In the end, after all the memes, the t-shirts, the Reddit threads, the Funko Pops, the fast food restaurant tantrums that went viral, and, yes, even after all the episodes of their Adult Swim show, Rick and Morty’s greatest contribution to the culture will be as pitchmen. At some point in the last few years—maybe around the time of the show’s third season?—the cartoon duo started popping up in all kinds of ads, shilling Wendy’s and Pringles like animated Billy Mays. More power to Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who should absolutely try to squeeze as much money out of this fad as possible before it inevitably fades away—they deserve the big bucks as much as Trey Parker and Matt Stone did back in the heyday of the late ‘90s South Park ad juggernaut. Maximize your potential by maximizing your profits, and all that.
Rick and Morty’s latest ad campaign features the brand new PlayStation 5, Sony’s impossible-to-find game console that came out about a week ago. It has that incredibly loose, unrehearsed feel you expect from a Rick and Morty thing, and openly acknowledges its own inherent cynicism in a transparent attempt to maintain at least some amount of credibility for the TV show. That’s pretty much the standard for these ads featuring Rick and Morty—they try to cut criticism off at the pass by preemptively making a joke out of the crass commercialism of the whole thing. That’s a very Gen X tactic by Roiland and Harmon, and honestly something they don’t really need to do—I don’t think younger people have ever cared about “selling out” to begin with, and any of the show’s older fans who might’ve cared still would after the number of ads these characters have popped up in. The next time Roiland and Harmon get paid to have Rick and Morty plug a cheeseburger or an energy drink, or whatever, they should just scrap the performative cynicism and own up to it all.
Anyway, you may not be able to find a PlayStation 5 anywhere right now, but you can always watch this PlayStation 5 ad starring Rick and Morty. It’s 30 seconds long, so it presumably took Roiland at least 30 seconds to come up with it.