Kick up your feet, cease your internet campaigns, and delete your petitions Dan Harmon fans, Rick and Morty has sailed to a season two renewal without the kind of drama and frustration that fans of Harmon’s other series, Community, usually have to deal with.
Why the full faith from Adult Swim and Cartoon Network for the animated sitcom – from the mind of Harmon and producer Justin Rolland – about a mad, dimension hopping scientist and his useful, but incompetent grandson as they calamitously go on adventures?
According to the press release announcing the renewal, Rick and Morty is a ratings juggernaut for the network in its 10:30PM Monday night slot, but can the show keep building and eventually become Adult Swim’s first original series to get broad attention since Robot Chicken? Can it climb even higher and help Adult Swim wrestle away FOX’s title as the top source for zeitgeist occupying animated shows, especially at a time where Family Guy seems to make headlines for the wrong kind of reasons.
It’s clear that Adult Swim is trying to build something, extending its hold on Cartoon Network’s schedule to cover the 8PM hour of primetime starting in March (right around the time when Rick and Morty returns from its hiatus for the final four episodes of its first season). At the outset, that hour will be filled with reruns from FOX shows – often Adult Swim’s bread and butter – but one has to wonder if Rick and Morty‘s success provides a blueprint for a network that has dedicated itself to more fringy fare like Superjail!, Eagleheart, Children’s Hospital, The Eric Andre Show, and China, IL.
By no means tame or fully mainstream, Rick and Morty still feels out of place among those other shows. Really, it could nestle in between the more staid shows on FOX’s animation domination block on Sunday nights and chug along competently as the most edgy show of that night (seriously, the mid-season premiere may have featured one of the bleakest and most daring moments in animated TV history), but that’s probably the point.
With Rick and Morty, Adult Swim has a hybrid, a spoonful of sugar, and the kind of show that can pull eyeballs to a programming slate that might mature and reach out to a broader audience over time. How about that, an entire network that could be influenced by Dan Harmon’s influence as opposed to one that – at one point – felt resistant to his presence.
Rick and Morty returns to Adult Swim on March 10th @10:30PM