Jessica Gao, the woman who wrote the infamous “Pickle Rick” episode is leaving Rick and Morty. The infamous third season episode, titled “Pickle Rick” became a smash hit for the popular Cartoon Network animated series when it first aired back in August 2017. The episode follows Rick turning himself into a pickle in order to avoid going to therapy with his family.
Gao was part of the Rick and Morty team that took home this year’s Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program. Adult Swim submitted the season 3 episode “Pickle Rick” for consideration, on which Gao was the writer. She’s also written for shows like Silicon Valley, Lab Rats, Robot Chicken, and Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.
As reported by EW, Gao announced that she will not be returning to the upcoming season of the popular Adult Swim TV show. ABC has ordered a pilot episode for a single-camera comedy from the Emmy-winning Gao going under the working-title, Lazy Rich Asians. The new series will follow Janet Zhao, a first-generation Chinese American woman who struggles to set emotional boundaries between herself and her demanding family. Gao will be executive producing the show with Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, and Samie Kim Falvey.
Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the creators behind Rick and Morty, hired a host of new writers for the show's third season. Many of the show's new members were either attacked or doxxed online by so-called Rick and Morty fans because several writers and creatives were women. Co-Creator Harmon voiced his disappointment back in 2017: “I was familiar going into the third season, having talked to Felicia Day, that any high-profile women get doxxed, they get harassed, they get threatened, they get slandered. And part of it is a testosterone-based subculture patting themselves on the back for trolling these women … I think it’s all disgusting.” Though the powers that be at Cartoon Network took their time to announce a renewal, the channel ended up surprising fans and crew alike when they chose to renew Rick and Morty for an incredible 70 episodes. However, Gao will not be a part of these episodes going forward now.
Gao was, no doubt, part of what made the popular series even more of a phenomenon. “Pickle Rick” alone stemmed merchandise and memes that have made their way into our common lexicon. Fans are still discovering Easter eggs from the episode. What made the episode one of the series' best is the ridiculous lengths that Rick goes to in order to avoid his family. In addition to just a whole lot of dismembering of vicious sewer rats, Rick constructs a survival suit that has become one of fascination, even causing certain devoted fans to 3D print a version of the suit themselves. The monologue from the episode is a standout example of great writing, even rivaling a lot of other things airing that year.
There is no set date for Gao's new show, working-title Lazy Rich Asians. However, if the show moves beyond the pilot stages, it is presumed to be ordered in time to hit this Fall's TV season. There is also no expected premiere date for Rick and Morty season 4 at this time.