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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Season 4 finale of Rick and Morty. Read at your own risk!
Rick and Morty Season 4 is at an end and, while audiences didn't get the Evil Morty follow-up they wanted, they did get a lot of other surprising and memorable moments. For all the scenes with "Phoenix Person" and Tammy, however, there was another cool easter egg fans may not have noticed unless they were paying close attention.
The easter egg was an animated cameo of deceased Rick and Morty producer J. Michael "Mike" Mendel. Mendel and his dog, which can be seen in the background during the final minutes of Season 4, in which Jerry is driving the invisible garbage truck. Take a look:
The easter egg (via Men's Health) was the second time Rick and Morty had made reference to Mike Mendel in the season. Fans may remember seeing the same character in the Season 4 premiere along with text that read "In loving memory of Mike Mendel." Mendel died in late September of 2019 two days before his 55th birthday of natural causes.
The easter egg dedicated to Mike Mendel shows how much the line producer, who worked on Rick and Morty and formerly The Simpsons, meant to the industry. At the time of his death, co-creator Justin Roiland took to social media to share the news and to express just how much Mendel meant to him:
Mendel won an Emmy for working on a Rick and Morty episode fans may remember quite well -- "Pickle Rick." Prior to that, he had won 3 Emmys for his work on The Simpsons, which was from his tenure with the show from 1995-1998. The Simpsons paid tribute to Mike Mendel in a similar manner at the time of his passing, with an animated version and note honoring his legacy.
Mendel has been described as one of the producers who has shaped adult animation throughout the past couple decades, so it should come as no surprise he's worked on two of the best. Obviously, as Justin Roiland's words in 2019 conveyed, he's going to be missed, which is likely why the show felt it important to immortalize him in Season 4. It may even be something that happens again in the future, so if fans see his character lurking in the background of future episodes, they now know why he's hanging around!
Rick and Morty is done for Season 4 but, unlike past seasons, it doesn't have to worry about its future for a while. Adult Swim has already given the green light for Season 5 and beyond, so all fans have to do is kick back, relax, and hope this show continues to be one of the best animated programs on television. Be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the development of Season 5, and for the latest news happening in the world of television and movies.