Rick and Morty keeps on pushing the boundaries of television animation with outrageous stories, multidimensional traveling, and a morbid sense of humor. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, it has connected with audiences like few other shows from the past decade. But, between production delays, behind-the-scenes turmoil, and a fanbase that sometimes takes things too far, reading about Rick and Morty is almost as compelling as watching them.
Get your Rick on with the following facts!
Rick And Morty Facts
1. Morty, We Have to go Back!
Rick and Morty is based on The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, a series of shorts created by comedian and animator Justin Roiland that parodied the two protagonists from Back to the Future.
2. Time Well Spent
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland made planned out Rick and Morty, sold their pitch, and wrote the pilot in a single day. The first draft was completed in just six hours in Dan Harmon's unfurnished Community office (he'd just been fired from the show). Harmon has made no secret about his procrastination, so Roiland forced him to stay inside until the first draft was completed. He told Harmon, "If you go home, it might take us three months to write this thing."
3. Morty Stoltz
In the episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," one of the Mortys looks like Eric Stoltz in the movie Mask. Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty in Back to the Future, but was famously replaced with Michael J. Fox during production. How many of you noticed that meta-reference?
Although Mr. Poopybutthole made his first appearance in the episode “Total Rickall,” the producers wanted to make it look like he was a part of the series all along, so they edited him in the opening credits. Or maybe he was there along, and that was the first time you noticed it!
Adult Swim released the episode "Rixty Minutes" before it actually aired via 109 15-second videos on Instagram. This was the first Instagram TV show premiere.
6. Power to the People!
Fans started a petition in 2016 to convince Adult Swim to greenlight the production of a feature-length movie. Doesn't the show need to have six seasons first?
7. Go Human Beings!
When Rick wants his hive mind lover to create a TV show for him, he directs her to "Make them all make fun of the blonde one! Now cancel it! Now put it back on!" If that sounded familiar to anyone, that's because he was making her create Community, creator Dan Harmon's much-maligned show. They even got the voices of Jeff, Annie, Shirley, Pierce, Troy, Abed, and Britta to record a brief cameo.
8. Anger Management
After wrong airing dates for the return of the third season leaked, fans got angry and started trolling Dan Harmon on social media. He hit back on Twitter with this controversial reply: “… you should really be telling me to get back to work when I'm NOT tweeting, since that's when I'm probably just straight-up drinking.”
9. Always Bring a Towel
Dan Harmon stated that his inspiration behind much of the concept and humor for the series comes from British television series, such as Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
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10. Here, Birdy, Birdy!
Bird Person is a parody of "The Hawk" from Buck Rogers.
Dan Harmon wore a Bird Person costume during Comic-Con 2015. Or was he just the Hawk? I guess we'll never know.
12. Absent (Grand)Father
Rick hasn't been with the Smiths for that long. In fact, he joined the family only one month before the pilot, after being absent from his daughter's life for twenty years. This explains the rocky relationship with the rest of the family.
13. Hommage a Deux
In episode "Raising Gazorpazorp," ruler Mar-Sha and the other Gazorpians with her are voiced by Claudia Black and Virginia Hey. Black and Hey both also performed the leading roles in the science fiction series Farscape.
14. Double Duty
Creator Justin Roiland voices both Rick and Morty—plus, like half of the other characters on the show. The dude's got range!
15. I'm Taking Charge of this Situation, Buddy!
At first, the network had reservations about Roiland doing both voices, partially because Morty was a rather underdeveloped character at the time. In order to convince them, Dan Harmon wrote four premises in which Morty took a more assertive role and sent them to Adult Swim.
The show is largely intended as a parody on the main themes from Doctor Who and Tintin. Now that you say it, it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
17. The Immortal Bardel
Production for Rick and Morty is handled by a Canadian studio called Bardel Entertainment (fun fact, their CEO's name is Rick!). Bardel has also worked on such shows as The Dragon Prince, Teen Titans Go!, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
18. The Tools of the Trade
Bardel uses a variety of different animation and visual effects software to create the show. The animation is done using Toon Boom Harmony, while background art for the show is done in Adobe Photoshop. Post-production is done in Adobe After Effects. Now you have all the tools—so go forth, and create your own Rick and Morty!
The universe where most of the action on Earth takes place (C-137) is just one of the endless number of universes that Rick and Morty travel through in the show. For anyone wondering what the meaning of that number is...there doesn't appear to be any. It's just a random number.
20. Living on the Edge
In one of show's the subtlest details, Rick never wears a seatbelt in vehicles, while all other characters do.
21. Snowball and the Brain
Rob Paulsen voiced Snowball the Dog in the episode “Lawnmower Dog.” This would be the second time he played a character with that name bent on world domination. The first time was in Pinky and the Brain, when he played a hamster that used to be The Brain’s best friend.
22. Furry Critter Reunion
In that same episode Maurice LaMarche, who voiced The Brain in Pinky and the Brain, voiced Snowball’s accountant.
23. C'mon Jerry
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston auditioned for the role of Jerry early on in the production of the show. I can see why he didn't get the part: Jerry Smith and Walter White are probably the two most dissimilar characters in television history.
King Jellybean originally was developed for another show created by Justin Roiland, called Unbelievable Tales. In that show, the character went by the name of “Crumply Crumplestein.”
25. Order in the Court
In one of many amazing non-canon Rick and Morty moments, Roiland reenacted one of the more famous court cases (the State of Georgia V. Denver Fenton Allen) in recent times. When he got the transcript of this absolutely insane court session, he reenacted the entire thing live at a panel during San Diego Comic-Con in 2016. A fan took the audio and animated the whole clip in just two months' time.
26. Third times a Charm
Justin Roiland pitched three different animated show pilots to Fox before he landed his production deal with Adult Swim. He was almost entirely burnt out on the prospect of creating a show when Harmon approached him.
Jerry's car is inspired by the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation.
28. Channel 101
Justin Roiland first got Dan Harmon’s attention with his many submissions to Channel 101, a non-profit short film festival organized by Harmon and his friend Rob Schrab. Roiland submitted a series called House of Cosbys, about a fan living with a number of Bill Cosby clones. He eventually created five episodes of the show, but then Cosby's lawyers sent Roiland and Harmon a cease and desist letter and they had to give it up.
29. It's Just Two Brothers...
When recording dialogue, Roiland does a considerable amount of improvisation, which he feels makes the lines feel more natural. This was most obvious in the "Interdimensional Cable" episode when they actually kept in takes where Roiland clearly started laughing at his own absurd bits.
30. In the Dog House
The second episode of the first season, "Lawnmower Dog," was based on a pilot that Justin Roiland developed for Cartoon Network called DogWorld. In the episode, Rick and Morty allude to the show in their dialogue:
Morty: Wow! A whole world populated by intelligent dogs. I wonder what it'll be like, Rick.
Rick: I think it will be great, Morty. You know it could be developed in-into a very satisfying project for people of all ages. I mean, I'd watch it, Morty, for at least 11 minutes a pop.
31. Schwifty Falls
The creator of the animation series Gravity Falls makes a guest appearance in the episode “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez.” He voiced Toby Matthews, the boy Summer had a crush on.
Roiland initially wanted each episode to be only 11 minutes long, but Adult Swim pushed for a half-hour program.
33. I Smell Another Cheap Cartoon Crossover
Rick and Morty made an appearance in the couch gag for the final episode of The Simpsons' 26th season. The couch gag is a mini-story about Rick and Morty accidentally killing the entire Simpsons family and trying to clone them back to life.
34. Bun Fun
Fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. released a television commercial in 2015 in which Rick brings walking, sentient Carl's Jr. burgers into Morty's room while Morty is sleeping. The burgers then run amok and start stealing Morty's things. All standard burger commercial stuff...
35. Wait, Pranks can be Good?!
In 2017, Rick and Morty gave us one of the greatest pranks in recent memory. After what felt like eons since season two had aired, a random fan tweeted at Dan Harmon on April 1, 2017, asking when season three would be released. Harmon responded with, “What if I waved a magic wand and made the first episode from season three premiere tonight. Is that what you’d want?” Then, presto change-o, Adult Swim dropped the first episode of season three on their website. It played on repeat for the rest of the day.
This marks the first time in history that pestering someone on Twitter had a good result!
36. Pranks II: Keep On Prankin'
Apparently, the team from Rick and Morty got a taste for April Fools' jokes after 2017. The following year, Adult Swim aired a bizarre short called Bushworld Adventures. Created by an animator named Michael Cusack, Bushworld Adventures featured Rick and Morty, but was set in Australia, with a completely different animation style, voice cast, and humor. It is...something.
37. A Moment of Silence for Four Lost Eps
After fans got a tease on April 1, 2017, the rest of season three aired in the fall of that year, almost four months later. Before that, production delays had gotten so bad that the originally slated plan of 14 episodes got cut down to 10. Harmon has plainly admitted that the delays were due to his own perfectionism—but the work speaks for itself! When all was said and done, nearly two full years passed between seasons.
38. On Our Way to Six Seasons and a Movie
In May 2018, Rick and Morty fans everywhere rejoiced after Adult Swim announced that it had ordered a whopping 70 new episodes of the show. This sweetheart deal came in the wake of the show's massive popularity, but also thanks to some pushing from Harmon and Roiland. After the painful delay between the second and third seasons, they wanted Adult Swim to commit to the series, allowing them to focus more time on it without being worried about other projects.
39. Never Again
After a two-year wait between seasons two and three, and then yet another two-year wait between seasons three and four, Rick and Morty fans have gotten used to waiting. But both Roiland and Harmon have stated that with the full series order, there will never be as big of a gap between seasons again. Thank God.
40. Good Note!
Not all notes from studio execs are bad ones! An Adult Swim executive named Nick Weidenfeld was the one who suggested that Rick be Morty's grandfather.
41. Journey to the Stars
As Rick and Morty gets more and more popular, that means one thing: more and more guest stars! Season four will feature the voices of such actors as Paul Giamatti, Sam Neil, Taika Waititi, and Kathleen Turner, to name a few.
42. The Coveted Saints and Drivers Demographic
Not everything about creating a hit show is good. Dan Harmon has revealed that one of his least favorite things about Rick and Morty's success is seeing terrible people online using lines from the show to try and make a point. Or, as Harmon put it, "I wish only saints and cool race car drivers liked our show, but then we wouldn’t make any money."
43. High Praise
When was asked what's the coolest thing about Rick and Morty's success, Harmon could only come up with a bittersweet answer. Before his death, Anthony Bourdain tweeted, "Rick and Morty is everything."
44. Forever Sounds Nice
With Rick and Morty's star continuing to rise, it's not a stretch to imagine that the pressure of the show might stress the famously-neurotic Dan Harmon out just a little bit. But, contrary to that, Harmon couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to keep making more: “Rick and Morty is the highest creative opportunity you could ever be afforded as a writer...It's the perfect show. It's the most important thing I've ever done. I only want it forever.”
45. I am in Great Pain, Please Help Me
When asked which Rick and Morty trope he's most tired of hearing, Roiland was quick to come up with an answer. He said it was the catchphrase "wubba lubba dub dub." They created this nonsense as a way to make fun of stupid, meaningless catchphrases...but then, in a way, it just became a stupid, meaningless catchphrase. Oh, the irony...
46. The Sauce
If there was ever any doubt about Rick and Morty's cultural impact, look no further than the Szechuan Sauce Fiasco of 2017. After mentioning McDonald's briefly-stocked Szechuan McNuggets sauce in the premiere episode of season three, fans of the show started lobbying for the fast-food chain to bring back the condiment after an almost 20-year hiatus.
Then, to everyone's suprise, McDonald's came through. The madmen actually did it. It seemed like a rare example of pure, unbridled fun in a crazy world, but there's a reason we can't have nice things...
47. We Never Saw This Coming
McDonald's greatly underestimated the demand for the Szechuan sauce, and stores quickly ran out. This led to angry fans abusing McDonald's staff members and packets of the sauce being sold for ridiculous prices online. All because Rick convinced everyone the sauce, which was originally created as part of a promotion for the 1998 movie Mulan, was just that good.
48. All That For...
There's absolutely no way Harmon and Roiland could have predicted the Szechuan Sauce Fiasco based on a brief joke in one episode of their show. And, if it makes you feel better, Harmon has publically stated that the sauce wasn't really even that good anyway...
49. Having a Gas
Justin Roiland can’t burp on command. In order to properly perform the voice of Rick, he drinks watered down beer during the recording sessions. After creating the pilot episode, where Rick burps in almost every line, he had such a bad stomachache he considered going to the hospital. Ahh, isn't showbiz glamourous?
50. NBC's loss is Adult Swim's Gain
All Rick and Morty fans can thank NBC for firing Dan Harmon from Community, because the Adult Swim show would never have happened if not for that. OK, maybe that's a little harsh, but it was only after Harmon got the boot that Adult Swim approached him about creating a prime-time animated show. Harmon didn't really know how to make an animated show, but instead of turning them down, he gave Roiland a call.
Roiland brought up his Doc and Mharti shorts, and the rest is history.
51. The Rickest Morty (Spoiler Alert!)
Why is Rick so obsessed with Morty? Why does he insist that Morty must come with him on his adventures? All fans know that Morty is Rick's faithful sidekick, but most fans don't realize that Rick actually could be on a mission to right his wrongs in the past. There is a theory that Rick killed his original Morty and traveled to another dimension to find a new Morty, who he will never let leave his side. This sadness is also a possible cause of Rick's alcoholism.
In the episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," we are introduced to a character who is known as Evil Morty (distinguished by his eyepatch). Many fans believe this Evil Morty is the original Morty that Rick thinks he accidentally killed and Evil Morty is secretly planning his revenge on Rick.