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While there are still a few episodes left to go in Season 3 of Rick and Morty, it's safe to say the episode "Pickle Rick" will go down as one of the most memorable installments of the series, if not all of TV in 2017. Dan Harmon recently spoke about the frantic episode and revealed that the story was actually inspired in part by another stellar series, Breaking Bad. Harmon explained the connection below, including how Rick and Walter share a similar gut check moment in their respective shows:
A big inspiration for the Pickle Rick story, though, was the Breaking Bad episode where the Winnebago breaks down in the desert. It's more than a bottle episode, it's specifically a bottle episode of Breaking Bad where we get to see Walter White up against primal forces instead of watching him negotiate and bluff with street dealers and kingpins and using his access to cool chemicals and any equipment he wants to make any bombs and crystal meth and stuff. It was interesting to watch him trapped in a hot van, about to die, and having to fall back on his basic science knowledge to keep them alive, while also seeing what he was like under extreme stress in the hot desert heat. That was a big inspiration.
Like Walter was forced to seek his inner brilliance in the Breaking Bad episode "4 Days Out," the Rick and Morty team decided that "Pickle Rick" would show that Rick Sanchez is just as capable of being brilliant without access to his lab and gadgets. Unlike Walter though, who is forced into getting the RV back up and running after Jesse left the keys in the ignition and drained the battery, Rick imposed his challenge upon himself.
As Dan Harmon explained to Fast Company, Rick is his own worst enemy, so who better to put his character in the most challenging situation he has ever been in than himself, if only to prove he can do it? Rick is gonna Rick, Morty, no matter what else there is to do.
Obviously, Breaking Bad isn't the sole inspiration for this episode, as Walt and Jesse didn't go on to fight off hundreds of drug dealers or rats in a kick-ass battle sequence. (Although they could have, probably.) It also possibly isn't the first time Season 3 of Rick and Morty referenced Breaking Bad either, as many fans have pointed out that the house in Rick's mind is just a pizza on the [brrrrp] roof short of looking just like Walter White's house in Breaking Bad.
Rick and Morty is all new on Adult Swim on Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET. For more on the show's creators and their antics outside of the series, be sure to check out Justin Roiland's hilarious prank call to Joel Olsteen's church or Dan Harmon's response to Adult Swim throwing shade at Game of Thrones.