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Like most Dan Harmon productions, Rick and Morty is replete with constant references to pop culture esoterica. Earlier this year, the Adult Swim cartoon’s season 3 premiere delivered a masterstroke example of this tendency with an extended digression about Szechuan sauce, a special chicken nugget dipping sauce that McDonald’s once issued for a limited time as promotion for the Disney animated film Mulan. The bit inspired the show’s devoted fans to pressure McDonald’s to bring back the sauce.
Well, now you might be able to get some new Szechuan sauce even without a time machine. Chef Mike Haracz, who is listed as the “manager of culinary innovation” at McDonald’s, tweeted at Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland on Sunday that prayers had been answered.
“Your fans showed us what they got, now we got to bring it back. Super limited-run Szechuan Sauce, only on 10/7!” Haracz tweeted, including a low-key reference to another Rick and Morty episode in which a giant floating alien head demands Earth’s inhabitants “show me what you got” in the form of a musical competition.
Haracz included a link to a website announcing new “Buttermilk Crispy Tenders” from McDonald’s — but more importantly, the site announces that McDonald’s will indeed be bringing back Szechuan sauce to limited restaurants for one day only on Oct. 7, along with colorful posters representing each of the 10 sauces McDonald’s has used over the years, including Szechuan sauce.
Speaking to EW, co-creator Dan Harmon discussed the Szechuan sauce reference and how McDonald’s sent Roiland a discontinued supply of the dipping delight. “I didn’t want to peg Justin down about whether it was as good, partly because I think he got together with other friends and tasted it without me first,” Harmon said. “And if McDonald’s is going to be so generous I don’t want to lure them in and then take a crap on their product. But I personally thought it was a sauce that was trying too hard in a world where with McNuggets sauce you just want something to taste like honey or like a BBQ sauce. It was sauce that was trying to prove it was different and in doing so it worked harder than a sauce should; it was working too hard to be a sauce…”
At the end of the season 3 premiere, a drunk Rick declared that finding more Szechuan sauce was “my series arc, Morty! Even if it takes nine seasons!” As it turns out, fans won’t have to wait that long after all.