Turns Out ‘Pickle Rick’ Was Somehow Inspired By A ‘Breaking Bad’ Episode

Pickle Rick‘ is an intensely enjoyable 22-23 minutes of television. Sure, it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of Rick & Morty and, save for a spate of monologuing towards the end of the episode that’s almost immediately erased with the closing gags, it doesn’t do much in terms of advancing any of the overarching plots the show keeps nudging along. It’s hellishly violent in a hollow manner that the show rarely, if ever, touches. It is, at its core, an episode that explores one simple fundamental principle:

What if Rick was a pickle?

That’s it. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It doesn’t mean much, but it totally rules regardless.

What might surprise you about the episode, however, is the fact that it apparently took (at least some) inspiration from a reasonably unlikely source: Breaking Bad.

Show co-creator Dan Harmon spoke with Fast Company and relayed how an episode from Breaking Bad‘s second season provided the bulk of the inspiration for seeing Rick, as a Pickle, mess with and deal with his surroundings in the sequence that saw him wind up with a mech-suit made from rat parts.

A big inspiration for the Pickle Rick story, though, was the Breaking Bad episode where the Winnebago breaks down in the desert. It’s more than a bottle episode, it’s specifically a bottle episode of Breaking Bad where we get to see Walter White up against primal forces instead of watching him negotiate and bluff with street dealers and kingpins and using his access to cool chemicals and any equipment he wants to make any bombs and crystal meth and stuff. It was interesting to watch him trapped in a hot van, about to die, and having to fall back on his basic science knowledge to keep them alive, while also seeing what he was like under extreme stress in the hot desert heat. That was a big inspiration. I thought it was cool, the idea that Rick has all these gadgets all the time, he has these guns and vehicles and robots. He can make anything with his human hands that he wants because he’s always near a big toolbox. How smart is Rick, though? Is he so smart that with his mouth alone he could gain an advantage over biological killing machines in an environment that wasn’t built to sustain him?

‘Course the episode Harmon’s referring to there is ‘4 Days Out,’ season two’s ninth episode where Jesse and Walt get stuck in the desert after… well… this.


That episode? You’ve got that to thank (in part) for Pickle Rick. Who woulda guessed?