Not even Dan Harmon could see a one-off joke about a limited-edition sauce from McDonald’s turning into the pandemonium it is today.
Harmon spoke to Polygon at New York Comic Con about the second season of his Dungeons and Dragons show, HarmonQuest, and the recent Rick and Morty season. Harmon said the inclusion of the Szechuan sauce joke began as a way to rip on co-creator Justin Roiland, who was obsessed with the sauce, but he’s amused that McDonald’s pushed forward with bringing the sauce back.
“I think it’s hysterical,” Harmon said. “The [version of Mr.] Poopybutthole with the slightly shorter hat and McDonald’s vague allusions to ‘Hey, you seem like someone who likes traveling the galaxy kind of through a portal sort of thing, maybe you should have some Szechuan sauce.’
“It’s really funny because if you’re going to get robbed, get robbed by McDonald’s.”
McDonald’s announced on Sunday that it was bringing back the sauce, which was originally launched in 1998 as a tie-in for Disney’s animated movie, Mulan. In the season three premiere, Rick [voiced by Roiland] explains that he’s trying to get his hands on the sauce. At the end of July, just before the “official” airing of the season three premiere after a surprise livestream of the episode ran for 48 hours on Adult Swim, McDonald’s sent a large container of the sauce to Roiland. The fast food chain then later gave away three more containers to fans, one of whom ended up selling his jug to DJ Deadmau5 for an undisclosed amount.
Harmon confirmed that he had no idea McDonald’s was going to bring the sauce back and assumed Adult Swim didn’t, either. Although McDonald’s never actually names Rick and Morty as a reason for the sauce’s return, there are enough homages within the art that makes it obvious.
“Look at that art, look at the font,” Harmon said. “Look I’m not being sarcastic when I talk about this. If anyone from McDonald’s is reading this, I don’t see anything wrong with what they’re doing and clearly neither does their legal department.”
Harmon didn’t say whether or not Szechuan sauce would make a return in the show’s fourth season, which has yet to be confirmed by Adult Swim. Those who want to get their hands on their own packet of Szechuan sauce can do so on Oct. 7 at participating McDonald’s locations in the United States.