Adult Swim series Rick and Morty set to be a success

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Adult Swim series Rick and Morty set to be a success

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One of the best new shows on television right now also happens to be psychedelic insanity at its finest. Rick and Morty is the brain child Community show runner Dan Harmon and his Room 101 compadre Justin Roiland (of Acceptable TV fame.)

Based on the short “The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti,” the show follows the trials and tribulations of the questionable dynamic duo of alcoholic-scientist, grandfather Rick and average-coyish, grandson Morty. Becoming an overnight sensation, Rick and Morty secured the highest ratings for a premiere of original programing on Adult Swim with over a million viewers in the Nielson ratings.

The soul of the show is also what makes it astutely insane. Fans all over have responded to the high level of detail in the storytelling, the obvious love and dedication the sci-fi genre, Justin Roiland’s voice acting talents and the existentialism  that is rooted deeply into the humor of the show.

Both Rick and Morty are voiced by Roiland, while their family of Jerry, Beth and Summer are voiced by Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke and Spencer Grammer respectively. Rick and Morty’s adventures are about the sum result of Doc and Marty (of Back to The Future lore) on acid. The show always features genre and culture deconstruction, all while Rick subjects Morty to bedlam quality hijinks.

Luckily, staff writer and all around rapscallion Wade Randolph took a little time out of his schedule to chat about the inner workings of the show with the Journal.

Q: What is the average day like in the writer’s room ? 

Randolph: Basically we get in around 10 and order lunch and waste time and eventually a few hours later we all sit around and pitch out ideas. Things that we’ve thought of beforehand, things that come to mind in the moment. Eventually an idea takes hold with either Justin or Harmon and we begin to talk about it. Look up Harmon’s story circle which is based on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.

We begin to “circle” out the idea hitting broad strokes, then try to fill it in as best as possible, painstakingly going down every road imaginable. Eventually we come to what Harmon calls an embryo. We talk and talk about it until we have enough information to notecard it out. We put each scene on a notecard and see if it seems like a story. Once we’re happy with that, a writer is assigned the episode and he goes off to write the outline.

After three or four drafts of an outline, we send it to network for approval. Once approved, it goes to draft. Again, three or four or five or 10 (in my case) script drafts later we’re finally in a spot where Harmon will take the script and do his pass on it. At that point it is usually unrecognizable from the first outline. And even then it continues to change as it goes to storyboards, animatic and eventually animation.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for each episode?

WR: Inspiration comes from everywhere. It depends on the writer. We take stuff from news stories or things done on other sci-fi shows (only as springboards) or our own personal stories. I feel like I am being supremely boring right now (laughs). Being in a writer’s room is mostly a blast and then also, at times, super tedious.

There is a point in every idea where you hit a wall and everyone goes silent and your brain hurts. Otherwise, it’s fun and jokes and nerf guns. A while ago in a different writer’s room, a guy brought in a whoopee cushion. You will never know his name. He was immediately ousted to comedy limbo where he is constantly punished with eternal eye rolls.

Q: How has the fan reaction been received in the writers’ room?

WR: The fan community of Rick and Morty has been great. We live in an age where fans have more access to the people behind the shows they watch, whether it be through Twitter or Reddit or other communities, and it’s also beneficial for those creators.

You get immediate feedback when an episode airs and luckily so far for us, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. The flip side of that coin, however, can hurt quite a bit. And I don’t even mean the insults. (Those hurt too but above all else writers just want attention).

There are shows I love that have absolutely no online fan presence and it can’t be a good feeling to seem completely irrelevant. It’s also a little counter-productive when you get too involved. Once you read a piece of fan fiction, you can pretty much cross that idea off your list, even if it’s one you had before. There’s a thread in the subreddit right now titled “What would you like to see on season 2” that I’m avoiding like the plague, lest I subconsciously rip it off. Everyone in the room is flattered by the fan reaction. We’re like lab rats getting food pellets with each compliment and it seems like it can only end self-destructively. (That’s just me, these other guys probably aren’t that neurotic.)

Ricky and Morty is currently re-running older episodes until its return from hiatus on March 10.

You can also watch the older episodes on Adult Swim’s YouTube channel and while you’re at it, you should definitely check out the show’s subreddit /r/rickandmorty to interact with the fans and cast.