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Rick and Morty

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Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty title card (cropped).png
Genre
Created by
Voices of
ComposerRyan Elder
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes61 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Dan Harmon
  • Justin Roiland (seasons 1–6)
  • James A. Fino (seasons 1–2)
  • Joe Russo II (seasons 1–2)
  • Mike McMahan (season 4)
  • Scott Marder (season 5–present)
Producers
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkAdult Swim
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Original releaseDecember 2, 2013 (2013-12-02) –
present (present)

Rick and Morty is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network's nighttime programming block Adult Swim. It is distributed internationally by Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The series follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his good-hearted but fretful grandson Morty Smith, who split their time between domestic life and interdimensional adventures that take place across an infinite number of realities, often travelling to other planets and dimensions through portals and on Rick's flying saucer. The general concept of Rick and Morty relies on two conflicting scenarios: domestic family drama, and an alcoholic grandfather dragging his grandson into hijinks.

Roiland voiced the eponymous characters, with Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer, and Sarah Chalke voicing the rest of Rick and Morty's family. The series originated from an animated short parody film of Back to the Future created by Roiland for Channel 101, a short-film festival cofounded by Harmon. Since its debut, the series has received critical acclaim for its originality, creativity, and humor. It has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and won the award in 2018 and 2020. The series has also received two Annie Awards. The series has several times been the most viewed television comedy for adults. The popularity of Rick and Morty has made it a hundred-million dollar merchandising and media franchise.

The sixth season premiered on September 4, 2022, and consists of ten episodes. A seventh season was confirmed as part of a long-term deal with Cartoon Network that ordered 70 new episodes, which renewed the series through to a tenth season. Adult Swim announced that the network severed ties with Roiland on January 24, 2023, in light of allegations of abuse and would be recasting his parts.

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Adult animation

Adult animation

Adult animation, also known as mature animation, and infrequently as adult-oriented animation, is any type of animated motion work that is catered specifically to adult interests, and is mainly targeted and marketed towards adults and adolescents, as opposed to children or all-ages audiences. Works in this medium could be considered adult for any number of reasons, which include the incorporation of explicit or suggestive sexual content, graphic violence, swear words, dark comedy, or other thematic elements inappropriate for children, and/or any young viewers. Works in this genre may explore philosophical, political, or social issues. Some productions are noted for their complex and/or experimental storytelling and animation techniques. This includes animated films, television series, and web series.

Animated sitcom

Animated sitcom

An animated sitcom is a subgenre of the sitcom that is animated instead of live action and is generally made or created for adult audiences in most cases. SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy are four of the longest-running animated sitcoms.

Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland

Mark Justin Roiland is an American animator, voice actor, writer, producer and director. He is the co-creator of Adult Swim's animated sitcom Rick and Morty, for which he voiced the protagonists Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith until the network severed ties with him over domestic abuse charges in 2023. He is the co-creator of Hulu's Solar Opposites, in which he voiced the main character, Korvo, until the network also severed ties with him in 2023. He had also played Earl of Lemongrab on Adventure Time, Blendin Blandin on Gravity Falls, and Oscar on Fish Hooks. He founded the animation studio Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions! and the video game studio Squanch Games, though he resigned from the latter in 2023.

Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon

Daniel James Harmon is an American writer, producer, and actor. He is best known as the creator and producer of the NBC/Yahoo! Screen sitcom Community (2009–2015), creator and host of the comedy podcast Harmontown (2012–2019), co-creator of the Adult Swim animated sitcom Rick and Morty (2013–present) and its subsequent franchise along with Justin Roiland, and co-founder of the alternative television network and website Channel 101 along with Rob Schrab.

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network is an American cable television channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. It is a part of The Cartoon Network, Inc., a division that also has the broadcasting and production activities of Boomerang, Cartoonito, Adult Swim, and Toonami under its purview.

Adult Swim

Adult Swim

Adult Swim is an American adult-oriented nighttime cable television channel that shares channel space with the basic cable network Cartoon Network and is programmed by its in-house production studio, Williams Street. It is part of American media conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery. Adult Swim runs Monday - Saturday nights from 8 p.m. – 6 a.m. ET/PT and Sunday nights from 9 p.m. - 6 a.m. ET/PT.

Interdimensional hypothesis

Interdimensional hypothesis

The interdimensional hypothesis is a proposal that unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings are the result of experiencing other "dimensions" that coexist separately alongside our own in contrast with either the extraterrestrial hypothesis that suggests UFO sightings are caused by visitations from outside the Earth or the psychosocial hypothesis that argues UFO sightings are best explained as psychological or social phenomenon.

Flying saucer

Flying saucer

A flying saucer is a descriptive term for a type of flying craft having a disc or saucer-shaped body, commonly used generically to refer to an anomalous flying object. The term was coined in 1947 but has generally been supplanted since 1952 by the United States Air Force term unidentified flying objects. Early reported sightings of unknown "flying saucers" usually described them as silver or metallic, sometimes reported as covered with navigation lights or surrounded with a glowing light, hovering or moving rapidly, either alone or in tight formations with other similar craft, and exhibiting high maneuverability.

Chris Parnell

Chris Parnell

Thomas Christopher Parnell is an American actor and comedian. He was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2006 and played the role of Dr. Leo Spaceman on 30 Rock. In animation, he voices Cyril Figgis on the FX series Archer, Jerry Smith on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, Doug on FOX's Family Guy, and the narrator on the PBS Kids series WordGirl. He also voices "The Progressive Box" in a series of advertisements by the Progressive Corporation.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis, and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. It stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson. Set in 1985, the story follows Marty McFly (Fox), a teenager accidentally sent back to 1955 in a time-traveling DeLorean automobile built by his eccentric scientist friend Emmett "Doc" Brown (Lloyd). While in the past, Marty inadvertently prevents his future parents from falling in love—threatening his existence—and is forced to reconcile the pair and somehow get back to the future.

Channel 101

Channel 101

Channel 101 is a non-profit monthly short film festival in Los Angeles, which has a sister festival in New York City, Channel 101 NY. Channel 101 is a creation of Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab in which participants submit a short film in the format of a pilot under five minutes in length. The event is structured such that a panel of previously successful submitters choose what pilots are shown, and a live audience at The Downtown Independent decides which pilots continue as a series for the next screening in much the same way TV programs are rated and managed. According to the Channel 101 website, "Channel 101 is a chance to sit in the worn-out chair of the fat network exec, drunk on the blood of lowly artists whose right to exist is given in exchange for their ability to nourish... You run the network. You pick the programming."

Annie Awards

Annie Awards

The Annie Awards are accolades which the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood, has presented each year since 1972 to recognize excellence in animation shown in cinema and television. Originally designed to celebrate lifetime or career contributions to animation, the award has been given to individual works since 1992.

Premise and main characters

The show revolves around the adventures of the members of the Smith household, which consists of parents Jerry and Beth, their children Summer and Morty, and Beth's father, Rick Sanchez, who lives with them as a guest. According to Justin Roiland, the family lives outside of Seattle, Washington.[2] The adventures of Rick and Morty, however, take place across an infinite number of realities, with the characters travelling to other planets and dimensions through portals and Rick's flying saucer.[3]

Rick is an eccentric and alcoholic mad scientist, who eschews many ordinary conventions such as school, marriage, love, and family. He frequently goes on adventures with his 14-year-old grandson, Morty, a kind-hearted but easily distressed boy, whose naïve but grounded moral compass plays counterpoint to Rick's Machiavellian ego.[4][5] Morty's 17-year-old sister, Summer, is a more conventional teenager who worries about improving her status among her peers and sometimes follows Rick and Morty on their adventures.[6] The kids' mother, Beth, is a generally level-headed person and assertive force in the household, though self-conscious about her professional role as a horse surgeon. She is dissatisfied with her marriage to Jerry, a simple-minded and insecure person, who disapproves of Rick's influence over his family.[7]

Different versions of the characters inhabit other dimensions throughout the show's multiverse and their personal characteristics can vary from one reality to another.[8] The show's original Rick identifies himself as "Rick Sanchez of Earth Dimension C-137", in reference to his original universe, but this does not apply to any other member of the Smith household.[9] For instance, in the first-season episode "Rick Potion #9", after turning the entire world population into monsters, Rick and Morty move to a different dimension, leaving the original Summer, Beth and Jerry behind.[10]

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List of Rick and Morty characters

List of Rick and Morty characters

Rick and Morty is an American adult animated multimedia franchise originating with the Adult Swim television series of the same name created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, which premiered in 2013, which revolves around Rick Sanchez, an eccentric, alcoholic scientist who takes his grandson Morty Smith on dangerous, outlandish adventures throughout the cosmos and alternate universes, also including the spin-off series Vindicators 2 and several comic book series published by Oni Press. The following is a list of characters from the Rick and Morty franchise.

Jerry Smith (Rick and Morty)

Jerry Smith (Rick and Morty)

Gerald "Jerry" Smith is one of the main characters of the American animated television series Rick and Morty and resulting franchise. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, and voiced by Chris Parnell, Jerry is depicted as a stay-at-home dad who finds contentment in his simple life. He unknowingly uses pity as his "signature move", which leads to people hiring him or giving him any sort of consolation. Jerry is infamous for his mutual rivalry with Rick Sanchez, his father-in-law, with the pair ultimately becoming friends in the sixth season. On many occasions in the early seasons, his relationship with his partner, Beth Smith, has been shown to be incredibly unhealthy, co-dependant, and incompatible, before gradually improving over the course of the series. One of Jerry's hobbies is beekeeping, which he picks up during sometime during season four. It has been scarcely implied throughout the show that he is queer. He is the son-in-law of mad scientist Rick Sanchez, father of Morty and Summer Smith and husband of Beth Smith. Both the original character and their inter-dimensional replacements have received a positive critical reception.

Morty Smith

Morty Smith

Mortimer Chauncey "Morty" Smith, Sr. is one of the eponymous characters from the American animated television series Rick and Morty. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, and voiced by the former for the first six seasons of the series, Morty is a 14-year-old boy loosely inspired by Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly from Back to the Future. Known for his awkward, anxious, second-guessing, doubtful personality, and low sense of self-esteem; the character has been well-received. He is the good-natured and impressionable grandson of mad scientist Rick Sanchez, the son of Jerry and Beth Smith, the younger brother of Summer Smith, and the father of Morty Jr. and Naruto Smith, who can be easily manipulated. In September 2021, Jaeden Martell portrayed Morty in a series of promotional interstitials for the series.

Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez

Richard Daniel "Rick" Sanchez is one of the two eponymous characters from the Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty and resulting franchise. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, and voiced by the former in the first six seasons of the series and promotional media, and Yōhei Tadano in Rick and Morty: The Anime, Sanchez is a misanthropic alcoholic scientist inspired by Christopher Lloyd's Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown from Back to the Future and Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic from Marvel Comics. In September 2021, Lloyd portrayed Sanchez himself in a series of promotional interstitials for the series.

Seattle

Seattle

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The Seattle metropolitan area's population is 4.02 million, making it the 15th-largest in the United States. Its growth rate of 21.1% between 2010 and 2020 makes it one of the nation's fastest-growing large cities.

Washington (state)

Washington (state)

Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. Named for George Washington—the first U.S. president—the state was formed from the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by the British Empire in 1846, by the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. The state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, Oregon to the south, Idaho to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is often referred to as Washington state to distinguish it from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

Mad scientist

Mad scientist

The mad scientist is a stock character of a scientist who is perceived as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" or "insane" owing to a combination of unusual or unsettling personality traits and the unabashedly ambitious, taboo or hubristic nature of their experiments. As a motif in fiction, the mad scientist may be villainous or antagonistic, benign, or neutral; may be insane, eccentric, or clumsy; and often works with fictional technology or fails to recognise or value common human objections to attempting to play God. Some may have benevolent intentions, even if their actions are dangerous or questionable, which can make them accidental antagonists.

Machiavellianism (psychology)

Machiavellianism (psychology)

In the field of personality psychology, Machiavellianism is a personality trait centered on manipulativeness, callousness, and indifference to morality. Though it has nothing to do with the historical figure or his political thought, the trait is named after the political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, as psychologists Richard Christie and Florence Geis used edited and truncated statements inspired by his works to study variations in human behaviors. Their Mach IV test, a 20-question, Likert-scale personality survey, became the standard self-assessment tool and scale of the Machiavellianism construct. Those who score high on the scale are more likely to have a high level of deceitfulness and a cynical, unempathetic temperament.

Parallel universes in fiction

Parallel universes in fiction

A parallel universe, also known as a parallel dimension, alternate universe, or alternate reality, is a hypothetical self-contained plane of existence, co-existing with one's own. The sum of all potential parallel universes that constitute reality is often called a "multiverse".

Rick Potion No. 9

Rick Potion No. 9

"Rick Potion #9" is the sixth episode of Rick and Morty. It premiered on Adult Swim on January 27, 2014, was written by Justin Roiland, and directed by Stephen Sandoval. In the episode, a love potion goes wrong, creating a virus that begins to infect the entire world population, making everyone fall in love with Morty. The episode received critical acclaim, receiving praise for its story, subplot, and ending. It was seen by 1.7 million viewers at first airing. The title of the episode is in reference to the 1959 song "Love Potion No. 9" by the Clovers.

Production

Development

Creators Dan Harmon (left) and Justin Roiland (right)
Creators Dan Harmon (left) and Justin Roiland (right)
Creators Dan Harmon (left) and Justin Roiland (right)

Rick and Morty was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. The duo first met at Channel 101, a non-profit monthly short film festival in Los Angeles co-founded by Harmon.[11] At Channel 101, participants submit a short film in the format of a pilot, and a live audience decides which pilots continue as a series. Roiland, then a producer on reality programming, began submitting content to the festival a year after its launch, in 2004. His pilots typically consisted of shock value—"sick and twisted" elements that received a confused reaction from the audience.[11] Nevertheless, Harmon took a liking to his humor and the two began collaborating. In 2006, Roiland was fired from working on a television series he regarded as creatively stifling, and funneled his creative energies into creating a webisode for Channel 101. The result was The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, an animated short starring parodies of Doc Brown and Marty McFly, characters from the Back to the Future film trilogy.[12] In the short, which Harmon would dub "a bastardization, a pornographic vandalization", Doc Smith urges Mharti to perform oral sex on him in order to go back in time.[13] The audience reacted to it wildly, and Roiland began creating more shorts involving the characters, which soon evolved beyond his original intentions and their obvious origin within the film from which it was culled.[13][14] Harmon would later create and produce Community, an NBC sitcom,[15] while Roiland would work primarily in voice acting for Disney's Fish Hooks and Cartoon Network's Adventure Time.[16]

In 2012, Harmon was briefly fired from Community. Adult Swim, searching for a more prime-time, "hit" show,[17] shortly afterward approached Harmon, who initially viewed the channel as unfit for his style. He was also unfamiliar with animation and his process for creating television focused more heavily on dialogue, characters, and story.[14] Instead, he phoned Roiland to inquire if he had any ideas for an animated series. Roiland immediately brought up the idea of using the Doc and Mharti characters, renamed Rick and Morty.[13] At first, Roiland wanted the show's run time to consist of one eleven-minute segment, but Adult Swim pushed for a half-hour program.[17] Harmon felt the best way to extend the voices into a program would be to build a family around the characters, while Adult Swim development executive Nick Weidenfeld suggested that Rick be Morty's grandfather. Having pitched multiple television programs that did not get off the ground, Roiland was initially very unreceptive to others attempting to give notes on his pitch.[13] Prior to developing Rick and Morty, he had created three failed animated pilots for Fox, and he had begun to feel "burned out" with developing television.[14]

The first draft was completed in six hours on the Paramount Pictures lot in Dan Harmon's unfurnished Community office.[18] The duo had worked out the basics of the story that day, sold the pilot, and then sat down to write.[14][19] Roiland, while acknowledging a tendency for procrastination, encouraged Harmon to stay and write the entire first draft.[18] "We were sitting on the floor, cross-legged with laptops and I was about to get up and go home and he said, 'Wait, if you go home, it might take us three months to write this thing. Stay here right now and we can write it in six hours.' He just had a premonition about that," recalled Harmon.[14] In the beginning, Adult Swim was unsure of Roiland doing both voices, partially due to the undeveloped nature of the character of Morty. Harmon wrote four short premises in which Morty took a more assertive role and sent it to Mike Lazzo.[18] Adult Swim placed a tamer TV-14 rating on the program, which was met with reluctance from the show's staff. The network's reason behind the rating was that it would soon begin broadcasting in prime-time, competing with major programs.[14]

The theme song for Rick and Morty by Ryan Elder was originally used in a rejected Cartoon Network pilot Roiland made called "Dog World", which was referenced in the episode "Lawnmower Dog".[20]

Writing

Mike McMahan at 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Mike McMahan at 2019 San Diego Comic-Con

Harmon has noted that the writers' room at the show's studio bears a striking resemblance to the one used for Community.[14] In comparing the two, he noted that the writing staff of Rick and Morty was significantly smaller, and more "rough and tumble verbally".[14] The first season writing staff consisted of Roiland, Harmon, Tom Kauffman, Ryan Ridley, Wade Randolph, and Eric Acosta, while writer's assistant Mike McMahan was also given writing credit. Described as a "very, very tiny little writers' room with a lot of heavy lifting from everybody," the show's writing staff, like many Adult Swim productions, is not unionized with the Writers Guild of America,[21] though in 2022 production staff at Rick & Morty filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board in a bid to join The Animation Guild.[22] The writing staff first meets and discusses ideas, which evolve into a story.[11] Discussions often include anecdotes from personal life as well as thoughts on the science fiction genre.[14] After breaking the story—which consists of developing its consistency and logical beginning, middle, and conclusion—a writer is assigned to create an outline. Roiland and Harmon do a "pass" on the outline, and from there the episode undergoes several more drafts. The final draft of the script is last approved by either of the co-creators.[11] Harmon has admitted that his perfectionism can sometimes be disruptive and cause writing schedule delays. For the most part, this was the reason why the third season of the show consisted of only 10 episodes instead of 14, as was initially intended.[23][24]

Many episodes are structured with use of a story circle, a Harmon creation based largely on Joseph Campbell's monomyth, or The Hero's Journey. Its two-act structure places the act break at an odd location in the stages of the monomyth: after The Meeting with the Goddess, instead of Atonement with the Father.[18] Roiland has stated his and Harmon's intentions for the series to lack traditional continuity, opting for discontinuous storylines "not bound by rules".[25] He has also confirmed that the writers avoid revisiting old tropes from the show's past, "in fear of that coming off as disingenuous fan service."[26] In producing the series' first season, episodes were occasionally written out of order. For example, "Rick Potion #9" was the second episode written for the series, but was instructed to be animated as the fifth, as it would make more sense within the series' continuity.[11]

Animation and voice recording

Animation for the show is done using Toon Boom Harmony, a vector-based 2D puppet software, which is a more economical option than traditional hand-drawn animation.[27] The post-production work is done in Adobe After Effects, and background art is done in Adobe Photoshop.[28] Production of animation is handled by Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada.[29]

Roiland's cartooning style is heavily indebted to The Simpsons, a factor he acknowledged in a 2013 interview, while also comparing his style to that of Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) and J. G. Quintel (Regular Show): "You'll notice mouths are kind of similar and teeth are similar, but I think that's also a stylistic thing that ... all of us are kind of the same age, and we're all inspired by The Simpsons and all these other shows we're kind of subconsciously tapping into."[21]

John Kricfalusi's The Ren & Stimpy Show was another strong influence for Rick and Morty, which is why, according to Roiland, the small "w-shaped mouths" that the characters occasionally make is a reference to a similar expression that Ren frequently makes.[30] Talking about the style guide the animators of the show have to follow, season three art director Jeffrey Thompson explained that the characters are often drawn with odd or asymmetrical features, in order to avoid looking "too normal to live in the Rick and Morty universe."[31] When recording dialogue, Roiland does a considerable amount of improvisation, in order to make the characters feel more natural.[32]

Roiland's firing

In January 2023, it was reported that Roiland was charged with felony domestic battery and false imprisonment in Orange County, California, in connection with an alleged incident in January 2020 toward an unnamed woman he was reportedly dating at the time. A hearing is scheduled for April 27, 2023.[33][34] Following the public revelation of the indictment, allegations against Roiland's personal conduct regarding his behavior to minors on social media were made.[35] The same month, Adult Swim announced that they had cut ties with Roiland and fired him from the show stating that the seventh season's production would continue and that his roles would be recast.[36][37]

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Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland

Mark Justin Roiland is an American animator, voice actor, writer, producer and director. He is the co-creator of Adult Swim's animated sitcom Rick and Morty, for which he voiced the protagonists Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith until the network severed ties with him over domestic abuse charges in 2023. He is the co-creator of Hulu's Solar Opposites, in which he voiced the main character, Korvo, until the network also severed ties with him in 2023. He had also played Earl of Lemongrab on Adventure Time, Blendin Blandin on Gravity Falls, and Oscar on Fish Hooks. He founded the animation studio Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions! and the video game studio Squanch Games, though he resigned from the latter in 2023.

Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon

Daniel James Harmon is an American writer, producer, and actor. He is best known as the creator and producer of the NBC/Yahoo! Screen sitcom Community (2009–2015), creator and host of the comedy podcast Harmontown (2012–2019), co-creator of the Adult Swim animated sitcom Rick and Morty (2013–present) and its subsequent franchise along with Justin Roiland, and co-founder of the alternative television network and website Channel 101 along with Rob Schrab.

Channel 101

Channel 101

Channel 101 is a non-profit monthly short film festival in Los Angeles, which has a sister festival in New York City, Channel 101 NY. Channel 101 is a creation of Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab in which participants submit a short film in the format of a pilot under five minutes in length. The event is structured such that a panel of previously successful submitters choose what pilots are shown, and a live audience at The Downtown Independent decides which pilots continue as a series for the next screening in much the same way TV programs are rated and managed. According to the Channel 101 website, "Channel 101 is a chance to sit in the worn-out chair of the fat network exec, drunk on the blood of lowly artists whose right to exist is given in exchange for their ability to nourish... You run the network. You pick the programming."

Emmett Brown

Emmett Brown

Emmett Lathrop Brown, Ph.D., commonly referred to as Doc Brown, is a fictional scientist character in the Back to the Future franchise. In the world of the franchise, he is the inventor of the world's first and second time machines, the first constructed using a 1981 DeLorean sports car, and the second constructed using a steam engine locomotive.

Back to the Future (franchise)

Back to the Future (franchise)

Back to the Future is an American science fiction comedy franchise created by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. The franchise follows the adventures of a high school student, Marty McFly, and an eccentric scientist, Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, as they use a DeLorean time machine to time travel to different periods in the history of the fictional town of Hill Valley, California.

Community (TV series)

Community (TV series)

Community is an American television sitcom created by Dan Harmon. The series ran for 110 episodes over six seasons, with its first five seasons airing on NBC from September 17, 2009, to April 17, 2014, and its final season airing on Yahoo! Screen from March 17 to June 2, 2015. Set at a community college in the fictional Colorado town of Greendale, the series stars an ensemble cast including Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, and Jim Rash. It makes use of meta-humor and pop culture references, paying homage to film and television clichés and tropes.

Disney Channel

Disney Channel

Disney Channel, sometimes known as simply Disney, is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of Disney Branded Television, a unit of the Disney General Entertainment Content division of The Walt Disney Company.

Fish Hooks

Fish Hooks

Fish Hooks is an American animated television series created by Noah Z. Jones for Disney Channel and Disney XD. The show ran for three seasons from September 3, 2010 to April 4, 2014, airing a total of 59 episodes.

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network is an American cable television channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. It is a part of The Cartoon Network, Inc., a division that also has the broadcasting and production activities of Boomerang, Cartoonito, Adult Swim, and Toonami under its purview.

Adventure Time

Adventure Time

Adventure Time is an American fantasy animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television. The series follows the adventures of a boy named Finn and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake —a dog with the magical power to change size and shape at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, where they interact with Princess Bubblegum, the Ice King, Marceline, BMO, and others. The series is based on a 2007 short film that aired on Nicktoons. After the short became a viral hit on the Internet, Nickelodeon's executives passed on its option before Cartoon Network commissioned a full-length series from Fred Seibert and Ward, which was previewed on March 11, 2010. The same year, the series premiered on Cartoon Network on April 5, and ended its eight-year run on September 3, 2018.

Fox Broadcasting Company

Fox Broadcasting Company

The Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly known simply as Fox and stylized in all caps as FOX, is an American commercial broadcast television network owned by Fox Corporation and headquartered in New York City, with master control operations and additional offices at the Fox Network Center in Los Angeles and the Fox Media Center in Tempe. Launched as a competitor to the Big Three television networks on October 9, 1986, Fox went on to become the most successful attempt at a fourth television network. It was the highest-rated free-to-air network in the 18–49 demographic from 2004 to 2012 and again in 2020, and was the most-watched American television network in total viewership during the 2007–08 season.

Lawnmower Dog

Lawnmower Dog

"Lawnmower Dog" is the second episode of Rick and Morty. It premiered on Adult Swim on December 9, 2013, was written by Ryan Ridley, and directed by John Rice. In the episode, Rick gives Jerry a device to enhance the dog's intelligence while Rick and Morty get lost in the dreams of Morty's math teacher. The episode was well received, with approximately 1.5 million viewers when airing.

Broadcast and ratings

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
111December 2, 2013 (2013-12-02)April 14, 2014 (2014-04-14)
210July 26, 2015 (2015-07-26)October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)
310April 1, 2017 (2017-04-01)[a]October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)
410November 10, 2019 (2019-11-10)May 31, 2020 (2020-05-31)
510June 20, 2021 (2021-06-20)September 5, 2021 (2021-09-05)
610September 4, 2022 (2022-09-04)December 11, 2022 (2022-12-11)

In May 2012, Adult Swim unveiled its development slate that included a Rick and Morty pilot from Harmon and Roiland,[39] which was eventually picked up to series in October 2012, as one of the network's first primetime original shows.[40] The first season premiered in December 2013 and concluded in April 2014. It comprised eleven episodes (including the pilot), and aired Mondays at 10:30 pm ET/PT.[41]

Two months earlier, in February 2014, the show had been renewed for a second season, with the press release noting that Rick and Morty consistently outperformed direct competition in its time slot.[42] Season two aired Sundays at 11:30 pm ET/PT, from July to October 2015, and comprised ten episodes.[43] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Roiland said that Rick and Morty will remain "a big priority above anything else" for him in the future, and expressed his intention to keep the show growing.[44]

Adult Swim renewed Rick and Morty for a third season in August 2015, shortly after a successful second-season premiere.[45] The two co-creators and executive producers expressed their delight at the series' popularity.[46] The season premiered unannounced on April 1, 2017, as part of an April Fools' Day prank. The remaining episodes began airing weekly almost four months later, continuing in the same time slot from season two, and the initial airing concluded in October 2017.[47] Although it was originally intended for the season to consist of fourteen episodes, as a result of production delays it eventually comprised only ten.[48]

Following the conclusion of the show's third season, co-creators Harmon and Roiland wanted to have assurance that there would be many more seasons of Rick and Morty in the future, so that they would be able to focus on the show and minimize their involvement in other projects.[49] Additionally, Harmon had expressed his wish for the upcoming fourth season to consist of more than ten episodes.[50] In May 2018, after prolonged contract negotiations, Adult Swim announced a long-term deal with the creators, ordering 70 new episodes over an unspecified number of seasons.[51][52] Roiland was confident that this big renewal deal would allow the creators to minimize the gaps between seasons to no more than a year,[53] as they would be able to schedule their time around the show and "keep the machine going."[54] In January 2023, it was confirmed that the long-term deal had renewed the series through to a tenth season.[55]

In May 2019, the fourth season of Rick and Morty was announced to debut in November 2019.[56] The fourth season consisted of ten episodes split across two airings.[57] The first five episodes began airing on November 10, 2019,[58] while the remaining five episodes began airing on May 3, 2020.[59] The sixth season premiered on September 4, 2022.[60]

Ratings

Rick and Morty has been a ratings hit since season one,[61] with viewership doubling and tripling over their first six episodes.[62] The third season ended with the best ratings in Adult Swim history,[63] an 81 percent increase in overall viewers over the second season.[64] According to a Nielsen poll, the third season was the most watched television comedy of adults between the ages of 18 and 24.[65][66] The president of Adult Swim said that Rick and Morty "goes beyond just appealing to millennials," with statistics suggesting that people of every age tune in to the show.[64]

The fourth season started relatively strong, with its premiere reaching 2.33 million viewers (the show's average is 2.51 million).[67] However, interest soon appeared to taper off after the network decided to split the season in half causing a steep drop in the season's second half—about a 40% drop in viewership from the third season.[68] The fourth episode of the fourth season saw 1.62 million viewers, which was noted to not be impressive in its own right, but in that it showed consistent viewership especially when competing against shows like The Walking Dead in the same time slot.[69] The season five premier episode was posted on YouTube and had 1.7 million views within the first 12 hours.[70] The television premier saw 1.9 million views.[71]

The premier of season six was shown on September 4, 2022, and saw the highest ratings in telecast for women age 18 to 24 and 18 to 34 and non-sports telecast for male viewers age 18 to 24 and 18 to 34. The episode was also the number two most-viewed non-sports program overall for viewers age 18 to 49.[72]

Streaming service and home media

The show is available to watch in its entirety on Netflix in a number of countries, while the first four seasons are available to stream in the United States on both Hulu and HBO Max.[73] Following the conclusion of the show's third season, Adult Swim made a livestream marathon of Rick and Morty available to watch on its official website in select regions,[74] hoping to dissuade viewers from watching other illegal livestreams.[75]

In the United Kingdom, public-service broadcaster Channel 4 outbid Netflix and began airing the series with season 4, which represents its first pickup by an international television channel.[76] Season 4 was originally scheduled to premiere on Channel 4 in January 2020; viewer complaints resulted in the broadcaster moving the first episode forward to November 20 on E4.[77]

In Canada, the series initially premiered on Adult Swim on January 10, 2016.[78] In Quebec, it premiered on Télétoon's Télétoon la nuit block on May 18, 2018.[79]

The 10-episode third season, was released on DVD (2-disc set) and Blu-ray (single BD-50 disc) on May 15, 2018. Special features include exclusive commentary and animatics for every episode, "inside the episode", the origins of Rick and Morty, and an exclusive "inside the recording booth" session.[80]

Uncensored versions of the show are also available to purchase on various digital platforms, including iTunes and Amazon, with the digital releases of each season containing bonus material.[73]

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List of Rick and Morty episodes

List of Rick and Morty episodes

Rick and Morty is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. The series follows Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic, nihilistic super-scientist, and his easily distressed grandson, Morty Smith to parallel dimensions and exotic planets with extraterrestrials. These adventures commonly cause trouble for Morty's family—Jerry, Beth, and Summer—who are often dragged along as well. The series premiered on December 2, 2013 on Cartoon Network's late-night programming block Adult Swim. On May 10, 2018, Adult Swim announced a long-term deal with the creators, ordering 70 new episodes of Rick and Morty, through to a tenth season.

Television pilot

Television pilot

A television pilot, in United Kingdom and United States television, is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell a show to a television network or other distributor. A pilot is created to be a testing ground to gauge whether a series will be successful. It is, therefore, a test episode for the intended television series, an early step in the series development, much like pilot studies serve as precursors to the start of larger activity.

Eastern Time Zone

Eastern Time Zone

The Eastern Time Zone (ET) is a time zone encompassing part or all of 23 states in the eastern part of the United States, parts of eastern Canada, the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, mainland Ecuador, Peru, and a small portion of westernmost Brazil in South America, along with certain Caribbean and Atlantic islands.

Pacific Time Zone

Pacific Time Zone

The Pacific Time Zone (PT) is a time zone encompassing parts of western Canada, the western United States, and western Mexico. Places in this zone observe standard time by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−08:00). During daylight saving time, a time offset of UTC−07:00 is used.

The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is an American digital and print magazine which focuses on the Hollywood film, television, and entertainment industries. It was founded in 1930 as a daily trade paper, and in 2010 switched to a weekly large-format print magazine with a revamped website. As of 2020, the day-to-day operations of the company are handled by Penske Media Corporation through a joint venture with Eldridge Industries.

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day is an annual custom on 1 April consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes. Jokesters often expose their actions by shouting "April Fools!" at the recipient. Mass media can be involved in these pranks, which may be revealed as such the following day. The custom of setting aside a day for playing harmless pranks upon one's neighbour has been relatively common in the world historically.

Millennials

Millennials

Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with the generation typically being defined as people born from 1981 to 1996. Most millennials are the children of baby boomers and older Generation X; millennials are often the parents of Generation Alpha.

The Walking Dead (TV series)

The Walking Dead (TV series)

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard—together forming the core of The Walking Dead franchise. The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies known as "walkers". With the collapse of modern civilization, these survivors must confront other human survivors who have formed groups and communities with their own sets of laws and morals, sometimes leading to open, hostile conflict between them. The series is the first television series within The Walking Dead franchise.

Netflix

Netflix

Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming service and production company based in Los Gatos, California. Founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California, it offers a film and television series library through distribution deals as well as its own productions, known as Netflix Originals.

Hulu

Hulu

Hulu is an American subscription streaming service majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast's NBCUniversal holding a minority stake (1:2). It was launched on October 29, 2007 and it offers a library of films and television series from studios including 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Disney Television Studios, ABC, Freeform, and FX Networks among others, as well as Hulu original programming.

HBO Max

HBO Max

HBO Max is an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming service owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. Launched in the United States on May 27, 2020, the service is built around the libraries of HBO, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and their related brands. The service also carries first-run programming from the HBO pay television service, original programming under the "Max Originals" banner, and content acquired via third-party library deals and co-production agreements.

Marathon (media)

Marathon (media)

A marathon is an event in which viewers or readers engage many hours' worth of media in a condensed time period. This phrase represents a two-fold shift from binge-watch in that it incorporates other media and it reduces the negative connotations associated with bingeing. In the 2014 book Media Marathoning: Immersions in Morality, Lisa Perks describes media marathoning as a "comprehensive and complimentary phrase" that "connotes a conjoined triumph of commitment and stamina. This phrase also captures viewers' or readers' engrossment, effort, and sense of accomplishment surrounding their media interaction." Netflix executive Todd Yellin is quoted as saying "I don't like the term 'binge,' because it sounds almost pathological. 'Marathon' sounds more celebratory."

Themes and analysis

Comedic style

The general formula of Rick and Morty consists of the juxtaposition of two conflicting scenarios: an extremely selfish, alcoholic grandfather dragging his grandson along for interdimensional adventures, intercut with domestic family drama.[13][17] Co-creator Dan Harmon has described the series as a cross between Matt Groening's two shows The Simpsons and Futurama, balancing family life with heavy science fiction.[21] The series is inspired by British-style storytelling, as opposed to traditional American family TV stories.[11] Harmon has stated that his inspiration behind much of the concept and humor for the series comes from various British television series, such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who. He figures that the audience will only understand developments from Morty's point of view, but stated "we don't want to be the companions. We want to hang out with the Doctor, we idolize the Doctor, but we don't think like him, and that's really interesting."[81]

Occasionally, characters will acknowledge an episode's narrative or hint at the presence of a fourth wall, suggesting that they are aware of the fact that they are characters of a TV show. Thereunder, Troy Patterson of The New Yorker notes that Rick and Morty "supplies an artful answer to the question of what follows postmodernism: a decadent regurgitation of all its tropes, all at once, leavened by some humanistic wistfulness."[82] Sean Sebastian of Junkee says that the show can be both hilarious and deeply disturbing at the same time as it excels at the "intersection between big ideas, flippancy and wit."[83]

Philosophy

The series addresses the insignificance of human existence as compared to the size of the universe, with no recognizable divine presence, as described by Lovecraft's philosophy of cosmicism.[84] The characters of the show deal with cosmic horror and existential dread, either by asserting the utility of science over magic or by choosing a life in ignorant bliss.[85] However, as Joachim Heijndermans of Geeks notes, none of them appear able to handle the absurd and chaotic nature of the universe, as Jerry gets by through denial, and Rick is a "depressed, substance-addicted, suicidal mess".[86]

Harmon describes Rick as a self-interested anarchist, who does not like being told what to do.[87] He believes that the character's life on a larger scale has caused him mental illness,[81] and opines that "the knowledge that nothing matters—while accurate—gets you nowhere".[88] Matthew Bulger of The Humanist notes that the creators of the series are trying to communicate the message that we need to focus on human relationships and not preoccupy our minds with unanswerable questions, in order to find a sense of purpose and live a better life.[89] Eric Armstrong of The New Republic notes that Morty represents the audience, as he is "mostly there to react to Rick's deranged schemes". The character is transformed by the truths he discovers during his interdimensional adventures with his grandfather. However, instead of sinking into depression, Morty accepts these truths that empower him to value his own life.[90]

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Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon

Daniel James Harmon is an American writer, producer, and actor. He is best known as the creator and producer of the NBC/Yahoo! Screen sitcom Community (2009–2015), creator and host of the comedy podcast Harmontown (2012–2019), co-creator of the Adult Swim animated sitcom Rick and Morty (2013–present) and its subsequent franchise along with Justin Roiland, and co-founder of the alternative television network and website Channel 101 along with Rob Schrab.

Matt Groening

Matt Groening

Matthew Abram Groening is an American cartoonist, writer, producer, and animator. He is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell (1977–2012) and the television series The Simpsons (1989–present), Futurama, and Disenchantment (2018–present). The Simpsons is the longest-running U.S. primetime-television series in history and the longest-running U.S. animated series and sitcom.

Futurama

Futurama

Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of the professional slacker Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically preserved for 1000 years and revived on December 31, 2999. Fry finds work at an interplanetary delivery company, working alongside the one-eyed Leela and robot Bender. The series was envisioned by Groening in the mid-1990s while working on The Simpsons; he brought David X. Cohen aboard to develop storylines and characters to pitch the show to Fox.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television series broadcast by the BBC since 1963. The series depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called the Doctor, an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. The TARDIS exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. With various companions, the Doctor combats foes, works to save civilisations, and helps people in need.

Companion (Doctor Who)

Companion (Doctor Who)

In the long-running BBC television science fiction programme Doctor Who and related works, the term "companion" refers to a character who travels or shares adventures with the Doctor. In most Doctor Who stories, the primary companion acts as an audience surrogate. They provide the lens through which the viewer is introduced to the series. The companion character often furthers the story by asking questions and getting into trouble, or by helping, rescuing, or challenging the Doctor. This designation is applied to a character by the show's producers and appears in the BBC's promotional material and off-screen fictional terminology. The Doctor also refers to the show's other leads as their “friends" or "assistants"; the British press have also used the latter term.

Fourth wall

Fourth wall

The fourth wall is a performance convention in which an invisible, imaginary wall separates actors from the audience. While the audience can see through this wall, the convention assumes the actors act as if they cannot. From the 16th century onward, the rise of illusionism in staging practices, which culminated in the realism and naturalism of the theatre of the 19th century, led to the development of the fourth wall concept.

Junkee

Junkee

Junkee is an Australian popular culture and news website run by new media company Junkee Media. It covers various topics including film, university, food, TV, politics, travel, career, health and Internet culture. Its target demographic is 18- to 29-year-olds.

H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American writer of weird, science, fantasy, and horror fiction. He is best known for his creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Cosmicism

Cosmicism

Cosmicism is the literary philosophy developed and used by the American writer H. P. Lovecraft in his fiction. Lovecraft was a writer of philosophically intense horror stories that involve occult phenomena like astral possession and alien miscegenation, and the themes of his fiction over time contributed to the development of this philosophy.

Absurdism

Absurdism

Absurdism is the philosophical theory that existence in general is absurd. This implies that the world lacks meaning or a higher purpose and is not fully intelligible by reason. The term "absurd" also has a more specific sense in the context of absurdism: it refers to a conflict or a discrepancy between two things but there are several disagreements about their exact nature. These disagreements have various consequences for whether absurdism is true and for the arguments cited in favor and against it. Popular accounts characterize the conflict as a collision between rational man and an irrational universe, between intention and outcome, or between subjective assessment and objective worth. An important aspect of absurdism is its claim that the world as a whole is absurd. It differs in this regard from the uncontroversial and less global thesis that some particular situations, persons, or phases in life are absurd.

Denial

Denial

Denial, in ordinary English usage, has at least three meanings: asserting that any particular statement or allegation is not true ; the refusal of a request; and asserting that a true statement is not true.

Individualist anarchism

Individualist anarchism

Individualist anarchism is the branch of anarchism that emphasizes the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems. Although usually contrasted to social anarchism, both individualist and social anarchism have influenced each other. Mutualism, an economic theory particularly influential within individualist anarchism whose pursued liberty has been called the synthesis of communism and property, has been considered sometimes part of individualist anarchism and other times part of social anarchism. Many anarcho-communists regard themselves as radical individualists, seeing anarcho-communism as the best social system for the realization of individual freedom. Economically, while European individualist anarchists are pluralists who advocate anarchism without adjectives and synthesis anarchism, ranging from anarcho-communist to mutualist economic types, most American individualist anarchists advocate mutualism, a libertarian socialist form of market socialism, or a free-market socialist form of classical economics. Individualist anarchists are opposed to property that gives privilege and is exploitative, seeking to "destroy the tyranny of capital – that is, of property" by mutual credit.

Reception

Critical reception

Critical response of Rick and Morty
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
196% (28 reviews)[91]85 (8 reviews)[92]
291% (13 reviews)[93]
396% (10 reviews)[94]
496% (31 reviews)[95]84 (5 reviews)[96]
586% (22 reviews)[97]89 (5 reviews)[98]
691% (47 reviews)[99]86 (4 reviews)[100]

Rick and Morty holds an average approval rating of 95% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes for the entire series.[101] David Weigand of San Francisco Chronicle described it as "offbeat and occasionally coarse... the take-away here is that it works". He praised the animation direction by James McDermott for being "fresh, colorful and as wacky as the script", and states that the series possesses "shades of Futurama, South Park and even Beetlejuice", ultimately opining that its humor felt "entirely original".[102] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times praised the series and stated that it was "Grandparenting at its unhinged finest."[103] In a review shortly after the second-season premiere, Sean Sebastian of Junkee said that although the crude animation and over-the-top voice acting might have discouraged some viewers to continue watching, Rick and Morty is "exceptionally well-made" and that "the more you dissect it, the more you find it has to say."[83]

Todd Spangler of Variety gave the series a lukewarm review; saying that though it "often seems … frenetic at the expense of being witty", it represents "a welcome attempt to dream just a little bigger".[104] David Sims of The A.V. Club gave the series an "A−". In reviewing the first two episodes, he praised its "clean, simple style" of animation, and said the series has "a dark, sick sensibility". He praised its "effort to give each character a little bit of depth", and applauded Roiland's voice talent.[105]

Industry impact

Several former Rick and Morty storyboard artists and crew members proceeded to develop their own shows or work on major new productions. Creator Justin Roiland and showrunner Mike McMahan have gone on to co-create Solar Opposites, an animated sci-fi sitcom that has been frequently compared to Rick and Morty.[106][107] McMahan also went on to create Star Trek: Lower Decks. Writer Michael Waldron would go on to write for Avengers: Secret Wars and has said that he and his colleagues are "cashing in on our ‘Rick and Morty’ street cred."[107] Show alumnus Jeff Loveness became a writer for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.[107] Erica Hayes, the show's storyboard writer and directer,[108] went on to work for Netflix's Big Mouth.[109][110] Alex Hirsch, who worked on the episode Big Trouble in Little Sanchez, would become an executive producer of Inside Job, another show that has had comparisons drawn to Rick and Morty for being similarly themed. Pete Michels, directer of over twenty Rick and Morty episodes, was also a director of two episodes of Inside Job.[111]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2014 IGN Awards Best TV Animated Series Rick and Morty Nominated [112]
2015 Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production Nominated [113]
IGN Awards Best Animated Series Won [114]
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated TV Show Nominated [115]
IGN Awards TV Series of the Year Nominated [116]
Best TV Episode "The Ricklantis Mixup" Nominated [117]
Best Animated Series Rick and Morty Won [118]
Best Comedy Series Nominated [119]
Best Comedic TV Performance Justin Roiland Won [120]
2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series Rick and Morty Won [121]
Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production "Pickle Rick" Won [122]
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Ryan Ridley, Dan Guterman (for "The Ricklantis Mixup") Won
Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation Short Form Hunter Curra, Kailand Reily, Andrew Twite, Joy Elett, Jeff Halbert and Konrad Pinon (for "Pickle Rick") Nominated [123]
Saturn Awards Best Animated Series or Film on Television Rick and Morty Nominated [124]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated TV Show Nominated [125]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Delna Bhesania, Barry Ward, Keith Crofford, Mike Lazzo, Ryan Ridley, Dan Guterman, Mike McMahan, Tom Kauffman, Ollie Green, J. Michael Mendel, Jessica Gao, Wes Archer, Anthony Chun and Nathan Litz (for "Pickle Rick") Won [126]
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program "Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality" Nominated
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Mike McMahan, Scott Marder, Keith Crofford, Rick Mischel, Richard Grieve, Mike Lazzo, Rob Schrab, James Siciliano, Wes Archer, Michael Waldron, Nick Rutherford, Lee Harting, Ollie Green, Sydney Ryan, J. Michael Mendel, Jacob Hair, Nathan Litz, Jeff Loveness and Albro Lundy (for "The Vat of Acid Episode") Won
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Animated Series Rick and Morty Nominated [127]
Best Voice Actor in an Animated Series Justin Roiland Nominated
Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production Rick and Morty (for "The Vat of Acid Episode") Nominated [128]
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Animation (Non-Theatrical) Lee Harting (for "Rattlestar Ricklactica") Won [129]
Saturn Awards Best Animated Series on Television Rick and Morty Nominated [130]
2022
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Animation (Non-Theatrical) Lee Harting (for "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion") Nominated [131]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Broadcast Network or Cable Animated Series or Television Movie Rick and Morty Won [132]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Scott Marder, Keith Crofford, Ollie Green, Walter Newman, Richard Grieve, Rob Schrab, James Siciliano, Jeff Loveness, Sydney Ryan, J. Michael Mendel, Anne Lane, Albro Lundy, Nick Rutherford, Steve Levy, Lee Harting, David Marshall, Jacob Hair, Nathan Litz, and Wes Archer (for "Mort Dinner Rick Andre") Nominated [133]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animated Series Ruth Lambert, Robert McGee Pending [134]
2023
Annie Awards Best Mature Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production Rick and Morty (for "Night Family") Pending [135]

Discover more about Reception related topics

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. Although the name "Rotten Tomatoes" connects to the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes in disapproval of a poor stage performance, the original inspiration comes from a scene featuring tomatoes in the Canadian film Léolo (1992).

Metacritic

Metacritic

Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of films, television shows, music albums, video games, and formerly books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged. Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts in 1999, and is owned by Fandom, Inc. as of 2023.

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.

Futurama

Futurama

Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of the professional slacker Philip J. Fry, who is cryogenically preserved for 1000 years and revived on December 31, 2999. Fry finds work at an interplanetary delivery company, working alongside the one-eyed Leela and robot Bender. The series was envisioned by Groening in the mid-1990s while working on The Simpsons; he brought David X. Cohen aboard to develop storylines and characters to pitch the show to Fox.

South Park

South Park

South Park is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and developed by Brian Graden for Comedy Central. The series revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town. South Park became infamous for its profanity and dark, surreal humor that satirizes a substantial amount of subject matter.

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice is a 1988 American fantasy horror comedy film directed by Tim Burton, written by Michael McDowell, Larry Wilson, and Warren Skaaren, produced by The Geffen Company, distributed by Warner Bros., and starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O'Hara, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the titular character. The plot revolves around a recently deceased couple who, as ghosts haunting their former home, contact Betelgeuse, an obnoxious and devious "bio-exorcist" from the Netherworld, to scare away the house's new inhabitants.

Neil Genzlinger

Neil Genzlinger

Neil Genzlinger is an American playwright, editor, book reviewer, and theatre and television critic who frequently writes for The New York Times.

The New York Times

The New York Times

The New York Times is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2022 to comprise 740,000 paid print subscribers, and 8.6 million paid digital subscribers. It also is a producer of popular podcasts such as The Daily. Founded in 1851, it is published by The New York Times Company. The Times has won 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any newspaper, and has long been regarded as a national "newspaper of record". For print, it is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the United States.

The A.V. Club

The A.V. Club

The A.V. Club is an American online newspaper and entertainment website featuring reviews, interviews, and other articles that examine films, music, television, books, games, and other elements of pop-culture media. The A.V. Club was created in 1993 as a supplement to its satirical parent publication, The Onion. While it was a part of The Onion's 1996 website launch, The A.V. Club had minimal presence on the website at that point.

Showrunner

Showrunner

A showrunner is the top-level executive producer of a television series production who has creative and management authority through combining the responsibilities of employer and, in comedy or dramas, typically also the head writer, script and story editor. They consult with network and studio bosses and lead the artistic vision of the show, including the writers room, editing department, as well as select the set design, staff, cast members, and each actor's wardrobe and hairstyle. In many instances, the showrunner also created the show, and subsequent seasons could feature different showrunners.

Solar Opposites

Solar Opposites

Solar Opposites is an American science-fiction animated sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan for Hulu. Originally created for the Fox Broadcasting Company, the project was shelved before being bought by Hulu and given a two-season order consisting of 8 episodes each. The first season was released on May 8, 2020. The second season was released on March 26, 2021, and a holiday special was released on November 22, 2021. In June 2020, the series was renewed for a third season consisting of 11 episodes that was released on July 13, 2022, and a Halloween special was released on October 3, 2022. In June 2021, the series was renewed for a fourth season consisting of 12 episodes. In October 2022, the series was renewed for a fifth season. In January 2023, Hulu and 20th Television Animation announced Roiland's dismissal from the series due to legal issues involving allegations of domestic abuse.

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Star Trek: Lower Decks is an American adult animated television series created by Mike McMahan for the streaming service CBS All Access. It is the ninth Star Trek series and debuted in 2020 as part of executive producer Alex Kurtzman's expanded Star Trek Universe. Lower Decks is the franchise's first animated series since the 1970s series Star Trek: The Animated Series, and its first comedic series. It follows the low-ranking support crew of the starship Cerritos beginning in the year 2380.

Other media and products

Rick and Morty has a multi-million dollar merchandising franchise.[136]

Possible feature film

Show creator Justin Roiland said in 2019 that he would love to make an R-rated Rick and Morty feature film.[137] In June 2021, producer Scott Marder confirmed that the creators and crew hope to eventually produce a feature film, with Roiland stating that it is more a question of "when", rather than "if".[138] In 2022, American filmmaker Zack Snyder expressed interest in directing a Rick and Morty science fiction movie.[139]

Spin-off series

On May 20, 2021, Adult Swim announced a short spin-off series centred on the Vindicators team (Supernova, Vance Maxiumus, Alan Rails, Crocubot and Noob Noob) previously seen on the episode, "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender" to be in development, alongside spin-offs from other Adult Swim shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, and Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell. The 10-episode series, Vindicators 2 was released in July 2022.[140][141]

On May 18, 2022, Adult Swim announced there would be a full spin-off series based on the anime shorts, directed by Takashi Sano.[142]

Cameos

Film

Rick and Morty, both voiced by Roiland, have a cameo in 2021's Space Jam: A New Legacy, as they claim to have experimented on the Tasmanian Devil but say they were disgusted by the results; thus, they voluntarily give him back to LeBron and the Looney Tunes by dropping him on their rocket's windshield.[143]

Television

Rick and Morty were featured in the couch gag at the beginning of "Mathlete's Feat", the final episode of the twenty-sixth season of The Simpsons. Said opening involved Rick accidentally killing the family when he crash-lands into their living room causing Morty to go on a mission to bring them back to life.[144]

Comics

On April 1, 2015, a Rick and Morty comic book adaptation debuted with its first monthly issue, entitled "BAM!"[145] The series was initially written by Zac Gorman and illustrated by CJ Cannon.[146] Artist Tom Fowler wrote a multi-issue story arc that began in March 2016.[147] Using the television series' established premise of alternate timelines, the first two volumes of the comic book expressly features the Rick and Morty (and supporting cast) of a different timeline, allowing the comics to tell stories without conflicting with the canon of the show.[148] From the third volume onwards, with the departure of Gorman as writer and his replacement with Kyle Starks, the series switched focus to display the off-screen adventures of the specific Rick and Morty of the television series, keeping in the canon of the show, with the Ricks and Mortys of different timelines forming the basis for backup stories.[149]

On August 29, 2018, a four-issue crossover comic with the fantasy tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons was released. The series titled Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons is co-written by Jim Zub and Patrick Rothfuss, and art by Troy Little.[150] A sequel mini-series, titled Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons: Chapter II: Painscape, was published in September 2018.[151] It was written by Jim Zub and Sarah Stern with art by Troy Little.[152] The Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons Deluxe Edition, by Rothfuss, Zub, and Little, was nominated for the 2022 "Best Graphic Album—Reprint" Eisner Award.[153]

McDonald's chicken nuggets and original szechuan sauce
McDonald's chicken nuggets and original szechuan sauce

Product tie-ins

McDonald's Szechuan Sauce returned to their menu nearly twenty years later after being referenced numerous times in "The Rickshank Rickdemption", the Season 3 premiere.[154] The sauce was announced to return to all McDonald's stores on February 26, 2018 due to popular demand from Rick and Morty fans.[155] On March 31, 2022, it once again returned to stores, featured as an app only exclusive until April 4.[156][157]

Adult Swim and Wendy's have collaborated to create commercials featuring the titular duo.[158][159] They have also created Morty themed food trucks and restaurants.[160][161] In 2022, Wendy's offered Rick and Morty-inspired combo meals exclusively on Uber Eats and brought back their "Portal Time Lemon Lime" soft drink to promote the series' sixth season.[162] The promotion also featured a giveaway of Rick and Morty merchandise.[163]

Adult Swim released a promotional video advertising Death Stranding. The ad involves Rick and Morty traversing the world of Death Stranding to deliver packages to stations in order to rebuild human civilization while trying to avoid being harmed by hostiles.[164]

Discover more about Other media and products related topics

Rick and Morty (franchise)

Rick and Morty (franchise)

Rick and Morty is an American animated science-fiction comedy franchise, owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, whose eponymous duo consists of Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith. Rick and Morty were created by cartoonist Justin Roiland for a 2006 parody film of Back to the Future for Channel 101, a short film festival co-founded by Dan Harmon. After six years, the sketch was developed into Rick and Morty, a half-hour prime time show that was a hit for Adult Swim, receiving universal acclaim across all seasons. Alongside the original television series, the characters of the show have been featured in a variety of media, including spin-offs, comic books, musical releases and video games. The show has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in income across their merchandising and media franchise.

Feature film

Feature film

A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that included a short film and often a newsreel. Matinee programs, especially in the US and Canada, in general, also included cartoons, at least one weekly serial and, typically, a second feature-length film on weekends.

Spin-off (media)

Spin-off (media)

In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, film, video game or any narrative work, derived from already existing works that focus on more details and different aspects from the original work.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, sometimes abbreviated as ATHF or Aqua Teen, is an American adult animated television series created by Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro for Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim. It is about the surreal adventures and antics of three anthropomorphic fast food items: Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad, who live together as roommates and frequently interact with their human next-door neighbor, Carl Brutananadilewski.

Robot Chicken

Robot Chicken

Robot Chicken is an American adult animated stop motion sketch comedy television series, created and executive produced for Adult Swim by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. The writers, most prominently Green, also provide many of the voices. Senreich, Goldstein, and Root were formerly writers for the popular action figure hobbyist magazine ToyFare. Robot Chicken has won two Annie Awards and six Emmy Awards.

Cameo appearance

Cameo appearance

A cameo role, also called a cameo appearance and often shortened to just cameo, is a brief appearance of a well-known person in a work of the performing arts. These roles are generally small, many of them non-speaking ones, and are commonly either appearances in a work in which they hold some special significance or renowned people making uncredited appearances. Short appearances by celebrities, film directors, politicians, athletes or musicians are common. A crew member of the movie or show playing a minor role can be referred to as a cameo role as well, such as Alfred Hitchcock's frequent cameos.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a 2021 American live-action/animated sports comedy film co-produced by Warner Animation Group, Proximity Media, and The SpringHill Company, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was directed by Malcolm D. Lee from a screenplay by Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, and Celeste Ballard, and a story by Taylor, Rettenmaier, Coogler, and Nance. It serves as a standalone sequel to Space Jam (1996) and is the first theatrically released film to feature the Looney Tunes characters since Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). The film stars basketball player LeBron James as a fictional version of himself; Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green and Cedric Joe star in live-action roles, while Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza and Zendaya headline the Looney Tunes voice cast. The film follows James enlisting the Looney Tunes' aid to win a basketball game in a Warner Bros.-themed virtual multiverse against a rogue artificial intelligence's avatars after James's son is abducted by the AI.

Tasmanian Devil (Looney Tunes)

Tasmanian Devil (Looney Tunes)

The Tasmanian Devil, commonly referred to as Taz, is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Though the character appeared in only five shorts before Warner Bros. Cartoons shut down in 1964, marketing and television appearances later propelled Taz to new popularity in the 1990s.

Mathlete's Feat

Mathlete's Feat

"Mathlete's Feat" is the twenty-second and final episode of the twenty-sixth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons, and the 574th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 17, 2015.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of American life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.

Rick and Morty (comics)

Rick and Morty (comics)

Rick and Morty is an American comic book series written by Zac Gorman, Kyle Starks, and Alex Firer and illustrated by Marc Ellerby, based on the television series of the same name. Oni Press published the original series across 60 issues from April 1, 2015 until March 25, 2020. Using the television series' established premise of alternate timelines, the first two volumes expressly follow the Rick and Morty of a different dimension (C-132) on the "Central Finite Curve" than the protagonists of the television series so-as not to contradict its continuity, before the series switches focus over to the same Rick (C-137) and Morty of the television series following the "Head-Space" arc (#12–14) in the third volume, featuring sequel storylines to specific episodes of the series, with elements of the comic series and references to its events later being incorporated into the television series. Backup stories of the series alternate between focusing on Rick (C-137) and his Morty and various Ricks and Mortys from alternate dimensions, before the primary storyline switches focus over to yet another Rick and Morty at an unspecified point before/during the final volume of the series. In October 2022, a revival of Rick and Morty was announced for a January 2023 release date.

Canon (fiction)

Canon (fiction)

In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story by its fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction. The alternative terms mythology, timeline, universe and continuity are often used, with the first of these being used especially to refer to a richly detailed fictional canon requiring a large degree of suspension of disbelief, while the latter two typically refer to a single arc where all events are directly connected chronologically. Other times, the word can mean "to be acknowledged by the creator(s)".

Source: "Rick and Morty", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 30th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_and_Morty.

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Notes
  1. ^ The third season of Rick and Morty premiered unannounced on April 1, 2017. The remaining episodes began airing weekly on July 30, 2017.[38]
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