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Rick and Morty: Sarah Chalke on How Harry Potter Helped S05 Recordings
If you've been following our coverage of Rick and Morty over the past several months then you know we've given up predicting when the fifth season of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's adult animated series will be hitting our screens. On one hand, we would expect the Emmy Award-winning Adult Swim series to make a May debut- and then again, they might have dropped a new episode in the middle of the day while we're writing this. Until then, we have some perspective on how voice recordings on the fifth season have been going thanks to Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) aka Beth. Checking in with the 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt podcast, Chalke explained how social distancing and COVID lockdown made for some "magical" ways of recording.
"It's been so cool doing animation is such a different way to work and kind of awesome we've gotten to continue it through the pandemic, " Chalke explained. "So, it's going great. It started out at the beginning of the pandemic we just had to do a couple pick-ups. So not full episodes, just like this line here, this line there. So, we each had a tiny microphone and we had to create the most acoustically favorable environment. I took the lower bunk bed in my son's bunk bed, took every duvet in my house, and hung them around. Every pillow and stuff and then stacked up Harry Potter books and precariously balanced this microphone on top."
In fact, the experience inspired Chalke to build her own at-home sound booth- but the sound folks had other ideas. "Once we realized we'd be in this for a while and we'd be doing full episodes for 'Rick and Morty,' I did a deep dive on the internet for how to build your own sound booth and learned more about green glue and face traps and clips and all this stuff," Chalke revealed. "And I talked to a few sound guys that were like, 'You're going to get 95% of the way there and you're never going to get that last 5% to make it perfect'…they make real vocal booths and put them on the crate and like ship them to you and you put it together like LEGO… so I've been recording Beth from in there."
What We Know About Rick & Morty Seasons 5 & 6…& 7?!?
During a panel discussion in July of this year, Harmon, Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, and Spencer Grammer offered fans insights via Twitch into what we can expect from the fifth season- and yes, that included a preview of what's to come. In the preview, Rick is near death so it's up to Morty to save the day- and get back in time for a date with Jessica? Things don't quite go as plan, as the dimension-hoping duo end up facing Rick's previously-unknown nemesis… Mr. Nimbus?!?
Then in October, The Paley Center for Media's 8th annual PaleyFest NY hosted a look behind the scenes of the two-time Emmy Award-winning Adult Swim series Rick and Morty. Chris Parnell, Chalke, Spencer Grammer, and Harmon joined panel moderator Mike Schneider (Senior Editor, Variety) to talk "Space Beth" and how things looked for the fifth and sixth (?!?) seasons.
Still not sure who the real Beth is, the Beth we saw throughout the fourth season or the season finale-returning "Space Beth"? Don't feel so bad: even Chalke doesn't know for sure- and she voices both characters. While still not offering a definitive answer, Harmon offered some background on his purpose for having such a personal twist thrown into the mix- and further teased that viewers might be getting more "Space Beth" in the near future. "You know as much as Rick knows. I don't want to keep secrets with the audience. She's Schrodinger's Beth right now," Harmon explained. "The fact she may or may not be a clone is actually the important thing. It's the profound revelation about Rick's commitment to non-commitment and how abusive that can be as a parent. That is the important thing here. We're adding aunts to the family. We're having fun looking at more options with space Beth."
Harmon was asked what he could offer up about the fifth season– and it was definitely good news. After a brief pause to consider what he could and couldn't discuss (we were this close to getting a cryptic tease), Harmon admitted that he gets confused between the 5th and 6th seasons because of how far along they are with both seasons. He revealed that after the panel, he would be reviewing animatics for late-season 5 episodes while also in the middle of writing late-season 6 episodes (also joking about how he's working with two season finales at the same time).
More specifically, Harmon teased an episode during the fifth season where Morty gets into a relationship with a female character who is not Jessica. Written by Rob Schrab, Harmon says the episode is "a great little story" and even looked ahead to next year's Emmys: "My Emmy's going to that one." Though jokingly not looking to curse the show's two-year run at the top of the Emmy animation mountain, Harmon wanted to clarify that he actually means his "heart Emmy" (so disregard the stuff that came before it, Emmy voters).
In mid-November during Adult Swim Fest's "'Rick and Morty' Global Celebration," Harmon, executive producer Scott Marder, as well as Parnell, Chalke, and Grammer, the session was meant to focus on the recently-wrapped fourth season but also looked ahead to the series' future. Harmon emphasized again that viewers should expect some "pretty groovy things coming." But Marder found a way to throw just the right amount of gasoline on the fanbase's dumpster fires of speculation by teasing that the fifth season will have "epic canon" and that viewers will "get knocked over with the canon." As for who they would like to have as guest stars, Ian McKellan and Jeff Goldblum top the list (with Harmon proposing an alien with McKellan's head and Goldblum's body). As for a musical episode, Harmon says it's "probably going to happen at some point" and there have been "conversations" in the past. Oh, and it looks like work on the seventh season is already underway (yes, you read that right).