Why Rick & Morty Aired A Thanksgiving Special In July

Rick and Morty did a Thanksgiving special in July as part of an homage to one of the greatest science-fiction blockbuster holiday films of all time.

There was a reason why Rick and Morty did a Thanksgiving special in July, rather than in November; the episode was also a tribute and parody of the science-fiction movie Independence Day. Rick and Morty is famous for its mockery of classic science fiction tropes and classic genre films, so it was perfectly in keeping with the show’s theme to build a parody of Independence Day around another uniquely American holiday.

The plot of “Rick & Morty’s Thanksplotation Spectacular” started out centering around the continuing feud between Rick Sanchez and the President of the United States (Keith David), who had become increasingly annoyed by Rick’s callous attitude towards the law. Rick revealed that he kept getting away with various crimes by transforming himself into a turkey and replacing the turkey that was, in accordance with an American tradition, scheduled to receive a full Presidential pardon and be promised a full, long life instead of being killed and served as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The President, aware of Rick’s scheme, likewise plotted to thwart Rick’s plans by transforming an elite squad of Marines into turkeys and becoming a turkey himself.

Due to the usual shenanigans that occur in most Rick and Morty episodes, a real turkey wound up being transformed into the President and quickly began building an army of super-soldier turkeys with the intention of taking over the United States. This led to an unlikely alliance between Rick and the President, and a number of revelations about the true history of the United States and its connection to two races of feuding alien warriors. The tales of their putting aside their differences in the spirit of brotherhood and a mutual love of killing turkeys (who were originally giant monsters akin to dinosaurs) gave way to the American myth of the first Thanksgiving. This was all meant to parody the jingoistic imagery of Independence Day, which was similarly built around the holiday devoted to American independence celebrated annually on July 4th.

Beyond the general holiday and aliens themes, “Rick & Morty’s Thanksplotation Spectacular” also parodied Independence Day with its side stories. While largely focused upon the President (Bill Pullman) and his efforts to lead the world against an alien invasion, Independence Day featured a sizeable ensemble and shifted its focus to show a variety of people responding to the crisis. Rick and Morty did the same thing with its subplot centered around Cooper, a Marine (voiced by Timothy Olyphant), who was struggling with the responsibilities of his job and the baby he and his wife Mary Lou were about to have.

While many likely walked away from this episode of Rick and Morty thinking only of the disturbing animation and how there is now have a Turkey Rick to rival Pickle Rick, “Rick & Morty’s Thanksplotation Spectacular” proves far deeper than that. The episode is a perfect stylistic parody of Independence Day on every level. Beyond that, it also makes a number of stunning satirical points regarding American culture, the hypocrisy of the Thanksgiving holiday and the corruption of the American Congress, whom Rick and Morty depict as eagerly following a mutant turkey monster posing as the President in a bid to line their own pockets.

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Rick and Morty did a Thanksgiving special in July as part of an homage to one of the greatest science-fiction blockbuster holiday films of all time. There was a reason why Rick and Morty did a Thanksgiving special in July, rather than in November; the episode was also a tribute and parody of the science-fiction…

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