Western Animation: Rick and Morty

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

I'm going to accomplish great things, Morty. And you're going to be part of them. And together we're going to run around, Morty, we're going to do all kinds of wonderful things, Morty. Just you and me, Morty! The outside world is our enemy, Morty! We're the only friends we've got, Morty! It's just Rick and Morty! rickandmorty.com! Rick and Morty and their adventures!"
— Rick (followed by Morty convulsing while alien fruit dissolves in his lower digestive tract)

What do you get when you create the bastard, intoxicated love child of Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Lost in Space, and Futurama? You get this little series, Rick and Morty, which premiered on [adult swim] on December 2, 2013.

Based off of Channel101's "The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti", this bizarre piece of work 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 yet genius scientist grandfather who constantly pulls him out of school for a sci-fi acid trip. Morty's parents believe Rick to be a negative influence on their son, though they keep him around the house anyway just as long as Rick keeps Morty in school.

Created between both Roiland and Dan Harmon, the first series has been met with critical acclaim; during the brief hiatus following episode six, [adult swim] confirmed they have already renewed for a second season. The official licensed comic is available from Oni Press.

Now with a Best Episode Crowner!


Rick and Morty provides examples of:

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  • Aborted Arc: An episode where Morty has to enter Jessica's bloodstream in an attempt to save her from an injury was storyboarded, but not produced for unknown reasons. "Anatomy Park" was probably inspired by this episode.
  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: Jerry got Beth pregnant when they were both 17.
    • 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: Play half-straight with the Gazorpazorpians, 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 cured his impotence, leaving him with no negative side effects, he instantly ran home with two armfuls of ladies, screaming "I haven't learned a thing!"
  • 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.
  • All-Ghouls School: Scary Terry 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. Rick is one of the lightest example, and even then, in the pilot, he did waste a lot of precious time in another dimension enjoying the company of women who found him fascinating because they had cured aging and he was the only old person there.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Hero: Rick just barely has enough humanity left in him to avoid being a Villain Protagonist.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Poncho's grievances against Dr. Bloom include his pompousness, negligence, and giving iTunes gift cards as holiday bonuses.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Attempted Rape: Quite a bit.
    • Happens to Morty during an adventure. Luckily Morty kicks ass.
    • 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.
  • Auto-Tune: Used for Snuffles' robot suit in "Lawnmower Dog" as a goofy way of giving him a robot voice.
  • 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".
  • Badass Grandpa: Rick on many occasions.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Big Damn Game: 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".
  • Bilingual Bonus: The stairs up the dais where the female Gazropazorpians carry out sentencing reads "Sis Semper Calumniam," which means "You are always wrong."
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The Gazorpazorpians. Male Gazorpazorpians 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 Horror: The "Cronenbergs", which are genetic monstrosities Rick accidentally engineers by inaccurately replicating human DNA.
  • 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".
    • In "Rick Potion #9" Rick knows they can only do this "three or four times, tops", presumably before upsetting the audience.
    • 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."
  • 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 (being 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.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In "Ricksy Business", an alien named Squanchy shows up the party, asking for a good place to "squanch". Turns out that's just his word for auto-erotic asphyxiation.
  • 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 Gazorpazorpfeld (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".
  • 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.
    • (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!'.
  • Character Title
  • 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, replacing himself in an alternate universe and the marital troubles between Beth and Jerry are not.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Dan Harmon voices a number of minor characters throughout the show.
    • Alejandro, the meddling executive in the tag of "Anatomy Park".
    • The flu-hating rapper in "Rick Potion #9".
    • Kevin the alien in charge of the genitals in "M Night Shyam-Aliens".
    • Bird-Person in the first season finale, "Ricksy Business".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Curse Cut Short: The head alien in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" says, "This is going to be such a mind f——!" cut to commercial.
  • 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.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Of Western Animated Fantastic Comedy.
  • 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.
  • 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 high school kid seems to enjoy it, too.
    • 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 treated a lot like 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.
    • 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.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: In "Lawnmower Dog", when Rick and Morty go from the completed A Plot to the developing B Plot.
    Rick "Well, Morty, out of the fire, dot dot dot."
  • Dream Land: In "Lawnmower Dog", Rick and Morty traveled into the dreams of Morty's math teacher.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!

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  • 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".
  • 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 objects, he tries to pass it off as a Secret Test of Character.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Parodied at the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy".
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • True to his word, Rick only invited six people to his party.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Rick is pretty much Dan Harmon dialed up to 11. Between the alcoholism, the stuttering speech pattern, the nonchalant egotism and even the tone of his voice, Rick can be considered an impression of Dan Harmon. This is especially evident in episode 2, in which Rick mocks the film Inception in very similar fashion to Harmon's comments on his podcast Harmontown.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • One episode features 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.
  • 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.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The episode "Anatomy 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."
  • 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.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Despite the fact that he's personally met Satan and a few demons, Rick is still a Hollywood Atheist.
  • 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.
    • In "Rixty Minutes", Rick makes a reference to "Raising Gazorpazorp", which proves that continuity does in fact exist in the show. This is important because later, recounting the events of "Rick Potion No. 9" allows Morty to bring Summer back from the Despair Event Horizon.
      • A more heartwarming instance is 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.
  • 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.
  • Freudian Threat: In "Lawnmower Dog" Snowball threatens to have Jerry neutered.
  • 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.
  • Genre Savvy: One of Rick's defining traits.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • A rather milestone example for [adult swim] itself. [AS] used to be pretty hardcore about bleeping out swear words, but started testing the waters in late 2013 to see if they could get away with saying certain words just like Comedy Central. Then comes "Rixty Minutes", where "Shit" is dropped 3 times only a few minutes into the episode. There's even a depiction of a man eating shit out of a bowl with a spoon. Unlike Comedy Central, who only uncensors swear words after midnight(in the case of some shows like South Park, never censoring the word "Shit" on the TV-MA new episodes), Rick & Morty airs at 10:30 EST/9:30 Central. It could also be that Shit as a whole has become so commonplace the network's stopped CARING about it being used.
    • One of the Adult Swim bumpers during the Sunday night rebroadcast on March 23, 2014 went as follows... Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars./ Actually/ We really don't give a shit/ [adult swim].
    • And let's not forget Ass World in "Close Encounters of the Rick Kind." Not because of the fact that it's a world with bare asses growing out of the ground, but because of that brown stuff that's on the ground. Despite all of this, every episode has a TV-14 rating rather than TV-MA.
    • 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.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: All over the place in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens."
  • 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 Self 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 he played the Lincoln card first, where'd he think that was going to go?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Morty's love interest, Jessica.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
    Lance: Man, stay in your league! Do you see me going to schools in wealthier districts and hitting on their hottest girls?
    Jessica: Gee, thanks Lance.
    Lance: 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.
  • 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.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Mr. Jellybean, whero completely unironically attempts to rape Morty in "Meeseaks and Destroy".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Morty make 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.
  • 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.

    M-P 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 the 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.
  • 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 though she was better then him but was very offended when she found out she was holding him back as well she
  • MST3K Mantra:
    • In-universe example. For every disturbing thing Morty sees or experiences, Rick's advice is "Don't think about it!"
    • Also Rick's advice mentioning that the Meeseeks explode after completing the task.
  • The Multiverse
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The o3o expression Rick and Morty sometimes do 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 being 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • No Inside Voice: Mr. Meeseeks! (Look at him!)
  • No More for Me: 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.
  • 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!"
  • Not So Different: Evil Rick. "Duh", proclaims our Rick.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap: Rick when told it is flu season, while Morty literally says the phrase in "Rick Potion #9" twice.
  • Overnight Age-Up: Male Gazorpazorpians 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.
  • 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.
  • Person as Verb:
    • After inflicting Body Horror on the whole world, Rick says that he "Cronenberged" the place.
    • When Summer is screwed out the business by her boss, she states that she's been Zuckerberged.
  • 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, and Cronenberg Rick and Morty.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: In "Something Wicked 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.
  • 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'.
  • 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.

    R-U 
  • Rain of Blood: The result of Reuben's enlarged corpse exploding in "Anatomy Park". Given that he had quite a few diseases brewing inside his corpse, it's going to cause some problems down the line.
  • 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 as almost all of them involve male victims.
  • 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.
    • 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. For example, when a character gets hit by a Freeze Ray in the pilot, he gets knocked over and shatters like china.
    • 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?
    • Played with at the end of "Rixty Minutes" when, ignoring Rule of Funny, the family starts asking Rick a lot of questions about how a world where hamsters live in people's butts could possibly work. Rick takes them there so the hamsters can explain for themselves, which they do.
    • 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.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Justified in that Rick is a self-centered alcoholic. Exemplified when 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Gazorpgazorpians 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.
  • 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.
  • 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..
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Morty and Rick, respectively.
  • 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.
  • 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 Gazorpazorpian breeding chamber that results in a half-human half-Gazorpazorpian 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.
  • Shown Their Work: In the Anatomy Park episode, 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Lawnmower Dog" there is a short clip on TV of a golden retriever slam dunking a basketball.
    • Mister Goldenfold owns a pin-up of a black woman similar to the one Dick Hallorann has hanging over his bed in The Shining.
    • While in Anatomy Park be sure to visit Pirates of the Pancreas. You'll thank yourself later.
    • "In "Rick Potion #9":
      • A box on Rick's shelf is marked "Time Travel Stuff".
      • In the same episode, it wouldn't be the first time that infecting people with praying mantis DNA resulted in horrifying mantis men.
    • The "Council of Ricks" is an homage to Fantastic Four's Council of Reeds, a society composed entirely of evil alternate universe versions of Reed Richards.
    • In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!":
    • The giant head that dispenses sexbots (themselves resembling a sexed-up RoboCop) in Raising Gazorpazorp is a direct reference to the same giant head in Zardoz.
    • With Morty busy raising his half alien/half human son, Summer suggests Rick needs a new Companion.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes":
      • One of the customers in Rick's curse-removal service asked for his undead cat and son.
      • Rick's plot is a direct reference to Stephen King's Needful Things, only with a much happier outcome.
      • Mr. Needful, once he goes into legitimate business, dons a turtle-neck sweater and hairstyle very similar to Steve Jobs.
      • He also busts out a mean fiddle solo in reference to Charlie Daniels' song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".
      • The title itself is a reference to Something Wicked This Way Comes, with Mr. Needful being pretty similar to Mr. Dark portrayal in the movie adaptation and referencing "the beauty cream that turns you blind" scene.
    • "Rixty Minute"'s TV programs give the same vibe as the videos from Roiland TV. Also, the visual concept of Mr. Jellybean and the name "Rick Sanchez" appear in those website's videos.
    • The Citadel of Ricks looks... a little familiar.
      • A council of Ricks going after the one that is different from the rest... also familiar.
    • The Cult of the One True Morty gives Morty a helpful religious pamphlet, "The Good Morty", with a strip format parodying Chick Tracts. Morty instantly rolls his eyes and throws it away.
    • Lucy from "Ricksy Business" attaches herself to the bottom of Jerry's car shouting, "Haha! Cape Fear! I'm doing Cape Fear!" just before she falls off and gets run over.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: In episode two of the game, Morty complains that the jar puzzle does not display normal refrigerator behavior.
  • Spock Speak: Birdguy from "Ricksy Business" speaks in this manner. Veers into the Comically Serious.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted 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 him and Morty can take their place. Rick tells Morty not to think too hard about it all, but Morty is visually 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.
  • Straw Feminist:
    • The female Gazorpazorpians 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 Gazorpazorpians are intelligent and empathetic whereas male Gazorpazorpians 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
  • 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, but they are all taken in stride.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Morty has this by the end of "Rick Potion #9". Given the events of the episode, you can't blame him.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Jerry after a year of being the Butt Monkey to Beth and Rick’s criticism discovered that she was in fact holding him back.
    • They also discovered a subversion to What Does She See in Him? as every world where she lives her dream of being a human doctor she ends up alone. It seems that being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing isn’t as attractive once you leave high school
  • 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, making them worthless as is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Uplifted Animal: Snowball and his dog army.

    V-Z 
  • 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 Gazorpazorpians are always telling each other "I'm here if you need to talk", to the point that it may just be a casual greeting.
  • 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 phased by the extra-dimensional oddities Rick keeps company with.
  • Wham Episode: If fan consensus says this, then "Rick Potion #9" is definitely this.
  • Wham Line: From "Rixty Minutes": "That out there... That's my grave!"
  • 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-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.
  • 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:
    • "Lawnmower Dog" is one for Inception. The act of entering someone's dream is even referred to as "Incepting".
    Morty: But I've been here for months!
    Rick: Yeah but that's dream-time, Morty. And this is a dog's dream, which is seven times faster than a person dream. And if that doesn't make sense, then everyone's favorite movie doesn't make sense!
    • "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.
    • "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.
  • 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.
    • Zig-Zagged with the Gazorpazorpian women. Considering the male Gazorpazorpians 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 Gazorpazorpian women refuse to go anywhere near it.
  • 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 (Although in Ricks defense, there's no indication that he intended to hurt/kill him as the teenager dies when he accidentally tips over and shatters).
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 listing 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 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.
  • 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: Many episodes portray Jerry and Beth's marriage 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. However, unlike many examples of this trope, the failing marriage plot point actually works (for the most part) because Rick and Morty have screwed around with the universe (and then attempted to fix the universe, only to screw up even worse) so many times that it's inevitable for some things to keep getting unresolved. After Rixty Minutes this seems to have changed. They still have arguments, but they've stopped bringing up the possibility of a divorce.
    • Somewhat justified due to the complicated emotions involved in divorce. Ask any divorcee or the child of divorced parents and they'll probably tell you how they yo-yo'ed the decision quite a while before going through with it. "Giving it another try" can only prolong a broken marriage from falling apart for so long, especially since Beth and Jerry are never shown making any serious attempts to change for the better.