When Rick and Morty’s Sarah Chalke said back in 2020 that she hoped her character called “Space Beth” would return for more adventures, who could’ve imagined what would be in store in Season 6? After Space Beth rescued the show’s title heroes in their season premiere cold open, she returned in Episode 3, “Bethic Twinstinct,” only to fall in love with regular Beth in one of Rick and Morty’s strangest stories yet.
Towards the end of “Bethic Twinstinct,” Jerry learns that both versions of his wife are having an affair. But just when you think they’re going to get in a big fight — or possibly split up, again — Rick and Morty takes a decidedly kinky turn. Jerry takes on an uncharacteristically dominant aura of authority as he grants approval to the two Beths to engage in some sexual activity.
Skip ahead to the 2:25 mark to relive the cringeworthy scene
According to Sarah Chalke, that one dramatic scene in particular almost played out very differently in the episode’s original cut.
“There was an even longer version of that scene initially that played out and just kept going and going,” Chalke tells Inverse. “But I love how they edited it together where you hear every single word that they're saying.”
“We just kept it going.”
In the episode, the camera eventually cuts to Rick, Summer, and Morty sitting at the dining room tables while sounds from upstairs reverberate throughout the house.
“We did go on for a while recording more sounds and more words in the booth,” Chalke adds, “and we just kept it going.” (But maybe it’s for the best that some of that got edited out.)
In an interview with Inverse before the return of Season 6 on November 20, Chalke and co-star Chris Parnell (Jerry Smith) spoke about the surprising developments in Jerry and Beth’s marriage — and how this might just be the beginning.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Inverse: Space Beth returned very early this season. What’s the process like recording both voices? Are there any differences?
Sarah Chalke: It feels very different, and that's been so fun. I record Domestic Beth first and then Space Beth second to keep them really separate. And I always do a bunch of throat clears in between the two so that Space Beth is a little raspier and a little rougher with more of an edge.
It's kind of nice. I'm in my booth, by myself, and no one can see me. I've noticed that I gesticulate a lot when I'm recording, but I also find that my posture is different. The goal was always to make it feel like they were rooted in the same person, but to also distinguish them from each other.
Jerry and Beth have had their ups and downs over the years, including a trial separation, but they’ve had this sort of sexual reawakening in Seasons 5 and 6. How important has that been to their relationship?
Chalke: One of the fun things about this is watching the journey of their marriage through the seasons. You never would have predicted that it would go here, right? But to come back from the brink of divorce and then to end in a scene this season with the three of them upstairs — Domestic Beth, Space Beth, and Jerry — all together? It's one of my favorite scenes of the episode, where Summer, Morty, and Rick are downstairs listening. “Just make it stop!” It’s now become a big part of Beth and Jerry’s relationship.
Chris Parnell: It's been quite a journey. We've come a long way from where we started. I think probably going through that separation and then coming back together made them ultimately more comfortable and strong enough and open enough to get involved in three-ways.
So do you think the kids are happy for their parents or just absolutely mortified by all this?
Chalke: Either pretty mortified, or just trying to escape to ignore that this is happening.
So much of the comedy comes from them being like, “Make it stop! Please get me out! Don't let me hear one more word of this!” It's just so painful for them.
[Producer] Scott Marder was telling us earlier this week that there was an even longer version of that scene initially that played out and just kept going and going. But I love how they edited it together where you hear every single word that they're saying, and then all of a sudden, you can tell it's still going on but you're seeing Rick, Summer, and Morty at the dining room table.
It’s definitely very embarrassing and painful for them to witness.
Was the original longer version scripted or did it involve improv and riffing?
Parnell: Was it scripted? I don’t even remember.
Chalke: I can't remember, but I do remember we did go on for a while recording more sounds and more words in the booth, and we just kept it going. I never saw the original cut where Scott said it went on for a while.
So obviously a big part of this is a budding romance between Domestic Beth and Space Beth. Do you think it comes from a place of narcissism or is this genuine?
Chalke: I always took it as genuine chemistry. You're watching them connect! As you're watching, it kind of sneaks up on you, and then it's happening. And then you're like, “Wait, is this actually happening?” That’s what was intended: an actual love story between these two characters. They're completely caught off guard. Domestic Beth has no idea what to do about it. And then they just have to go for it. That was my take.
Parnell: I agree with that. Because they're different people. They may be genetically the same, but I think they're attracted to the differences in each other.
How does Jerry feel about all this as they fall into these kinky habits? Is he more emasculated, titillated, or both?
Parnell: Oh, he's definitely titillated. It's two different versions of Beth who he's obviously attracted to. So it's the kind of ideal fantasy material that comes true. You know, he has two different versions of his wife to enjoy and be with. And, you know, the whole being a dominant thing, I was very surprised by that. That's one of Jerry's weird aspects that I don't fully have a handle on.
Chalke: But I love how they wrote it, right? Because it comes as a complete surprise to Beth and to the audience: “Wait a second, this is what you want?”
Speaking of weird Jerry, based on a fortune cookie, he spends an entire episode trying to avoid sleeping with his mother. How peculiar was that one for you?
Parnell: It's a crazy concept. I loved it because it comes up with a way in which a fortune cookie is not random and meaningless. It actually has a meaning. And in this case, it's being directed by these power brokers or whatever. The recording of it is just fun. It was not the most subtle performance, because basically, the one big thing is to avoid the fortune coming true.
The show has never shied away from including incest jokes. How vital is exploring taboos to the DNA of Rick and Morty?
Chalke: There was definitely incest and bestiality when we go to Froopyland, but as a whole, there’s no area that the show shies away from. There’s no area they won’t go to, which allows freedom and creativity. Each time they’ve done it, it’s been for such a different reason and handled so differently.
Just even within this season, you look at the Beth piece that turns out to be a love story and the Jerry storyline is so comedic. They have a very different feel from each other.
Rick and Morty returns to Adult Swim this Sunday at 11 p.m. Eastern.