Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland Tease Season Six’s Balancing Act

how are you stuck Rick and Morty? No, reader, I ask she, specifically — when you think of the animated comedy Adult Swim, what comes to mind? There’s probably the Szechuan sauce and its associated debacle; cucumber rick; the crazy multiverse hijinks the show was doing before it was cool; maybe a stray, inescapable voice of Justin Roiland playing on an endless loop.

From my own experience Rick and Morty is like sport: the longer it’s been since I’ve been involved with it, the bigger the mental block is to go back. I really like them both, but I don’t really want to listen to someone who has done both their whole life. After all, it always feels good to come back to them, even (or maybe especially) when it feels hard; There’s more depth than just the routine, everyday things, but those everyday things get the job done, too.

Part of it is fact Rick and Morty dissects its sci-fi influences at a breakneck pace, running through entire concepts in a 22-minute runtime. Then there are the many layers of this particular onion: Almost as complicated as Pickle Rick is the fact that many people miss the point of Pickle Rick. And as we saw in Season 5, Rick C-137 (the main Rick of the series) has a much darker backstory than the Rick of the timeline he’s in. C-137 Rick watched his wife get killed by another Rick and – after that he spent some time trying to hunt him down, killing various Ricks and generally getting screwed – eventually ended up in a timeline where a Rick had left his adult daughter and settled in bitterly.

It was sort of a confirmation of the story Rick told his Galactic Federation captors in Season 3 – a slow Reveal a man whose true dark depths have been largely hinted at throughout the show’s five seasons. But to those worried that Season 6 might pick up the mantle from there, co-creator Dan Harmon just has to say: Calm down.

“It could be a return to a ratio of canon to unique energy in Season 3,” Harmon tells Polygon of Season 6’s entries into canon. “And more importantly, the relationship between [that and the other seasons].

“Maybe Season 5 would have felt a little more like an almost obsessive dislike of canon and then a big episode at the end that promised it all. And then season 6 is like this, Yes, in the future we will continue to try to get that relationship right, rather than either compulsively avoiding it or indulging in it.”

If you ask Harmon what that perfect ratio is, he’ll jokingly say “nice solid 20%” when he’s trying to be “cheerless math.” He cites their recent episode schedule shift as a room to “relax about canon maintenance” and instead sprinkle it where it feels worthy. And the two critically-rated episodes seem to be a good example of that Rick and Morty might even out in the future: The first recovery after the fall of the Citadel of Ricks and Evil Morty’s destruction of Portal Fluid left Rick and Morty’s fate uncertain. The second is your classic madman, full of action Rick and Morty Episode with a killer guest star.

“We’ve always seen the show’s ability to live in both [worlds] if we’re careful,” says Justin Roiland, co-creator and star. “We could say Fuck it, let’s get full serialized, fuck it. […] But I just have a feeling it would be like that – I don’t know if it would be good. It’s almost like an Oreo cookie. And you just eat the shit in the middle and then throw it away [the rest]. You kind of need both.”

Rick and Morty are standing with their hands on their hips and their shirts cropped so you can see their six pack abs

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Summer and Rick are in a squad car with the windshield blown out; Rick looks left from the driver's seat while Summer holds a shotgun and looks right from the passenger seat

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Rick stands there looking smug with a bunch of robotic arms holding things coming out of his back; in the background Jerry watches in shock

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Jerry in the foyer shows his family seated at the dinner table looking at him in the foreground

Image: adult swimming

This kind of promise about Season 6’s balance comes at a time when multiverses are more popular than ever. It’s a reminder of that Rick and Morty been doing this shit for a while – long enough that it’s superseded the usual discussion of how to grow your characters. Like many animated cast members, the Smith-Sanchez family doesn’t age, even after a few years of adventure.

“They want to have the consequences and realism that we have with our characters. But because it’s animated, you want to leave them as is,” says Roiland. He notes that this is not a new problem for cartoons: The simpsons retconned his own story many times to keep himself modern throughout the comic strip For better or for worse let the characters age in real time. To the Rick and Morty, Roiland notes that the multiverse allows them to conjure up a specific attitude on a character for as long as they need it. “With sci-fi and also multiverse, you can get away with just about anything.”

However, that doesn’t mean Season 6 doesn’t promise big changes. After the Season 5 finale blew up the very foundation of Rick’s world as we know it, Roiland and Harmon focus on creating new challenges for the titular duo and their loved ones. While Morty won’t reach his 15th birthday (at least not without the usual pastimes to get him back where he started), he will still grow as a character.

Rick stares at his daughter Beth in front of a crashed spaceship in S510

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The Sanchez/Smith family collapsed on the floor of a dark and abandoned high-tech basement

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“What Morty needs to do – and this is actually really difficult – is that Morty needs to make sure his relationship with Rick is respected,” says Harmon. “We can’t really write that Morty is blown away by the suggestion that nothing matters in episode 80; He must have gotten used to that by now. So it’s like he’s growing, he’s aging in terms of his exposure to the universe. But at the same time, while there have been multiple Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, this is apparently only less than a year in the life of this poor boy (spanning multiple presidential administrations).”

And so, after six seasons and more of it, you can surely expect to see more of it Rick and Morty‘s “Lord,” the sharpness and depth that traces Rick Sanchez’s every move. But you’ll also see some more movie homages, Cronenberg monsters, immature squabbles, fart jokes and meta-humor, sci-fi shenanigans, and potshots on things like Avengers: Endgame. Rick and Morty face a new Big Bad, but you may not find a deal with him any time soon. There is an interactive “episode” of the show called “Womageddon”. Meanwhile, an anime spinoff is in the works and the duo is making an appearance MultiVersus. You can’t just pin down a show like this – every viewer has a different relationship to it. Whatever reputation Rick and Morty in your heart, it will likely deliver in season six, with lots of laughs and alien guts galore.

Rick and Morty Season 6 premieres on Adult Swim on Sunday, September 4 at 11pm

https://www.polygon.com/23322442/rick-morty-season-6-episodes-preview Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland Tease Season Six’s Balancing Act

Curtis Crabtree

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