ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

Fans of Adult Swim's crude animated comedy Rick and Morty have been waiting for what feels like eons for its third season. However, when it comes to creating something as brilliantly creative and original as Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's bold cartoon venture, I can't really blame them for taking their sweet, sweet time.

Rick and Morty, Adult Swim
Rick and Morty, Adult Swim

The universe-hopping duo and their ragtag group of friends and family bring something truly unique to the small screen, largely in part because Harmon and Roiland are comedic geniuses. If you need any evidence to persuade you of that fact, just take into consideration how many of the show's classic lines are likely made up on the spot.

Rick and Morty, Adult Swim
Rick and Morty, Adult Swim

In addition to co-creating the show with Harmon, Roiland also voices the mad alcoholic scientist Rick Sanchez and his dimwitted and sweet-natured grandson, Morty Smith. Though the chaotic series generally follows set storylines, it sounds like the actual dialogue recorded by Roiland gets reworked a lot throughout the session to get the best possible lines.

During a Q&A session with io9, Justin Roiland answered a few questions regarding the improvisation in the show and admitted that while there is a script written for every episode, they use it as a set of guidelines to direct their creativity.

"When doing the dialogue I have to toss the script aside. Even if I'm sticking to a very specific line of dialogue that is required for a very specific joke set up or punchline, I find that if I allow myself to adjust the wording and let it come out more naturally to how I would actually say it, it helps make the characters feel more real/alive/natural. I also LOVE using out takes as in takes. Our dialogue editor Tommy Meehan also always surprises me with stuff he'll pick from the record to cut in. He and I are very much in sync on what we find funny."

Rick and Morty, Adult Swim
Rick and Morty, Adult Swim

Later in the Q&A, Roiland goes on to reveal that almost every episode includes at least one of his improvised lines coming from either of his characters.

"[I improvise on] some episodes more than others. I usually have moments in each episode that weren't in the script. One big example is the cold open in the pilot. That whole sequence in Rick's ship was improv based on a scene suggestion from Dan. Other stuff when Rick acts strange or fucks around... that's usually improv. The scene where he plays with Morty in the Alien Scammer's ship was improv."

For those who don't remember the cold open in question, Roiland is talking about the clip below. As our first introduction to the world of Rick and Morty, this improvised scene effectively set the tone for the whole series.

In a different interview with Vulture, Harmon spoke to Roiland's ability to come up with fresh lines on the spot, and how it helped add a level of authenticity to the dialogue.

"With Justin in the voice-over booth, we had to acquire a disciplined lack of discipline to look at the script and throw it away. You can hear him stumble on words, which gives an organic, infectious feel to it."

Back during Rick and Morty's 2014 New York Comic-Con panel, Roiland, Harmon, and two of the lead voice actors, Sarah Chalke (Beth) and Chris Parnell (Jerry), put their improvisation skills to the test at the request of one of the panel attendees. Together, they threw together a totally made up situation of a family breakfast and flexed their comedic chops for their Rick and Morty-loving fans.

Because the internet is a wonderful place, one YouTube user, Moleman, actually took it upon themselves to animate the quick short. Check out their fantastic work paired with the audio from the panel below:

At San Diego Comic-Con this year, Harmon, Roiland, producer Ryan Ridley and Spencer Grammer (Summer) created yet another improvised mini-episode of Rick and Morty for New York Magazine. In addition to whetting our appetites for Season 3, it also made getting 120cc's of feces injected into your knees sound not too bad.

In the end, there's no definitive answer as exactly how much of each episode is improvised by Justin Roiland, but it sounds like a decent amount of made up lines make their way through to the finished product.

To catch up on all things Rick and Morty before the Season 3 premiere, head over to Hulu where every episode is available for your streaming pleasure.

There's still no official date for the premiere of Rick and Morty Season 3, but — ignoring the tip off from Mr. Poopy Butthole — fans now suspect the 14 new episodes will be released at the end of 2016.


Are you ready for the return of Rick and Morty?

[Source: io9, Vulture]


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