In case anyone was confused why a cartoon on Adult Swim was able to convince megacorporation McDonald’s to reinstate a promotional dipping sauce from the ‘90s, Turner has just put out a press release that proves Rick and Morty is more than just a mildly popular cartoon. The Season 3 finale of the nihilistic Back to the Future-throwback that aired last Sunday has achieved the highest ratings in the history of Adult Swim. For a network like Adult Swim, which commands the highest young adult audience of any television network, this means they also claim ownership of the top comedy for all adults 18-24 and 18-34.
The brainchild of voice actor and internet animator Justin Roiland, as well as Community-scribe and podcasting personality Dan Harmon, Rick and Morty depicts the trans-dimensional journeys of the brilliant but socially catastrophic scientist Rick Sanchez and his bewildered and anxiety-prone grandson Morty as they conduct all manner of science experiments and interstellar cons. Combining a lampoon of time travel media like Back to the Future and Doctor Who with a surprisingly human examination of the emotional toll Rick’s adventures take on his entire family, the show has acquired huge critical acclaim since its premiere in 2013.
Cartoon Network has claimed that the third season’s hugely successful April Fool’s shock premiere acquired 3 million visitors through livestreams, in addition to 8.7 million views and 43.3 million impressions through its hosting on Facebook. In addition to the show itself, Rick and Morty has found huge success in transmedia. Its mobile game tie-in Pocket Mortys, a spoof of Pokemon where the pocket monsters are replaced by different versions of Morty across dimensions, has been downloaded 14 million times. Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, a VR game based on the show, is the most downloaded VR game on Steam.