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Mister Sprinkles is the weird, short-lived show that inspired Rick and Morty

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But what exactly is it?

Most people know Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon from their show Rick and Morty, but before the two creators teamed up on that series, they produced an even stranger, short lived series called Mister Sprinkles.

Mister Sprinkles has been around for quite some time, premiering on VH1 as part of Harmon and co-creator Rob Schrab’s Acceptable.TV program, but the show has been making the rounds again online thanks to Rick and Morty’s brief return to television this past weekend. With the resurgence of different Mister Sprinkles clips, there have been a flood of questions about what the show is, where it came from and why it’s so engrossingly odd.

There were eight Mister Sprinkles episodes that aired in total between the period of March 23 and May 11, 2007. Each episode ran for about four minutes, and it doesn’t take much time spent watching episodes to see the early DNA of Rick and Morty. The show is like a mature, satirical parody of The Cat in the Hat, with Mr. Sprinkles terrifying his young friend every episode. The demented rhymes and disturbing undertones of each episode became a hit with the small, but dedicated audience who would tune in week-after-week to vote on their favorite sketches. Those that got the most votes would get a new episode the following week, and Mr. Sprinkles made it through each round time and time again.

Mr. Sprinkles is one of Harmon and Roiland’s most beloved projects, and there have been a few references to the series in Rick and Morty. In the second episode of Rick and Morty’s second season, an oblong character appears on screen. Between the unique shaped head and the juggling said character takes on, it’s the most obvious reference to Mister Sprinkles yet. The scene in question can be seen below.

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Despite the show only lasting eight episodes, Acceptable.TV is still brought up whenever newcomers stumble upon Rick and Morty and begin looking for similar series to watch. The show isn’t available to watch anywhere officially, but one YouTube user put together all eight episodes of the series a couple of years ago and uploaded it to the website. Neither VH1 or Roiland and Harmon have taken any initiative to take it down in the years it has been up.

Mister Sprinkles isn’t for everyone, but if you want an early look at what Roiland and Harmon were up to before Rick and Morty, it’s one of the best shows doing just that.

Rick and Morty’s third season had its surprise premiere last weekend, but was taken down 24 hours after airing. The full season will be available to watch this summer.