Rick and Morty Season 2 Premiere: All The References In Episode 1 Revealed

  • Comedy
  • Science Fiction
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A still from a Season 2 episode of Rick and Morty. Adult Swim

Rick and Morty has many, many sci-fi influences, some obvious, some obscure. While the Rick and Morty Season 2 premiere, “A Rickle in Time,” is pretty self-contained, mostly taking place in the Smith family garage, there are still a number of references to excavate and explicate.

So let’s take a deeper look at the Rick and Morty Season 2 premiere, Episode 1 “A Rickle in Time.”

Rick and Morty Season 2 Premiere

Every Refernce in Episode 1 "A Rickle in Time"

Muybridge Animation

Perhaps this has always been in the Rick and Morty foyer, but an attentive Redditor noticed that Beth Smith has a framed photo of Muybridge horse frames hanging on the wall. These frames to be exact:

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Muybridge killing time in between taking pictures of naked women bathing. Photo: Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge was a photographer who fancied himself a scientist, taking stills and early motion-pictures to capture and describe the movement of humans and animals. His work was an early influence on animation techniques. He also loved taking lots of photos of naked ladies, “for science” being the ultimate excuse.

Egon’s Helmet

At first I thought this was a Doc Brown from Back to the Future helmet (he is the original Rick after all). But it looks quite a bit more like Egon’s colander helmet:

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I am the keymaster, are you the gatekeeper? Photo: Columbia Pictures

Schrödinger’s Cat

Rick straight up explains this one. What are these cats doing floating in the void of uncertainty between reality and not-reality in the Rick and Morty Season 2 premiere? Why, they must be the famous experimental cat, existing in a state of quantum uncertainty.

Indulge my pedantry for a moment before we continue with the Rick and Morty Season 2 stuff. Schrödinger ’s Cat is sorely misused by the New Age set. It was originally intended as an absurdist though experiment by physicist Erwin Schrödinger to highlight the silliness of applying quantum physics to macro scale scenarios. (/pedantry)

Testicle Monster Time Traveler

So, we actually know the origin story for this character. In an interview with Splitsider Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty talked a bit about the writing process with his fellow Rick and Morty co-creator, Justin Roiland:

“I think the big pistons are Justin saying, ‘I really want this random thing.’ Just something so random that he couldn’t possibly be lying when he says he really wants it, because it doesn’t make sense that he would want it, so why would he lie? It’s not him saying, ‘I really want to win an Emmy by exploring feminism.’ It’s him saying, ‘I really want a Testicle Monster.’ It’s so specific and so random. That’s not Justin’s sole contribution, but it is the plutonium rod that powers the DeLorean.

But that’s not it for the Testicle Monster. Could this guy be any more obviously a Langolier?

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The Langoliers, who consume time detritus. Photo: ABC

Appearing in a Stephen King novella and a wretched but fascinating TV movie, the Langoliers are monsters that follow in the wake of the present moment, eating up old time. They are time’s enforcers… just like the Testicle Monster.

“For all we know he could be the David Berkowitz of Nutsack Land”

Rick dropped this burn in the Rick and Morty Season 2 premiere when Summer and Morty trusted the evaluation of the time-travelling testicle monster over his own. David Berkowitz is probably a familiar reference for old people like Rick, but it almost certainly sailed over Morty and Summer’s heads. Berkowtiz is the Son of Sam, a New York serial killer from the 70’s.

Bubble Travel

That the Testicle Monster in Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 1 zips through time in a bubble doesn’t have to be a reference to anything specific. It’s a common trope in time travel sci-fi, featured in the Terminator movies, The Fountain, and the wretched remake of The Time Machine:

Worm Gun Grizz

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Testicle Monster with his worm gun, Grizz. Photo: Starburns Industries

The testicle monster time cop has a worm gun (named Grizz) that can mess with your time. It eventually runs into the street and gets run over by a car. From Rick and Morty Season 1 we know the Rick and Morty writers are very into David Cronenberg’s gooier aesthetic preferences. Is Grizz a reference to the gross biological weapons of eXistenZ? Maybe not explicitly, but it’s hard to imagine that Jude Law’s tooth-firing monstrosity didn’t at least come up in conversation during the writing of Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 1.

Jerry’s Bad Jokes

At the very end Jerry, riffing on the time necklaces worn by Rick, Morty, and Summer, unleashes a slew of bad jokes, name-dropping Lady Gaga, Tron, Power Rangers, The Craft, and a recursive Rick and Morty Season 1 reference: “Are you dogs? Robot dogs?”

Beating Up Einstein

The Testicle Monsters beat up Einstein for “messing with time.” Do I need to explain this one? No. I won’t. Seriously, forget it.

Of course, many sci-fi tropes in Rick and Morty aren’t really references at all. As Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley told A.V. Club, “ There’s people who go, ‘Oh, they’re doing an homage to that!’ And we’re like, ‘We  were ?’”

case in point:

So keep that in mind when I describe the most speculative, maybe-a-reference (my voice lilting up at the end in a very, very question-making way) moment in Rick and Morty Season 2 Episode 1 “A Rickle In Time.”

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A futuristic city in the Rick and Morty Season 2 premiere. Photo: Starburns Industries

Doesn’t this city, seen from the inside of the Testicle Monster’s time travel bubble, look a bit like the architectural stylings of Futurama’s New New York?

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New New York, Futurama metropolis Photo: 20th Century Fox Television

No? Just me? Okay, maybe we better end this here then.

Rick and Morty Season 2 premiered on July 26, which means we have nine more episodes to look forward to before the long wait for Rick and Morty Season 3.

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