We saw so much at New York Comic Con this year and it was hands down one of the best conventions that we’ve covered. We were lucky enough to sit down with the creators and stars of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty and learned all about season two of the multiverse-spanning super-hit.
Sarah Chalke (Beth) and Chris Parnell (Jerry), who finished recording for season two, were first timers at Comic Con and were excited to learn about convention staples like con-funk and the dreaded con-plague (which has felled several of our Sub-Cultured writers already) as well as meeting fans in bathrooms. Both actors had a lot to say about their respective characters, the grounding and responsible adults in the admittedly fantastical show. However, big things are happening to the Smiths in season two and Sarah and Chris delighted by bantering in character.
Sarah: We get to get in on the crazy in season two
Chris: Yeah, we get to go on some adventures on other planets and go to other dimensions on other planets.
Sarah: We have a lot of trouble in our marriage and so Rick suggests that we go for couple’s therapy off-planet.
Chris: Everything goes really smoothly.
Chris: In season two I sort of fight for Pluto still being a planet. The denizen’s of Pluto really appreciate that so they bring me to Pluto and they sort of hold me up on a pedestal and that’s kind of fun and good for Jerry. He needs to be built up and supported. And it’s good for me, Chris Parnell, because I need that too.
Sarah: It’s sort of like work and doubling as therapy.
Chris and Sarah also had a lot to say about their characters’ marriage and growth in the next season:
Sarah: Well, right from the pilot we kind of have a terrible marriage. I’m a horse heart surgeon and he thinks that’s not really a doctor and I find that unbelievably offensive. It kind of just goes downhill from there in season two and that’s why we go off planet for couple’s therapy. But there’s some real moments of tenderness in this season.
Chris: There are indeed. It’s messed up, the marriage, but there’s some genuine affection.
Sarah: Off-planet they kind of get to envision and create mythological creature of what is going on in your subconscious of how you see the other person. So neither of them know what is going to come up. So Jerry, to Beth, is a spineless worm-man while he sees her as a giant warrior-queen-cyborg. I got to do a bunch of Xenobeth voices and I don’t know what they’ll end up picking. That’s one of the funnest things about this show. There’s really no limits to where it can go and what you’ll get to try as an actor. If you’re on a set and you ask to do another take there’s like one hundred crew members waiting for you but in the sound booth you can do one line ten different ways in under a minute. It’s such a fun and creative way to get to work, especially in a show like this where the characters are actually going to other galaxies.
Chris: I don’t know if we go to other galaxies, that’s a long way. We go to other planets, other star systems and dimensions but not galaxies.
Sarah: Well Beth isn’t as bright as Jerry because even though she is a surgeon it’s just for horses.
Okay, Smart-guy Jerry, but did you get a job this year?
Chris: Uh, I don’t think he’s gotten a job thus far. Not that I recall. I think he’s still struggling with that. She’s got her job though, thank god.
Sarah: Yes, keeping the whole family afloat.
Sarah: I mean, there’s definitely been a lot of humor in the tragedy that is their marriage and that it’s not going well. I’m rooting for them. If they divorce, well between the two, I’m the one to go. They’re keeping Parnell. I had to audition from a weird cabin in Canada over the phone with Justin and Dan to get this job, so let’s go with together.
Well we’re glad to know that Beth and Jerry are getting in on that adventure action!
Chris: Yes, oh yes.
Sarah: We do. That was kind of one of the things that Justin and Dan wanted to explore more in the second season, taking the show a little more interplanetary.
Chris: But not intergalactic.
What do the stars want to see for their characters going forward?
Sarah: I would say more of the times we got to go to other planets. It’s awesome.
Chris: I would like…
Sarah: Not galaxies. Planets.
Chris: Thank you. We could be in other galaxies. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have made such a point of that. It’s possible I guess. It’s just so much further away. You know, I’d like for Jerry to have some opportunities to be a stronger figure just because it’s more fun to play a variety of things. Anything that’s different than the meek little struggling, insecure Jerry is…
Sarah: And I’d like Jerry to stay as meek as possible in his meek box.
Chris: Not his Meeseeks Box.
It’s shocking to think that despite their steamy chemistry, the two record separately.
Sarah: We always record separately. But sometimes Justin will do both voices. That’s like my favorite thing is to hear him, it’s insane. I remember hearing both voices and then finding out that he did both of them.
Sarah: I knew he was Rick but I didn’t know he was Morty. It’s bonkers. He’s ridiculously talented.
Chris: Justin directs the sessions almost exclusively. We do Archer solo. It’s like at these kind of things that we get to see each other so it’s really fun but having recorded show where it’s every body, it’s just takes up the whole day and doesn’t make it any better, I don’t think, unless it’s really improv based.
Both Chris and Sarah have played some other well-known characters like Cyril on Archer and the insecure Elliot on Scrubs . What is it like to play such different characters?
Chris: I guess the difference is that Jerry has got a family and he’s supposed to be helping to support the family, which he doesn’t. And then Cyril is just more on his own and caught up in his own thing. That’s a really incomplete and unsatisfying answer to your question.
Sarah: I think that’s what has been fun about Beth is playing someone so strong and kind of a bitch and just treats Jerry like shit. I think that owns what you look for like doing something totally different than what you’ve got to do before. More than that is animation, it is the funnest way to work. I’ve always been so obsessed with the art of animation. I’m so fascinated and when I come to record, they’ll take us upstairs to see the storyboards and process and how it changes. Sometimes in animation they’ll actually video you recording and they’ll use the movements of your mouth when they draw. I mean, I was a lot more like Elliot and a lot came from my life and the writers would use it in the next episode. I had an art smock that doubled as my bib at the lunch. The wardrobe department one time was like “Do you mind wearing *this* because we’re running out of scrubs in your character’s line.” And I did, and then I fell asleep on a sharpie. So there was a little bit of me in her.
But what about the important question: Any chance of seeing Chris or Sarah on Community Season Six?
Sarah: I would love to! I love that show.
Chris: I would love to as well. They have such a tight cast, I don’t know if there’s room for me.
Sarah: Jerry…There isn’t.
Chris: Sorry. Sorry, Beth
Sarah: Keep your dreams where they belong. Squashed.
And now the most important question: Do you look at your dogs differently after the Lawnmower Dog episode?
Sarah: Totally! I have a chocolate lab named Lola because she walks like a woman and talks like a man. She’s like this tiny lab who’s the runt of the litter, this tiny little nugget with this really deep bark. My neighbor’s thought I had a rottweiler. She was from this charity event during the first season of Scrubs. She was being auctioned off to support children with autism. I fell in love with her as did everyone else in the room so the bidding was insane. Finally I gave up at the end and the whole cast put their hands up and got her for me. She was our Scrubs mascot and would come to the hospital every day.
Chris: So sweet. I’m not being facetious. I’m being sincere.
Sarah: I don’t trust it. I’ve seen sincerity.
Chris: You wouldn’t know sincerity if it bit you in the ass.
Sarah: Fuck you, Jerry.
Thanks Chris and Sarah for sitting with us! Check out part two of our interview with Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland in a bit and be sure to check out season 2 of Rick and Morty in summer of 2015