Is the world ready for more Rick and Morty?.
The out there animated, space adventure comedy, which airs on Adult Swim, returns for a fourth season Sunday.
The series is about an eccentric and alcoholic mad scientist named Rick and his naïve, 14-year-old grandson named Morty. Together, they leave suburbia to explore strange new galaxies.
Justin Roiland, who co-created the series with Dan Harmon (Community), voices both characters. His original inspiration for the series was “Back to the Future.” Roiland did a short, wildly inappropriate, parody of the Michael J. Fox feature that impressed Harmon and served somewhat as a blueprint for the series.
In the show, grandpa Rick lives with his daughter Beth’s family, including husband Jerry and their two children, Morty and his older sister Summer.
Canadian Sarah Chalke (Roseanne) and Saturday Night Live veteran Chris Parnell voice other family members, with Parnell doing Jerry and Chalke voicing Beth. Spencer Grammer, daughter of Kelsey Grammer,” voices Summer.) Both Chalke and Parnell were in Toronto last May promoting the series while attending the Corus upfront.
Like The Simpsons and many other contemporary animated comedies, the actors who do the voices on Rick and Morty record them separately in sound-proof booths. It’s more efficient that way, says Parnell. “You’re not worrying about connecting visually with the other actor.” Some people like to look at the other actors when things are recorded in a group, but, as Parnell points out, “nobody has it memorized.” Everyone is reading their lines off a script.
Besides, especially on Rick and Morty, “you don’t know what they’re going to look like in the cartoon. It’s so much better for me to just see it and hear it in my head.”
Parnell, from Memphis originally, says he grew up a fan of classic, Saturday morning cartoon shows such as Scooby Doo and the Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes Warner Bros. shorts.
Chalke, who grew up in North Vancouver, was more of a fan of He-Man and She-Ra: Princess of Power but she says the Warner ‘toons “were also my jam.
“It’s definitely one of the coolest parts of Rick and Morty – getting to read a script and imagining these wild, intergalactic travels and characters with eight heads. Seeing what the animators come up with later is breathtaking.”
While Chalke and Parnell stay very close to the script,Roiland sometimes goes off the page and comes up on the spot with catch phrases such as Rick’s, “Wubbalubbadubdub!”
“That became his, “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” says Chalke.
One of animation’s most famous catch phrases – Fred Flintstone’s, “Yabba dabba-doo!” — was apparently made up on the spot by Alan Reed. The actor felt the simply “Hurray!” on the page needed a little more oomph.
Chalke says one of her favourite things is to watch Roiland go back and forth between the two main characters. She mainly gets to witness this at script readings at places such as Comic-Con.
The actress isn’t Rick and Morty’s only Canadian connection. The series is animated by Vancouver-based Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver.
It’s been nearly two years since new episodes have emerged, but more should come more regularly now that the producers have signed a multi-year deal for 70 more episodes.