Rick and Morty fans might be taking over.
Just over a week ago, so many local fanatics showed up to a Tampa event related to the adult humor cartoon that it had to shut down early.
Now, McDonald's across Tampa Bay — and the country — are likely to have long lines on Saturday as devoted fans try get their hands on a limited edition McNugget sauce from the '90s the show made popular.
Yup, Szechuan sauce is back — sort of. Four Tampa Bay McDonald's will start serving the sauce on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. The fast-food giant says the sauce will be available for one day only.
(Check out our list of local sauce spots below.)
For those of you scratching your heads, let's take a step back.
In 1998, McDonald's released a special ginger and soy flavored sauce to promote Disney's animated film Mulan.
Fast forward nearly two decades later to the season premiere of smash hit Rick and Morty. The show's lead character Rick Sanchez, grandfather to nervous and timid teen Morty, proclaims his love for the short-lived nugget dip.
"It's delicious, but they got rid of it, and now it's gone," Rick says in the episode. "The only place we can try it is in my memory."
"Yeah, I'd like to get a 10-piece McNugget and a bunch of the szechuan sauce. Like, as much as you're allowed to give me." pic.twitter.com/67XCkwRAuA— Rick & Morty Quotes (@rick_morty_bot) April 2, 2017
Well, that was until McDonald's decided to cash in on just how much fans love Rick and Morty. People have signed petitions and tweeted at the mega corporation to bring back the sauce since the science fiction comedy about the interdimensional adventures premiered the episode in April.
McDonald's is playing into the show's popularity as it uses the now-famous sauce to roll out its new buttermilk crispy chicken tenders this weekend.
"Guys, we did it. After returning with the Szechuan Sauce from the always-1998 dimension, C-1998M, we did some science and now we have a bit more sauce! Technology is amazing," said McDonald's Chef Michael Haracz in a news release. "It's a great moment for McDonald's and our fans that I'm definitely not taking for granite."
(And, yes, he said "granite." That's a subtle inside joke for some of the show's most avid fans.)
The fast-food chain is also giving out posters and stickers for each of its sauces — Creamy Ranch, Honey, Honey Mustard, Hot Mustard, Spicy Buffalo, Sriracha Mac Sauce, Sweet 'n Sour, Tangy Barbeque and the new Signature Sauce.
The Szechuan poster has an alien theme, obviously paying homage to the smash-hit cartoon that made the sauce's comeback possible.
The shows co-creator, Dan Harmon, recently told Polygon that the sauce mentions in the episode were intended to poke fun at the show's other creator, Justin Roiland. Roiland apparently had a very real obsession for that sweet Mulan sauce.
"Look at that art, look at the font," Harmon said to the Vox outlet about the Szechuan promotional poster. "Look I'm not being sarcastic when I talk about this. If anyone from McDonald's is reading this, I don't see anything wrong with what they're doing and clearly neither does their legal department."
He called the whole thing hysterical.
There's a full list of the nearly 1,000 restaurants that will have sauce at www.buttermilkcrispytenders.com. One St. Petersburg and three Tampa McDonald's will carry the sauce, according to the fast-food chain.
Tampa Bay Szechuan sauce spots:
• 300 38th Avenue N St. Petersburg, 33704
• 2101 E. 13th Ave. Tampa, 33605
•1520 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 33606
• 11707 N. 56th Street, Tampa, 33617
Poster and sticker giveaway spots:
• 1720 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, 34293
• 9600 4th Street N, St. Petersburg 33702
• 5170 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, 33781
• 4595 34th Street S St. Petersburg, 33711
• 4145 49th Street N, St. Petersburg, 33709
• 1020 34th Street N, St. Petersburg, 33713
• 44400 US Hwy 27 N, Davenport, 33897
• 317 Hinson Avenue Highway 17-92 & "B" Street, Haines City, 33844
• 36204 U.S. Highway 27 N, Haines City, 33844
• 2420 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes, 34639
• 9121 Little Road, New Port Richey, 34654
Contact Sara DiNatale at email@example.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.