If back in 2010 you had told Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon that their little show about an alcoholic, nihilistic space adventurer and his mentally deficient but good hearted grandson would roll into the beginnings of Season 3 production as one of the most popular shows on Adult Swim they probably wouldn't have believed you, and then Roiland would've belched in your face or something.
Roiland: "I've been surprised with the reactions across the season. We went into the premiere thinking the first episode was going to be received poorly, and it wasn't, and then I think that trend has just kept going across the season."
Yep, it's no secret that Rick and Morty is one of the breakout successes in modern animation. Though perhaps still not one of the best known shows out there it has gathered a huge following and developed a loyal fanbase, especially online.
It's not difficult to understand the appeal: a wacky sci-fi Back to the Future parody with slapstick, crude yet clever humour and a titular character that belches his way through sentences punctuated by swigs from hip flasks and the occasional paranoid outburst, offset by Morty's naive optimism and well meaning blunders.
But did you know that Rick's iconic dialogue, complete with intermittent belches, came about as a result of an accident?
The Belch That Started It All
It's pretty common knowledge by now that Rick and Morty has it's beginnings in an (incredibly NSFW) animated sketch first created by Roiland nearly a decade ago, back in 2006.
The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti is a five minute Back to the Future parody conceived by voice-actor Justin Roiland in order to troll Universal Studios over copyright claims, but it developed into something more as the characters evolved and earned a special place in Roiland's heart, becoming "something of their own".
The very first Rick belch came into being whilst Roiland was creating The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, as he explains in an EW interview when asked why Rick burps so much:
"In 2006, or something, I was recording the voices for this short The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti. I was having fun doing these really crappy Doc Brown and Marty McFly impressions. During the middle of a line a burp came out naturally. It was just so funny and gross. I was like, “Well, let’s see if I can do that again for a couple more lines.” Then, with Rick and Morty, Dan (Harmon, the show’s co-creator) was like, “Hey, Adult Swim wants to do a show, do you have any ideas?” I said, “Well, what about these two voices?” Right out of the gate, the burping was part of it."
Nice. So I guess we should be grateful to whatever carbonated beverages Roiland had ingested that day that we ended up with Rick's iconic belching dialogue.
It's Not All Fun And Games Though...
I mean - two seasons cumulating in 21 episodes, all of which heavily feature Rick - that's a lot of burping for one man, as the Rick Burp Supercut proves:
The Creators Project asked Roiland how he manages all these burps and his answer was... a little uncomfortable to be honest, as he describes it as "disgusting".
"I can't burp on command. I have to sit there with a low-calorie beer—or a regular beer, depending on what day it is and what kind of mood I'm in—and a bottle of water and blow air into my stomach. It's this whole fucking process, it's disgusting."
The pilot was the worst, he goes on to say, as he seriously overstretched his esophagus with the number of burps per line. Not only did this leave him feeling very unwell - that he was going to "fucking die or have to go to the hospital" - but they ended up with far too many belches to work with the dialogue:
"We cut the radio play together and Harmon was like, 'There are way too many fucking burps in this,' and I was like, 'Oh fuck, you're right! This is disgusting.'"
Ouch, brings a whole new meaning to suffering for your art I guess. Thankfully they eventually managed to whittle down the burps-per-minute (BPM?) ratio to a level that managed to provide humour without going too far into the realm of the disgustingly absurd, and an iconic voice was born.
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; Rick and Morty Season 3 Creators Tease A Return To Previous Cliffhangers And Characters; Harmon & Roiland Set To Hire First Female Writers For Rick and Morty Season 3