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After Almost 2 Years, 'Rick and Morty' Returns

Jul 28, 2017
Originally published on August 9, 2017 5:29 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Something big coming to the small screen this weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF RYAN ELDER'S "RICK AND MORTY (MAIN TITLE THEME)")

INSKEEP: "Rick And Morty," an animated cult hit on Adult Swim, begins its much anticipated third season Sunday. Here's NPR's Nina Gregory.

NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: Fans have waited nearly two years to go on a new season of adventures with Rick and Morty.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RICK AND MORTY")

JUSTIN ROILAND: (As Rick Sanchez) You OK, Morty? I told you not to trust that tuna.

(As Morty Smith) I just killed my family.

GREGORY: Co-creator Justin Roiland voices both characters. He talks about his show from the "Rick And Morty" production offices in beautiful downtown Burbank.

ROILAND: "Rick And Morty" is a show that follows the exploits of Rick Sanchez, a super genius scientist, and his dim-witted grandson as they go on crazy adventures across the multiverse. And also family.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RICK AND MORTY")

ROILAND: (As Morty Smith) You know what, Rick? That's it. I'm done with these insane adventures. That was really traumatizing. I quit. I'm out.

(As Rick Sanchez) Whoa, whoa, whoa. Come on, Morty. Don't be like that. The universe is a crazy, chaotic place.

(As Morty Smith) You're the one that's crazy and chaotic. Adventures are supposed to be simple and fun.

(As Rick Sanchez) Oh, yeah, Morty. Yeah, that's really easy to say from the sidekick position.

GREGORY: For every one-liner or sight gag, the show takes deep dives into existential angst punctuated with beautifully animated sci-fi worlds that collapse in on each other. It's satirical. It's silly. And it's smart. Co-creator Dan Harmon.

DAN HARMON: Take a break. Watch this cartoon and then get back to the darkness. I'd also like to say, hey, there's a lot of darkness in this cartoon. If you - learn to like the taste. Learn to eat it while smiling (laughter).

GREGORY: It may sound like this show is tailor-made for a small audience of stoned college kids. But it's found a broad audience across demographics.

HARMON: We did not sit down at all to say, let's create the new Kermit the Frog (laughter) because that would be an awful - I don't think that's what Jim Henson was doing. I think Jim Henson said, this is a green sock that I'm using to express what it's like to be Jim Henson. And it ended up becoming this classic character. But when you try to make something with mass appeal, it's usually garbage.

GREGORY: Last weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con, devoted fans lined up for all kinds of "Rick And Morty" related events, a signing, a screening, a panel with Harmon and Roiland talking with real scientists about the science in their science fiction sitcom.

SHASTA CLOKEY: It's the wackiest, funniest, probably most out-of-this-world show I've ever seen. And it also has a bunch of crazy, raunchy, weird, unthinkable humor that just, like, lets you relax and just be silly and be a kid for a little bit of time (laughter).

GREGORY: In a bit of synchronicity with the bizarre world of "Rick And Morty," that fan in line at Comic-Con with his teenage brother and father happens to be animation royalty.

JOE CLOKEY: Yeah. We're the Gumby family.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE GUMBY SHOW")

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Gumby.

GREGORY: That's right. Joe, Shasta and Sage Clokey, the son and grandsons of Art Clokey, who created Gumby. An amused Joe Clokey tagged along to check out "Rick And Morty," a show his son Shasta speaks of with reverence.

S CLOKEY: I feel like "Rick And Morty" utilizes the same kind of spirit as Gumby, makes it a lot more edgy, way more out there. But the same creative essence is in there. The same pure art is within that that scope, which is really cool. I like that.

GREGORY: Whether for the art, the humor or the darkness, fans will wait no more. New episodes begin Sunday. Nina Gregory, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MAZZY STAR SONG, "LOOK ON DOWN FROM THE BRIDGE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.