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Characters / Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez

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Richard Daniel "Rick" Sanchez C-137

Voiced by: Justin Roiland (Seasons 1 to 6), Ian Cardoni (Season 7 onwards)

Played by: Christopher Lloyd (live action)

Dubbed by: Yohei Tadano (Japanese), Juan Guzman (Latin American Spanish), Kai Taschner (German)
"I'm a scientist; because I invent, transform, create, and destroy for a living, and when I don't like something about the world, I change it."

"I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I'm bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is, it's not an adventure. There's no way to do it so wrong you might die. It's just work. And the bottom line is some people are okay going to work, and some people... well, some people would rather die. Each of us gets to choose."
Dr. Wong, breaking down Rick's entire M.O.

A jaded, morally-unsound yet brilliant elderly scientist and inventor living with his daughter's family, and Summer and Morty's maternal grandfather. Rick constantly drags his grandchildren and their parents along on adventures that serve purposes rarely expressed. He has access to all sorts of technological marvels he's supposedly invented all on his own, and he is (in)famous among aliens as one of the most intelligent beings in existence. Despite that, he drinks, has a whole suite of more-or-less lowkey mental health issues, and generally isn't the nicest or most pleasant person to be around most of the time, and finds that his inventions are really cut out for bigger problems than found every day in the family, though when the two combine, the result is never a pretty sight.

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  • Abandoned Catchphrase: Rick coins the phrase "Wubba Lubba dub-dub!" midway through the first season and repeatedly says it for a few episodes afterwards. Following the revelation that it means "I am in great pain, please help me." in Birdperson's language, the phrase has been mostly retired since season 2's "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" with Rick not saying it again until the season 5 finale "Rickmurai Jack" as a quick gag and a sign that he's not okay.
  • Above Good and Evil: Due to his insane intellect (confirmed by the Galactic Federation to be the smartest mammal in the galaxy) and his portal gun revealing to him infinite realities that allow him to avoid punishment for his misdeeds and infinite versions of his family members (which he views as replaceable), Rick views morality as something utterly meaningless.
  • Absurd Phobia: Up until "The Rickshank Rickdemption", he apparently used to have a fear of wicker furniture, and in "The Rickchurian Mortydate", he proves to be absolutely terrified of pirates.
  • Abusive Parents: He was a terrible father who was emotionally abusive of Beth and still exploits her after returning to her life, and his treatment of his grandson Morty, while played for Black Comedy, is highly abusive and toxic by the most forgiving real-world standards. Heavily averted as of the revelation at the end of season 5 that the deaths of his Beth and wife Diane actually happened because he loved them enough to abandon science and refuse to join the other Ricks.
  • Achilles' Heel: His portal gun. If it gets lost, stolen or broken, Rick (and usually Morty along with him) will be stranded in that universe until he can construct a replacement. Fortunately, he's always smart enough to do so, even from scratch.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Regularly calls his daughter Beth "sweetie".
    • From Season 3 onwards, he sometimes addresses his granddaughter Summer as "Summ-Summ".
  • Agent Mulder: In contrast to what you'd expect from a TV scientist, he's surprisingly open to the supernatural things like vampires or Satan although he ultimately believes (correctly for the most part) that he can outdo them all with science.
  • Alcoholic Parent: He's either drunk, chugging down whiskey from his flask or acting like a know-it-all asshole and his daughter Beth is shown to have inherited some of the traits.
  • Allergic to Routine: A family therapist concludes that his inability to form healthy relationships despite his brilliance is because doing so would be "work", and Rick would rather die than be bored. Although he dismisses this, his reaction to hearing it strongly suggests she hit the nail on the head. When he starts a successful business lifting curses on Blessed with Suck items, undoing their downsides, he gets bored and torches his business.
  • All for Nothing:
    • His stated goal in "The Rickshank Rickdemption" was to supersede Jerry as The Patriarch and focal point of Morty's life as well as the family's lives in general. The end of "The Rickchurian Mortydate" sees all of that fall apart as Morty decides to stay with his family and help his (possibly-clone) mother, who has gotten back together with Jerry after some ill advice from Rick regarding her possible nature as a clone sent her into an Identity Breakdown that led her back to Jerry as the one simple constant in her life. At the end of the episode the status quo at the start of Season One is restored and looks like it's going to stick since the family is genuinely happy now instead of the near-dysfunctional state they were in back then.
    • In "Rickmurai Jack" the "fabricated" backstory from "The Rickshank Rickdemption" turns out to have been true. A Rick did murder his wife and daughter because Rick refused to join them. Although initially going on a bloodless search for him (which is where he met up with Birdperson, joined the resistance, then got his feelings rejected by Bird Person), Rick eventually dedicated years, if not decades, to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge but never found the Rick responsible, but along the way made enemies with all the other Ricks. So depressed and tired, he just ended up needing to go on a mass-killing spree, force them into a truce and build the Citadel station just so other Ricks would stop trying to kill him.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Typically speaking, he's the bigger fish in question. For reference, he brutally murders the Worldender. Offscreen. While black-out drunk. In a matter of hours. However, he has also been on the receiving end of this trope as of late. For starters, he was handily beaten up and then arrested by Mr. Nimbus when he tried to steal his shell. And that's not even getting into Evil Morty outplaying him and the entirety of the Citadel without much visible effort.
  • Always Someone Better: Rick is demonstrated to be superior to virtually every other Rick, the only exception being Rick Prime. He and Rick Prime are the only two Ricks who independently invented multiversal portal travel, and Rick pretty consistently outwits his doubles whenever they come into conflict. Evil Morty's plan to escape the Central Finite Curve required him to scan Rick's brain specifically, despite having an entire Citadel of Ricks at his disposal, because Rick is the only person with the knowledge to do it.
  • Ambiguously Brown: "Sanchez" is a Spanish name and he has a very slightly different skin tone from the other characters, but that's about it. When asked about this, Roiland stated that he considers it irrelevant. In the commentary of "Auto-Erotic Assimilation", Rick was confirmed to be of Hispanic descent. "Rest and Ricklaxation" shows that his skin tone might have something to do with his lifestyle, as once he's removed of his psychological toxins his hair and skin become brighter.
  • And I Must Scream: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", he puts his mind in a clone of a younger version of himself, which takes complete control and shoves Rick to the back of the mind. While in this state, he can only communicate to the outside world through the clone's angst. This gets fixed at the end of the episode, of course.
  • Anime Hair: You could have sworn that a blue, spikey up-do would have better suited an anime character, but then again, he is a Mad Scientist. Considering that he is based on Doc Smith from The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti which in and of itself is a lawyer-friendly parody of Back to the Future, it seems to lean towards the latter.
  • Anti-Hero: The good he does is mostly incidental and the result of greater evil pissing him off. He even acknowledges this himself, stating several times that any benevolence on his part is more likely to be a side-effect of his own needs.
  • Anti-Magic: He's able to counter or negate certain magical effects, such as modifying Lucius Needful's cursed artifacts so they became harmless trinkets, or no-selling a dragons Breath Weapon. However, that apparently only works in universes where science is dominant; when he visited a magical realm and fought a wizard, all his tech kept backfiring on him, forcing him to jury-rig some magical weapons, much to his annoyance.
  • Anti-Role Model: At the end of "A Rickle in Time", when he is falling in fourth-dimensional space he blurts out that he hopes Morty doesn't become like him.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • In "Morty's Mind Blowers", he refused to believe in some "regular dude" living on the moon, citing that he's been on 300 versions of Earth's moon and never saw such a thing. Turns out, he's right.
    • Rick also holds strongly to the belief that there is no God even though he has met the literal devil and seen an alien get dragged off to hell before.
  • Arms Dealer: Rick sells guns to various buyers (a Gromflomite named Krombopulos Michael is his best customer) much to Morty's chagrin.
  • At Least I Admit It:
    • In "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" he tells Jerry that impregnating his daughter is only part of the reason he hates him. The rest is that, like Rick, Jerry ruins other people's lives for his benefit. However, while Rick is straightforward about screwing people over, Jerry subtly manipulates people into pitying him to get what he wants. This does actually get through to him, as he vows at the end of the episode that exploiting other people's pity will no longer be his "signature move".
    • In "The ABC's of Beth", Rick argues with Beth over her denial and deflection of her many problems. When she accuses him of being more willing to believe the worst of her than just admit he's a bad father, he refutes this by outright agreeing that, yes, he is a terrible father and not a good person, but points out that she's just as bad as he is; the difference is, he fully knows it (and it's a major part of his massive amount of self-loathing) while she refuses to believe it and constantly tries to blame her issues on other people. Like with Jerry above, this does reach her, as she admits at the end of the episode that she's out of excuses to not be who she really is, does some soul-searching, and actively makes a much better effort at being a good spouse and mother.
    • It's also Deconstruction, since for all his self-loathing, he never actually makes any effort to change himself because he's too lazy or afraid of the effort. While Jerry and Beth do actually make an effort to change after realizing their flaws, Rick doesn't, and it ultimately results in him losing the role as the family's patriarch and increased freedom he had gained by faking change at the end of the third season.
    • By the end of the sixth season, he's made a lot of progress as a person, but, ironically, because he's trying not to admit it, the others find his growth hard to accept.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In "Promortyus", Rick keeps getting sidetracked and wonders if he should take more Adderall... but then asks himself if he's taking too much. However, it's hard to say if he's got a genuine need for it (given his various mental issues) or if he (mis)uses it to get high - neither would be Out of Character for him (so it's probably both).
  • Author Avatar: Several episodes have Rick act as a blatant mouthpiece for Dan Harmon's personal views. In particular, Rick's hatred towards the titular team in "Vindicators 3: The Return of World Ender" echoes Harmon's self-professed dislike for superhero movies, while Rick's complaints about heist movies in "One Crew Over the Crewcoo's Morty" echo Harmon's own dislike of heist movies.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Rick's marriage to Beth's mother started with them being very much in love but over time, the love faded and their marriage failed and Rick left her. Beth even states that her mom fought with Rick about his willingness to risk his family's safety for his experiments. Despite this, he speaks gently of his ex-wife, indicating his problem may have been with being married rather than her and that he may still have some feelings for her. "Rickmurai Jack" reveals that Rick's actual wife and his own Beth were killed very early and he moved up with an abandoned adult Beth, he actually had a good relationship with his own wife.
  • Ax-Crazy: "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" has Rick killing several inactive clones of himself with an actual ax before realizing he has to get Jerry and Beth and getting one more hit in before cheerfully declaring "one for the road!" He isn't like this most of the time but the right trigger could send him off the deep end as seen in "A Rickle in Time".
  • Badass Bookworm: He know as the smartest man in the universe, a prodigious scientist and he is very able to kick ass despite his age; see below.
  • Badass Cape: When he beats the Council of Ricks (or really, 5/6ths of them and Mysterious Rick) in Pocket Mortys, he takes Mysterious Rick's cape as a prize.
  • Badass Labcoat: Wears a white lab coat and is one of the most badass people in the multiverse.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: He ends up accidentally becoming the villain of Vindicators 3 during a drunken stupor. By the end of the episode, all but one of the Vindicators are dead, he's proven that they're horrible people to Morty, and he gets away with all of it.
  • Bamboo Technology: Many times throughout the series:
    • In "Pickle Rick" where Rick cobbles together a power armor made from rat body parts and various materials found in the sewer he is trapped in. He then goes on to completely One-Man Army armed security guards with only office supplies. Not to be outdone, he continues by creating a functional laser weapon powered by batteries that is strong enough to melt through people. All while being a pickle. Solenia indeed.
    • In "Night Family", he builds an electric shield that covers his family house out of garbage like a carton of rotten eggs, a chicken's rib cage and an empty can.
  • Batman Gambit: He manipulated Morty's repressed rage in "The Rickshank Rickdemption" to get a clear shot at the last Council of Rick leader.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Whenever someone asks him to fix a problem, Rick generally uses one of his inventions to fix it. While these inventions do function properly, they often have unforeseen consequences that often endanger the user or make situations worse.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In "A Rickle in Time", Rick beats a fourth-dimensional being to unconsciousness. As a result, said being tries to beat Rick up in retaliation. Instead, they accidentally mistake Albert Einstein for Rick (due to them having a similar haircut), prompting him to develop e=mc2. This means Rick inadvertently caused Einstein's most important discovery.
    Fourth-Dimensional Being: You don't mess with time, motherf[beep]er! [leaves]
    Einstein: [gets up] I vill mess vith time!
    [begins to write "E=mc2" on his chalkboard]
    Einstein: ...I vill mess vith time.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Having his Pirates of the Pancreas idea criticized.
    • And on a more serious note, crossing him. Gearhead wound up with his gearsticles shoved into his mouth, Jerry was manipulated into divorcing Beth for proposing turning him in to the Galactic Government, and Morty was forced to commit fake suicide via vat of acid after criticizing the idea.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Justin Roiland stated himself that Rick is "well hung."
  • Big "NO!": Immediately after Tammy guns down Birdperson.
    Rick: BIRDPERSON!!''' NOOO!!
    • In his not fake memories in "The Rickshank Redemption" He reacted this way when he saw Diane and Beth die to a bomb in his original timeline.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: He has one. One of his alternate counterparts even quips that Seal-Team Rick "split his unibrow with a bullet" after hearing that he had been assassinated.
  • Blessed with Suck: One of the biggest running themes is Rick despising his own vast intellect since it ends up being the cause of many of the problems in his life. He knows there's an infinite number of parallel universes with an infinite number of other Smith-Sanchez families out there exactly like his own, which is a major reason why he struggles to form emotional attachments to them and doesn't really see them as unique individuals. This same awareness can be attributed to his cynicism and nihilism; nothing means anything and no one is special, this is just one universe in an infinite multiverse of infinitely chaotic possibilities, and it just so happens he's currently in this one.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Morty describes him as somewhere around this or Chaotic Neutral during his and Summer's trial at the Citadel of Ricks. invoked
    Morty: Well, he's not a villain, Summer, but he shouldn't be your hero. He's more like a demon, or a super fucked up God.
  • Body Surf: Rick hasn't had his "original" body since at least "The Rickshank Redemption" at the latest:
    • In said episode, he uses this to escape the Galactic Prison (by switching with his interrogator). He then travels through multiple alternate reality versions of himself to bring down the Council of Ricks.
    • Both "Healthy Rick" and "Toxic Rick" (Rick's personality separated into two bodies) do this in "Rest and Ricklaxation" in the middle of fighting each other, using a device to clone and transmit their consciousness into new bodies right before killing each other. In the end, the original Rick persona ends up being recreated when these two new Healthy and Toxic bodies merge (It Makes Sense in Context, sort of).
    • "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" reveals that, if Rick dies, only his body actually stays dead; his consciousness is uploaded into one of the clones he keeps in his basement. Or, at least, this is how it's supposed to work, but since Rick destroyed said clones in his dimension at the end of "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", he instead uploads into clones in alternate dimensions. He goes through numerous such bodies (as he is repeatedly killed by Nazis, or kills himself, for not being fascist), some of which aren't human, before he's able to return to his current dimension and clone a new human body for himself.
    • Somehow, his current body is apparently still native to his original dimension as of Solaricks, when he is snapped in-whole back there. Either that, or what counts as the "dimension of origin" is more to do with the mind or consciousness than the body, and the body is just kinda along for the ride.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: He was one in his past with Bird Person and Squanchy, committing atrocities against the Galactic Government, and he continues to be an anti-authoritarian and anti-institutional maverick in the present, mocking school, family, marriage, society, and even the Council of Ricks. In The Rickchurian Mortydate, his condescension and belittling of the POTUS, the man in charge of the country which he is a citizen of in the Multiverse, leads to a major crisis, with Rick being branded as a terrorist, and having his citizenship removed, and Rick coming close to killing the head of state which he probably would have gone ahead with had Morty not found a safe place for him and his family, forcing Rick to restore the status-quo.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Generally sees humans as annoying and needy, and has briefly forgotten the word for humans more than once.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Almost Once per Episode. Rick possesses the most Medium Awareness of any character in the show and is highly Genre Savvy, and makes frequent references to "episodes", "seasons", and "canon" in terms of plots throughout the series.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Rick could revolutionize human civilization overnight with his genius intellect, if only he cared enough to do it. Quite a few plotlines are started by him being faced with a problem he finds inconsequential and whipping up a quick and easy solution in response that tends to have disastrous side-effects attached to it.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes" he creates a robot with artificial intelligence for the sole purpose of getting him butter when he's eating.
    • In the Season 3 finale "The Rickchurian Mortydate" he negotiates peace between Israel and Palestine, just to spite the President.
    • A very brief list of his inventions includes cybernetic prosthetic limbs, teleportation, interdimensional travel, faster-than-light space travel, a device that freezes time, shrinking technology, advanced cloning technology, and memory manipulation. He hoards all of these technologies in his garage for his own use.
    • Half of Season 6 explores just how lazy he can be. He cedes complete control of his body in Night Family rather than do the dishes, and he's willing to listen to Jerry, Beth, and a clone of Beth have loud threeway sex during Bethic Twinstinct in preference to either fixing his portal gun or just leaving the house.
  • Broken Ace: Rick is a genius scientist and inventor who builds robots for fun and invented inter-dimensional travel. He's also a raging alcoholic and substance abuser who neglects his family, is deeply cynical and jaded about pretty much everything, and struggles with being a Death Seeker who wants to die. His catchphrase "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" translates to "I am in great pain, please help me" which is why he tries to numb his emotions with substances. Nevertheless, he almost always can save the day (even if it was mostly his fault to begin with).
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Morty slowly loses his respect for Rick as the series goes on. Rick is family and Morty loves him, but he slowly understands that Rick is a selfish asshole that hardly cares about anyone but himself, and he doesn't even fully care about himself either, no matter how people might feel about him. By season 3, Morty has given up on Rick, feeling that he'll never change and will just keep bailing when things get bad for him.
      Morty: [after Summer says he's bailing on Rick] He bails on everybody! He bailed on Mom when she was a kid! He — He bailed on tiny planet! And in case I never made this clear to you, Summer, he bailed on you. He left you to rot in a world that he ruined because he doesn't care! Because nobody's special to him, Summer, not even himself. So, if you really want your grandpa back, grab a shovel. The one that won't let you down is buried in your backyard!
      Morty: [after showing Summer his original dimension] These are the parts of Rick's adventures you don't get to see, the parts he leaves behind.
    • For years, Beth has had nothing but admiration for her father, to the point where she blames her mother for their failed marriage. While she has her limits, she never ceases in trying to make him proud of her or taking his side. Come "The ABC's of Beth", that starts to change. She not only learns that he made an alternate dimension named "Froopy Land" that he would leave her in, but he's negligent to the fact that her childhood friend Tommy was in that world for years and became a cannibalistic tyrant while his father is going to be put to death for allegedly eating him. Beth even admits at the end she realizes Rick isn't the great guy she convinces herself he is. The pedestal is broken even more in the season 4 finale where it's revealed Rick did clone Beth with one Beth staying on Earth and another going to space to rebel against the Galactic Federation. Both Beths loath him due to him flip-flopping on which Beth is the clone and their insults towards each other is based on how alike the other is to Rick, they even start bonding because they both want to kill him.
  • Bungled Suicide: Rick attempts to disintegrate himself after Unity leaves him due to Rick's negative influence on everyone around him. Rick is only saved after passing out, missing the heat ray by a hair.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In spades. He's a massive drunk, has borderline Blue-and-Orange Morality, and has a habit of dragging his grandson along on dangerous adventures, but the guy is a very talented and accomplished Mad Scientist... even if a lot of his experiments are odd.
  • But Not Too Bi: Is pansexual according to Word of God, but for the longest time, he was only actually shown trying to sleep with a man or date one (as in, not out of accident or humiliating someone else) in the Vindicators comic, where he tries to put the moves on Vance. Otherwise, he was always romantically and sexually involved with women. However, this is no longer the case as of "Rickternal Friendshine of the Rickless Mort", which outright confirms that he was in love with Birdperson, but the former didn't return his feelings.invoked
  • Byronic Hero: Minor hints here and there, that Rick has a pretty troubled past. He is also moody, cynical, and very passionate about his science. However, while his scientific habits may not be self-destructive as much as they are outwardly destructive, his drug habits most certainly are, and he occasionally shows cracks in his narcissism that betray a strong self-loathing.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: When he was on the verge of discovering portal technology, another Rick showed up to offer him a place on the Council of Ricks (or its predecessor). His response: Main Rick told Rick Prime to go to hell. Rick Prime's response was to try and kill Main Rick, only to kill Main Rick's family instead, giving him his Start of Darkness.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Rick is almost totally incapable of handling critiques of what he creates and becomes extremely defensive when he faces some, no matter how insignificant and/or petty the criticism is.
    • He throws an outright tantrum when his business partners in the Anatomy Park project point out that the concept behind "The Pirates of the Pancreas" is kind of hard to understand.
    • He gets extremely grumpy when Beth discusses how silly the name of "Froopy Land" is.
    • He even once wiped Morty's memory after he corrected his grammar for saying "taken for granite" instead of "taken for granted".
    • Most of "The Vat of Acid Episode" is basically Rick carrying out an especially cruel and long revenge scheme against Morty, simply for him criticizing his plan of faking his death with a fake vat of acid. At the end of it all, Rick straight-up admits that the only lesson he wanted to teach Morty with the whole scheme was simply "Don't ever make fun of me again. Ever!"
    • A subtle case in "Mortyplicity". It's implied that Rick made the squid and Muppet costumes that he has his family wear, and reacts negatively to Summer saying that the costumes "smell like ass".
    • A particularly egregious example comes in the episode "Night Family," where the titular Night Family politely asks their day counterparts, via Jerry's night person's pen pal letter to regular Jerry, to rinse their dishes, and Rick responds by yelling that their "job is not to make the night people's chores easier." Understand, the Night Family weren't asking for them to start doing the dishes themselves, all they wanted was for them to rinse their dishes when they were done with them, a task which would have taken two seconds to complete. Rick's rebellion against their completely reasonable request ends up setting off the central conflict of the episode, with the Night Family rebelling against their daytime counterparts. Rick set off the entirety of the episode's conflict out of sheer pettiness.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Don't think about it!"
    • In later episodes, he tries to make "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" his catchphrase. According to Birdperson, it means "I am in great pain, please help me." in his language.
    • From the same episode, he states that "I don't give a fuck" is his new catchphrase.
    • "Run, Morty!"
    • "Total Rickall" shows that "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" is apparently one of many nonsensical catchphrases he makes up on the fly, including (but not limited to) "And that's the way the news goes", "Grass tastes bad", "BurgerTime", "AIDS", and last but not least, "Lick-lick-lick my balls!"
    • "And awaaaaaaaaaayyy we go!"
    • "I'll be in the garage."
  • Character Development: Over the course of the series Rick slowly starts to overcome his nihilistic ways and form genuine emotional attachments with his family, even Jerry. While in early episodes he treated moving to another universe and integrating with an alternate version of the Smith-Sanchezes as an annoyance, in the Season 4 finale he directly told Morty and Summer not to get themselves killed in the course of trying to save the Earth from destruction, since while there's infinite parallel universes they could move to, it's preferable to save this one. He also generally tries to become a better person, and in the Season 5 finale actually cuts Morty loose because he recognizes he's a toxic influence on him (though of course it doesn't last). In the Season 6 premiere he states outright that he's recognized his unhealthy behavior and he has to work at improving himself.
  • Characterization Marches On: Early in the show he was a drunken lunatic whose inventions worked well enough to be dangerous but who clearly wasn't nearly as smart as he thought he was, more resembling a very dark caricature of Doc Brown, culminating in him causing the destruction of the world through sheer incompetence in "Rick Potion #9". After that, he quickly became a lot more competent and settled into his characterization of the bitter, amoral, Invincible Hero.
  • The Chessmaster: It turns out Rick's Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the season two finale was all part of a bigger scheme to topple the intergalactic federation and destroy the Citadel of Ricks, get Jerry and Beth to divorce, and to get the promotional Mulan dipping sauce.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Deconstruction. Rick certainly comes across as one, but it's implied to be a defense mechanism fostered over decades — if he ever stopped to empathize with those he's wronged over the years or consider the full consequences of his actions, he just might go completely insane.
  • Commander Contrarian: Being a Control Freak with a nihilistic outlook on existence, Rick hates being contradicted or one-upped and will either attack it — even if it's from his own family — whenever this happens. This is taken to extremes with his anti-establishment mindset, having developed his criminal record fighting monolithic organizations like the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks specifically because he can't picture himself joining anything that doesn't accept that he's better than anyone else.
  • Consummate Liar: In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" Rick claims he wouldn't go on a killing spree and murder a bunch of Ricks because he wouldn't profit from it. As revealed in "Rickmurai Jack," another Rick killed his original Beth and Diane. Leading to him going on a killing spree hoping to find him, but ultimately failing. Rick had every reason to profit from doing something like that. Even though he wasn't guilty, he still had the motive.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: More like Willfully Genre Blind. He's usually a massive Meta Guy pointing out all the cliché's and plot holes of whatever adventures he's having but due to his Never My Fault mentality, if he were to leave Jerry alone with his Obviously Evil alien assistant or ask Morty to turn off a light switch that's right next to an identical looking switch that turns of a room full of peoples life support, as far as he's concerned it's on them.
  • Control Freak: Along with his alternate selves, he's such a control freak that he actually helped orchestrate the Central Finite Curve, a massive wall built in the multiverse to isolate all realities where Rick is always the smartest man in the universe from all realities where he isn't the smartest, essentially walling himself off from potential threats and challengers so he could be like a physical God no matter where he went. With Evil Morty puncturing a massive hole in the Curve, there's no telling how Rick might react to being faced with genuine threats to his dominance.
  • Cool Old Guy: When he's not being drunk, or a dick, or a drunk dick, which is rare. Ironically, when he's being these things, he's much more likely to be this to anyone except his own grandchildren. He's unnaturally strong and agile for a 70-year old man, and can deliver an ass-kicking when needed. Also has access to many dangerous weapons he built himself. In "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind" he takes on several massive, alien beasts in melee combat and wins. Possibly justified; the bodies he occupies (the crazy things that happen to him tend to cause him to Body Surf semi-frequently) usually have a few cybernetic augmentations.
  • The Corrupter: Jerry openly sees him as a corrupting influence on not only his children but also Beth. Morty ends up doing horrible things in his adventures with Rick, including several acts of murder which has traumatized him emotionally and psychically, and Rick's constant humiliations and undermining of him makes Morty and even Summer into a darker person. Likewise, Evil Morty more or less implies that he was the product of Rick's abuse and treatment.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: He's based on Doc Brown from Back to the Future, but unlike the Nice Guy Doc who is just more absent-minded than malicious and is encouraging towards his teenage sidekick while wanting to use science to help mankind, Rick is a cynical jerk with utter contempt for other people who is emotionally abusive to Morty while using science to get away with whatever he wants.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Between his dysfunctional family playing with his stuff, powerful people across the multiverse wanting him dead, and his adventures to unknown alien worlds on a daily basis, Rick is very good at being prepared.
    • He has multiple security systems integrated into his car and the garage that can be activated by voice command, and numerous gadgets stashed all around the house discretely hidden inside of walls, furniture, and appliances. At any moment, Rick could punch into a wall and pull out a laser rifle, or open a hatch in the floor to reveal a ladder to a subterranean bunker.
    • He has a machine in his garage with numerous DNA samples from family members and authority figures — with the push of a button, the machine rapidly gestates a talking head to mimic that person's voice, in case Rick needs to fake a phone call to them. They're liquified once the call ends.
    • "Operation Phoenix" — there's countless clone bodies of Rick stored across the multiverse, and if he ever dies his mind will instantly be uploaded into one of them and wake them up to revive him.
    • He has synthetic cybernetic organisms with multiple redundancies, and allowing him to carry even more equipment with him, so either by the failsafes of his own body or with something on his person, he can quickly recover from any injury.
  • Crusading Widower: But damn if taking out hordes of alternate Ricks to nail the one who killed his own Diane and Beth doesn't count.
  • Cyborg: Zig-Zagged. According to "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", Rick's body (or at least the body he currently has) contains a lot of advanced cybernetics. It's never said whether his original body was this, though it'd admittedly explain a lot of his unnatural strength. "Rest and Ricklaxation" resulted in Rick's body being killed off by Toxic Rick, but his quick thinking allowed him to grow a new body out of Toxic Rick himself, which brought him back to full human, but then he gets his right arm ripped off in "The ABC's of Beth", but has a replacement robotic arm ready to immediately replace it. Within the same episode, he's already grown back his organic arm. Considering how advanced the technology Rick deals with actually is, there may be little difference between mechanical and biological enhancements.
    "Remember when I said I need was your apology and a screwdriver in my hand? Well I forgot I literally have a screwdriver in my hand. I mean duh-doy, I'm basically Inspector Gadget!"
  • Cynical Mentor: To Morty, naturally. There actually is well-meaning behind some of it such as him advising Morty to not get involved with love and instead focus on science, wanting to spare Morty heartache.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Throughout the show, it is implied Rick became who he is as a result of a disillusioning experience that occurred in his past. The circumstances of what happened aren't explained clearly, but over time it's hinted he lost something valuable in his life.
    Tony: You know what shy pooping is Rick? It's a pointless bid for control. You want to take the one part of life that you truly think is yours and protect it from a universe that takes whatever it wants. It took my wife, it clearly took something from you. We can spend our lives fighting that, or we can choose to be free.
    • In the third season premiere Rick shows a Galactic Federation agent a memory of him losing his loving wife and a much younger Beth to the Council of Ricks, turning him from a man into "an unfeeling ghost." Then he tells the agent he made the whole thing up, seemingly mocking the idea of having a tragic backstory at all. Then "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" implies there was more truth to this than he was willing to admit. Flashbacks show a vengeful Rick in a shootout with alternate versions of himself who claim killing them won't bring "her" back, and interactions with a sentient memory of himself reveal Rick's original Beth really is dead. "Rickmurai Jack " reveals that his search for the Rick responsible initially was bloodless, only intending to being the Rick to justice, but in the process he joined the Resistance against the Galactic Government, fell in love with Birdperson, then got rejected, resulting in even further cynicism. At that point, he went from "Bloodless search" to full-on "Roaring Rampage of Revenge" which culminated in him mass-slaughtering a large number of Ricks, forcing the survivors into a truce and laying the grounds for the current Council of Ricks and the setting depicted in the series proper.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Rick has been through a lot in his life, to the point where he is numb to pretty much everything. It's also hinted that he had a troubled relationship with his parents who were unsupportive of him.
    • The third season opener takes it up a notch when we learn his wife and daughter were murdered in front of him by an alternate Rick... and immediately subverted when Rick reveals that was a lie so he could hack the brainalyzer the feds had him in and escape.
    • In the fifth season finale, "Rickmurai Jack", we learn the events that led up to him (literally) crashing in with his daughter's family. A Rick killed his Beth and Diane for refusing to join them, leading Rick on a multiversal search for him. After his stint with the resistance and getting rejected by Birdperson, he continued on his quest but, being extra-bitter, decided to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in search of that Rick, killing who knows how many other Ricks along the way, but he could never find him. After making an enemy of the proto-Citadel of Ricks in his quest, he eventually did a mass-homicide on a assembly of Ricks to get them leave him alone, resulting in a truce that had Rick building the Citadel itself for them to cease killing each other. Eventually, becoming depressed in his creation of something he hates, Rick crashed into the garage of a Beth whose Rick left her (or was killed by C137), bonded with Morty, and the rest is history.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Does this a lot around Jerry or the inhabitants of any world he travels to.
  • Death Glare: In "Meeseeks and Destroy" he quickly and quietly realizes that Morty was nearly raped by King Jellybean. He doesn't say anything to upset or insult Morty, only giving a look that mixes horror and Tranquil Fury. In fact, when Rick and Morty return to Earth, Rick quickly grabs a gun and kills Jellybean through the portal. Rick didn't want to ruin Morty's adventure and made sure that it goes great for him without Rick ruining it but as soon as Morty's back is turned, Rick doesn't hesitate to murder his most deserving victim.
  • Death Is Cheap: Having spent decades seeing the infinite expanse of the multiverse (mostly spent searching for the Rick that killed his family, and slaughtering his way through countless other Ricks in his quest, Rick's belief in the value of individual life (if it ever existed) has been ground down to almost nothing: after all, there's always more copies of people out there somewhere.
  • Death Seeker: In Season 2 especially, Rick is more or less waiting for the end to find him. However, he's also shown fear of dying and has sought ways to cheat death such as his attempted Body Backup Drive in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez". He seems okay with the idea of dying if he has absolutely no way out of it but will quickly jump on any possibility of avoiding his demise.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Of the Insufferable Genius. Rick is the smartest being in the universe and could whip up technology centuries ahead of his time with odds and ends he finds in somebody's junk drawer. However, being so smart doesn't mean people want to spend time with him, and over the course of the series he gradually alienates almost everyone who cares about him and drives them away with his arrogance and shitty behavior. His genius is also directly associated with a lot of other personality shortcomings — he's Allergic to Routine and needs adventures to be excited, goes to ridiculous and impractical lengths to get revenge on those who deal him petty sleights, and has made a lot of enemies due not only to attitude but just because a lot of people want to exploit his intelligence or get a hold of his technology. His genius is also a major reason he's so cynical and nihilistic. Speaking of...
    • Also of the Straw Nihilist. Rick knows there's an infinite multiverse of infinitely chaotic possibilities out, sometimes so similar that the only difference is how they pronounce a single word in the English language. To Rick, nothing has any value because nothing is unique and nothing happens on purpose because it's all random chance, so he lives for the thrill of the moment and if something goes wrong he'll just leave, including moving to an entirely different dimension. However, as the series keeps going it becomes clear Rick's behavior is self-destructive and pointless, and his tendency to do things without caring about the consequences causes a lot of damage in more ways than one, especially when it effects people close to him. His major character arc over the course of the series is slowly becoming a better person and growing out of this nihilistic mindset because he realizes he's a shitty person and he actually does care about people no matter what he may say otherwise. His behavior also sharply contrasts Morty, who has come to the same sorts of realizations as Rick but come out of it an Anti-Nihilist. We also have the reveal in "The Rickshank Rickdemption"that this belief that nothing matters comes from the murder of his family by the precursor to the Council, his fruitless quest to find and kill the specific Rick that approached him, his ever more uncaring Roaring Rampage of Revenge against waves of Ricks, his failed attempt at a new romance with Birdperson, and eventually evolving into The Alcoholic Death Seeker who seeks out a random Beth as he waits to die.
    • Of the Demiurge Archetype. As the smartest man in the universe, Rick is functionally immortal, nearly indestructible, and invincible in any universe within the Central Finite Curve. No one can touch him except for another Rick or Evil Morty, and Rick Prime likens both himself and C-137 to gods repeatedly. He creates life with a thought, can imbue his creations with immortality, and with the Citadel's existence on paper Rick Sanchez rules the entire mulitverse...but only within the Curve. The downside of this is acquiring all this power and technology has destroyed Rick's sense of morality, empathy, and nearly extinguished any kindness he has left. The Control Freak tendencies this character type has only drive him to more self-destructive or extreme lengths to keep his family under his thumb. Like all demiurges Rick is Not So Invincible After All—whenever he's up against an equal like Rick Prime he starts to struggle and his massive ego hinders him more than it helps.
  • Defrosting Ice King: While still a snarky Mad Scientist, Rick has slowly mellowed out over the course of the series, and the season 2 finale even has him making a speech about opening up to people for the first time. Even when the frost comes back after everything goes to hell, he turns himself in to the Galactic Federation so his family can live on Earth in peace. Averted when it turns out he only turned himself in so he could topple the Galactic Federation (changes in the plan also allowing him to kill the Council of Ricks) and get Beth to divorce Jerry for crossing him.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hits it in "Wedding Squanchers". He'd managed to give a beautiful speech (though it didn't seem that way at first) about emotionally opening himself up and enjoying himself and his friend's happiness... Only for it not to work out later. He refers to this as "letting his guard down", and says he'll never do that again.
  • Demiurge Archetype: Rick Prime claims to have made both himself and Rick C-137 into gods and while they can back a lot of those claims up, they explicitly are not. Within Central Finite Curve, they're the "smartest man in the universe" but outside of that bubble, they have competition. Rick himself is nearly invincible within the CFC, can create life with a touch, and it's not much of a stretch to say he's remade the multiverse in his image along with Prime. However, what they actually did was isolate the rest of the multiverse from any other world that lacks a Rick—so rather than being the smartest man in the universe, they're the smartest man in the bubble they both create and control.
  • Determinator: Zig-Zagged. Nothing stops Rick once he sets his mind to it...unless he just stops caring.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", he starts a business in which he removes the curses from the cursed items of Mr. Needful's store solely to troll him. He manages to drive the devil into attempting suicide.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: After Mr. Needful "Zuckerbergs" Summer, the two work out heavily and proceed to kick the shit out of him.
  • Dimensional Traveler: His portal gun lets him hop between dimensions, universes, and timelines at will.
  • Dirty Coward: A weird case, Rick is so horribly desensitized that it's rare for him to show fear for his life. But the lengths he goes to to avoid losing control of his relationships implies this. When Beth wants him to decide what's best for her and asks him what kind of daughter he wants her to be; he opts to knock her out, clone her, plant a bomb in both of them, switch the two around and send one of them to space while the other stays home on Earth. He erases his own memories so he doesn't know the answer when one of the Beths returns.
  • Dirty Old Man: Rick is seen in BDSM gear, having wild sexual requests with Unity and in one of Morty's bad memories is hitting on some hot alien babes as Morty is being dragged away by a giant lobster.
  • Disappeared Dad: He ran out on Beth and her mother when she was a child after growing bored with his marriage. There are vaguest hints that very deep down, Rick is actually deeply ashamed at this, and realizes he is a terrible father and grandfather, and this is one of the root causes of his alcoholism and self-loathing.
    • Moreover, some episodes (most visibly "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" and "Get Schwifty") show Rick with an infant and a young child Morty, strongly suggesting Rick had been keeping tabs on his grandson well before his official return to his daughter's life.
    • Ultimately subverted in "Rickmurai Jack", which reveals that Rick (or at least, Rick C137) did not abandon his Beth, who was instead killed by another Rick, along with her mother. Rick then travelled the Multiverse in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to find the Rick who killed his family, before crashlanding into an adult Beth's home and staying with her family, leading to the rest of the series. Whether Beth's original Rick abandoned her, or was killed by C-137, is left unclear until season 6 reveals that C-137 Beth was abandoned by her original father.
  • Discard and Draw: His love for his daughter isn't nearly substantial enough to make him not abandon her so he can go to another parallel dimension that he didn't mutate to live with a near-identical Beth. Probably not the first time he has done this either. It's because his own wife and daughter are dead, and Rick knows there just would be another version of her.
    • A bit of Fridge Horror here, in that Rick, being able to travel across alternate dimensions, must be aware that infinite different versions of his daughter (and other loved ones) exist all the time, and an infinite subset of them must be dying fairly horrible deaths at any given time. It's fundamentally impossible to change this, so he seems to have made a conscious decision "not to think about it". Dealing with this kind of horrifying awareness may be a contributor to his substance abuse problem. invoked
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In "Rickshack Redemption", he pretended to be a hero and knowingly got Jerry and Beth divorced just because Jerry suggested Rick turn himself in.
    • In "The Vat of Acid Episode", he gives Morty a "save your place" device which Morty uses to the full. It's actually a "hunt for a nearby universe where you can replace that Morty and horribly murder him when you rewind" device, and every deed and misdeed Morty has done actually occurred in some other universe as well as the murders of countless Mortys. Rick can combine all the universes, saving all of those Mortys, so long as Morty Prime is willing to live with the consequences of all his crimes... and escape into a vat of fake acid. The plan he made fun of in the beginning of the episode.
    • When Summer averts an apocalypse just to ruin Rick's fake relationship and rub his face in it, he compliments it as "a pretty Rick thing to do".
  • Ditzy Genius: Can easily qualify when it comes to his drunkenness and sociopathy.
  • Doctor Whomage: A darker take on the trope, being a Science Hero who travels through dimensions and regularly takes down foes with nothing but his gadgets, his wit, and a lot of Techno Babble. Though technically speaking he's based on Doc Brown from Back to the Future. The show also deconstructs the archetype, as Rick's experiences and knowledge of the universe and nature thereof has left him with an extremely nihilistic world-view, blatant mental health issues, a general fear of emotional attachment, rampant alcoholism and other kinds of substance abuse as coping mechanisms, and self-destructive tendencies to the point of being outright suicidal at times. Like the Doctor, he doesn't like to go back to places he's been before. When we get to see what's happened to a few of those places at the end of season five and it's really not pretty, whereas with the Doctor, his return visits usually show places improved by his meddling.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Has an outspoken disdain for magic and those who use it, which is usually portrayed as Hypocritical Humor as Rick's technology is so advanced it's effectively indistinguishable from magic anyway, and his opinion that magic is lazy and poorly explained is just as hypocritical since, while he can understand his own Technobabble, virtually no one else can, and almost none of it follows any sort of physical law.
  • Doom Magnet: Even if Rick likes you or at least tolerates you, being around him isn't easy. The longer you are around him, the more likely you are to die, be injured, endure psychological trauma, be used as bait to lure Rick to a trap, stuck in another dimension, or any other number of horrible fates.
    • The sixth season deconstructs this, because part of the reason Rick draws all this trouble to him is that he keeps responding to it. When he follows Dr. Wong's advice to just ignore the assholes who keep trying to draw him out, the result is actually peace and happiness as the bad guys end up finding people less likely to simply murder them into oblivion.
  • Doting Parent: The one person (at least in the Smith family) Rick is never seen disrespecting is his daughter Beth. He even calls her "sweetie" sometimes. He also doesn't think someone like Jerry is worthy of his daughter and isn't shy about expressing that. It makes more sense when we learn that he lost his Beth when she was a child.
  • Driven to Suicide: He attempts to commit suicide after Unity breaks up with him. He also tries to goad Morty into killing him when Morty accuses him of being a parasite. Both attempts fail.
  • The Dreaded: Rick is the most hated and feared criminal in the universe and the top target of The Federation for it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: He evidently uses drugs and alcohol to dull his pain.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Rick originally had extremely pale skin in the first few episodes rather than the greyish-tinted skin tone he has today.
  • Einstein Hair: Comes with being a Dr. Brown parody. There's even a moment where a pair of vengeful Time Cops mistake the actual Albert Einstein for Rick due to them having pretty much the exact same haircut.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Apparently he's known to Rick Prime and possibly other Rick's as "Dead Wife Rick". Explaining why, similar to Doofus Rick he prefers to go by Rick C-139.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the opening of the pilot, Rick drags Morty out of his bedroom in the middle of the night, drunk off his ass, and takes him for a flight in his spaceship ranting he has to nuke the world to start over, but tells Morty he'll spare Jessica so they can be the new Adam and Eve; Morty refuses to go along with this so Rick stops, and tries to pass it off as a Secret Test of Character before passing out. This sets up the character traits that will define him for the show's run — alcoholism, misanthropy, access to advanced technology, love for his grandson, consummate liar, and Morty is his moral compass.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rick is a cynical, nihilistic, selfish man, but he has lines he won't cross and will be disgusted when other people do.
    • As much as he might shit on his grandkids when they piss him off and thoroughly chew them out and insult them, when someone else screws with them, Rick usually doesn't tolerate it. This same protection extends to the few others he truly loves and cares about, like Mr. Poopybutthole and Birdperson; if anyone hurts them, expect Rick to be horrified, saddened, furious, and vengeful in short order. This applies to Jerry too: as much as Rick loathes him, he won't stoop to killing him, even when he briefly thinks Jerry was planning to kill him.
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", he and Morty make a bet regarding which of them will choose their future adventures. While Rick was fully invested in winning, when he realizes Mr. Jellybean tried to do to Morty, he quickly ends the adventure, concedes victory to Morty, and takes him home — and shoots Mr. Jellybean on their way out.
    • While he has personal reasons for despising the Council of Ricks and the Citadel, he particularly dislikes how they treat their Mortys like resources and accessories to be traded, exchanged, and replaced when lost, as opposed to real people.
    • Rick admits in “A Rickle In Time” that he expects Summer and Morty to know basic math.
    • He loves wanton violence, sex, and substance abuse, but when it goes too far, it stops being fun for him and he expresses that.
    • He hates fascism and Nazis. In "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" he hops through dimensions looking for a Rick to help him out, but isn't interested in working with any who are fascists, and in "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender", he was deeply disturbed by the possibility that he espoused anti-Semitic views when Morty revealed that he ranted about Israel when drunk. When Morty said that all he did was babble about defense budgets and the U.N., Rick was quick to point out to the Vindicators (whom he intensely dislikes) that there was a difference between being anti-Semitic and referencing the broader geopolitical issue of the situation.
    • In "The ABC's of Beth", he admits he made Froopy Land for Beth to roam in because he was disturbed by her Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, showing her numerous objects she begged him to make for her, including a teddy bear with anatomically correct innards and a pink sentient switchblade. He was also horrified when he learns Tommy has survived by raping the Froopy Land citizens and cannibalizing his offspring.
    • Whatever he saw from the Talking Cat's origins clearly horrified and disgusted him. So much so that he threw up and attempted suicide due to the horrors he witnessed. Whatever he saw was so horrible, he legitimately tried to get Jerry not to look. He even erased Jerry's memories afterwards so he wouldn't remember the atrocities he saw.
  • Evil Is Petty: "Morty's Mind-Blowers" shows that he abuses his memory-erasing technology to take away Morty's memories of Rick messing up. This includes things like memories of Rick skiing into a tree while Morty does well, Morty beating Rick at checkers, and Morty busting Rick's balls over believing a saying was "taken for granite" instead of "granted."
  • Experienced Protagonist: Rick has been doing his thing long before the show began. He's explored The Multiverse extensively, knows all the ins and outs about existence itself, is often familiar with the antagonists that appear, and just has a storied past in general.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: When Rick has Rick Prime, the murderer of his original wife and Beth, at his mercy, he forgoes any inventive method of revenge and simply beats him to death with his bare hands, spending several minutes reducing the man's skull to a mass of gore until Rick is coated head-to-foot in his blood.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: According to Word of God, he is pansexual, and it's not just for humans. Comes up in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", where among the things he ends up having an orgy with are a group of (presumably male) alien miners and an alien giraffe. He's hooked up with Starfish Aliens, and in the Vindicators comic he tries to seduce Vance, who is Ambiguously Human but definitely male. Rick had a human wife at one point, with whom he had Beth, but he's also shown having romantic feelings for Bird Person. invoked

  • Fallen Hero: Implied to be what happened to Rick in the past. When talking to Beth, Rick states that he had a 'hero phase' that he grew out of. "Rickmurai Jack" shows the "fabricated backstory" from the season 3 premiere was mostly true, he was a family man whose wife and daughter were murdered by a Rick from the Citadel's precursor organization, which lead him to perfect interdimensional travel so he could go search for him. In the process he fought against the Galactic Federation but mostly just so Birdperson would help him with his own problems due to his growing attachment. After being rejected by Birdperson, he resumes his quest for the murderous Rick, stumbled upon the Council, then went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to find the Rick he was looking for but never did.
  • Family of Choice: From the fourth season onward, he seems to consider his current Smith family that he lives with (consisting of the series' original Morty, second versions of Summer and Beth, and third version of Jerry) to be this, consistently sticking with them even when he has options to exchange them for other versions of themselves.
    • Despite implying at the end of "The Rickchurian Mortydate" that he's going to abandon them rather than be the "lowest-status member of the household" after Beth and Jerry have reconciled, he ultimately doesn't do so and stays with them despite this. And following up on this, in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat", he ends up trapped in alternate dimensions and has every opportunity to just pick a different one to replace himself in if he so chooses so he can become the "top dog" in the family again, which might also be the simpler option, but makes the concentrated effort to get back to the one he came from and the family he was living with, clearly considering it to be his home at this point.
    • Several episodes showcase how protective he is over these specific versions of his family members, like "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri" and "Mortyplicity", the latter of which shows that he's created countless decoy clones of the whole family to keep them safe from his enemies who may try to hunt them down.
    • This is especially the case with Morty, since, unlike the other members of the family, he's kept the same one with him (the Morty native to the Cronnenberg dimension) throughout. This is even more true when Season 6 reveals that Morty's native Rick is "Rick Prime", the one who murdered Main Rick's Diane and Beth, and Rick originally only came to Morty's dimension in the hope that Rick Prime would come back someday. Still, despite Morty being the real grandson of his worst enemy, Rick genuinely bonded with him and has kept him by his side ever since.
    • "Rickmurai Jack" shows that Rick has spent most of his life since the deaths of Diane and Beth refusing to move on, which led to his Roaring Rampage of Revenge trying to find the Rick who murdered them, to no avail. However, in "Solaricks", Rick admits to AI Diane that he still doesn't want to move on from them, but has finally realized that he needs to, especially now that he has a family to go back to. He solidifies this later in the episode when Morty tells him that, despite Rick Prime being his original grandfather, he considers Main Rick to be his true grandpa. This is enough to convince Rick to give up a potential chance on taking revenge against his original family's killer, in favor of leaving to rescue his current family.
  • Fan Disservice: Rick in after changing to blend in the pleasure chamber, a scene which also features fanservice from Summer. Him and Morty walking naked through a Zygerian simulation counts as well.
  • Fantastic Racism: Rick does not like Gromflomites. Mostly for being bureaucrats.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Tries to enforce this by reminding everyone around him that he's mostly terrible, so it's their fault rather than his own if they get hurt because of something he does. Defied later when Morty starts off Season 3 believing Rick to be a force of nature or "demon" to be appeased only to eventually realize he's just an immature egotist who chooses to be awful and often Wants a Prize for Basic Decency.
    "I could've left you guys! You think the concept of family matters to me? I'm not even YOUR Rick."
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Rick's destructive tendencies (and his unwillingness to change) tend to put the lives of his family in danger and strain his relationships with them. Even Morty has his limits with Rick.
    • Tying into the above is that Rick is very prone to Didn't Think This Through often causing problems by using his science for quick fixes and never giving forethought to trouble down the line, forcing him to solve things as they happen.
    • His apathy. Rick's continual assertions that life is meaningless and that the existence of a multiverse means that all versions of everybody are ultimately expendable in his eyes has gotten turned around on him more than once. He was forced into complying with an ultimatum to either change his behavior or take off for a new universe because he showed this mindset, something which galled the usually arrogant Rick. He's also reluctant and possibly terrified at the notion of emotionally connecting with people, which leads Rick to self-sabotage nearly any relationship he has with others. The issues with Space Beth came about because Rick couldn't bring himself to make the choice Beth asked of him and instead tried to Take a Third Option which ultimately didn't resolve anything in long run.
    • Belligerence. Rick hates bending on anything to anyone else and has a habit of escalating problems and starting completely unnecessary fights with people, even when he has nothing to gain out of them, simply for the sake of his pride and Moral Myopia. Morty calls Rick out on this in the Season 5 premiere, pointing out that everything turns into a fight with Rick. He's proven right when Rick's shoots himself in the foot by having Summer show up and reveal his plan to screw over the enemy of the episode immediately after they offered a peaceful resolution.
    • His inability to stay committed to anything. Rick is notorious for only pursuing things because he finds them entertaining and tries to cut and run when it becomes more convenient to run away from problems instead of trying to actually solve them. This wreaks havoc on his personal relationships because he would rather take off and find some ultimately meaningless distraction instead of putting in the effort to better himself so he can keep the people he cares about in life.
  • Fetish: Might have one for sentient planets.
  • Final Solution: He commits genocide of the tiny universe inside the Microverse for the sake of his car battery.
  • First-Name Basis: While Summer calls him grandpa and Beth calls him dad, Morty only calls him Rick. It's an indicator of their relationship as they are more like friends than family and about the fact that Rick was a very distant and absent grandfather for most of Morty's childhood.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: This is strange, considering that he once lectured the family about the importance of Jesus during Christmas and that he and Morty have encountered vampires, demons, and all sorts of other supernatural phenomena. Not to mention he's flat-out scammed the Devil himself.
  • Foil: To Jerry. Rick is a sociopathic, brave, and brilliant scientist who the family will go along with despite being aware of his craziness, but despite all that, Rick will give up on things quite often when he personally decides it's too much work (i.e., abandoning Beth when she was a child when he couldn't handle parenthood not). Jerry is comparatively noble, a Dirty Coward, a bit of a ditz who serves as the family's resident Butt-Monkey despite making good points about Rick's toxic influence, but despite his bad luck is a Determinator.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer:
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: It's pointed out multiple times that Rick's traumatic past is no excuse for his abysmal behavior. Evil Morty points out that Ricks in general tend to use their suffering as an excuse, and Dr. Wong notes that for all Rick claims he's Blessed with Suck, he deliberately refuses to become a better person or improve his life because putting in that kind of work bores him no matter the impact on the people around him.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Before he embarked on his interdimensional adventures, he quit science to be a family man. His refusal to join the other Ricks in creating interdimensional travel led to Rick Prime murdering his Diane and Beth, leading to him finishing the portal gun on his own, and going on a hunt for the one responsible, killing every other Rick he came across. His failure to do so and experiences through multiple realities have left him a very dangerous shell of his former self.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" he smashes up a series of clones of himself with an axe while nude. It makes a bit more sense in context, but only a bit.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He builds robots for fun, among other things. In one case, he built a robot for the sole purpose of passing butter and endowed it with enough intelligence for it to become depressed by its lot in life.
  • Gag Penis: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", when his penis is shot fullscreen, in its blood-covered, censored glory, it's shown to reach well down almost to his knees.
  • Gaslighting: How he keeps exerting control over his family, and especially Morty. He undermines their self-esteem and confidence in their selves and abilities, while never fully being honest to them about how much he needs them. Morty's Mind Blowers makes this clear when it's revealed that he chooses to delete the memories of Morty, as well as Jerry, as and when he sees fit. Notably, the memory vials that are red in colour, are memories where Morty pointed out Rick's mistakes, which he chooses to delete solely to maintain his authority over him. This finally bites him in the ass in the Season 3 finale where his gaslighting leads to Beth doubting whether or not she's a clone and ends up going back to Jerry and talking things out, leading to their remarriage.
  • Gasshole: He frequently belches in the middle of his sentences when he's drunk, which is often. This has been noticeably downplayed since the pilot, though. He's also capable of letting out massive farts on command. What convinces him to stay with his family at the end of season 3 is when Summer reveals she has inherited his ability to fart on command.
  • Genre Savvy: As part of being the self-proclaimed "smartest man in the universe" and having high levels of Medium Awareness, Rick frequently references and calls out the numerous sci-fi tropes that he and his family encounter throughout the multiverse, and usually the first to guess what's going to happen next or call that something is going to end badly. All of which is accompanied by heaps of his usual snark.
  • The Glomp: This is invoked on him by Summer in "A Rickconvenient Mort," as Summer literally glomps Rick when he says he'll take her on an apocalypse party binge to forget a bad breakup she's having to deal with. Rick actually enjoys this and is shown smiling warmly as Summer eagerly leaves to pack her bags for the trip.
  • Goal in Life: The end of Season 5 reveals Rick's primary goal is hunting and killing the Rick that murdered his family, spending decades searching every universe for his whereabouts. He actually manages to accomplish this in Season 7... and is left feeling empty because it doesn't bring Diane back nor does it provide him any sort of catharsis or closure. He's left wondering what even to do after it all.
  • A God Am I: "Rest and Ricklaxation" explicitly states that Rick sees himself as a god, thanks to his insane amount of intellect.
    • In "The Rickchurian Mortydate", Rick completely loses his cool and goes on a Badass Boast rant when one of the President's underlings berates everyone in the room for acting like he's some kind of god.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Word of God states that one of the reasons why Rick is such a crazy bastard is the fact that his advanced intellect puts him above normal humans and lets him realize how truly chaotic the universe is. Similarly, one of the reasons that he treats others with contempt is the fact that he doesn't see anyone as particularly special since there are infinite versions of them in other realities. Though it was only part of a Batman Gambit, he did refer to the portal gun's creation as what separated him from being a man and an unfeeling ghost. invoked
  • Gone Horribly Right: As mentioned previously, the main problem with many of Rick's inventions are that they often work precisely as they're intended. But it's often to the point of having unforeseen catastrophic, not to mentioned, dangerous side effects.
  • Good All Along: A very unique example. Make no mistake, he’s an asshole on his worst days and a nominal hero when he bothers to save the day; however, it’s eventually revealed that he’s one of the Ricks that loved his family and was content with his life to becoming a loving husband and father. Losing them is the reason he eventually became extremely jaded.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: One of his subtle but consistent peeves are his relationships being threatened by someone other than him; when Summer chooses Mr. Needful over him because she respects him less, he devotes his time to destroying Mr. Needful's business. When Morty praises the Vindicators over him as real heroes, he gets blackout drunk, outdoes them by destroying the Worldender singlehandedly, and sets up an elaborate Saw-like death course to destroy Morty's faith in them by proving them as self-absorbed assholes no better than him.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Rick may be a genius, but he's mostly an extremely grumpy scientist. The old man is super cynical and pessimistic even on his best days.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: He's had the same hairstyle, including grey hair, for his entire life.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Rick gets easily annoyed by mostly everything but his family's antics seem to piss him off a lot. This is mostly seen by Jerry and Morty.
  • Happily Married: To spite his claims to the contrary, he loved Diane a lot and was willing to put his scientific pursuits on hold to be a good husband to her. When she died he fell into a deep depression that ultimately led to him becoming the jaded, apethetic Sociopathic Hero he is today.
  • Hard on Soft Science: Doesn't believe in psychology, to the point where he tries to avoid going to an appointment by turning himself into a pickle.
  • The Hedonist: Rick regularly indulges in any vice he thinks is worthy of his time, ranging from snorting inter-dimensional crystal for a fleeting high to engaging in wild orgies with alien life forms of both sexes under the control of a Hive Mind.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: While Rick isn't what most would consider a "hero", he does seem to have a fetish for red-haired people as seen in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", in which he has his hive mind lover fill a stadium solely with redheads. This is averted with the first love of his life, Diane, who is blonde.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Near the end of "A Rickle in Time", one of the singularity-Ricks follows Morty through the abyss. Thinking that there is no other way out, Rick gives Morty his own collar that would allow them to reemerge with the many realities, allowing Morty to leave as Rick continues to fall through time and is content with this fate. He finds the other collar and fixes it soon after to return himself, but he did not know that.
    • In a possibly slightly less lethal way, he turns himself in to a Galactic Federation prison at the end of "The Wedding Squanchers" so that his family can live a safe and normal life on Earth. Subverted in the Season 3 Premiere, where he reveals being Captured on Purpose was All According to Plan to destroy the Galactic Government.
    • An indirect example, but in "Rest and Ricklaxation", Toxic Rick gives up his free will to try and save Toxic Morty after Healthy Rick kneecaps him.
  • Hidden Depths: He occasionally makes remarks that hint at wanting to be seen as a good person, at least by his family. Season 2 also shows that he is incredibly aware of his own flaws and that he uses a partial Hidden Heart of Gold-hiding facade to hide his troubles from others because he doesn't know how to cope with them on his own.
    • "Auto Erotic Assimilation" has Rick horrified when a town gets destroyed For the Lulz.
    • "A Rick-Le In Time" has him (technically 1 of 64 instantiations of him) pray to God to have mercy on him when it looks like he's going to die, only to go back to mocking his existence when he is saved.
      • Also, it is implied that Rick is insecure about his alcoholism; earlier in the episode, Rick claims that he is still in sync with his alternate reality self because he's never unsure, but when Morty makes an offhanded comment about his drunkenness, it causes Rick's certainty to falter just long enough to desynch.
    • "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" has him reveal the true nature of his disdain for Jerry is that his son-in-law chooses to be spineless and pathetic as a manipulation tactic, with the not-so-subtle suggestion that Rick would gladly respect Jerry if he'd just make the effort to live up to his real potential.
    • From the same episode, it's also implied that his relationship with Morty is in part to lacking a son and possibly a result of his own dad issues. It's telling that Jerry is the one who realizes this and gives perhaps a bit more depth into his and Rick's relationship.
    • Rick dabbles in music and can play keys, bass, and guitar. His vocals and lyrics, which qualify as So Bad, It's Good in real life, were catchy enough In-Universe to save the planet Earth TWICE in "Get Schwifty".
    • "Rickmurai Jack" reveals that Rick's backstory in "The Rickshank Redemption" is mostly true, the only differences being how he handled his interaction with the other Rick. The episode also hints that the Central Finite Curve, which bars the Citadels' and Rick-C137's portal guns from entering universes where Rick isn't the smartest man in the universe, is simultaneously a way for Ricks to maintain control over their section of reality and for "Simple Ricks" to never have to suffer from the collateral damage of the Citadel's Ricks in the same way that our Rick has.
      • The episode recontextualizes his dislike of Jerry and attempt to remove him from the Smith family; Jerry and Beth ending up together is a machination of the Citadel and Rick knows on some level that he's responsible of his daughter marrying someone she (initially) can't stand. So he wasn't trying to control Beth and Jerry by tricking them into a divorce, he was trying to free them
  • His Own Worst Enemy: As Morty notes, Ricks tend to hate themselves the most, and C-137 Rick is the most himself, so he has even more self-loathing issues than other versions of Rick. Rick is deeply unhappy, embittered, and incapable of really being happy and satisfied with himself, and consciously and unconsciously (though Rick would of course deny that anything he does is unconscious), wrecks his life up.
    • The Season 3 finale best shows this: Season 3 started with Rick becoming The Patriarch of the family by manipulating Jerry into divorcing Beth. The finale has him start a fight with the President that just pushes Morty into the threshold of frustration and ditches him to protect his mom. Beth meanwhile suffers an identity crisis over if she is or is not a clone and goes to Jerry who would best know. They have a heart-to-heart moment which has Beth realize her Character Development and try and be happy with or without Rick. Rick's flaws ended up destroying his plans.
    • The reason why this is the case is more thoroughly demonstrated in "Rickmurai Jack." His backstory in "The Rickshank Redemption" is revealed to be mostly true, and a Rick did indeed assassinate his universe's Diane and Beth, spurring this Rick to perfect interdimensional travel to hunt down that Rick. By the time he's laid waste to the Council of Ricks, his face is so hollow and dead that, bored and depressed, he accepts the surrender of the remaining Ricks and collaborates to build the Citadel and Central Finite Curve with them. Afterwards, he crashes into the garage of a Smith family in a universe where Rick abandoned Beth and Diane, implying he was trying to commit suicide.
      • Then the sixth season sheds more light on that. He wasn't trying to commit suicide and he wasn't trying to reconnect with his family. Rather, he had finally found the home dimension of Rick Prime, the Rick who killed his family, and was settling in for the long hunt. All his Character Development and connection with family since then has been a complete accident.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Subverted. Even though he's deeply unhappy and bitter, his lack of faith isn't treated as the cause or symptom of those faults. He also casually refers to the non-existence of a higher power about as often as he casually refers to and-or talks out loud to God, so it seems like he doesn't give it too much thought either way and is atheistic as a way of covering his jerkish bases, to annoy God just in case He is actually listening. He also insists there's no afterlife when he's in a standoff with the President's bodyguards to scare them away from touching his insta-death field.
  • Hollywood Autism: Again, subverted. In the Season 3 finale, he blatantly and proudly admits to being autistic. Makes sense, as co-creator Dan Harmon has Asperger's.
  • Hot-Blooded: Rick may have a cold and aloof personality but with his Large Ham moments such as his catchphrase "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub" and with a few parties he starts to release some of his energetic tendencies. This also comes into play when the Purge is involved. His temper is also a key factor as he riled up easily.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Calls Morty "gay" despite being a member of the LGBT community.
    • Rick really can't stand having to comply with others' wishes, but expects everyone around him to defer to his authority and whims at all times. Even Morty has pointed out Rick's seemingly bottomless selfishness.
    • In "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", part of his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jerry is that Jerry ruined Beth's life by impregnating her while they were teenagers, conveniently leaving out the fact that his Parental Abandonment of her actually by her dimension's Rick is easily the biggest reason the family is so messed up. He also repeatedly compares Jerry to a parasite, but his relationship with the rest of his family is essentially parasitic. What little compassion he has for his grandkids is always outweighed by his own selfish desires, the main reason the family's so screwed up is his alternate counterpart's Parental Abandonment of Beth, and his presence is fundamentally toxic. In realities where he is not present, Jerry and Summer are profoundly happier. All throughout this his main point is that Jerry manipulates people through pity when manipulating people to get what he wants is almost pretty much Rick’s whole thing, especially when it comes to the family.
    • In "Morty's Mind Blowers", he won't give sexual favors to an alien for information because there are "some lines [he] won't cross", tricks Morty into doing it for him, and then tells Morty that if he's comfortable with applying torture (as Rick is), then he should be comfortable with that.
    • He blames Summer for the shit that goes down in "The Wedding Squanchers" because Summer introduced Tammy to Birdperson. When Summer retorts that Tammy only befriended her in the first place to get close to Rick, his only rebuttal is, "Fuck you, Summer!"
    • When fighting a decoy family, he claims that he has to fight them because of the prisoner's dilemma; He'd gladly talk it out, but he has no idea if the other Rick would do the same. Not only did he shoot first, but the decoy is an exact duplicate of him, so if they actually wanted to talk it out, they would.
    • He claims to hate every sort of government, even one made by his own copies. He is pretty friendly with the USA government, seemingly considers it the greatest authority on Earth, and even briefly worked for it.
    • Rick is very openly against oppressive governments and fascists. He rules his family with an iron fist through heavy gaslighting and doesn't even bother with their consent to participate in his plans, routinely uses mind-control and genocide as a part of his plans (even for the most mundane reasons), has zero remorse killing anyone who disagrees with him and disregards the value of everyone else in the universe since he is "superior" to them. He even created a pocket universe for the sole purpose of stealing their labor, and casually destroyed it later. Rick wields more power and is more destructive than any fascist could ever hope to be. It's honestly pretty telling that the supposedly more autocratic Ricks we met (including fascist Rick) end up having less control than the original has. In "Childrick of Mort", when asked to taking care of his children, rather than teaching them and help develop on their own, he creates a society where everyone is indoctrinated in its place at birth and the "unproductive" are discarded to die on their own.
      • Rick shows particular disdain for the Citadel for banding together as a government to protect themselves from the government, and considers himself the "Rickest Rick" for not joining them. However, "Rickmurai Jack" reveals that this Rick is directly responsible for the creation of the Citadel, the result of a truce after he killed thousands of Ricks that were trying to murder him, which they were due to his pursuit to find the one who killed his family leading him to kill pretty much every Rick he sees. He is also implied to be one of the Ricks who created the Central Finite Curve that separates the Citadel universes from the rest of the multiverse to ensure that he is top dog no matter where he is.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: He's hardly any better when it comes to manipulating his loved ones, but he isn't exactly wrong when he calls out Jerry for being a parasite who constantly coasts on other people feeling sorry for him. Notably, Jerry actually gets a Jerkass Realization from this and makes more attempts to take ownership for his actions going forward.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Rick often harshly insults Morty, particularly about his intelligence, but apparently it's only acceptable if he does it—when Vance refers to Morty as a "learning disability kid we do photo-ops with", Rick looks pissed.
  • Idiot Ball: Rick doesn't act suspicious at all when Morty is insistent on him not testing the horse semen, and refuses to test it just because of Morty's pestering. If Rick was naturally suspicious, the sperm monsters wouldn't have been created.
  • Ignored Epiphany: You can make a drinking game out of how many times Rick has done this. He's gotten several wake-up calls about being a toxic human being and destroying his family, like when he learns Morty has dismantled multiple bombs while Rick has gone blackout drunk. When a therapist gave him a Kirk Summation about how his adrenaline junkie tendencies will eventually kill him, his Death Glare implies he knows that she's right. Likely, his habit of abandoning universes whenever he screws things up beyond repair before he can properly lay down roots and face any real consequences for it might have conditioned him into it.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Rick's dangerously overinflated ego will not let him accept anyone as better than him. On top of that he likes to think that major threats with godly power specifically come around because of him even when they initially have nothing to do with him such as with the fortune cooking company making their fortunes come true. This becomes the reason why he hates the Dinosaurs. He refuses to accept them as higher beings.
  • Insistent Terminology: He travels through dimensions, he does not, never has and never will time travel.
  • The Insomniac: He is shown to frequently wake Morty up for adventures or just in general in the middle of the night and questions why Beth and Jerry think people need to sleep every single night. It's probably due to his alcoholism and general paranoia.
  • Insufferable Genius: Oh definitely. Rick flaunts the fact that he is the smartest man around and that everyone is inferior to him. He'll immediately shoot down any observation as inaccurate just because he didn't make it, especially if it's of his own behavior.
  • Invincible Hero: Invincible protagonist would be more accurate, but it's noticeable given the Sadist Show nature of the series that Rick has a near-perfect win record. Be it against genius alien scientists, the Devil himself or even alternate versions of Rick, Rick is never bested. "Anatomy Park" "Auto-Erotic Assimilation", and "The Wedding Squanchers" are the only episodes in the first two seasons that end with Rick not coming out on top.
    • In the third season, this appears to be the case more than ever, especially in "The Rickshank Redemption" where he successfully gets rid of Jerry and becomes The Patriarch of the house, and "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender", where he actually becomes the villain of the episode while black-out drunk and gets away with it. However, it's ultimately subverted at the end of the season in "The Rickchurian Mortydate", which can not only be added to the list of episodes where Rick does not win in the end, but in which Rick's actions end up undoing everything he accomplished earlier in the season, and he's back to being an even lower-status member of the house than he was in Season 1.
    • This is further subverted in the fourth season; while Rick does still have a couple of big wins in episodes where he's basically the villain (namely, "One Crew Over the Crewcoo's Morty" and "The Vat of Acid Episode"), he has three episodes just in this one season where he doesn't come out ahead—"The Old Man and the Seat", "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktims Morty" to a lesser extent, and "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri" (another season finale, to boot, ending the season on a downer for him once more)—compared to the four total such episodes in the previous three seasons combined. Furthermore, unlike in previous seasons where he won pretty much every physical altercation, he ended up in through a combination of his intelligence and technology, this time he actually loses most of the fights he gets into and gets seriously beaten up several times.
  • Ironic Name: His last name translates to "son of the holy one" from Spanishnote ...with Rick himself being not very holy.
  • Irony: For all Rick's claims about not being special, this Rick well and truly is. He's one of the few Ricks who initially rejected science in the name of his family, and his Roaring Rampage of Revenge played a massive part in the creation of the Citadel of Ricks and the Central Finite Curve.
  • It Amused Me: What his motivation seems to be half of the time. He will casually abandon a plan or a scheme if he finds it to be boring
  • It's All About Me: Somewhat, as he's shown to be pretty selfish and is well aware that his intellect far surpasses everyone around him, though he doesn't make too big a deal about becoming the center of attention.
    • Notably, when this is spelled out for Birdperson (in "Get Schwifty"), and Morty and Summer (in "Wedding Squanchers"), they don't counter-argue this.
    • Issue 51 shows that Rick refuses to let Morty have friends because they distract him from his adventure responsibilities.
    • It's repeatedly shown in the later seasons, particularly Season 3, just how fantastically selfish Rick is. He's constantly ruining other people's happiness just so he can use them, including his one family, who he constantly exploits for his own personal gain, and he constantly refuses to listen to or accept criticism or change for the benefit of the people he cares about because he and he alone is content with their toxic relationship.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Rick has a very jaded attitude towards the weird things in his adventures. Even more so towards normal things, such as school, religion and love. This is strange since in some episodes he takes the exact opposite stance on at least two of these topics. It's probably to emphasize Rick's ego.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Rick may be an abrasive, self-centered alcoholic, but he knows more about how the multiverse works and how to survive in it than anyone else. Basically, if he tells you NOT to do something, such as trying to raise a human/alien hybrid that could potentially destroy humanity or freeing a sentient gaseous entity from space jail who ultimately reveals that its race considers corporeal life a disease fit only for extermination, it's a good idea to listen. Unfortunately, Morty and his family have yet to realize this, and/or don't want to give him the satisfaction.
    • It gets worse. People's feelings might get hurt when Rick says they're not special, but he's pretty much always right when he does.
  • Jerkass Realization: For the most part, Rick is unabashed about Jerkass behavior and outright states that, because he's smart, he's not a nice guy. However, he has a few times where it hits him just how much of a dick he really is and how much trouble it causes for him and the few people he cares about, and genuinely feels shame for it:
    • Unity causes him to have one in "Auto Erotic Assimilation" it breaks up with him with notes that tell him, via a gentle but necessary "Reason You Suck" Speech, that even though it loves him, Love Cannot Overcome the fact that Rick is a Toxic Friend Influence on it and others in his life. This hits Rick so hard that he's Driven to Suicide, only narrowly failing the attempt because he passes out drunk first.
    • Throughout "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri", both Earth Beth and Space Beth get a Broken Pedestal for Rick after realizing he lied to both of them about being the original Beth while the other is the clone, and the entire family is disgusted at the end to learn that Rick himself doesn't actually know which one is the original because he mind-blew himself. But then Rick watches the Mind Blower memory and discovers that he made sure even before erasing his memory that even he could never know which is which, and it finally hits him: "Holy shit, I'm a terrible father." The episode (and season) ends with him sitting alone in the garage, sad and miserable.
    • "Forgetting Sarick Mortshall": Rick finally acknowledges how toxic and unhealthy his relationship with Morty really is, and subsequently refuses to reunite with him at the end, choosing instead to Walk the Earth (or rather, the universe) to try to improve himself and learn to be better. Though the Reset Button is hit on this lesson by halfway through the next episode.
    • Season 6 in general has Rick actively realizing that he needs to move on with his life and do better by his family, and makes efforts to do so in many episodes. This occurs in "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort", where Morty calling him boring and actively doing the opposite of what Rick suggests causes him to realize how much of a dick he's been and how low Morty's opinion of him has fallen, and he actively strives to do better, sticking with, supporting, and helping Morty throughout. Though this ends up subverted by the next episode as it turns out Rick immediately replaced himself with a robot after Morty insulted him and in a brief argument points out Morty was the one who pushed him away.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be an insane, abusive drunk who constantly drags his grandson on life-threatening adventures, but he clearly loves his daughter and grandchildren enough to keep them safe. In the episode "Mortynight Run", an alternate version of him even created a daycare center at an inter-dimensional junction for other Ricks to deposit their Jerrys at. In "Get Schwifty", when the world is in danger of a floating head, he and Morty go straight to the Pentagon to help the President deal with the situation. In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" Rick actually comforts Jerry over the fact that the best day of his life was a simulation.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk:
    • In "Wedding Squanchers" Rick turns himself into the Galactic Federation so that his family can have a normal life, only to later reveal that this was an elaborate scheme to score points with Beth, giving her that final push into divorcing Jerry. Most of the time, however, he's more or less just playing the part of one. At this point implying that he could still just be saying this no matter how badly he actually treats Jerry.
    • In the later seasons, Rick zig-zags between this and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He genuinely loves his family and does have some redeeming aspects, but ultimately he refuses to stop being a jerk despite having numerous wake-up calls about how self-destructive and toxic his behavior is and how it affects the people around him. Ultimately, Rick does have his good qualities, but it never surpasses the fact that he's still a massive jerk who won't ever change.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Despite being an atheist (except for 2/64ths of him in "A Rickle In Time"), Rick still complains when he sees the family texting on their phones on Christmas. And he specifically references, "Jesus Christ, our Savior" being born on Christmas in his complaint.
  • Jive Turkey: He has a fondness for hip-hop lingo, with such examples as "Don't even trip, dawg" or "Riggety-Riggety Rekt". He also in one episode called Morty the "M-bomb".

  • Karma Houdini: Karma rarely seems to hit Rick as he frequently escapes being punished for his actions. So far he has got away with taking advantage of his daughter and grandson, murdering several people, and destroying an entire tiny universe. He seemed to be getting some punishment from the galactic federation but that was all just a ploy for him to get the chance to take them down. The "Pickle Rick" episode though had karma hit him very hard with his attempt to avoid family therapy had him end up being put in several consecutive life-threatening situations and them getting called and chewed out by the therapist within just a couple minutes after just meeting her, though he didn't particularly care for the latter. Also deconstructed as his constant evasion of responsibility has taken a severe toll on his psyche and is part of the reason why he's such a self-destructive mess.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being physically unpleasant, crude, and generally an asshole, Rick has managed to hook up with a ridiculous amount of romantic partners across the galaxy. May be considered justified given that most of them are aliens, so there's no telling what they consider attractive about him. In the past he had a wife who was quite pretty, but this was before Rick let himself slide into nihilism and misanthropy; at the time Rick looked much more well-groomed and was more emotionally stable and openly affectionate, so one could see why Diane may have been with him.
  • Kick the Dog: He murders an entire universe at one point. On a more personal level, he's physically and emotionally abusive towards those close to him, the severity of which is mostly dependent on his mood. He has his limits though.
  • Kindness Button: Rick has shown to at least be nice to people who laugh at his jokes.
    • "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind": He takes a liking to a nearby creature who laughs at his jokes, only for Evil Rick to tell him that "laugh" is just a noise it makes every 10 seconds.
    • "Rickmancing the Stone": Gives a friendly wink to a Deathstalker who credits him for his burn.
    • "Vindicators 3: The Return of World Ender": His actions were all because Noob-Noob credits him for his jokes. Of course, when Rick became sober, he forgot who Noob-Noob was.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Rick tells Summer and Morty to always respond to distress signals because often the aliens are dead and he can steal their stuff. Also in the Simpsons couch gag featuring them, Rick is seen stealing their stuff while waiting for Morty to come back.
  • Knight Templar Parent:
    • If Rick does go Papa Wolf for his grandkids, then he will invariably go straight for horrific overkill in the process. The scammers and King Jellybean got an instant death sentence for what they did with Morty and when he sets his car up to protect Summer the thing resorts to straight-up Nightmare Fuel measures until she talks it down.
    • In a deleted scene from "Interdimensional Cable", Rick kills Jerry in the alternate reality where Jerry and Beth achieved their dreams, saying afterwards "Hey, sweetie! I saw this creep on the news, was he bothering you?"
  • Knight of Cerebus: Downplayed in that he's still funny, but in the third season he was able to manipulate Beth into divorcing Jerry. He even lampshades this.
    Rick: Welcome to the darkest years of our adventures, Morty!
  • Laborious Laziness: Frequently, as pointed out by the family therapist, and usually because of pride and stubbornness. He will put in huge amounts of effort just to avoid small things, because he simply cannot handle the mundane parts of life and has to escalate everything into a death-defying adventure.
  • Lack of Empathy: Zig-Zagged. Rick's empathy is always questionable, but never abundant even at the best of times. If you aren't his family, Birdperson, Squanchy, Unity, Mr. Poopybutthole or a select few other characters, he likely doesn't regard you in any meaningful way. But even to those characters, mainly his family, Rick has been known to treat them poorly, or with indifference. While it is rarely outright stated, the implied reason for Rick's lack of empathy is the horrible things he has seen on his adventures and his realization that every decision they make is ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of the multiverse (although, it's implied that he's simply using that as an excuse to justify his actions). Also, Rick doesn't see it as worth the effort to bond with any particular version of his family, since they can be interchanged with any other of the infinite versions of them that exist just one portal-gun trip away. Though he seems to love his family, he still views them as interchangeable.
  • Large Ham: Whenever he goes on a drunk rant or just generally starts yelling about something or other, he's quite hammy about it.
  • The Last DJ: Proudly states to be the Rickest Rick for not joining the Council of Ricks. It's implied that this is the reason he still cares so much for his Morty.
  • Latino Is Brown: Averted. Even though he is of Hispanic descent, Rick has a very pale skin colour.
  • Lazy Bum: Rick is always burying problems under the rug just so he won't have to deal with them. Season 3 also hammers home that Rick is very aware of his problems and negative affect on his family, yet he refuses to change them because he and he alone will only be satisfied with constant adventures, and he's too lazy and scared to ever meaningfully change.
  • Lean and Mean: Rick is a rather tall, lanky guy (based on Morty's official height of 5'2", Rick is probably around 6'6") and his general Jerkass behavior and destructive antics definitely qualify him for the trope.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: According to an index of Ricks in "Close Rick-Counters", Rick's not as evil as he could have been. Given that Evil Morty actually compiled it, however, that should be taken with a grain of salt. Though later episodes pretty much confirms that Evil Morty was pretty much telling the truth; C-137 cares for his family as much as he desperately wants to deny it, while most other Ricks use theirs as a way to get mass-produced, disposable sidekicks.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Rick is a loner even by the standards of other Ricks. The Council of Ricks deems him a renegade because of his non-cooperation, and Rick specifically mocks them for being too cowardly to go it alone. However, while he's against the council itself as a whole, he's cool with a couple of the head members. It's ironic yet a given his attitude towards the Council is like this...since he was the one united them together and founded the Council and was involved in the Citadel's construction.
  • The Lost Lenore: It is revealed in Season 5 that Diane and Beth were killed in Rick's younger years, which proves that "false memory" he showed to the Galactic Federation in Season 3 was indeed real. He never got over the deaths of his wife and child, and devoted the rest of his life to finding and killing their murderer, Rick Prime.
  • Love Hurts: Has experienced this with all three of his most significant love interests in the series:
    • He implies that his marriage to Beth's mother failed even though he truly loved her. The truth turns out to be so much worse: the Diane and Beth of Rick's original dimension were murdered by another Rick, just because our Rick was more interested in being a family man than pursuing science. He fell into a depression, became an alcoholic, created an AI "ghost" of Diane in a fit of self-loathing to haunt him for failing to save them, and tried to hunt down their killer, to no avail. All of which turned him into the bitter, cynical, detached drink we know in the present day.
    • He rekindles a romance in "Auto Erotic Assimilation" with the Hive Mind Unity, a New Old Flame, and has very clear, real feelings for it. At the end, it leaves Rick when it realizes what a Toxic Friend Influence he is on it, breaking up with him via notes in a gentle-but-honest "Reason You Suck" Speech about how he can't change. Rick is so distraught by this that he's Driven to Suicide, only failing because he passes out drunk before he can die. And when they meet again in "Air Force Wong", despite its concern for him and efforts to reconnect, he keeps it at arm's length out of stubbornness; by the time he finally decides to trust it again and tries to reconcile, Unity no longer trusts him anymore and rejects him for good.
    • In his backstory, Rick fell in love with his best friend Bird Person while they were fighting in the rebellion together, only for BP to politely friend-zone him. They still stayed good friends over the years, but then over the course of the series, Rick watches him fall for someone else (Tammy), and tries to overcome his bitterness about it and be happy for Bird Person's sake...only for Tammy to gun BP down at their wedding while Rick can only watch in horror. The next time he seems him, Bird Person has become the Brainwashed and Crazy Phoenix Person who tries to kill him, and when Rick tries to un-brainwash him later, finds that BP still loves Tammy and is only able to convince him to keep living by revealing the existence of his daughter.
  • Love Is a Weakness: "Rest and Ricklaxation" shows that he considers his attachment to Morty a personal weakness, which becomes part of his Enemy Without.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Or rather just extremely apathetic to the consequences of his actions in his case, but Rick became the bitter and destructive man he is now because a Rick from an alternate universe murdered his wife.
  • Mad Scientist: He is a scientific genius and astounding inventor. He's also an eccentric Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
  • Manipulative Bastard: One can interpret him as taking advantage of Morty's naivete to fool him into helping him with his work, though he pretty obviously tricks Morty's parents into letting him go on adventures with him.
    • In the season 3 premiere, it is revealed that Rick turning himself in during the season 2 finale was all just part of a big Batman Gambit. After he overheard that Jerry wanted to turn him in, he did it himself to drive Jerry and Beth apart and at the same time destroy the entire Galactic Federation (and the Council of Ricks when they interfered and forced him to improvise). Now Rick has defeated the two most powerful organizations in the show and is the man of the house, meaning he can force Morty to go on adventures with him and nobody will believe Morty if he tells them the truth.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Rick" is another way for saying "Dick", and, well, he can be kind of a jerk at times.
    • "Rick" means 'mighty, brave ruler'.
  • Mind Rape: He has been doing this to Morty for a long time, as revealed in Morty's Mind Blowers, deleting memories without the latter's consent. Some of those memories are genuinely traumatic and disturbing, but others including the vials marked red which is filled with his petty mistakes and removed mostly to assert his dominance over Morty, prove how selfish he is.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: Downplayed in Season 6. At the start of "A Rick in King Mortur's Mort", Morty tells Rick that he's boring after ignoring his warning. Despite appearing unfazed, Rick immediately sent a robot copy in his place while he spent the next few months searching for Rick Prime. After Morty found out the truth, Rick angrily and thoroughly delivers a quick but succinct tear down on how Morty admitted just how he's been viewing Rick.
  • Morality Pet: Surprisingly enough Rick's relationship with his granddaughter, Summer, is essentially this.
  • Morton's Fork: Forced into choosing between his freedom and his family's security in "The Wedding Squanchers". He chooses the latter.
  • Mr. Exposition: Rick is usually the only person in the show that can make sense of the chaotic situations that befall the family, or the ones that he gets them into. He then proceeds to explain, contextualize and alphabetize everything in impatient tirades between belches and the vomit coming up.
    Rick: Well, it's possible that your dog became self-aware and made modifications on the cognition amplifier, then turned on Jerry, Beth, and Summer after learning about humanity's cruel subjugation of his species, but your guess is as good as mine, Morty.
  • Mundane Utility: A recurring theme with Rick is him using his incredible intellect and technology for very boring things that are only important to him. He creates a robot with Artificial Intelligence that only exists to bring him butter when he's eating, creates a helmet that raises the family dog Snuffles to understand English just so they don't actually have to train him, and has a device that lets him and Morty enter dreams that he uses to psychologically scar Mr. Goldenford into giving Morty good grades.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Despite being elderly and skinny as a rail, Rick packs a punch, because he has all sorts of incredible cybernetics installed.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After he views his memory of creating Beth's clone and sees he deliberately switched Beth around with said clone after removing any indicator who's the original and who's not, and then looked away so not even he'd know, Rick can only admit "I'm a terrible father." The difference between now and when he admitted it in "The ABC's of Beth," is that here he's ashamed of himself. To put into proper context, Beth gave Rick the choice of whether he wanted her to stay and be in his life, or to send her off into space after he offered to make the clone. He couldn't even give Beth the dignity of a straightforward answer.
  • Mysterious Past: The details of his life before he moved back in with the Smiths is almost entirely unaccounted for; all we know is that he was at least still living with Beth and her mother around the time she was a young child. Other than that, both his life before getting married and whatever he was doing while separated from his family is entirely unknown. Beth even alludes to his "incredibly vague backstory" at one point. It's mentioned in "The Wedding Squanchers" that Rick and others were involved in numerous atrocities fighting for freedom from the Galactic Federation, to the point of being labelled a terrorist. Exactly what these atrocities were are unknown though. Knowing Rick, probably best it remains that way. There's also a memory of him holding an infant Morty that doesn't fit in with the show's established timeline. Said past is finally revealed in the season 5 finale: The Rick we know lost both his wife and his Beth, and spent years trying to hunt down their killer, another Rick! This lead to him meeting Birdperson, becoming embroiled in the resistance against the Federation, only to abandon that when Birdperson rejected his romantic overtures. This leads him to dedicated himself full time to the hunt and eventually escalate into an all-out war against his alternate selves, which didn't stop until he agreed to help them with the foundation of the Citadel and the Council Of Ricks in return for being left alone. He was never able to find the Rick who killed his family, and he finally drunkenly reunited with an adult Beth whose Rick left her during childhood, the same Beth he's living with when the series starts, which is implied to have been more or less at random. Except it wasn't random at all: The cronenberged dimension, where our Morty was born and where the first half of Season 1 takes place, is the home dimension of the Rick who murdered our Rick's family. Our Morty is our Rick's mortal enemy's grandson.
  • Narcissist: Rick rarely does anything that doesn't benefit or please him in some way. It's almost always about him. So much so that whenever he does do a truly selfless thing for someone else, it always stands out as a big deal.
  • Nay-Theist: While he comes across as an atheist, season 4 episode 9 implies that he's actually this trope. After Morty and Summer kill Reggie, Rick remarks that he was only a Zeus, and if it was the real God, it would be a whole other deal, implying that he knows of the existence or possibility of the existence of God, but refuses to worship or acknowledge Him.
  • Never Live It Down: Thanks to decades of being a Person of Mass Destruction in the wider multiverse and a complete asshole to his family, no one trusts or even really likes Rick. By the sixth season, despite a lot of Character Development and doing his best to do right by people, even his family, who have seen that development, don't believe he's not doing things for selfish and dickish reasons, as seen in "Analyze Piss". The fact that he tries to keep almost everything he does and the reasons for it a secret doesn't help.
  • Never My Fault: He will be the last one to admit that he screwed things up (often because he was right to begin with), though he does give in on occasion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: For a loose definition of "hero", some of Rick's attempts at fixing things only made everything worse.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", he created a love potion for Morty but neglects to tell him that it can piggyback off of the flu virus. His attempts at curing the potion's effect only resulted in turning humanity into mantis creatures and later Cronenburg monstrosities.
    • In "The Rickshank Redemption", Rick single-handedly destroys the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks. While doing so has freed Earth and countless other planets, Rick's actions created a power vacuum that allowed Tammy and Evil Morty to take over whatever is left of the Galactic Federation and the Citadel of Ricks respectively.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Took his sweet time eliminating the mantis creatures in "Rick Potion #9" because of how cool they looked. Also, he got to be a literal nightmare fetishist in "Lawnmower Dog".
  • Nominal Hero: Pretty much the only consistent reason for Rick getting involved with non-adventuring conflicts is that one of the family members believes in a cause that he doesn't care about, and solving it is at the very least quicker and less annoying than ignoring the problem. According to him, this was also his reason for creating Froopyland.
    Rick: It was just more practical to sequester you before I had to start, you know, cloning a replacement for every less-than-polite little boy or gullible animal that might cross your socio-path.
  • No Nudity Taboo: Rick often ends up getting naked either through transformation or cloning, granting him a new body that isn't clothed. He does not seem to care about his lack of clothes in front of an audience.
  • Noodle Incident: Prone to spurting these concerning his (sometimes disturbing) adventures in the past. For instance, he claims to have done something akin to Beth's incident with Mr. Poopy Butthole, only on a planetary scale. He leaves it at that.
    • Whatever he did with The Vindicators soured their relationship.
  • Noodle People: He is a skinny individual with very scrawny limbs.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Rick created the "central finite curve" specifically to be this. Any world in the multiverse with anyone smarter than him is cut off from any world he inhabits. However, we learn this in the season five finale from Evil Morty, who's not exactly unbiased about any Rick. Given Rick's self-loathing, it's entirely possible he views doing this as making himself and all the other Ricks Sealed Evil in a Can for the rest of reality. Regardless, we see in the sixth season that Evil Morty may have been telling the truth, as the dinosaurs have tech superior to Rick's.
  • Not Me This Time: Every Beth is resentful of our Rick for abandoning her when she needed him. It turns out that while our Rick will go dimension-hopping when it suits him, he never abandoned his Beth. Instead, she and his wife Diane were murdered by a random Rick, and Rick went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to find their killer. It does explain why Rick gets surly every time present Beth calls him a terrible father.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • While visit a "Purge World", he stops to check out the violence for some kicks, and when Morty refuses to watch, Rick says that is because Morty is afraid to face his own primal instincts. However, when a person is mangled off-screen, he is visually sickened, to the point of puking out the ship window, and admits he may have bitten off more than he could chew.
    • At the start of "Rest and Ricklaxation", he's shown to be on the edge of a mental breakdown and is only slightly more composed than Morty (in that he's not in tears) after the harrowing adventure they just got through, admitting that he wasn't in control and they're only alive due to sheer luck, prompting him to suggest they take a vacation.
  • N-Word Privileges: He described the term "Glip Glop" as being to Traflorkians "like the N-word and the C-word had a baby and it was raised by all the bad words for Jews". Later in the same episode, he greets a large group of green aliens by saying "Yo! What up, my Glip Glops?" to absolutely no objections.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Jerry sees him as this. Rick himself isn't all that fond of Jerry since he did get his daughter pregnant when she was just a teenager. Even in the rare moments that Jerry tries to be friendly to him, Rick is quick to lash out and mock him. There have been times though where Rick has been at least pleasant to him such as in "M. Night Shaym Aliens" where Rick actually comforts Jerry over the fact that the best day of his life was a simulation. Unlike most examples, Rick never tries to break them up. He even signs them up for an off-planet marriage therapist to help them fix their relationship and is pleased when he sees them happy together again. That is until Jerry proposed turning Rick into the Galactic Federation, leading Rick to manipulate Beth into divorcing Jerry as revenge for crossing him. "Rickmurai Jack" gives an explanation for this — Rick is fully aware that Beth and Jerry are people who should not be married due to their own personality issues, and that their marriage is secretly arranged by the Council of Ricks to create an unlimited supply of Morties to act as servants/sidekicks. Rick's hatred stems from two facts: that Beth and Jerry never really get the choice of who they marry, and that Jerry is fundamentally someone Beth does not (initially) have any chemistry with.
  • Odd Friendship: With Morty and later on, Summer. Doubles as an Intergenerational Friendship. Although it wouldn't be right to qualify their relationships as entirely friendship since there isn't a lot of reciprocity on either side.
  • Older Than They Look: He's 70-years-old, and while his balding and pale skin does indicate that he is of old age, Rick looks more like he's in his mid-40s. It also doesn't help that flashbacks show that Rick in his younger years always had bluish-grey and doesn't look all that different from his present age.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Destroys the Miniverse that powers Zeep's planet, thereby killing everyone in the Miniverse as well as everyone in the Teenyverse. It's also implied that it's not the first time he's caused massive planetary destruction, with him mentioning that he did something similar to Beth's shooting of Mr. Poopybutthole "on a planetary scale." He's a lot more blatant about this when he's very drunk, because he usually sets up neutrino bombs to blow up wherever they are.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Gadgetry, chemistry, medicine, he can accomplish nigh-impossible feats with them all. That's... not always great.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Rick single-handedly brings down the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks, the two most powerful organizations in the show, by teleporting the latter's headquarters into a Federation prison, then devastating the Federation's economy.
    • Prior to the Citadel being created, after one Rick killed his family, Rick went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, massacring Ricks from throughout the Multiverse to look for the assailant, with armies of Ricks unable to stop him.
  • Only Friend: To Morty. According to Beth, Rick is the first friend Morty had.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The beginning of "Rest and Ricklaxation" has Rick freaking out and explicitly admitting the situation was not under his control and he and Morty got out alive thanks to sheer dumb luck.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • Perhaps one of the most extreme examples out there, magnified by later revelations in the series. As Morty puts it, Rick "hates himself most of all", so it's no wonder why he never seems to get along with… well, himself. He does not get along with the Citadel of Ricks (despite having had a hand in creating it) because they formed their own government, and he has a deeply anti-authoritarian streak. "Rickmurai Jack" just cranks this up to eleven. Imagine you meet an alternate version of yourself from another universe, who then murders your loving wife and child out of sheer petty spite. You discover there's millions more of you, and they're all dicks. They trap every other version of your dead daughter in a loveless marriage to a mediocre dork, all so they can farm an infinite slave caste of brainwashed grandsons they use as human shields and treat like shit. They even treat other versions of you like shit, by building their own dystopian society with class inequality, basically becoming a copy of the totalitarian empire you spent years fighting against, all while neglecting the family you never got to have and wearing your face. This is the life of Rick Sanchez.
    • While going inside Birdperson's mind, he encounters a memory of his younger-self who gains sentience and insists on accompanying him on an adventure to save the person they love. Rick spends most of the episode incredibly annoyed by his younger self's enthusiastic idealism but eventually comes to like him enough to let him live after he finds out he ensured his survival by piggybacking into Rick's mind. Though Memory Rick turns down the offer of becoming real when he realizes it means turning to present day Rick.
  • Out-Gambitted: Pulls this off against the aliens in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" and the Devil himself.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" reveals Rick's original Beth died at some point before the show started and he's been living with alternate universe families for years afterward.

  • Papa Wolf: Rick may not show it too often in general, but don't even think about harming or taking advantage of his grandkids. Anyone who does will get blown to bits or get a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • He doesn't take kindly to people messing with his grandson. Just ask the aliens who spied on a naked Morty to create a 100% accurate simulation to steal Rick's secrets and the jellybean king who tried raping him. Oh wait, you can't. They blew up!
    • He's very protective of his granddaughter Summer if the episode Something Ricked This Way Comes is of any indication. Then there's him gunning down a bunch of male Gazorpazorps who tried to rape Summer in "Raising Gazorpazorp."
    • Rick doesn't think that Jerry is worthy of his daughter and is angry with him for getting her pregnant when she was only 17 and marrying her when she had "options".
  • The Patriarch: At the end of the first episode of Season 3, after Beth tells Rick about her divorcing Jerry, Rick brags to Morty about how he usurped Jerry as head of the family. Subverted in the season 3 finale, when Morty, Summer and Beth finally has enough of Rick, and reunite with Jerry in hiding. When Rick tracks them down, with the intention of outright KILLING Jerry this time, the whole family stands up to him, and Rick reluctantly accepts, in his own words, being the lowest-status character in his idiot family.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Given Rick's near god-like intelligence, incredible technology and science that doesn't seem bound to any actual scientific laws, total indifference to the pain or suffering of almost anything else, and that he usually "solves" problems that are too difficult by just travelling to another dimension, is it really shocking when it becomes clear that Rick has been responsible (even if only indirectly) for the destruction of countless worlds and dimensions?
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", Rick convinces Morty to keep going on their adventure and blows up the Jellybean King when he knew that he did something bad to Morty that traumatized him. It's especially heartwarming due to Morty's original reaction in the first place.
    • A somewhat strange example, because the dog in question wasn't really physically there, but after the aliens from "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" use Morty in their scheme to scam the recipe for dark matter out of Rick, he does not take this emotional deception lightly. As punishment for using his grandson, Rick ends up blowing up the aliens' spaceship instead of just leaving as he had in the past.
    • In "A Rickle in Time", when Morty falls into a timeless abyss after his collar broke in one of the timelines, Rick does not hesitate in diving in to save him and sacrificing his own collar so that his grandson may live. He even calmly accepts his death and quietly begs Morty to be a better man than him. At least, until he finds Morty's collar and fixes it in time.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", one of Rick's memories moves him to tears: picking up an infant Morty.
    • In "Auto Erotic Assimilation" he is shocked when Unity bombs a town just for a fun and relieved when she reveals that she had evacuated it beforehand.
    • "Total Rickall" has him tearfully admit that he cannot kill a parasite that calls itself 'Pencilvester', asking Morty to do it for him.
    • In "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez", he feels bad about insulting Summer earlier, so he Body Surfs into a younger clone of himself to help her out.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now", he tells Morty that his murderous rampage was due to the candy bar he ate earlier filled with aggression-increasing chemicals, even though the wrapper states that the bars are Purginol-Free.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers", he calls the Galactic Federation pretending to be Jerry and claims the family was abducted by Rick (and therefore innocent victims) and then asks that the family be allowed to go back to Earth safely in exchange for tipping them off.
    • He takes the time to actually befriend Jerry in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", even offering him a chance to spend the evening with the rest of the family, and he seems to have taken to heart Jerry's observation that Jerry stayed by the family when Rick didn't.
    • He takes Morty on a romping, apparently sexy adventure to Atlantis during "The Ricklantis Mixup", and the two have a blast. Off-camera, of course.
    • On the subject of "The Ricklantis Mixup", he's one of very, very few Ricks that seem to show anything resembling affection for their Morty, or Morties in general.
    • In "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty" Rick erases Jerry's memory to spare him the trauma of remembering the talking cat's origins.
    • Rick is surprisingly accepting of his granddaughter Summer's affection, allowing Summer to glomp him in "A Rickconvenient Mort" and reciprocating her relieved hug in "Solaricks." Rick himself even initiates the affection on occasion, such as pressing a kiss to Summer's forehead in "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" when Summer leads the family to sticking by Rick and encouraging his Gotron Ferret obsession. That said, these examples are few and far between, which is what makes them this trope.
  • Physical God: Due to abundant use of Clarke's Third Law, Rick qualifies despite being at most a cyborg old man. To wit:
    • He is immortal thanks to his Phoenix Protocol allowing him to resurrect even across dimensions and into bodies that aren't even his species
    • He is invulnerable to any attacks he chooses to ignore, and much like The Borg any attack that can damage him he rapidly adapts to
    • He is able to go anywhere thanks to his portal gun, and even when the device is sabotaged to the point of inoperability he manages to repair it in his workshop in the span of days, if not hours.
    • He has near absolute mastery of time travel and only doesn't use it due to personal choice, to a degree that even allows him to defeat 5th dimensional Time Police who exist outside of comprehensive 3rd dimensional reality
    • His cyborg enhancements border on Do-Anything Robot levels with all the capabilities he's been shown to have, including medical care, Healing Factor, energy weapons, body armor, shapeshifting, and Flying Brick powers.
    • He can create intra-universal travel technology from stone age era ingredients given a few days time and a partner of near-but-still-inferior intelligence
    • He can develop mechsuits and automated assembly systems using only his tongue and cockroach corpses
    • He has single handedly slaughtered upwards of a thousand of his universal counterparts by himself, just from what has been shown on-screen, making him at least as deadly as a thousand of himself
    • He created a virus that could hack a machine he had no direct access to using just 63 characters
    • He constructed the Central Finite Curve to trap his nemesis in a limited portion of the infinite multiverse
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Invoked and discussed by Morty, but subverted in "Something Ricked This Way Comes". When Rick mentions the microscope would make him retarded, Morty says he can't talk like that, to which Rick explains he is not making fun of differently capable people, he is stating the fact that, were he to use the microscope, he would become mentally retarded in the literal sense.
    Morty: Okay, yeah, but I don't think it's about logic, Rick. I-I think the word has become a symbolic issue for powerful groups that feel like they're doing the right thing.
    Rick: Well, that's retarded.
    • Downplayed starting in Season 4, likely to keep critics from thinking the show is intentionally trying to perpetuate the things some of the more politically incorrect fans of Rick like about him despite such things not being meant to be positive qualities. While still rude to pretty much everyone at least some of the time, he is vehemently against the practices of the various alternate-universe Nazi/fascist versions of himself and Morty he encounters in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat," does not make any snide remarks about the Bechdel Test when describing it to Morty in "Never Ricking Morty," won't recreate 9/11 with the Glorzo's equivalent of the Twin Towers in "Promortyus," (but he'll still recreate Pearl Harbor), looks down on incels according to a line in "The Vat of Acid Episode" where he snarks about them acting like they invented negging/reverse psychology when Bugs Bunny did it first, and is ashamed of Morty for attracting the ire of Me Too feminists, the AARP, and the ACLU with his save-point-remote antics (and ironically GamerGate as well). His general overall demeanor is hard to call "politically correct," though.
  • Power Trio: With Birdperson and Squanchy, and then with Morty and Summer.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", he denies killing numerous alternate versions of himself, because it wouldn't profit him to do so.
    • In the same episode, he frowns upon the wall of tortured Mortys used as a camouflage, deeming it "barbaric overkill", because the same result can be achieved with five Mortys and a jumper cable (he assures Morty that he's never actually tested the theory).
    • This is a mindset Rick often demonstrates, criticizing excessive effort being put in towards reaching a goal or bemoaning when someone takes things too far.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: In "A Rickle In Time", Rick and Morty's timeline gets split into 64 possibilities. At least two of those possible Ricks prays to God in desperation, despite claiming to not believe in God on multiple other occasions.
    Possible Rick falling into a time abyss: Oh, sweet Jesus, please let me live. Oh, my God, I have to... I've got to fix this thing. Please, God in heaven. Please, God. Oh, Lord, hear my prayers.
    Second possible Rick: Please God, if there is a Hell, please be merciful to me.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Wants to get his entire family limited edition Nintendo 3DS'es, just so they can play video games together. He also carries his 3DS around with him, so he can pull it out whenever he gets bored.
    Rick: You guys! You gotta hurry! I just got back from Walmart, they're selling Nintendo 3DS systems for $149.99 on sale, plus every time you buy one you get a 50 dollar gift card! Brings the total down to $110 after tax! Now listen, we can flip those sons of bitches for $230 a piece EASY! They're all limited edition Zelda ones! Hurry! Hurry come with me! We can be rich and we all get to keep one and we can play Nintendo games!
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: He puts a big premium on HIS personal liberty. Other than that, he sees nothing wrong with enslaving an entire universe just to power his car battery. Deconstruction since there's rarely a time he isn't called on this by someone In-Universe.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Despite being in his 70's, Rick acts more like an unstable teenage boy. He makes frequent toilet jokes, sex jokes, swears a lot, has a huge house party (possibly to spite his granddaughter's idea of a party) when his daughter and son-in-law are away, blows money at an arcade, disrespects authority and treats Summer and Morty more like his friends than his grandkids. During said house party, he fits in seamlessly, becoming the life of the party... even when it's among people who are almost a quarter his age. Ironically, he's arguably more stable as an actual teenager, as shown when he briefly mindswapped to a teenaged clone body, and became more caring, social, and happy, but this was eventually revealed to be his teenaged brain trying to supress all the emotional issues of his real personality, making him a Stepford Smiler instead.
  • Psychological Projection: Some of the stuff he accuses his opponents of doing (while valid) could equally be said of his own actions and behaviour:
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", he mocks Mr. Needful (The Devil) for his Faustian Jackass Genie shtick but most of Rick's own devices and contraptions work in a similar ironic fashion. Such as giving a device that can make Snuffles understand humans while knowing that it would eventually lead the dogs to be Turned Against Their Masters, the Mr. Meeseeks Box (which he admittedly does warn should only work simple requests). Most of the time his simple contraptions to help the family only complicates their lives.
    • In "Vindicators 3" he mocks the superhero group for keeping sidekick as Tagalong Kid just to make themselves look cooler in the eyes of the gullible, but that applies to his dynamic with Morty, where he drags Morty against his will into crazy adventures mostly to prove how awesome he is and prevent his grandson from idolizing anyone but himself. Toxic Rick proves this to Toxic Morty by openly invoking A God Am I and insisting on how dumb Morty is in comparison to him.
  • Pungeon Master: Shows shades of this, especially in the comics:
    • In Rick and Morty Comics #19, Rick attacks a famed intergalactic space traveller named Peacock Jones with his Bee Gun (it shoots bees). What did he say? "Let it Bee, motherfucker."
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: After a Rick from a parallel universe killed his family for rejecting The Citadel, Rick-C137 has been on the warpath to destroy the other Ricks across the multiverse until he finds the Rick who killed his family. After giving up on finding the Rick who murdered his family (or accepting that his revenge didn't bring his family back), a depressed Rick-C137 kept attacking the Citadel and he became such a terror that a new Citadel of Ricks was made just to protect themselves from him. Rick-C137 agreed to stop his revenge quest as long as the new Citadel of Ricks leaves him alone in a new universe. Either due to desperation or as one last "fuck you" to Rick-C137, the new universe that houses him has a grown-up Beth, so he can't see his daughter grow up or go back to when she was a child.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He makes a pretty big one to Jerry which could pretty much explain his disdain for his relationship with Beth.
    Jerry: You self-righteous piece of shit! You took my family!
    Rick: I took your family? Who do you think had more taken from them when you shot 20ccs of liquid dream killer into my daughter? She was Rick's daughter, Jerry! She had options! That all ended because she felt sorry for you! You act like prey, but you're a predator! You use pity to lure in your victims! It's how you survive! I survive because I know everything, that snake survives because children wander off, and you survive because people think, "Oh, this poor piece of shit! He never gets a break! I can't stand the deafening silent wails of his wilting souls! I guess I'll hire him or marry him!
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Rick could probably solve most of humanity's problems in an afternoon if he really wanted to. After all, "Doofus Rick" — one of his less intelligent counterparts — managed to cure cancer in his universe. However, Rick simply doesn't bother with humanitarian efforts because he couldn't care less.
  • Red Baron: As part of the Vindicators, he's known as the "Tinkerer of Terror".
  • Refusal of the Call: When Rick Prime approached him to offer him a place with the Council of Ricks (or its precursor), he told that Rick to go to hell, then told his wife he was quitting science to become a full time father and husband.
  • Relative Button: Mr. Nimbus gets under his skin by asking what Diane would think of the man that her husband had become. While Rick covers it up by accusing Mr. Nimbus of establishing canonical backstory, you can tell the blow hit. The season 5 finale confirmed that Diane never would have wanted Rick to become the apathetic, self-destructive shell of a man he is today.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Sees basically everyone as this. Because there are infinite universes he basically has infinite family members, so he sees no point in forming any connections to them or valuing one more than the others. He and Morty have moved to new dimensions at least two times, replacing everyone they know in their lives, including their loved ones, with alternate versions of themselves. It is even implied that Rick has done this several times before. When it was first seen in "Rick Potion #9" he abandoned Beth, Jerry, and Summer to die in a world that he ruined and took only Morty with him to a new dimension, instead of working to find a possible cure. When Morty asks him about the dimension they left behind all Rick has to say is "don't think about it."
    • In "Rickternal Friendshine of the Rickless Mort" and "Rickmurai Jack" explains that his original Beth died, so Rick has effectively replaced her with alternate versions of herself, though until the third season he's lacked the drive to go through the extra effort of helping/protecting her when things get rough, instead simply jumping to another dimension.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • When he sees Tammy gun down his best friend Bird Person he completely loses it and shoots at all the Galactic Federation killing some of their members. But is mostly targeting Tammy and gives her a Death Glare to show his murderous hatred towards her.
    • A flashback in "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort" shows him in a shootout with alternate versions of himself who argue that killing them won't bring "her" back. Rick says he's on more of a vengeance kick than a results one. An exchange with a past memory of himself implies the "her" in question was Rick's original Beth, who is confirmed to be dead.
    • "Rickmurai Jack" reveals that the backstory he fabricated in the "Rickshank Redemption" was actually true to a point, and both Diane and Beth were killed by an alternate Rick. After he intially looked for him peacefully across the multiverse, and his stint with Birdperson before being rejected, he spent years killing different versions of himself and trying to find the Rick who killed his family, but he never found him. It appears that his failure to find this Rick is what drove him to become the alcoholic, nihilistic and depressed man we know now.
  • Sadistic Choice: Indirectly gives one to Zeep in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy". After he and Morty escaped, Rick knew that Zeep would be forced to choose between either having his world destroyed just to spite Rick or have the inhabitants continue to be unknowingly enslaved to generate power for Rick's ship. He ends up choosing the latter.
  • Safety in Indifference: His advice to Morty about all of the crazy things they see, "Don't think about it".
  • Sand In My Eyes: While his memories are being played on a screen for Evil Rick to watch, Rick tears up at seeing his memories of Morty. When Evil Rick blatantly asks him if he is "crying over a Morty", Rick says, "No, I'm just allergic to dipshits."
  • Science Hero: While he's a man of science through and through, whether or not he can be considered a hero is debatable.
  • School Is for Losers: In his opinion. Not so much for losers, just not for smart people.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: He tends running from his problems rather than dealing with them. This ranges from supposedly abandoning Beth and his wife to jumping to a new dimension after being unable/unwilling to fix the one he's in. He even abandons his own body in the season 3 premiere.
  • Screw Yourself: In season 6, he heavily implies this when Beth reveals that she and Space Beth ended up having sex and "forgot the ice cream", noting that having met alternate versions of himself so many times, he'd also "forgotten the ice cream".
  • Second Place Is for Losers: The finale of Season 3 has him express the sentiment that just because he isn't "the patriarch" of the household anymore, that automatically makes him "the lowest status character" in his "idiot family".
  • Seen It All: He's seen so much crazy shit that practically nothing fazes him anymore.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man (a foul-mouthed, aloof Sociopathic Hero) to Morty's Sensitive Guy (an awkward, sweet All-Loving Hero).
  • Shipper on Deck: Though Rick has tried to discourage Morty from pursuing romance at all ("Rise above. Focus on science."), he nonetheless seems happy for him when he does get some action, and in particular, appears to be a Morty and Jessica shipper:
    • The first episode has him drunkenly planning to destroy human civilization, except for Morty and Jessica, because they could repopulate the Earth together.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", though he later calls Morty out for asking him to make a love potion to use on Jessica (calling it a "roofie juice serum"), Rick still does make it, even after telling him just a few minutes before that he should just give up on romance.
    • In "Ricksy Business", he encourages Morty multiple times to talk to and make a move on her at the party.
    • As Tiny Rick in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", he serves as Morty's wingman and helps him score a date with her to the school dance.
    • In "Rest and Ricklaxation", after Healthy Morty runs out on the family to have his own life, Jessica is the one Rick calls (albeit while drunk-dialling her and crying) to help him get Morty back to normal.
  • Shipping Torpedo:
    • For the first two seasons, he's annoyed by Beth's and Jerry's marriage and needles Jerry about it whenever he can but doesn't actively try to break them up. However, after hearing that Jerry wants to turn him in to the Galactic Federation at the end of the second season, he starts the third season seeking to ensure Beth and Jerry are divorced. He succeeds, only for Beth to decide she loves Jerry and gets back with him at the end of season 3.
    • Towards Birdperson and Tammy. At first, he was displeased with their marriage, but not because of his dislike towards Tammy, just his distrust towards the whole idea of marriage. But he later makes a toast saying that if Birdperson loves Tammy, then Rick loves her as well. Tragically, he was right to some extent — Tammy was an undercover agent for the Galactic Federation.
      • We learn at the end of the fifth season that he was unhappy with the wedding because he fell in love with Birdperson during the war and invited him on a non-stop interdimensional adventure, only for Birdperson to reject him. It's a The Missus and the Ex situation as far as he's concerned.
  • Sinister Sweet Tooth: Undoubtedly an asshole and qualifies as either a Nominal Hero or a full-blown Villain Protagonist... and he's a fan of wafer cookies. "Mortyplicity" also features him electrocuting a small animal so it can excrete what appears to be a chocolate egg, which he immediately eats. Given Rick's noteworthy intelligence, this would also qualify as Genius Sweet Tooth.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Comes off as second nature to him. He has little inconvenience calling his grandkids "pieces of shit". And then showing off an equation he made a while ago for why they are.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Shares this dynamic with Jerry. Rick cannot stand Jerry for impregnating his daughter on prom night, causing her to give up on her options, and also for being cowardly, mediocre, and using other people's pity. Jerry meanwhile can't stand how Rick has hijacked his family's attention while putting them in danger. When Jerry gives Beth an ultimatum to get Rick to leave or else he will, Beth instead chooses Rick, causing her to divorce Jerry. The two of them still manage to be this (albeit to a lesser extent) during the season that Jerry and Beth are split up, and once they get back together, it comes back full force.
  • Slasher Smile: Has a pretty good one in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", when he kills the clones he created at the end.
  • The Social Darwinist: He has a dim view of the mediocre and unintelligent masses, and when he gets the chance to build a new civilization from relative scratch in Season 4, he uplifts those he views as possessing promise while leaving the rest to die so they won't drag his chosen subjects down.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Outright confirmed by Word of God — Rick makes a consistent effort to stay as unattached to people as possible. He is considered a troublemaker even by alternate Ricks, upon whom main Rick frowns because they formed a government to protect themselves. According to Evil Rick, Rick C-137 is only slightly less evil than he is. Of course, "Evil Rick" does turn out to be a puppet for the highly resentful Evil Morty, so this is probably an unreliable assessment. invoked
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: The death of his wife and daughter sent him spiraling and made him into the man he is today. His sardonic and hedonistic nature simply mask the broken man he is on the inside and it's hinted on a few occassions that Rick simply wants it all to end.
  • Speech Impediment: Like his grandson, Rick has a noticeable stutter that causes him to repeat words multiple times in sentences.
  • Start of Darkness: In "The Rickshank Rickdemption", we see what turned Rick from a devoted husband and father into the man he is today. The Council of Ricks invited him to join them. When he declined and decided to leave science behind, they killed his family and intended to kill him so every Rick would always be the smartest person in his universe. So he started slaughtering his way through Ricks looking for the specific Rick who killed his family, briefly pausing to fight a war and fall in love with Birdperson, falling ever more into despair until he finally gives up, helps build the Citadel and the Central Finite Curve as a way to contain the Ricks, and drunkenly crashes into a Beth's garage.
  • Stepford Snarker:
    Bird Person: Morty. Do you know what "Wubalubadubdub" means?
    Morty: That's just Rick's stupid, nonsense catchphrase.
    Bird Person: It is not nonsense at all. In my people's tongue, it means, "I am in great pain. Please help me."
    Morty: Well, I got news for ya. He's saying it ironically.
    Bird Person: No, Morty. Your grandfather is indeed in very deep pain. That is why he must numb himself.
    Morty: Cmon', Bird Person. Rick's not that complicated. He's just a huge asshole.
  • Straw Misogynist: He "respects" women in so far as they either do what he says or don't get in his way. When they don't, he freely starts throwing out sexist slurs to the point that Summer has become desensitized to being called "a dumb bitch."
    • Downplayed starting in Season 4 for reasons similar to Politically Incorrect Hero being downplayed in Season 4 (see Rick's entry for that trope above). In "Never Ricking Morty," he explains what the Bechdel Test is to Morty without coming off as finding it to be stupid or anything like that, and praises Morty for telling a "feminist masterpiece" with his Bechdel Test-passing story (despite it pretty clearly not being one). It seems like he's not misogynistic against women in general in Season 4, rather just Summer.
  • Straw Nihilist: While Rick does find things to do and reasons to keep going on, at the same time he has a very jaded view of existence. Interestingly his Nihilism and Anti-Nihilism are just two sides to the same coin, as while he finds freedom in there is no purpose to existence, he also values nothing (except maybe his family but even this is contextual).
  • Strong as They Need to Be: As well as "smart as he needs to be". For every moment that shows off Rick's Super-Intelligence and Crazy-Prepared nature with his various gadgets, there seems to be just as many moments where he conveniently fails to actually utilize them to get out of a situation he's shown he could easily do otherwise. Sometimes he'll manage both in the same episode, occasionally Played for Laughs, Played for Drama, or because he falls prey to Complexity Addiction.
  • Super-Intelligence: It's stated that Rick is the smartest being in every possible reality (even ones where he's dumb), and the Rick the series focuses on is the smartest of all the Ricks. This has the side-effect of leaving him jaded and emotionally distant, as he's so smart that he can't even relate to his alternate reality selves.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Rick prefers to emotionally distance himself from others, and normally is aloof and uncaring to someone else's problems. He cares for Morty and the rest of his family, but, certainly, he will never say that out loud.
  • Survivorship Bias: Rick has hundreds of dimensional counterparts as seen in the Citadel of Ricks, most of whom display comparable intelligence. He manages to win each time quite possibly because he's "the Rickest Rick".
  • Talkative Loon: Usually as a result of alcoholism.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Discussed with him by Dr. Wong in the above quote.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Of his family, Rick is the most morally questionable and willing to commit horrific, cruel actions to get his way.
  • Token Good Teammate: However, he is this to the other Ricks of the multiverse. Most other Ricks are true sociopaths, purely seeing their Mortys, Beths, and Dianes as tools to manipulate and discard, with it being implied most Ricks willingly leaving the latter two when they're younger. Despite his less-than-stellar treatment of his Morty, our Rick actually does care about his grandson, and when he was at the age other Ricks abandoned their families to pursue science, he refused the offer, leaving the Rick who offered him the chance killing his Diane and Beth in response. Ironically, the sheer desire for revenge this sparked in our Rick caused him to become the most dangerous one of them all.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Make no mistake, Rick's always been an asshole, but in Season 4 he really ramps it up after losing control of the family in the previous season. He bullies the family more often and intensely and punishes them for more petty reasons. After the adventure with Space Beth when the family gets fed up with him he has a Jerkass Realization and toned it down, but is still a huge asshole.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • In Season 6, despite still being a cynical asshole, Rick is noticeably less abusive towards Morty not as overtly villainous as before, thanks to Character Development from their encounter with Evil Morty resulting in a major Jerkass Realization.
    • In the same season, Rick treats Jerry far better than he ever has, from having been drinking buddies with him and granting him the ability to turn int a pillbug in "Bethic Twinstinct", to going out of his way to save him from an ignominious fate in "Final Desmithation".
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In the trailer for Alien: Covenant, Rick's liver proves to be more powerful than the entirety of a facehugger's immune system when said facehugger dies of poisoning from all the drugs and alcohol in Rick's body mere seconds after latching onto him.
  • Touch of Death: He can make people die instantly if they touch him. He refers to it as a "deterrent".
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Rick tends to bring the worst out in people, which is the reason why Unity broke up with him.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He's seemingly obsessed with the Szechuan dipping sauce McDonalds used to promote Mulan (he presumably also likes the nuggets themselves, but the sauce is the main draw). So much so that he himself has dubbed his search for it as the series' Myth Arc. He is also fond of a restaurant called Shoney's, so much so that he refers to it as being like home to him and visualizes his mind like it while he's being interrogated. Wafer cookies also pop up a lot as his favorite snack, a trait apparently shared by many Ricks of the multiverse. He also likes Eye Holes, and keeps a box of them on his private kitchen shelf, despite the danger of enraging the Eye Hole Man (he even tells Morty it's worth the risk). Likely, these are the trademark favorites of his family before they died. His daughter's favorite cookies, his family's favorite restaurant, a thing that happened to be on special when they were murdered.
  • Troubled Abuser: It's implied that some mysterious tragedy in his backstory turned him into the abusive nihilist he is in the present. The season 5 finale confirms his trauma is a Rick murdering his Diane and Beth for refusing to join the Citadel, leading Rick to go on a quest for revenge but failing to ever find the actual murderer. Morty admits that he feels better after learning what Rick's been through, but Evil Morty points out all Ricks view themselves as underdogs because it means they can use their pain to justify their abusive actions.
  • Troll: Towards the Devil in "Something Ricked This Way Comes". He even lampshades it by comparing it to "when Bugs Bunny fucks with the opera singer for 20 minutes", though even he didn't plan on driving the Devil into suicide.note 
  • Übermensch: Deconstructed. Tells Beth in the penultimate episode of Season 3 that "when you know nothing matters, the universe is yours", but immediately adds that he's "never met a universe that was into it." So while smart people get a chance to "take reality for a ride", they will inevitably get bucked off in a painful, catastrophic, and sometimes lethal fashion as evidenced by how he was viciously injured and maimed by his own creations earlier in the episode.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: If Diane is how his real ex-wife looks. She's a beautiful blonde and Rick is pretty goofy-looking.
  • Undiscriminating Addict: Is largely an alcoholic, being regularly encountered swigging from a hip flask and sporting dozens of empty bottles rattling around inside his spaceship. However, given that he's also an amoral hedonist, he will gladly make use of numerous party drugs - plus some things that might not have been intended to be used as drugs, including brake fluid, crushed-up crystals, the fluid used to defrost a test subject, and alien pheromones (as smoked through a hookah).
  • Unreliable Narrator: invoked Season 3, Episode 1: When he's being interrogated by a Galactic Federation agent within a brainalyzer, he shows them a memory in which the Council of Ricks contacted him with news of dimensional travel, then killed his family in his original world. He then implies he swore revenge and their deaths spurred him on to make the portal gun, and that's why he's so callous and unfeeling. However, the memory in which this occurs is full of sloppy details, and is revealed several seconds later (and at the episode's end) to be completely fake. At the end of the episode, he claims that everything he does is driven by a need for a discontinued dipping sauce from McDonald's later in the episode. The Season 5 finale eventually reveals that Rick was lying... about lying. Broad strokes, most of what happened was completely true.
  • Vague Age: While his toxic self indirectly mentioned that Rick is 70 years old, it's impossible to tell how old he really is since he's body surfed across several different versions of himself and/or created new bodies to inhabit multiple times; as long as his past remains unclear, it's entirely possible that his consciousness could be older than his actual body at this point.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Rick has dedicated most of his adult life to hunting down and killing Rick Prime, the man who murdered his wife and daughter. Though he’s given up on finding him by the start of the series, events in season 6 give Rick a fresh lead and motivate him to start hunting Prime again. Halfway through season 7, Rick finally finds and kills Prime, beating him to death with his bare hands. However, Prime mocks him while dying, saying Rick’s quest for revenge against Prime gave him purpose and defined his life. It’s only after Prime’s dead that Rick realizes Prime was right, and he doesn’t know what to do with his life now that his nemesis is dead and his wife is still gone. Rick spends the rest of the episode watching his family happily going about their lives while he sports a Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • He finds himself constantly dropping Morty's name when talking to him. Just listen to his speech at the end of the pilot.
    • Though it's hardly a tic, Rick can barely talk without constantly belching or tempting to throw up.
    • Like Morty, Rick also has a stutter. They're both autistic, like co-creator Dan Harmon.
  • Villain Protagonist: A lot of his actions can be seen as questionable at best, from dangerous experiments to child endangerment to outright genocide to being neglectful of his family. In "Wedding Squanchers" Birdperson reveals that Rick is a wanted criminal and is considered a terrorist by the Galactic Federation. (Of course, this is by a despotic organization so the perspective there is more than a little skewed.) The devil even lampshades this.
    Devil: I may be the devil but your grandpa is the devil.
  • Villain Has a Point: Even at his worst moments, he's still right about a lot of things. In "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender", he was definitely the villain but he was completely right about The Vindicators. They were only doing their jobs for the sake of glory and gratification rather than actual heroism. Rick may be an arsehole of the highest order, but he's one you definitely need on your side.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Rick and Morty are more like friends than grandfather and grandson. That doesn't stop Rick from using Morty to his benefit and constantly putting him in danger.
      • Explicitly seen in Rest and Ricklaxation when Toxic Rick struggles to not show any concern about Toxic Morty when Healthy Rick kneecaps him.
      Toxic Rick: Morty, not that I give a shit, but are you okay?
      Toxic Morty: Jesus Christ, it hurts!
      Toxic Rick: Quit your bitching, you're gonna be fine! Grandpa's here...
    • Rick and Jerry go from this towards two Sitcom Archnemeses to being these in Season 6, with him granting him favours and saving his life and generally being less of an asshole to him.
    • Rick's relationship with his granddaughter, Summer, has shades of this as well. Summer is one of the few Smiths willing to call Rick out on his behavior ("Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim Morty"), and is shown willing to stand up to him when the situation calls for it ("The Rickchurian Mortydate"). However, she's also the only Smith family member that Rick trusts with several important missions, to the point that he doesn't even hesitate to trust her with his life ("Rick: A Mort Well Lived"). The fact that the two ofter trade jibes and sarcastic remarks along with a few swears thrown in for good measure ("Mortyplicity"), and it's hard not to label their relationship as being part of this trope.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the first season, Justin Roiland's Rick voice sounded noticeably rougher (and in the Pilot, he had a slight New York accent). From seasons two to six, it's slightly smoother and he doesn't burp as much.
  • Weaponized Weakness: As a 3rd-dimensional being, Rick is at a distinct disadvantage when accosted by the Time Cop who exists in the 4th dimension in "A Rickle In Time". How does he get around this little temporal snafu? Purposefully render his timestream into 64 different uncertainties and then gang up on said Time Cop with his 63 other temporal clones who, due to Rick being certain that they're all operating on the same idea that he is, proceed to beat the everloving shit out of the alien that exists in every uncertainty at once simultaneously and thus takes 64 times the beating it would have otherwise.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Hinted at in Auto Erotic Assimilation when one of his sexual demands is to be observed and cheered on by a stadium packed with "Every man that remotely resembles my father."
    Men: [chanting] Go, son, go! Go, son, go!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Chews out Summer for introducing Tammy to Birdperson, after the former revealed herself as an undercover agent for the Galactic Federation and killed him during their wedding reception, resulting in them out on the lam.
    • He calls out Morty for asking him to make a love potion for Jessica.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The climax of season 4 reveals that when he offered Beth the "clone" solution to her identity problem from last season, Beth instead foisted the problem on him, and in response he indeed made a clone of Beth to live out in the stars — except he mixed them up and blanked his memory so he didn't have to deal with the guilt of knowing his "current" daughter is a clone, meaning he doesn't even know who the clone is between Beth and Space Beth. This is described by Dan Harmon as "an Ancient Greek-level of bad fatherhood" and is one of the most cowardly things Rick has ever done, essentially proving once and for all that Rick will use science to take the easy way out whenever he can and is desperate to avoid real connections with people.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rick. Yes, he's a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who, at best, only cares about his immediate family and even then is willing to use and abuse them, but we've seen his Start of Darkness, his Hope Spot with Birdperson only to be rejected, his return to revenge, only to fail for decades, his increasing apathy and addiction, before helping establish the Citadel and the Central Finite Curve and returning to the Smith family shortly prior to the first episode.
  • The Worf Effect: Despite his reputation as an unstoppable genius capable of defeating anyone with enough prep time, several foes have nonetheless managed to duel Rick to a draw or even decisively win against him:
    • The President fights him to a draw in "The Rickchurian Mortydate".
    • Both the Ticket Collector and Story Lord in "Never Ricking Morty" hand him his ass, and he only comes out on top through a cheap shot for the former and a Deus ex Machina for the latter.
    • Reggie delivers a complete Curb-Stomp Battle to Rick in "Childrick of Mort" and would have killed him had Morty and Summer not crashed a spaceship into his head.
    • Although he puts up a good fight, Rick is ultimately overpowered by Phoenix Person and mortally wounded, only being saved by the Smith family's intervention in "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri".
  • World's Smartest Man: He and several others have referred to him as the smartest man in the universe.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Rick has no qualms over killing women if they should attack him or his family.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Frank Palicky in the pilot, who was bullying Morty and got frozen to death by Rick. Played with since Rick assured Morty it was completely reversible (at least it would have been if Summer didn't accidentally shatter his body).
    • His reaction to the baby created by Morty's sexbot is to try and kill it with his laser gun, believing it will grow up to be a threat. He's at least polite enough to back down when Morty names it, though he was also right.
    • Every episode of the online flash game ends with Rick beating up Morty. (In Episode 3 he beats up Morty fused with Summer, but it still technically counts.)
    • He brutally murders multiple clones of himself at the end of "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" with an axe. At least two of the clones were children.
    • He punches Morty in the face during The Stinger of "Rattlestar Ricklactica" to maintain the Stable Time Loop.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Is an active rebel against the Galactic Federation led by the Gromflomites. When asked what he was incarcerated for after turning himself in, his response is simply "everything".


Video Example(s):


Death of Rick Prime

Rick kills Rick Prime by punching his face into a bloody pulp with his fists until he's completely drenched in the latter's blood.

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (28 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoHoldsBarredBeatdown

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