The time has come for a truly outstanding cartoon to really mold a positive impression on the masses. It all started with a draft that was written in only six hours, which then became the TV phenomenon that is shaping pop culture, along with a fandom that is too powerful for words. In the midst of the Szechuan sauce-frenzy, we’re looking into the show that has the fans acting so erratic in the first place.
Created by Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon, Rick and Morty had set forth onto our screens on December 2, 2013, and animated television was never the same.
Courtesy of Adult Swim
Picture yourself as a 14-year old going on bizarre and impractical adventures with your erratic grandfather who’s a mad scientist with a drinking habit. Rick and Morty is just as bizarre as it sounds and that’s why it’s loved by so many. Each episode embarks on another insane journey that usually ends in an extremely mindblowing way. You would probably expect an episode to end in a certain way, but then you’re left contemplating the world around you as you know it. Your expectations can be due to the fact that many adult cartoons subsume the exact same rundown. A family that runs into wacky situations or experiences personal issues along the way. Same scenarios can be tedious and will leave a series uninteresting after a while, which can be a drag for show creators and ratings. With Rick and Morty, it’s more than just the usual family adventures & interpersonal relationship troubles that are resolved that the end. Throughout the series, we see Morty’s parents, Beth and Jerry Smith, continuously have marriage troubles, which led to an inevitable split in season 3. It really shows how marvelous continuity can be and how it can mold a quality show while attaching an emotional conflict to each character. The chilling end of the episode, Rick Potion No. 9, will leave you speechless. The scene of Morty’s thousand yard stare deserves awards alone.
Definitely not going to pass up the opportunity to mention the method of improv that is used in this show. In the episode “Rixty Minutes” you can see the improvisation come into play.
Just how much of this natural, improvisational method is used in Rick and Morty? In an interview with io9, Justin Roiland explains how the team behind this show doesn’t use the script exactly how it’s written, but instead as a guideline for their free-flowing creativity.
“When doing the dialogue I have to toss the script aside. Even if I’m sticking to a very specific line of dialogue that is required for a very specific joke set up or punchline, I find that if I allow myself to adjust the wording and let it come out more naturally to how I would actually say it, it helps make the characters feel more real/alive/natural. I also LOVE using out takes as in takes. Our dialogue editor Tommy Meehan also always surprises me with stuff he’ll pick from the record to cut in. He and I are very much in sync on what we find funny.”
“[I improvise on] some episodes more than others. I usually have moments in each episode that weren’t in the script. One big example is the cold open in the pilot. That whole sequence in Rick’s ship was improv based on a scene suggestion from Dan. Other stuff when Rick acts strange or fucks around… that’s usually improv. The scene where he plays with Morty in the Alien Scammer’s ship was improv.”
I guess when it comes to improv vs. the script? Just throw out the script because improv nails it every time.
A groundbreaking show like Rick and Morty was bound to have success, but I’m not sure if success is even the word to describe the impact that this show is having on viewers, the media, corporations & pop culture altogether. Try a phenomenon. Just early this month it was reported that Rick and Morty actually broke Adult Swim’s viewership record. Season 3 was the network’s most-watched comedy show in its history of programming. More than 11 million people alone watched the live-streamed premiere of the season. These are incredible numbers for a show with only three seasons.
The success of the first episode of season 3 alone inspired a hysteria involving a certain fast food chain. I’m talking McDonald’s and their Szechuan sauce. Who knew Rick Sanchez telling Cornvelious Daniel how much he loves a promotional McNuggets sauce from 1998 could led to a literal uproar?
McDonald’s actually ended up gifting the Rick and Morty team a four-pound bottle of this rare sauce, and the hype eventually led up to the franchise re-releasing the sauce for one day only on October 7, 2017. This didn’t sit right with fans due to the fact that the sauce was quickly sold out and it led to several public disturbances and an outcry across social media.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an animated television show have this much of an influence on the general public. It makes me wonder if the next season of Rick and Morty will be an even bigger deal. There isn’t any news on season 4 at the moment but we’ll keep you posted!