Love it, hate it, or never heard of it, Adult Swim’s late night cartoon Rick and Morty has struck a chord with a large cross-section of nerds, geeks, philosophers, and scientifically minded folks.
What’s probably the most unique quality of Rick and Morty fans is the age range of the people who have fallen in love with the R-rated show. It’s as diverse as the characters in the cartoon itself.
Does it hurt that it has a stellar cast of voice actors on board from Chris Parnell’s familiar home-cooked jealous family timbre to Dan Harmond’s signature angry grandpa who has the near-constant agony of being right even when he doesn’t want to be?
It only seems to justify the jaded cynicism of the characters and the fans of the show even more.
Justin Roiland and Dan Harmond’s nuanced writing coalesces with family-centered stories that nearly always anchor the plot in reality just enough to keep it relatable. Meanwhile it indulges viewers and characters with an odyssey of colorful sci-fi adventures rooted in explorative theoretical concepts. They often extrapolate into one form of anarchy or another, yet still find time and energy to include a smorgasbord of shamelessly gratuitous fight-to-the-death scenes!
And that’s really the secret to Rick and Morty’s success. While to the outside observer, the show may seem a mess of silly concepts and a mashing together of a million disparate crude jokes, every episode is a simple, cohesive story, told against a much more complex backdrop. It has worked for the greatest stories of the twentieth century. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings have expansive universes that are navigable only by the most dedicated of nerds, and yet they are universally loved by all because they follow a simple story arc and adhere to the classic hero cycle that is practically built into the human storytelling mindset.
Whether you’re a TV show or a business, mastering your story arcs is imperative. And one of the core tenets of mastering your story arc is to keep things simple. If your story starts sounding an awful lot like a story you’ve heard before, that’s not a bad thing. Humans like simple stories, and it’s why shows like Rick and Morty can be so successful.
Don’t get bogged down by complicated product features and language. All of that is important, but it’s ancillary. It’s the subplot of a Rick and Morty episode that brings our titular characters together with Ice-T and the president to write and perform a lo-fi hip hop song to save the Earth. That’s what makes people laugh and smile, but it’s not what keeps them engaged in the first place. They’re engaged by the much simpler story that underlies the complexity.
So when crafting your brand story, start with the basics. Identify your hero (the customer), identify how the mentor (your business) helps them achieve their goals, and then fill in all the details later.
At Storify, we help companies transform into brands through the power of story. Consider this your foot in the door! Send us a message with your story and your goals to keep that door open!