Dan Harmon: 'I don't care how hard I worked on an episode, if fans hate it, it's bad, and I hate it too'
We asked Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon to reveal his favorite five episodes of his Adult Swim animated hit. This was actually pretty difficult for Harmon, but he eventually managed to single out five titles. Far easier was to offer up one episode that he totally dislikes (which was kind of a bonus that we didn’t even have the guts to ask him for).
“Like the bad parent I am, I choose children that the public chooses,” Harmon begins. “That’s how I was raised — if you’re funny to the company when they come over for dinner, then you’re a good son.”
To that end, Harmon tends to love the Rick and Morty episodes that fans like best. In no particular order, he says he likes…
— Season 3’s action-filled gonzo adventure/therapy session “Pickle Rick” and the ultra-dark “The Ricklantis Mixup” (which is the fakeout title for “Tales from the Citadel”).
“I watched those two with a crowd of 200 fans so I know they’re good episodes,” Harmon explains. “If they booed or was silent I’d know they were a piece of garbage. I don’t care how hard I worked on an episode, if fans hate it, it’s bad, and I hate it too.”
— Season 1’s “Rick Potion #9.” “It’s not only a good episode, it also so represents what’s possible and unique about the show itself,” he says. “[Co-creator Justin Roiland] and I had thought to do that episode idea maybe for the finale, where they abandon all of reality and Rick teaches you can just reboot. Instead, we said, ‘Let’s move it up so early in the season that it feels suicidal creatively and jump every shark imaginable.’ And that’s been the pulse of Rick and Morty in its best moments.”
— Season 2’s “Auto Erotic Assimilation” and — after lots of struggle to single out another episode — “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez” (a.k.a. Tiny Rick).
“But I love them all,” Harmon adds, then considers…
“I can give you the least favorite,” he says. “It’s the one with the Amazonian women [season 1’s ‘Raising Gazorpazorp’]. I was so proud while I was writing it and then I read people’s comments on it how it felt stale and ‘80s in its observations about gender. And now I hate it and want it to die by fire. But that’s because of people’s reactions or I would love it.”
Rick and Morty has its season 3 finale this Sunday. For more, see our revealing deep-dive Q&A with Harmon about season 3 of Rick and Morty.