There's no doubt that Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland is a straight hustler. Before hitting it big with Rick and Morty, Roiland wrote, directed, acted, and voice acted in many different projects for years - projects that never really took off. Rick and Morty first aired in 2013 and was an instant hit. It quickly became one of the best Adult Swim shows of all time. However, Roiland has been rolling around Los Angeles since before 2004.
Over the years, before commercially viable liquid genius could pour out of this sweet and special man, many failed Justin Roiland projects were born and tossed aside. It should be noted that these endeavors, as unsuccessful as they were, are actually pretty hilarious. Check out all of Roiland's unsuccessful projects and shows below that paved the way for his amazing brain child, Rick and Morty.
House of Cosbys is about a Cosby superfan who loves Bill so much, he builds a machine to clone him. The show takes place after his success, where he lives with lots of cloned Cosbys. The show asks familiar Roiland questions about the nature of the Self - primarily, what happens if you have a bunch of clones running around? And what if those clones are all Bill Cosby? House of Cosbys premiered in 2005 on Channel 101, until Roiland received a cease and desist letter from Cosby’s estate.
The video was taken down, but then Roiland realized that Cosby had no grounds for a cease and desist. Roiland fought to keep the video up, which garnered enough media attention to land him his first agent. While House of Cosbys never made it past five episodes, it arguably launched Roiland's career.
Years later, Roiland states in a Vice interview that House of Cosbys wasn't just about making fun of Bill: “I loved Bill Cosby. The whole House of Cosbys thing came from a legitimate of place of love and fandom.” When Roiland heard the news about Cosby’s creepy assaults, he was heartbroken, “It really bummed me out, to the point of wanting to cry.”
Ahhh, the sweet hot sauce where the magic began. The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti is the prototype of Rick and Morty. These shorts are mostly nonsensical skits. It's really amazing how an idea can change and, erm, mature over time.
The first Doc and Mharti was created in the wake of the failure of House of Cosbys. Roiland fell in love with both characters and continued to make shorts about them over the years, including a cool Gatorade commercial. If you listen carefully, you can notice the beginnings of the nuances of the voices behind Rick and Morty.
Cup and two girls share an apartment in Sherman Oaks, and Cup's got a secret: he's desperate for his two girl roommates to take a steamy sh*t in him. Roiland and his pal, Christian LeGuilloux, made this show back in 2007, when the Brazilian adult film, 2 Girls One Cup, was still topical. Roiland gripes about this getting voted first place on Channel 101 because he didn't want to have to stretch this joke out over five episodes.
You would think watching a cup trying to trick two girls to take a dump in him would get old after five or ten minutes, but it actually kind of doesn't. Plus, the puppetry is pretty masterful, considering all they're working with is a suped-up Solo cup. However, most people will agree that this project definitely didn't have the legs to go beyond five episodes. RIP Cup, RIP.
Once upon a time, for a very short time, there was a thing called Acceptable.TV. Acceptable.TV was Dan Harmon's variety video show on VH1 that had an incredibly short run. It was an attempt to make Channel 101 a thing for "offliners." Sprinkles is perhaps the best thing that came out of this, and also possibly the best Justin Roiland cartoon before the sacred and holy phenomena that is Rick and Morty.
Sprinkles is about a Cat in a Hat guy dealing with a changing world where kids no longer want to play with him on rainy days. Aging, and filled with the insurmountably compulsion to break into a child's home every time it rains, Sprinkles gets himself into a lot of trouble. Sprinkles was killed solely because it existed in the belly of the dying beast known as Acceptable.TV. But perhaps it was also missing the charm of a whole family to follow. After all, 30 minutes of only Rick Sanchez stories would be bleak because, seriously, every Rick needs a Morty.