The annual Global Impact Conference 2022 brings together visionary business leaders to revolutionize educational systems and inspire collaborative actionRead more APO Group announces content partnership with Pan-African broadcaster VoxAfricaRead more MainOne, an Equinix Company’s MDXi Appolonia Achieves Tier III Constructed Facility certification (TCCF), Now Most Certified Data Center in GhanaRead more United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns rising tide of hunger, insecurity, and underfunding worsening gender-based violence risksRead more The Royal Thai Embassy presents the cultures of Thailand at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Festival in KenyaRead more Climate change is the biggest global threat, young people in Africa and Europe tell European Investment Bank (EIB), Debating Africa and Debating EuropeRead more $2 million in prizes awarded at Conference of the Parties (COP27) to African youth-led businessesRead more Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather to chart Africa’s economic rebirthRead more The Thai delegation’s active participation at the 145th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in KigaliRead more Canon shares winning image of its Redline Challenge competition 2022Read more

Hong Kong ‘Rick and Morty’ fans spot protest codes in new episode

show caption
The animated characters Rick and Morty present onstage at the 70th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in 2018./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Oct 06, 2022 - 12:31 AM

HONG KONG, CHINA — Eagle-eyed Hong Kong fans of the adult cartoon sitcom “Rick and Morty” have spotted oblique references to the city’s democracy movement in the latest episode of the cult sci-fi show.

“Final DeSmithation”, the fifth episode of the sixth season, aired on Sunday and featured a characteristically chaotic storyline involving an imprisoned alien making fortune cookies.

Towards the climax a series of numbers and letters flash up on the screen that, to the uninitiated, might look random.

But the codes — GFHG19SDGM, 721DLLM and 19HK831 — were quickly seized on by Hong Kongers who spotted and explained their significance this week on Reddit and the local forum LIHKG.

The first is widely used as shorthand for the Cantonese protest chant “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” — a slogan that has since been declared illegal in the Chinese financial hub.

The other two reference significant dates in the 2019 pro-democracy protest movement — namely a July 21 attack on protesters by government supporters, and police beating democracy supporters inside a subway station on August 31.

DLLM is also internet shorthand for the most popular curse in Hong Kong — an insult to the recipient’s mother — which was frequently shouted by police and protesters at each other.

“Thank you to the producers of Rick and Morty,” wrote one user under a post on LIHKG that had received nearly 5,000 upvotes.

Others fretted the episode might get removed in Hong Kong, which has embraced greater censorship since the 2019 protests.

“If this receives exposure and the company kowtows, someone might lose their job,” one user wrote.

Created by Cartoon Network’s nighttime programming block Adult Swim, “Rick and Morty” has become a cult hit.

The show centres around a selfish, alcoholic grandfather who takes his grandson on bizarre interdimensional adventures.

It is distributed internationally by Warner Brothers and is currently viewable in Hong Kong on HBO Go.

AFP contacted both Adult Swim and Warner Brothers for comment but did not receive a reply.

Hong Kong’s 2019 democracy protests raged for months but were eventually quelled, and China has responded with a widespread crackdown that has transformed the once-outspoken city.

Censorship laws have been strengthened, with multiple films and documentaries failing to get clearance although the city does not currently have the same level of restrictions as the Chinese mainland.

  • bio
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • latest posts

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.