Rick and Morty is a sick, demented take on a classic formula. From Back to the Future to Mr. Peabody, the series takes the premise of a mad scientist taking a kid under his wing and doubles down on the weirdness of the dynamic. The result is a strange show from the mind of Community’s Dan Harmon that has as many squeamish moments as it does comedic ones. However, Harmon’s collaborator deserves some credit for what he’s brought to half of the show’s titular duo.
What is ‘Rick and Morty’?
As Fandom notes, the series focuses on Rick Sanchez and Morty as they hop through dimensions in various strange situations and tackle serious issues about addiction, home life, philosophy, and the dimensions between space and time. Rick is a deranged alcoholic with dozens of vices that make him act like a suicidal loose cannon, while Morty is a naive young child.
Rick is more than his worst moments. Yes, he’s utterly unhinged, and while he has more flaws than many villains, he also does what he thinks needs to be done to get ahead, protect Morty, and make sure that even when things look most bleak, he has what it takes to get through it as unscathed as possible. This provides the series with that sardonic sense of anti-humor that, in turn, gets the biggest laughs.
Who is Rick’s voice?
Justin Roiland is not only the voice behind Rick Sanchez. He’s also the creative force behind it. He created Rick and Morty with Harmon and has been along the ride for nearly every step of the process. According to him, they act less like collaborators or friends and more like brothers. That, according to a Reddit AMA that Roiland did in 2019, is the key to its success.
“We have eerily similar comedic sensibilities and interests, and only a few times here and there do we disagree about something tonally or comedically. Like, I can count on one hand across the life of the show how many times we have passionately disagreed about a joke or moment. Our biggest differences are when to say it’s done or… good enough, moving on.”
Taking the rapid-fire pace of a South Park episode with a little bit more polish, Rick and Morty’s organizational structure benefits as much from the process they’ve created and the loose way in which it is enforced.
Collaborating with family
This ability to work together, disagree, and move on is a major reason behind the show’s success. After all, while singular visions can be a good thing, Harmon and Roiland’s differences help give the series that unique creative edge that stands out from other genre comedies. The trick, to him, is knowing that proper balance.
“For better or for worse, when there’s a joke or a moment that doesn’t jump out at me as legitimately not good, I’m fine with moving along with what we have. A lot of times, I even like what we have quite a bit. Harmon would punch up every line at each stage of production if he could,” he wrote.
Season five of Rick and Morty is set to premiere on June 20. With more seasons along the way, Harmon might be the biggest name behind the production, but Roiland deserves just as much credit. When he isn’t helping plan his biggest show, IMDb notes that he’s a game designer, writer, director, and long-time industry professional behind the scenes.
The Harmon and Roiland partnership is why the show has such a strong cult following. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess, but Roland, Harmon, and the rest of the creative team have turned their strange idea into the well-oiled machine, and while Roiland may not get the credit he deserves, his work speaks for itself.
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