Back in July, a couple of days before Season 2 of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon's massively successful animated show Rick and Morty kicked off, the two co-creators spoke a little about the upcoming season in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
One of the issues discussed during the interview touched on an earlier comment made by the two that Rick and Morty had at that point been working with an entirely male writing staff. As you would expect from Roiland and Harmon, they made light of the issue
"Harmon: We have not had female writers on the Rick and Morty staff so far. But it's by choice — they're terrible people. They vote wrong — I don't know why we gave that power to them."
Roiland: "They make my wee-wee feel weird."
Harmon: "I blame them for the inflation and the recession at the same time. They don't ask for directions, and they leave the toilet seat down. The real answer is, send your writing sample to UTA, I guess."
Humour is one way of dealing with awkward questions I suppose, and satire has always been a vehicle for change. The question posed was a pertinent one though, last year the The Celluloid Ceiling study found that only 17% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers involved with the top 250 grossing films were female, a percentage that has remained pretty much unchanged since 1998.
The ideology behind this, whether this is an issue of discrimination, underrepresentation or just the sheer fact that there are less women working in the business, is a matter of much debate. Indeed it's one that's been at the forefront this year more than ever, with Patricia Arquette's Oscar acceptance speech, Jennifer Lawrence's open letter and Meryl Streep's new initiative aimed at female screenwriters over the age of 40.
So this was July, when Harmon and Roiland poked fun at the lack of female writers on their team. Fast forward three months to October and round two with THR and their staffing situation has changed up, something which Harmon speculates may have been due to his comments in the earlier interview about writers sending in their samples.
Roiland: "It hasn't been an agenda thing, but just coincidentally for some reason - I don't know why - this staffing round going into season three, we got a lot of female scripts in addition to male scripts. We just look at what's the best script - I think in the running, we have five or six girls. It's weird - that's never happened before.
Anyone who makes the cut and joins the team has definitely done so on their own merits. We've gone from having zero spec scripts [in the running from female] candidates, to having five or six of them, so it's looking very likely that season three will have one, potentially two gals in the room. I think it will be fun and interesting."
So will this change the dynamic of Rick and Morty Season 3? Doubt it. Harmon and Roiland aren't the types to hire women just to pander to a dynamic, they've never shied away from controversy or pretended to be interested in anything other than making content that amuses them. You only have to look as far as the original sketch that inspired the show to understand the kind of mentality that Roiland in particular works under.
Besides, labouring under the delusion that the content one produces is vastly affected by your gender rather than the whole other host of internal and external influences is an antiquated notion and one that is likely to blame for the gender divide in modern media. Comedy is still largely a boys club too, so even just the fact that the creators are drawing attention to their writers is a good thing and hopefully could upon up further discussion about this issue.
Either way, this is pretty much one of the few things we know thus far about the upcoming Rick and Morty Season 3, and it's nice to see Roiland and Harmon being open about it even if they don't necessarily address the overarching issue itself. Baby steps.
All 21 episodes of Rick and Morty are now available to stream online via Adult Swim, wubba-lubba-dub-dub!
Related: Rick and Morty Season 3, And The Back To The Future Parody That Started It All; Will Rick & Morty Season 3 Explore The Backstory Of Dan Harmon's Favourite Character?; Alex Hirsch Weighs In On Whether We'll See A Gravity Falls Crossover In Rick and Morty Season 3