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Rick & Morty Season 6 Makes A Genuinely Terrifying Sci-Fi Into A Joke About Zebras

While Rick and Morty can make a lot of potentially dark stories surprisingly funny, it was still a shock to see a classic Twilight Zone twist turned into a throwaway joke in season 6. Nothing is sacred on Rick and Morty. From Die Hard to Rick and Morty’s own origins, the show mocks everything and anything in its freewheeling comedic storytelling.

As such, it should come as no surprise that Rick and Morty season 6 managed to make one of the scariest Twilight Zone twists ever into a goofy punchline. What is surprising, however, is the fact that this twist wasn’t even included in the episode itself. Instead, it was the post-credits stinger of “Final DeSmithation” (season 6, episode 5) that made Rod Serling’s seminal anthology show the butt of a joke.

The stinger consisted of a lengthy advertisement for zebra food that soon turned into gory, brutal chaos as humans ingesting the food became rabid and monstrous. This prompted Morty to wonder why a zoo would run such a violent ad, and why there would be an advertisement for zebra food in the gift shop in the first place. However, he then cut this Rick and Morty plot short by asking “are we the exhibits?” and then immediately realizes that yes, the zoo was secretly displaying humans as its exhibit. Morty accepted this with a resigned “got it, human zoo,” but this underwhelmed reaction is probably not what Serling hoped for when he wrote 1960’s seminal sci-fi classic “People Are Alike All Over.”

The Twilight Zone’s Human Zoo Episode Explained

“People Are Alike All Over” was one of many critically acclaimed outings of The Twilight Zone. Based on the short story “Brothers Beyond the Void” by Paul W. Fairman, the episode follows a pair of astronauts, one a positive thinker and the other a cynic. While the positive thinker of the pair dies upon their landing on Mars, the cynic’s fortunes soon turn around as the local Martians supply him with a comfortable living space like his home on earth. However, in a twist that Rick and Morty’s hero found formulaic (but critics of the 60s found terrifying), he soon realizes that his habit is so cozy because he is an exhibit in a Martian zoo.

While The Twilight Zone’s story is a disquieting, slow-burn horror, Rick and Morty’s parody of the story is a lot more fast-paced. It all stems from a throwaway joke about Jerry eating zebra food at the zoo earlier in the episode, which Morty notes is understandable since the advertisement depicts humans eating zebra food. This is the loose thread that sets Morty thinking about the strange advertisement until eventually, he realizes, like the doomed astronaut, that this is a human zoo. This being Rick and Morty, however, Morty is a lot more unfazed than the hysterical, inconsolable hero of “People Are Alike All Over.”

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