On April 1st the US cable channel Adult Swim trolled Rick and Morty fans with a “new” Rick and Morty episode. And while the episode was definitely new, it wasn’t Rick and Morty.
Instead, the show was a parody of Rick and Morty called Bushworld Adventures. The 11-minute episode followed the show’s protagonists to a town in regional Victoria called Bendigo, and needless to say Bendigo was depicted as a pretty depressing, redneck place.
No one was more upset than the town’s mayor. “Bendigo is nothing like what’s in the parody,” she told the Guardian. “Bendigo is a very vibrant and beautiful place.”
But is it actually vibrant? Or beautiful? To find out we paid Bendigo a visit and talked to locals about what they thought of the episode, the mayor’s comments, and whether it’s a nice place to raise the kids.
VICE: Hey Zach, have you seen Rick and Morty?
Zach: Yeah, 100 percent. You gonna ask me about the Bendigo episode?
I am. When did you see it?
About two nights ago. I saw it on Facebook. One of my mates shared it and it’s pretty funny if you ask me.
Is that episode a big deal here in Bendigo?
Yeah but if anything it just means more publicity. The government is focused on getting revenue so in that regard I think it’s doing well for Bendigo. The actual energy and the intention of it was probably a bit dark—dark comedy—but the people who live understand what they’re getting at.
The mayor wasn’t too happy about it.
Each to their own, you know what I mean? She can keep sweeping it under the carpet but I think it portrayed Bendigo for what it is… well, mostly for what it is.
Do you like living here?
Yeah man, it’s good as. Good energy about it. Highest concentration of quartz in the whole of Australia so it’s high vibrational. Quartz is an energy conductor, so it amplifies energy running through it and so the energy here is highly amplified. Because of that you get a lot of high vibrational beings and a lot of low vibration beings as well. It’s both sides of the spectrum, right here.
Hey Shirley, what’s your favourite part about living here?
The pokies mainly (laughs). Nah it's nice here. I’ve got my grog shop, my chemist, my bank, and two fish and chip shops. Everything you need.
You mentioned that you’ve lived here all your life. What’s your fondest Bendigo memory?
When I got married. But my husband’s dead now, he died at 54. But now I’ve got a new one and I’ve been with him for 16 months, and he’s only 45. I’m a cradle snatcher. Do you have any more questions about Bendigo?
Well, do you know a cartoon called Rick and Morty?
No, what station is that on?
Well, the internet mostly. But reason I’m asking is that a parody of the show was set in Bendigo and it upset the mayor.
Oh really? Well I love Bendigo. I couldn’t live in Melbourne, I’ll tell you that much. Melbourne is a rat race. Too many people.
Hey Jason, how long have you lived in Bendigo?
But wait, you’re 48?
Yeah but… roughly half a century.
Right, so how has your day been?
Super, super busy. Bendigo is a lovely place to live in. You can walk around and there’s shops, Bendigo markets, you’ve got the bank, the mall, and you can visit people. There’s lots of troublemakers here though. These people are always fighting, swearing at innocent bystanders like myself. Like there’s a certain person named Bernie, he was yabbering his big mouth at me the other day while I was waiting for the bus. He wanted to fight me.
Bernie sounds like a dick.
Yeah. He’s a scumbag.
Do you know the show Rick and Morty?
Nah. I sold my television. It was a mistake.
Yeah I sold it to Cash Converters. I sold my whipper snipper, my push bike, and computer PC monitor, and keyboard too.
Sorry to hear that mate.
How long have you lived in Bendigo?
I’ve been here all my life. It’s home. It's got everything, good schools, a university, plenty of jobs—people will say otherwise but you know there’s plenty of jobs if you want a job.
Do you know Rick and Morty?
Yeah, I do. The kids got me into it of course. I haven’t seen all of the Bendigo one but I’ve seen a bit of it and I liked it.
What’s your favourite thing about Rick and Morty?
It’s amusing. I’ve got a pretty dark sense of humour and I think it’s Rick that I like more than anything. The alcoholism amuses me, and just his whole attitude.
Is there anything you don’t like about Bendigo?
You know, you can say there are a lot of delinquent kids but I think the kids just get stuck in a rut. What I’m not a fan of is the begging and the people asking for money—it’s a recent development. Two or three years ago it wasn’t a thing. I won't give them money, some of them are just as well off as what I am. It’s not a huge problem though, there’s an increased police presence on the street and people aren’t tolerating it.
What comes to mind when I say the word Bendigo?
Just a normal country town pretty much. Plenty to do. Plenty of work.
Do you know Rick and Morty?
Vaguely. It’s pretty much a realistic view of this place, I imagine. It’s not like Melbourne or anything like that, it's got its bogan-ish side to it. I used to live in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Down there was better. There’s a lot of young troublemakers everywhere at the moment.
Why do you think that is?
Well, imagine you’re a young kid with nothing to do, what else are you going to do? They’re gonna cause mischief, they’re teenagers. They’re bored. There’s a shitload more graffiti around now, and a lot more of them just generally hanging around now. It never used to be like that when I first moved up here. It’s a recent thing that’s happened in the last five or six years.
How does Bendigo solve this?
You can't. It'll only get worse.
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