Even though the overblown “controversy” is so 2017, Rick And Morty co-creator Dan Harmon is still being forced to talk about his show’s complicated relationship with McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. What started out as a running joke in the show’s season three premiere turned into a blood feud after the fast food franchise tried to capitalize on the free publicity and rabid “fans” took it upon themselves to terrorize the burger establishment for their trouble. And now, almost a year later, in an interview with Vulture at the Tribeca Film Festival, Harmon is still being asked to clarify what the hell happened.
“I know we didn’t ask for their permission to put their food in our cartoon, but they didn’t—it was mutual,” Harmon said after admitting that the whole situation was “complicated.” Both he and Rick And Morty creator Justin Roiland were upfront last year about the fact that McDonald’s didn’t consult them when they decided to reintroduce the Szechuan sauce in limited quantities, and he wanted to make it clear that they didn’t benefit financially from the promotion either. “It’s weird to get mugged by McDonald’s,” Harmon added. “Kind of an honor.”
As to whether he thinks McDonald’s themselves benefitted from trying to hitch their wagon to the Rick And Morty fandom, Harmon isn’t so sure. “I wouldn’t wish that show’s fans on any fast food restaurant,” he says. A quick glance at Dan Harmon’s Instagram comments and you’ll see that no one understands the aggressively entitled nature of some Rick And Morty fans better than he does. But he was quick to add that, when it comes to this particular kerfuffle with a faceless mega-corporation, “Everyone got what they deserved all around.”
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