The Surprising, Real Story Behind One of Rick and Morty's Weirdest Jokes

Justin Roiland finally explained the story behind Rick's shameless Nintendo pandering.

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May 24 2018, 5:44pm

Composite by the author. Courtesy of Witchsy and Adult Swim

Rick and Morty's clever writing staff is known for hiding secret messages and stories inside the show's jokes—remember the Truth Tortoise?—and yesterday, through the sale of a seemingly innocuous item on the online retailer Witchsy, comes another.

In one of the most random jokes in one of the darkest, most absurd season two episodes, "Total Rickall," a parasite causes Rick to remember a money-making scheme based on buying marked-down limited-edition Zelda Nintendo DS's and then selling them later at a hugely inflated price. "We can flip these sons of bitches for $230 a piece, easy!... Hurry, hurry come with me!" Rick shouts after bursting into the living room and explaining his scheme to a stone-faced Smith family. In one of his more memorable fourth wall-breaking moments, Rick leaves, and then pops back on-screen and says, "Nintendo, give me free stuff!"

Before now, fans were left to assume this was fake memory, even within the made-up universe. Turns out, no. The joke, Rick and Morty co-creator (and Witchsy investor) Justin Roiland has now revealed, is 100 percent autobiographical, and "actually true."

"OK, so here’s what’s important re: the 3DS systems," Roiland wrote in a text message to Witchsy co-founder Kate Dwyer, which she provided to VICE when asked about the backstory. "All the stuff Rick says in that scene in the episode was actually true. My plan was to sell them off here and there over the years but I just had so many that I still have them. It’s also important to know that I felt bad after I bought them all so I went and purchased 15 2DS systems and a bunch of games and donated them to the children’s hospital of Los Angeles. I became part of the problem that day. I became a scalper. CHA-CHING."

That's right, folks, Roiland is an admitted scalper, the same breed so many Rick and Morty fans railed against when the Rickmobile pop-up shop kept running out of merchandise last summer. Shocking!

Now, fans of the show can benefit from Roiland's underground scalping trade. He's selling one of the Zelda 3DS's, which he told Dwyer he purchased at a Walmart just days before the Rick and Morty pilot first aired, signed with little drawings of the duo, on Witchsy. "Justin said he'd provide some sort of certificate of authenticity with it but who knows that dude is busy and certificate might just be drawn on a dominos napkin," reads the helpful sale's description. "This is an actually limited edition Zelda Nintendo. Frame the box and play the game? Or maybe just seal in a vault as invaluable nerd collector's item?"

Maybe the potential buyer will use it as a conversation piece on first dates, or to impress big-time Rick and Morty fan Kanye West. Maybe Deadmau5 will swoop in on it like he did that $15,000 jug of Szechuan sauce. Maybe no one will buy it—with 70 more episodes already ordered by Adult Swim, there's sure to be more rare Rick and Morty artifacts in the future.

In any case, it turns out Rick was a fool for planning to sell them for only $230; Roiland is unloading his for $1,000.

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