Rick and Morty, the breakout hit from Cartoon Network featured in the network’s Adult Swim programming, boasts a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The show has certainly begun making popular culture strides reminiscent of the network’s wildly popular retired series, Adventure Time.
The animated sci-fi show features a genius scientist, Rick, and his much less meritorious grandson, Morty, going on adventures across the universe.
Now, Rick and Morty creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland are discussing what made season three, the latest season of the show, the best yet. According to them, the season’s success came with hiring women writers.
The pair are very proud of what they have accomplished with the third season of their show, and “part of that renewed creative energy,” as the Daily Beast puts it, came from a gender-balanced writers’ room, which is the first of its kind in the show’s history.
Harmon was very happy about it. “We had that for this season and I thought the results were really good because it meant that both the men and the women could increase their attention on Beth and Summer [Morty’s mom and teenage sister].”
The writing room is made up of three men and three women, and the two creators like it that way. “Nobody represents any gender because if nobody outnumbers anybody else, then nobody’s an ambassador to anything,” Harmons explains. “If I’m one of three men in a room full of six writers and three of them are women, that means I can pitch stories about, uh, tampons without understanding them and the three women don’t have the job of explaining tampons to me. They can just be like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about but…”
“When you have a mixed room, it’s not about the women going, ‘Here’s a bunch of secrets about women,’” Harmon continues. “It’s more about everyone being freer to just pitch randomness. So the result is you see cool stuff happen with Beth and Summer this season.”
Most television writing rooms have yet to try and implement this method, which should be the ideal.
Rick and Morty itself went two seasons without a single woman writer on staff, which sparked controversy on the overall lack of women writers within Adult Swim programs. It is good to see that at least for Rick and Morty, this is no longer the case.
Harmon and Roiland agree that the gender-inclusive season has made the show all the better, and Harmon even admits to having trouble with details pertaining to the women characters on the show before the change was made. “Previous to that, as quote-unquote decent gentlemen in an all-men writer’s room, if we talked about Summer, we were kind of like… [stutters]. Propriety and craftsmanship made us second-guess ourselves whenever we’d say, ‘Uh, I don’t know, is that how teenage girls work?’”
Needless to say, the hit show’s new writers’ room has been a success. One reviewer wrote of season three, “If a little more emotional understanding comes along with Summer’s bigger role in the season, we are all for it,” giving proof that the newfound attention on the show’s women characters has paid off.
Audiences have not been disappointed, and look forward to more gender equality in other writing rooms as well.
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