1. There are Ricks and Mortys you'll never see in the show

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In episodes involving the multiverse Citadel, part of the fun is spotting the eclectic array of alternate Ricks and Mortys populating the background. Besides a Gravity Falls reference here and there, most of the Ricks from other universes have non-specific themes like "Cowboy Rick" or "Fishman Rick" or "Rick That Looks Like Morty." However, at one point plans were in place to hide homages to classic movies and TV shows, like the ones you see here.

The idea being that eagle-eyed fans would spot them in the background and then say to themselves, "Hey, this part of the show is like that other show!" and smile knowing that two things they like are in the same place. It's the same principle that has kept internet t-shirt sites in business for years.

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According to the recently-released tome The Art of Rick and Morty, the team ultimately decided against including these references. You might wonder if their legal team was worried about R/M using other brands, but then again, that hasn't stopped the show from directly parodying stuff like Nightmare on Elm Street and Inception. 

The copyright theory also wouldn't explain why they decided against a pair of Rick and Mortys designed after characters in "House of Cosbys,"a short series from 2005 that was headed up by Justin Roiland. You know, the guy who co-created (and voices) Rick and Morty.

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House of Cosbys itself ended suddenly after Bill Cosby's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist, so it's not like legal ramifications are totally out of the question. That said, it's probably for the best that the animated oddity came to an end before everyone learned that the guy who sold them Jell-O pops was an irredeemable shitstain. 

2. Tons of characters have fascinating inspirations

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Rick and Morty has never been afraid to call out the sci-fi tropes it's lampooning in any given episode, but they don't tell you that many of the character designs come from unexpected sources. The art book gives us insight into the animators' process for coming up with what is frankly a ridiculous number of new characters every season. For instance, the giant that Rick and Morty inadvertantly kill is based on Dan Harmon, co-creator of the show. 

Then there's Mister Meseeks. He's just a big blue stickman, right? Well, yeah, but he's a big blue stickman inspired by Pit-Pat, a soulless corporate mascot from Mr. Show.

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A lot of the influences become obvious in hindsight, like how Gearhead owes a good part of his design to Roboto from He-Man.

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Rarely are the references more obscure than the origin of Morty's sex robot. Her design was partially inspired by Chrome, a creepy CGI automoton that was part of HBO's Perversions of Science. 

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Oddly enough, sometimes Rick and Morty's animators are their own muses. As it turns out, the main inspiration for Zeep Xanflorp -- the brilliant scientist living in Rick's microverse battery -- was some of the prototype designs for the music-loving Cromulons.

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Rick's ship is more of an extension of himself than an actual character, but we're going to count it here because its origin is pretty neat. In addition to the classic UFO motif, the ship was in part based on Spaceman Spiff's rig in the Calvin and Hobbes comic. 

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There's being inspired by yourself, and then there's just re-using whole characters. Mr. Jelly Bean is such a dead-ringer for Roiland's old character Crumply Crumplestein that they might just be the same person. Crumply was already a ghoulish murderer in his own cartoon, so if anyone had to assault Morty, it might as well be him.

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There's only one person that would make more sense as a monstrous piece of shit rapist, but Roiland probably doesn't wanna mess with Bill Cosby's lawyers again.


3. The original animation style was going to be wild (and impossible)

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Justin Roiland's early animation work was pretty rough, but that was part of its charm. Originally, this janky flavor was going to carry over to Rick and Morty to a startling degree. See, the plan was that the heads of the star characters would change shape in every single shot. The inconsistent characters would certainly give the show a look unlike anything else on TV, but as Roiland learned, it would also make work unreasonably difficult for animators. If you're making a cartoon, it's probably a good idea to make sure the people who are drawing it are happy.

4. Designers explain one of their censorship loopholes

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If you have watched Rick and Morty for any length of time, you have probably noticed that a lot of things kind of resemble dicks. Or balls. It's not any sort of commentary on  -- dicks and balls just look funny. But even alien genitalia are tough to get by Standards and Practices, so the animators had to figure out workaround. The excerpt from the art book explains it best.

"The art team learned early on that to get the okay from the network to show all this risque stuff -- we basically had to make sure it's not flesh colored. You know, the ol' Color Rule. So if an alien's face kinda looks like a vagina or balls, as long as we color it blue, that's okay."

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Let's hope no one tells the censors what "blue balls" really means.



5. A popular fan theory about Tammy gets debunked

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Summer's high school friend Tammy has only shown up a handful of times so far, but she's easily one of the most hated characters in the series. As a rule, people who betray and murder Birdperson are somewhat frowned upon in the fan community. Ever since that episode, Rick and Morty diehards have speculated whether the show left intentional clues as to Tammy's true alleigance along the way. After all, Tammy is seen in Summer's proximity once or twice in in the first season -- maybe this was part of the plot all along? 

Well no, not really. Tammy's excerpt from the art book explains it all: 

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The reason Tammy stuck around wasn't because she was part of a larger plan -- the production team just liked how Cassie Steele voiced the character. Which is perfectly understandable, for anyone who's watched Degrassi.


6. The strange origins of Mr. Poopybutthole

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Though he might seem like he was instantaneously sprung from the mind of an 11 year-old bored during math class, it was a long, weird road to get Mr. Poopybutthole into the form he is today. According to the art book, MPB originated as a character called "Bullet Boy," who in the first draft of the script was literally a kid shaped like a bullet. Later he was combined with a character called Titty Long Balls before eventually becoming the Mr. Poopybutthole you see today. No, I'm not making this up. 

Even more fascinating was who they wanted to voice Mr. Poopybutthole: Richard Simmons. Now somewhat infamously reclusive, Simmons was actually sent the script, but passed on it. I don't know about you, but I'm going to spend the rest of my life wondering what Richard Simmons saying "Ooo-wee" would have sounded like. 



7. The wild story behind the Purge episode

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You wouldn't know it by watching it, but "Look Who's Purging Now" is the hastiest, most rushed episode of the series. That's because the Purge parody didn't exist on the second season schedule until incredibly late in the game. As the story goes, the writing team were originally going to end the season with a two-parter, but eventually figured out that they needed more room to tell their story. So after deciding to cut off the finale on a cliffhanger, they were left with an episode-sized hole on their docket. In a rush of desperation, Look Who's Purging Now was born. 

That the episode came together like this is especially impressive considering that -- again, according to the art book notes -- no one on the writing team had actually seen The Purge movies that the show was supposed to be lampooning

Let that be a lesson to you kids: If you leave everything to the last minute, everything will work out fine. 



You can find The Art of Rick and Morty on Amazon, or better yet, support your local book store and/or comic shop!



Tristan Cooper can be found on Twitter.