It’s not a surprise that Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s Rick and Morty found an audience and some critical praise when it debuted last December. As has been seen with Community, Harmon’s comedy has a way of either getting into people’s bones or bouncing off of them entirely, but the dimension-hopping cartoon comedy wasn’t supposed to be as popular as it was for Adult Swim, and nobody likely expected Rick and Morty to so quickly find itself in the conversation when people discuss the best and funniest cartoon on television.
In recognition of their outstanding first season (which is now available on DVD and Blu Ray) and in anticipation of the upcoming second season, Harmon and Roiland came to New York Comic Con to talk about the show and its future during a stellar panel and a roundtable, which we were a part of.
On whether we might see the Rick and Morty puppets, used to market the DVD, on the show at some point:
Roiland: I don’t think so. That was really just an experiment. My sister’s boyfriend was on that Jim Henson Creature Challenge show. He was one of the contestants. Just incredibly talented and [he] makes the weirdest, eeriest, most unsettling creatures. And so I pitched it to Adult Swim and they were into it as a way to promote the DVD and I was thrilled because I was like, “Oh we get to make a couple of creepy Rick and Morty puppets out of the deal.” And then yeah, I was like “lets just lean in and use these things.” And I recorded a ton of stuff and then we filmed like a full day. A bunch of ads and a bunch exclusive content for websites. But I think it would just be bizarre to do a show with them as puppets. It would be confusing, I think, for people who aren’t familiar with the show. They’d be like, “well wait a minute, what the fuck is… what is this?”
Harmon: Well maybe stop-motion…
Roiland: Yeah, stop motion could be, yeah. There’s all kinds of, like, potential to do different mediums.
Harmon: I think if you made it like a special. Basically like what we did with Community, I could see you doing that with Rick and Morty. Like, it’s the Rick and Morty Christmas Special and doing it in a different medium.
Roiland: I mean, you know, we do have a show where there is infinite multiple realities. So there could be an episode that starts 2D and Rick’s like [As Rick’s voice] “Morty, you’ve gotta check out this reality!” [As Morty’s voice] “Ah geez, what is it?” [As Rick] “Puppet reality!”
They go in, it’s like, [as Morty] “Oh, this is hacky!”
On whether Roilland has any interest for ever doing a Rick and Morty crossover with another property in lieu of the Family Guy and Simpsons merger:
Roiland: It could be interesting to do something if it was right. If it felt right, you know? But I don’t know, it’s hard. You do those crossover things and there’s just so many cooks in the kitchen at that point, it’s like, is it gonna be right?
On whether Mr. Meeseeks will return for Rick and Morty in a future season:
Roiland: At some point, probably. I think so. I just don’t know how. We were talking about this earlier; it’s like, we’re being really careful not to bring popular characters back just for the sake of bringing them back. We want to really make sure it’s an organic reason that we’re writing…
Harmon: We’re a little worried about the curse of Community, which is that if you do do a call back or exhibit some continuity, even if it’s not deliberately inside, even if it functions on its own, then the critics say, “Oh there’s this thing, it’s called The Human Being or Annie’s Boobs,” and then somehow the culture gets created that the show isn’t appropriate for new viewers, which isn’t true. I watched that happen to Community and I’m like, “C’mon, no. This show would be fine to watch [with] the first episode of the fifth season.” So, I kinda feel like if there’s no Meeseeks box in the second season then there can be one in the third.
On whether we’ll also go back to the Cronenberg World in season two:
Harmon: We spent a lot of time breaking stories about like, “and then Morty goes back to Cronenberg World, and then blah blah blah”. There’s a certain ratio of sweat to joy, that when the sweat column gets above a certain level it’s like this isn’t Rick and Morty anymore, this is now some BBC drama.
It’s interesting to see how mindful and protective both Harmon and Roiland are with the show as it heads toward season two. They don’t want to embrace stunts or fall back on easy crowd pleasing bits from the first season. Naturally, that may disappoint some, but with all the goodwill that Harmon and Roiland earned last season, they’ve earned a chance to grow the show further before they start testing the foundation they’ve built.
Rick and Morty will return to Adult Swim in 2015.