Finally! Season 3 of Rick and Morty is finally upon us. After waiting over a year and a half (which, in all fairness, is the amount of time Mr. Poopybutthole warned us it would take in the post-credits scene of the season 2 finale “The Wedding Squaunchers”), fans are finally going to get to join Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith on their latest batch of interdimensional adventures. It’s about time, right? It seems like forever that we’ve been watching the same 20 or so episodes over and over again, learning them word for word, back to front. Before Adult Swim finally made the official announcement that the third season would premiere on July 30, I was working on my own Rick-style portal gun to take me to a dimension where Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon managed to get season 3 made sooner, but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. As Rick promised in the trailer, this year we’ll see their darkest adventures yet – and Pickle Rick!! It’s very exciting, especially since Dan Harmon has explained why season 3 took so long – they were simply taking their time to ensure the writing was up to snuff. So, without further ado, here are fifteen things you probably didn’t know about Rick and Morty.
15. Jerry drives Clark Griswold’s car
Is there any chance that you Rick and Morty fans who also happen to be huge lovers of ‘80s movies noticed something familiar about Jerry’s car? It’s an oddly shaped green station wagon with wooden panels. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, the car Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) drives in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Eugene Levy, in an early role, swindles Clark out of his options by crushing his current car and forcing him to buy one he didn’t want. Dan Harmon has an infamous ongoing feud with Chevy Chase since their struggles working together on Community, so it’s interesting that he would pay tribute to the guy after all that saltiness between them. Perhaps that’s just the power of the ‘80s classic – it’s impossible to resist, even if you hate the star in real life!
14. Sarah Chalke can burp on command, but Justin Roiland can’t
Sarah Chalke is a very recognizable face in television. She played Elliot, Zach Braff’s love interest and the female lead in Scrubs, and she played Stella, the woman who left Ted at the altar in How I Met Your Mother and then refused to fully leave the show. Now, she’s a recognizable voice in television too, as she provides the voice of Beth – the biological link between her son Morty and her father Rick. Thia actress is able to burp on command, a talent of which Justin Roiland has grown highly jealous, since playing Rick requires him to burp every few words in every single line. This is understandably frustrating when you’re working with someone who can do this with no problem and doesn’t have to.
13. Justin Roiland originally wanted to destroy the Earth in every episode
Originally, every episode of Rick and Morty was going to end with the destruction of our planet. The show’s creator Justin Roiland thought it would be a funny running gag for every single one of Rick’s crazy schemes to end with the destruction of the Earth. This would be a kind of running joke like Kenny dying at the end of every episode of South Park, which was also dropped by the creative team. The reason the Rick and Morty gag never even made it to air in the first place was because the other writers turned it down. They felt that the joke would get stale quickly, and they’re probably right. Not having that and not being tied down to the same ending every week has opened the show up to all kinds of original creativity and variety in the endings of its episodes. Plus, it doesn’t make sense for the Earth to be destroyed every week. It can only be destroyed once.
12. Rick and Morty contains links to Community (and vice versa)
Before he was the co-creator, executive producer, and writer of Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon was the creator. showrunner (for part of it), and writer of Community on NBC. It was a part of a great line-up of NBC comedy at the time that included The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock. In Community there is a link to Rick and Morty, as it touches on the idea of dimensions in the trippy episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” (read: the freaky deaky one with “Roxanne” by The Police on the soundtrack). Therefore, theoretically, Rick and Morty’s world is simply an animated, two-dimensional, more screwed up dimension of Community’s world. There’s also a version of Community starring a cast of aliens attending community college and forming a study group on TV in Rick and Morty. Is your head spinning? Good.
11. Justin Roiland wrote “Get Schwifty” when he was a kid
Remember the episode “Get Schwifty” from season 2? It’s the one where a giant, golden head appears in the sky and demands of planet Earth to “show me what you got.” It’s basically about an interplanetary Eurovision-esque song contest. And then it becomes about the overarching mythology behind the life of rapper Ice-T. And then, later, it becomes about larger themes like cults and the elaborate scam that is organized religion. Well, apparently that whole episode was written to revolve around a song that Rick and Morty creator, Justin Roiland, wrote when he was a little kid. He has said that he showed the song to some of his friends, who told him, “It’s pretty good, but it’s not anything special.” Roiland explained that he wrote the episode to “put the song in the context where it saves the world. Suck it, Carl!” Apparently one of the naysayer kids was called Carl.
10. You can play Jerry’s dumb balloon-popping game
In almost every episode of Rick and Morty, Jerry can be seen playing a game on his iPad. It’s the game he was playing in the season 2 episode “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez,” when he fails to listen to a conversation about vampires and Beth gets mad at him and Rick takes them to intergalactic marriage counselling where they almost kill each other with their mental projections of one another. Yeah, that entire plot was down to Jerry’s stupid balloon-popping iPad game. Before all that goes down, he’s sat at the breakfast table, mindlessly popping balloons. Well, someone designed that game and it’s now available for download on the App Store. It’s called “Jerry’s Game.” Check it out (if you want to be a Jerry, that is).
9. The aliens in Rick and Morty are modeled after gross things
As long as the animators of Rick and Morty are required to create entirely new species of creatures on a regular basis, they’ve decided to have a bit of dirty fun with it. They design the aliens based on the grossest things they can think of and then give them eyes and mouths and limbs and what not afterwards. For instance, Blin Blam is modeled after a penis, and Zigerions are designed to look like testicles. This design technique is perhaps most prominently displayed in the episode “The Ricks Must Be Crazy,” the one where Rick and Morty enter the car battery to figure out where the power has gone. First, the species inside Rick’s microverse were based on penises. Then, the species inside Zeep’s miniverse were inspired by sperm. And finally, the species inside the teenyverse beyond that are based on feces. Isn’t that lovely?
8. “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” is based on a real-life acid trip
Justin Roiland has explained that one of Rick and Morty’s trippiest episodes – the gloriously twisty “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!,” (the one with the alien race who put Rick in various elaborate simulations and simulations within simulations, in order to get his formula for concentrated dark matter ) is actually based on a bad acid trip that one of his ‘friends’ had in real life. Whoever had the trip was on LSD and had hallucinations of aliens and grew paranoid that he was going to be abducted by “invaders.” The guy ended up lying naked in the street as he thought this would camouflage him from the aliens. Roiland used this experience to form the basis of “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” Looking at some of the stories and concepts this show has had so far, this probably isn’t the only episode to be based on an LSD trip.
7. Bryan Cranston auditioned to play Jerry
Back when the show was in its early stages of development, so far back that the actors were still being cast, Bryan Cranston took an interest. Since Rick and Morty premiered in 2013, this would’ve followed right after Breaking Bad; meaning Cranston would never be out of work. It’s probably best that Chris Parnell got the role, since his voice suits the part better and his background specifically in comedy makes him a more suitable Jerry. Plus, the extra free time gave Cranston the opportunities to make All the Way, Sneaky Pete, SuperMansion, The Disaster Artist, and Trumbo. It’s surprising he didn’t get the part, though, since Justin Roiland is clearly a huge fan. The whole reason Rick says “bitch” all the time is a homage to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).
6. Rick and Morty star in their own Simpsons couch gag
Like Rick said, “Rick and Morty forever and forever, a hundred years, Rick and Morty’s things! Me and Rick and Morty running around and Rick and Morty time! All day long, forever, all a hundred days! Rick and Morty forever a hundred times! Over and over, rickandmortyadventures.com.” Pretty aptly put, Rick, thank you. It seems that this extends outside the parameters of their own show, too. One of those hundred times came in a Simpsons episode, as Rick and Morty starred in their own couch gag. It was typically dark in the style of Rick and Morty, as the pair of them crash into the Simpson household and horrifically kill the family, then break the fourth wall, recognizing the characters, and then replace them the same way they replaced themselves at the end of “Rick Potion No. 9.”
5. Rick and Morty and Futurama might be set in the same universe
When he was first promoting the show, Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon compared it to a cross between Matt Groening’s two shows, The Simpsons and Futurama. It’s similar to the former because of the everyday situations of a middle-class suburban family. And it’s similar to the latter, obviously, because of its high concept science-fiction ideas. However, some eagle-eyed fans have suggested that the two shows exist within the same fictional universe. They’ve spotted the Planet Express ship in the background of a couple of shots – most recently in the season 3 premiere “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” which was silently released on April Fool’s Day, the worst possible day for a surprise premiere (which is exactly the reason it was chosen). The Slurm logo can also be seen at times. However, the shows are made by totally different producers, so it may not be legally possible for this theory to be true. But maybe.
4. There’s a very dark Rick and Morty episode coming
The writers of Rick and Morty have teased with an experiment they have in the pipeline – an extremely dark episode of the show, even by its usual standards. One could argue that Rick and Morty works so well because, dark humor aside, it masterfully mixes dumb, lighthearted comedy with serious, heavy, emotional stuff. It’s why they can get away with the weight of a suicide attempt as a plot point, because viewers know a fart joke is right around the corner. It can be a very difficult balance to strike, but somehow the Rick and Morty writers manage it. However, for this dark, experimental episode they have planned, they’ll be throwing that balance right out of the window. They’re going to have one of their usual stories, with all the twists and turns and clever storytelling, and emotional weight – but they’re not going to write a single joke. So, we’ll get to see just how damned dark Rick and Morty would be if it didn’t have jokes to lighten it up, because it’s pretty freaking dark as it is.
3. The pilot episode was written in six hours
There’s a legend around town that the pilot episode for Rick and Morty was written to completion the very day that the series was sold to Adult Swim. Isn’t that crazy? That process usually takes months upon months – sometimes even years – before a deal is in place with a network and a pilot script is written to a satisfactory standard. But for Rick and Morty, that process took one day. Apparently Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland were coming out of the Adult Swim offices where they’d just made the deal to produce Rick and Morty. Roiland told Harmon that if he left, the script would take three months, but if he stayed, they could have it done by the end of the day. And sure enough, six hours later the script was done and the show was born.
2. We have the decline of Community to thank
After creating Community and making it one of the greatest comedies on television for three seasons, Dan Harmon was fired from the NBC show and suddenly left with a lot of time on his hands. It was then that he worked with Justin Roiland to develop Rick and Morty. So, it was Harmon’s firing from Community that eventually gave us an even greater television comedy. When God closes a door, he opens a window. Coincidently, after season 3 Community went kind of downhill and started to decline in quality, and it was because Harmon’s unique touch was gone. He came back to it eventually for a sixth and final season on Yahoo!’s ill-fated, short-lived subscription service, but nobody saw that. But the silver lining was the creation and airing of Rick and Morty.
1. Rick and Morty is based on Back to the Future
Rick and Morty originated as an animated short created by Justin Roiland entitled The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti. It was a thinly veiled parody of the Back to the Future movies, with Rick (then called “Doc”) being adapted from Dr. Emmett Brown and Morty (then called “Mharti”) being adapted from Marty McFly. He submitted the short to Dan Harmon’s short film festival Channel 101, in which participants send in a short film in the form of a pilot and viewers decide if it goes ahead as a series. Roiland’s original short used shock humor, which confused the audience and left them uncomfortable. Harmon called Roiland’s short “a bastardization” and “a pornographic vandalization” of Back to the Future. Eventually, Harmon developed the show with Roiland into Rick and Morty as we know it on Adult Swim. The final characters are quite far removed from Doc and Marty, but there is a reference to this original inspiration in the episode “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind.” In the episode, one of the other dimensions’ Rick has a Morty that looks like Eric Stoltz. Eric Stoltz was the original actor considered for Marty McFly in Back to the Future.