Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon created Rick and Morty. The duo first met on Channel 101, a monthly non-profit short film festival in Los Angeles founded by Harmon. On Channel 101, the participants sent a short film in pilot format, and the audience immediately decided which pilot would continue as a series. Roiland, who later became a producer in reality programming, began delivering content to the festival a year after its launch, in 2004. Its pilot usually consists of a surprise element – the “sick and crooked” element that gets a bewildered reaction from the audience. Even so, Harmon liked his humor, and the two began collaborating. In 2006, Roiland was fired for working on a television series that he deemed so creative, and channeled his creative energy to create a formula for Channel 101. The result was The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, an animated film starring Doc Brown and Marty McFly, the character of the Back to the Future movie trilogy.  In short, Harmon who would dub “a bastardization, pornographic vandalism”, Doc Smith urges Mharti that the solution to all his problems is to give him oral sex. The audience reacted wildly, and Roiland began to create more shorts involving characters, which soon evolved beyond their original intentions and clear origins in the destroyed film. Harmon will later generate and produce the Community, the NBC sitcom, while Roiland will work primarily in voice acting for Adventures of Fish Hooks and Cartoon Network from Disney.
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In 2012, Harmon was fired briefly from the Community. Swimming Adults, looking for a more prime “hit” event,  approached Harmon shortly afterward, who initially saw the channel as incompatible with his style. He is also unfamiliar with animation, and his process for creating television focuses more on dialogue, characters, and stories. Instead, he calls Roiland to ask if he has any ideas for the animated series. Roiland immediately put forward the idea of using the characters Doc and Mharti, renamed Rick and Morty. Roiland initially wanted a show time to consist of one segment eleven minutes, but Adult Swim pushed the half-hour program. Harmon feels the best way to broaden a voice into a program is to build a family around the characters, while Adult Swim development executive Nick Weidenfeld suggests that Rick’s grandfather be Morty. After installing several unsuccessful television programs, Roiland was initially very unfriendly to others who tried to field notes.  Before developing Rick and Morty, he had created three failed animation pilots for Fox, and he began to feel “burned out” by developing television.
The first draft was completed in six hours in the attic of Paramount Pictures at Unfurnished And Harmon Community office. The duo had broken the story of the day, sold the pilot, and then sat down to write. Roiland, while acknowledging a procrastinating tendency, encouraged Harmon to stay and write the entire first draft. “We sit on the floor, cross-legged with a laptop and I’m just about to get up and go home, and he says, ‘Wait, if you go home, it might take three months to write this down. And we can write it in six hours.’He just got a hunch about it, ‘Harmon recalled. Adults Swim was initially unsure Roiland did both voices, partly because of the undeveloped nature of Morty’s character. Harmon wrote four short premises where Morty assumed a more assertive role and sent it to Mike Lazzo.The Adult Swim placed a TV-14 rating on the program, which was initially greeted with reluctance from the event’s staff. The reason the network behind the rating is that it will soon start broadcasting in prime-time, competing with the main program.
The central theme of Rick and Morty by Ryan Elder was initially used in a network of Cartoon Network rejected by Roiland called “Dog World”, referenced in the episode “Lawnmower Dog.”