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‘Rick and Morty’ creators on the rise of Pickle Rick and being ‘your own worst enemy’

“Rick and Morty’s” Justin Roiland, Spencer Grammer, Dan Harmon and Sarah Chalke at Comic-Con 2019.
Actor and co-creator Justin Roiland, actress Spencer Grammer, co-creator Dan Harmon, and actress Sarah Chalke from the animated series “Rick and Morty,” photographed at the L.A. Times Photo and Video Studio at Comic-Con 2019.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In a wild, wide-ranging interview earlier this summer at San Diego Comic-Con — beginning with the eternal struggle over how to hold a microphone — the cast and creators of “Rick and Morty” of course landed on the subject every fan of the Adult Swim animated series wants to talk about: Pickle Rick.

Co-creator Dan Harmon credits a clip debuted at Comic-Con prior to Pickle Rick’s first appearance in Season 3 as part of the reason the character — a sentient, brined cucumber into which mad scientist Rick transforms himself to avoid family therapy — became a phenomenon. It was “thumb-on-the-scale cheating,” he said, adding that visual artists are into Pickle Rick, “and I think it’s because — ”

“It’s shaped like a” male body part, interjected co-creator Justin Roiland.

“Well, it’s phallic, but it’s also emblematic of self-torture and stuff,” continued Harmon. “It’s the stupid thing Rick did to himself. Anyone who makes anything recognizes [that]. You’re your own worst enemy.”

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“Rick and Morty” showrunner Dan Harmon, second from right, with actors Justin Roiland, left, Spencer Grammer and Sarah Chalke, photographed at the L.A. Times Photo and Video Studio at Comic-Con International 2019, in San Diego.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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Harmon, Roiland (who voices both Rick and Morty), Spencer Grammer (Summer) and Sarah Chalke (Beth) dropped by the Los Angeles Times Photo and Video Studio at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this summer for a conversation that reeled from chummy laugh riot to the introspective and even philosophical — much like the series itself, which returns for its fourth season Sunday. (They’re already at work on Season 5.)

They dug deeply into their creative process and a turning point in their modus operandi. And, by the way, Roiland emerged the clear winner in the epic mike-holding conflict.

To see the entire interview, click on the video below.


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