Vancouver-raised Sarah Chalke lends her voice to a quirky cartoon favourite
NetflixTV Week: What’s it like to open up a Rick and Morty script, knowing that anything—literally anything—could happen in those next pages?
You constantly are kind of mind-blown. I just sit there in awe of these writers every time I read it, because I’m like, “How on Earth did they come up with that?”... how the storylines kind of intertwine and come together. It’s rare that you read a script and you’re actually laughing out loud, and that happens. But then, also, it deals with real s*** in life and real family dynamics.
Given how “out-there” the show gets, is it ever hard to envision what the finished product will look like?
It’s difficult because whatever you picture in your mind when you read it is never going to be what it is on screen. There’s no intergalactic battle or “cloud fart being” that you could picture in your head that’s going to wind up on the screen as it is. The animation has always been so amazing and they’ve just taken it to the next level in season five. The colours are so beautiful, and the characters and the new guest-star characters... it’s really cool.
Adult SwimWhen do you think you really got a handle on who Beth is? With most shows, there’s a feeling-out process before everyone kind of finds the right wavelength...
For me, I was [brought in as a replacement]... Second Becky, Second Beth, that’s kind of my thing, just come in as a pinch hitter... And so Dan [Harmon] and Justin [Roiland, co-creators] said, “OK, we’ve gotta get your stuff all done in the next month.” And I was like, “I’m leaving the day after tomorrow for a month.” So we did the whole first season in, like, a day-and-a-half. So finding Beth happened for me in that day-and-a-half. But the characters—there’s been parts of them that have evolved. It was really fun to do “The ABCs of Beth” and you find out why she is how she is and how much she is actually like Rick; you have this whole other world [in that episode] and you understand her upbringing and that she was a kid who was making mind-control hairclips and whips to make people like her. Discovering that whole side of her was really fun. Then obviously with Space Beth... “Is she a clone or is she not a clone?” That was kind of like getting to play your part, but [a version of Beth] even more like Rick. So yeah, they never stop changing; it kinda keeps you on your toes.
How would you pitch the utter insanity of Rick and Morty to someone who has never seen it?
One of my favourite parts about it is, it completely catches you off guard. You think you’re going in for one thing and then it’s something completely different. You’re going in for the science fiction adventure between this grandfather and his grandson and then you’re moved and it really makes you think about the world and the universe and our place in it. And there’s a few episodes in season five that really make you think.
If you, as Sarah, could give Beth one piece of advice, what would it be?
For Beth, it would be: choose space... and be nicer to Jerry!
Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 8 p.m. & 11 p.m. on Adult Swim