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‘Rick and Morty’s ‘Pickle Rick’ Was Based on a ‘Breaking Bad’ Episode

Rick and Morty Pickle Breaking Bad
AMC / Adult Swim

Even as Rick and Morty Season 3 draws to a close, we’re still hung up on the insane “Pickle Rick” episode that dominated marketing. There’s good reason the episode proved so memorable too, as co-creator Dan Harmon cites a famous Breaking Bad episode as inspiration.

Harmon broke down a few of Season 3’s overall influences in an interview with FastCompany, including Rick’s surprise premiere prison break borrowing everything from Silence of the Lambs to James Garner’s 36 hours. As far as the season’s third episode, which saw Rick transforming himself into a pickle and subsequently getting swept into the sewer to build limbs out of rat and roach corpses, Harmon pointed to a specific Breaking Bad influence from Season 2’s “4 Days Out”:

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. I thought it was cool, the idea that Rick has all these gadgets all the time, he has these guns and vehicles and robots. He can make anything with his human hands that he wants because he’s always near a big toolbox. How smart is Rick, though? Is he so smart that with his mouth alone he could gain an advantage over biological killing machines in an environment that wasn’t built to sustain him?

The interview goes on to list how the rat battle sequences challenged the animators to invent off their ridiculous directions, which also listed Oldboy as a point of reference. Certainly one could see the same Doc and Marty inspiration in Walt and Jesse as in Rick and Morty, but who’s the ultimate survivor, Rick Sanchez or Walter White?

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