I’ve been a big Rick and Morty fan ever since the show debuted on Adult Swim in late 2013. (For the big Science March last year I carried a sign emblazoned with the image of Rick Sanchez—who is a scientist and genius.) I was a big Community nut and continue to be a Harmontown devotee, and so I was eager to see where Dan Harmon would land after the lengthy demise of Community. In addition to creating that Joel McHale vehicle for NBC, Harmon was one of the main minds behind the legendary failed 1999 TV pilot Heat Vision and Jack, which a young Jack Black teamed up with a young Owen Wilson in a parodic reworking of Knight Rider directed by a young Ben Stiller.
Harmon’s heart always lay more with visionary sci-fi (à la Robocop) and not the relatively sober sitcom trappings of Community, so Rick and Morty represented a return to subject matter like Heat Vision and Jack as well as a chance for him and show co-creator Justin Roiland to have a shit ton of fun. Reflecting the evident creative fulfillment that Harmon and Roiland have enjoyed, the show has found a solid cult following.
Purhasers of the box set of season 1 (Blu Ray version only) of Rick and Morty, which came out in 2014, received an odd little pamphlet with the title “The Good Morty.” The 14-page story was a pitch-perfect parody of the Chick tracts once unleashed by the millions by evangelical nut case Jack T. Chick. “The Good Morty” made a brief appearance in the season 1 finale “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind.”
“The Good Morty” tells the story of the “good” Morty and the “bad” Morty—the latter makes the poor decision to join Rick for an adventure that is identical to any number of Rick and Morty episodes while the “good” version of Morty stays home and obeys the strictures laid down in Sacrimortys 4:23 to worshipfully kiss his own toes and so on. Meanwhile, Morty’s sister Summer becomes a heroin addict and eventually the “bad” Morty is transformed into a cockroach by a vengeful deity. Such are the risks in deviating from the true path of Morty!
The tract ends with a little list of things to do in order to avoid getting transformed into a cockroach:
1. Draw five scantily-clad or fully nude girls every day.
2. Kiss your toes three times each night before bed. Imagine each toe is a crying Morty who needs love.
3. Say Jessica’s name seven times each morning. Never above a whisper. Never above audible levels. Use your “six inch voice.”
4. Play with toys daily. Action figures, building blocks, remote control type toys. Bonus points for yo-yos. They’re a classic that holds up. Just be careful with them. No fancy tricks in crowded rooms.
5. Refuse all calls to adventure from Rick. Be like your dad. Be like Jerry. A simple life.
6. Play video games. Bonus points for handheld games. Never play freemium games.
7. Don’t worry about homework. You’ll be fine. The global economy is going to collapse soon anyway. Learn survival skills if anything.
Anyone who has listened to Harmon discourse on Joseph Campbell will recognize the Campbellian note in the phrase “calls to adventure.”
“The Good Morty” was written by Roiland and Ryan Ridley, and the art was created by Erica Hayes. You can read the entire thing below:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Now you can have your very own ‘Plumbus’ from ‘Rick and Morty’ for less than six & a half brapples