Western Animation: Rick and Morty

We got our own *URP* trope page, Morty!

The world is full of idiots who don't understand what's important, and they'll tear us apart, Morty. But if ya stick with me, I'm gonna accomplish great things, Morty. And you're gonna be part of 'em, and together we're gonna run around, Morty, we're gonna do all kinds of wonderful things, Morty. Just you and me, Morty. The outside world is our enemy, Morty. We're the only *URP* friends we've got, Morty! It's just Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty and their adventures, Morty! Rick and Morty forever and forever a hundred years Rick and Morty some things. Me and Rick and Morty runnin' around and, Rick and Morty time, all day long forever, all a hundred days Rick and Morty... [etc]
— Rick, while Morty convulses as alien fruit dissolves in his lower digestive tract

Rick and Morty is an ongoing [adult swim] original that premiered in December 2013. The cartoon is created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. Originally, the series was based off of Channel101's "The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti", a Back to the Future parody.

This bizarre series centers around the misadventures of Morty Smith (voiced by Justin Roiland), a troubled young high school student, and Rick Sanchez (also voiced by Justin Roiland), Morty's alcoholic Mad Scientist grandfather. Rick constantly pulls Morty out of school to go on sci-fi acid trips and help Rick carry out insane science experiments. Morty's parents think of Rick as a negative influence on their son, but they keep Rick around the house anyway just as long as he sort of keeps Morty in school.

An official licensed comic based on the show is available from Oni Press.

Now with a Best Episode Crowner!

A recap page is now up and could really use a hand.

Rick & Morty contains *URP* the following tropes, bitch!:

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  • Absentee Actor: Summer did not appear in the episodes "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" or "Mortynight Run" and neither did Beth. Beth and Jerry both were also absent in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy".
  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Morty became one in "Raising Gazorpazorp" when he convinces Rick to buy him a sex bot that turns out to be an alien reproductive device. Taken Up to Eleven when the half-alien baby ages extremely quickly, making him appear to be older than Morty in only about a day.
  • Abusive Alien Parents: Played half-straight with the Gazorpians, who raise female babies just fine but literally catapult male ones outside to live on their own.
  • Abusive Parents: Due to the above mentioned species divide, Morty accidentally became one in "Raising Gazorpazorp", as chronicled in his half-alien son's book My Horrible Father.
    Jerry: It's a thankless job, son.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Subverted, Evil Rick's henchman randomly makes a laughing noise every few seconds which our Rick mistakes for approval of his zingers.
  • Ad Hominem: In the episode "Something Ricked This Way Comes", Morty argues with Jerry's theory of Pluto being a planet by presenting a well-worded and bulletproof argument backed by a vast majority of professional scientists. Jerry response is to remind him of the time when he was five years old and he threw his poopy undies out the window and it landed on a bush while Jerry was trimming it. The Plutonians (influenced by their own biases) immediately accept Jerry's statement as a witty and appropriate rebuttal.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The very first thing we see Rick do in the series is drunkenly plan to exterminate the human race except for Morty and the girl he likes.
  • Adult Fear: Morty almost getting raped in "Meeseeks and Destroy". Even Rick was horrified by it.
  • Aesop Amnesia: When Mr. Goldenfold became impotent from his woman-attracting Deal with the Devil, he learned a lesson about lust and hubris, but when Rick then cure his impotence, leaving him with no negative side effects, he instantly runs home with two armfuls of ladies, screaming, "I haven't learned a thing!"
  • Affably Evil: Krombopulos Michael is perhaps the most cheerful and friendly assassin ever
    Krombopulos: Oh boy, here I go killing again!
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Rick always has a flask handy and constantly has slobber dripping from his mouth. It's very rare that we see him totally sober, though with the personality he's got, it's pretty hard to tell.
    • Though she's not as bad as her father, Beth can be seen gulping down copious amounts of wine on several occasions. "Total Rickall" has Summer remember Beth piss drunk in bed, lobbing a wine bottle at her face.
  • All-Ghouls School: Scary Terry apparently went to school full of similarly scary students.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Summer had a crush on Morty's bully Frank Palicky.
    • Played with concerning Jessica and her boyfriend. She hates how he always picks fights, and yet they're still together no matter what.
  • All Men Are Perverts/All Women Are Lustful: Most of the human character (and even some exceptions therein) place their sexual priorities a little too high. To give some perspective, Rick is one of the lightest examples on the show, and he spent almost the entirety of "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" having an orgy involving, among other things, a giraffe, a hang-glider, and a stadium full of redheads.
    • This trope is discussed to hilarious length in "Interdimensional Cable 2" when Jerry is approached by alien surgeons who want him to donate his penis to save the life of an important alien political figure.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • There's an infinite amount and Rick exploited this by simply slipping into one universe where he and Morty suddenly died after curing the Cronenbergs. Apparently, he hasn't managed to find very many universes where they both died in such a way that everything's okay afterward.
    • There's an entire group of alternate Ricks who have banded together to form a society known as the Council of Ricks. However, the Rick we know refuses to be affiliated with them. This refusal to join the Council makes "our" Rick the "Rickiest Rick there is." By default, that makes Morty the "Mortiest Morty."
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Cesium-Water mixture in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" might not be enough to blow up an entire star cruiser, but cesium (and other metals of its type, like the more common lithium, sodium, or potassium) do combust on mixture with water. Maybe the Plutonic Quarks serves as an amplifier?
  • Always a Bigger Fish: When Morty was shrunk down to microscopic levels and being chased by Hepatitis A, it ended up getting crushed by Hepatitis C, which even gave Morty a thumbs-up.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • It's strongly implied that the reason Morty is underperforming in school is because he has some kind of learning disability.
    • Rick's drinking and substance abuse problem has been acknowledged in canon, but he also often has a notable mix of lack of empathy and suicidal tendencies.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Galactic Federation. Rick shows a lot of disdain towards the organization and his friends see themselves as Freedom Fighters going against them. The Federation are made out as oppressive and have been seen to be apathetic to civilian casualties. At the same time this information comes from Rick and they do keep their word when Rick turns himself in so his family can return to Earth.
  • Ambiguously Gay/Ambiguously Bi:
    • Jerry is Ambiguously Bi, considering the fact that in "Total Rickall," a telepathic parasite that was only capable of creating pleasant memories implanted one in Jerry's mind about him making out with another guy.
    • Gearhead is Ambiguously Gay. His color scheme is made up of typically "feminine" colors, he has a somewhat effeminate voice, and at his house a magazine titled "Queer Gear" can be seen.
  • And I Must Scream: The Morty-Dome from "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind". Hundreds of Mortys are strapped to a huge dome and have their sides repeatably stabbed in an attempt to hide the rogue Rick who had been murdering other Ricks across realities. They can scream, and in fact their screaming is the reason why this Rick is getting away with it. What makes this worse is that our Rick acknowledges that only five Mortys and a jumper cable could achieve the same effect (and even admitted that he thought of an idea like this before), and that a Morty is behind all of this.
  • Anti-Hero: Rick just barely has enough humanity left in him to avoid being a Villain Protagonist.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
  • Art Shift: The post-Season 1 promos has Rick and Morty (and Mr. Meeseeks) appearing as puppet versions of themselves.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Summer started off as a recurring character in the early episodes. She has become more major to the show since "Raising Gazorpazorp".
    • Season 2's "Mortynight Run" has Jerry stowing aboard, leaving Beth as the only family member yet to accompany Rick & Morty on an adventure. Though, she did accompany the entire family on an adventure to Hamsters-in-Butts world.
  • Ass Shove:
    • Rick makes Morty shove two mega-seeds up his ass so that he can smuggle them through inter-dimensional customs.
    • One alternate dimension is populated entirely by hamsters who live inside people's butts. It's pretty ambiguous if the people are even living things, since they seem to function like mobile homes.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", when viewing photographs of the murders of 27 other versions of Rick, one of the Ricks was killed by having his head literally shoved up his ass.
  • Attempted Rape: Quite a bit.
    • Happens to Morty during an adventure. Luckily, Morty kicks ass, and then Rick kills it
    • Happens to Summer on another adventure. Luckily, Rick kicks ass.
    • Rick argues that love potions are basically this, though he takes his time before saying so. In the same episode, everyone outside of his family is infected by the potion, turning the tables on Morty.
    • In yet another episode, Jerry is the victim of it. Luckily, Beth kicks ass.
  • Author Appeal:
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," the final victim of Rick and Summer's rampage is a dog abuser. Harmon and Roiland are both dog owners. Harmon put his dog on his Vanity Plate, while Roiland named Jerry after one of his dogs.
    • Ice-T showing up in "Get Schwifty," with Dan Harmon doing the voice. Harmon loves doing Ice-T impersonations in Harmontown
    • Dan Harmon does what sounds like an improvised rap in "Rick Potion No. 9." Improvised rapping is a big part of Harmontown.
    • In a Harmontown episode, Harmon tells the story about how he went for years without realizing he had a thing for redheads; A friend looked through his erotica collection and pointed it out to him. In the episode "Auto Erotic Assimilation," Rick has an orgy with a stadium full of redheads.
    • In "Interdimensional Cable 2," an alien voiced by Werner Herzog criticizes humanity for doing things like putting an object up to their crotch and saying, "Look, I'm so-and-so penis!" A recurring feature on Harmontown had Harmon singing a song about a man with a chicken noodle soup can for a penis. Also on the podcast, comptroller Jeff Davis would occasionally sing a song called "Pringles Dick," about a man who puts his penis inside a Pringles can.
    • In "Interdimensional Cable 2," the commercial for Little Bits, the restaurant that only serves tiny food, is based on Bytes, the same idea for a restaurant frequently endorsed by Dan Harmon's friend "The Real Abed."
  • Auto-Tune: Used for Snuffles' robot suit in "Lawnmower Dog" as a goofy way of giving him a robot voice.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Jerry and Beth do not have a good marriage, and are sometimes unsure if they're even in love, but one always has the other's back when push comes to shove.
    • The titular characters as well. Rick, despite his abrasive behavior, he always wants what's best (well, at least what he thinks is best) for his grandchildren and isn't above having fun with them once in a while.
    • This is a show where you spend 99% of the time laughing/cringing at all the Black Comedy, and saying "D'aww" at least Once an Episode.
    • In ''Get Schwifty", Jerry outright says he's sick of pretending they only stay together for their kids. He married Beth because he loves her and wants her to know that.
    • Rixty Minutes shows an alternate timeline where Summer was aborted. Jerry becomes a movie star, and Beth is rich enough to sit at home all day. This leads to a lot of hurt feelings between "our" Jerry, Beth, and Summer. It turns out that Alt!Jerry's miserable and Alt!Beth is a Crazy Parrot Lady. Jerry has a meltdown and drives all the way to her house on a Rascal mobility scooter in nothing but his underwear, police and media on hot persuut, to confess his love for her. This leads Jerry, Beth, and Summer C-137 to patch things up.
  • Baby Planet: In "The Wedding Squanchers", the family is forced to relocate to an Earth-like planet about the size of a small neighborhood. Rick can walk to the south pole in under a minute, and after some practice, Morty can throw a frisbee around the world and catch it himself.
  • Badass Boast: From Jerry of all people - "No one's killing me until I catch my wife with another man!"
  • Badass Family: The Smiths. This trope is most evident in "Rick Potion #9" and "Total Rickall."
  • Badass Grandpa: Rick on many occasions.
  • Bait and Switch: Due to the editing, it at first seems like Rick's emergency plan in "Rick Potion #9" managed to save the day offscreen (after he "[did] some scouting"). As it happens, he was actually scouting for a dimension where he and Morty managed to save the day... and then died soon after.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In "Get Schwifty", Rick uses a wrist laser that turns people into snakes. Subverted at the end when he reveals it's actually a mundane particle beam that vaporizes people and the snakes are kept in a tube strapped to his leg.
  • Balloonacy: In "Get Schwifty", Principal Vagina's head religion sends undesirables up to the heads by tying balloons to them.
  • Bamboo Technology: When trapped on a Stone Age world in "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick and Zeep design Mini-Mecha made of wood, rocks, vines, and various animal parts.
  • Batman Gambit: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", Rick looks genuinely distraught over having been fooled by a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation, but he was in control the whole time. He knew that if Morty mixed the ingredients together just as he said, that he would have blown himself up, and that the aliens were only trying to get the recipe the whole time.
  • Battle Couple: Jerry and Beth become one in "Rick Potion #9".
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Rick argues that the Interdimensional Council of Ricks are less Rick than he is because they formed a government to protect themselves from the governments they pissed off.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mr. Needful's store offers magical items that ultimately screw people over (for example, cologne that makes you irresistible to women while making you impotent). Rick ends up starting a business where he removes said curses with science.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: When the dogs take over the world, Snuffles/Snowball makes Morty his personal pet since he treated him well.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Ice-T is actually a being made of water from the realm of Alphabetrium, where all beings are shaped like letters and embody various simple substances (water, magnesium, etc). He was turned to ice and banished for his apathy. In the stinger of "Get Schwifty", he returns to his homeworld and becomes Water-T.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Try to con Rick all you want but do not involve his grandson in your plans. And especially don't use a simulation of his grandson (or his genitalia) to steal his secrets.
    • And definitely don't try to take advantage of or violate said grandson in any way, or else you'll be looking a deathly ray gun straight in the eye.
    • Simply, don't hurt his grandkids unless you want to die.
    • Don't eat Eyeholes cereal unless you want the Eyehole Man to show up and beat the hell out of you.
  • Big Damn Movie: A game, in this case. Episode one of the game has Rick be fully aware that the sudden problem that starts the plot makes no sense.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked with most of the shows Rick and Morty watch in "Rixty Minutes".
  • Big "NO!": Rick lets one out in the season 2 finale when Tammy shoots Birdperson to death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The stairs up the dais where the female Gazorpians carry out sentencing reads "Sis Semper Calumniam," which means "You are always wrong."
  • Bi the Way: Rick's previous relationship with Unity, a genderless entity who inhabits male and female bodies, and quotes from some members of the crew heavily suggest that Rick is canonically pansexual.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: So many examples that it could have its own subpage. Lampshaded in the pilot, when Rick points out a random alien creature and says it "defies all logic."
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The Gazorpians. Male Gazorpians are large, stupid, brutish beings driven by violence and lust, while females are much more human-looking and are empathetic, intellectual, and telekinetic.
  • Black Comedy: Most definitely. Most of the humor revolves around Rick's sociopathy and alcoholism and the resulting damage it does to Morty's psyche. After "Rick Potion #9", the show takes a realistic look at the traumatic damage that the pair's adventures can have on Morty.
  • Blatant Lies: Rick claims the bug security officers chasing them are robots. When Morty shoots one, it starts bleeding to death, and another bug starts yelling for the shot bug's wife and children to be notified. When Morty tries to call Rick on this, he admits it was just a figure of speech. They're bureaucrats; he doesn't respect them.
  • Body Backup Drive: Rick attempts this in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez". He deems the experiment a failure after this teenage body, dubbed Tiny Rick, compartmentalizes Rick's true personality, leaving only his hedonistic urges. After he returns to his old body, he dubs "Project Phoenix" a failure and proceeds to kill off the various clone bodies he made.
  • Body Horror:
    • The "Cronenbergs", which are genetic monstrosities Rick accidentally engineers by inaccurately replicating human DNA.
    • As is typical for most Fantastic Voyage Plots, "Anatomy Park" is full to the brim with this.
  • Bottle Episode: "Rixty Minutes", which consists almost entirely of Rick and Morty watching TV (though in staying in the spirit of the series, it is interdimensional TV). The majority of the dialogue heard on the shows was ad-libbed on the spot by the voice actors, something that Rick and Morty both lampshade.
  • Brain Bleach: In "Lawnmower Dog" Rick and Morty run into a sexy dream version of Summer and get grossed out when she starts hitting on them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Jerry, of all people, looks straight at the camera at the end of the Christmas Episode.
    • All five characters at the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy". Rick even says "See you next week!" to the audience. He does this again in "Raising Gazorpazorp."
    • At the end of "Ricksy Business", Rick ends the episode by ordering to roll the credits, and repeatedly yells that it's the end of the first season.
    • In-universe, the Titanic reenactment cruise that Beth and Jerry are on fails to sink as it was supposed to, and to make up for it the captain of the ship offers everyone free "James Camer-Onion Rings". This prompts Jerry to angrily say "...and now the fourth wall is broken."
    • "Total Rickall" features Rick telling viewers that the show will be back after a commercial break.
    • The same episode has a fake flashback of Rick detailing a get-rich-quick scheme involving selling Nintendo 3DS systems. At the end of the scene, he turns to the camera and asks Nintendo to give him free stuff.
    • Mr. Poopy Butthole mentions how "The Wedding Squanchers" ends on a huge cliffhanger, and how it'll take a year and a half or possibly longer to see how it'll be resolved at the start of season 3.
  • Break the Cutie: Morty in "Meeseeks and Destroy" after he is almost raped.
  • Broken Ace: Dear Lord, Rick. He's smarter than anybody else on Earth, can whip up practically any sci-fi gadget one can think of with minimal effort and is a complete and total badass, but he's also an alcoholic sociopath who's been put through too much trauma to really give a crap about anything anymore. There's a reason his Catch Phrase secretly translates into "I am in great pain. Help me."
  • The Bully: Frank Palicky. Frozen to death in his debut scene. And there was NO EVIDENCE that a Latino student did it. (Everyone wants to make this a race thing.) And this was technically true: a Latino student did not do it. A (White) Latino non-student (Rick) did.
  • Bully Hunter: The newly beefed-up Rick and Summer become this in The Stinger to "Something Ricked This Way Comes", taking out a racist skinhead, a schoolyard bully, a Westboro protester and an animal abuser.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Poor Morty. Putting up with all that crap can't be easy.
    • His dad Jerry isn't much better off either. Evidently it runs in the family.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: In "Get Schwifty", the Earth is teleported by alien heads to participate in a game show. Rick casually tells everyone at the Pentagon that all the astronauts in orbit are now dead.
  • Call Back: The Emerald City Comic Con exclusive cover for #1 of the official comic has cameos from Mr. Meeseeks, the guy from the Gear Wars, one of the anthropomorphic Pop-Tarts, and Gazorpazorpfield (in the form of a tattoo).
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Summer has been shown willing to do this with Rick.
    • She also did it with her mother for not caring about the fact that Morty had a sexbot.
    • Morty Jr. did this to Morty in "Raising Gazorpazorp".
  • Cassandra Did It: The Parasites try to use this to make it seem like Rick is the Parasite.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Parodied with Rick's "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!". Birdperson later tells Morty that this saying translates to "I am in great pain. Please help me."
    • As of the season 1 finale, his new catchphrase is "I don't give a f***".
    • He also has a fondness for saying "It's gonna be great!" when talking about his inventions.
    • "And away we go!" should probably also qualify.
    • (In Universe) "You don't know me!" Mrs. Pancakes in her self-titled series.
    • With power running low, some of the computer simulations are reduced to one sentence Catch phrases like 'Yes!' And 'My Man!'.
    • Later parodied with Rick's (fictional in-universe) catchphrases in "Total Rickall," which are a series of strange Non Sequiturs such as "AIDS!" , "Shum shum shlippidy-dop!", "GRASS... TASTES BAD," and "BURGER TIME!"
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Generally involving the 14-year-old Morty.
    • In one flashback, his 17-year-old sister Summer walks in on him.
    Summer: Oh my god!
    Morty: I thought you went to a concert!
    Summer: We forgot the tickets! Why in the kitchen?!
    Morty: I do it everywhere! Stop shaming me!
    Summer: You're not the victim here!
    Morty: I hate you and I was thinking about your friend Grace!
    Summer: *inarticulate scream*
    • Referenced in one episode where Jerry opens Morty's bedroom to ask him a question. At the end of their conversation, Morty gives him a protracted warning that he's asking for trouble by bursting into a teen's bedroom without warning.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Although an observant viewer may have inferred it prior, it's revealed at the end of "Ricksy Business" that Rick's constant drinking and abuse of the occasional Fantastic Drug isn't just for fun; he's actually numbing himself from an intense amount of emotional pain.
    • In the same episode, his "Wubba lubba dub dub!" catchphrase, previously portrayed as just a parody of other nonsense-word catchphrases, is revealed to actually be a phrase in an alien language. It means "I am in great pain. Help me."
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster:
    • While the series never stops being dark, whether dark elements are played for laughs or treated seriously vary greatly. While most of Rick's actions and the horror Morty goes through because of them are treated as Black Comedy, things like his near-rape experience or replacing himself in an alternate universe are not. The marital troubles between Beth and Jerry can go either way.
    • A self-contained example is the episode "Rixty Minutes", which is simultaneously regarded by fans as one of the funniest and one of the most mature and emotional episodes of the entire show, after an excuse to throw around a bunch of random jokes inadvertently triggers a B plot where Summer learns she was nearly aborted.
    • "Total Rickall" features the appearance of several absurd characters, one being named Mr. Poopy Butthole. But the same episode features Rick goading Morty to fatally shoot him in the head, someone accidentally seriously injuring a long-time friend to the point they required physical therapy, and an implication that Beth also has a drinking problem.
  • Clip Show: Following from the episodes of Dan Harmon's Community which parodied clip shows by featuring clips from episodes the audience had never seen, "Total Rickall" gives us the same joke taken to the next level - the things that everyone keeps remembering never even happened.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Evil Rick tortures hundreds of alternate versions of Morty to hide himself from the Council. Plus, the fact that it's actually Evil Morty at the wheel here makes this an especially wicked Expendable Clone scenario.
  • Comedic Sociopath: Rick definitely fits this, although it is implied he is more empathetic than he lets on and his sociopathic tendencies are some sort of defense mechanism.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Snuffles has Jerry threatened with a pair of surgical scissors, Jerry thinks they're threatening to cut his hair.
    • Rick is pointing out things that don't make sense to convince Morty that they're in a simulation, specifically a living Pop Tart with a toaster-themed house and car. Morty agrees, noting that a Pop Tart would be too scared of toasters to live in one. Rick clarifies his point: its car is also a toaster, and someone's car is not normally a smaller copy of their house.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Aside from the immediate threat of death, almost nothing in the multiverse fazes Rick, not even having to bury his own corpse.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Rixty Minutes" has a few, one of which is surprisingly Played for Drama.
    • The goggles that let people see through their alternative timeline doppleganger’s eyes is the same one Rick uses to find a replacement universe after everyone gets Cronenberged in "Rick Potion #9"
    • One of the TV shows they watch in "Rick Potion #9" calls back to the previous episode and the planet Gazorpazorp.
    • Morty reveals to Summer his own grave in the backyard, explaining how him and Rick destroyed their own world in "Rick Potion #9" and crossed over to this reality mere moments after the local Rick and Morty died from one of Rick's inventions.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," Rick can be seen watching Ball Fondlers, one of the shows he and Morty watch in "Rixty Minutes," near the end of the episode.
    • Cronenberg Rick is a member of the Council of Ricks.
    • In "Ricksy Business" there are two of the Councilman Ricks at the party.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick, Summer, and Morty visit a universe with a Ball Fondlers movie, which was first shown in "Rixty Minutes". There are also movie posters for French Toast (a piece of toast was part of Saturday Night Live's cast) and Three Brothers (a sequel to the nonsensical Two Brothers).
    • "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" has Morty eating Strawberry Smiggles for breakfast. Jerry is also seen playing his iPad game again, there's a picture of Snuffles on the wall of the Smiths' dining room, and Morty has a picture of Jessica in his locker.
    • In "Mortynight Run" there's a Mr. Meeseeks in the background of one scene, who is watching somebody playing a pinball machine before winking to that person and then puffing out.
  • Cool Old Guy: Definitely Rick. Not only is he capable of making almost any sci-fi gizmo you can think of, he's a total badass both physically and mentally and spends almost all of his waking hours spending his idea of quality time with his grandkids, which ranges from death-defying inter-dimensional adventures to freezing time to play pranks on the neighbors to dancing to booty jams in the front yard. He's even shown to be "cool" in the more traditional sense in "Ricksy Business", co-hosting a killer party and getting, in his own words, "Riggedy-riggedy-wrecked."
  • Corpsing: In "Rixty Minutes", you can hear the voice actors bursting into laughter on some of the alternate-reality TV shows.
  • Creator In-Joke: When Rick talks his interest in watching a show about a world of intelligent dogs, it's a reference to Roiland's previous project Dog World that never aired. Earlier in the episode, Rick name-drops a character from the proposed series, Ruffles.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Despite looking like a pretty innocent cartoon, it's a pretty grim series. That is, if the alcoholic scientist and neglected kid protagonists didn't give it away.
  • Crossover Punchline:
    • This video teases a minor crossover with Gravity Falls. However, because Alex Hirsch and Justin Roiland are really good friends, it's probably just a joke. Although Gravity Falls' Big Bad, Bill Cypher, does show up on a screen at the marriage counseling clinic in "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez," strengthening the theory.
    • Rick and Morty also appeared in an extended Couch Gag in The Simpsons.
    • A background character occasionally appears in the show with rainbow suspenders and a football on his shirt with stitching that looks like Roman numerals. The corresponding letters of the alphabet were supposed to be part of a crossover hidden message along with Gravity Falls and Murder Police. Only Rick and Morty followed through with the plan, and given the fact that Murder Police was pulled from Fox's schedule before it ever aired, the crossover may never happen.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jerry is pretty on the ball when he’s not being constantly emasculated.
    • Morty may be a neurotic, dim-witted wimp, but when push comes to shove, he can put up a surprisingly good fight. Mr. Jellybean and Evil Rick learned this the hard way.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The various Mortys in "Something Ricked" offer a Chick Tracts-like booklet that describes "The Path of the One True Morty", which was available in physical form with DVDs of the first season and describes a religion which preaches them to never follow Rick and live a simple, independent life, after which they go to an afterlife filled with space motorcycles and all the Jessicas they can ever want.
  • Curse Cut Short: The head alien in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" says, "This is going to be such a mind f——!" cut to commercial.
  • Cutaway Gag: A major plot point of "Total Rickall". The mind parasites manifest themselves in the form of flashbacks, which are presented as these.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Rick is often involved in various bizarre get-rich-quick schemes despite the fact that he could easily make himself wealthy simply by selling his inventions to the public or use them for more productive purposes. Of course, this would require Rick to give a crap about other humans.
  • Dance Party Ending: A very unique one at the end of "Ricksy Business".
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: Rick takes advantage of this at the end of "Rick Potion #9"; when he causes a Cronenberg Apocalypse, he and Morty escape to a very particular universe where their counterparts cure the Cronenberg plague and are killed almost immediately afterwards by an unrelated incident.
  • Deadly Game: The Cromulons have a show called Planet Music, wherein they travel to planets looking for talent, teleport qualifying planets to their region of space, then force them to compete against each other. Losers and those who refuse to participate are disintegrated by plasma ray.
  • Death Is Cheap: At the end of "Interdimensional Cable 2 : Tempting Fate", Jerry gets shot 57 times by alien bodyguards, with very graphic footage of the bullets going straight through his body and skull. Cue his family screaming in horror as the screen fades to black with Jerry lying face down in a pool of his own blood. What happens next ? He opens his eyes to a TV commercial about butthole ice-cream as his family rejoices around his hospital bed. Turns out, getting shot down in a super-advanced alien hospital is no worse than getting a splinter removed from your finger.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Of Western Animated Fantastic Comedy.
  • Delivery Stork: In "Get Schwifty", Prinicpal Vagina's head religion believes that undesirables should be sent up to the Cromulons by balloons, whereupon they'll be sneezed back as better babies.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At the end of "Something Ricked" Rick and Summer get their revenge on Mr. Needful by bulking up and beating the shit out of him in front of thousands of people at the n33dful.com product launch.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Rick nonchalantly "buys" an ironically-cursed item from Louis Cypher (you don't pay for items in his store... not with money), analyses it, takes out the curse while keeping the supernatural benefits, and offers to do the same for other "customers" of Satan's store in exchange for cash. This almost drives Satan to suicide.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Fart's "Goodbye Moonmen" song is accompanied by bizarre visuals whenver he sings it to Morty.
  • Distress Call: In "Auto Erotic Assimilation", Rick insists that you always answers these. Nine out of ten times, it leads to a ship full of dead aliens waiting to be looted.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The monsters in The Stinger for "Ricksy Business" seem to be getting a lot of pleasure from shoving people into each others' holes. The human teen seems to enjoy it, too. Abradolf, not so much.
    • Also, from the same episode Squanch Cat was always looking for a place to squanch. We never find out explicitly what that is, but it sure looks a lot like auto-erotic asphyxiation.
    • The mining of Pluto in "Something Ricked This Way Comes" is a pretty clear allegory for oil drilling and global warming.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In "Rick Potion #9", several donuts can be seen on the ground next to the dead police officer when Jerry grabs his rifle.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted In "Ricksy Business" when Lucy tries to rape Jerry at gunpoint and it's portrayed as just as wrong as if the genders were reversed. She even gets an appropriately brutal case of Laser-Guided Karma afterwards.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male:
    • Averted in "Meeseeks and Destroy". A living, anthropomorphic jelly bean attempts to rape Morty in a public restroom and, apart from the attempted rapist being a giant jelly bean (due to the bizarre fantasy setting), it is portrayed completely seriously. Morty manages to overpower the jelly bean and knock it unconscious by smashing its head with a toilet seat, but Morty is still clearly traumatized by the experience. Once Rick notices something is wrong, he immediately and completely drops his asshole personality and genuinely tries to comfort him.
    • Similarly averted in "Anatomy Park" when Summer's boyfriend breaks down and confesses that his older brother "took him into the bushes" and "made him feel like a girl".
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Rick Potion #9" is up there with "Jurassic Bark" and "You're Getting Old" as one of the biggest downer endings in the history of adult animated sitcoms. Rick and Morty destroy civilization with a plague and have to move to an alternate timeline where they fixed everything, but died shortly afterwards. They had to leave behind their family from the original timeline, but in the post-credits scene it's shown that in the original dimension Jerry and Beth got over their marital problems and are happy without Rick and Morty around. It's a fairly disturbing ending, since it still involves real characters dying. Only to be replaced just like that. But as Rick says, just don't think about it. The irony to this is if Morty had followed through with helping Rick in the first place it would've killed them in their own universe, so he inadvertently saved their lives. Rather twisted indeed. The irony here is twofold: As Rick explains to Morty, if he hadn't screwed up as bad as he did (i.e. if he had managed to cure the Cronenbergs instead of abandoning the world to its fate and traveling to a universe where his counterpart succeeded instead) then they (the original Rick and Morty) would be the ones who died and were replaced instead.
    • Rick gets his first downer ending in "Auto Erotic Assimilation" when he runs into an old mate of his, Unity the Hive Mind. They get back together until Summer convinces Unity that Rick is a bad influence on it/them, and it/them leaves him. At the end of the episode we see him drunkenly prepare to commit suicide via a disintegration ray aimed at his head. However, he passes out moments before it fires and it misses, leaving us with him passed out on his desk as uncharacteristically emotional music plays in the background.
    • "The Wedding Squanchers" serves as this for the entirety of Season 2. It turns out Tammy was an undercover agent for the Galactic Federation and was planning on using her wedding to Bird-Person to trap as many of Rick's friends as she could. The Smiths managed to escape, but Bird-Person was killed and Squanchy's fate is unknown. Rick had a Heel Realization and decided to turn himself in so that his family could resume their lives on a now alien occupied Earth, but only Jerry (who is Rick's most vocal critic and benefits greatly from the Federation taking over Earth) ends up happy because of this. Oh, and Mr. Poopybutthole molested a pizza guy in The Stinger. Season 3's got a hell of a starting point.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: In "Lawnmower Dog", when Rick and Morty go from the completed A Plot to the developing B Plot.
    Rick: Out of the frying pan, dot dot dot, eh Morty?
  • Dream Land: In "Lawnmower Dog", Rick and Morty traveled into the dreams of Morty's math teacher.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Rick sticks his head into a disintegration ray at the end of "Auto Erotic Assimilation". It only fails when he passes out at the last second.
    • In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", the scientist who created the teenyverse in the hope of harnessing its energy commits suicide when he realizes his own planet was created by another scientist for the same purpose.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It becomes more and more obvious as the first season went on that Rick doesn't just drink because he wants to. In "Ricksy Business", Bird Person flat out states that he does it to cope with a dire amount of emotional pain.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" Jerry has sex with a stalled simulation of Beth and seems to find it more enjoyable because she wasn't moving.
  • Dumb Is Good: Doofus Rick - ten times dumber than our Rick, but at least a hundred times nicer. Perhaps having all the other Ricks making fun of him constantly has made him compassionate.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Rick is an alcoholic sociopath, Morty is a neurotic teenager who gets broken several times, Jerry's hopelessly insecure, Beth's thinking about leaving him and is slowly regretting marrying him, and Summer's starting to feel unwanted. Just another happy family!

  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The short that the show was based off of, "Doc and Mharti," had the title characters having totally different names, was animated much more sloppy, and was essentially a Shallow Parody of Back to the Future. The short also crossed the line much farther and was much more vulgar than its current incarnation. It also featured a fairly explicit display of "Mharti" giving "Doc" oral sex.
    • The first real episode has Rick spend the first several minutes in an incoherent stupor, constantly repeating Morty's name and stumbling around. While Rick continues to be a substance-abuser, he's much more of a Functional Addict and Magnificent Bastard for the rest of the show.
    • The first episode has no post-credits stinger.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In "Get Schwifty", the Cromulons destroy planets with a plasma ray when they fail their music contest or refuse to participate.
  • E = MC Hammer: Parodied; an equation flies by in the opening credits to establish the sci-fi nature of the show, but it's "3 + 3 = 6".
  • Einstein Hair: Rick has it. In fact, his 'do caused the Time Police to mistake the famous physicist for Rick from just seeing the back of his head. They gave Einstein a beat-down and warn him not to mess with time, apparently inspiring him to create his famous E=MC squared formula out of spite.
  • Ejection Seat: Rick's car has a "Passenger Purge" button, which dumps everyone in the backseat out of the bottom of the car. Rick being Rick, it's entirely on him to do this in such a way that the passengers survive the landing.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In the opening credits, the team is seen fleeing from a Cthulhu-esque creature with a smaller, baby version carried by Summer. It is unknown if this will end up as an episode, and whether or not they stole it from him, or the scene is implying darker subtexts.
  • Emotion Eater: The Cromulons in "Get Schwifty" feed on the talent and showmanship of less-evolved lifeforms
  • Enemy Without: The marriage counselors at Nuptia 4 use a device which manifests the user's unconscious perception of their partner into a living, breathing monster. Jerry's perception of Beth manifests as a giant, Xenomorph-like beast while Beth's perception of Jerry manifests as a pathetic slug-like creature. The two end up working together to escape and cause havok due to the Smith's codependent relationship.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The cold opening of the pilot has a stinking drunk Rick barging into Morty's room in the middle of the night, dragging him off to a flying machine he built out of "stuff in the garage" and revealing he built a bomb and plans to make Morty and his crush the new Adam and Eve. When Morty stops him, he tries to pass it off as a Secret Test of Character.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Parodied at the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rick's morality is pretty loose, but occasionally he finds his limits:
    • Despite outscamming the Zigerians, Rick was genuinely affected by their mind tricks and especially their imitating Morty. The Stinger shows him still sort of reeling from the deception.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now," Rick gets excited to see some "purge" carnage, but something off-screen disgusts him so much that he regrets watching.
  • Evil Laugh: Mr. Needful usually has one after saying "you don't pay for anything in this store... not with money". Rick sarcastically joins in.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Parodied; before Unity took over an entire unnamed alien civilization and made everyone live in hive-mind bliss, the planet was on the verge on tearing itself apart via an extremely volatile race war based on nipple shapes. Eventually, Morty and Summer conclude that the only problem with the situation is Rick being a terrible influence.
  • Exact Words:
    • Mr. Needful's microscope lets you see things beyond comprehension. It makes you too dumb to understand anything. Unfortunately for him, Rick is too Genre Savvy to fall for it.
    • When Morty asks Rick how many people Rick invited to the party in "Ricksy Business", Rick claims it's only six. A flying saucer then lands and out pours a few dozen blob-like aliens, which aren't technically people.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick orders his car AI to keep Summer safe. What follows is an escalating series of exact adherence to her commands as she balks at the lengths it will go to protect her. First, it unceremoniously kills people that might be a threat to Summer. When Summer tells it not to kill anyone, it instead uses a precise laserbeam to paralyze them from the waist down. When Summer orders it not to physically harm anyone, it resorts to psychologically scarring them.
  • Executive Veto: In-Universe example. The Stinger of "Anatomy Park" had Rick's Pirates of the Pancreas ride axed by the Chief "Imagineerian".
  • Expendable Clone: Evil Rick tortures hundreds of alternate Mortys in order to hide himself.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Parodied. Rick irreversibly ruins Earth in one universe, and travels to a different one. Rick doesn't care at all. Morty on the other hand is horrified. And in the stinger, Cronenberg Marty and Rick (referring to each other as such) come out of a portal in the abandoned world, having mutated everyone in their home world into 'normal' humans, and abandoned it in the same manner.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", Zeep tries to convince a scientist within his miniverse not to develop his own teenyverse, as he wants to keep stealing power through the old method. When he catches himself making the same arguments Rick was making earlier, he realizes that his own homeworld is a microverse made by Rick.
  • Expy:
    • Rick is basically Doc Brown if he were an alcoholic sociopath, and Morty is Marty McFly if he were Doc Brown's dimwitted grandson. In fact, the show started as a web series directly parodying of them.
    • Scary Terry is basically Freddy Krueger. Rick even says that he's a knock-off of some '80s horror film. It is also pointed out that Terry has miniature swords, not knives, on his fingers.
    • The Pop Tart living in the toaster oven looks like the one featured in current Pop Tart commercials.
    • Morty's speech pattern and awkwardness are very similar to Bobby Calzone from Drowning Mona.
    • A less subtle one is Gazorpazorpfield. Although, Rick and Morty noticed that it's just an alternate version of Garfield.
    • Rick also seems to have a few elements of The Doctor, having adventures through time and space with a companion and being considered a rogue by a high council of his peers. There's also the fact that he secretly harbors a great deal of personal emotional pain.
    • King Jelly Bean looks almost identical to the character Crumply Crumplestein in Roiland's previous short "Unbelievable Tales."
  • Exotic Eye Designs: All the characters have somewhat jagged-looking pupils.
  • Extreme Doormat: Downplayed by Morty - he may put up with a lot of crap from Rick with little to no objection, but he does have his limits, as he shows in the very first episode before any Character Development.
  • Eye Awaken: Happens with Abradolf Lincler in The Stinger for "Ricksy Business". He even shouts "REVENGE!" right before getting slurped up by some testicle monsters.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Evil Morty. And boy, is the "power" element literal. He used it as an interface to control Evil "Rick". When he goes into hiding, he simply takes it off to reveal an intact eye with some wires sticking out.
  • Fake Memories: The parasites in "Total Rickall" create happy memories in the minds of their victims, taking the form of a non-existence relative or some such, then assume the appearance of the subject of the memories. They breed by repeating this process ad nauseum. It quickly takes a turn for the ridiculous as the parasites assume ever-more implausible forms, such as fictional monsters like Frankenstein's monster, talking animals, and so forth, all of which the family accepts as commonplace because the memories tell them they are.
  • False Cause: In "Get Schwifty", Principal Vagina forms a religion around the Cromulons, ignorant of the true reason behind their appearance. Beth even discusses it. Principal Vagina quickly lets the power go to his head.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: It bears noting that since this is an adult show, it doesn't have any compunctions about showing realistic firearms. Though this is subverted with Rick's various energy weapons - while a lot of them have a sort of Raygun Gothic aesthetic, Rick's favorite pistol loads like a conventional 21st-century automatic, and when shown, their effecs are even gorier than one could expect from contemporary weapons.
  • Fan Disservice: Rick wearing BDSM gear in "Lawnmower Dogs".
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Implied in "Meeseeks and Destroy", where the giants seem to be very prejudiced towards "tiny people". Given that the villagers' only idea to get money boiled down to breaking into an innocent giant family's castle and stealing from them, this might be justified.
    • "Rixty Minutes" features a political ad for a universe where there are men with trunks surgically attached to their faces, which allows them to have sex with both men and women. They're fighting for the right to get married.
    • The episode "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" has two instances; Rick spray-painting gang graffiti on a starship bulkhead to make the police think that a certain group of aliens looted it; and the blue-skinned people differentiate race by the shape of their areolas, and feel so strongly about it that a progrom can be declared with no more emotional weight than a food fight.
  • Fantastic Slur:
    • Glip-Glop for Travlorkians. It's like the N Word and C word had a baby and was raised by all the bad words for Jews. Rick greets an entire saucer of them by calling them this.
    • When the dog Snuffles becomes super intelligent and enslaves the family, he insists they call him Snowball because "Snuffles was my slave name". Technically it's more of an anthropomorphic slur.
    • Gearhead's real name is "Revolio Clockberg Jr." Calling him "Gearhead" is like calling a Chinese person "Asia Face".
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The episode "Anatomy Park" is a mixture of this and Jurassic Park.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: This is the punishment that the Council of Ricks has in mind for a rogue Rick believed to be responsible for a murder spree.
    "Earth Rick C-137, the Council of Ricks sentences you to the Machine of Unspeakable Doom, which swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp. Also, every ten seconds, it stabs your balls."
  • The Federation: The series occasionally mentions a Galactic Federation, which Rick is stated to have issues with. According to Bird Person, he and Rick are at war with the Federation and are considered terrorists. Earth joins the Federation at the end of Season 2.
  • Fictional Currency:
    • The schmeckle. Twenty-five of them are enough for a boob job or a ride down some very tall stairs, and a sackful can bail a village out of poverty. According to Dan Harmon during a Reddit AMA, he said a schmeckle is worth roughly 148 USD.
    • The flurbo. Three-thousand of them is enough for two humans to spend an entire afternoon at Blips and Chitz!
    • The blemflarp. The cure to a highly infectious disease that you could call "space AIDS" is worth billions of them.
    • The repbul. A plumbus is apparently worth six repbuls.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Despite the fact that he's personally met Satan and a few demons, Rick is still a Hollywood Atheist. Although "Rickle in Time" gives us the "No atheists in a foxhole" gag, where Prayer Is a Last Resort is immediately laughed off when things start going the right way.
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • Rick does it frequently.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick taught his Pocket Dimension that this is the symbol for peace. He thought it was hilarious. Zeep also teaches his Pocket Dimension their equivalent of Flipping the Bird for the same reason. What makes it especially funny is the fact that is the symbol for peace in Rick's dimension. Rick also had some other language-based fun at their expense.
    Mayor: F*** you!
    Rick: *Grabbing the mayor by the collar* What did you say to me?!
    Mayor: F-f*** you! Y-you told me it means "much obliged"!
    Rick: Oh. Right. Uh, b-blow me.
    Mayor: No, no, no. Blow me.
  • Foil
    • Jerry is a foil to Rick. Smart vs stupid, brave vs cowardly (or vice versa), reluctant to bond vs quick to bond. Their primary similarities are they're in the same family and they're both assholes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!"
      • Jerry is still wearing a suit after it's revealed that they were inside a simulation inside a bigger simulation. The suit disappears when it's revealed that they were actually still inside a third layer of simulation.
      • Also, if you watch the episode a second time, the first one minute and twenty-four seconds are foreshadowing of the fact that Rick suspected that simulated!Morty was a simulation all along, and the first line "this is just poor craftsmanship" referring to the possum he's dissecting is a complaint about the simulators - he's probably doing it to determine how many levels down he is.
      • Also, the alien simulation of Morty smiles knowingly as Rick brags that he's going to beat the aliens at their own game.
      • Also also, the aliens say that there's another human in the simulation, not a third human when they find Jerry. The language makes it ambiguous, but it sticks out on a re-watch.
      • Also yet again, Rick lampshades the Contrived Coincidence of Morty going into another room and immediately finding the exact ingredients for concentrated dark matter, because he correctly suspected they were still in a simulation. The recipe was fake, but the aliens cluelessly try it anyway and get vaporized.
      • If you listen closely in the beginning The aliens note that Jerry was in a different sector of the simulation and had to lower the processing power for him so Rick doesn't get wise. Later on we see that Jerry is in his own room on his own treadmill, which means he was in his own simulation independent to that of Rick's. However, this was before we find out that they were in fact in another layer of simulation, which explains why lowering the processing power in his separate room boosted that in Rick's room, since they're both technically in the same room the entire time.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick's skewed view of love, being "just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed" hints at what his love potion actually is.
    • "Rixty Minutes": Jerry and Beth's first trip with the goggles both being realities in dimension C-500 A.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters", when Rick and Morty are on their way to the council, Rick is offered Morty insurance.
    • In the pilot, Rick mentions that he builds robots for fun. In "Something Ricked This Way Comes" we see one - a tabletop model whose only purpose in life is to pass the butter. It's sophisticated enough to be extremely disappointed at not being used for anything else.
    • Fart's song "Goodbye Moonmen" in "Mortynight Run" sounds like Word Salad Lyrics comprised of extraterestrial Technobabble, but it's actually about establishing peace throughout the universe by wiping out all carbon-based life.
    • In "Total Rickall,":
      • When everyone's going through their cellphones looking for pictures to show who is and isn't real, Mr. Poopy Butthole says he doesn't have any of them either. We learn not long after that the parasites can only create POSITIVE memories, so him not having any would go against the nature of the parasites, and it's also notable that ONLY characters that are real check their cellphones for photos. This foreshadows that Mr. Poopy Butthole is NOT one of the parasites.
      • In addition, despite Mr. Poopy Butthole being inexplicably in the opening credits, it's notable that none of those memories would've been good. In fact, there's only one scene in the opening credits which is a 'good memory': Mr. Beauregarde appears in the pillow fight, revealing the true original parasite.
      • Also, Rick's catchphrase montage is the first flashback of the episode to only contain real characters. It's also the episode's first set of negative memories, judging from the collective groan from the room immediately afterwards. This is an early suggestion that the parasites can't create negative memories.
      • Subverted by showing family pictures that only contain the real characters in the background of some shots, which are never used to solve the problem, and might have resulted in false negatives if they were.
  • Flying Saucer:
    • Rick's homemade spaceship uses this aesthetic, albeit with wheels and headlights like a normal car.
    • The Travlorkians fly one to Rick's party.
  • Forced Perspective: In "The Wedding Squanchers," the family's first selection for a new home planet looks very Earth-like from a distance... until Rick tries to get closer and bonks the spaceship into the planet, revealing that it is much closer and much smaller than they realized.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Despite Rick supposedly being away from the family for 20 years, one of Rick's memories and a picture in Bird Person's house show that Rick was secretly visiting Morty (who is 14) when he was an infant. Morty doesn't remember this. This has led to some Wild Mass Guessing that our Rick and Morty aren't natives of the same dimension.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Rick is flipping through the channels in "Rixty Minutes", one channel has Game of Thrones on, except all the cast members are dwarves. Except for Tyrion who is the sole tall person.
    • "Something Ricked This Way Comes" has an unintentional one where a man is holding a "God hates fags" sign and it changes to "God hates you" for one frame. They changed it to "God hates fags" after the censors approved it, but they accidentally left in that one frame.
    • In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens", there's a brief shot of the back of a Plutonian from "Something Ricked This Way Comes" during the anti-gravity sequence.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters", a notebook, a pen, and a mug with a question mark on it can be seen falling out of one of the portals Rick opened.
    • "Auto Erotic Assimilation" has the hive-mind Unity create a show just for Rick, which turns out to be Dan Harmon's previous show, Community. Also serves as a Stealth Pun.
  • Freudian Threat: In "Lawnmower Dog", Snowball threatens to have Jerry neutered. Jerry assumes he's being threatened with a haircut.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • In "Rick Potion #9" Rick tries to cure a virus that made everyone infected want to have sex with Morty with a stronger virus mixed with praying mantis DNA. The end result turned the people into mutated mantis people who want to have sex with Morty and then bite his head off. And then Rick makes a cure for the virus (composed of the DNA of a myriad of different animals) which, although effective in making everyone stop being madly in love with Morty, Cronenbergs them into hideous, mutated monsters. Rick and Morty end up just abandoning the world to its fate and settling in an Alternate Universe where Rick succeeded in fixing everything only to kill him and Monty in a lab accident just as the prime duo arrive to replace them.
    • The Strawberry Smiggles commercial opens with the cereal's mascot desperately rushing to eat his Smiggles before any kids steal it from him. It doesn't help. Oh, BOY does it not help.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "Ricksy Business", Morty tosses a bag of crystal narcotics outside into an environment full of giant testicle monsters. A tentacle immediately scoops the bag up, after which said monster can be seen tripping balls in the background.
    • In "Mortynight Run", when Rick and Morty are at Blips and Chitz playing Roy, you can see an Alien playing pinball with a Mr. Meeseeks next to him. After the alien beats the game, Mr. Meeseeks disappears.
  • Gaussian Girl: Parodied in "Ricksy Business". Jessica is introduced this way, only for Rick to scold Slow-Mobius for messing with time to create the effect.
  • Genre Savvy: One of Rick's defining traits.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the party chatter in "Ricksy Business", one of Summer's high-school friends is discussing how she enjoys watching bukkake, and is considering whether to do it herself. The word is a genre of pornography, which some censors might not be aware of.
    • In "Total Rickall", Rick is shown wearing an apron reading "Suck My D__k".
    • "Schmeckle" is an alien unit of currency in the show, but it's also Yiddish slang for a penis.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers," the wedding band's conga drums are shaped like purple scrotums. Several laser blasts hit them and make them wobble.
  • Giant Spider: In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", the universe Rick, Morty, and Summer are visiting has giant, telepathic spiders.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: All over the place in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens". The simulation isn't that high-quality to begin with, and Jerry's section is running on 5% processing power.
  • Godwin's Law:
    • In the pilot, Morty tells Rick he's worse than Hitler (since even he cared about Germany, "or something") when he shows no empathy over Morty breaking his legs.
    • At the end of "Rick Potion #9", when Morty is freaking out over having to replace his Dead Alternate Counterpart in another dimension, he asks Rick "What about the reality we left behind?" Rick responds by telling him "What about the reality where Hitler cured cancer, Morty? The point is, don't think about it."
    • Jessica's boyfriend invokes it on Abradolf Lincler. He probably gets this a lot. Though, to be fair, Lincler played the Lincoln card first. He was asking for the rebuttal.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the season 1 finale, Beth and Jerry go to a fancy Titanic-themed cruise line, complete with a crash into a prop iceberg that's supposed to result in the ship sinking in a safe, controlled manner. The ship misses the iceberg and doesn't sink. This is treated like a disaster.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick sends Beth and Jerry off to an alien couples therapy retreat to fix their marriage. It works by taking the couple's unconscious perception of each other and manifesting it as monsters which they can then observe. Monster!Beth proceeded to use Monster!Jerry's gelatinous form to blend in with the wall and escape her cell. By the time Beth and Jerry solved the problem, the entire retreat was destroyed.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Beth's repeated hints of wanting to have an affair to the point where Jerry actually jokes about it is seen as somehow empowering.
  • Gorn: Graphic violence is quite frequent, mostly involving aliens. It reaches its zenith in "Look Who's Purging Now."
  • Groin Attack:
    • The Machine of Unspeakable Doom swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp. Also, it stabs your balls every ten seconds.
    • When Rick is sold out by Gearhead, he kicks Gearhead in the crotch, rips out his "gearsticles", then swaps them for his mouth gears.
    • Rick and Zeep do this to each other in "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick with a kick and Zeep with a punch. Rick, surprisingly, just powers through it.
    • In "Wedding Squanchers", Rick warns his family that the Galactic Federation will torture them by hooking their testicles/labia up to the alien equivalent of a car battery.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Beth and Jerry only got married because Jerry got Beth pregnant after prom. Their fragile marriage is a recurring theme, and they are quite aware of it, but it's usually resolved at the end of the episode, and the marriage seems to improve somewhat over the course of the first season.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • Averted with Frank Palicky in the first episode. Rick had insisted he'd be fine, but the frozen Frank fell over and shattered.
    • Played straight in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind" when one of the Ricks freezes Jerry and unfreezes him with no ill effects.
  • Heroic BSOD: Morty suffers one at the end of "Rick Potion #9" as he tries to cope with his entire world going to hell, and then suddenly finding himself in a world where nothing went wrong except that he just replaced his own self, who had died just moments before.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At least one out of 48 versions of Rick was prepared to do one to save Morty, though circumstances allowed for him to save himself as well.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Morty's love interest, Jessica. Also Rick and Unity.
  • Hidden Depths: There's a lot more to Rick than just a drunk asshole who's good with science. We have yet to see all of it, but you can tell it's there. Directly referenced at the end of "Ricksy Business", where an embittered Morty says that Rick "isn't that complicated" and Bird Person explains that he's wrong.
  • High School Dance: In "Rick Potion #9", Morty's school held a "Flu Season Dance."
    Principle Vagina: Please note: if you have the flu, do not attend this dance. It's about awareness, not endorsement.
  • Hobos: Reuben from "Anatomy Park" is one. Justified since you don't agree to have a theme park built inside you if your life is going great, though he is a more modern variant.
    Robot Reuben Tour Guide: My story begins in the Dot Com Crash of the late '90s...
  • How We Got Here: Parodied in "Look Who's Purging Now." Morty listens to a screenplay that begins with a trite scene of danger and then flashes back to "Three weeks earlier." Morty groans.
  • Huge Holographic Head: The Cromulons are an entire race of partially-transparent floating heads.
  • Humble Goal: When Rick introduces the problem-solving Meeseeks to the family, he tells them to keep their requests simple. Summer asks to be more popular at school, and Beth asks to be a more complete woman. Trying to heed Rick's warning, Jerry just asks to take two strokes off his golf game. Guess which problems are solved easily and which one turns into a huge ordeal.
  • Hypocrite: The Council of Ricks was formed because of government attempts to control other Ricks, yet they enforce their will on all Ricks regardless of whether or not they have joined.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "The Ricks Must be Crazy" has Rick bemoan that the Pocket Dimension powering his car in turn invented and then copied his scam. When Morty brings up the hypocrisy, Rick merely realizes that he can use this to convince the one from his creation to switch back to the original power source. Then it goes a layer deeper as instead of the scientist just realizing that he's a hypocrite, he realizes they're both hypocrites so Rick is probably doing the exact same thing he is but one universe higher.
    • "The Ricks Must be Crazy" also has this bit:
    Morty: What's wrong, Rick? Is it the quantum carburetor or something?
    Rick: "Quantum carburetor"? Jesus, Morty, you can't just add a *burp* sci-fi word to a car word and hope it means something. Huh, looks like there's something wrong with the microverse battery.
    • "The Wedding Squanchers" has Beth's conversation with Birdperson. While he opens up with secret details about Rick's past, she ignores him and keeps complaining about how Rick was a wayward father. After Birdperson leaves, she mutters that it's "like talking to a brick wall."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most episode titles are based on a movie title with "Rick" inserted into it somewhere. It is even lampshaded by Rick in one of the promos.
    Rick: What's [the episode] called?
    Morty: "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind"!
    Rick: What, really? That's horrible! What kind of formula is that?! Take a movie title and arbitrarily shoehorn my name into it?
    Morty: I don't think they put a lot of thought into it, y'know. I think they save their creative energy for the show.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: At the climax of "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Morty and Summer have to do this with Rick who's trapped in a younger clone of himself that's taken over his personality.
  • Immediate Sequel: The second season starts where the first season ended.
  • I'm Standing Right Here:
    • Rick suggests to Morty that they kill Fart and go home. Fart is telepathic and says as much, to which Rick retorts that he was being polite.
    • This is a Running Gag with Summer and Unity, as the latter always complains when Summer tries to complain about it assimilating the planet into a single Hive Mind.
  • In-Joke: Rick makes a fake one referring to "Redgren Grumbholdt" at Jerry's expense, and calls Morty and Summer out when they laugh along.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: When Tricia Helfer and James Callis show up for the season 2 finale, they're voicing characters who are dead ringers for their most famous previous roles. As an added bonus, they turn out to be homicidal cyborgs.
  • In Medias Res: Discussed in "Look Who's Purging Now". A man wrote a screenplay using How We Got Here, a version of this trope, and asks Morty for feedback:
    Morty: I feel, you know, we should start our stories where they begin, not start them when they get interesting.
  • Insane Proprietor: Ants in My Eyes Johnson. Though, his low prices are not due to insanity, but rather due to blindness caused by the ants in his eyes.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Most realities have a Rick, and most Ricks have a Morty. Even some of the really strange realities, like the one where Morty was an anthropomorphic hammer for some reason. Maybe not a perfect example, since there are an infinite number of universes. For the infinite number of universes that have a Rick and a Morty there are theoretically an equal number of identical universes that have no Rick and no Morty, and another set of identical universes with only one or the other. Most of the universes we see have a Rick and a Morty, because most of the alternate universes we see are because of different versions of Rick are interacting.
  • Insult to Rocks: In the pilot, after Morty breaks both his legs and Rick observes him in a matter-of-fact fashion as he writhes on the ground, Morty accuses him of being "like Hitler, but at least Hitler cared about Germany or something."
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: With Gravity Falls in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind". After Rick opens multiple portals to distract his pursuers while he and Morty hop between universes, one of the portals spits out a pen, a notebook, and a cup with a question mark, the same items sucked into a portal during the stinger of an episode of Gravity Falls that aired over half a year after "Close Rick-Counters".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rick and Morty.
  • Irony: Rick claims that "To escape the government you became the government" to the Council of Ricks.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: The U.S. president asks if the Pope's member can fit through a donut in place of "I'm not sure" when asked if he can fly a Blackhawk.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: While flipping through channels in "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate", the entire Smith family sans Jerry stumble upon the following scene: Jerry, in an operating room, with his pants down, keeping the doctors hostage with an alien dildo for a weapon, demanding that they remove his penis. Naturally, their immediate reaction is that it must be an alternate reality where this sort of thing is normal.
  • It Only Works Once: Rick tells Morty that they can only do the jump into another reality after irreversibly ruining our own thing three more times, four tops. He knows the viewers wouldn't be impressed if they did it more than that across the series.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "Rixty Minutes", Beth and Jerry use one of Rick's devices to learn about alternate versions of themselves, and find out how their lives might have gone differently if Summer had never been born.
  • I Work Alone: Rick claims this as a reason he hasn't joined the Council of Ricks.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Rick Potion #9", Rick calls Morty out for using a love potion to force a girl to fall in love with him, at one point comparing it to roofies. Although Morty fires back by noting that Rick still made it for him (and his only initial objection was that it was a waste of his talent), while also noting that Rick wound up turning the whole planet into David Cronenberg-ian monstrosities through his own carelessness and a lot of bizarre assumptions in regards to biology.
  • Jerk Jock: Morty runs into one in "Rick Potion #9" when trying to ask out his crush, Jessica, to the Flu Season Dance. He's actually pretty self-aware:
    Brad: Dude, stay in your league! Look at how hot she is! You don't see me going to a bigger school in a wealthier district and hitting on their prettiest girl!
    Jessica: Gee, thanks Brad.
    Brad: I throw balls far. You want good words, date a languager.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Decidedly more gravitated toward the "jerk" part of a spectrum, Comedic Sociopath Rick is shown on occasion to have a bit of leftover humanity in him, occasionally reaching out to Morty in a more thoughtful, sympathetic manner than usual (usually with traumatizing results). Although Rick acts like he doesn't care about most things, his actions repeatedly imply that this is at least partially an act.
  • Just A Flesh Wound: Rick gets shot in the liver with his laser pistol and yet seems pretty good to go. A few scenes later he puts some science gunk on the wound, which apparently heals it.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: In "Mortynight Run", Rick and Morty go to a "cross-temporal asteroid" which seems to exist in all timelines at once, yet isn't perceptible unless you know where to look. One version of Rick set up a Jerry daycare there in case other Ricks needed somewhere to dump their Jerrys for a while.
  • Kissing Warm Up: When Morty falls asleep at the breakfast table after one of Rick's escapades, his mother asks him if he's feeling well, and then asks if he's been kissing the pillow that the dog sleeps on.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Adventures of Stealy follows a strange creature who steals from everyone and chloroforms people who get in his way.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Mr. Jellybean, who completely unironically attempts to rape Morty in "Meeseeks and Destroy".
    • Evil Morty appears to be an example of this, for while throughout the episode Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind it was built up that Evil Rick was the threat. At the end though, it turns out that Evil Morty was the mastermind all along. Throughout the episode he shows little signs of emotion, and never has a single funny line, his lines in particular being quite the opposite. This clip really sets it in though just how serious the character is compared to the rest of the show, and appears to be hinting at the bigger picture.
  • Lack of Empathy: One of Rick's primary character traits; he very seldomly gives a shit about anybody other than himself, to the point where "Just don't think about it" is practically one of his catchphrases. Character Development, however, has shown that not only is this attitude only a little more than skin-deep, but also it didn't occur without provocation. By the end of Season 1, he's officially in Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • The Lancer: Morty is decidedly a foil for Rick, described by the latter as "as dumb as [Rick is] smart." This is actually one of his key motivations for bringing Morty along on adventures.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • "Meeseeks and Destroy": King Jellybean attempts to rape Morty and Morty beats the crap out of him, and later Rick kills him.
    • "Something Ricked This Way Comes": Mr. Needful/Lucifer scams Summer, Rick and Summer beat the shit out of him.
    • "Ricksy Business": Lucy almost rapes Jerry at gunpoint and Beth beats the crap out of her, and later she gets run over by a car.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    • Lampshaded and averted in "Anatomy Park".
      Morty: Spleen Mountain? Bladder Falls? Pirates of the Pancreas?
      Rick: You got a problem with that last one, Morty?
      Morty: No, I'm just saying them in the order that I see them.
    • In "Rixty Minutes", an alternate reality Saturday Night Live has a bizarre lineup of a piece of toast, two guys with handlebar mustaches, a guy painted silver who makes robot noises, Garmanarnar, three creatures even the narrator is stumped by, a peep hole, and Bobby Moynihan.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • In the pilot, during the first establishing shot of Interdimensional Customs, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot (without legs) and Gypsy can be seen as silhouettes in the crowd of aliens.
    • In the episode "Rixty Minutes," the characters in Hamsters in Buttland resemble the 30 Second Movies bunnies.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In "Rick Potion #9," Rick states that they can't replace themselves in another dimension "every week" and should only do it "three or four times, tops." This is an insinuated promise by the writers to not hit the Reset Button too often.
    • At the beginning of "Interdimensional Cable Part 2," the Sequel Episode to "Rixty Minutes," someone asks Rick what he's doing, and Rick responds, "A sequel." He then mutters about how he doesn't know whether it's really warranted because he "kind of nailed it the first time." The original episode was one of the most popular episodes of the first season.
    • At the end of "Look Who's Purging Now," Rick mentions the candy bars "that we got in the first act."
  • LEGO Genetics: Played for Laughs in "Rick Potion #9". First Rick tries to use praying mantis DNA to counter-act vole DNA (with the theory that mating once and then killing your mate is the opposite of living only to mate), then he admits genetics is more complicated than that, and so develops another cure:
    Rick: It's koala, mixed with rattlesnake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur. Should add up to normal humanity.
    Morty: I don't— that doesn't make any sense, Rick!
    • Rick also tries it in "Ricksy Business" with Abradolf Lincler: a genetic combination of Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler who was intended to be a morally neutral super-leader. Turns out he's just a jerk who can't deal with his conflicting emotions.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Morty and Jerry — both are insecure, neurotic, emotional, and tend to put up with a lot.
    Scroopy Noopers: Is everyone in your family an idiot?
    Morty: For sure, me and my dad are.
  • Literal Metaphor: In "Pilot", the "two plus two" part of Rick's rant about school sounds like it's just a metaphor but then it turns out that Morty's math test really consists of simple calculations like that.
  • Logic Bomb:
    • Three regarding golf in "Meeseeks and Destroy". Square your shoulders and keep your head down. Choke up and follow through. Try to relax.
    • Rick makes the first level of the simulation shut down in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" by talking to a crowd of people and making them do increasingly more complex things.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The parasites in "Total Rickall" are able to implant happy fake memories in their targets, then assume the identity of the focus of those memories. The parasite can then in turn inspire more memories, allowing its offspring to assume the forms within. The targets never question this because, to them, the parasites are trustworthy friends who have never done them wrong. Morty manages to snap everyone out of it by realizing the flaw in their deception: the parasites are incapable of fabricating negative memories. Because their family has no shortage of personal issues between them, it doesn't take long for them to weed out the parasites. Except for Mr. Poopy Butthole. He was, in fact, just that nice a guy.
  • Louis Cypher: In "Something Ricked This Way Comes" the proprietor of the cursed items shop, who is actually the devil, goes by the name "Lucius" Needful.
  • Love Potion: In "Rick Potion #9" Morty has Rick make one so Jessica will like him. Unfortunately, due to it being flu season the potion is transmitted through air, quickly causing the school (and eventually the entire world) to be in love with Morty. Rick later points out how Morty essentially asked him to make roofies.

  • Maintain the Lie: In "Meeseeks and Destroy", The Stinger has a servant finding disturbing pictures (most likely of exploited children) in King Jellybean's closet and being ordered to destroy them so the people will remember him for what he represented, not what he was.
    • Zeep at the end of "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" is forced to do this, rather than reveal to his people that Rick is using their entire universe to power his car battery, or else Rick would destroy the "broken" battery along with the multiverse inside it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Or rather, In Front Of The Man. In "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," Evil Morty is this to Evil Rick, who was only his robot puppet.
  • Man Hug: Jerry and Doofus Rick part ways with one.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Mr. Needful before he upgrades to his simpler Steve Jobs turtleneck.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In "Lawnmower Dog" after Rick and Morty unchain the rest of the family Summer pulls Morty face-first into her chest, made worse by the earlier Brain Bleach moment.
  • Meaningful Name: Beta 7 acts like a Dogged Nice Guy to Unity. A common slang term for men who act like that towards women is "beta male," as opposed to Rick's "alpha male" personality.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Rick says a universe run by intelligent dogs would be interesting to watch "at 11 minutes a pop".
    • In "Rixty Minutes", Rick and Morty comment that TV from other dimensions has a "looser feel" and an "improvisational tone." As they say this, the camera is positioned in such a way that although they're looking at the TV, it seems like they're looking at the audience.
    • The same episode runs the concept of alternate universes in two different directions, and one turns out to be significantly funnier than the other. Rick says to the characters stuck in the B-plot "you guys clearly backed the wrong conceptual horse."
    • When Morty and Summer express concerns about their parents in "A Rickle in Time", Rick says that "They're probably living it up in some pointless grounded story about their shitty marriage." The B-plot does indeed involve Beth and Jerry in a grounded story about their marriage.
  • Mind Rape: Being a gaseous creature, this seems to be Fart's only method of attack. Of course, since it can turn a perfectly adjusted person suicidal in less than a second, it's hardly anything to sneeze at.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Invoked/parodied in universe. When Morty's half-alien son (which he sired with a sexbot) expresses his frustration that he can't indulge in his alien half's violent impulses, the artist for Marmaduke appears and suggests that Morty Jr. do as he did and channel his rage into artistic creation, expressing shock and annoyance that people actually find his comic "funny."
  • Missing Mom: Rick has mentioned that his wife and Beth's mom has since passed. Knowing Rick, it's... probably best if we don't know the details. It's later mentioned that Rick left her.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In one episode Rick explains that an item he received is booby-trapped to lower the intelligence of whoever uses it, and uses the word "retarded" in doing so. Morty points out he doesn't think he can use that word. Rick has to clarify he means it literally and not as an insult. Subverted seconds later when Morty continues that even though Rick meant it literally, some important groups still might not be too happy that Rick used the word in any context, to which Rick replies "Well, that's retarded."
  • Mr. Seahorse: The theme sequence shows a scene where Jerry is getting ready to give birth, though it hasn't happened on the show yet. Fingers crossed.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Twice in "Meeseeks and Destroy". Firstly, when a Giant accidentally smashes his head and dies from the trauma, almost leading to Rick and Morty being convicted as murderers; and secondly, when Morty is almost raped in a restroom. It even cuts to Rick singing karaoke and the ridiculous Mr. Meeseeks brawl in the middle of the latter.
    • The Stinger for "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" has Rick drunkenly enter Morty's room, telling him he's a good kid and a trooper for putting up with all the crap he's been through. A sweet, if slightly disturbing, gesture. He then pulls a knife and holds it to Morty's neck, screaming at him to tell him if he's a simulation or he'll cut his throat. After a minute of this, Rick passes out on the floor, leaving Morty confused and terrified.
    • The A plot of "Rixty Minutes" is a series of absurd sketches improvised by the voice actors, with the framing device being that Rick has upgraded the family's cable to pick up channels from other dimensions. The B plot is the family having an existential crisis after learning of a dimension where Beth aborted the unplanned pregnancy that would have been Summer, and as a result, Beth and Jerry didn't get married and ended up with their dream jobs instead. The mood switches again when the Beth and Jerry from the alternate dimension are revealed to be unhappy in their dream jobs and still in love with each other.
  • Moon Landing Hoax: Suggested in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" that the aliens faked the Earth Moon Landing when Rick, Morty, and Jerry run by a simulation of it.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The third episode of the game, Rick lampshades the moon-logical solution of one of the puzzles. How do you give Morty his missing dimension back and make him a 2D sprite again? By cutting a cup from a DD bra and giving it to him, since it's now a single D.
  • Moral Myopia: Beth spent years putting Jerry down because she thought she was better than him, but was very offended when she found out she was holding him back as well.
  • Motivational Lie: In "Get Schwifty", Rick tells Morty that his portal gun only has enough charge for two trips: one to grab their family and one to get off planet. This is to get Morty to focus on placating the Cromulons rather than worrying about his family. Rick blows his own ruse when he casually portals out to pick up some snacks for Ice-T.
  • MST3K Mantra: In-universe example. For every disturbing thing Morty sees or experiences, Rick's advice is "Don't think about it!"
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Rick builds a self-aware, sentient robot to pass the butter, which is about an inch out of his reach and which he could have easily just leaned forward and grabbed in a fraction of the time it took to build the robot. When the robot finds this out, he's devastated.
    • Rick created a Pocket Dimension, manipulated the intelligent life within into generating massive amounts of power, and then channeled that power into... his car battery.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This hits Rick at the end of "Autoerotic Assimilation," when Unity says that his manipulative personality ends up bringing down all of his loved ones. It's enough to make him attempt suicide.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The o3o expression the characters use is one of the few things from Doc and Mharti that hasn't been changed.
    • At one point, Rick says that a whole world populated by dogs would make an interesting TV show. This is a reference to an actual pilot Justin Roiland made in the past.
    • Certain parts of Cronenberg-Rick might bring back some...memories.
    • The Cloning Blues invoked with the gradual mental degeneration of the Meeseeks brings to mind the defective Cosby clones from Roiland's earlier Web series House Of Cosbys. The alternate-dimension TV channels are also a similar concept to the series' nonsensical final episode involving alien satellite transmissions.
    • Are are a few instances where Rick tells someone to "lick [his] balls." It's one of his catchphrases in "Total Rickall" and he plays samples of himself saying "balls" to annoy Morty in "Get Schwifty." In the original "Doc and Mharti" short, Doc repeatedly asks Mharti to lick his balls as part of his science experiments.
    • Tiny!Rick's drawing in "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez" is of Doc.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", Rick figures out that he and Morty are being monitored by a race of aliens. Said aliens also happen to be really uncomfortable with nudity, so in order to have some privacy, well, do the math.
  • Name and Name
  • Negative Continuity: The creators have stated their intention not to have "traditional continuity," and that rule seems to hold. That said, it's been shown that really major changes in status quo, like the end of "Rick Potion #9", are indeed kept in effect.
  • Never My Fault: Beth blames all of her failures on Jerry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rick constantly encouraging Morty to "purge" in "Look Who's Purging Now?" caused Morty to go psycho and almost kill Rick.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Beth and Jerry. If they're the focus of an episode's plot line, it's probably about their struggling marriage. Deep down, they still care about each other, but there's so much resentment between them that the only reason they're still together at this point is for the sake of the kids. Well, that and Status Quo Is God.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    • Mr. Meeseeks! (Look at him!)
    • The Cromulons, though it's be a difficult task for a moon-sized talking head to take it down a notch.
  • No More for Me:
    • Beth attempts to kiss Mr. Meeseeks just as he disappears. A waiter asks if she wants more wine, and she decides she's done.
    • In an alternate universe where chairs and people are reversed, a chair discards the rest of his booze after seeing Rick and Morty walking around.
  • Non-Indicative Title: The family likes a show from an alternate reality called Ball Fondlers. It's basically just The A-Team, a peppy action show with no fondling of balls or even any innuendo. Rick does do a fondling motion with his hand when suggesting it to Morty and Summer, but that's it.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The characters in the "Strawberry Smiggles" commercial have regular-looking cartoon pupils instead of the weird squiggly things all the other characters have.
  • Noodle Implements: In "Auto-Erotic Assimilation", Rick tells Unity that he wants to perform a sex act involving a hang-glider, a crotchless Uncle Sam costume, and a football stadium full of redheads and men who look like his father. Subverted when we get to see exactly what the act entails shortly afterwards.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Wedding Squanchers", Bird Person tells Beth that he and Rick once fought in a vicious war, and are now considered terrorists by the Galactic Federation. However, he never says exactly what he and Rick did during that period.
  • Note to Self: In "Total Rickall", when Rick first discovers the mind-altering parasites trying to infiltrate the family, he writes the current number of family members on a piece of paper and tapes it to the wall. Whenever the parasites multiply and try to disguise themselves as new family members, Rick kills the likely suspect. The parasites beat this by implanting a new memory in which Rick wrote the number for a nonsensical reason rather than for a logical purpose, foiling that plan.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", when Rick is suspected of having killed several Ricks from other dimensions, he decides to act rude to the concil then kill several Ricks in his escape.
  • Not So Different: Evil Rick to Rick. "Duh", proclaims our Rick.
  • No, You: When Jerry and Beth are packing away Rick's stuff, he tells them that they shouldn't be messing with it because it's beyond their reasoning. Jerry retorts "YOU'RE beyond our reasoning!" To which Rick counters with "Takes one to know one!"
  • Nuke 'em: In "Get Schwifty", the general constantly advocates nuking the Cromulons. When he finally manages it, it's about as effective as flicking embers into someone's beard.
  • N-Word Privileges: According to Rick, the word "Glip-Glop" is like the N-Word and C-Word had a baby and was raised by all the bad words for Jews. Not that it stops him for referring to his alien buddies as "My Glip-Glops".
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Rick and Jerry very much act this way with each other, though to be fair, they probably wouldn't like each other anyway.
  • Obvious Beta: The simulated world in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" has quite the number of bugs in it, to say the least.
  • Odd Friendship: Between Rick and Morty.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The episode "Rixty Minutes" has a fake trailer of a movie where a bunch of cats manipulate the corpse of their owner to convince people she's alive. She's still very obviously dead; with green soft tissues and a maggot infestation. Strangely enough this is a sequel.
  • Oh Crap!: Rick when told it is flu season, while Morty literally says the phrase in "Rick Potion #9" twice.
  • Once a Season: In-universe, in Planet Music, there's always one planet per season that protests the show and gets disqualified.
    • For the series as a whole it appears a movie-based episode, Inception and The Purge thus far, and an episode featuring the improv skit esque alternate reality television subplot will be a seasonal occurrence.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Rick tries to invoke this in "Total Rickall" when he gets tired of playing Spot the Imposter, instead intending to shoot everyone in the shoulder so only the weaker parasites will die from their wounds. It doesn't pan out because, understandably, no one likes getting shot and the parasites manage to take his gun.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Tammy's parents are incredibly accepting of the fact that their high school daughter is marrying a middle-aged alien. It helps that they're actually robots to help her cover identity.
  • Overnight Age-Up: Male Gazorpians reach adulthood in one day. Being half-human, Morty Jr. goes through typical human stages of growing up, including teen rebellion, in that time span. By The Stinger of the same episode, Morty Jr. has grey hair and has written a bestselling novel, whereas none of the other characters have aged nearly so far.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • The famous "Rick and Morty forever and forever, a hundred years" moment at the end of the pilot.
    • The cereal commercial in "Rixty Minutes".
    • The fake door commercial, enough that Morty has to ask Rick to not change the channel, and then gives up on it himself.
    • Personal space!
  • Papa Wolf: Rick may be an incredibly flawed individual with practically no regard for the lives or well being of others, but there's one moral misstep he will not forgive you for: messing with his grandkids.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When Rick was telling Snuffles they need to perform more surgery on Morty you can notice he's wearing fake dog ears and a fake dog nose.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe for Rick in The Stinger of "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" when he bursts into Morty's room drunk and, after an out of character moment of praise, pulls a knife on him and demands to know if he's still inside a simulation.
  • Parents as People: Both Jerry and Beth often show concern for their kids and the effect Rick's antics can have on them, however they are continuously hindered by their own psychological problems and their failing marriage.
  • Person as Verb:
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Downplayed with the Galactic Federation. While not an out-and-out intergalactic Police State or Empire it sure does have quite a few dystopian traits.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Morty protests that "schwifty" isn't an actual word.
  • Piss-Take Rap: "Flu Hatin' Rap" from "Rick Potion #9".
  • Planet of Hats:
    • In "Rixty Minutes", there's a universe where Earth is populated by corn people, and one where it's populated by hamsters living in human butts.
    • All Zigerians are scammers who are prudish towards nudity.
    • Several alternate universe versions of Rick and Morty in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", including a cowboy version, multiple alien versions, a robot version, and Cronenberg Rick and Morty.
  • Pocket Dimension: In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick's car is revealed to be powered by one. The inhabitants discovered their own, which in turn discovered their own.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", when Rick tells Morty that the microscope he got from Summer's boss will make him retarded, Morty tell him that he probably shouldn't use that word because, despite the fact that he was speaking objectively and the microscope would have literally made him mentally retarded, it would still offend "powerful groups who feel like they're doing the right thing". Rick's response? "Well, that's retarded."
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Parodied at the end of the second episode. Rick suggests that the world populated by dogs "could be developed into a very satisfying project for people of all ages", and that he would watch it "for at least eleven minutes a pop".
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: At the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy" Rick makes an Arsenio Hall reference, making Beth and Jerry laugh, but then Beth says she doesn't get it, as she's too young.
  • Powered Armor: In "Lawnmower Dog", Snuffles builds walking, humanoid exoskeletons for himself and all the neighborhood dogs, due to becoming an Uplifted Animal with genius intellect by way of a helmet Rick invented to make him smarter. Models with yellow Tron Lines are combat-capable, sporting shoulder guns; whereas blue denotes civilian.
  • Prison Rape:
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", Rick and Morty are about to be sent to Giant Prison. Rick bemoans that, if someone drops the soap, it will land on them and crush their spines. It would be real easy to rape them, then.
    • The fourth dimensional lifeform in "A Rickle in Time" tells Rick, Morty, and Summer that they're going to Time Prison.
      "You know what they do to third-dimensional lifeforms in Time Prison? Same thing they do in regular prison, only forever!"
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: In-universe, lampshaded in Rick and Morty's Rushed Licensed Adventure. It's right there in the title! The characters frequently complain about not being able to perform certain simple actions because the developers were too lazy to implement it. (The game is actually not that bad for a free to play Flash game.)
  • Product Placement: Blatantly lampshaded in "Total Rickal". A flashback shows Rick walking into the living room with his arms full of Nintendo 3DSs, rambling on about how they can take advantage of the Walmart sale to turn a profit and sell them for more money because they were all the limited edition The Legend of Zelda versions. At the end, he turns right to the camera and yells "Nintendo! Send me free stuff!" Apparently, Justin Roiland did this once in real life.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The collateral damage wreaked by Rick's schemes, whether implied or shown outright, is often absolutely gruesome in its sheer body count, but receives no serious repercussions for it, week after week. He's destroyed an entire reality just through incompetence, and that's probably not the first.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • On "rigor mortis"...or 'brick and mortar'.
    • The B-plot of the official comic is called Summer Spectacular. It focuses on Summer.
  • Punch a Wall: Jerry does so after having to say goodbye to Doofus Rick.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Parodied by Scary Terry, the "legally-safe knock off" of Freddy Kruegar living deep in Mr. Goldenfold's dreams: not only is terrorizing people literally just his day job, after he's done he goes home to a perfectly normal-looking suburban house, complete with an equally-scary wife and son.

  • Rain of Blood: The result of Reuben's enlarged corpse exploding in "Anatomy Park".
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It's mentioned as the punchline of a joke once or twice, but actual situations involving rape are never Played for Laughs on the show and are treated just as seriously In-Universe, despite how much of a Black Comedy it is. This is especially noteworthy because there are instances of male on male and female on male attempts played seriously. Even when the would-be rapist is an anthropomorphic jelly bean, it manages to be horrifying without a shred of humor. It's taken so seriously that as soon as Rick notices something's wrong, he completely drops his jerkass demeanor and focuses on helping Morty.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers Who Are Just Regular Brothers Running In A Van From An Asteroid And All Sorts Of Things: The Movie. (Or, just Two Brothers.)
    • Ball Fondlers.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. Characters surprisingly speak in a realistic manner, filled with stutters, mumbling, and belching. Some of the alternate-dimension TV especially falls into this, with Harmon and Roiland improvising it on the spot.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie:
  • Reality Ensues: Being a Deconstructor Fleet, a lot of plot points and punchlines are centered around this.
    • In "Anatomy Park", Reuben dies from the internal damage that the characters adventuring inside him cause. What, did you think a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, especially one conducted by inexperienced individuals, would actually be safe?
    • Rick succeeds in besting Satan by opening a new store. Afterwards, faced with the responsibilities of running the shop, he announces he's bored of it and closing, douses it in gasoline and sets it on fire during regular business hours.
    • In "Ricksy Business" Summer, seeking to get in with the cool kids, blows off one of her nerdy friends and essentially throws her out of the party to get her out of the way - and then finds out that when you do un-squanchy stuff like that no one wants to hang out with you.
    • Rick's alcoholism and Morty's constant brushes with death, which are usually played for laughs and brushed aside, are occasionally shown to weigh on them heavily.
    • "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" features the TV show "Man vs. Car," in which a man tries to fight a car. The man is quickly run over, and the chuckling announcer asks, "Wouldn't the cars always win?"
  • Red Herring: In "Total Rickall" The concept of "mind parasites", creatures that telepathically insert false memories into people in order to convince them that they know the person, and can therefore trust them, is introduced during the cold open shortly before we meet a never-before-seen character, Mr. Poopy Butthole. The intro then shows Mr. Poopy Butthole throughout the entire sequence, spliced into every scene as if he was always a main character. Finally, at the end of the episode, Mr. Poopy Butthole sits down with the family after they have slaughtered dozens of mind parasites, and Beth, remembering only good memories of the character, fires a blast at his chest...only to have red blood gush out like a gunshot wound instead of dissolving the disguise and causing the "parasite" to explode. The Stinger reveals Mr. Poopy Butthole survived and is now undergoing physical therapy, and is not pressing charges, but does not wish to associate himself with the Smiths anymore.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Rick is a mercurial and self-centered alcoholic with a very strange set of priorities. He has the technology to become extremely rick and powerful, but doesn't seem to care. The fact that he's technically in hiding from the Galactic Federation might be at least partially responsible. His occasional profit schemes tend to be subverted in some way:
    • Rick opens a store that removes the curses from magical items that Satan has been giving people. As soon as Satan admits defeat, Rick loses interest in the whole thing, not even caring that the store seemed to be making a good profit.
    • Rick gets a bunch of money from an underworld deal so that he can blow all of his profits at Blips and Chitz, an arcade.
    • Rick drunkenly rambles about cornering the market on Nintendo DS consoles, which never goes anywhere, then turns to the audience and asks Nintendo to send him free stuff.
  • Remember the New Guy: Done to an extreme extent in "Total Rickall" when telepathic alien parasites enter the house with the ability to put themselves in other people's memories. Rick tries to solve this by writing down how many people are in the family, but before he can, a new character named Mr. Poopy Butthole appears with the cast believing he's part of the family. The title sequence is subsequently changed to appear as though Mr. Poopy Butthole was with them on all their adventures. It turns out to be a Red Herring when Mr. Poopy Butthole is in fact real, a fact only realized when Beth shoots him.
  • Reset Button: An incredibly grim example appears in "Rick Potion #9". When Rick's cure irreversibly turns everyone into monsters, Rick "fixes" the problem by finding a parallel universe where Rick somehow fixed his screw-up just after their parallel selves have died in a freak accident caused by Morty's doing what Rick asked him to do at the beginning of the episode. Rick then makes Morty help him dispose of the corpses, allowing them to resume normal life in place of their dead parallel selves, leaving their own universe destroyed.
  • Ret Gone: Inverted with the parasites; they retroactively insert themselves into the cast's memory.
  • Right Through The Ceiling: When Morty is, uh, playing with the sex-bot Rick bought him.
  • Robotic Reveal: Evil Rick in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind." Evil Morty is his Man Behind the Man.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The Gazorpians try to save face by claiming this after realizing that simply crushing Rick with a boulder is too simple.
  • Rule of Three: Morty could accept the bun being placed between two hotdogs and the old woman walking her cat on a leash. But the Pop Tart living in a toaster oven.... ok, something weird is going on.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick-Kind", Rick and Morty run through a dimension where pizzas sit on chairs and use phones to order people, a dimension where phones sit on pizza and use people to order chairs, and a dimension where chairs sit on people and use pizzas to order phones.
  • Running Gag: The writers seem to intentionally make alien names and terms sound like random sounds made up on the fly, leading such creations as Doctor Glip-Glop and planet Gazorpazorp.
    • A lot of the aliens and otherworldy flora tend to have incredibly phallic designs.
  • Safety in Indifference: This is the main reason Rick is as heartless as he is. Even if you ignore the countless amount of people and creatures that die whenever he's around, having access to The Multiverse makes attaching to people borderline impossible, what with the fact that there's trillions of copies of them out there that are, for the most part, identical.
  • Sand In My Eyes: When Evil Rick is looking through Rick's memories, seeing memories about Morty makes Rick start to cry. Evil Rick makes fun of him, and Rick says that he isn't crying, he's just allergic to dipshits.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Done by evil Rick in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind". Lampshaded by Rick who points out how cliche the gesture is to which evil Rick explains that in his alternate universe, he is its inventor. This trope is referred to in the show as "Slow Clap."
  • Scenery Porn: Rick takes Morty to a bizarre dimension in the pilot that's very colorful and bizarre with phallic imagery and hanging sacks. Like actual porn.
  • School Is For Losers: Rick believes this. He is a very intelligent Mad Scientist who cares about Morty, so there might be some reasons.
    Summer: Grandpa, can you help me with my homework?
    Rick: Sure....don't do it.
  • Script-Reading Doors: Rick's portals open and close when it's narratively convenient, in addition to simply appearing whatever surface works for the scene.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Rick unconvincingly claims this was the case with his plan to wipe out the human race and start over. This confession is immediately followed by a 'sure, why not, I don't know'.
    • One interpretation in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" suggested says Rick suddenly started acting uncharacteristically playful with important science stuff as a test to see if Morty would notice and say something. Morty didn't and just played along, confirming Rick's suspicion that he too was a simulation..
  • Seen It All: When Summer accidentally sort of causes a race war between two groups of aliens (who look exactly alike, nipple shapes aside), she is horrified. Morty however just chuckles and says "Oh Summer. First race war, huh?"
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Morty and Rick, respectively.
  • Sequel Episode: "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" to "Rixty Minutes", with Rick even Breaking the Fourth Wall to lampshade it.
  • Serial Escalation: The parallel dimensions in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" become increasingly absurd variations on a theme, from a world where slices of pizza order human delivery, to a world where phones sit on pizza and order chair delivery on human phones, to - finally - a world where chairs sit on inanimate humans and order phone take-out on pizza. Rick and Morty even visit an Italian restaurant and purchase some edible phones for themselves.
    • Arguably the entire show, on a high concept sci-fi scale. The first episode starts with the most ridiculous thing being that Rick has created a flying car from garage junk, and introduces the concept of the multiverse. By episode six of the first season, the titular characters have replaced alternate universe versions of themselves who managed to solve a problem our Rick and Morty couldn't, and also coincidentally died around the same time. The Council of Ricks in Episode 10 escalates this even further, and by the beginning of Season 2 we're in full-blown mind-fuck territory, if we weren't there already. And it escalates further from there.
  • Servant Race: Meeseeks, who are created by one of Rick's devices to serve a single purpose and die in a puff of smoke after they're done. However, if they take too long to get a task done then they'll end up going murderously insane until it gets accomplished.
  • Sex Bot: Rick buys one for Morty in "Raising Gazorpazorp". As it turns out, the robot is actually a Gazorpian breeding chamber that results in a half-human half-Gazorpian baby.
  • Sex Sells: In the Fan Art Contest promo, Rick promises bonus points for "scantily clad artwork of Summer!"
    Morty: W-what!?! Th-th-that's disgusting, Rick!
    Rick: Hey, look, Morty, I agree. But, uh, sex sells, you know, we gotta push product! Just don't look at it.
    • The "Turbulent Juice" commercial in "Rixty Minutes".
    Morty: What in the hell?!
    Rick: Sex sells.
    Morty: Sex sells what?! Is that a movie, or does it clean stuff?!
  • Shaggy Dog Story:
    • In "Mortynight Run", Morty disobeys Rick to save the life of a gaseous creature targeted for assassination. In the process, he endangers himself and Rick, and causes the injury or deaths of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent bystanders. Just before the creature makes it home, however, it reveals that it's going to return with reinforcements to purge all organic life like a disease, and Morty has no choice but to kill it himself, so despite Morty's best intentions, he has only succeeded in making things objectively worse.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now", Rick and Arthricia kill all of the rich to stop the purge, but it's implied it will happen again, regardless of their influence.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In "Anatomy Park", the tuberculosis/scar tissue relationship is described correctly.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick tells Morty that he got his vial of oxytocin from a vole, an animal that mates for life. Not only is the chemical correct - oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that is basically the closest thing there is to love in chemical form - but voles (prairie voles specifically) do indeed mate for life and are well-known for their aid in the study of said chemical.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted, as Morty is, indeed, missing school to go on adventures with Rick. Rick at least made sure to brainwash Mister Goldenfold into giving Morty an A, but that doesn't really cover all his other classes.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Pregnant Baby
    • The Life and Times of Mrs. Pancakes (Rick's a fan, but a season behind watching).
    • There are loads of these in the episode "Rixty Minutes".
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis / Obnoxious In-Laws: Jerry and Rick toward each other.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Probably the most cynical cartoon on television.
  • Slow Clap: Subverted in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind".
  • Smart People Build Robots: In the pilot, Rick mentions that he builds robots for fun. In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", he built one for the specific reason of passing butter on the table. Note that this robot is advanced enough to be horrified when Rick told him what his only purpose is.
    Robot: What-is-my-purpose?
    Rick: You pass butter.
    Robot: (looks at his hands) Oh-my-god!
    Rick: Yeah, join the club, pal.
  • Smurfing: Squancy the talking cat uses "squanch" and variations thereof for everything, including auto-erotic asphyxiation. Beth even lampshades how it's just like the Smurfs, but when she tries to do it (saying that she squanches her family) both Rick and Squanchy start cringing in disgust.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: In episode two of the game, Morty complains that the jar puzzle does not display normal refrigerator behavior.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: In "Rick Potion #9", one of the most serious and dramatic episodes in the series, the show remains very persistent that Praying Mantises cull one-another during mating. Even the matching genders.
  • Split Personality Takeover: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick transfers his mind into a younger clone body. His teenage hormones cause a different personality to develop and take over. The real Rick communicates through Tiny Rick's subconscious, causing him to beg for Morty and Summer to save him from himself through Tiny Rick's artistic endeavors.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Heavily implied that "Weekend at Dead Cat Lady's House II" was this for Jerry C-500a, as at the end he has a complete breakdown and admits he hates everything to do with being a celebrity.
  • Spock Speak: Birdperson from "Ricksy Business" speaks in this manner. Veers into the Comically Serious.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Averted when Jerry is fired at the end of M. Night Shaym-Aliens! His lack of a job is mentioned in several subsequent episodes.
    • Both averted and played straight at the end of "Rick Potion #9". After infecting the entire planet with a Body Horror virus, Rick ultimately solves the problem by taking himself and Morty to an alternate universe where their counterparts invented a successful cure for the virus and but died on the same day, so that he and Morty can take their place. Rick tells Morty not to think too hard about it all, but Morty is visibly traumatized by the events.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • At the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy", the family comments on how the Meeseeks destroyed the room. All five then proceed to break the fourth wall.
    • Pluto's society is controlled by the wealthy. In other words, it's a plutocracy.
    • The Moonmen that Fart sings about in "Mortynight run" turn into asses.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" has Tiny Rick, Morty and Summer kill the vampire in their school, who turns out to be Coach Foratu. The Stinger lampshades this, with a Vampire elder getting really annoyed at how vampires infiltrating human society always like using obvious identity-blowing references as their names rather than regular human names.
  • The Stinger: Not counting the pilot, every single episode of the series has one after the ending credits.
  • Straw Feminist:
    • The female Gazorpians have a society that's practically built on straw. It's so extreme that they'll automatically kill any male who enters their domain, even if he isn't a threat. Their behavior is actually understandable, because female Gazorpians are intelligent and empathetic whereas male Gazorpians are incredibly violent and dangerous, but their hatred spreads to males of all species, which winds up making them pretty intolerant and hypocritical.
    • Summer showed signs of this as well in the same episode as she refused to objectify herself even though her life and her chastity was threatened. Though that was more of a reaction to Rick being a Jerkass.
  • String Theory: In one episode we see Rick's bedroom. One wall has notes connected this way.
  • Stylistic Suck: The full version of the flu-hatin' rap from "Rick Potion #9", with lyrics that sound like they're made up on the spot.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Rick is smart enough to analyze magical items from the devil's shop, then remove the curse while still retaining the magical benefits.
  • The Tag: All episodes except the pilot have short scenes after the credits containing last minute gags resulting from something in the episode.
  • Take Our Word for It: In "Meeseeks and Destroy" Summer's Meeseeks makes her popular by delivering a speech to the entire student body in the auditorium. We only hear the very end of the speech, but it was apparently really convincing.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Jerry, Beth, and Summer use Rick's goggles to look at alternate timelines of themselves, Summer says that she doesn't see anything. Beth responds and realizes what she said without even pausing to breathe.
    "Well, you should select a different timeline. I mean, if your father and I achieved our dreams, there's a chance you were never born — that came out wrong, that came out very wrong."
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Discussed in "Rick and Morty's Rushed Licensed Adventure." invoked
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rick is made of these. Expect at least one an episode as he delivers them to just about everyone he talks to. The main cast members get them constantly, especially Summer and Morty.
    "I know the two of you are very different from each other in a lot of ways, but you have to understand that as far as grandpa's concerned - you're both pieces of shit! Yeah. I can prove it mathematically. Actually, l-l-let me grab my white board. This has been a long time coming, anyway."
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: This is the main reason Rick is so mentally disturbed: humanity was clearly never meant to have access to The Multiverse, encounter the horrors therein, and most importantly, face the existential nightmares it causes. Just look at how Morty reacts to having to find and bury his Dead Alternate Counterpart in "Rick Potion #9" and compare it to Rick.
  • The Show Must Go On: Rick and Summer's party hits a few speed bumps, including the entire house being accidentally teleported to an alien planet, but for the most part, everyone just keeps partying.
  • The Stoic: Subverted in the first episode in which Rick assures Morty that he's seen it all and will keep him safe, only to be interrupted by a fierce alien creature. "Run Morty, I've never seen one of those before! This is bad, we're going to die, Morty!"
  • Teens Are Short:
    • Morty is at least a head shorter than the adults in his family, and Summer is slightly shorter than her mother.
    • Rick's teenage version of himself is a head shorter than his adult version and appropriately dubbed Tiny Rick.
  • The Theme Park Version: Played with in "Anatomy Park". The "Pirates of the Pancreas" ride is a ride through a pancreas with pirates, but Rick claims that they don't whitewash it and the pirates are "really rapey".
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • Scary Terry can't help but end his sentences with the word bitch.
    • After screwing over Summer, Mr. Needful declares "I'm the Devil, BIATCH! What-what!" before he busts out a solo on his fiddle.
  • This Was His True Form: The parasites in "Total Rickall" revert to their original appearance when they are killed.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Morty has this by the end of "Rick Potion #9". Given the events of the episode, you can't blame him.
    • Summer ends up with this by the end of "The Ricks Must Be Crazy".
  • Title Drop: Go ahead and count the number of time Rick drops it in the page quote alone.
  • Training Montage: "Something Ricked This Way Comes" has Rick and Summer working out and taking steroids set to "X Gon' Give It To Ya" by DMX so that they can go beat up Mr. Needful (and after the credits, assorted assholes).
  • Tranquil Fury: After putting together what happened between Morty and the Jellybean King, Rick simply wears an expression of silent rage.
  • Tricked-Out Shoes:
    • Rick gives Morty a pair of grappling shoes that will allow him to walk down a cliff. Unfortunately, Morty tries doing this before Rick tells him that they need to be turned on.
    • Mr. Needful gives one of his customers shoes that offer superhuman speed, but they're also cursed so the user can't stop once they started, which would force them to run until they drop dead. Rick manages to remove the curse.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Real life example. The producers released the episode "Rixty Minutes" a week early on Instagram in 100+ 15 second bits. Time will tell if this becomes an industry standard.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Summer's friend Tammy reveals herself to be an agent from the Galactic Federation during her wedding wit Bird person in "The Wedding Squanchers".
  • Underside Ride: Rosa clings to the underside of the Smiths' car while cackling "I'm doing Cape Fear!" right before she loses her grip at the first bump and gets mortally wounded from being run over by the back tires.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" everyone who learns that Tiny Rick is just Rick having transferred his consciousness to a teenage clone of himself reacts completely casually to it.
    • At the end of "The Wedding Squanchers, Earth becomes a member of the Galactic Federation. Aliens are integrated with human society, and nobody thinks anything of it.
  • Unwanted Harem: Possibly the most extreme example in the history of fiction: in "Rick Potion #9", after Morty's love potion backfires and goes airborne, it results in everyone on the planet that isn't related to him biologically desperately wanting to have sex with him. Then Rick adds in some mantis DNA and they want to kill him after the fact.
  • Uplifted Animal: Snowball and his dog army.

  • Vast Bureaucracy: In "The Wedding Squanchers", we get a glimpse of both the scope (6,047 other planets) and yet the inefficiency of the Galactic Federation, when Earth is added within a day, and the ensuing news report summarizes humans as a species "who love to eat spaghetti and pray to kangaroos."
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Rick continually addresses Morty by his name when talking to him. This is toned down in the second episode, but is still present. You could also count the constant belching Rick does in mid-sentence whenever he's drunk.
    • In "Lawnmower Dog", Scary Terry constantly ends his sentence with "Bitch!"
    • "Hi, I'm Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!"
    • Female Gazorpians are always telling each other "I'm here if you need to talk", to the point that it may just be a casual greeting.
    • Though not strictly a character, the episode summaries on official streaming websites like Netflix and Hulu end almost every sentence with "broh."
    • Mr. Poopy Butthole is constantly saying "ooo-wee!"
  • Viral Transformation: In "Rick Potion #9", Rick's attempt to cure everyone of Morty's love potion turned them into Mantis Men. His attempt to cure everyone of that turned them into "Cronenbergs".
  • Weirdness Censor: None of the people Summer invites to the mutual house party seem at all fazed by the extra-dimensional oddities Rick keeps company with.
  • Wham Episode:
    • If fan consensus says this, then "Rick Potion #9" is definitely this.
    • The Season 2 Finale "The Wedding Squanchers" where Rick allows himself to be taken prisoner while Earth becomes a member of the tyrannical Galactic Federation.
  • Wham Line:
    • From "Rixty Minutes": "That out there... That's my grave!"
    • Tammy's speech at her wedding reception in the season 2 finale. "But then I think, y'know, in a lot of ways I'm not a high school senior from the planet Earth. In a lot of ways what I really am is a deepcover agent for the Galactic Federation and you guys are a group of wanted criminals and this entire building is, in a certain sense, surrounded."
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: A character on Pregnant Baby says this when she decides she doesn't need protection since she's already pregnant.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Inverted. One episode featured a Titanic (1997)-themed ship which is designed to hit an iceberg and sink every time it sails. It misses the iceberg completely.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?
    • All the people who had bought cursed items and were waiting to be served when Rick got bored and closed. Enjoy your curses everyone.
    • Subverted in "Rickle in Time." The neighbor that Summer forgot to put a mattress under takes a nasty fall off his roof, and is then forgotten about, until the very end of the episode, which offhandedly reveals that he survived the incident, but is now in a wheelchair.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Morty sometimes tries to take a stand with his grandpa after the situation inevitably devolves into chaos and horror. In "Rick Potion #9", Rick turns it back on him, rightly comparing Morty's love-potion request to a bid for date rape.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Rick tells Morty in the pilot episode that it's okay to shoot the spaceport security guards, because they're "robots". They aren't, but Rick contemptuously refers to them as such because of his hatred for bureaucracy.
    • The last thing the Sigerian leader mentions before mixing together the chemicals that destroy the entire warship in a massive explosion is how all of his staff members have families.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Constantly abused and exploited for comic effect. Of course, it's not like the series places a great deal of emphasis on human life, either.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: Discussed in "Rixty Minutes" after a very confusing ad for "Turbulent Juice" featuring hordes of shirtless men.
    Morty: What in the hell?
    Rick: Sex sells, Morty.
    Morty: Sex sells what? Is it a movie? Does it clean stuff?
  • Whole Plot Reference: Owing to its origins as a parody of Back to the Future, multiple episodes pastiche sci-fi and speculative fiction works, often times blatantly lampshaded in a very tongue-in-cheek manner.
    • "Lawnmower Dog" is one for Inception. The act of entering someone's dream is even referred to as "Incepting".
    Morty: But I-it's been like a whole year!
    Rick: It's been six hours. Dreams move one one-hundredth the speed of reality, and dog time is one-seventh human time. So, you know, every day here is like a minute. It's like Inception, Morty, so if it's confusing and stupid, then so is everyone's favorite movie.
    • "Anatomy Park" is a hybrid of Fantastic Voyage and JurassicPark.
    • "Something Ricked This Ways Comes" initially starts off as one to Needful Things, down to the storeowner being named Mr. Needful. And then Rick blatantly references The Twilight Zone, Ray Bradbury, and Friday the 13th: The Series when he comes back with his device that scans and analyzes what each object's Jackass Genie twist is gonna be.
    • Invoked in universe by the Titanic-themed cruise ship that Jerry and Beth go on in "Ricksy Business". People can live out their Jack and Rose fantasies by recreating scenes from the movie.
    • The main plot reference of "Ricksy Business" itself is rather obvious.
    • "Raising Gazorpazorp" cribs much of its A-plot from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Abandoned", in which the crew deal with a fast growing infant Jem Hadar boy left on their station. Its B-plot is based on the somewhat-comprehensible parts of Zardoz.
    • "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" is this to the Tom Baker era Doctor Who serial The Deadly Assassin, where the president of the Time Lords is assassinated and the Council of Time Lords blames the Doctor. It turns out the killer was The Master.
    • The Time Cop in "A Rickle in Time" is a Langolier, only with skinny arms and less teeth.
    • "Look Who's Purging Now" is one for The Purge, in which a society has achieved world peace through a night of wanton cathartic murder. Rick even references the film itself and states that multiple civilizations across the universe have their own Purges under different names.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: Parodied in "Total Rickall" when Summer goes into a Sugar Bowl music video and suddenly a very aggressive rapper who is incredibly out of place shows up and changes the entire tone of the song.
  • Wild Teen Party: In "Ricksy Business", Summer immediately calls up one of these while her and Morty's parents are away. Rick decides to one-up her party idea, by inviting hordes of his own "friends and acquaintances" to his party, and whoever they know. After Morty has a small mishap with one of Rick's inventions, while attempting to woo his would-be girlfriend Jessica, the party becomes literally 'out of this world', teleporting the house to another universe entirely. Despite the nonsensical and dangerous events therein, one notably involving a human teen getting "lucky" with a bunch of gargantuan creatures lurking outside the house's perimeter after it had been teleported, the odd mixture of guests find the time to mingle with each other, and have fun, regardless.
  • Wimp Fight: Rick gets into one with the Devil in "Something Ricked This Way Comes."
  • With Due Respect: "Rick, with all due respect—what am I saying? What respect is due?"
  • Womb Level: All of Anatomy Park, which exists inside of a homeless man named Reuben. The main attraction of the park happens to be all of Reuben's many diseases.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • While Beth doesn't want to believe that Rick is a negative influence on her son at first, she is shown to be more level-headed and less hammy than her husband. Not that this stops her from being just as callous and self-centered as her own father.
    • It's a recurring plot point that while Jerry and Morty are somewhat more hopeless and socially inept than Beth and Summer, they're still smart enough to call them out on their own bullshit. There are rarely one-sided arguments where the females call all the shots, especially (and most gratifyingly) if they're being a Hypocrite about it.
    • Zig-Zagged with the Gazorpian women. Considering the male Gazorpians are hyperaggressive barbarians by nature (Morty Jr's first words were "Death" and "Domination", even when growing up on Earth), the females literally are wiser. However, their society is still built upon classic stereotypes of women and man-hating misandrists. For example the first experience a male has is being flung into space. And the females have the males separate from them (the hellhole that Rick and Summer went to before hitching a ride from the sexbots going into the ship), send all male babies outside to the hellhole and have the female babies in the ship, have sentenced a girl with bad hair to silent treatment, and sentenced Rick and Summer to death (Rick for being Summer's grandfather and farting/making a noise that they never heard of and Summer for treason/having a grandfather). Their infrastructure can also be disrupted by a single spider, as the Gazorpian women refuse to go anywhere near it.
  • Women Drivers: Invoked in "A Rickle in Time". Jerry was the one driving when he hit a deer, but insists that Beth say she was at the wheel because he was eating rum-raisin ice cream.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Rick, in "Rushed Licensed Adventure Episode 3". He usually ends each level by beating up Morty, but seeing as Morty and Summer end up fused together, he ends up beating up Summer too, and doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • In the pilot, Rick freezes a teenager threatening Morty with a knife. This ultimately kills him when he tips over and shatters (although in Rick's defense, Rick didn't intend for this to happen).
    • He also beats Morty's ass at the end of every "Rushed Licensed Adventure" level.
  • Wraparound Background: Jerry drives through this when he's in a simulation running at low capacity. He doesn't notice.
  • Writer on Board:
    • In one episode parodying Inception, Rick makes a point to mention how overrated that film is, which follows Dan Harmon's comments about it in his podcast Harmontown.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now," Morty criticizes screenplay gimmicks like the use of How We Got Here. Dan Harmon often complains about clichés he hates in screenplays.
    • Played with in "Interdimensional Cable 2." When Summer complains about juvenile violence in the media, Morty becomes enraged and rants that people shouldn't have to communicate through the filter of her comfort. It's immediately undercut by Rick implying that Morty is just sexually frustrated.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Done with Jerry in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens", where he has the perfect day and wins an award right before Rick comes in and reveals that the whole thing has just been one giant simulation. When Jerry tries starting off his next day the same way in real life, it stops as soon as it started in the simulation.
      Rick: Don't worry about it, Jerry. Who cares if the greatest day of your life was just a simulation running at minimum capacity?
    • Also happens to Morty in "Lawnmower Dog" when Rick shows up to reveal the life of luxury he had been living as Snuffles' pet was just part of a dream.
      Rick: Right before I incepted you, you crapped yourself. I mean, real bad, Morty. It's a total mess out there, Morty. Of all the things that you thought happened, you crapping yourself is the only real thing.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The nesting Pocket Dimensions in "The Ricks Must be Crazy" have time which runs progressively faster the further down you go. A period of months spend three dimensions down equates to a few hours outside.
  • You All Look Familiar: Both parodied when Jerry fails to notice he keeps passing the same simulated background people and played straight when Rick uses the fact to get large numbers of people to work on the same problem at the same time, thereby freezing the program in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!"
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Parodied in "Lawnmower Dog". Scary Terry keeps saying this as he stalks Rick and Morty. The duo then discuss why they are listening to him, pointing out that since Scary Terry is the villain, he probably wouldn't offer them advice that would actually help them, so they decide to try and hide from him any way. It turns out to be very effective. Scary Terry spends hours searching for them unsuccessfully before giving up and going home.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: After Rick locks down the house in "Total Rickall":
    Beth: Dad, why does our house have blast shields?
    Rick: Trust me Beth, you don't wanna know how many answers that question has.
  • You Monster!:
    • Morty calls Rick a monster before comparing him to Hitler. He then takes this last part back, saying that at least Hitler cared about Germany.
    • Zeep Zanflorp calls Rick a monster after the latter destroys his pocket universe.
  • Your Mom: Morty discusses his feelings for Jessica with Jerry, and Jerry says that he used to feel that way about a lady named "Your mom"—and then specifies that he's speaking literally and not as an urban diss.
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: In some episodes, Jerry and Beth's marriage is on the verge of collapse before some event in the episode brings them closer together, rekindling their interest in each other and making them determined to give their marriage another try... until the next episode shoves them back into square one and they have to work through their failing marriage all over again. "Rick Potion No. 9" also justifies the trope by having Rick and Morty jump to another dimension, where Jerry and Beth never repaired their marriage as we saw them do earlier in the episode. "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" lampshades their ever-waffling relationship and explains that they're codependent.

Morty: Jeez Rick, I, uh, I'm not sure our own trope page is the best idea for the, uh, situation...
Rick: Shut up, Morty!