part of her breasts is visible) and some bawdy talk about sexuality.
posted by 41swans at 3:03 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

My parents rented every Paul Verhoven movie from Robocop to Basic Instinct and we watched them all together. As a 10-14 year old that was a mistake. Not the sex. Not the violence. But the crushing nihilism.

Watch The Tick together.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:20 PM on August 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

Oh goodness, no. The world doesn't need another Tiny Rick. Does he feel like he's too old for Adventure Time? Lots of weird but generally not nihilistic messages, there.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 3:46 PM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

I mean, I watched Serial Experiments Lain as my first anime when I was 9 years old. That seismically impacted my perception of the world due to absorbing the atmosphere of it so well to the point that it helped validate me becoming a shut-in nerd and it exaceberated my inability to connect with peers for a really long time. At the same time, it was the only media representation of alienation and loneliness that deeply connectd with me at the time, so it was good for me in that way too. (still love it.)

Rick and Morty has such a deep and pervasive atmosphere that comes from people experiencing the world and being incredibly jaded and cynical but understanding of it. I don't deny your son is intelligent and could enjoy it, but it's one thing to carry an attitude based on actual experiences, but it's another to mimic them based on seeing it be represented. That's what my major concern would be.
posted by yueliang at 3:55 PM on August 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Mr. Platypus agrees with the consensus of "wait until he's older".
I agree with The Tick being awesome.
posted by platypus of the universe at 3:57 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Why don't you watch Gravity Falls instead? It feels a bit like R&M, but fantasy-based. The show creators are friends, even. I love R&M but it's just not for kids. And the best character is a jerk.
posted by clearlydemon at 3:59 PM on August 3, 2017 [7 favorites]

Also, your 9 year old won't catch the best references. Save it for when he's older and no longer interested in you.
posted by clearlydemon at 4:00 PM on August 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have strongly, strongly considered sharing R&M with my twelve year-old for similar reasons, but ultimately decided that it's too soon for him. I'd say 13 or 14 is probably a bare minimum. You can't un-cynic-ify a kid.
posted by julthumbscrew at 4:10 PM on August 3, 2017

Too edgy, though it is sweet to want to show him funny things. Think of the pilot where Rick asks Morty to put that nut thing WAYYYYY up his bum. Or the one about elective dick surgery. You'd have to watch every episode in advance to screen for throwaways like that. Also, do children really enjoy tongue in cheek and sarcastic jokes about sex and dysfunctional families? Maybe at 13 or 14 it'll read as warped but comprehensible but I bet at 10 it'll just be baffling. He might know it's a joke but I doubt he'll really know why.

The Simpsons maybe? (Even there, I wouldn't). I've heard that Steven Universe is a pretty sweet natured show, though it's for adults. Or that pony thing... he's so young, so this could be an excuse for you to get on board with his tastes.
posted by benadryl at 4:18 PM on August 3, 2017

Thanks for all the answers. And, for the record, not really looking for alternatives, we've already watched all the suggested shows.
posted by signal at 4:26 PM on August 3, 2017

My friend has 4 kids between two marriages; the younger kids are 3 and 5, and the 5-year-old pays enough attention to TV that R&M is a no-go. The older kids are teenagers, 13 and 16, I think, and I think they don't particularly like the show, and the younger one is kind of sensitive, so they avoid watching the show when he's around. I'd say 14-15 is right.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:31 PM on August 3, 2017

My son got kind of freaked/weirded out when he first watched Rick & Morty a couple of years ago at age 12/13. He's now almost 15 and loves it.

I'm not sure if I would classify the show as being nihilist, though, since the characters genuinely care for each other (in their own twisted way) and an ongoing theme is whether or not Grandpa Rick is really quite as selfish and uncaring as he seems.
posted by My Dad at 5:33 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

We're in a Golden Age of Television, even for preteens. There's so, so, so much other good stuff, and you know that R&M will be right there for him when you'll be more confident that it won't mess him up too much.
posted by Etrigan at 7:07 PM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Most 10-year-olds aren't going to realize what behaviors in the show are appropriate to mimic/should exist in the real world and which are intended to stay on the screen. The world of Rick and Morty could really confuse things for a kid still trying to grasp how he relates to the world and how this all is supposed to work.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:53 PM on August 3, 2017

I had three older brothers and when I was 10yo my favorite band was The Cure. They got first choice at the video rental place (I'm old) meaning that I saw Evil Dead before anything by Disney.

I was fine with horror and gore. Sex and nudity was super awkward and made me pretty uncomfortable, perhaps because my brothers were there. They had nudie mags and I knew where they kept them, but they were forever unspoken of.

Overall I think I matured a little faster than my peers, and that really prepared me for some challenges (I was orphaned at 11yo). I did get in trouble for rude jokes and foul language, but I did learn to code-switch rather easily, which mitigated that. That mostly came from my brothers though.

As an adult I'm completely desensitized to violence and sex. In fact, if that's all that's on offer, I'm bored with it. Shock value has no value to me. I know I'm a lot less puritan and judgmental about what people choose to watch than what others seem to be.

I can only speak for myself, and I would have been ready for Rick and Morty at 10yo. I would have loved it. I love it now. I'm also heartbroken that this is the last season of Adventure Time.

If they understand Futurama, they'll get R+M with some caveats. You know them best though, your call.
posted by adept256 at 12:28 AM on August 4, 2017

We tried that recently. The kids had enjoyed many crazy sci fi things with us before, from BTTF and Terminator to Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Beyond the issues with the Rick & Morty's edgy humor, the kids didn't get it or want it, really. They thought Rick was gross in an unfunny way.

They love Harmonquest though.
posted by heatvision at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2017

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