Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Some Rick And Morty Fans Think Complaints About Filler Episodes Are Overblown

By now it's no surprise to anyone that "Rick and Morty" has a rabidly loyal fanbase. Anyone who needs reminding can think back to the great Szechuan McNugget debacle of 2017 in which fan chatter convinced McDonald's to bring back a limited-time sauce (via Polygon). As we all know, though, loyalty from a fanbase inevitably comes with a large dose of criticism, particularly in science fiction. The "Rick and Morty" fandom certainly has a dark side as fans have been blasted for often crossing the thin line between critique and toxicity throughout the show's run. 

One of the most common criticisms fans seem to level at the show is the presence of filler episodes. By this, fans mean episodes that don't relate to the overarching plot of "Rick and Morty" and the collective journey of its characters. Aside from Rick and Morty (both voiced by Justin Roiland) traipsing through galaxies, the main story follows Rick's battle with self-loathing and its ramifications for the multiverse, Jerry's (Chris Parnell) struggle to remain part of his family, and Morty's complicated relationship with Rick. Episodes that relate to these characters' struggles are canon, while those that fall outside the purview are considered filler. But some fans think such a distinction is rather unhelpful, particularly when it comes to a show like "Rick and Morty."

Fans think the definition of canon is murky in RIck and Morty

On the r/rickandmorty subreddit, u/Zatchmo137 takes a microscope to "Rick and Morty" filler episodes in a post written during Season 5 of the series. "If this is the Rick and Morty that you signed up for [then] you only like the show for 8 episodes," they wrote. "Rick and Morty is mostly an episodic show that throws in nuggets of canon occasionally. Its the formula that makes the show great!"

The post goes on to list eight out of the 49 episodes that had aired at the time of writing that could be considered canon by fans. These episodes include "Rick Potion #9" in which Rick and Morty leave their original universe, and "The Ricklantis Mixup" during which Morty's evil, alternate dimension counterpart rises to power. In all, u/Zatchmo137 argued that only about 16% of "Rick and Morty" storylines could be considered canon.

Other comments on the thread take issue with certain episodes being excluded. "Yeah, the definition of filler in R&M (and everything else, really) is mostly retroactive," wrote u/BlueUnknown. The user then points out that much of what is considered canon only becomes so when something, such as a character or a gadget, is brought up again in later episodes, making the distinction between filler and canon rather blurry. Still, others are content to just sit back and let "Rick and Morty" be "Rick and Morty." "People want every show to be a story-heavy epic," wrote u/Asmor. "And not every show needs to be that."