We here at TVWriter™ are huge fans of Adult Swim’s bizarre – and often grotesque – animated show RICK AND MORTY, which returned to our screens last Sunday night. For us, watching this mind-gobbling bit of whackery is like listening to Nirvana. We love its craziness because we’re crazy too:
by Neil Strauss
“Most second albums suck,” Dan Harmon says, lounging in a back room of Starburns Industries, a Burbank studio, across the table from Justin Roiland. The mismatched pair — Roiland is clean-cut, fair-skinned and upbeat; Harmon’s unkempt, grizzled, and cynical — are in the midst of creating not a second album here, but a second season. The show is Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, an animated sci-fi sitcom that’s very loosely based on Back to the Future and just may be the best-written comedy on television.
Each 22-minute story arc is plotted using the principles of Joseph Campbell’s mythological hero’s journey, but shot through with world-weary humor like a George Carlin comedy special in triple time. In just 11 episodes, the show has amassed a sizable cult following of devotees, with nine million people watching the show’s first season. Among them is Matt Groening, who recently had Roiland and Harmon create a Rick and Morty couch gag to introduce this season’s finale of The Simpsons.
Rick and Morty chronicles the inter-dimensional adventures of an alcoholic, misanthropic scientific genius (Rick) and his big-hearted, dim-witted, chronically nervous grandson (Morty). The show combines the meta-TV writing of Harmon, best-known as the creative force behind the erstwhile NBC sitcom Community,and the puerile imagination of Roiland, best known as the screeching voice of Lemongrab on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.
With Rick and Morty finally resuming after a 15-month gap, Roiland, who also voices the stuttering, exasperated titular characters, is understandably nervous. The first new episode, he confesses, “was just brutal and it broke us to a certain extent. We were so close to something amazing and we never really got there from a structural standpoint.”
“It went off the deep end conceptually and got really over-complicated,” Harmon agrees. “We’re pretty convinced that the first episode might be the worst for that reason.”
If the first episode of Season Two is the worst, then the pair has nothing to worry about. “A Rickle in Time” begins with Rick freezing time for six months so that he, Morty, and Morty’s sister can clean up the house after a wild party that ended Season One. But due to an unforeseen complication, time keeps splitting into multiple simultaneous realities….