Everyone’s favorite wine-drinking interdimensional matriarch is back, and this time there’s two of her. Ahead of the premiere of Rick and Morty Season 5, Decider spoke to Sarah Chalke about what’s in store for Beth in this latest installment. And in case you’re wondering: yes, last season’s big twist has changed things.
Season 4’s major cliffhanger had everything to do with Beth Smith. Way back in Season 3, Rick (Justin Roiland) offered to make a perfect clone of his daughter, allowing one version of her to take care of her family while the original Beth went on space adventures. At the end of “Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri” we learned the truth about what happened that fateful day. Beth didn’t ask for a clone, and instead asked her father to make her decision for her. Rick took the coward’s way out, which in mad scientist terms means cloning your daughter and mixing up the clones so you have no idea who is who. And that complex episode speaks to one of the reasons why Chalke likes working on Rick and Morty.
“One of the fun parts about playing these characters has been having them grow and evolve over the seasons. For Beth, I think one of the funnest parts for me, historically, was in the ‘ABCs of Beth’, when you got to see a bit more context of why she is who she is and how her dad had to create this world to protect the neighborhood kids from her as she made whips to make people like her and mind control hair clips,” Chalke said. “That continues as the seasons go and does actually continue through Season 5. You just get a little bit deeper and learn a little bit more about each character and why they are who they are.”
According to Chalke, the revelation that Rick never made a choice will influence the Smith family going forward. “He’s just a bad dad, a terrible father. They find that strength with each other like, we don’t really give a eff,” Chalke said.
This season will also mark a change for Beth and her permanently pathetic husband, Jerry (Chris Parnell). Beth and Jerry’s subplot in Season 5’s premiere, “Mort Dinner Rick Andre,” largely revolves around them trying to be more adventurous in the bedroom. That’s a side of this couple we’ve never seen before.
“Their marriage has had quite an evolution over the five seasons,” Chalke said. “I know starting with Season 1, where Beth treats him so poorly, she’s not kind to Jerry. And then they go off planet for couples counseling, and she sees him as a worm and then obviously, they get separated and then come back together. Yeah, they’ve got some really fun episodes in Season 5.”
Recording this season came with an extra set of hurdles for all members of the cast. Most of Season 5 was recorded during the pandemic, which meant in-person recording sessions were out of the question. “For me the technological aspect of things was not my strong suit. I have to say, I feel like it was Groundhog Day for everyone at Rick and Morty who was recording me,” Chalke joked. “All of a sudden you’re at home and then you have to go to your neighbor, ‘I’m so sorry, do you mind mowing the lawn in an hour, maybe an hour and ten.’ And with the acoustics of recording, you just want to get the best kind of padded sound. So I used duvet covers on my son’s lower bunk bed and pillows, and then my daughter’s play tent with seven moving blankets and duct tape.”
This MacGyver-ing of an in-home studio was eventually solved once the cast was sent actual sound booths. But then Chalke had another problem to contend with, one that working-from-home parents know all too well: her children.
“You want to make sure the sound is not only not coming in but also not going out when you have a four-year-old and you’re recording Rick and Morty. There were definitely a couple episodes I just recorded recently, I was like, ‘I hope they can’t hear me.’ And then also they played hide and seek,” Chalke said. “The sound booth at home it is needless to say an adventure. But I have to say it’s really cool and I felt really lucky to kind of find a way to be able to keep working during the pandemic and still feel creative. And obviously, to keep recording Rick and Morty episodes specifically has been such a gift.”
Chalke is especially excited about what’s in store for fans. “The animations are like next level this next season,” Chalke said. This also applies to the show’s new scripts. “In our inbox, we read them. It’s mind blowing, they up the ante every season.”
Season 5 of Rick and Morty premieres on Adult Swim this Sunday, June 20 at 11/10c p.m.
— Decider (@decider) June 15, 2021
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