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Western Animation / Rick and Morty

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

"I wanted you to have a normal life. That's something that you can't have when Rick shows up. Everything real turns fake, everything right is wrong, all you know is that you know nothing and he knows everything. And, well... 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."
Morty, "The Rickshank Rickdemption"

Rick and Morty is an animated science fiction comedy series created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Cartoon Network's late-night programming block Adult Swim. Originally, the series was based on Channel101's The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, a Back to the Future parody.

This bizarre series centers around the misadventures of Morty Smith, a kind-hearted yet troubled young high school student, and Rick Sanchez, Morty's snarky, morally-unsound and alcoholic Mad Scientist grandfather (both voiced by Justin Roiland). Rick constantly pulls Morty and his family out of their normal lives to go on sci-fi acid trip adventures across the multiverse and help him carry out insane science experiments. Morty's parents think of Rick as a negative influence on their son, but they keep Rick around the house anyway just as long as he sort of keeps Morty in school.


The first episode was released online on November 27, 2013, and aired on Adult Swim five days later, on December 2, 2013.

In May 2018, after months of contract negotiations following the end of the show's third season (and fears of cancellation), the series was announced as being renewed for an unprecedented 70 additional episodes. The first five episodes of Season 4 aired from November 10, 2019, to December 15, 2019; after a five-month hiatus, the last five episodes of Season 4 aired from May 3, 2020, to May 31, 2020. Season Five started airing a year later on June 20, 2021. It is confirmed that Season 6 is also in the works. In May 2022, a ten-episode anime adaptation directed by Takashi Sano, who directed the adaptation of Tower of God as well as two Rick and Morty shorts, was announced.

For episode-specific summaries and tropes, check out the recap page.


For other works based on the show, see the Franchise page.

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

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  • Absurd Phobia: It turns out Rick is afraid of wicker furniture and pirates.
  • Abusive Parents: Due to species divide, Morty accidentally became one in "Raising Gazorpazorp", as chronicled in his half-alien son's book My Horrible Father.
    Beth: It's a thankless job, Morty. You did the best you could.
    • Beth and Jerry aren't necessarily abusive, more neglectful. They didn't pay their children much attention when they were babies, one reason could be because they became parents so young. Jerry tries a little harder at being a good parent than Beth.
    • Jerry also mentions how "they can't all be raised like reptiles by a mentally ill scientist" suggesting that Rick may have been this to Beth when she was a child. He was neglectful of her, to the point where she would draw him into family pictures with a crayon. However, this is turned back on Beth when Rick shows her the box of inventions she specifically asked him for. Some highlights include stickers that cause amnesia, shoes that make no sound (for sneaking up on people), and a sentient switchblade. Rick mentions that Beth was a "scary kid" and that he did everything he could to limit her interactions with other people. He fully admits his inability to be a good parent but makes Beth take some responsibility for her own actions.
  • Actor Allusion: "Meeseeks and Destroy" isn't the first time Tom Kenny has voiced an evil bean.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Subverted with Evil Rick's bug-like henchman, who randomly makes a laughing noise every few seconds, which our Rick mistakes for approval of his zingers.
    • In "The Rickchurian Mortydate", Rick finds the President's rivalry with them to be annoying, but clearly enjoys watching Morty verbally spar with the President.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The very first thing we see Rick do in the series is drunkenly planning to exterminate the human race except for Morty and the girl he likes.
  • Aerith and Bob: Generally justified due to the many alien species in the series obviously having different cultures from Earth.
  • An Alien Named "Bob": Played with; Many Gromflomites have alien-sounding first names, paired with last names that sound like mundane human first names. Examples include Krombopulos Michael the assassin, and Cornvelious Daniel the interrogation agent.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Summer had a crush on Morty's bully, Frank Palicky.
    • Played with concerning Jessica and her boyfriend. She hates how he always picks fights, and yet they're still together no matter what.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: Several planets and alternate realities Rick and Morty visit.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: The whereabouts of Beth's mother have not been given a proper explanation. Rick has implied that his marriage to her was not stable and that they did separate before his disappearance. Beth sheds a tear in "Pilot" when Rick tells her that he wishes her mother was present to eat the family's breakfast, but it is never confirmed if Beth's mother is actually dead. In "The Rickshank Redemption", Rick is shown a memory in which a woman named Diane is his wife as well as Beth's mother, and she is killed in it; however, this specific memory was fabricated by Rick to fool his interrogator, so Diane may not even have existed. The cover artist for the comic book adaptation has created a character named "Bonnie Sinclair", who fills the role of Beth's mother in several illustrations, but it is not known if she will ever appear on the show. Season 5 eventually confirms that Diane was in fact a real person in Rick's life and that she was killed by another Rick, meaning that the aforementioned memory wasn't fabricated after all.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Jerry is in this territory after the incident with Sleepy Gary in the episode "Total Rickall". Although his feelings for Gary appeared to be real, the entire incident was a falsely implanted memory of a relationship that never happened with a man that never existed. As Jerry hasn't yet shown any romantic interest in a male character who definitely exists, it's difficult to say whether him potentially having any interest in men at all is really the case or was just another part of the implanted memory. "Mort Dinner Rick Andre", however, makes this less ambiguous as he participates in a threesome between him, Beth, and Mr. Nimbus.
    • Summer, despite clearly being into boys, has given off hints of being interested in girls. In "The Old Man and the Seat", one of her selected soulmates is a woman, and the episodes "Rattlestar Ricklactica" and "Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion" reveal she likes going to Boob World.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • It's strongly implied in the first episode, and Jerry explicitly speculates to the same effect, that the reason Morty is underperforming in school is that he has some kind of learning disability. In "One Crew over the Crewcoo's Morty", when Rick and Morty are trying to enter HeistCon, Rick says that Morty has Asperger's, although it's possible he wasn't serious and just making a Shout-Out to Baby Driver (whose main character also has an Ambiguous Disorder).
    • Rick's drinking and substance abuse problem has been acknowledged in canon, but he also often has a notable mix of a lack of empathy and suicidal tendencies.
    • Dan Harmon, co-creator of the show, is on the autism spectrum and has spoken before about how he tries to create positive representations for the autistic community with his characters. Both Rick and Morty (but especially Morty) display symptoms of autism-like stuttering or difficulties forming sentences, failing to pick up sarcasm, and only in Rick's case, lack of empathy. In "The Rickchurian Mortydate", in his usual cynical tone, Rick asks if Minecraft was made for autistic people, because he's starting to enjoy playing it.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Galactic Federation. Rick shows a lot of disdain towards the organization and his friends see themselves as Freedom Fighters going against them. The Federation are made out as oppressive and have been seen to be apathetic to civilian casualties. At the same time, this information comes from Rick and they do keep their word when Rick turns himself in so his family can return to Earth.
  • And I Must Scream: Glockenspiel Jerry is willing to do anything to live until he is incapacitated and forced to endure centuries of torment, unable to die, all scored to Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever."
  • Animated Shock Comedy: Rick and Morty is generally seen as an example of this trope "done right". A lot of the humor is extremely sophomoric, with phallic imagery, burp/fart jokes, pop culture references and violence galore; however, it plays the consequences of a lot of these jokes completely straight for the sake of furthering the story and developing the characters, who even at their flattest are much more fleshed out and three-dimensional than a good deal of the show's contemporaries. The most notable of this is the writers' conscious decision to make the occasional verbal rape joke while playing every instance of the act itself completely for horror, illustrating the difference between making jokes about rape and thinking rape is funny.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • One-off or even recurring characters might as well have countdown clocks over their heads. If someone survives a guest appearance, they'll probably be killed off for a dramatic moment when they next appear.
    • Overlaps with Death Is Cheap for the main characters, who can be replaced by alternate-universe versions of themselves and thus might occasionally suffer a sudden Plot Armor failure.
    • A major joke of the episode "Mortyplicity", the entire episode focuses on clones of the family who are evading squids coming to kill them who are, in turn, also clones dressed up as squids trying to kill other clones because they realize they're clones. Repeatedly throughout the episode the viewer watches one particular iteration of the family for sometimes 2-3 minutes of time, only for them to be suddenly killed and focus is shifted to another family. By the end of the episodes, the clones trying to figure out who is the real one are running around killing each other in a mass frenzy, and even then the narrative keeps focusing on a specific family only for them to die and be revealed as yet more clones.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The coda for "Something Ricked This Way Comes" has the very muscular Rick and Summer beating up: a neo-nazi, a bully who pantses a kid, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church carrying one of their infamous "God Hates Fags" signs, and a guy who's mean to his dog.
    • Poncho's grievances against Dr. Bloom include his pompousness, negligence, and giving iTunes gift cards as holiday bonuses.
    • In "Get Schwifty", the first three undesirables sent to the Cromulons are a thief, a Goth, and a "movie talker".
    • In "The ABC's of Beth", Rick goes through some of the things Beth asked him to make for her as a child: rayguns, a whip that forces people to like you, invisibility cuffs, a parent trap (Bear Trap), a lightning gun, a teddy bear with anatomically correct innards, night-vision googly-eye glasses, sound erasing sneakers, false fingerprints, fall-asleep darts, a lie-detecting doll, an indestructible baseball bat, a taser shaped like a ladybug, a fake police badge, location tracking stickers, rainbow-colored duct tape, mind-control hair clips, poison gum, and a pink, sentient switchblade.
    • From "The Rickchurian Mortydate":
    'The President': You're a terrorist, you're an enemy of the state and you kicked me in the balls ten minutes ago!
  • Art Evolution: The character outlines become smoother and the backgrounds and designs of other characters more detailed as the show goes on.
  • Art Shift: The post-Season 1 promos has Rick and Morty (and Mr. Meeseeks) appearing as puppet versions of themselves, and the commercials for "Two Brothers" and "Jean Quadrant Vincent 16" are animated in a more dramatic, realistic comic style. The promos made for the third season's release use far creepier looking animatronic rod puppets.
    • The special shorts all feature this being animated by different teams- "Bushworld Adventures" is handed in Michael Cusack's trademark style of Deranged Animation; "Samurai and Shogun" is animated by Studio DEEN and Studio Twinkle in full CGI, and "Rick and Morty vs. Genocider" is animated by Telecom Animation Film and animator Takashi Sano in the same style as the Tower of God anime. The following short with the same team, "Summer Meets God (Rick Meets Evil)" uses a more stylized look slightly closer to the show.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Summer started as a recurring character in the early episodes. She has become more major to the show since "Raising Gazorpazorp", frequently becoming a trio with Rick and Morty in adventures.
    • Beth and Jerry also rise to prominence as the series goes on, with their subplots becoming more important and each of them getting a solo adventure with Rick in Season 3 (Jerry in "The Whirly-Dirly Conspiracy" and Beth in "The ABC's of Beth").
    • Arguably Squanchy Cat. He appears as an almost throw-away gag for Rick's party, in which Rick seems to not know him very well. By the second season finale, it's revealed that Squanchy was a member of Rick's freedom fighters and rock band.
    • Tammy Geuterman and Birdperson aka "Phoenixperson" who barely appear at all throughout most of the series and fall off after the season 2 finale "The Wedding Squanchers", only to suddenly reappear in "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri" as the major antagonists of the finale.
  • Ass Shove:
    • Rick makes Morty shove two mega-seeds up his ass so that he can smuggle them through inter-dimensional customs.
    Rick: When we get to customs, I'm gonna need you to take these seeds into the bathroom. And I'm gonna need you to put them waaaay up inside your butthole Morty. Put them way up inside there, as far as they can fit.
    • One alternate dimension is populated entirely by hamsters who live inside people's butts. It's pretty ambiguous if the people are even living things since they seem to function like mobile homes.
      • However, the post-credits stinger shows the family visiting the "Hamster in Butts" dimension, where a hamster helpfully shows a diagram of the arrangement. The 'people' are in fact just empty puppets where the hamsters live. The people are like cars or houses and do not seem to have separate identities.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", when viewing photographs of the murders of 27 other versions of Rick, one of the Ricks was killed by having his head literally shoved up his ass.
  • Attempted Rape / Near-Rape Experience: Quite a bit.
    • Happens to Morty during an adventure. Luckily, Morty kicks ass, and then Rick kills the attempted rapist.
    • Rick argues that love potions are basically this, though he takes his time before saying so. In the same episode, everyone outside of Morty's family is infected by the potion, turning the tables on Morty.
    • Happens to Summer on another adventure. Luckily, Rick kicks ass.
    • In yet another episode, Jerry is the victim of it. Luckily, Beth kicks ass.
  • Author Appeal:
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," the final victim of Rick and Summer's rampage is a dog abuser. Harmon and Roiland are both dog owners. Harmon put his dog on his Vanity Plate, while Roiland named Jerry after one of his dogs.
    • Ice-T showing up in "Get Schwifty," with Dan Harmon doing the voice. Harmon loves doing Ice-T impersonations in Harmontown
    • Dan Harmon does what sounds like an improvised rap in "Rick Potion No. 9." Improvised rapping is a big part of Harmontown.
    • In a Harmontown episode, Harmon tells the story about how he went for years without realizing he had a thing for redheads; A friend looked through his erotica collection and pointed it out to him. In the episode "Auto Erotic Assimilation," Rick has an orgy with a stadium full of redheads. In "Morty's Mind Blowers", Rick has an invention that works like a huge magnet on anything and Morty uses it to attract redheads.
    • In "Interdimensional Cable 2," an alien voiced by Werner Herzog criticizes humanity for doing things like putting an object up to their crotch and saying, "Look, I'm so-and-so penis!" A recurring feature on Harmontown had Harmon singing a song about a man with a chicken noodle soup can for a penis. Also on the podcast, comptroller Jeff Davis would occasionally sing a song called "Pringles Dick," about a man who puts his penis inside a Pringles can.
    • In "Interdimensional Cable 2," the commercial for Little Bits, the restaurant that only serves tiny food, is based on Bytes, the same idea for a restaurant frequently endorsed by Dan Harmon's friend "The Real Abed."
    • The plot of season 3 reflects Dan Harmon's divorce.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Jerry and Beth do not have a good marriage, and are sometimes unsure if they're even in love, but one always has the other's back when push comes to shove. This also extends to the "Clone" Beth. Even though "Clone" Beth divorced Jerry and questions the other Beth why she continues to stay with him, she did keep his surname and it's hinted that despite their divorce she does still feel something for him.
    • The titular characters as well. Rick, despite his abrasive behavior, always wants what's best (well, at least what he thinks is best) for his grandchildren and isn't above having fun with them once in a while. He's abusive as hell to Morty and typically treats him as a means to an end, but there's little doubt he does genuinely cares about him. Further pointed out in the episode "Rest and Ricklaxation". Rick considers these feelings negative, but the only reason Toxic Rick fails is because he shows an extreme amount of concern towards Toxic Morty's gunshot wound.
    • This is a show where you spend 99% of the time laughing/cringing at all the Black Comedy, and saying "D'aww" at least Once an Episode.
    • In ''Get Schwifty", Jerry outright says he's sick of pretending they only stay together for their kids. He married Beth because he loves her and wants her to know that.
    • "Rixty Minutes" shows an alternate timeline where Summer was aborted. Jerry becomes a movie star, and Beth is rich enough to sit at home all day. This leads to a lot of hurt feelings between "our" Jerry, Beth, and Summer. It turns out that in the alternate universe, Jerry's miserable and Beth is a Crazy Parrot Lady. Jerry has a meltdown and drives all the way to her house on a Rascal mobility scooter in nothing but his underwear, police and media on hot pursuit, to confess his love for her. This leads to "our" dimension's Jerry, Beth and Summer to patch things up.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers" The Smith family become fugitives after Rick is discovered to be wanted for terrorism by the galactic federation. Jerry suggests that they turn Rick in so they can have a normal life but the rest of the family refuses because they love Rick(for the most part). Rick has a revelation and turns himself in anyways. Though later subverted when it turns out he got caught on purpose to not only topple the government but push Jerry and Beth to separate, letting him in his own words "become the de-facto patriarch of the family and the universe.
    • "The Ricklantis Mixup shows a Rick who is "more into working with wood than science," and creates a jewelry box (complete with a cartoon horse on top) for his daughter's birthday, truly demonstrating his love for Beth. This is then ruthlessly invoked as the scene pans out to reveal that this Rick is kept a prisoner, with this memory being played on an infinite loop just so the "happy" chemical his brain secretes can be extracted. This is done by other Ricks, to add flavor to a wafer.
    • Rick is reluctant to see Jerry killed, being genuinely horrified along with the rest of the family when Jerry was almost shot to death in "Interdimensional Cable II: Tempting Fate", keeping him alive despite Jerry betraying him in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", killing his ex-girlfriend's jealous boyfriend in "The ABCs of Beth", and not going through with killing him in "The Rickchurian Mortydate".
    • Morty and Summer start with an initially slightly adversarial relationship typical between siblings, but they develop an intense familial bond that is not only the strongest but the healthiest familial relationship in the entire Smith family. They both make it very clear to the other that while they don't always see eye to eye, they'll go to any length to protect the other from harm.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • After their first encounter with Rick in "Get Schwifty", the President and the United States Government got to work on creating their own form of portal transportation. It works, but the military has to spend the time and resources to manually airlift the portal platform to its destination just for a few people to transport through. According to Rick, each usage of the equipment triples the deficit.
    • Invoked again the same episode. The US Government has developed a pill that will shrink the user to near-microscopic levels. Unfortunately, it doesn't shrink their clothes, seems to take a decent amount of time while the user shrieks in agony, and Rick claims it will give them severe and incurable cancer. Rick creates one in a day that circumvents all of these shortcomings.
    • Also invoked in "Vindicators 3". Turns out our heroes weren't called for "Vindicators 2" in which the titular Vindicators destroyed an entire civilized planet just to get one shapechanger villain. Ricks's response?
    Rick: "I could have made you something that would have found him in about 20 minutes."
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Due to the editing, it at first seems like Rick's emergency plan in "Rick Potion #9" managed to save the day offscreen (after he "[did] some scouting"). As it happens, he was actually scouting for a dimension where he and Morty managed to save the day... and then died soon after.
    • Invoked in the episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind". The episode begins with Rick being shot to death and Morty being tranquillized and kidnapped by Evil Rick and Evil Morty, who appear from a portal in the dining room. Then it turns out that these were alternate dimension versions of the main duo, and "our" Rick and Morty (C-137) are just fine.
    • In "Auto Erotic Assimilation" after seeing Unity bomb a city, it seems like Rick's going to realize their relationship is toxic for the both of them and leave. Then Unity clarifies that it moved everyone out of the city without telling him just to screw with him, and Rick has no such epiphany. (In fact, Unity is later the one to realize this and end the relationship.)
    • In "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", when Rick gets the drop on Risotto Groupon, he activates the cybernetics in his arm to reveal what appears to be a large, overly-complex gun, only for it to shoot out a suction dart which he uses to grab Risotto's gun and kill him with it.
    • "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" has Rick's ship, which has been put under strict orders to keep Summer safe, stick out a device and scan a person it sees as a potential threat, only for the scanning to actually have been a Laser Cutter that turns him into a fleshy pile of cubes.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't eat Eyeholes cereal unless you want the Eyehole Man to show up and beat the hell out of you.
    • Rick does not take betrayal well at all, as Gearhead found out.
    • Morty hates being called a terrible person, especially if he's done nothing wrong.
  • Big Damn Movie: A game, in this case. Episode one of the game has Rick be fully aware that the sudden problem that starts the plot makes no sense.
  • Big Sibling Instinct: Summer plays it straight by showing some Big Sister Instinct towards Morty, and he inverts it with Little Brother Instinct towards her (in his case, sometimes to Knight Templar Little Brother levels). As they both become more and more traumatized through their adventures with Rick, they become increasingly protective towards each other. Morty in particular will not stand for other people making Summer cry.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: So many examples that it could have its own subpage. Lampshaded in the pilot, when Rick points out a random alien creature and says it "defies all logic."
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The combination of cynicism, black comedy, and the general Crapsack World that is the universe leaves the series with barely any characters who ever really do the right thing. Morty started off the series fairly optimistic and cheerful, but season 2 and especially season 3 have already worn him down. No character ever gets to live their lives and do everything they want without appropriate consequences. For example, Morty's desire to win the love and affection of his crush resulted in—as Rick describes it himself— a date rape drug being spread throughout the entire planet's atmosphere and transforming all non-family members into Cronenberg-style mutants. There are clearly nefarious characters and entities that clearly fall under black, but almost everyone else is grey.
    • Consequences are often bizarrely inappropriate in keeping with the nihilistic morality of the show. Characters suffer even for having the bests of intentions. In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," Summer shows genuine kindness and sympathy for the Devil but is of course betrayed. In "The Wedding Squanchers," the family convinces Rick to open up and genuinely enjoy the healthy activity of a friends' wedding only for it to turn out to be a hit from the galactic government that turns into a blood bath, though Rick's absence would have changed nothing. In "Look Who's Purging Now," Morty's attempt to help an innocent woman leads to them getting caught in a Whole Plot Reference to The Purge series, where Morty jumps off the slippery slope to enjoy gratuitously killing defenseless people. In "Mortynight Run," Morty objects to Rick selling arms to a hitman, only to later cause dozens of deaths freeing the hitman's potential target and then kill the target because he poses a threat to all other life in the galaxy.
    • "A Rickconvenient Mort" takes this to an extreme. Planetina, a Captain Planet Expy used to save the environment with her Tina-teers. In the modern day, the latter have become greedy, soulless bastards who don't give a shit about the environment and only pretend to care to make money off of Planetina. The rest of the human race is shown to similarly not care and continue to desecrate the planet while lying through their teeth about how green they are. When Planetina is freed from the Tina-teers' rings and allowed to live full-time on Earth, she takes increasingly extreme measures to save the environment and eventually snaps and murders miners. Said miners were unpleasant, but had the valid point that they needed the income, showing how polluting corporations have too many people in their pocket for any meaningful change to arise. The episode comes to the conclusion that humans are Beyond Redemption and there is no hope; humanity will suffer an agonizing, pathetic extinction as a result of its own idiocy.
  • Black Comedy: Most definitely. Most of the humor revolves around Rick's sociopathy and alcoholism and the resulting damage it does to Morty's psyche. After "Rick Potion #9", the show takes a realistic look at the traumatic damage that the pair's adventures can have on Morty.
  • Black Comedy Rape: An interesting subversion. There are a few passive jokes about rape in the dialogue, but the act itself is always depicted completely seriously. For example, Rick makes a passive comment about Prison Rape during his and Morty's trial in "Meeseeks and Destroy," which is meant as a joke, but Morty almost getting raped in a bathroom later in the same episode is not. Rick's reaction to it cements this.
  • Blatant Lies: This shows up in pretty much every episode, especially from Rick, and often Played for Laughs.
    Rick: I wouldn't lie to you [Morty]. Beat Well, that's a lie. Huh.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While the show has never been one to shy away from on-screen violence, it was rarely extravagant, with most episodes in the first two seasons being rated TV-14. Season 3 takes the violence much further, with almost every episode getting a TV-MA rating and involving a sequence where one or more of the main characters engage in the brutal, graphic, and creative slaughter of a crowd of enemies. Usually, the crowd is a collective Asshole Victim, but it is still the heroes gleefully engaging in Bloody Hilarious violence. The late Season 2 episode "Look Who's Purging Now" is a hint at the beginning of this, with Rick and Arthricia literally dancing in a river of the blood to Toni Toni Tone after killing all the aristocratic "fat cats".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Jerry, of all people, looks straight at the camera and shrugs at the end of the Christmas Episode.
    • All five characters at the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy". Rick even says "See you next week!" to the audience. He does this again in "Raising Gazorpazorp."
    • At the end of "Ricksy Business", Rick ends the episode by ordering to roll the credits, and repeatedly yells that it's the end of the first season.
    • In-universe, the Titanic reenactment cruise that Beth and Jerry are on fails to sink as it was supposed to, and to make up for it the captain of the ship offers everyone free "James Camer-Onion Rings". This prompts Jerry to angrily say "...and now the fourth wall is broken."
    • "Total Rickall" features Rick telling viewers that the show will be back after a commercial break.
    • The same episode has a fake flashback of Rick detailing a get-rich-quick scheme involving selling Nintendo 3DS systems. At the end of the scene, he turns to the camera and asks Nintendo to give him free stuff.
    • Mr. Poopybutthole mentions how "The Wedding Squanchers" ends on a huge cliffhanger, and how it'll take a year and a half or possibly longer to see how it'll be resolved at the start of Season 3. He does something similar at the end of "The Rickchurian Mortydate", referencing that Season 4 will come in "a really long time".
    • At the end of "The Rickshank Redemption" Rick goes on a rant about how finding some way to acquire more Szechuan sauce from McDonald's is going to be his "series arc" and he will achieve it, even if it takes him "nine seasons" or 97 years to do so.
    • Rick looks right at the camera with a deadpan face by saying "We'll be right back" before cutting to the commercial break in "Rickmancing the Stone."
    • In the cold open of "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", Rick calls it a "Rick and Jerry episode!"
    • During the introduction to "Morty's Mind Blowers", Rick gives a Title Drop of the episode, then looks directly at the camera and says, "And we'll be doing this instead of Interdimensional Cable." Cue the intro.
    • At the end of the third season finale "The Rickchurian Mortydate", after Beth and Jerry decide to get back together, Beth makes an explicit comparison to Season 1.
  • Break the Cutie: The entire series is a long process of this for Morty. Particular examples include "Meeseeks and Destroy", in which he is almost raped, and "Mortynight Run", when he has to kill Fart to save the universe, and in the process, render all of the death and destruction that he caused throughout the episode pointless.
  • Buffy Speak: Used occasionally. One example is this exchange that took place when Rick had a massive hangover.
    Rick: Bring me the thing.
    Morty: What thing?
    Rick: The thing, the thing. It's got buttons and lights on it. It beeps.
    Morty: Rick, that describes everything in your garage!
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Rick has a lot of enemies that he doesn't remember until it comes back to bite him in the ass.
  • Call-Back:
    • Rick's insane "Rick and Morty 100 Years" speech at the end of the first episode gets a call back at the end of the first episode of the third season. It even has the same music playing during the speech, and both end with the garage door closing while a confused Morty, on the floor, watches Rick absolutely lose his marbles.
    • Morty pulls his "every 10th adventure" card in "Vindicators 3", calling back to the agreement he and Rick made in "Meeseeks & Destroy" that Morty would get to pick one out of every ten adventures they went on. It's even a literal card, complete with nine Morty ink stamps.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick makes a meta-joke that they can mess up their own dimension and shift to a new one only a few times. "Morty's Mind Blowers" reveal that they had to jump dimensions again, with Rick reminding Morty of that very issue.
  • Call to Adventure: When the Vindicators activate their distress beacon to summon Rick and Morty, Rick adamantly refuses a "literal call to adventure", but Morty invokes his right to choose one out of every 10 adventures to force him into it.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Summer is willing to and does do this with Rick. Morty becomes more and more willing to do so over time as well.
    • She also does it with her parents when they didn't seem to care that Morty has a sexbot in "Raising Gazorpazorp".
    • In the same episode, Morty Jr. does this to Morty.
    • Morty calls Beth out for being as irresponsible as Rick in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy".
    • "The ABC's of Beth" has quite a bit of this, with Beth finally calling Rick out for neglecting her as a child, and Morty and Summer calling Jerry out on quite a few of his flaws, as well as being unable to admit to his new girlfriend that he wants to break up.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: In "Lawnmower Dog", A group of super-intelligent dogs replicate the classic image after taking over the world.
  • Cassandra Did It: The Parasites try to use this to make it seem like Rick is the Parasite due to his own zany wacky personality and incredibly vague backstory. Beth starts to believe them even though Rick is her father.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Parodied with Rick's "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!".Birdperson later tells Morty that this saying translates to "I am in great pain. Please help me."
    • As of the season 1 finale, his new catchphrase is "I don't give a f***".
    • He also has a fondness for saying "It's gonna be great!" when talking about his inventions.
    • "And away we go!" should probably also qualify.
    • (In-Universe) "You don't know me!" Mrs. Pancakes in her self-titled series.
    • With power running low, some of the computer simulations are reduced to one sentence Catchphrases like 'Yes!' And 'My Man!'.
    • Later parodied in "Total Rickall" when we see a string of Rick's "really weird made-up sounding catchphrases", which are a series of strange Non Sequiturs such as "AIDS!" , "Shum shum shlippidy-dop!", "Graaaaaassss... tastes bad!" and "BURGER TIME!" The context of the scene would lead the viewer to assume that they're the result of the memory-tampering parasites, except that none of the flashbacks feature the parasites and none of them seem to be pleasant memories, meaning Rick really does have these catchphrases even if they've never appeared on screen before, or since (although he re-uses "Riki-tiki-tavi" and "And that's the way the news goes" in the last part of the episode, after all the parasites have been exterminated).
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Generally involving the 14-year-old Morty.
    • In one flashback, his 17-year-old sister Summer walks in on him.
      Summer: Oh my god!
      Morty: I thought you went to a concert!
      Summer We forgot the tickets! Why in the kitchen?!
      Morty: I do it everywhere! Stop shaming me!
      Summer: You're not the victim here!
      Morty: I hate you and I was thinking about your friend Grace!
      Summer: [inarticulate scream]
    • Referenced in one episode where Jerry opens Morty's bedroom to ask him a question. At the end of their conversation, Morty gives him a protracted warning that he's asking for trouble by bursting into a teen's bedroom without warning.
    • Invoked by Jerry in "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate." When nearly caught by the doctor browsing confidential patient documents, he drops trou and loudly declares he was masturbating.
    • The season three intro features a butt-faced Morty watching porn where a woman has faces on her ass and quickly trying to cover it up when a butt-faced Beth comes into his room.
    • The wizard from "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty", before his final confrontation with the slut dragons, emerges from what seems a medieval portable toilet, hastily closing his robe, while in the toilet there's some kind of magical mirror that apparently shows a Hot Witch.
  • Central Theme: Nihilism and Cosmic Horror.
    • Embracing the inherent chaos, unpredictability, and cosmic meaninglessness of the universe and finding something to keep yourself tethered to the mortal plane despite nihilism. While nihilism is usually portrayed in media with the mindset of "Life is pointless, so why bother?", Morty actually points out a positive note in "Rixty Minutes" when he tells Summer that nobody and nothing is designed to happen and that it's up to everyone to find their own purpose and enjoyment.
      Morty: Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody's gonna die. Come watch TV?
    • The mental conflict between intelligence and human connection.
    • Both Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have stated that the study into nihilism is really to help find a sense of purpose and live a better life by focusing on human relationships and experiences, and not preoccupy our minds with unanswerable questions.
    • The last few episodes of Season 5 put the spotlight on numerous characters who deal with genuinely sympathetic negative emotions, such as trauma, grief, insecurity, and loneliness, in very unhealthy ways, to their own detriment:
      • "GoTron Jerrysis Rickvangelion": Summer feels lonely and insecure at being the "odd one out" in her family, and in her effort to keep them together and win Rick's approval, enables him in everything he does, including his worst habits, and pushes the rest of her family members away, leaving her in tears when she realizes this.
      • "Rickternal Friendshine of the Rickless Mort": Bird Person is so filled with grief at Tammy's betrayal and death that he tries to destroy his mind and die in the process and refuses Rick's efforts to save him, only relenting and changing his mind when Rick reveals to him that he has a daughter, whom BP decides is Worth Living For.
      • The above episode and "Rickmurai Jack" reveal that Rick did indeed lose his wife Diane and child Beth in an explosion, and he spent decades afterwards trying to hunt down the alternate Rick responsible, killing countless other versions of himself and making many enemies, only to fail and spiral into being the cynical, nihilistic, depressed, lonely man he is today. A younger version of himself from Bird Person's memory is horrified to see what kind of person he'll become.
      • Also from "Rickmurai Jack": Evil Morty is revealed to have been a normal Morty who snapped from all the abuse he had to put up with from his and other Ricks, and he came up with a plan to escape Rick's influence forever, which is totally understandable. What is not acceptable, though, was how he lost any empathy he once had and was willing to kill thousands if not millions of Ricks and Mortys to achieve his plans, and came to care only about helping himself and no one else.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Although an observant viewer may have inferred it prior, it's revealed at the end of "Ricksy Business" that Rick's constant drinking and abuse of the occasional Fantastic Drug isn't just for fun; he's actually numbing himself from an intense amount of emotional pain.
    • In the same episode, his "Wubba lubba dub dub!" catchphrase, previously portrayed as just a parody of other nonsense-word catchphrases, is revealed to actually be a phrase in an alien language. It means "I am in great pain. Please help me."
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster:
    • While the series never stops being dark, whether dark elements are played for laughs or treated seriously vary greatly. While most of Rick's actions and the horror Morty goes through because of them are treated as Black Comedy, things like his near-rape experience or replacing himself in an alternate universe are not. The marital troubles between Beth and Jerry can go either way.
    • A self-contained example is the episode "Rixty Minutes", which is simultaneously regarded by fans as one of the funniest and one of the most mature and emotional episodes of the entire show, after an excuse to throw around a bunch of random jokes inadvertently triggers a B plot where Summer learns she was nearly aborted.
    • "Total Rickall" features the appearance of several absurd characters, one being named Mr. Poopy Butthole. But the same episode features Rick goading Morty to fatally shoot him in the head, someone accidentally seriously injuring a long-time friend to the point they required physical therapy and an implication that Beth also has a drinking problem.
    • "Pickle Rick" alternates between the absurdist comedy of Rick turning himself into a pickle and Dr. Wong pointing out the hubris and self-destructiveness behind such a stunt and the way Beth rationalizes it and refuses to acknowledge the deleterious effect it has on her family.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Or at the very least, Chekhov's dead gunman. In the season 3 premiere, Summer digs up the dead body of her own Rick that died in ''Rick Potion No. 9" to get the portal gun that ultimately sets her and Morty's plan to rescue their Rick in motion.
    • The quiet, eyepatch-wearing Evil Morty in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" turns out to have been remotely controlling Evil Rick all along, meaning that he was the true mastermind behind the serial killings of Ricks. He proves to be this once again in "The Ricklantis Mix-up", where we find out that the newly elected leader of the Citadel of Ricks, President Morty, is actually him.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • A minor, easy-to-miss example, but in Season 1, Beth mentions Jerry's education in civics (and implies it was a waste of time). In Season 2, his "Cervine Institute" con exploits the jurisdiction limits of Brad's Law to let Beth save the deer's life.
    • Morty has had to disarm Rick's neutron bombs before. (In the first episode, Rick was going to destroy humanity. Comes in handy in the third season Rick And Morty S 3 E 4 Vindicators 3 The Return Of World Ender). It is revealed that Morty carries a set of wire clippers for just this purpose.
    Rick: "Morty.... how many of these (Neutron Bombs) have you had to...."
    Morty (Interrupts): "Too many, Rick! Too many!"
  • Chekhov's Time Travel: Defied by the creators, as Rick has a box on his shelf with the text "Time Travel Stuff", but time travel is about the only sci-fi trope they haven't touched yet. Roiland and Harmon have said that the box on the shelf is a Stealth Pun, indicating that all time travel stories are "shelved" for the series. (It's for this reason that Rick can't simply go back in time to when Mulan was running in theaters to try McDonald's Szechuan sauce). Time Travel has since been officially reaffirmed as off-limits by the authors in interviews; they reason that it makes all problems just too easy.
    • The episode "The Vat of Acid Episode" revisits this with Rick inventing a device to give Morty his "save point" idea. Morty uses it to pull pranks, to avoid injury, to fall in love and have a years long committed relationship... Rick points out that it's not a time thing, but an alternate universe thing, and that all of those things really happened and involved an alternate reality Morty dying in agony so Morty could hop over.
  • Clip Show:
    • Following from the episodes of Dan Harmon's Community which parodied clip shows by featuring clips from episodes the audience had never seen, "Total Rickall" gives us the same joke taken to the next level - the things that everyone keeps remembering never even happened.
    • Similarly, in "Morty's Mind Blowers", the titular mind-blowers that Morty is seeing are, out-of-universe, original content. In-universe, they seem like new content to Morty too because the clips are actually memories of Morty's that he's had removed from his brain because they were so traumatizing; Rick outright calls them a "Clip Show made of clips you never saw".
  • Clock Roaches / Time Police: When Rick attempts to repair the fractured timelines in "A Rickle in Time,", one of these—a Sufficiently Advanced Alien who doesn't like his methods—appears and antagonizes him. The alien's odd appearance is inspired by another, particularly iconic group of Clock Roaches.
  • Cloning Blues:
    • In "The ABC's of Beth", Rick offers to make a clone of Beth so she can go out and do what she wants in her life. The Season 4 finale reveals the other Beth was out in space, fighting the New-and-Improved Galactic Federation, but both are eventually made aware of each other and they try to figure out who is the clone. In doing so, they also realize their mutual dislike of Rick and decide to just keep living their own lives. Rick made a memory tube of who is who, but nobody cares anymore. The tube reveals that Beth asked him to make the decision. He made a clone, properly labelled the cloning vats, but then removed the label and started switching them around until the camera cuts away to make it impossible to see who is who. Rick verbally acknowledges what a shitty father he is.
    • "Mortyplicity" deals with the aftermath of meeting Space Beth, where Rick created decoy clone families and placed them all over the country because there are always enemies that want to hunt them down. With families being killed by alien squid people, other Ricks are alerted to the clones, leaving the families confused what is going on. Rick uses decoy override protocols to shut the decoys down, but also learned that there are decoys who also came up with the idea of creating decoys, which leads to the decoys who discovered they were decoys to dress up as squid aliens to hunt them down. Rick explains the "Asimov Cascade" where all the decoys will inevitibly kill each other. Complete chaos ensues when the decoy families begin to kill each other, until the last family themselves get killed by Mr. Wants To Be Hunted because they didn't hunt him. Meanwhile, the original family is returning from a space adventure and meets up Space Beth, and the confusion begins all over again when Rick reveals the decoy families.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: In the season 3 premiere, Summer starts acting crazy, thinking there must be some way to reconnect with Rick. She goes into the garage, which has now replaced all of Rick's gadgets and sees a group of dead flies on the countertop. She thinks that maybe if she rearranged the flies, they'd activate a hologram or a door of some sort. When Rick later comes back to the garage, he sets everything back to normal by setting the flies a certain way. Summer's placement wasn't even that far off.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Evil Rick tortures hundreds of alternate versions of Morty to hide from the Council. The fact that it's actually Evil Morty at the wheel here makes this an especially wicked Expendable Clone scenario.
  • Comedic Sociopath: Rick definitely fits this, although it is implied he is more empathetic than he lets on and his sociopathic tendencies are some sort of defense mechanism.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Several. There's the main-line Rick and Morty, as well as several spin-offs: Lil' Poopy Superstar, Pocket Like You Stole It (based off on "Pocket Mortys"), Rick and Morty vs Dungeons and Dragons, and Rick and Morty Presents:. Now has its own page here for these adaptations.
  • Comic-Book Time: It doesn't really matter how many hundreds of adventures Rick and Morty are implied to have been on, or what events transpire over what period of time during the course of any given season, or even what dimension you visit. Morty is fourteen years old, Summer is in her late teens, and both are likely to remain roughly the same age no matter how many seasons pass. Summer's age in particular is given a Lampshade Hanging in "Never Ricking Morty" where Rick and Morty are shown a possible story of Summer finally turning 18 after what "feels like years" and moving out to attend college — a scenario that Rick explains could have become canon if it wasn't being presented as a possibility.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Snuffles has Jerry threatened with a pair of surgical scissors, Jerry thinks they're threatening to cut his hair.
    • Played with in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" Rick is pointing out things that don't make sense to convince Morty that they're in a simulation, specifically a living Pop-Tart with a toaster-themed house and car. Morty agrees, noting that a Pop-Tart would be too scared of toasters to live in one. Rick cites this trope as he clarifies his point — its car is also a toaster, and someone's car is not normally a smaller copy of their house — but really, both observations are valid, it's just that they're both overly sophisticated compared to "one of our neighbors is a living Pop Tart."
    • Jerry in "Something Ricked This Way Comes":
    Morty: "Dad, what's your endgame here?"
    Jerry: "Ain't no game, sucka!"
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Aside from the immediate threat of death, almost nothing in the multiverse fazes Rick, not even having to bury his own corpse.
  • Conjoined Twins: A pair of conjoined twins named Michael and Pichael (the former being a news reporter and the latter being the host of his own cooking show) appear in "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate".
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The council of Ricks lives on this trope. Despite, in theory, being all the same insanely clever scientific genius, the original Rick and Evil Rick can easily outsmart them. Taken even further in "The Rickshank Redemption", where they are reduced to mooks, with the original Rick being able to sabotage them repeatedly without effort, despite them expecting him, and the federation security being able to inflict heavy casualties on them, if not about to overpower them. The same security the original Rick could smack around effortlessly by himself.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Rixty Minutes" has a few, one of which is surprisingly Played for Drama:
      • The goggles that let people see through their alternative timeline doppelganger's eyes is the same one Rick uses to find a replacement universe after everyone gets Cronenberged in "Rick Potion #9".
      • One of the TV shows they watch calls back to the previous episode and the planet Gazorpazorp.
      • Morty reveals his own grave in the backyard to Summer, explaining how he and Rick destroyed their own world in "Rick Potion #9" and crossed over to this reality mere moments after the local Rick and Morty died from one of Rick's inventions.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," Rick can be seen watching Ball Fondlers, one of the shows he and Morty watched in "Rixty Minutes," near the end of the episode.
    • Cronenberg Rick and Cronenberg Morty are members of the Citadel of Ricks.
    • In "Ricksy Business" there are two of the Councilman Ricks at the party.
    • In "Mortynight Run" there's a Mr. Meeseeks in the background of Blips and Chitz helping someone play an arcade game. When the game starts lighting up from some sort of jackpot, the Meeseeks winks out, his job complete.
    • Also in "Mortynight Run", a Hungry for Apples ad can be seen hanging over a vending machine.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick, Summer, and Morty visit a universe with a Ball Fondlers movie, which was first shown in "Rixty Minutes". There are also movie posters for French Toast (a piece of toast was part of Saturday Night Live's cast) and Three Brothers (a sequel to the nonsensical Two Brothers).
    • Also in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", Rick opens a hatch on the leg of his mecha, releasing a snake, similar to the "snake holster" in "Get Schwifty!"
    • "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" has Morty eating Strawberry Smiggles for breakfast. Jerry is also seen playing his iPad game again, there's a picture of Snuffles on the wall of the Smiths' dining room, and Morty has a picture of Jessica in his locker.
    • After the events of "Ricksy Business", in which the Smiths' house gets transported to another dimension, from that point forward there is always a crack shown in the ground around the house from when it resettled after being transported back.
    • The Season 3 premiere shows Summer digging up Rick's grave from "Rick Potion #9" (which she learned about in "Rixty Minutes"), along with a trip to the Cronenberg-ed dimension created in that same episode. Hammer Morty is also seen later in the episode, used by a Rick to kill Galactic Federation guards before being shot.
    • The stinger in "Morty's Mind Blowers" has Jerry finding a box for Jerry's Mind Blowers, which contains tapes labelled "Apples Campaign" and "Sleepy Gary".
    • In the Season 4 premiere, when Rick dies, he is resurrected by Operation Phoenix in another reality, and expresses confusion at first, since he'd (literally) axed that program after the events of "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" back in Season 2.
  • Continuity Snarl: Possibly. "Morty's Mind Blowers" from Season 3 seems to indicate that after "our" Rick and Morty were shown hopping dimensions to live in a different universe in "Rick Potion #9" (from Season 1), they've since done so again offscreen at an unspecified point when Morty accidentally incurred the wrath of the squirrels of that universe. The problem is, based on references in other episodes, there's no point in time that this could have occurred to fit with various events. Certain plot pointsnote  indicate that, after "Rick Potion #9", Rick and Morty are still in that same universe in "Rixty Minutes" (also Season 1) and "The Rickshank Redemption" (the Season 3 premiere), both of which reference what happened in the former. Furthermore, events of the Season 4 premiere are a direct result of Rick's actions in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", a Season 2 episode, proving that Rick and Morty haven't switched dimensions between then either. The best explanation is probably just that Rick's claim in "Morty's Mind Blowers" of needing to change realities again was being Played for Laughs, wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and is just subject to Rick's MST3K Mantra of "Don't think about it!", especially since it wasn't shown happening on screen and has never been mentioned again since.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: The plot of "Look Who's Purging Now" is kicked off by a large alien bug hitting the windshield of Rick's spacecraft, and Rick heading for a nearby planet to get more windshield wiper fluid.
  • Cool Old Guy: Definitely Rick. Not only is he capable of making almost any sci-fi gizmo you can think of, he's a total badass both physically and mentally and spends almost all of his waking hours spending his idea of quality time with his grandkids, which ranges from death-defying inter-dimensional adventures to freezing time to play pranks on the neighbors to dancing to booty jams in the front yard. He's even shown to be "cool" in the more traditional sense in "Ricksy Business", co-hosting a killer party and getting, in his own words, "Riggedy-riggedy-wrecked."
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The horror that we are insignificant specks in a vast universe, at the mercy of beings whose power and motives are beyond our comprehension. Rick And Morty has Cosmic Horror tropes in spades, and surprisingly, they are usually Played for Laughs. Examples include:
    • Morty convinces Rick to help him get a date with his dream girl, but something goes wrong, then Rick's attempt to fix it makes it worse, then Rick's attempt to fix that makes it worse, culminating in every human on Earth except Morty's family turning into gibbering mounds of flesh and limbs. Rick gives up on trying to fix the world and just takes Morty to another dimension where Earth isn't completely ruined. This also involves Rick and Morty burying the mangled corpses of that dimension's Rick and Morty to take their place.
    • Rick creating an entire universe in a box, so the intelligent denizens living in that universe can perform slave labor to act as a battery for his spaceship.
    • Played for Drama: In "Rixty Minutes," Morty talks Summer out of running away when she finds out her birth ruined her parents' dreams. By revealing the events of "Rick Potion #9," Morty turns what would otherwise be a horrifying statement about mankind's insignificance into a very touching moment.
      Summer: So, you're not my real brother?
      Morty: I'm better than your brother. I'm a version of your brother you can trust when he says "Don't run." Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody's gonna die. Come watch TV?
  • Crapsaccharine World: Despite the colorful art style and silly characters, this show is often very dark and existential.
  • Creator In-Joke: When Rick talks about his interest in watching a show about a world of intelligent dogs, it's a reference to Roiland's previous project Dog World that never aired. Earlier in the episode, Rick name-drops a character from the proposed series, Ruffles.
  • Creepy Child:
    • The little girl that haunts the centaur's dreams in "Lawnmower Dog" certainly qualifies. Doubles as a Shout-Out to "The Shining", even though there is only one of them.
    • The two children in the Strawberry Smiggles commercial from "Rixty Minutes" who tie down the leprechaun and cut his guts open just to get to the cereal that he'd already eaten. And then they eat it, covered in blood and guts and all.
    • Done in "The Ricklantis Mixup" by a Morty to Cop Rick. The Morty is by himself, crying, in a filthy room and asks if Cop Rick is "my new Rick." Cop Rick picks him up in a carry and it looks like there will be a tender moment, then Mood Whiplash strikes as the Morty stabs Cop Rick several times, forcing Cop Rick to shoot and kill him. Also of note is the crib present in the room, which Cop Morty explains being there as "a way to make you [Rick] feel bad."
  • Crossover Punchline:
    • This video teases a minor crossover with Gravity Falls. However, because Alex Hirsch and Justin Roiland are really good friends, it's probably just a joke. Although Gravity Falls' Big Bad, Bill Cipher, does show up on a screen at the marriage counselling clinic in "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez," strengthening the theory.
    • Rick and Morty also appeared in an extended Couch Gag in The Simpsons.
    • A background character occasionally appears in the show with rainbow suspenders and a football on his shirt with stitching that looks like Roman numerals. The corresponding letters of the alphabet were supposed to be part of a crossover hidden message along with Gravity Falls and Murder Police. Only Rick and Morty followed through with the plan, and given the fact that Murder Police was pulled from Fox's schedule before it ever aired, the crossover may never happen.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Jerry is pretty on-the-ball when he's not being constantly emasculated.
    • Morty may be a neurotic, dim-witted wimp, but when push comes to shove, he can put up a surprisingly good fight. Mr. Jellybean and Evil Rick learned this the hard way.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The various Mortys in "Close Encounters" offer a Chick Tracts-like booklet that describes "The Path of the One True Morty", which was available in physical form with DVDs of the first season and describes a religion which preaches them to never follow Rick and live a simple, independent life, after which they go to an afterlife filled with space motorcycles and all the Jessicas they can ever want.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: From "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate", the show "Man Versus Car", which pits a man against a car. Michael Jenkins, despite his prodigious size and strength, can only resist pushing against the car for a few moments before he keels over backwards and dies a horrible gory death under the tires. What else were you really expecting?
  • Curse Cut Short: The head alien in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" says, "This is going to be such a mind f——!" cut to commercial.
  • Cursed Item: In the episode "Something Ricked This Way Comes", the Devil opens up a store selling antique items that all have curses associated with them, such as making someone impotent. Rick quickly undermines this operation by inventing a device that can identify and remove all the curses, allowing people to use the items with no ill effects.
  • Cutaway Gag: A major plot point of "Total Rickall". The mind parasites manifest themselves in the form of flashbacks, which are presented as these.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Justified / deconstructed. Rick is often involved in various bizarre get-rich-quick schemes even though he could easily make himself wealthy simply by selling his inventions to the public or use them for more productive purposes...but that would require Rick to give a crap about other people or anything related to mundane adult life. This is best illustrated in "Something Ricked This Way Comes": Rick combats the Devil's shop of Be Careful What You Wish For cursed items by starting a shop of his own that de-curses the items, leaving just the benefits, but as soon as the reality of running a business rears its head and he finds himself at the butt end of a lot of paperwork, he loses interest and sets fire to the place.

    Not to mention, selling his inventions to people would only get Rick money for Earth C-137. Not exactly a big motive when he travels to all sorts of planets and dimensions and just wants to do things like spending the afternoon at Blips and Chitz.
  • Daddy's Girl: Beth is willing to abandon her marriage and allow her kids to go on "adventures" that repeatedly expose them to the threat of death and rape (as well as making them complicit in countless murders and other crimes), all so that her daddy won't leave again. Cemented in "Pickle Rick" when she flat-out ignores her children's emotional health in favor of bonding with Rick.
    • Later dialled back in "The ABCs of Beth" when details from Beth's childhood are revisited and she's forced to accept that Rick was a pretty awful father.
    • To be fair, Beth was forced to admit that she was also a pretty awful child as well. One of the "toys" Rick made for her was a sentient knife. Who was worse is debatable, the child that requested items like "silent shoes" and "sleepy darts" so her father would pay attention to her, or the father that made these things for her?
      Knife: "Hi, Beth! You've gotten taller. Shall we resume stabbing?"
  • Dance Party Ending: A very unique one at the end of "Ricksy Business".
  • Darker and Edgier: Acknowledged in-universe that Season 3 doubled down on the series' more upsetting elements, violence and black comedy. Toned back down in Season 4, however.
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: Rick takes advantage of this at the end of "Rick Potion #9"; when he causes a Cronenberg Apocalypse, he and Morty escape to a very particular universe where their counterparts cure the Cronenberg plague and are killed almost immediately afterwards by an unrelated incident.
  • Deadly Game: The Cromulons have a show called Planet Music, wherein they travel to planets looking for talent, teleport qualifying planets to their region of space, then force them to compete against each other. Losers and those who refuse to participate are disintegrated by plasma ray.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • There are an infinite number of dimensions and an infinite number of Ricks and Mortys populating them, so no version of Rick or Morty is truly irreplaceable. This is even true of the main Rick ("Rick C-137"), and he has all sorts of technology to keep his consciousness alive in the event of his death. Case in point; in "The Rickshank Rickdemption", his original body was killed by Seal Team Rick, all while he jumped consciousness from one Rick to another, then in "Rest and Ricklaxation," he was mauled to death by a monster, but "birthed" a new body with all of his memories shortly before that. The show then just follows this new Rick and goes on as normal without skipping a beat.
    • At the end of "Interdimensional Cable 2 : Tempting Fate", Jerry gets shot 57 times by alien bodyguards, with very graphic footage of the bullets going straight through his body and skull. Cue his family screaming in horror as the screen fades to black with Jerry lying face down in a pool of his own blood. What happens next? He opens his eyes to a TV commercial about butthole ice-cream as his family rejoices around his hospital bed. Turns out, getting shot down in a super-advanced alien hospital is no worse than getting a splinter removed from your finger.
    • "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Repeat" reveals that when a Rick dies in one reality, they'll reincarnate as a clone in another Rick's reality where the Project Phoenix wasn't destroyed yet.
  • Death Glare: Rick pulls one after he realizes that Morty was almost raped in the bathroom. He later kills Morty's attempted rapist.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Of Western Animated Fantastic Comedy.
  • Delivery Stork: In "Get Schwifty", Principal Vagina's head religion believes that undesirables should be sent up to the Cromulons by balloons, whereupon they'll be sneezed back as better babies.
  • De-Power Zone: In "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty", Rick follows the sorcerer who sold him Balthromaw back to his home dimension, intent on making him cancel the soul-binding contract. When the sorcerer refuses and threatens retaliation, Rick is confident that the sorcerer's magic will be no match for the "real power" of his technology. Rick then gets a rude awakening when he finds that, due to the nature of the dimension, none of his tech works there. Rick is forced to cobble together a Magitek device to fight back.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Played for Drama in "Meeseeks and Destroy" with King Jellybean, who outright attempts to rape Morty. It is also implied that he has done so to other young boys.
  • Destructive Romance: Beth and Jerry's rocky relationship starts as darkly humorous squabbling before becoming full-on toxic by the middle of season 2, where it's shown just how badly their unhealthy dependence on one another despite being totally mismatched is shown to be more damaging than it first seemed.
  • Devil, but No God: Zig-zagged:
    • Seemingly played straight when Rick's established as a Hollywood Atheist in the pilot, when he tells Summer "There is no God, gotta rip that Band-Aid off now, you'll thank me later." When the Devil shows up in "Something Ricked", there's no mention of God, and Rick's only reaction is to figure out how to defeat his evil powers with science.
    • On the other hand, different episodes imply that Rick believes in or at least considers/fears the existence of a God since he says "Jesus Christ, our savior, was born today" about Christmas in "Anatomy Park", and starts praying to God when he thinks he's going to die in "A Rickle in Time" (though he then immediately takes it back and says "Fuck you, God! Not today, bitch!" once he's saved).
    • The beginning of Season 5's "Mortyplicity" settles the matter, as it has Rick and Morty or at least their decoys preparing to kill God, who has apparently been asleep for thousands of years.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At the end of "Something Ricked" Rick and Summer get their revenge on Mr. Needful by bulking up and beating the shit out of him in front of thousands of people at the product launch.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Rick nonchalantly "buys" an ironically-cursed item from Louis Cypher (you don't pay for items in his store... not with money), analyses it, takes out the curse while keeping the supernatural benefits, and offers to do the same for other "customers" of Satan's store in exchange for cash. This drives Satan to attempt to commit suicide, only being saved by the timely intervention of Summer and a Monkey's Paw.
  • Dirty Old Man: Rick. It's first seen in the pilot where Rick spends a large amount of time having sex with beautiful women in another dimension, to the point where his portal gun has no charge left. In "Lawnmower dogs" Rick is seen to have a fetish for BDSM. In "Auto Erotic Assimilation" he makes a lot of rather bizarre sexual requests to Unity, including a giraffe and stands of men who remotely resemble his father.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Fart's "Goodbye Moonmen" song is accompanied by bizarre visuals whenever he sings it to Morty.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate", alien doctors need Jerry's penis in order to save an old ruler. When Beth is given a catalog of prosthetic penises to choose from, she reads it like a Playgirl magazine.
    Jerry: Hi, honey, so, here's the thing... these guys... they want to completely remove my penis and use it as an alien's heart. And we just need you to sign off on it.
    Beth: What?!
    Jerry: (to the Alien Doctors) Uh-oh. Maybe we got a problem here after all, guys. Yikes.
    Alien Doctor: (to Beth) His penis will be replaced with a sophisticated prosthetic. Now, there's a wide range of options to choose from. They're all in this catalog. (gives Beth the catalog)
    Beth: I don't care about prosthetics. This is insane. What do you people think you're doing?
    Alien Doctor: I understand your feelings, Mrs. Smith.
    Beth: Oh, I don't think you do. I-I bring my husband in for emergency treatment, he's gone an hour, and now you want his penis, (opens catalog) and you hand me some... catalog. (sees catalog's contents) It's-it's-it's-it's-I mean...
  • Distress Call: In "Auto Erotic Assimilation", Rick insists that you always answer these. Nine out of ten times, it leads to a ship full of dead aliens waiting to be looted. (And a bunch of free shit, Morty!)
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What does Morty do in response to Ethan breaking up with Summer? Forcibly turn Ethan into a horrible living abomination.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The monsters in The Stinger for "Ricksy Business" seem to be getting a lot of pleasure from shoving people into each others' holes. The human teen seems to enjoy it, too. Abradolf, not so much.
    • Also, from the same episode Squanchy was always looking for a place to squanch. We never find out explicitly what that is, but it sure looks a lot like auto-erotic asphyxiation.
    • The mining of Pluto in "Something Ricked This Way Comes" is a pretty clear allegory for oil drilling and global warming.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In "Rick Potion #9", several donuts can be seen on the ground next to the dead police officer when Jerry grabs his rifle.
  • Doting Parent: The one person Rick is rarely seen disrespecting or swearing at is his daughter Beth (with the one major exception being when they finally have it out and talk about their issues with each other in "The ABCs of Beth"). He even calls her "sweetie" sometimes. He was absent for a large portion of her life but it's hinted that he is actually deeply ashamed of this.
  • Doting Grandparent: Not seemingly as Rick often curses at Summer and Morty and treats them like crap, but he does love them deep down and supports them and protects them from other threats(besides himself). He enjoys spending time with them and treats them more like his friends than his grandchildren
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Played with Rick's relationship with Unity in "Auto Erotic Assimilation". Unity is a hive mind that possesses the bodies of everyone on the planet it's conquered; therefore, when Rick has sex with it, he's technically having sex with a bunch of alien strangers who were unable to give their consent for their bodies to be used this way. On the other hand, there's no indication given that the original people in these bodies are conscious in any way or aware of what's happening, and they basically are Unity when the latter is possessing them since it seemingly "overwrites" them. None of the characters—not even Summer, who initially disapproves of Unity and its actions—seem to even remotely consider the possibility that this might be a form of rape.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Rick Potion #9" is up there with "Jurassic Bark" and "You're Getting Old" as one of the biggest downer endings in the history of adult animated sitcoms. Rick and Morty accidentally destroy civilization with a plague and have to move to an alternate timeline where they fixed everything, but died shortly afterwards. They had to leave behind their family from the original timeline, but in the post-credits scene, it's shown that, in the original dimension, Jerry and Beth got over their marital problems and are happy without Rick and Morty around. It's a fairly disturbing ending since it still involves real characters dying (only to be replaced just like that). But as Rick says, just don't think about it. The irony to this is if Morty had followed through with helping Rick in the first place, it would've killed them in their own universe, so he inadvertently saved their lives. Rather twisted indeed. The irony here is twofold: As Rick explains to Morty if he hadn't screwed up as bad as he did (i.e. if he had managed to cure the Cronenbergs instead of abandoning the world to its fate and travelling to a universe where his counterpart succeeded instead), then they (the original Rick and Morty) would be the ones who died and were replaced instead.
    • Rick gets his first downer ending in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", in which he runs into an old lover of his, Unity the hive mind. They get back together until Summer convinces Unity that Rick is a bad influence on it, and it leaves him. At the end of the episode, we see him drunkenly prepare to commit suicide via a disintegration ray aimed at his head. However, he passes out just before it fires, and it misses, leaving him unconscious on his desk while uncharacteristically emotional music plays in the background.
    • "The Wedding Squanchers" serves as this for the entirety of Season 2. It turns out Tammy was an undercover agent for the Galactic Federation and was planning on using her wedding to Birdperson to trap as many of Rick's friends as she could. The Smiths managed to escape, but Birdperson was killed and Squanchy's fate is unknown. Rick had a Heel Realization and decided to turn himself in so that his family could resume their lives on a now alien-occupied Earth, but only Jerry (who is Rick's most vocal critic and benefits greatly from the Federation taking over Earth) ends up happy because of this. Oh, and Mr. Poopybutthole molested a pizza guy in The Stinger. Season 3's got a hell of a starting point.
    • Pretty much the entirety of "The Ricklantis Mix-up". Factory Worker Rick snaps and attempts to escape the Citadel, inadvertently killing Simple Rick in the process. He's then captured and forced to replace Simple Rick in a Lotus-Eater Machine. Cop Rick's innocence and idealism is shattered when he's forced to kill the corrupt Cop Morty. Campaign Manager Morty is killed after unsuccessfully trying to stop Evil Morty from winning the presidency. Then Evil Morty kills the cabal of Ricks secretly running Citadel, seizing full control of the station. The only non-evil characters that get a decent ending are the Stand By Me Mortys, except for Slick Morty, who essentially committed suicide by jumping into the "Wishing Portal".
    • "The Old Man and the Seat" gets a surprising downer ending: Rick visits his new friend Tony, the guy who was using Rick's special private toilet without his permission (whom Rick refuses to admit is his friend), at work...only to find out that Tony died in an accident after quitting his job to live a happier life. The episode ends with Rick sitting on his toilet, dejectedly watching the message he'd left for Tony to see the next time he came there to relieve himself (which consists of many hologram versions of Rick mocking Tony good-naturedly about how lonely he is and how nobody wants to be around him).
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: In "Lawnmower Dog", when Rick and Morty go from the completed A Plot to the developing B Plot.
    Rick: Out of the frying pan, dot dot dot, eh Morty?
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Mr. Lucius Needful, a.k.a. The Devil, in "Something Ricked This Way Comes", until Summer saves him.
    • Rick sticks his head into a disintegration ray at the end of "Auto Erotic Assimilation". It only fails when he passes out at the last second. It's especially noteworthy in that, in a show that runs off some of the blackest Black Comedy out there, this is played completely humorlessly.
    • In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", the scientist who created the teenyverse in the hope of harnessing its energy commits suicide when he realizes his own planet was created by another scientist for the same purpose.
    • Through the use of a death crystal, Morty can convince a judge to let him go free by reminding her of her lost loved one. She immediately commits suicide to join him, as noted on the news ticker on TV immediately after.
    • Whatever the secret of the talking cat from "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty" was, it was apparently so disturbing that almost caused Rick to kill himself.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It becomes more and more obvious as the first season goes on that Rick doesn't just drink because he wants to. In "Ricksy Business", Bird Person flat out states that he does it to cope with a dire amount of emotional pain. Rick no doubt feels remorse over his failures as a father and a grandfather as well as the traumas he's seen.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" Jerry has sex with a stalled simulation of Beth and seems to find it more enjoyable because she wasn't moving. Or, knowing Beth, because she's not making comments about how disappointing he is.
  • Dumb Is Good: Doofus Rick - ten times dumber than our Rick, but at least a hundred times nicer. Perhaps having all the other Ricks making fun of him constantly has made him compassionate.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Rick is an alcoholic sociopath, Morty is a neurotic teenager who gets broken several times, Jerry is hopelessly insecure, Beth is thinking about leaving him and is slowly regretting marrying him, and Summer is starting to feel unwanted. Even worse than the Simpson family.

  • Early-Bird Cameo: "Get Schwifty" appears on Summer's MP3 player in the Point & Click web game before Season 2 premiered.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The short that the show was based on, "Doc and Mharti," had the title characters having totally different names, was animated much more sloppily, and was a parody of Back to the Future. The short also crossed the line much farther and was much more vulgar than its current incarnation. It also featured a fairly explicit display of "Mharti" giving "Doc" oral sex.
    • The first real episode has Rick spend the first several minutes in an incoherent stupor, constantly repeating Morty's name and stumbling around. While Rick continues to be a substance abuser, he's much more of a Functional Addict for the rest of the show.
    • The first episode has no post-credits stinger.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In "Get Schwifty", the Cromulons destroy planets with a plasma ray when they fail their music contest or refuse to participate.
  • Easily Forgiven: In "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Repeat", when Morty follows a Death Crystal to find the path in life that results in him dying old by Jessica's side, he ends up single-handedly fighting the military until voluntarily being arrested and using the crystal to talk his way into freedom. News shows are ready to condemn him for what he did, but after hearing him stumble his way to say something for himself, immediately announce that they forgive him and "the reset button has been pressed."
  • E = MC Hammer:
    • Parodied; an equation flies by in the opening credits to establish the sci-fi nature of the show, but it's "3 + 3 = 6".
    • In The Stinger of "A Rickle in Time", the testicle-headed 4th dimension aliens find Albert Einstein and beat him up, telling him not to mess with time. He mutters that he will mess with time, and writes the famous equation on a blackboard.
  • Einstein Hair: Rick's. In fact, his hairstyle causes the Time Police to mistake the real Einstein for Rick from just seeing the back of his head. They give Einstein a beat-down and warn him not to mess with time, apparently inspiring him to create his famous E=MC^2 formula out of spite.
  • Ejection Seat: Rick's car has a "Passenger Purge" button, which dumps everyone in the backseat out of the bottom of the car. Rick being Rick, it's entirely on him to do this in such a way that the passengers survive the landing.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In the opening credits, the team is seen fleeing from a Cthulhu-esque creature with a smaller, baby version carried by Summer. It is unknown if this will end up as an episode, and whether or not they stole it from him, or the scene is implying darker subtexts.
  • Eldritch Location: Parodied with Cob Planet in "The Wedding Squanchers". Everything is on a cob, down to a molecular level. Rick is terrified of the planet, but it's never explained why.
  • Emotion Eater:
    • The Cromulons in "Get Schwifty" feed on the talent and showmanship of less-evolved lifeforms. Subverted when we learn that they don't actually feed on this shit, it's just part of their reality television.
    • A giant slug-creature at the alien spa in "Rest and Ricklaxation" has a symbiotic relationship with the spa visitors due to this; it genuinely loves swallowing stressed-out creatures and feeding on their negative feelings for 20 minutes, which in turn relieves these people of said stress.
  • Enemy Without:
    • The marriage counsellors at Nuptia 4 use a device that manifests the user's unconscious perception of their partner into a living, breathing monster. Jerry's perception of Beth manifests as a giant, Xenomorph-like beast while Beth's perception of Jerry manifests as a pathetic slug-like creature. The two end up working together to escape and cause havoc due to the Smith's codependent relationship.
    • Another case comes up when Rick and Morty visit an alien spa in "Rest and Ricklaxation" and undergo mental detoxification, which literally removes the worst parts of their personalities (or, at least, what they consider to be the worst parts), manifesting them as physical copies of the pair with all their negative traits cranked up to 11. Toxic Rick soon tries to murder his detoxified counterpart.
  • Epic Movie: In-Universe. Two Brothers from "Rixty Minutes" definitely qualifies.
"A Mexican armada shows up. With weapons made from Two—tomatoes. And you better bet your bottom dollar that these two brothers know how to handle business. In: Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers, Who Are Just Regular Brothers, Running In a van from an Asteroid and All Sorts of Things THE MOVIE!"
  • Establishing Series Moment: The cold opening of the pilot has a stinking drunk Rick barging into Morty's room in the middle of the night, dragging him off to a flying machine he built out of "stuff in the garage" and revealing he built a bomb and plans to make Morty and his crush the new Adam and Eve after he nukes the world. When Morty stops him, he tries to pass it off as a Secret Test of Character, then collapses drunk in the dirt.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Most of the human characters (and even some exceptions therein) place their sexual priorities a little too high. To give some perspective, Rick is one of the lightest examples on the show, and he spent almost the entirety of "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" having an orgy involving, among other things, a giraffe, a hang-glider, and a football field covered with redheads and the stadium seats filled with guys that look like Rick's dad. This trope is discussed to hilarious length in "Interdimensional Cable 2" when Jerry is approached by alien surgeons who want him to donate his penis to save the life of an important alien political figure, which of course leads to one of the greatest lines in cartoon history:
    Jerry: "I'm a good person, and I demand that you put my penis in that man's chest."
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Parodied at the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rick's morality is pretty loose, but occasionally he finds his limits:
    • Despite out scamming the Zigerians, Rick was genuinely affected by their mind tricks and especially their imitating Morty. The Stinger shows him still sort of reeling from the deception.
    • In "Rick Potion No. 9", Rick calls Morty a little creep for wanting to use a love potion on his crush. He even compares it to roofies. Morty, however, answers back by noting Rick still agreed to make it for him, and the only protest he raised back then was that he considered it a waste of his time and talents.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now," Rick gets excited to see some "purge" carnage, but something off-screen disgusts him so much that he regrets watching.
    • In "Rickmancing the Stone", Rick repeatedly tries to avoid telling Morty why they're bothering to stick around in the dimension they're visiting...until Morty points out that Rick is about to eat cooked human flesh in his efforts to do so and asks if it's really worth that. Rick decides that it's not, and just tells Morty what's going on.
  • Evil Doppelgänger:
    • Naturally, Evil Rick and Evil Morty. While Evil Rick actually turns out to be a subversion since he was just being mind-controlled by Evil Mortynote , this of course means that the latter plays it even more completely straight than it originally appeared.
    • Played with Toxic Rick & Morty, the result of the original Rick and Morty being purged of the "toxic" parts of their psyche, leading to Toxic Rick being a self-aggrandizing, abusive Jerkass, and Toxic Morty being a self-loathing ball of neuroses and cowardice, while "Healthy" Rick & Morty are far friendlier and more well-adjusted. Because there's no objective measure of what thoughts are toxic or not, however, the purging instead goes by what the person thinks the toxic parts of themselves are, leading to Toxic Rick & Morty retaining some more positive traits that Healthy Rick & Morty are now missing, such as Toxic Rick retaining his "irrational" attachment to Toxic Morty, and Toxic Morty retaining his moral compass.
  • Evil Laugh: Mr. Needful usually has one after saying "you don't pay for anything in this store... not with money". Rick sarcastically joins in.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Rick is deliberately written as an awful person, but to keep him from being an outright Villain Protagonist, the writers give him some redeeming qualities and have said that they want the show to see him become a better person. For his many faults, Rick does love his family and tries to connect with them, but he's so fucked up it doesn't really work. What generally drives him to try and do good is ultimately either his family being upset with him for being such a dick, or, worse, when he thinks he's a bad influence (as in "Look Who's Purging Now", when he stuns Morty to stop him killing people.).
  • The Evils of Free Will: Parodied; before Unity took over an entire unnamed alien civilization and made everyone live in hive-mind bliss, the planet was on the verge of tearing itself apart via an extremely volatile race war based on nipple shapes. Eventually, Morty and Summer conclude that the only problem with the situation is Rick being a terrible influence.
  • Exact Words:
    • Mr. Needful's microscope lets you see things beyond comprehension. It makes you too dumb to understand anything. Unfortunately for him, Rick is too smart to fall for it.
    • When Morty asks Rick how many people Rick invited to the party in "Ricksy Business", Rick claims it's only six. A flying saucer then lands and out pours a few dozen blob-like aliens, which aren't technically people.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick orders his car AI to keep Summer safe. What follows is an escalating series of exact adherence to her commands as she balks at the lengths it will go to protect her. First, it unceremoniously kills people that might be a threat to Summer. When Summer tells it not to kill anyone, it instead uses a precise laser beam to paralyze them from the waist down. When Summer orders it not to physically harm anyone, it resorts to psychologically scarring them. It then secures world peace... resulting in the most disgusting ice cream imaginable.
    • In "Mortynight Run", the telepathic entity called Fart remarks that he will cleanse carbon-based lifeforms once he returns through his wormhole. He then remarks on a conversation he had with Morty earlier, that Morty agrees life must be protected, even through sacrifice and, sensing Morty's thoughts, notes that he hasn't changed his opinion on that. As it turns out, Fart is correct... As Morty sacrifices Fart to save life.
  • Executive Veto: In-Universe example. The Stinger of "Anatomy Park" had Rick's Pirates of the Pancreas ride axed by the Chief "Imagineerian".
  • Existential Horror: The multiverse, which holds practically infinite numbers of other Ricks and Mortys, and for that matter other Beths, Summers, and Jerrys, is played as such. Imagine that you are just one of a near-infinite number of yourselves, some of which have died anti-climatically, unmourned, and unremembered, while others still are much more successful and well-off than you will ever be. Then there is other stuff, like the alien parasites that can fill your head with Fake Memories and make you believe you've known them your whole life, to the mere concept of Mr. Meeseeks. Safe to say, the show has plenty to choose from when it comes to existential nightmares.
  • Expendable Clone:
    • Evil Rick (who turns out to be controlled by Evil Morty) tortures hundreds of alternate Mortys to hide in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind".
    • In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick murders a handful of younger clones of himself. With an axe.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Parodied. Rick irreversibly ruins Earth in one universe and travels to a different one. Rick doesn't care at all. Morty on the other hand is horrified. And in the stinger, Cronenberg Morty and Rick (referring to each other as such) come out of a portal in the abandoned world, having mutated everyone in their homeworld into "normal" humans, and abandoned it in the same manner.
  • Expy:
    • Rick and Morty are expies of Doc and Marty from Back to the Future.
    • Scary Terry is basically Freddy Krueger. Rick even says that he's a knock-off of some '80s horror film. It is also pointed out that Terry has miniature swords, not knives, on his fingers.
    • The Pop-Tart living in the toaster oven looks like the one featured in current Pop-Tart commercials.
    • King Jellybean looks almost identical to the character Crumply Crumplestein in Roiland's previous short "Unbelievable Tales."
  • Exotic Eye Designs: All the characters have somewhat jagged-looking pupils.
  • Exotic Equipment: In "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" Jerry can be seen watching alien pornography, which features unusual sex organs.
  • Extradimensional Emergency Exit:
    • Thanks to Rick's portal gun, it's very easy for him to casually leap into another dimension if faced with danger - or inconvenience of any kind, really. As such, things only get complicated for him if his portal gun ends up being lost, confiscated or damaged.
    • Played for laughs in one of the Adult Swim commercials: Rick is forced to use the portal gun to quickly find a bathroom for Summer, first trying the dog dimension where the toilets are all fire hydrants, then in the chair dimension where the toilets are all inanimate human beings. Eventually, they finally find a normal toilet... but the dimension appears to be a nightmare realm populated by Cenobites.
    Summer: ...I'll hold it until we get back to Earth.
    Morty: This is why I let Rick put a catheter in me.
  • Extreme Doormat: Downplayed by Morty - he may put up with a lot of crap from Rick with little to no objection, but he does have his limits, as he shows in the very first episode before any Character Development.
  • Eye Awaken: Happens with Abradolf Lincler in The Stinger for "Ricksy Business". He even shouts "REVENGE!" right before getting slurped up by some testicle monsters.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Evil Morty. And boy, is the "power" element literal. He used it as an interface to control Evil "Rick". When he goes into hiding, he simply takes it off to reveal an intact eye with some wires sticking out.
  • Eye Scream: Ants-in-my-eyes-Johnson is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Fake Memories: The parasites in "Total Rickall" create happy memories in the minds of their victims, taking the form of a non-existent relative or some such, then assume the appearance of the subject of the memories. They breed by repeating this process ad nauseum. It quickly takes a turn for the ridiculous as the parasites assume ever-more implausible forms, such as fictional monsters like Frankenstein's monster, talking animals, and so forth, all of which the family accepts as commonplace because the memories tell them they are.
  • False Cause: In "Get Schwifty", Principal Vagina forms a religion around the Cromulons, ignorant of the true reason behind their appearance. Beth even discusses it. Principal Vagina quickly lets the power go to his head.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: It bears noting that since this is an adult show, it doesn't have any compunctions about showing realistic firearms. Though this is subverted with Rick's various energy weapons - while a lot of them have a sort of Raygun Gothic aesthetic, Rick's favorite pistol loads like a conventional 21st-century automatic, and when shown, their effects are even gorier than one could expect from contemporary weapons.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Rick wearing BDSM gear in the Dream Land in "Lawnmower Dogs".
    • A lingerie-clad Summer jiggling her breasts and hitting on Rick and Morty in the same scene.
    • In general, anytime we get a Full-Frontal Assault from Rick (which is always accompanied by his dick being pixelated out), but especially in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", where he's not only totally naked, but also drenched in blood from killing his own clones with an axe, and proceeds to spend the rest of the episode like this.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Implied in "Meeseeks and Destroy", where the giants seem to be very prejudiced towards "tiny people". Given that the villagers' only idea to get money boiled down to breaking into an innocent giant family's castle and stealing from them, this might be justified.
    • "Rixty Minutes" features a political ad for a universe where there are men with trunks surgically attached to their faces, which allows them to have sex with both men and women. They're fighting for the right to get married.
    • The episode "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" has two instances: Rick spray-painting gang graffiti on a starship bulkhead to make the police think that a certain group of aliens looted it, and the blue-skinned people differentiate race by the shape of their areolas and feel so strongly about it that a pogrom can be declared with no more emotional weight than a food fight.
    • Tumblr-like Federation videos mention the Galactic Federation "cubifying" some humans to make them more efficient. The normal humans find this disgusting and horrifying and go so far as to discriminate against "cubified" humans until the Federation passes laws preventing this.
    • The Aliens of the Galactic Federation seem to have disdain towards humans. The humans respond in kind by drawing-and-quartering aliens in School Courtyards and calling it patriotism.
    • Rick is racist towards Gear-people. He calls Revolio Clockberg Jr. "Gearhead" instead of his real name, which by itself could just be Rick being Rick and not caring enough about Revolio to even bother remembering his name, but he also openly calls Gear-people greedy to Revolio's face.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink:
    • In the words of Rick himself, there are "infinite worlds, infinite possibilities". Everything that could have happened in one world but did not has ASSUREDLY already happened, will happen, or is CURRENTLY happening in another world. Naturally, that means that in addition to clones and different versions of every person in existence being very real, there are also various species of sentient and asentient extraterrestrial life (familiar aliens and non-familiar), vampires, wizards, dragons, time travel, and more. Just about everything you could imagine, and more, probably exists somewhere.
    • Curiously, in Season 5 regular Earth seems to be one too: among other things, we discover that the oceans are ruled by a Namor-esque character, there are genuine superheroes, and there's a race of humanoid horses living in an underground kingdom.
  • Fantastic Slur:
    • Glip-Glop for Travlorkians. It's like the N-word and C-word had a baby and was raised by all the bad words for Jews. Rick greets an entire saucer of them by calling them this.
    • When the dog Snuffles becomes super-intelligent and enslaves the family, he insists they call him Snowball because "Snuffles was my slave name". Technically it's more of an anthropomorphic slur.
    • Gearhead's real name is "Revolio Clockberg Jr." He states that Rick calling him "Gearhead" would be like calling a Chinese person "Asia Face".
      Revolio Clockberg Jr: Calling me "Gearhead" is like calling a Chinese person "Asia Face"!
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The episode "Anatomy Park" is a mixture of this and Jurassic Park.
  • Fate Worse than Death: This is the punishment that the Council of Ricks has in mind for a rogue Rick believed to be responsible for a murder spree.
    "Earth Rick C-137, the Council of Ricks sentences you to the Machine of Unspeakable Doom, which swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp. Also, every ten seconds, it stabs your balls."
  • The Federation: The series occasionally mentions a Galactic Federation, which Rick is stated to have issues with. According to Bird Person, he and Rick are at war with the Federation and are considered terrorists. Earth joins at the end of Season 2, but the Federation collapses at the start of Season 3, thanks to Rick.
  • Fictional Currency:
    • The schmeckle. Twenty-five of them are enough for a boob job or a ride down some very tall stairs, and a sackful can bail a village out of poverty. According to Dan Harmon during a Reddit AMA, he said a schmeckle is worth roughly 148 USD.
    • The flurbo. Three-thousand of them is enough for two humans to spend an entire afternoon at Blips and Chitz!
    • The blemflarp. The cure to a highly infectious disease that you could call "space AIDS" is worth billions of them.
    • The repbul. A plumbus is apparently worth six repbuls.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
    • even though he's personally met Satan and a few demons, Rick is still a Hollywood Atheist. Although "Rickle in Time" gives us the "No atheists in a foxhole" gag, where Prayer Is a Last Resort is immediately laughed off when things start going the right way.
    Rick #30: (as he flies through Uncertainty) I'm okay with this. Be good Morty. Be better than me. Bullsh*t. The other collar! I'm not okay with this! I am not okay with this! Oh, sweet Jesus please let me live. Oh, my God I—I've gotta fix this thing, please God in Heaven, please, God, oh Lord, hear my prayers.
    (fixes device) "Yes! Fuck you God! Not today, bitch."
    • And later:
    All Ricks Except Rick #30: "Please, God, if there's a Hell, please be merciful to me."
    Rick #30: "Yes I did it! There is no God! In your face. One dot, motherfuckers!"
    • "Childrick of Mort" in Season 4 confirms that gods actually exist. To be specific, Rick encounters one who both directly compares himself to Zeus. The god even directly gives Jerry divine powers. Rick calls him out for completely squandering the use of those powers for showing off what great power he has instead of actually curing cancer or doing something useful. He doesn't really care that gods exist, but it's the existence of God that has yet to be proven.
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • Rick does it frequently.
    • In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick taught his Pocket Dimension that this is the symbol for peace. He thought it was hilarious. Zeep also teaches his Pocket Dimension their equivalent of Flipping the Bird for the same reason. What makes it especially funny is the fact that is the symbol for peace in Rick's dimension. Rick also had some other language-based fun at their expense.
      Mayor: F*** you!
      Rick: (grabbing the mayor by the collar) What did you say to me?!
      Mayor: F-f*** you! Y-you told me it means "much obliged"!
      Rick: Oh. Right. Uh, b-blow me.
      Mayor: No, no, no. Blow me.
  • Flying Saucer:
    • Rick's homemade spaceship uses this aesthetic, albeit with wheels and headlights like a normal car.
    • The Travlorkians fly one to Rick's party.
  • Foil: Jerry is a foil to Rick. Rick is intelligent while Jerry is ditzy, Rick is brave while Jerry is cowardly (or vice versa), and Rick is reluctant to bond with others while Jerry is quick to bond with others. The only similarities they have are that they're in the same family and they're both insufferably egotistical and miserable.
  • Forced Perspective: In "The Wedding Squanchers," the family's first selection for a new home planet looks very Earth-like from a distance... until Rick tries to get closer and bonks the spaceship into the planet, revealing that it is much closer and much smaller than they realized.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Despite Rick supposedly being away from the family for 20 years, one of Rick's memories and a picture in Birdperson's house show that Rick was secretly visiting Morty (who is now 14) when the latter was an infant. Morty doesn't remember this. This has led to some Wild Mass Guessing that "our" Rick and "our" Morty aren't natives of the same dimension, and that the baby Morty in these two instances is a different one than the Morty we follow. It's also possible that this is "our" Morty and Rick did come to meet him personally, but never officially returned into the rest of his family's lives until much later.
  • Formula for the Unformulable: Rick has worked out mathematical proof that both Morty and Summer are "pieces of shit" and is all too pleased to wheel out the whiteboard to show off his work.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: With Morty as the Optimist, Rick as the Cynic, Summer as the Realist, Beth as the Apathetic, and Jerry as the Conflicted.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Rick is flipping through the channels in "Rixty Minutes", one channel has Game of Thrones on, except all the cast members are dwarves. Except for Tyrion who is the sole tall person.
      • In the same episode, Weekend At Dead Cat Lady's House II is rated G.
    • "Something Ricked This Way Comes" has an unintentional one where a man is holding a "God hates fags" sign and it changes to "God hates you" for one frame. They changed it to "God hates fags" after the censors approved it, but they accidentally left it in that one frame.
    • In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens", there's a brief shot of the back of a Plutonian from "Something Ricked This Way Comes" during the anti-gravity sequence.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters", a notebook, a pen, and a mug with a question mark on it can be seen falling out of one of the portals Rick opened.
    • "Auto Erotic Assimilation" has the hive-mind Unity create a show just for Rick, which turns out to be Dan Harmon's previous show, Community. Also serves as a Stealth Pun.
  • Freudian Threat: In "Lawnmower Dog", Snowball threatens to have Jerry neutered. Jerry assumes he's being threatened with a haircut.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Morty, the kid who doesn't want to hurt anyone and if anything cares too much (Id)
    • Rick, the mad scientist who claims that all love is an illusion (Superego)
    • Summer, the middle ground between the two (Ego)
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • In "Rick Potion #9" Rick tries to cure a virus, which made everyone infected want to have sex with Morty, with a stronger virus mixed with praying mantis DNA. The result turned the infectees into mutated mantis people who still want to have sex with Morty and then bite his head off. And then Rick attempts to make a cure for both of these viruses (composed of the DNA of a myriad of different animals) which, although effective in making everyone stop being madly in love with Morty, Cronenbergs them into hideous, mutated monsters. Rick and Morty end up just abandoning the world to its fate and settling in an Alternate Universe where Rick of that dimension succeeded in fixing everything, only to then accidentally kill himself and his dimension's Morty in a lab accident just as the prime duo arrive to replace them.
    • The Strawberry Smiggles commercial opens with the cereal's mascot desperately rushing to eat his Smiggles before any kids steal it from him. It doesn't help. Oh, BOY does it not help.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers", the wedding ends with the reveal of Tammy being a deep-cover agent for the Galactic Federation, and cops from the Federation storming the building. Birdperson is then killed and the Smith family goes on the run. Eventually, Rick turns himself in to spare his family from this life.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "Ricksy Business", Morty tosses a bag of crystal narcotics outside into an environment full of giant testicle monsters. A tentacle immediately scoops the bag up, after which the monster can be seen tripping balls in the background.
    • In The Stinger for "A Rickle in Time", the two four-dimensional testicle-headed beings (played by comedy duo Key & Peele) find each other in the Ice Age, which startles a mammoth.
      • While the two bicker, a small rodent crawls into the creatures' time displacement bubble and ends up being carried with them through thousands of years of history and meets an unfortunate end when it leaves the time bubble just as it materializes over the sea.
    • In "Mortynight Run", when Rick and Morty are at Blips and Chitz playing Roy, you can see an Alien playing pinball with a Mr. Meeseeks next to him. After the alien beats the game, Mr. Meeseeks disappears.
    • The Gaussian Girl introduction below takes place during a rowdy party. A thrown beer bottle can be seen flying in the background and smashing into a wall, also in slow motion.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of The Rick Kind", when Rick and Morty arrive in a universe where sentient chairs sit on people using pizzas to order phones, the chairs can be seen staring in utter shock at our equivalent of two talking chairs walking on the street.
  • Gasoline Dousing: In the episode "Something Ricked This Way Comes", Rick opens up a store called "Curse Purge Plus" which removes the curses put on items by Mr. Needful for a fee. In the end, Rick gets bored and brings out a gas can, dousing the store with gasoline and burning it down.
  • Gaussian Girl: Parodied in "Ricksy Business". Jessica is introduced this way, only for Rick to scold Slow-Mobius for messing with time to create the effect.
  • Genius Loci: "Childrick of Mort" shows that sentient planets exist, as Rick gets a call from Gaia that she is pregnant and that the children are his. The end of the episode shows there's an entire pornographic dating website called Planets Only, which Rick enjoys indulging in.
  • Genius Serum: This is heavily implied to be the case with Mega Seeds, and that they are the main source for Rick's Super Intelligence.
  • Giant Spider: In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", the universe Rick, Morty, and Summer are visiting has giant, telepathic spiders.
  • Girl of the Week:
    • While Morty's main Love Interest is Jessica, and she's usually the target of his affection in episodes that focus on his love life, he has occasionally shown interest in other girls too. Except for Arthricia in "Look Who's Purging Now" (for whom his crush is unrequited), he actually has managed to score with most of these girls, including Annie in "Anatomy Park", Stacey and Jacqueline in "Rest and Ricklaxation"note , and a mermaid in "The Ricklantis Mixup." (And, depending on whether or not you count it or not, "Gwendolyn" the non-sentient sexbot/breeding chamber in "Raising Gazorpazorp").
    • Summer also has a possibly on-again-off-again sometime-boyfriend named Ethan (with their relationship really only shown in two or three episodes), but she gets some of these, as well. She's shown to have a crush on Frank Palicky in the pilot, has a brief relationship of some kind with her boss (the actual Devil) in "Something Ricked This Way Comes", gets together with and even marries Hemorrhage (before divorcing him) in "Rickmancing the Stone", and has a whole slew of these(thanks to a dating app), male and female, in "The Old Man and the Seat".
    • Rick usually doesn't bother with romance since it distracts him from his work, but he does get Unity, a New Old Flame whom he gets back together with, and who then later leaves him again, in "Auto Erotic Assimilation".
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: All over the place in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens". The simulation isn't that high-quality to begin with, and Jerry's section is running on 5% processing power.
  • Godwin's Law:
    • In the pilot, Morty tells Rick he's worse than Hitler (since even he cared about Germany, "or something") when he shows no empathy over Morty breaking his legs.
    • At the end of "Rick Potion #9", when Morty is freaking out over having to replace his Dead Alternate Counterpart in another dimension, he asks Rick "What about the reality we left behind?" Rick responds by telling him "What about the reality where Hitler cured cancer, Morty? The point is, don't think about it."
    • Jessica's boyfriend invokes it on Abradolf Lincler. He probably gets this a lot. Though, to be fair, Lincler played the Lincoln card first. He was asking for the rebuttal.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the season 1 finale "Ricksy Business", Beth and Jerry go to a fancy Titanic-themed cruise line, complete with a crash into a prop iceberg that's supposed to result in the ship sinking in a safe, controlled manner to give the passengers a chance to reenact scenes from the movie. The ship misses the iceberg and doesn't sink. This is treated like a disaster.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick sends Beth and Jerry off to an alien couples therapy retreat to fix their marriage. It works by taking the couple's unconscious perception of each other and manifesting it as monsters which they can then observe. Monster!Beth proceeds to use Monster!Jerry's gelatinous form to blend in with the wall and escape her cell. By the time the real Beth and Jerry solve the problem, the entire retreat is destroyed.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In "Rixty Minutes", Summer overhears her parents state during an argument that they planned to abort her, and only didn't do so because of a flat tire on the way to the clinic. Summer is so upset about this (and about the fact that her existence made her parents give up on their dreams) that she almost runs away until Morty convinces her not to by explaining that everyone is an accident. At the end of the episode, we learn that the alternate dimension versions of Jerry and Beth are miserable and regretful.
    Alternate Dimension Jerry, having a breakdown: "Beth Sanchez, I have been in love with you since high school. I hate acting, I hate cocaine, I hate Kristen Stewart. I wish you hadn't gotten that abortion, and I've never stopped thinking about what might've been."
  • Gorn: Graphic violence is quite frequent, mostly involving aliens. It reaches its zenith in "Look Who's Purging Now."
  • Groin Attack:
    • The Machine of Unspeakable Doom swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp. Also, every ten seconds it stabs your balls.
    • When Rick is sold out by Gearhead, he kicks Gearhead in the crotch, rips out his "gearsticles", then swaps them for his mouth gears.
    • Rick and Zeep do this to each other in "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick with a kick and Zeep with a punch. Rick, surprisingly, just powers through it.
    • In "Wedding Squanchers", Rick warns his family that the Galactic Federation will torture them by hooking their testicles/labia up to the alien equivalent of a car battery.
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: In "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", the Rick we follow throughout the show (Rick C-137) is arrested by the Citadel of Ricks, accused of murdering other Ricks. His portal gun history seems to corroborate this charge, and in any case, his refusal to have anything to do with the Citadel of Ricks makes him suspect among the others. He's only let off the hook when he escapes and tracks down the actual culprit.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Beth and Jerry only got married because Jerry got Beth pregnant after prom. Their fragile marriage is a recurring theme, and they are quite aware of it, but it's usually resolved at the end of the episode, and the marriage seems to improve somewhat over the course of the first season. The first episode of the third season ends with then splitting up, but they end up getting back together (seemingly happier and without it being a charade) by the season finale.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • "Mortynight Run" drove home the point that the universe doesn't function according to Black-and-White Morality and that if you don't fully know the details of the situation, it's best to not get involved at all because you can make everything a whole lot worse.
    • "Autoerotic Assimilation" says that just because one has free will, it doesn't mean they will use it to make good decisions and that racism will exist no matter where or who you are.
    • "Look Who's Purging Now" shows that no matter how much of a good person one claims to be, they can be pushed to becoming as monstrous as the "evil" people they criticize. Also, that people will always be aggressive to each other one way or another and not learn from their mistakes.
    • The fact that the only Rick in the multiverse that's a Nice Guy is The Ditz, Morty being Book Dumb, and Jerry being a loser gives off the impression that either smart people are assholes or nice people are idiots. Rick even brings this up in his improv wedding speech in "The Wedding Squanchers".
    "Look, I'm not the nicest guy around, because I'm the smartest, and being nice is what stupid people do to hedge their bets."
    • This is elaborated more in "The ABC's of Beth" where Rick's speech seems to outright state there's no difference at all between being intelligent and being a morally bankrupt sociopath.
    • In "Pickle Rick", Dr. Wong delivers it: attending therapy and getting help is a choice, despite it being a potential help if your relationship with your loved ones is downright toxic and hateful. She can only offer advice, but can't make him or Beth take it. As she puts it, Rick's choices constantly prefer to go for death-defying adrenaline adventures, rather than Boring, but Practical maintenance.He turned himself into a pickle to get out of therapy, which led to him being covered in rat blood and cockroach limbs and human feces, as well as nearly vegetating. He may prefer to court death over repairing his family, and ultimately the choice is up to the individual.
    • "The ABCs of Beth": Sometimes your parents don't know what they're doing, especially if they're trying to rebuild their life after a drastic change. Also, refusing to take responsibility for your actions means that ultimately collateral damage will ensue, whether to loved ones —in Jerry's case — or to strangers — in Beth's case.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • Averted with Frank Palicky in the first episode. Rick had insisted he'd be fine, but the frozen Frank fell over and shattered.
    • Played straight in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind" when one of the Ricks freezes Jerry. When he later unfreezes Jerry, not only is Jerry unharmed, he doesn't seem to have noticed he was frozen.
    • Averted again in the Simpsons crossover. Flanders is frozen, then knocked over and shattered when the spaceship takes off.
    • Played straight again in the season 3 premiere, when the Council of Ricks froze the Jerry, Beth, and Summer from "our" Rick's and Morty's original dimension.
  • Hellhole Prison: Two examples.
  • Heroic BSoD: Morty suffers one at the end of "Rick Potion #9" as he tries to cope with his entire world going to hell, and then suddenly finding himself in a world where nothing went wrong except that he just replaced his own self, who had died just moments before.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the second season premiere, at least one out of 64 versions of Rick was prepared to sacrifice himself (and the other 63 Ricks) to save Morty, though Rick managed to survive anyway through sheer luck.
  • Heroes Want Redheads:
    • Morty sure seems to. His main love interest, Jessica, is a redhead, and in "Morty's Mind Blowers", one of the removed memories shows that he used a magnet that can attract anything to pull in a bunch of women, all of whom had red hair.
    • He might have inherited this from his grandpa; when Rick briefly gets back together with Unity, one of his sexual requests to it is a stadium full of redheaded people that it's possessing (seemingly of both genders) for him to bang.
  • Hidden Depths: There's a lot more to Rick than just a drunk asshole who's good with science. We have yet to see all of it, but you can tell it's there. Directly referenced at the end of "Ricksy Business", where an embittered Morty says that Rick "isn't that complicated" and Birdperson states that he's wrong.
  • High-School Dance: In "Rick Potion #9", Morty's school holds a "Flu Season Dance."
    Principal Vagina: Please note: if you have the flu, do not attend this dance. It's about awareness, not endorsement. You don't bring dead babies to Passover.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The horrors that Rick has put Morty through (not to mention the constant verbal abuse) would be enough to drive any full-grown adult insane, much less a 14-year-old boy. Morty seems to take it most of the time though.
  • Hobbes Was Right: In the climax of the Season 3 premiere, the value of the Galactic Federation's centralized fiat currency, whose value is apparently set by its own value, gets set to zero by Rick. Literally moments after learning this, the Federation's president kills himself and the entire Federation collapses into complete anarchy due to disagreements over who gets paid to do what, and abandons Earth.
  • Hobos: Reuben from "Anatomy Park" is one. Justified since you don't agree to have a theme park built inside you if your life is going great, though he is a more modern variant.
    Robot Reuben Tour Guide: My story begins in the Dot Com Crash of the late '90s...
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Season 3, Rick's constant belligerent attitude to his family results in three things during the finale:
    • The first is that Morty finally grows a spine and as a result leaves Rick, and takes his family off to a retreat in the woods. While Rick does find them, Morty is finally able to say no to his grandfather's demands.
    • The second is that Beth is told in no uncertain terms that she is not the clone discussed in the previous episode, but the completely flippant way that Rick disregards her fears only makes it worse, and as a result drives her back to Jerry, who she sees as simple and predictable.
    • The third is that Rick's inability to stop his grandiose A God Am I complex causes a falling-out with the President that results in an all-out battle that results in the first point happening and placing Rick at the bottom of the family hierarchy. Essentially, Rick's mad rant at the beginning of the season? Completely null by the end.
  • How We Got Here: Parodied in "Look Who's Purging Now." Morty listens to a screenplay that begins with a trite scene of danger and then flashes back to "Three weeks earlier." Morty groans.
  • Huge Holographic Head: The Cromulons are an entire race of partially transparent floating heads.
  • Humble Goal: When Rick introduces the problem-solving Meeseeks to the family, he tells them to keep their requests simple. Summer asks to be more popular at school, and Beth asks to be a more complete woman. Trying to heed Rick's warning, Jerry just asks to take two strokes off his golf game. Guess which problems are solved easily and which one turns into a huge ordeal.
  • Hurting Hero: If you consider Morty a hero, the entirety of the show should do the trick; from when he gets almost raped in "Meeseeks and Destroy," to living with the guilt of Rick accidentally turning all non-related humans into Cronenberg-esque creatures on his behalf in "Rick Potion #9. And that's just the first season.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: In "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" this is applied, not to hyperspace, but wormhole travel. During a fight, a shield that protects part of a starship from the crazier aspects of wormhole travel is damaged, meaning everyone in proximity experiences a mind-bending acid trip that, according to the characters, lasted "a thousand lifetimes."
  • Hypocrite:
    • The Citadel of Ricks, and the Council that leads it, was formed because of government attempts to control other Ricks, yet they enforce their will on all Ricks regardless of whether or not they have joined. "Our" Rick, C-137, calls them out on this.
    • In The Ricks must be Crazy: Rick calls Morty gay despite being openly pansexual himself.
    • "Raising Gazorpazorp"; while it does result in Morty learning that parenting is a thankless job, the attitudes of his parents do little to help the situation. Beth and Jerry both criticize Morty over his attempt at raising Morty Jr. while failing to reflect on their own actions while raising their own kids. Beth drinks, the couple fights, Summer has gotten a black eye (accidentally but due to Beth hitting her with a wine bottle), not to mention they allow their underage son, who has poor attendance in school, being dragged across dimensions with his 60ish alcoholic, sociopathic grandfather... neither of them are Parent of the Year themselves and they're basically acting like spoiled brats because Morty called them out on their own behaviour.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In "Total Rickall" the house becomes infested with alien parasites who embed themselves in memories and act like old friends and family. Rick warns his family to "keep an eye out for any zany, wacky characters that pop up". He then accepts help from a strange creature called "Mr. Poopybutthole" we've never seen before. It turns out this isn't so hypocritical, as Mr. Poopybutthole is shown to be real at the end of the episode.
    • "The Ricks Must be Crazy" has Rick bemoan that the Pocket Dimension powering his car, in turn, invented and then copied his scam. When Morty brings up the hypocrisy, Rick merely realizes that he can use this to convince the one from his creation to switch back to the original power source. Then it goes a layer deeper as instead of the scientist just realizing that he's a hypocrite, he realizes they're both hypocrites, and thus that Rick is probably doing the same thing he is but one universe higher.
    • "The Ricks Must be Crazy" also has this bit:
      Morty: What's wrong, Rick? Is it the quantum carburetor or something?
      Rick: "Quantum carburetor"? Jesus, Morty, you can't just add a *burp* sci-fi word to a car word and hope it means something. Huh, looks like there's something wrong with the microverse battery.
    • "The Wedding Squanchers" has Beth's conversation with Birdperson. While he opens up with secret details about Rick's past, she ignores him and keeps complaining about how Rick was a wayward father. After Birdperson leaves, she mutters that it's "like talking to a brick wall."
    • In "Morty's Mind Blowers", Morty is shown a memory where he and Rick are on a planet called Venzenulon 9 with the car broken down. Rick panics, saying the night temperature reaches 300 below and they need to find shelter. Morty suggests finding a cave, to which Rick replies "you've seen too many movies". Rick then proceeds to cut open their Animal Companion so they can hide in its warm innards.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many episode titles are based on a movie title or common phrase with "Rick" and/or "Morty" inserted into it somewhere. It is even lampshaded by Rick in one of the promos.
    Rick: What's [the episode] called?
    Morty: "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind"!
    Rick: What, really? That's horrible! What kind of formula is that?! Take a movie title and arbitrarily shoehorn my name into it?
    Morty: I don't think they put a lot of thought into it, y'know. I think they save their creative energy for the show.
  • Idiot Ball: Oh boy, do Rick's enemies ever hold it. Among the most noticeable ones, the Federation not using the most recent Brainalyzer to deal with Rick, who they know to be the "smartest mammal in the universe", the Citadel of Ricks for having a system for moving the whole structure around that can be activated easily by a single person (which also raises the question of why would a room full of Rick be needed for it) and without any security measures to avoid it materializing into anything solid or the blue ape aliens from "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" that try to kill Rick before he's out of the immortality field. It's actually surprising when villains dodge it, with some of the only ones so far being Zeep, the memory parasites, and, supposedly, Concerto (who, however, still doesn't outright kill Rick and Morty when he has the chance).
    • One not from the antagonists is from Krombopulous Michael, an alien Professional Killer who hands out cards that can be used to track him. Fittingly, it ends up being the cause of his demise.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • At the climax of "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Morty and Summer have to do this with Rick who's trapped in a younger clone of himself that's taken over his personality.
    • Parodied in "Morty's Mind Blowers". One of the removed memories shows that Rick, Summer, and Beth once had to do this with Morty when he got possessed by an alien worm-creature, telling him how much they love him and encouraging him to fight it...except that it takes so long for Morty to barf up the alien worm that they have trouble actually continuing to encourage him and not just start cracking jokes at his expense instead.
  • I Love the Dead: One alternate version of Jerry wrote and directed a film called "Last Will and Testameow: Weekend at Dead Cat Lady's House II", a film about how nine cats move their owner's putrefying corpse to make her seem alive. The film also features a guy having a romantic relationship and sleeping with the dead woman, thinking she's still alive.
  • Immediate Sequel: Interestingly played with for the second season relative to the first. This is averted for Rick, Morty, and Summer, for whom six months have passed between the two seasons; however, since they "froze time" for the rest of the world and it's remained frozen during that six months, this is played straight for everybody else once they un-freeze it since from their perspective, no time has passed and they're not even aware that anything happened at all.
  • Implied Death Threat: When Evil Morty becomes president of the Citadel of Ricks, he has a meeting, while having a barber cut his hair, with some of the most important Ricks, who tell him they are going to be The Man Behind the Man and he will not have real power. He kills the most vocal of these Ricks, after which we get this:
    Barber: Is... is that enough taken off the top?
    Evil Morty: I don't know. Is it?
    Surviving "top" Ricks: Yes! Yes! Goddamn, yes!
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: Jerry's inability to open a jar results in Rick giving him the Meeseeks box, sparking the B-plot of "Meeseeks and Destroy".
  • Improbably High I.Q.: Word of God puts Rick's IQ at 350.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played for Black Comedy in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" when Rick takes Jerry to an amusement park that has an immortality field that revives anyone who gets killed. Jerry calls bad parenting when a couple of kids run around with the brother repeatedly blasting his sister in the head. When the immortality field is destroyed, later on, the boy shoots his sister again and this time kills her for real.
  • I'm Standing Right Here:
    • In "Mortynight Run", Rick suggests to Morty that they kill Fart and go home. Fart is telepathic and says as much, to which Rick retorts that he was being polite.
    • This is a Running Gag with Summer and Unity, as the latter always points this out to Summer when she tries to complain about it assimilating the planet into a single Hive Mind.
  • In-Joke: Rick makes a fake one referring to "Redgren Grumbholdt" at Jerry's expense, and calls Morty and Summer out when they laugh along.
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism:
  • Indy Ploy:
    • Rick is forced to resort to this occasionally. One particular example is in "The Rickshank Redemption"; his original plan was to Body Surf his interrogator, get the Level 9 access codes, and bring down the Federation from the inside with that. But then the Citadel of Ricks' SEAL Team Ricks invades the Federation to kill Rick C-137 ("our" Rick) to keep the Federation from finding out what he knows and succeed at killing his original body, forcing him to Body Surf again and improvise from there. It ends with Rick causing severe damage and massive casualties to both the Federation and the Citadel.
    • "Rest and Ricklaxation" begins with Rick and Morty going on what Rick intends to be a quick, 20-minute adventure. It then turns into a 6-day epic that results in them becoming heroes for an entire civilization. When they finally leave and get a chance to catch their breath, they freak out from the stress. Rick admits that he had no control over any of it. They were flying by the seat of their pants.
  • Informed Attribute: The council of Ricks is made of this trope. They are theoretically all versions of Rick and all equally intelligent ([[Show, Don't Tell as they will tell you repeatedly), and yet in their very first appearance we see Rick able to out-think all of them (and being able to predict how they will move based on the fact that they are all Rick, while not a single other Rick is able to predict his moves the same way). It only gets worse from there, with not only their intelligence, but by "The Ricktlantis Mix-Up" the very fact that they are all versions of Rick becomes informed, with them effectively being a series of entirely different people who just happen to share the same name and face.
  • Informed Flaw: Morty being an idiot. While he's not on Rick's level, to be sure, Morty seldom does anything that could genuinely be called stupid. In fact, in Season 3 we establish both that he's smart enough NOT to mess around with alien devices when he clearly doesn't know what they do AND has taught himself how to disarm Neutrino bombs that Rick makes while black-out drunk.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Many alien names and terms used by the show fall under this category, but it reaches critical mass with the entire Plumbus skit in "Interdimensional Cable II" which is made up almost entirely of goofy-sounding nonsense words.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: When Tricia Helfer and James Callis show up for the Season 2 finale, they're voicing characters who are dead ringers for their most famous previous roles. As a bonus, they turn out to be homicidal cyborgs. Jerry and Beth also strongly resemble their own actors.
  • In Medias Res: Discussed in "Look Who's Purging Now". A man wrote a screenplay using How We Got Here, a version of this trope, and asks Morty for feedback:
    Morty: I feel, you know, we should start our stories where they begin, not start them when they get interesting.
  • Insane Proprietor: Ants in My Eyes Johnson. Though, his low prices are not due to insanity, but rather due to blindness caused by the ants in his eyes.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In-Universe. Drunk Rick's second puzzle in "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender" asks the Vindicators to choose a location that they would "never visit"; naturally, they assume he means a place with which they have a dark history. The answer is Israel, and the Vindicators would indeed never go there...because, since they're not from Earth, they don't know what that is.
    Morty:It's just something Rick starts talking about when he's blackout drunk.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Many aliens see "Ee-arth" and its inhabitants as undeveloped, primitive and simple by comparison. Those who've attended Earth parties note that Earth cultures are built around bad sex jokes. The Federation believes they all eat spaghetti and pray to kangaroos. Tourism to Earth wasn't common until its acquisition by the Federation, amidst the search for Rick.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Most realities have a Rick, and most Ricks have a Morty. Even some of the really strange realities, like the one where Morty was an anthropomorphic hammer for some reason. Maybe not a perfect example, since there are an infinite number of universes. For the infinite number of universes that have a Rick and a Morty, there are theoretically also an infinite number of identical universes that have no Rick and no Morty, and another set of identical universes with only one or the other. Most of the universes we see have a Rick and a Morty, because most of the alternate universes we see are because of different versions of Rick are interacting.
  • Insufferable Genius: Rick, the smartest man in the universe, is not even remotely modest or shy when it comes to boasting about it. Morty's quote at the top of this page, especially the "all you know is that you know nothing and he knows everything" line, sums it up pretty well.
  • Insult to Rocks: In the pilot, after Morty breaks both his legs and Rick observes him in a matter-of-fact fashion as he writhes on the ground, Morty accuses him of being "like Hitler, but at least Hitler cared about Germany or something."
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: With Gravity Falls in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind". After Rick opens multiple portals to distract his pursuers while he and Morty hop between universes, one of the portals spits out a pen, a notebook, and a cup with a question mark, the same items sucked into a portal during the stinger of an episode of Gravity Falls that aired over half a year after "Close Rick-Counters".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Rick treats Morty and, to a lesser degree, Summer, more like friends than grandchildren.
  • iPhony: The logo on Rick's laptop.
  • Irony:
    • The Council of Ricks wanted to escape the government, so they "became a freakin' government" themselves. "Our" Rick lampshades the hypocrisy.
    • Rick favors Morty over Summer despite genuinely caring for both, but it is shown several times that he actually has more in common with his granddaughter than with his grandson.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: In "Get Schwifty", the U.S. President, when asked if he can fly a Blackhawk, asks in turn if the Pope's member can fit through a donut in place of answering with "I'm not sure".
    Morty: Uh, I don't know?
    Mr. President: Exactly.
  • It Makes Sense in Context:
    • While flipping through channels in "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate", the entire Smith family sans Jerry stumble upon the following scene: Jerry, in an operating room, with his pants down, keeping the doctors hostage with an alien dildo for a weapon, demanding that they remove his penis. Naturally, their immediate reaction is that it must be an alternate reality where this sort of thing is normal.
    • Heck, this trope happens a lot, and "alternate reality" or "alternate dimension" explains most of the instances.
  • It Only Works Once: Rick tells Morty that they can only do the jump into another reality after irreversibly ruining our own thing three more times, four tops. He knows the viewers wouldn't be impressed if they did it more than that across the series.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "Rixty Minutes", Beth and Jerry use one of Rick's devices to learn about alternate versions of themselves, and find out how their lives might have gone differently if Summer had never been born.
  • I Work Alone: Rick claims this as a reason he hasn't joined the Citadel of Ricks.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick calls Morty out for using a love potion to force a girl to fall in love with him, at one point comparing it to roofies. But Morty fires back by noting that Rick still made it for him (and his only initial objection was that it was a waste of his talents), while also noting that Rick wound up turning the whole planet into David Cronenberg-ian monstrosities through his own carelessness and a lot of bizarre assumptions in regards to biology.
    • Later lampshaded by Rick and then defied by Morty in "Vindicators 3":
      Rick: I knew you were sucking the Kool-Aid out of the Vindicators' dick, so the fact that I was right must be pretty hard to admit.
      Morty: Yeah, it is. You know why Rick? Because when you're an asshole, it doesn't matter how right you are, nobody wants to give you the satisfaction!
    • Vance Maximus Renegade Starsoldier in that same episode is an idiot, a coward, and an intentional Shallow Parody of superheroes (specifically Star Lord and Iron Man) that calls Morty the disabled id they drag along for PR. However, Vance is completely right when he points out that Rick needs his claim that good and evil are just social constructs to be true because it how he justifies his actions.
    • "Look Who's Purging Now" has a rage crazed Morty saying they should just kill a girl that already double crossed them when she beseeches them for help in ending the annual Purge. He's irrationally angry at the time but he and Rick had been betrayed once already so trusting the girl again would be a bad idea.
    • The President in "The Rickchurian Mortydate" is a control freak who tries to assert some authority over Rick and Morty, sending them on relatively unimportant jobs while brushing off Morty's request for an autograph, and later practically declaring war on them after they abandon their task. However, considering that the pair's reckless actions have caused massive, irreversible destruction before, there's a case to be made that some more accountability and oversight is currently amiss. Additionally, given how Rick and Morty use their power for almost entirely selfish purposes, they can hardly argue that their work is more important or valuable. Not to mention that the President was willing to let them leave peacefully and Rick escalated the situation out of spite.
  • Jerk Jock: Morty runs into one in "Rick Potion #9" when trying to ask out his crush, Jessica, to the Flu Season Dance. He's actually pretty self-aware:
    Brad: Dude, stay in your league! Look at how hot she is! You don't see me going to a bigger school in a wealthier district and hitting on their prettiest girl!
    Jessica: Gee, thanks Brad.
    Brad: I throw balls far. You want good words, date a languager.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Decidedly more gravitated toward the "jerk" part of a spectrum, Comedic Sociopath Rick is shown on occasion to have a bit of leftover humanity in him, occasionally reaching out to Morty in a more thoughtful, sympathetic manner than usual (usually with traumatizing results). Although Rick acts like he doesn't care about most things, his actions repeatedly imply that this is at least partially an act. We constantly see hints that he's tried to be involved with his family in the past, for example. (Baby pictures of Morty, mostly.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Though with the season 3 premiere, it seems as though Rick is veering into this, though it's hard to tell because he's such an Unreliable Narrator. He manipulates everyone to get what he wants, manipulates Summer and Beth into loving him, manipulates Beth into divorcing Jerry when Jerry crosses Rick, and then in a mirror of the first episode's ending, tells Morty that he is going to help Rick get what he wants and if Morty tries to cross him, he will turn Summer and Beth against him as well. Throughout Season 3, he seems to vacillate between "Heart of Gold" and "Heart of Jerk".
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Rick gets shot in the liver with his laser pistol and yet seems pretty good to go (even though it's "the hardest working liver in the galaxy"). A few scenes later he puts some science gunk on the wound, which apparently heals it.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync:
    • In the second season opener, "A Rickle in Time", the time-screw from the end of the first season causes deviant timelines that involve thecharacters acting in character, but slightly out of sync; sometimes in times, sometimes in space, sometimes both.
    • In "Mortynight Run", Rick and Morty go to a "cross-temporal asteroid" which seems to exist in all timelines at once, yet isn't perceptible unless you know where to look. One version of Rick set up a Jerry daycare there in case other Ricks needed somewhere to dump their Jerrys for a while.
  • Karmic Nod: Mr. Goldenfold's reaction in "Something Ricked This Way Comes" upon learning that the "gift" the Devil gave him that made him irresistible to women also made him impotent. Though it's less of a nod and more of an all-out Scenery Chewing.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Played for Laughs at the end of "Rickmancing The Stone". Summer develops a relationship with the leader of a band of Mad Max-ian post-apocalyptic humans but eventually creates a new civilization when Rick reveals that the MacGuffin that was causing the episode's conflict could be used to power everyone. Summer's relationship with the leader falls out, and she leaves him heartbroken. Before Rick jumps through the portal, he steals the MacGuffin and robs them of electricity just because he can.
  • Kissing Warm-Up: When Morty falls asleep at the breakfast table after one of Rick's escapades, his mother asks him if he's feeling well, and then asks if he's been kissing the pillow that the dog sleeps on.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero:
    • The Adventures of Stealy follows a strange creature who steals from everyone and chloroforms people who get in his way.
    • Rick has also been known to steal randomly, as seen in "Total Rickall" and The Simpsons crossover.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Mr. Jellybean, who completely unironically attempts to rape Morty in "Meeseeks and Destroy".
    • Evil Morty. In his debut episode, "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", it's built up that Evil Rick is the main threat and he's just a lackey. Then, in the end, it turns out that Evil Morty was the mastermind all along. Throughout the episode, he shows little signs of emotion, and only gets two lines, both of which are completely devoid of humor. This clip really sets it in though just how serious the character is compared to the rest of the show, and appears to be hinting at the bigger picture. This is reinforced by his next appearance two seasons later in "The Ricklantis Mix-up", in which he manipulates the members of the Citadel of Ricks into electing him as their new president, with his first act as the new leader being to have almost the entire Shadow Council murdered, and the bodies of numerous dead Ricks and Mortys (and one Morty who was still alive but knew too much) Thrown Out the Airlock.
  • Lack of Empathy: One of Rick's primary character traits; he rarely ever gives a shit about anybody other than himself, to the point where "Just don't think about it" is practically one of his catchphrases. Character Development, however, has shown that not only is this attitude only a little more than skin-deep, but also it didn't occur without provocation. By the end of Season 1, he's officially in Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • The Lancer: Morty is decidedly a foil for Rick, described by the latter as "as dumb as [Rick is] smart." This is actually one of his key motivations for bringing Morty along on adventures.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: "Morty's Mind Blowers" flashes back to memories of experiences that Rick erased from Morty's mind. Most of them were too horrific for Morty to live with, but Rick also wasn't above abusing the technology when he made a fool of himself and didn't want Morty to remember.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • "Meeseeks and Destroy": King Jellybean attempts to rape Morty and Morty beats the crap out of him, and later Rick kills him.
    • "Something Ricked This Way Comes": Mr. Needful/Lucifer scams Summer, then Rick and Summer beat the shit out of him.
    • "Ricksy Business": Lucy almost rapes Jerry at gunpoint and Beth beats the crap out of her, and later she gets run over by a car.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    • Lampshaded and averted in "Anatomy Park".
      Morty: Spleen Mountain? Bladder Falls? Pirates of the Pancreas?
      Rick: You got a problem with that last one, Morty?
      Morty: No, I'm just saying them in the order that I see them.
    • In "Rixty Minutes", an alternate reality Saturday Night Live has a bizarre lineup of a piece of toast, two guys with handlebar mustaches, a guy painted silver who makes robot noises, Garmanarnar, three creatures even the narrator is stumped by, a peephole, and Bobby Moynihan.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In "Rick Potion #9," Rick states that they can't replace themselves in another dimension "every week" and should only do it "three or four times, tops." This is an insinuated promise by the writers to not hit the Reset Button too often.
    • In "Mortynight Run", when Jerry gets frustrated playing poker with other Jerry's at Jerryboree, he says "I can't believe Rick did this. This is the eighth to the last straw!" The episode was the eighth to the last one of the season.
    • At the beginning of "Interdimensional Cable Part 2," the Sequel Episode to "Rixty Minutes," someone asks Rick what he's doing, and Rick responds, "A sequel." He then mutters about how he doesn't know whether it's really warranted because he "kind of nailed it the first time." The original episode was one of the most popular episodes of the first season.
    • At the end of "Look Who's Purging Now," Rick mentions the candy bars "that we got in the first act."
    • The Stinger of "The ABCs of Beth" is a string of messages on Jerry's answering machine, the last of which is a message from an antique phone rental place, saying that they intend to let Jerry off the hook for the $70 late fee and allow him to keep the answering machine because 'nobody really uses those anymore except to provide exposition on TV shows anyways'.
  • LEGO Genetics:
    • Played for Laughs in "Rick Potion #9". First Rick tries to use praying mantis DNA to counter-act vole DNA (with the theory that mating once and then killing your mate is the opposite of living only to mate), then he admits genetics is more complicated than that, and so develops another cure:
      Rick: It's koala, mixed with rattlesnake, chimpanzee, cactus, shark, golden retriever, and just a smidge of dinosaur. Should add up to normal humanity.
      Morty: I don't— that doesn't make any sense, Rick!
    • Rick also tries it in "Ricksy Business" with Abradolf Lincler: a genetic combination of Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler who was intended to be a morally neutral super-leader. Turns out he's just a jerk who can't deal with his conflicting emotions.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Morty and Jerry — both are insecure, neurotic, emotional, and tend to put up with a lot.
    Scroopy Noopers: Is everyone in your family an idiot?
    Morty: For sure, me and my dad are.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates: Why Pancho released tuberculosis in "Anatomy Park"
    "That's right, baby. A lot of people would pay top dollar to decimate the population. I'll take the highest bidder. Al Qaeda, North Korea, Republicans, Shriners, balding men that work out, people on the Internet that are only turned on by cartoons of Japanese teenagers — anything is better than working for you, you pompous, negligent, iTunes-gift-card-as-a-holiday-bonus-giving..."
  • Literal Metaphor: In "Pilot", the "two plus two" part of Rick's rant about school sounds like it's just a metaphor but then it turns out that Morty's math test really consists of simple calculations like that.
  • Logic Bomb:
    • Three regarding golf in "Meeseeks and Destroy". Square your shoulders and keep your head down. Choke up and follow through. Try to relax.
    • Rick makes the first level of the simulation shut down in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" by talking to a crowd of people and making them do increasingly more complex things.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • The parasites in "Total Rickall" can implant happy fake memories in their targets, then assume the identity of the focus of those memories. The parasite can then in turn inspire more memories, allowing its offspring to assume the forms within. The targets never question this because, to them, the parasites are trustworthy friends who have never done them wrong. Morty manages to snap everyone out of it by realizing the flaw in their deception: the parasites are incapable of fabricating negative memories. Because their family has no shortage of personal issues between them, it doesn't take long for them to weed out the parasites. Except for Mr. Poopybutthole; he was, in fact, just that nice of a guy.
    • Poor Simple Rick is kept in one of these in "The Ricklantis Mixup". He's stuck in a loop of experiencing the same happy memory over and over, and the positive endorphins his brain secretes because of it are used as flavor for a wafer. When Factory Worker Rick frees and accidentally kills Simple Rick, the former is given a massive Hope Spot before being shot unconscious and made into the new Simple Rick instead, using said Hope Spot to provide the happy memory.
  • Louis Cypher: In "Something Ricked This Way Comes" the proprietor of the cursed items shop, who is actually the devil, goes by the name "Lucius" Needful.
  • Love Potion: In "Rick Potion #9" Morty has Rick make one so Jessica will like him. Unfortunately, due to it being flu season the potion is transmitted through air, quickly causing the school (and eventually the entire world) to be in love with Morty. Rick later points out how Morty essentially asked him to make roofies. Morty answers back by noting that Rick still agreed to make said potion for him regardless, and that the only objection he offered at time was that doing so was a waste of his time and talents, rather than any moral scruples.
  • Lovecraft Lite: It's only "Lite" for lack of a better word, but mostly the show's science-fiction is highly Lovecraft-inspired. Humanity is a speck in an infinite cosmos and beings which appear godlike are entirely different to our civilization and alien in intelligence, and to the extent they comprehend us, or we comprehend them, it's as a joke (the Cromulons who see Earth as merely a reality-show contestant).
  • Lower-Deck Episode: "The Ricklantis Mixup" begins with Rick and Morty going off to visit the lost city of Atlantis, but the entire episode focues on the various lives of the thousands of Ricks and Morties that live at the newly reconstructed Citadel of Ricks.

  • Macguffin: Rick's Portal Gun is one of his most important and famous inventions in (and outside of) the series. Many of his enemies, including the Galactic Federation, are those who scheme to steal the gun or the formula to the fluid that powers it from him. It is crucial for Rick's multidimensional adventuring and his creation of it is what made him go from ambitious scientist to one of the smartest men in the universe(s).
  • Magic Feather: A variant occurs in "Look Who's Purging Now" when the normally meek Morty goes on a bloodthirsty warpath during the Purge. At the end of the episode, Morty is worried that he has several demons to work out within himself, only to be told by Rick that a candy bar he had eaten earlier contained Purgenol, which increases aggression. Cue the shot showing that the candy bar is "Now Purgenol-Free".
  • Magic Tool: The season 2 DVD set actually reveals (what are implied to be just a few) uses of the plumbus tool that seems to be used in nearly every other dimension except for a few Earths in the central finite curve. Just a few of the device's uses include toilet-cleaner, portable stove, food utensil, sex toy, religious icon, babysitter, and vacuum cleaner. Of course, you no doubt knew all this as everybody has one.
  • Maintain the Lie:
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", The Stinger has a servant finding disturbing pictures (most likely of exploited children) in King Jellybean's closet and being ordered to destroy them so the people will remember him for what he represented, not what he was.
    • Zeep at the end of "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" is forced to do this, rather than reveal to his people that Rick is using their entire universe to power his car battery, or else Rick would destroy the "broken" battery along with the multiverse inside it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Or rather, In Front Of The Man. In "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," Evil Morty is this to Evil Rick, who was only his cyborg puppet.
  • Manchild: Rick is about 60 but has the maturity of a teenager, swearing, making dirty jokes, and being involved in rather reckless antics. One example is him finding it hilarious telling an alien race that flipping the bird meant "Peace among worlds". Morty's expression says it all.
  • Man Hug: Jerry and Doofus Rick part ways with one. Also Rick and Morty at the end of "Get Schwifity".
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Mr. Needful before he upgrades to his simpler Steve Jobs turtleneck.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Jessica in "Rest and Ricklaxation", when she drops from a portal with Rick.
  • Married Too Young: Since Jerry impregnated Beth when they were 17, he decided to stay with and marry her. Unfortunately neither were emotionally mature enough to be married, never mind parent a child. This is just one reason why their marriage is so strained.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In "Lawnmower Dog", after Rick and Morty free the rest of the family, Summer pulls Morty face-first into her chest when hugging him. Thanks to recently having had a very awkward encounter with a dream version of her (see Brain Bleach above), Morty is quite uncomfortable by this.
  • The Masquerade: Utterly averted. Everybody seems to be aware that Rick's a super scientist, but outside of the family, nobody seems too concerned. The town and school are aware but react with indifference. Rick's unknown outside of town before "Get Schwifty." Considering Rick's on the run from The Empire, he takes no special precautions to hide his presence.
  • Meaningful Name: Beta 7 acts like a Dogged Nice Guy to Unity. A common slang term for men who act like that towards women is "beta male," as opposed to Rick's "alpha male" personality.
  • Meaningful Rename: A minor character has one in the episode "The Old Man and the Seat". Delivery Drone, originally a robot delivery boy who ran away to join a Robot War in another star system, wrote over the label on his chest so that it instead said Deliverance.
  • Medium Awareness: All over the place:
    • Rick says a universe run by intelligent dogs would be interesting to watch "at 11 minutes a pop".
    • In "Rixty Minutes", Rick and Morty comment that TV from other dimensions has a "looser feel" and an "improvisational tone." As they say this, the camera is positioned in such a way that although they're looking at the TV, it seems like they're looking at the audience.
    • The same episode runs the concept of alternate universes in two different directions, and one turns out to be significantly funnier than the other. Rick says to the characters stuck in the B-plot "you guys clearly backed the wrong conceptual horse."
    • When Morty and Summer express concerns about their parents in "A Rickle in Time", Rick says that "They're probably living it up in some pointless grounded story about their shitty marriage." The B-plot does indeed involve Beth and Jerry in a grounded story about their marriage.
    • Throughout the series, Rick (and sometimes other characters) will make references to seasons or episodes of the show. For some examples of each:
      • Rick celebrates the "end of Season 1", states that he'll accomplish a certain character arc even it if takes him "nine seasons", and notes that he destroyed a certain technology "a few seasons back". Beth also notes in the Season 3 finale that from now on, the show will be "like Season 1, but more streamlined".
      • All three of the anthology episodes (the 8th episode of each season) has Rick directly mention a previous episode, sometimes by name. And in The Teaser of "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", he calls it a "Rick and Jerry episode".
  • Meta Fiction: "Never Ricking Morty" finds Rick and Morty on a very literal Story Train that represents the story-telling process. The whole episode waxes the creative story process and is aware of itself and the meta concepts. The two eventually find themselves in conflict with the Story Lord, who attempts to break the fifth wall by tapping into possible storylines that haven't happened. Morty questions if anything they're experiencing is canon, to which Rick states that it could have been. The train's story literally derails itself when it's revealed to be a toy that Morty bought from the Citadel of Rick's gift shop, which Rick is very proud to see Morty's participation in consumerism.
  • Mind Rape: Being a gaseous creature, this seems to be Fart's only method of attack. Of course, since it can turn a perfectly adjusted person suicidal in less than a second, it's hardly anything to sneeze at.
  • Missing Mom: Not much is known about Rick's ex-wife, Beth's mom. Not even her name, which may or may not be Diane. There have been some hints that she's dead in the present day, but it's not confirmed. Rick states that his marriage to her failed, but there are also indications that he still has feelings for her on some level.
  • A Mistake Is Born: Jerry and Beth only got married because they accidentally conceived Summer when they were teenagers.
  • Mister Seahorse:
    • The Season 1 opening title sequence shows a scene where Jerry is getting ready to give birth.
    • "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" features a caterpillar version of Mr. Goldenfold, who births a few caterpillar larvae.
  • Monster of the Week: Rick & Morty would deal with a one-shot villain or rogue alien species in each episode.
  • Monstrous Germs: In "Anatomy Park", the various diseases are portrayed as hideous monsters who chase the protagonists around in an homage to Jurassic Park.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Twice in "Meeseeks and Destroy". First, a Giant accidentally smashes his head and dies from the trauma, almost leading to Rick and Morty being convicted as murderers; and secondly, when Morty is almost raped in a restroom. It even cuts to Rick singing karaoke and the ridiculous Mr. Meeseeks brawl in the middle of the latter.
    • The Stinger for "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" has Rick drunkenly enter Morty's room, telling him he's a good kid and a trooper for putting up with all the crap he's been through. A sweet, if slightly disturbing, gesture. He then pulls a knife and holds it to Morty's neck, screaming at him to tell him if he's a simulation or he'll cut his throat. After a minute of this, Rick passes out on the floor, leaving Morty confused and terrified.
    • The A plot of "Rixty Minutes" is a series of absurd sketches improvised by the voice actors, with the framing device being that Rick has upgraded the family's cable to pick up channels from other dimensions. The B plot is the family having an existential crisis after learning of a dimension where Beth aborted the unplanned pregnancy that would have been Summer, and as a result, Beth and Jerry didn't get married and ended up with their dream jobs instead. The mood switches again when the Beth and Jerry from the alternate dimension are revealed to be unhappy in their dream jobs and still in love with each other.
    • "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" has this in the scene where Rick C-137 in a clone body of Wasp Rick is having dinner with the Wasp version of the Smith family. The genuinely heartwarming interactions between the family is juxtaposed with the heavy Black Comedy of them eating Caterpillar Mr. Goldenfold and his babies alive.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax:
    • Suggested in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" that the aliens faked the Earth-Moon Landing when Rick, Morty, and Jerry run past a simulation of it.
    • During their fight scene in "The Rickchurian Mortydate", Rick and Mr. President run past numerous sound stages of faked historical events, including a lunar lander and the planting of the flag on the moon. The government also apparently actually carried out the murder of Tupac Shakur and staged the JFK assassination, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and George Washington crossing the Delaware.
  • Moral Myopia: Beth spent years putting Jerry down because she thought she was better than him, but was very offended when she found out she was holding him back as well.
    • The entire family is this to Jerry to the point where they come across as Holier Than Thou, since they repeatedly call him out for his mistakes despite making those same mistakes themselves.
      • Season 4 has an example of Morty Calling the Old Man Out in The "Old Man And The Seat" for creating a phone app with Rick's temp even though he was warned not to. Yet Morty could have avoided the conflict of "Rattlestar Ricklactica" if he had both stayed in the car like he was told, and ignored the dead snake astronaut.
  • Motivational Lie: In "Get Schwifty", Rick tells Morty that his portal gun only has enough charge for two trips: one to grab their family and one to get off-planet. This is to get Morty to focus on placating the Cromulons rather than worrying about his family. Rick blows his own ruse when he casually portals out to pick up some snacks for Ice-T.
  • MST3K Mantra: In-Universe example. For every disturbing thing Morty sees or experiences, Rick's advice is "Don't think about it!"
  • Multiboobage: In "The ABCs of Beth", Jerry starts dating a Green-Skinned Space Babe named Kiara, who has three breasts.
  • The Multiverse:
    • Rick exploited this in "Rick Potion No. 9" by simply slipping into one universe where he and Morty suddenly died after curing the Cronenbergs. Apparently, he hasn't managed to find very many universes where they both died in such a way that everything's okay afterward.
    • There's an entire group of alternate Ricks who have banded together to form a society known as the Council of Ricks. However, the Rick we know refuses to be affiliated with them. This refusal to join the Council makes "our" Rick the "Rickiest Rick there is." By default, that makes Morty the "Mortiest Morty."
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Rick builds a self-aware, sentient robot to pass the butter, which is about an inch out of his reach and which he could have easily just leaned forward and grabbed in a fraction of the time it took to build the robot. When the robot finds this out, he's devastated.
    • Rick created a Pocket Dimension, manipulated the intelligent life within into generating massive amounts of power, and then channelled that power into... his car battery.
  • Mundane Solution: When Rick is about to destroy the Galactic Federation, his grandchildren suggest two options: Summer suggests that he'll set all their nukes to target each other. Morty suggests reprogramming all their military portals to disintegrate their entire space fleet. While Rick appreciates the Hoist by His Own Petard nature of these plans and claims that he's "almost proud," he ultimately decides on this and reduces the value of their credit-based economy to zero.
  • Musical Spoiler: At the end of "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", The Reveal that Evil Morty was actually behind the events of the episode is punctuated by Blonde Redhead's "For the Damaged Coda" playing in the background. In "The Ricklantis Mixup", this same song starts playing again moments before it's officially revealed that Evil Morty is the true identity of the newly-elected President Morty.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • This hits Rick at the end of "Auto Erotic Assimilation," when Unity's note to him makes it clear that his manipulative personality ends up bringing down all of his loved ones. It's enough to make him attempt suicide.
    • One of Morty's removed memories in "Morty's Mind Blowers" reveals that his mistaken belief that the new school guidance counsellor was up to no good and resultant actions against him led the man to commit suicide, causing Morty to react like this.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The o3o expression the characters use is one of the few things from Doc and Mharti that hasn't been changed.
    • At one point, Rick says that a whole world populated by dogs would make an interesting TV show. This is a reference to an actual pilot Justin Roiland made in the past.
    • Certain parts of Cronenberg-Rick might bring back some...memories.
    • The Cloning Blues invoked with the gradual mental degeneration of the Meeseeks brings to mind the defective Cosby clones from Roiland's earlier Web series House Of Cosbys. The alternate-dimension TV channels are also a similar concept to the series' nonsensical final episode involving alien satellite transmissions.
    • There are a few instances where Rick tells someone to "lick [his] balls." It's one of his catchphrases in "Total Rickall", where he follows it up with claiming that he "says it all the time", and he plays samples of himself saying "balls" to annoy Morty in "Get Schwifty." In the original "Doc and Mharti" short, Doc repeatedly asks Mharti to lick his balls as part of his science experiments.
    • In "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez", Tiny Rick makes a drawing of Doc.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", Rick figures out that he and Morty are being monitored by a race of aliens. The aliens also happen to be really uncomfortable with nudity, so Rick and Morty strip to have some privacy.
  • Name and Name: Rick and Morty.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Beth blames all of her failures on Jerry. After their separation in Season 3, she starts blaming it on her kids, and later, her dad.
    • Rick repeatedly uses his intelligence and/or alcoholism to absolve himself of responsibility for his actions. A particular example of the latter happens in "Vindicators 3: The Return of World Ender", where he refers to Drunk Rick (himself on a blackout-drunk bender) with third-person pronouns and acts like he's someone else completely.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Rick constantly encouraging Morty to "purge" in "Look Who's Purging Now?" causes Morty to go psycho and almost kill Rick.
    • Rick's overthrow of both the Council of Ricks and the Galactic Federation from "The Rickshank Redemption" gives Evil Morty and Tammy, respectively, the opportunity to take over what's left of each.
    • Several episodes showcase how Morty's misguided attempts to do good end up backfiring horribly. The massive death and destruction Fart causes after Morty frees him in "Mortynight Run" and the hostile snake civilization Morty accidentally uplifts in "Rattlestar Ricklactica" are particular examples.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: One of Rick's biggest Jerkass moves in season three was manipulating Beth and Jerry into getting a divorce. Even if he's right that they're bad for each other, he makes it clear the only reason he did it was to spite Jerry for wanting to turn him into the Federation. He and Beth have a heart-to-heart later on where he offers to clone her so the original can be free to explore the universe and her dreams. Come the Season Finale, he offhandedly says that if she were a clone he'd kill her for becoming self-aware, causing her to freak out and run to Jerry, disavowing Rick once and for all. Rick brings a shotgun to kill Jerry but admits he can't do it after seeing how he messed up.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Lampshaded by Summer when a Powder Keg Crowd who are divided by their nipples ask Morty and Summer to show them theirs:
    Morty: [pulling up his shirt to show his nipples] We're neither. S-see?
    Summer: [Not pulling up her shirt] Yeah, take my word for it.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Beth and Jerry. If they're the focus of an episode's plotline, it's probably about their struggling marriage. Deep down, they still care about each other, but there's so much resentment between them that the only reason they're still together at this point is for the sake of the kids. Well, that and Status Quo Is God. This finally becomes averted in Season 3: the two decide to separate and divorce at the beginning of the season, and while they do get back together by the end, they've both had significant Character Development in the meantime and give the impression that they won't be as miserable together anymore.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Ruben's death causes such a buildup of fecal matter in his sphincter that it overloads the artificial barrier Rick built there, destroying the enlargement ray at the base of his colon.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    • Mr. Meeseeks! (Look at him!)
    • The Cromulons, though it'd be a difficult task for a moon-sized talking head to take it down a notch.
  • No More for Me:
    • Beth attempts to kiss Mr. Meeseeks just as he disappears. A waiter asks if she wants more wine, and she decides she's done.
    • In an alternate universe where chairs and people are reversed, a chair discards the rest of his booze after seeing Rick and Morty walking around.
  • Nominal Hero: Rick is just barely a hero by him caring about his family, and there being even worse people.
  • Non-Indicative Title: The family likes a show from an alternate reality called Ball Fondlers. It's basically just The A-Team, a peppy action show with no fondling of balls or even any innuendo. Rick does do a fondling motion with his hand when suggesting it to Morty and Summer, but that's it.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The characters in the "Strawberry Smiggles" commercial have regular-looking cartoon pupils instead of the weird squiggly things all the other characters have.
  • Noodle Implements:
    • In "Auto-Erotic Assimilation", Rick tells Unity that he wants to perform a sex act involving a hang-glider, a crotchless Uncle Sam costume, and a football stadium full of redheads and men who look like his father. Becomes subverted when we get to see what these are used for shortly afterwards.
    • The plumbus is one of these, a result of the writers improvising an entire documentary of how it's made (involving other noodle implements as well like Schleem and a Grumbo).
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick has to figure out how to deal with a virus that turned the entire human race minus his family into nightmarish mutants. After a commercial break we see Rick and Morty returning to a perfectly restored neighborhood and Morty congratulates Rick for "finding the crazy solution like you always do." Then the two are killed by a bomb, and the real Rick and Morty arrive via a portal and take their place.
    • In "Wedding Squanchers", Birdperson tells Beth that he and Rick once fought in a vicious war, and are now considered terrorists by the Galactic Federation. However, he never says exactly what he and Rick did during that period.
    • Half of the clips in the opening sequence are these. Says Roiland at a ComicCon...
    "The idea with the opening credits is like there's three real episode clips, and then there's three completely fake made-up things every season, and we just love that you don't know what is what until the last episode, y'know?"
    • C-137 Rick's and Morty's adventure in "The Ricklantis Mixup." All we know is that Morty hooked up and likely had sex with a mermaid and wants to go back.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted. We get to see pop culture from other planets, other dimensions, you name it.
  • Note to Self: In "Total Rickall", when Rick first discovers the mind-altering parasites trying to infiltrate the family, he writes the current number of family members on a piece of paper and tapes it to the wall. Whenever the parasites multiply and try to disguise themselves as new family members, Rick kills the likely suspect. The parasites beat this by implanting a new memory in which Rick wrote the number for a nonsensical reason rather than for a logical purpose, foiling that plan.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The ending of season 5 changes the possibilities that the series can move forward with, which is saying something considering that there's a very loose definition of what types of adventures and storylines that are prevented from happening in the first place. Evil Morty destroyed the Central Finite Curve that sealed off all the infinite universes where Rick is the smartest man in the universe from the rest of the multiverse and now opens up the possibilities for new villains and characters who can challenge Rick. The Citadel of Ricks has been destroyed, with an untold number of Ricks and Morties killed in the process. There's a subtle implication that portal technology may not be as reliable to use anymore and dimension hopping may not be possible. Finally, with Morty now fully aware of Rick's background, and the relationship the two have with each other won't be the same.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", when Rick is suspected of having killed several Ricks from other dimensions, he decides to act rude and unhelpful to the Council, then kills several Security Ricks in his escape.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Stated word-for-word and lampshaded:
      Evil Rick: We're not so different, you and I.
      Rick C-137: Uh yeah, duh!
    • Played straight and subverted with the Council of Ricks. Rick calls them all a bunch of sellouts but admits that, like him, they all can't resist tormenting Jerry. Similarly, Rick picks on Doofus Rick just as much as the Council Ricks do. The similarities end when the Council of Ricks marks off Mortys as their main resource and not as their respective grandsons, the moment evil Rick/Morty baffled that C-137 Rick!Prime actually loves his grandson cements this.
  • No, You: When Jerry and Beth are packing away Rick's stuff, he tells them that they shouldn't be messing with it because it's beyond their reasoning. Jerry retorts "YOU'RE beyond our reasoning!", and Rick counters with "Takes one to know one!"
  • Nuke 'em: In "Get Schwifty", the general constantly advocates nuking the Cromulons. When he finally manages it, it's about as effective as flicking embers into someone's beard.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A strange example: Morty's irregular brainwaves literally obscure the normally distinctive brain emissions that would otherwise allow the numerous multiversal governing bodies to track the various alternate selves of the mad scientist. This is at least part of the reason that every Rick hangs out with a Morty if possible, essentially hiding someone else's intelligence by the former's stupidity.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Rick and Jerry very much act this way with each other, though to be fair, they probably wouldn't like each other anyway. The creators say that Rick hates Jerry due to circumstance as he blames Jerry for ruining Beth's life by impregnating her when she was only 17.
  • Obvious Beta: The simulated world in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" has quite the number of bugs in it, to say the least.
  • Odd Couple: Rick and Morty themselves.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The episode "Rixty Minutes" has a fake trailer of a movie where a bunch of cats manipulate the corpse of their owner to convince people she's alive. She's still very obviously dead; with green soft tissues and a maggot infestation. Strangely enough, this is a sequel.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick gets this when he hears it's flu season (since the potion he gave Morty will spread like wildfire if combined with the flu virus), and Morty says this word-for-word twice.
    • "A Rickle in Time" had this, when 32 Ricks were attempting to fix 32 broken collars:
      16 Ricks: Now hand me that flat-head screwdriver.
      Other 16 Ricks: (in unison with above line) Now hand me that Phillips screwdriver.
      16 Ricks: Actually, make it a Phillips.
      Other 16 Ricks: (in unison with above line) Actually, make it a flat-head.
      (Time splits in half again, creating 32 new variants)
      All 64 Ricks: Ohhhhhh, shit.
    • Rick and everyone at the wedding reception in "The Wedding Squanchers" when Tammy reveals herself as a deep-cover agent for the Galactic Federation and has the building surrounded.
    • Morty has one of these in '"The Rickshank Redemption" When Rick is ranting about how he got rid of Jerry and the government because Jerry threatened to turn Rick in.
      Rick: Ohhh, it gets darker, Morty! Welcome to the darkest year of our adventures! First thing that's different? No more dad, Morty! He threatened to turn me into the government so I made him and the government go away!
      Morty: Ohhhh fuck...!
  • Once a Season:
    • In-universe, in Planet Music, there's always one planet per season that protests the show and gets disqualified.
    • For the series as a whole it appears a movie-based episode. Inception for Season 1, The Purge for Season 2, and Ensemble Cast superhero movies such as The Avengers for Season 3.
    • Allusions to Interdimensional Cable, if not whole episodes devoted to it.
    • Fan favorite characters like Gearhead, Birdperson, Tammy and Mr. Poopybutthole have appeared at least once per season as well.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: In the episode "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", Jerry mentions in passing that he has wondered about having a vagina. Afterwards, Groupon reminds him on every occasion about his vagina fantasies, leading to Jerry proclaiming "I don't want to be known as the vagina guy."
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Rick tries to invoke this in "Total Rickall" when he gets tired of playing Spot the Imposter, instead intending to shoot everyone in the shoulder so only the weaker parasites will die from their wounds. It doesn't pan out because, understandably, no one likes getting shot and the parasites manage to take his gun.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: You wouldn't expect this show to get so serious at times.
    • In "Auto Erotic Assimilation", Rick tries to kill himself after Unity tells him that his reckless and self-destructive nature only ends up causing the people around him to suffer. The DVD commentary to the episode reveals that the chemical he drank before doing it was meant to synchronize all his parallel selves - He wasn't only trying to kill himself, but also all other versions of himself in other dimensions.
    • When Morty almost gets raped by King Jellybean in "Meeseeks and Destroy", Rick figures out what happened, and proceeds to murder the king with a single gunshot.
    • Beth and Jerry found out about their miserable lives without each other in "Rixty Minutes", and realizing how good they have it together after all.
    • Rick turning himself in "The Wedding Squanchers" after overhearing the others talking about him and realizing how much of a burden he is to them. When calling the Galactic Federation to share his location, he asks for his family to be able to have a safe life on Earth.
  • Open-Minded Parent:
    • Tammy's parents are incredibly accepting of the fact that their high school daughter is marrying a middle-aged alien. It helps that they're actually robots to help her cover identity.
    • Beth is usually pretty okay with Morty and Summer getting involved with Rick's antics. She also defends Morty's use of a sex robot when Jerry wants to intervene, saying that would mess up his development.
  • Over-the-Top Roller Coaster: The episode "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" centers on a roller coaster that exists in a theme park protected by an immortality field, meaning no one in the park can die as long as the field is operational. Aside from the fact this means the coaster can be incredibly outlandishly dangerous, it has an added threat: the apex of the highest peak actually barely extends past the immortality field, a fact utilized for an assassination attempt.
  • Overnight Age-Up: Male Gazorpians reach adulthood in one day. Being half-human, Morty Jr. goes through typical human stages of growing up, including teen rebellion, in that time span. By The Stinger of the same episode, Morty Jr. has grey hair and has written a bestselling novel, whereas none of the other characters have aged nearly so far.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • The "Rick and Morty forever and forever, a hundred years" moment at the end of the pilot goes on for over a minute.
    • The cereal commercial in "Rixty Minutes".
    • The fake door commercial, enough that Morty has to ask Rick to not change the channel, and then gives up on it himself.
    • Personal space!
    • In the first episode of season 1, Rick goes on a rant saying Rick and Morty will go on for "a hundred years". 3 years and 120 days later, when the first episode of season 3 premiered, Rick goes on another rant and mentions they've got "97 years" left to go.
  • Papa Wolf: Rick may be an incredibly flawed individual with practically no regard for the lives or well-being of others, but there's one moral misstep he will not forgive you for: messing with his grandkids.
    • Also, when Beth and Jerry disagree or fight in front of Rick, he echoes this trope by typically taking his daughter's side, belittling Jerry in the process.
    • Jerry is a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass with extra Moron and a side of Butt-Monkey who will field any Idiot Ball that is hit anywhere near him, but when his family is threatened, he can step up to the plate to keep them safe.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe for Rick in The Stinger of "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" when he bursts into Morty's room drunk and, after an out of character moment of praise, pulls a knife on him and demands to know if he's still inside a simulation.
  • Parents as People: Both Jerry and Beth often show concern for their kids and the effect Rick's antics can have on them, however, they are continuously hindered by their own psychological problems and their failing marriage.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The Galactic Federation is an intergalactic Empire controlled by one alien species that turns the worlds it conquers into Police States.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Morty protests that "schwifty" isn't an actual word.
  • Person as Verb:
  • Pet the Dog: Rick is a foul-mouthed, abusive asshole scientist who's rude to just about everybody, but he has quite a few moments of this (especially with his daughter Beth and grandkids Morty and Summer, but even sometimes with his son-in-law Jerry and other people as well) that hint at a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Piss Take Rap: "Flu Hatin' Rap" from "Rick Potion #9".
  • Planet of Hats:
    • In "Rixty Minutes", there's a universe where Earth is populated by corn people, and one where it's populated by hamsters living in human butts.
    • All Zigerians are scammers who are prudish towards nudity.
    • Several alternate universe versions of Rick and Morty in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", including a cowboy version, multiple alien versions, a robot version, and Cronenberg Rick and Morty.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers," when searching for a replacement home planet, the Smiths happen upon a large Earth-like planet where everything — strawberries, flowers, birds, mountains, ants, and even atoms — is on a cob. Upon this revelation, Rick hastily makes the family leave and nixes relocating there, for reasons never explained.
    • In "Edge of Tomorty", Rick travels to several different dimensions: one where the whole world is fascist, another inhabited by shrimp-people (which is also fascist), a third world of teddy bear people (which, once again, is fascist), and a fourth where everyone is bug-people (which isn't fascist!), including wasp versions of the Smith family.
  • Pocket Dimension: In "The Ricks Must be Crazy", Rick's car is revealed to be powered by one. One of the inhabitants created his own, and one of its inhabitants, in turn, discovered his own.
  • Political Overcorrectness: In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", when Rick tells Morty that the microscope he got from Summer's boss will make him retarded, Morty tell him that he probably shouldn't use that word because, even though he was speaking objectively and the microscope would have literally made him mentally retarded, it would still offend "powerful groups who feel like they're doing the right thing". Rick's response? "Well, that's retarded."
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Parodied at the end of the second episode. Rick suggests that the world populated by dogs "could be developed into a very satisfying project for people of all ages", and that he would watch it "for at least eleven minutes a pop".
  • Poor Man's Porn: While living with the tree people, Morty was without access to internet porn and instead used an extra curvy piece of driftwood.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: At the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy" Rick makes an Arsenio Hall reference, making Beth and Jerry laugh, but then Beth says she doesn't get it, as she's too young.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: Many episode titles are puns of other works, like "The ABCs of Beth" being a pun on The ABCs of Death.
  • Potty Failure: Happens to Summer twice: First in "A Rickle in Time", out of the shock of Morty knocking out Rick, and again in "Total Rickall" during the elevator flashback, though both aren't explicitly seen, but mentioned by Morty the first time and Summer the second time.
  • The Power of Love: Played with in "Morty's Mind Blowers". One of the memories is of Morty being possessed by a demon worm, which Rick, Beth, and Summer discover can be coaxed out of Morty by telling him they love him. However, they can't help but crack jokes at Morty's expense as the spectacle becomes more disgusting and drawn out, leading to the Power wavering and creating extended discomfort for Morty.
  • Powered Armor:
    • In "Lawnmower Dog", Snuffles builds walking, humanoid exoskeletons for himself and all the neighborhood dogs, due to becoming an Uplifted Animal with genius intellect by way of a helmet Rick invented to make him smarter. Models with yellow Tron Lines are combat-capable, sporting shoulder guns; whereas blue denotes civilian.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now", Rick and Morty have Summer send each of them a set of this so they can defend themselves from the Purgers trying to kill them. Unfortunately, Morty hits his Rage Breaking Point and gets a little kill-happy with his, forcing Rick to knock him out. Rick then lets Arthricia borrow Morty's armor, and the two of them use it to slaughter the rich people who orchestrate the yearly Purges.
  • Prison Rape:
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", Rick and Morty are about to be sent to Giant Prison. Rick bemoans that, if someone drops the soap, it will land on them and crush their spines. It would be really easy to rape them, then.
    • The fourth-dimensional lifeform in "A Rickle in Time" tells Rick, Morty, and Summer that they're going to Time Prison.
      "You know what they do to third-dimensional lifeforms in Time Prison? Same thing they do in regular prison, only forever!"
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: In-universe, lampshaded in Rick and Morty's Rushed Licensed Adventure. It's right there in the title! The characters frequently complain about not being able to perform certain simple actions because the developers were too lazy to implement them (The game is actually not that bad for a free-to-play Flash game).
  • Product Placement:
    • Blatantly lampshaded in "Total Rickall". A flashback shows Rick walking into the living room with his arms full of Nintendo 3DSs, rambling on about how they can take advantage of the Walmart sale to turn a profit and sell them for more money because they were all the limited edition The Legend of Zelda versions. In the end, he turns right to the camera and yells "Nintendo! Send me free stuff!" Apparently, Justin Roiland did this once in real life.
    • Done again in The Rickshank Rickdemption with the Mulan Szechuan sauce. This caused such an out-of-universe demand for it from the fans that McDonald's actually brought it back in a limited capacity.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • The collateral damage wreaked by Rick's schemes, whether implied or shown outright, is often absolutely gruesome in its sheer body count, but receives no serious repercussions for it, week after week. He's destroyed an entire reality just through incompetence, and that's probably not the first, and he stated that he once made the same mistake Beth did (in which she accidentally shot a genuine family friend whom she thought was an evil parasite) on "a planetary scale".
      • In general, Rick does the same things (or worse) than the people the show paints as villains without it being ever really relevant. He dislikes government for how controlling they are, yet he rules his family with an iron fist and severe gaslighting. He hates fascists, yet he considers himself a superior being with no issue to kiill those he deems "inferiors" (which, as stated above, includes several genocides). The galactic government keeping prisoners into stasis and feeding them a virtual reality was considered crossing a line, it's then discovered Rick does the same to people with no apparent reason. Rapists and slavers are considered utterly despicable when they are secondary characters, yet Rick is both things. And the list goes on.
    • Averted and played with in "Mortynight Run". After Rick sells a gun to K. Michael for an assassination, Morty argues that's as bad as pulling the trigger. Morty then goes and tries to save the life of K. Michael's target, causing hundreds of casualties as a result. Rick doesn't let him hear the end of it.
  • Punch a Wall: Jerry does so after having to say goodbye to Doofus Rick.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Parodied by Scary Terry, the "legally-safe knock off" of Freddy Kruegar living deep in Mr. Goldenfold's dreams: not only is terrorizing people literally just his day job, after he's done he goes home to a perfectly normal-looking suburban house, complete with an equally-scary wife and infant son.

  • Rain of Blood: The result of Reuben's enlarged corpse exploding in "Anatomy Park".
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: As mentioned under "Black Comedy Rape," the show has a strict rule regarding this subject, both In-Universe and among the writers: comments about rape can be jokes, but depictions are treated 100% seriously, regardless of gender. Even when the would-be rapist is an anthropomorphic jelly bean.
  • Raptor Attack: Photography Raptor from "Total Rickall" is your standard oversized Jurassic Park raptor covered in scales instead of feathers. Justified, in that he's an alien parasite in the guise of a velociraptor.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • Alien Invasion Tomato Monster Mexican Armada Brothers Who Are Just Regular Brothers Running In A Van From An Asteroid And All Sorts Of Things: The Movie. (Or, just Two Brothers.) The sequel Three Brothers, though never shown, likely matches or exceeds the manliness level of the original.
    • Ball Fondlers.
  • Real Fake Door: The Trope Namer is Rixty Minutes, where one advert is for "Real Fake Doors", doors that just open to a wall.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. Characters surprisingly speak realistically, filled with stutters, mumbling, and belching. Some of the alternate-dimension TV especially falls into this, with Harmon and Roiland improvising it on the spot.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie:
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Considering how dysfunctional the entire main cast is, they give and get these a lot.note 
    • Rick is made of these. Expect at least one episode as he delivers them to just about everyone he talks to. The main cast members get them constantly, especially Summer and Morty.
    • In "Auto Erotic Assimilation", Blim Blam the Korblok, an alien that Rick has chained up in his basement, finally gets so fed up with having to listen to Jerry and Beth have yet another (particularly vicious) spousal argument that he tears his chains out of the wall and steals a translation device so they can understand him, just to brutally lays into both of them about how awful they are to themselves and each other, ending it by saying that he's sorry that Rick has to deal with either one of them.
    • Invoked mercilessly by Dr. Wong, a psychiatrist whom the family goes to visit in "Pickle Rick". Rick tries to brush it off, but his facial expression afterwards and the fact that he has no reply to what she said suggests he knows she's right.
    • Jerry and Beth each receive one from Rick and Morty, respectively, in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", with Morty admonishing Beth for being just as arrogant and irresponsible as Rick, while Rick tears Jerry a new one for manipulating others by playing the victim and acting pathetic so people will pity him.
    • In "The Old Man and the Seat", Rick inadvertently ends up delivering one to himself after his selfish pride ends up indirectly getting an alien who genuinely wanted to be his friend killed.
    • In "The Vat of Acid Episode", Rick gives Morty a blistering lesson about the concept of "no consequences". He reveals that since the save point remote transports Morty through alternate dimensions rather than time, all of the horrible deeds he committed still happened, just in different dimensions. Also, every time Morty reset into a different dimension, the remote automatically kills the Morty native to that dimension so Morty can take his place. Rick further presses home that Morty chose to do all this, as he had an opportunity to learn the truth of how the remote truly worked but ignored it.
  • Recursive Reality:
    • In "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!", some aliens try to trick Rick into giving away his formula for concentrated dark matter by trapping him in a multi-layered simulation.
    • In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" it's revealed that Rick's spaceship is powered by a small universe. It turns out that a scientist in that universe is also developing a smaller universe to use as a power source. Then it turns out that a scientist in that universe is also developing an even smaller universe to use as a power source...
  • Red and Black Totalitarianism: In "Edge of Tomorty: Rick, Die, Repeat", when Rick dies and Operation Phoenix reroutes him to other universes, those universes turn out to be fascist empires, complete with red and black flags and symbols.
  • Red Herring: In "Total Rickall" The concept of "mind parasites", creatures that telepathically insert false memories into people to convince them that they know the person, and can therefore trust them, is introduced during the cold open shortly before we meet a never-before-seen character, Mr. Poopybutthole. The intro then shows Mr. Poopybutthole throughout the entire sequence, spliced into every scene as if he was always a main character. Finally, at the end of the episode, Mr. Poopybutthole sits down with the family after they have slaughtered dozens of mind parasites, and Beth, remembering only good memories of the character, fires a blast at his chest...only to have red blood gush out like a gunshot wound instead of dissolving the disguise and causing the "parasite" to explode. The Stinger reveals Mr. Poopybutthole survived and is now undergoing physical therapy, and is not pressing charges, but does not wish to associate himself with the Smiths anymore.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Rick is a mercurial and self-centered alcoholic with a very strange set of priorities. He has the technology to become extremely rich and powerful but doesn't seem to care. The fact that he's technically in hiding from the Galactic Federation might be at least partially responsible. His occasional profit schemes tend to be subverted in some way:
    • Rick opens a store that removes the curses from magical items that Satan has been giving people. As soon as Satan admits defeat, Rick loses interest in the whole thing, not even caring that the store seemed to be making a good profit.
    • He gets a bunch of money from an underworld deal so that he can blow all of his profits at Blips and Chitz, an arcade.
    • He drunkenly rambles about cornering the market on Nintendo 3DS consoles, which never goes anywhere, then turns to the audience and asks Nintendo to send him free stuff.
  • Reset Button: An incredibly grim example appears in "Rick Potion #9". When Rick's cure irreversibly turns everyone into monsters, Rick "fixes" the problem by finding a parallel universe where that version of Rick somehow fixed his screw-up, but immediately afterwards, both of he and that version of Morty died in a freak accident. Rick then makes Morty help him dispose of the corpses, allowing them to resume normal life in place of their dead parallel selves, leaving their own universe destroyed.
  • Ret-Gone: Inverted with the parasites; they retroactively insert themselves into the cast's memory.
  • The Reveal: A few major ones throughout the series:
    • From "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind": Evil Rick, the apparent Big Bad of the episode, was actually being controlled by his apparent Dragon, Evil Morty, the episode's true mastermind.
    • In "The Wedding Squanchers": Tammy was actually The Mole for the Galactic Federation, and only pretended to be in love with Birdperson to get close to him so she could eventually kill or arrest him and his friends (who are so-called terrorists rebelling against the Federation).
    • "The Ricklantis Mixup": The newly-elected President Morty, who just had quite a few of his dissenters killed (some of whom were Asshole Victims, others because He Knew Too Much), is actually Evil Morty from the first example.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Most episodes contain a line or two that seems like a throwaway but ends up being crucial or really illuminating upon rewatching the episode, and sometimes entire seasons.
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy", Rick assures Summer after one Meeseeks dies off that "Trust me, they're cool with it", which really foreshadows later on what happens when a Meeseeks stays around too long.
    • All throughout season 5, there are numerous throw-away lines, usually once in almost every episode, in direct reference to Beth's mother or Rick's former wife. There's no focus of context on these lines until the season finale, where Morty and the audience learn that Rick's wife Diane and child Beth actually were killed by a rogue Rick as shown in his memories in "The Rickshank Redemption" from season 3.
    • The Council accusing C-137 Rick of killing off the others from different realities in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" takes a new light when you learn his past in Season 5.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: After the Galactic Federation is kicked out of Earth, aliens are drawn-and-quartered in the school courtyard and it is considered patriotism.
  • Right Through The Ceiling: When Morty is, uh, playing with the sex-bot Rick bought him.
  • Robot War: The show briefly reveals one called the Robolution is ongoing in a region of the galaxy called the Midland Quasar, and was initially making its Last Stand. Rick arrives to search for a specific robot who has information on the location of one of his enemies and in the process kills so many lizard soldiers that they surrender to the Robots.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The second half of "The Rickshank Redemption" is one for Rick. He exploits a device that transfers the user's consciousnes to bring down the Galactic Federation, the Council of Ricks, and Jerry.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The Gazorpians try to save face by claiming this after realizing that simply crushing Rick with a boulder is too simple.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Morty could accept the bun being placed between two hotdogs and the old woman walking her cat on a leash. But the Pop-Tart living in a toaster oven.... ok, something weird is going on.
    • In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick-Kind", Rick and Morty run through a dimension where pizzas sit on chairs and use phones to order people, a dimension where phones sit on pizza and use people to order chairs, and a dimension where chairs sit on people and use pizzas to order phones.
    • Rick actually lampshades this in "The Rickshank Redemption" ("Comedy comes in threes!"), and sure enough, he Body-Surfs three times throughout the episode.
    • Similarly, in "Edge of Tomorty", which involves more body-surfing shenanigans, Rick ends up in fascist dimensions the first three times he does it before finally getting one that isn't fascist.
  • Running Gag: The writers seem to intentionally make alien names and terms sound like random sounds made up on the fly, leading such creations as Doctor Glip-Glop and planet Gazorpazorp.
    • A lot of the aliens and otherworldy flora tend to have designs that are incredibly phallic, or testicle-y, or both.
    • Also recurring are Hope Spots between Morty and Jessica, which usually result at the moment being ruined by Rick's doing.
    • Every official episode description for Season 4 addresses the reader as "broh".
    • The series mocks the use of pop culture-referencing episode titles by giving episodes increasingly awkward and forced punny titles, going from "Ricksy Business" and "Total Rickall" to stuff like "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty" and "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort".
  • Sadistic Choice: In "Morty's Mind Blowers", at one point a villain held Beth, Morty, and Summer hostage, and told Beth it would spare one of her children, but she had to choose. Without even thinking about it, she immediately blurts out Summer with absolute certainty. Rick shows up at the last minute to kill the villain, but apparently, the experience was so traumatizing for Morty that he begged Rick to erase the memory.
  • Safety in Indifference: This is the main reason Rick is as heartless as he is. Even if you ignore the countless amount of people and creatures that die whenever he's around, having access to The Multiverse makes attaching to people borderline impossible, what with the fact that there's trillions of copies of them out there that are, for the most part, identical.
  • Sand In My Eyes: When Evil Rick is looking through Rick's memories, seeing memories about Morty makes Rick start to cry. Evil Rick makes fun of him, and Rick says that he isn't crying, he's just allergic to dipshits.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Rick, willfully:
    Summer: Careful Dad, jealousy turns women off.
    Jerry: Well, isn't that convenient.
    Rick: Not for the men they cheat on, no.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Done by Evil Rick in "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", and referred to as the "Slow Clap". Lampshaded by Rick, who points out how Cliché the gesture is, though Evil Rick counters that in this alternate dimension, he's the one who invented it.
  • Scenery Porn: Rick takes Morty to a bizarre dimension in the pilot that's very colorful and bizarre with phallic imagery and hanging sacks. Like actual porn.
  • School Is for Losers: Rick believes this. He is a very intelligent Mad Scientist who cares about Morty, so there might be some reasons.
    Summer: Grandpa, can you help me with my homework?
    Rick: Sure....don't do it.
  • Script-Reading Doors: Rick's portals open and close when it's narratively convenient, in addition to simply appearing whatever surface works for the scene.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Evil Morty reveals, in the fifth season finale, that the Central Finite Curve functions as this, because, as part of a bargain to stop the war between themselves and "our" Rick, the Citadel and Rick collaborated to seal off a section of the infinite multiverses, so that all the universes containing Ricks were sealed away from the rest of the cosmos. Evil Morty claims this was because they wanted to be guaranteed to be the smartest person in every universe they could travel to. Given Rick's view of himself, though, this trope may be what he intended by it.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • In the pilot, when Morty stops Rick from going through with his plan to wipe out the human race and start over, Rick unconvincingly claims he was doing this and Morty passed. This confession is immediately followed by a "Sure, why not, I don't know."
    • One interpretation in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens" suggested says Rick suddenly started acting uncharacteristically playful with important science stuff as a test to see if Morty would notice and say something. Morty didn't and just played along, confirming Rick's suspicion that he too was a simulation.
  • Seen It All: Rick was already in this territory well before the series started. Over the course of the series, Morty gradually becomes this more and more as well:
    • When Summer accidentally sort of causes a race war between two groups of aliens (who look exactly alike, nipple shapes aside) in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", she is horrified. Morty, however, just chuckles and says "Oh, Summer. First race war, huh?"
    • In "Pickle Rick", when Morty sees that Rick has turned himself into a pickle, he isn't particularly impressed or amazed by it (much to Rick's annoyance), and instead is just trying to figure out why Rick would bother with this.
    • "Vindicators 3" has Morty able to correctly guess the answers to Drunk Rick's questions and disarm his neutrino bombs. In fact, he's apparently disarmed so many of them by this point that he knows that there's a 40% chance of it being a dud anyway.
      Rick: Morty, how many of these—?
      Morty: TOO MANY, Rick! Too many!
    • In "The ABCs of Beth", when introduced to Jerry's new girlfriend Kiara, Morty is familiar with her culture and able to greet her in her native language.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Morty and Rick, respectively.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" to "Rixty Minutes", with Rick even Breaking the Fourth Wall to lampshade it.
    • "The Ricklantis Mixup" to "The Rickshank Redemption", showing how the Citadel of Ricks is faring after Rick practically destroyed it in the latter episode. It also turns out to be one to "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" (which was the first episode to feature the Citadel, while "Rickshank" was the second), in that it shows what Evil Morty is doing now after his plans in that episode were thwarted by "our" Morty.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • The parallel dimensions in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" become increasingly absurd variations on a theme, from a world where slices of pizza order human delivery, to a world where phones sit on pizza and order chair delivery on human phones, to - finally - a world where chairs sit on inanimate humans and order phone take-out on pizza. Rick and Morty even visit an Italian restaurant and purchase some edible phones for themselves.
    • Arguably the entire show, on a high concept sci-fi scale. The first episode starts with the most ridiculous thing being that Rick has created a flying car from garage junk, and introduces the concept of the multiverse. By episode six of the first season, the titular characters have replaced alternate universe versions of themselves who managed to solve a problem our Rick and Morty couldn't, and also coincidentally died around the same time. The Citadel of Ricks in Episode 10 escalates this even further, and by the beginning of Season 2, we're in full-blown mind-fuck territory if we weren't there already. And it escalates further from there.
  • Servant Race: Meeseeks, who are created by one of Rick's devices to serve a single purpose and die in a puff of smoke after they're done. However, if they take too long to get a task done then they'll end up going murderously insane until it gets accomplished.
  • Sex Bot: Rick buys one for Morty in "Raising Gazorpazorp". As it turns out, the robot is actually a Gazorpian breeding chamber that results in a half-human half-Gazorpian baby.
  • Sex Sells:
    • In the Fan Art Contest promo, Rick promises bonus points for "scantily clad artwork of Summer!"
      Morty: W-what!?! Th-th-that's disgusting, Rick!
      Rick: Hey, look, Morty, I agree. But, uh, sex sells, you know? We gotta push product, right? Just don't look at it.
    • The "Turbulent Juice" commercial in "Rixty Minutes".
      Morty: What in the hell?!
      Rick: Sex sells.
      Morty: Sex sells what?! Is that a movie, or does it clean stuff?!
  • Sexy Dimorphism: The Gazorpians. Male Gazorpians are large, stupid, brutish beings driven by violence and lust, while females are much more human-looking and are empathetic, intellectual, and telekinetic.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • In "Mortynight Run", Morty disobeys Rick to save the life of a gaseous creature targeted for assassination. In the process, he endangers himself and Rick and causes the injury or deaths of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent bystanders. Just before the creature makes it home, however, it reveals that it's going to return with reinforcements to purge all organic life like a disease (including Morty), and Morty has no choice but to kill it himself, so despite his best intentions, he has only succeeded in making things objectively worse.
    • In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", Rick claims at the beginning of the episode that the parallel universe they're in has "the best ice cream in the multiverse", but when the family finally gets to the ice cream shop at the end of the episode, all ice cream has been declared to be for all beings, including telepathic spiders, meaning that it has flies in it now.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now", Rick and Arthricia kill all of the rich leaders of the planet to stop the Purge, but it's implied it will happen again, regardless of their influence.
    • In "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat", Morty spends most of the episode following a vision that will lead to him dying old with Jessica declaring her love for him. He learns in The Stinger that, in the vision, Jessica was a hospice worker comforting Morty so he wouldn't die alone, and presumably didn't even remember him personally.
  • Shaped Like Itself: While reporting a robbery of a Mortymart in Mortytown (which was committed by other Mortys) to Cop Rick and Cop Morty in "The Ricklantis Mixup", the shopkeeper describes the robbers as "about 14 years old, about my height and wearing yellow shirts." This is lampshaded by Cop Morty.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: When the President takes a shrinking pill, Morty pokes fun at how his clothes aren't shrinking with him. Rick makes a shirt for him that grows with him when he enlarges again, but intentionally left out pants just to rile him up.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The third season, billed as darker than usual, sees Jerry divorced from the rest of the family and not appearing at all in several of the episodes, and suffering more than usual on average when we do see him. He returns to the family at the end of the season.
  • The Show Must Go On: Rick's and Summer's party in "Ricksy Business" hits a few speed bumps, including the entire house being accidentally teleported to an alien planet, but for the most part, everyone just keeps partying.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In "Anatomy Park", the tuberculosis/scar tissue relationship is described correctly.
    • In "Rick Potion #9", Rick tells Morty that he got his vial of oxytocin from a vole, an animal that mates for life. Not only is the chemical correct - oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that is basically the closest thing there is to love in chemical form - but voles (prairie voles specifically) do indeed mate for life and are well-known for their aid in the study of this chemical.
    • In "Something Ricked This Way Comes," one of Needful's cursed objects is a beauty cream that makes women beautiful and blinds them. Radium cream and eyeshadow were once prized for making women literally glow before the radiation blinded and killed them.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted, as Morty is, indeed, missing school to go on adventures with Rick. Rick at least made sure to brainwash Mister Goldenfold into giving Morty an A, but that doesn't really cover all his other classes.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Pregnant Baby
    • The Life and Times of Mrs. Pancakes (Rick's a fan, but a season behind watching).
    • There are loads of these in the episode "Rixty Minutes," and again in "Interdimensional Cable 2."
  • Silence Is Golden: The show utilizes this a couple of times in later seaons, using background music to set the mood but not containing dialogue.
    • In "The Vat of Acid Episode", while Morty is on a do-over spree with the remote Rick gave him, we see him meet, fall for, and start a relationship with a Bespectacled Cutie, before getting into a harrowing, life-threatening situation with her, and getting out alive...before, unfortunately, Jerry accidentally hits the remote and resets all of it. There being no dialogue also means that we never learn the name of Morty's girlfriend. This montage is one of the primary factors behind this episode winning an Emmy.
    • In "Rickmurai Jack", Morty uses information downloaded from Rick's brain to learn about his Dark and Troubled Past backstory, showing how he lost his wife and daughter, killed hundreds of Ricks in a failed effort to avenge them, and eventually spiraled into cynicism and nihilism before going to live with his family and partnering up with Morty. The only sounds from the characters come from Rick and Morty laughing at the end during a montage of their adventures together, and the downcast music makes the montage all the more powerful.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Jerry and Rick toward each other; see Obnoxious In-Laws above.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • When Rick is explaining to Summer that he and Morty are stuck on a planet that is currently undergoing a purge and needs her help before they get killed, her first action is to express her opinion of the movie.
    • Rick's morality results in a lot of gags like this. In "Get Schwifty," he uses his portal gun to get snacks but not to get the rest of the family in case Earth is destroyed because it's "planning for failure." In a flashback in "Total Rickall," aliens are performing experiments on Morty, and Rick runs in to steal their medical equipment.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Easily the most nihilistic and pessimistic cartoon on television. The show has a habit of taking any sense of optimism you would normally expect with a show and smashing it into pieces. With that said, the series can actually still present some positive notes and insightful ideas.
    • However the show subverts this with Jerry and the family as a whole. The creators are quick to point out that Jerry who has had a really tough life and is consistently being dumped on by the universe, is still somewhat content with how his life is going. They point to the scene where Rick is on the verge of suicide while Jerry is happily trimming his lawn. Rick who is an all-powerful omni-scientist, who can create almost anything is left feeling bitter and depressed whether by the burden of his knowledge or his really awful outlook on life, while by contrast, Jerry who has no prospects and has had many many awful situations heaped upon him is still trucking along. Both creators admire Jerry for his tenacity and optimism.
    • The episode The Rickchurian Mortydate eventually calls out Rick's nihilistic attitude and shows that for all of their negative qualities and despite Rick's rantings about the futility of existence the Smith family finally finds some contentment with their lives. Ultimately they tell Rick either to stay or go and to stop acting like such a nihilistic ass to Jerry all the time.
    • This is taken to an extreme in A Rickconvenient Mort, where it is shown that all hope for the planet is lost and humans, even the ones who don't want to do harm, are a cancer on the world. The Tina-teers now only care about profit and Planetina begins murdering people when she sees her activism isn't working.
  • Slow Clap: Done by Evil Rick as Sarcastic Clapping in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind". Apparently, he invented it in that dimension, and no one has ever done it there before him.
  • Smart People Build Robots: In the pilot, Rick mentions that he builds robots for fun. In "Something Ricked This Way Comes", he built one for the specific reason of passing butter on the table. Note that this robot is advanced enough to be horrified when Rick told him what his only purpose is.
    Robot: What-is-my-purpose?
    Rick: You pass butter.
    Robot: (looks at his hands) Oh-my-god!
    Rick: Yeah, welcome to the club, pal.
  • Smurfing: Discussed and justified, in a rather surprising turn. Squanchy the talking cat uses "squanch" and variations thereof for everything, including auto-erotic asphyxiation; when Beth lampshades that this is "like the Smurfs", Rick explains that Squanchy's language is more contextual than literal. When Beth tries to do it (by saying that she squanches her family) both Rick and Squanchy start cringing in disgust.
  • Snap Back: Pretty much every episode that has a B-plot about Beth and Jerry ends with them reconciling their marriage. They're back to fighting by the next episode.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: In "Rick Potion #9", one of the most serious and dramatic episodes in the series, the show remains very persistent that Praying Mantises cull one another during mating. Even the matching genders.
  • Space Orcs: Male Gazorpians are large, sex-obsessed primitive brutes who spend their short lives trying to kill each other and impregnating artificial birthing machines distributed to them by the more civilized females. Rick theorizes that the males used to be just as civilized until the invention of birthing machines allowed them to focus more on war and building weapons, eventually causing their society to devolve back to the stone age and become more savage and violent as a result.
  • Spinoff Babies: For April Fools 2021, Adult Swim's official YouTube channel posted an opening for Rick and Morty Babies, a Lighter and Softer alternate universe where everyone (except Jerry) are babies.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick transfers his mind into a younger clone body. His teenage hormones cause a different personality to develop and take over. The real Rick communicates through Tiny Rick's subconscious, causing him to beg for Morty and Summer to save him from himself through Tiny Rick's artistic endeavors.
  • Split Screen:
    • Used extensively in "A Rickle in Time", representing different timelines.
    • Also occurs during the phone conversations in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" and "The Rickchurian Mortydate".
  • Springtime for Hitler: Heavily implied that "Weekend at Dead Cat Lady's House II" was this for Jerry C-500a, as at the end he has a complete breakdown and admits he hates everything to do with being a celebrity.
  • Spock Speak: Birdperson speaks in this manner, and veers into The Comically Serious.
  • Spoof Aesop: In "Raising Gazorpazorp" Summer saves the day with a seemingly heartfelt speech that amounts to "Straight men are terrible, but gay men are alright." It only works because the Gazorpazorpians are brutally sexist against men (understandably so given the ways their sexual dimorphism differs from humans, but still).
  • Squick: So, so often. Some examples:
    • Morty and Rick have this reaction in-universe when Summer appears in BDSM gear and acts seductively towards them in Mr. Goldenfold's dream world in "Lawnmower Dog".
    • Any time Rick appears completely in the nude, doubling as Fan Disservice, such as in "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" and "Rest and Ricklaxation".
    • In "The Ricklantis Mixup", one of the businesses in "Mortytown" is a strip club called The Creepy Morty. The only denizens of Mortytown are, well, Mortys. So, this is a strip club where Mortys dance...for other Mortys.
  • Stacy's Mom: Summer's friend Tricia professes an attraction to Jerry in "Promortyus".
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Both averted and played straight at the end of "Rick Potion #9". After infecting the entire planet with a Body Horror virus, Rick ultimately solves the problem by taking himself and Morty to an alternate universe where their counterparts invented a successful cure for the virus and but died on the same day so that he and Morty can take their place. Rick tells Morty not to think too hard about it all, but Morty is visibly traumatized by the events.
    • The ending of Season 2 resulted in Earth joining the Galactic Federation. The opening of Season 3 results in Rick escaping from prison through Body Surfing his mind from his body into a GF agent, and then into another Rick who was part of an assault force tasked with killing Rick himself. He surfs from one Rick to another, eventually destroying both the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks in succession. Earth restores itself to normal by the end of the episode.
    • No matter how many episodes end with Beth and Jerry rebuilding their marriage, expect it to be falling apart again by the next episode. It's played with at the end of Season 3: while Beth and Jerry do get back together and call off the divorce after spending all of Season 3 separated, seemingly playing this straight, there is also the implication that their marriage will be more solid and less unhappy in the future.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • At the end of "Meeseeks and Destroy", the family comments on how the Meeseeks destroyed the room. All five then proceed to break the fourth wall.
    • Pluto's society is controlled by the wealthy. In other words, it's a plutocracy.
    • The Moonmen that Fart sings about in "Mortynight Run" turn into asses.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" has Tiny Rick, Morty and Summer kill the vampire in their school, who turns out to be Coach Feratu. The Stinger lampshades this, with a vampire elder getting really annoyed at how vampires infiltrating human society always like using obvious identity-blowing references as their names rather than regular human names.
  • The Stinger: Not counting the pilot, every single episode of the series has one after the ending credits.
  • The Stoic: Subverted in the first episode in which Rick assures Morty that he's seen it all and will keep him safe, only to be interrupted by a fierce alien creature. "Run Morty, I've never seen one of those before! This is bad, we're going to die, Morty!"
  • Story Arc: Downplayed, which is enforced in-universe by Rick heavily disliking serialized drama and preferring to keep things episodic, but there have been a few:
    • Rick's past fighting the Galactic Federation with Bird Person, Squanchy, and others, and the ramifications it has in the present day when their past catches up to them. Naturally, the G-Fed as a whole acts as the Big Bad to this story, with Tammy and, for a while, Phoenix Person acting as The Heavy. So far, this arc has gotten central focus in "The Wedding Squanchers", "The Rickshank Redemption", "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri", and "Rickternal Friendshine of the Rickless Mort".
    • When Rick manipulates Beth and Jerry into divorcing at the beginning of Season 3 so he can become the new patriarch of the family, the season as a whole focuses on how his self-destructive, nihilistic worldview serves as a Toxic Friend Influence and negatively affects the rest of the family, culminating in all of them realizing this by the finale, deciding they don't want to be like that, and choosing to work on bettering themselves, complete with Jerry and Beth getting back together and unseating Rick as head of the family.
    • The conflict between Rick and Morty and the Citadel of Ricks, and the enormous negative ramifications that the Citadel's actions have had on the Ricks, Mortys, and the rest of the Smith Families of The Multiverse. This plotline has a Big Bad Ensemble consisting of both the Council of Ricks (plus other major leaders of the Citadel) and of Evil Morty, and takes center stage in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", "The Rickshank Redemption", "The Ricklantis Mixup", and "Rickmurai Jack".
  • Straw Feminist:
    • The female Gazorpians have a society that's practically built on straw. It's so extreme that they'll automatically kill any male who enters their domain, even if he isn't a threat. Their behavior is actually understandable because female Gazorpians are intelligent and empathetic whereas male Gazorpians are incredibly violent and dangerous, but their hatred spreads to males of all species, which winds up making them pretty intolerant and hypocritical.
    • Summer showed signs of this as well in the same episode as she refused to objectify herself even though her life and her chastity was threatened. Though that was more of a reaction to Rick being a Jerkass.
  • String Theory: In one episode we see Rick's bedroom. One wall has notes connected this way.
  • Stronger Than They Look:
    • Summer proves to be a pretty good shot with a laser pistol in "Total Rickall." In fact, once she starts going on adventures with Rick, she proves to be a competent fighter anytime they're forced to battle.
    • Invoked with Beth a few times. She is shown kicking just as much Cronenberg ass as Jerry in "Rick Potion #9" and again in "ABC's of Beth" as she walks back into the garage liberally soaked with blood.
    Beth: "So.... Tommy gave me his finger."
    Rick: "He gave you his finger?"
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Rick is smart enough to analyze magical items from the devil's shop, then remove the curse while still retaining the magical benefits.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: This happens several times in the "Two Brothers" trailer in "Rixty Minutes". Tornadoes push away cat monsters, a UFO sets aside the tornado, and so on.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Being a Deconstructor Fleet, a lot of plot points and punchlines are centered around this.
    • Rick succeeds in besting Satan by opening a new store. Afterwards, faced with the responsibilities of running the shop, he announces he's bored of it and closing, douses it in gasoline and sets it on fire during regular business hours.
    • After Jerry successfully pacifies the Meeseeks in "Meeseeks and Destroy", he tells the chef that he and Beth will take their dinner to go (presumably, to go home and have sex), but the chef replies that the cops are on their way and will have a ton of questions for him, which makes sense considering that the Meeseeks attacked the restaurant and took people hostage while trying to get to Jerry. Jerry himself even acknowledges this with "Fair enough."
    • In "Ricksy Business", Summer, seeking to get in with the cool kids, blows off one of her nerdy friends and essentially throws her out of the party to get her out of the way...and then finds out that when you do un-squanchy stuff like that, no one wants to hang out with you.
    • Rick's alcoholism and Morty's constant brushes with death, which are usually played for laughs and brushed aside, are occasionally shown to weigh on them heavily.
    • "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" features the TV show "Man vs. Car", in which a man tries to fight a car. The man is quickly run over, and the chuckling announcer asks, "Wouldn't the cars always win?"
    • Other ways to destroy the Galactic Federation? Why not disrupt their credit economy by reducing their spending power to zero?
    • At the end of "Rick Potion #9", Beth, Jerry, and Summer of the show's original dimension appear to have found happiness despite being the last humans on a post-apocalyptic Cronenberg earth. Skip ahead 2-3 years to "The Rickshank Rickdemption", and the family has devolved to the level of cavemen due to the brutal realities of living in such a world. Furthermore, in "Rick Potion #9", Beth and Jerry don't seem to mind that Rick and Morty have disappeared. (In fact, they feel as if it has made their lives better.) However, by the "The Rickshank Rickdemption", Jerry smashes the portal gun to keep Morty C-137 from leaving and is ready to kill the current version of Summer because she admires Rick. It stands to reason that the original-version Smith family would come to loathe the man who stole their son and destroyed their world, the Season 1 happy ending notwithstanding.
    • What happens when you try and outsmart the smartest man in the universe (maybe multiverse?) You lose....badly. As the Federation agent trying to interrogate Rick finds out when he attempts to get Rick to reveal the secret of the portal gun.
    • In the B-plot of "Rixty Minutes", Summer is annoyed that while her parents' alternates are doing amazing things like movies, surgery, cocaine and Kristen Stewart, her alternates all seem to be playing board games with her family. Of course, since time-travel isn't a thing, of course she's not going to see some life-fulfilling self — all her alternates are still teenagers. Generally speaking, one doesn't become a movie star or a surgeon while they're still in high school.
    • After "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", Jerry finally realizes that he can't keep using his bad experiences to deflect responsibilities and consequences. However, this isn't an overnight change, as he still has moments where he relapses in his judgement, like when he uses Morty and Summer to break up with his alien girlfriend in "The ABCs of Beth" rather than just coming clean to her that he's the one who wants to break up.
    • When Morty joins a miniverse forest tribe in "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", he's quickly terrified and infuriated by the tribe's rituals. The tribe lacks personal hygiene and one of their rituals includes eating babies to make their fruit grow bigger. Morty is from a time where nature and science have been understood and Morty is well-adjusted to using technology to entertain himself.
    • It happens in the Rickchurian Mortydate. The President of the United States reveals that the only reason the government doesn't prosecute Rick and Morty for their regular lawbreaking — several thousand violations a day— is that Rick is too valuable as the dimension's only citizen that can handle alien threats. When Rick and Morty blow off helping with an alien under the White House who ate a janitor, the President yells at them for lying to him and terminates their relationship, promising to treat them as foreign enemy agents if they interfere violently in government affairs. Sure enough, when Rick murders Secret Service agents trying to escort him peacefully out of the White House, he may win the subsequent tech fight with the President but is labelled as a domestic terrorist. Rick eventually realizes he went too far in Bullying a Dragon and has to fake dimension-hopping to ensure he's not arrested and implicitly apologize. Even if he can break out of prison easily, it's too much of a hassle for him and his family, especially Beth.
  • Take Our Word for It:
    • In "Meeseeks and Destroy" Summer's Meeseeks makes her popular by delivering a speech to the entire student body in the auditorium. We only hear the very end of the speech, but it was apparently really convincing.
    • Despite the episode name, we never actually see Rick's and Morty's Atlantis adventure in "The Ricklantis Mixup", which instead focuses on the Citadel of Ricks, but in The Stinger, they make a point of gushing on and on about how awesome it was and how they plan to go back many more times.
    • Whatever Rick and Jerry see in the Talking Cat's brain scan from "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty" is not shown to the audience, but it's apparently so terrible that Jerry vomits and is reduced to a Troubled Fetal Position in tears, even Rick almost eats his gun in horror, and Rick erases Jerry's memory of the incident so he won't have to live with it.
  • Take That!:
    • Rick says that a chorus of Morties screaming in agony is better to listen to than Mumford & Sons.
    • In "Lawnmower Dog", Rick tells Morty that entering dreams will be just like Inception, except "it'll make sense."
    • Rick's big rigged escape area in "Vindicators 3" is very blatantly a Saw reference. When Morty points this out, Rick initially denies it and replies "I'm a drunk, not a hack." Then his drunk self contradicts him.
    • The Vindicators episode itself is one long, rather mean-spirited "screw you" to the superhero genre in general, peppered with plenty of vitriolic jabs that would make Garth Ennis proud.
    • According to "Something Ricked This Way Comes", Mark Zuckerberg's name is literally synonymous with betrayal.
    • "Rest and Ricklaxation" fired off a subtle blink-and-you-miss-it one at the Sbarro pizza restaurant chain. When the Earth is "toxified" (i.e. making everyone act on their worst traits and impulses), patrons of Salad Works leave the restaurant and enter Sbarro instead, and the lone Sbarro patron leaves the store and eats out of the dumpster.
    • In "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat", Rick complains that Morty has taken all of his normal Meeseeks boxes and left him with only Kirkland-brand boxes. The Meeseeks spawned by the Kirkland boxes are red instead of blue, rude and surly instead of polite and cheerful, and smoke cigarettes.
    • "Rattlestar Ricklactica" is a scathing and over-the-top satire of the Terminator franchise. Having learned the secrets of time travel, the alien snakes start indiscriminately sending countless assassins and bodyguards into various points in the past, causing chaos in the space-time continuum to the point where the Time Police have to intervene.
  • Take That, Us: When Rick reveals the idea of Morty's stored memories in season 3's eighth episode, "Morty's Mind Blowers", he states that they won't be doing an Interdimensional Cable episode this time. The Interdimensional Cable episodes are always situated as the eighth episodes in seasons, and the last installment, "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" wasn't well received.
  • Technicolor Science: Many of Rick's inventions and much of the alien tech emit all manner of glowing light and strange energies, but this often just goes with the brightly colored nature of the show. More straight examples of the trope occur when the characters are playing with chemicals. The test tubes seen in "Rick Potion #9" and "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind" are filled with brightly colored liquids, and weirdly, this makes them seem mundane in comparison to the rest of the show's science.
  • Teens Are Short:
    • Morty is at least a head shorter than the adults in his family, and Summer is slightly shorter than her mother.
    • Rick's teenage version of himself is a head shorter than his adult version and appropriately dubbed Tiny Rick.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Beth got pregnant with Summer when she was seventeen, and inwardly resents Jerry for impregnating her and supposedly robbing her of her dream to become a human surgeon rather than operate on horses.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Jerry, Beth, and Summer use Rick's goggles to look at alternate timelines of themselves, Summer says that she doesn't see anything. Beth responds and realizes what she said without even pausing to breathe.
    "Well, you should select a different timeline. I mean, if your father and I achieved our dreams, there's a chance you were never born — that came out wrong, that came out very wrong."
  • The Theme Park Version: Played with in "Anatomy Park". The "Pirates of the Pancreas" ride is a ride through a pancreas with pirates, but Rick claims that they don't whitewash it and the pirates are "really rapey". Rick is proud of that ride since it was his own creation. "The Rickchurian Mortydate" later reveals that Rick is afraid of pirates, so it was probably supposed to be his "scary ride."
  • There Are No Therapists: Played with in "Pickle Rick". It's averted at first when Beth is forced into a mandatory family therapy session by the kids' high school after both Morty and Summer have separate problems at school, and they visit Dr. Wong. She makes several comments about the fact that their issues might come from using intelligence to justify their problems rather than dealing with them directly and notes that building healthy relationships with others is hard work, while also correctly noticing Beth's tendencies to put her father on a pedestal and let him do whatever he wants to her family and house while only ever minimally calling him out on it. However, it's then played straight at the end when, despite both Summer and Morty wanting to return to see Dr. Wong again, Beth and Rick gleefully ignore her advice and the kids' wishes and make it clear that they don't intend to ever come back. Thankfully, though, it becomes subverted as of the "Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri," wherein it is established that the Smiths have started consistently attending sessions with her, which is further confirmed in the next episode, "Mort Dinner Rick Andre."
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: This is the main reason Rick is so mentally disturbed: humanity was clearly never meant to have access to The Multiverse, encounter the horrors therein, and most importantly, face the existential nightmares it causes. Just look at how Morty reacts to having to find and bury his Dead Alternate Counterpart in "Rick Potion #9" and compare it to Rick.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • Scary Terry can't help but end his sentences with "bitch".
    • After screwing over Summer, Mr. Needful declares "I'm the Devil, BIATCH! What-what!" before he busts out a solo on his fiddle.
    • Near the end of "Close Rick-Counters", our Rick calls one of the Council Ricks to get them to come to his location to arrest the real Rick-murdering culprit, saying, "I caught the real killer, BIIIIITCH!"
    • In "A Rickle in Time", when Beth is trying to save a deer that Jerry accidentally hit with their car, the hunter who was tracking it spitefully makes it clear that he hopes she's not a good surgeon and fails to save it, and she answers with "In your dreams, bitch."
    • In "Total Rickall," one of Rick's random catchphrases is "RikkiTikkiTavi, biiieeeaaatch!"
    • When Jerry is messing with a drugged Rick in "The Whirly-Dirly Conspiracy", he acts like he's about to punch him, and when Rick flinches: "That's what I thought, bitch."
    • This bit of dialogue in "The ABCs of Beth":
      Beth: I was traumatized, Summer! Your generation wouldn't understand that.
      Summer: Bitch, my generation gets traumatized for breakfast.
  • This Was His True Form: The parasites in "Total Rickall" revert to their original appearance when they are killed.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare:
    • Morty has this by the end of "Rick Potion #9". Given the events of the episode, you can't blame him.
    • Summer ends up with this by the end of "The Ricks Must Be Crazy".
  • Throwing Out the Script: Parodied, and provides the current page image. Rick's "script" for his best man's speech at Birdperson's and Tammy's wedding in "The Wedding Squanchers" consists of two and a half sentences, then some notes telling himself to crumple up the script and start ad-libbing.
  • Title Drop: Go ahead and count the number of times Rick drops it in the page quote alone.
  • Title Montage: The series subverts this by updating the title sequence every season, but having several clips that are fake and created solely for the intro.
  • Toilet Humor: It isn't guaranteed in an episode, but it shows up now and then. The episode "Mortynight Run" features a gaseous alien being that Rick dubs "Fart", and Rick farting loudly is something of a Running Gag.
  • Training Montage: "Something Ricked This Way Comes" has Rick and Summer working out and taking steroids set to "X Gon' Give It To Ya" by DMX so that they can go beat up Mr. Needful (and after the credits, assorted assholes).
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • After putting together what happened between Morty and the Jellybean King, Rick simply wears an expression of silent rage.
    • Rick and Morty both enter into this at different points in "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy": Rick when he realizes that Jerry betrayed him to assassins who wanted to kill him, and Morty when he's confronting Summer's now-ex-boyfriend Ethan about breaking her heart.
  • Tricked-Out Shoes:
    • Rick gives Morty a pair of grappling shoes that will allow him to walk down a cliff. Unfortunately, Morty tries doing this before Rick tells him that they need to be turned on.
    • Mr. Needful gives one of his customers shoes that offer superhuman speed, but they're also cursed so the user can't stop once they started, which would force them to run until they drop dead. Rick manages to remove the curse.
  • Troll: Beth refers to a Noodle Incident in which Jerry was trolled online and responded with a flippant "takes one to know one" and spent the rest of the night refreshing the browser while crying.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Summer's friend Tammy reveals herself to be an agent from the Galactic Federation during her wedding with Birdperson in "The Wedding Squanchers".
  • Underside Ride: Lucy clings to the underside of the Smiths' car while cackling "I'm doing Cape Fear!" right before she loses her grip at the first bump and gets mortally wounded from being run over by the back tires.
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: The Meeseeks box summons a creature called Mr. Meeseeks, who obeys one command of their summoner before disappearing. If the task is too hard or takes too long (in this case, helping Jerry get better at golf), they start breaking down but still can't disappear until it's done, so they might find alternate solutions like summoning more Meeseeks or killing their summoner.
  • Unseen Character: Beth's mother is not seen in the show but is mentioned several times. Whether or not she is deceased or simply not around is unknown. She seems to make her apparent first appearance in the Season 3 premiere, but since this a fabricated flashback inside of Rick's mind, it's unclear whether or not this is actually her. However, in the season 5 finale it's revealed that the flashback (or at least parts of it) was actually true.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out which Beth is the original and which is the clone, as when Rick cloned her he turned his back when mixing up the stasis vats to not know himself. This is pointed out directly by Morty, Summer, and Jerry where they make it clear that they don't care to know which one is the clone, as both Beths are equally badass and their mother/wife in their own ways. In the end, only Rick is left caring to learn which is which, and once he remembers that he looked away to never know, he mutters to himself about what an asshole he is.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • It seems this extends to the entire show when it comes to human/alien interaction. None of the human characters seem fazed or bothered by having to interact with multiple alien species.
    • In "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" everyone who learns that Tiny Rick is just Rick having transferred his consciousness to a teenage clone of himself reacts completely casually to it.
    • From the same episode, Rick arrives naked and covered in blood to pick up Jerry and Beth from marriage counselling. Neither of them comment on it at all, and in fact, don't even seem to notice or care.
    • At the end of "The Wedding Squanchers", Earth becomes a member of the Galactic Federation. Aliens are integrated with human society, and nobody thinks anything of it.
    • In "Edge of Tomorty", Gearhead is in the backseat of the ship with Rick and Fascist Morty for unexplained reasons. He doesn't say anything, and neither of them gives any indication that they're even aware of his presence.
  • Unwanted Harem: In "Rick Potion #9", after Morty's love potion backfires and goes airborne, it results in everyone on the planet that isn't related to him biologically desperately wanting to have sex with him. Then Rick adds in some mantis DNA and they want to kill him after the fact.
  • Uplifted Animal: Snowball and his dog army.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: If Rick's younger clone can be considered, Rick was cheerful and nice in his younger days. No doubt the horrors he was exposed to later in life made him into what he is as an old man.
  • Uterine Replicator: Female Gazorpians use a combination Uterine Replicator/Sexbot to go and "mate" with the male Gazorpians and then give birth to babies since the females don't want to do either.

  • Vast Bureaucracy: In "The Wedding Squanchers", we get a glimpse of both the scope (6,047 other planets) and yet the inefficiency of the Galactic Federation, when Earth is added within a day, and the ensuing news report summarizes humans as a species "who love to eat spaghetti and pray to kangaroos."
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Rick continually addresses Morty by his name when talking to him. This is toned down in the second episode but is still present. You could also count the constant belching Rick does in mid-sentence whenever he's drunk, which is most of the time.
    • In "Lawnmower Dog", Scary Terry constantly ends his sentence with "bitch!"
    • "Hi, I'm Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!"
    • Female Gazorpians are always telling each other "I'm here if you need to talk", to the point that it may just be a casual greeting.
    • Mr. Poopy Butthole is constantly saying "whoo-wee!"
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Frank Palicky in the pilot. Despite being a sadistic bully to Morty, Summer had a crush on him, and after his death, the rest of the school held a memorial in his honor.
    • As of the end of "The Ricklantis Mixup", Evil Morty. The members of the Citadel of Ricks (or, at least, those still living) see him as their benevolent newly-elected President who cares about all the Ricks and Mortys living there and plans to make life better for them...unaware that he was once the mastermind of a plot that involved killing a couple of dozen Ricks (and framing another Rick for it) and kidnapping and torturing hundreds of Mortys.
  • Violence Is Not an Option: Rick has no problem with just shooting whatever ails him, so typically, he's only not killing things when doing so wouldn't solve his problems. A specific example comes with the Cromulons, giant floating space-heads that force Earth into a musical reality show, where they explicitly state the losers' planets will be destroyed by a plasma ray. Rick plays along, but a nuke-happy General tries to blow up the Cromulons predictable results.
  • Viral Transformation: In "Rick Potion #9", Rick's attempt to cure every one of Morty's love potion turned them into Mantis Men. His attempt to cure everyone of that turned them into "Cronenbergs".
  • Visual Pun: In "Morty's Mind Blowers", we see Rick owns a device that can magnetically attract whatever is programmed into it. When Morty toys with it, dozens of horrified girls (all redheads) start flying towards the garage: a literal babe magnet.
  • We Really Do Care: In "Ricksy Business", Birdperson questions why Morty cares if he no longer can have adventures with Rick if he thinks Rick is just a huge asshole and notes that, if Morty truly is fed up with Rick's shenanigans, fate has presented him with a way out. Morty realizes that Birdperson is right and that he does still want to go on adventures, and wakes Rick up in time to prevent his parents from seeing the house trashed.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Downplayed in "The Ricklantis Mixup". The assembly line Ricks and construction worker Ricks and plumber Ricks and so forth on the Citadel of Ricks are working-class rather than slaves, and they're technically living in the present, but they're part of a society half composed of super-geniuses. Having robots handle the unpleasant jobs would make more sense, but of course, it would also undercut the citadel being used as a parody of present-day society.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Rick is implied to be this, as he wanted a stadium of men who even remotely resembled his father to watch him have sex with Unity. They're heard chanting "Go son go!"
    • It becomes clearer and clearer as the series goes on that Beth is this as well; a combination of wanting Rick's love and approval and desperately not wanting him to leave her again makes her willing to put up with way too much from him and very reluctant to put her foot down even when she really needs to. Luckily, she seems to grow past this by the end of Season 3.
    • This mindset is deconstructed thoroughly throughout the series and reaches a head in season five's Gotron episode: Rick is a cynical man with incredibly eccentric interests, which is why his praise is so rare, and people mistake that rarity for value. Conversely, the fact that Jerry is so easy to please is why nobody cares if he is.
  • Weirdness Censor: This happens quite a bit throughout the series (see Unusually Uninteresting Sight)
    • None of the people Summer invites to the mutual house party seem at all fazed by the extra-dimensional oddities Rick keeps company with. Nor do they seem to notice the entire house has been suddenly teleported to another world or dimension. (At least one of them is later revealed as an undercover galactic cop, so...)
    • In "Pickle Rick", Rick finally shows up to family therapy still in his pickle form, while also wearing his Power Armor that's partially made up of the body parts of rats. Naturally, his family doesn't find anything weird about this, but Dr. Wong, the therapist, also doesn't act as if this is anything remotely out of the ordinary.note 
  • Wham Episode:
    • If fan consensus says this, then "Rick Potion #9" is definitely this, given how Rick and Morty abandon their doomed reality for a non-doomed one... and take the places of their dead counterparts.
    • The Season 2 Finale "The Wedding Squanchers" where Rick allows himself to be taken prisoner while Earth becomes a member of the tyrannical Galactic Federation.
    • "The Rickshank Rickdemption" resolves the Season 2 cliffhanger. Rick successfully escapes from the Galactic prison and destroys both the Galactic Federation and the Council of Ricks. Morty shows Summer the doomed reality of Earth C137 from "Rick Potion #9" and Beth is divorcing Jerry. Rick also says that his Pet the Dog moment in "The Wedding Squanchers" was just part of a Batman Gambit and that he doesn't really care about his family, but it's hard to know how seriously to take that. Tammy also rebuilt Birdperson as an evil cyborg. It was also unexpectedly aired on April Fools two years after the last season ended. Phew.
    • "The Ricklantis Mixup" ends with a Morty becoming the President of the initially destroyed Citadel. However, it's revealed that he's Evil Morty in disguise as he seizes complete control of the station.
    • "The ABCs of Beth" confirms something that many fans had suspected for a while: that Beth is every bit as amoral as Rick himself. As of this episode she finally comes to terms with that, possibly leaving to wreak havoc across the universe while leaving a clone to watch the kids, or also possibly deciding to stay and put real effort into improving herself and being a better mom to her kids. Oh, and Rick lost an arm. (He got it back.)
    • "Rickternal Friendshine of the Rickless Mort" has a rare dive into Rick's past, and confirms some fan theories: Rick C-137's (aka our Rick) Beth died young, before she gave birth to Summer and Morty. Rick travelled to an alternate universe and adopted the Beth shown in Series 1 Episode 1. The episode also heavily implies that Beth and Rick's wife Diane were killed by alternate Ricks, validating at least part of the flashback in "The Rickshank Redemption". Rick also has romantic feelings for Bird Person, and the latter's rejection of them made one of the worst days of Rick's life.
    • "Rickamurai Jack" reveals the actual truth behind Rick's past and brings Evil Morty back into the storyline. Morty learns that Evil Morty was telling the truth that Rick C-137 was the actual creator of the Citadel of Ricks, and reveals that he is only "Evil" Morty because he actively despises the dynamic that Rick and Morty has. He tells Morty that if he ever disapproved of Rick's actions on their adventures, then he was "Evil" Morty too. The Central Finite Curve that has been mentioned across the series is revealed to be literal wall of all the infinite universes where Rick is the smartest man in the universe, preventing anyone from accessing a universe where he wasn't. Evil Morty shatters the Central Finite Curve (destroying the Citadel in the process) and escapes to a new multiverse where a Rick won't be the smartest, and therefore the one most likely to be a main presence of his life.
  • Wham Line:
    • From "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind:"
      Morty: Oh, my God, Rick, look! There's a bunch of people strapped all over that building!
      Rick: Not people, Morty, Mortys.
    • Some occurs with "Rixty Minutes".
      • This argument between Jerry and Beth, regarding Summer's birth:
        Jerry: All this time, you've been thinking, "What if that loser Jerry hadn't talked me out of the abortion?"
      • An in-universe one for Summer (but not for the audience, who already knows this):
        Morty: (points to the graves in the backyard) That out there? That's my grave!
    • Tammy's speech at her wedding reception in the season 2 finale:
      Tammy: But then I think, y'know, in a lot of ways I'm not a high school senior from the planet Earth. In a lot of ways what I really am is a deep cover agent for the Galactic Federation and you guys are a group of wanted criminals and this entire building is, in a certain sense, surrounded.
    • Not a spoken line, but a song at the end of "The Ricklantis Mix-up." "For the Damaged Coda" begins playing once the newly-elected President Morty has the shadow cabal of Ricks killed, revealing just who we're really dealing with.
  • Wham Shot: A giant one for "The Ricklantis Mix-up". At the end of the episode, Candidate Morty has finally become President of the Citadel, and he has disposed of some Ricks and Mortys who have disagreed with his rule, even his presidential campaign manager. As their bodies are ejected into space, contents of classified documents that Campaign Manager Morty had are shown to the audience while they are drifting in space: pictures of the Candidate Morty with a familiar eyepatch and a robotic Rick. The real Wham? The Rick that gave Campaign Manager Morty the pictures is floating in space too. Nobody left alive on the Citadel knows who Evil Morty actually is.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: A character on Pregnant Baby says this when she decides she doesn't need protection since she's already pregnant.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender", Rick gets so blackout drunk that he single-handedly kills the Worldender character threatening the universe and makes matters worse by creating an even bigger threat. He acknowledges that he officially had too much to drink last night.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Inverted. One episode featured a Titanic (1997)-themed ship which is designed to hit an iceberg and sink every time it sails. It misses the iceberg completely.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • All the people who had bought cursed items and were waiting to be served when Rick got bored and closed. Enjoy your curses everyone.
    • Subverted in "A Rickle in Time." The neighbor that Summer forgot to put a mattress undertakes a nasty fall off his roof and is then forgotten about, until the very end of the episode, which offhandedly reveals that he survived the incident, but is now in a wheelchair.
    • In "The Ricklantis Mixup", the ending shows short epilogues for all of the surviving characters except for Rick J-22, who was last seen still hooked up to a Lotus-Eater Machine so his brain fluid can be used to make wafer cookies. Since President Morty killed the factory owner, it's unknown what's become of J-22 or any of the other Ricks working there.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Morty sometimes tries to take a stand with his grandpa after the situation inevitably devolves into chaos and horror. In "Rick Potion #9", Rick turns it back on him, rightly comparing Morty's love-potion request to a bid for date rape.
    • The entire family pretty much calls out Rick in "Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri" for secretly cloning Beth without telling anybody. Even worse, he doesn't even know which Beth is the original or clone, because he deliberately hid that knowledge from himself. Everybody finally accepts what a terrible father figure Rick is.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Rick tells Morty in the pilot episode that it's okay to shoot the spaceport security guards because they're "robots". They aren't, but Rick contemptuously refers to them as such because of his hatred for bureaucracy.
    • The last thing the Zigerian leader mentions before mixing the chemicals that destroy the entire warship in a massive explosion is how all of his staff members have families.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Constantly abused and exploited for comic effect. Of course, it's not like the series places a great deal of emphasis on human life, either.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: Discussed in "Rixty Minutes" after a very confusing ad for "Turbulent Juice" featuring hordes of shirtless men.
    Morty: What in the hell?
    Rick: Sex sells, Morty.
    Morty: Sex sells what? Is it a movie? Does it clean stuff?
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • Owing to its origins as a parody of Back to the Future, multiple episodes pastiche sci-fi and speculative fiction works, oftentimes blatantly lampshaded in a very tongue-in-cheek manner.
    • "Lawnmower Dog" is one for Inception. The act of entering someone's dream is even referred to as "Incepting".
      Morty: But I-it's been like a whole year!
      Rick: It's been six hours. Dreams move one one-hundredth the speed of reality, and dog time is one-seventh human time. So, you know, every day here is like a minute. It's like Inception, Morty, so if it's confusing and stupid, then so is everyone's favorite movie.
    • The "Lawnmower Dog" plot itself is a reference to The Lawnmower Man, a movie about a mentally challenged man who gains intelligence through the application of technology, and it turns him toward malevolence.
    • "Anatomy Park" is a hybrid of Fantastic Voyage and Jurassic Park.
    • "Something Ricked This Ways Comes" initially starts as one to Needful Things, down to the storeowner being named Mr. Needful. And then Rick blatantly references The Twilight Zone (1959), Ray Bradbury, and Friday the 13th: The Series when he comes back with his device that scans and analyzes what each object's Jackass Genie twist is gonna be.
    • Invoked in-universe by the Titanic-themed cruise ship that Jerry and Beth go on in "Ricksy Business". People can live out their Jack and Rose fantasies by recreating scenes from the movie.
    • The main plot reference of "Ricksy Business" itself is rather obvious.
    • "Raising Gazorpazorp" cribs much of its A-plot from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Abandoned", in which the crew deal with a fast-growing infant Jem Hadar boy left on their station. Its B-plot is based on the somewhat-comprehensible parts of Zardoz.
    • "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" is this to the Tom Baker era Doctor Who serial The Deadly Assassin, where the president of the Time Lords is assassinated and the Council of Time Lords blames the Doctor. It turns out the killer was The Master.
    • The Time Cop in "A Rickle in Time" is a Langolier, only with skinny arms and fewer teeth.
    • "Look Who's Purging Now" is one for The Purge, in which society has achieved world peace through a night of wanton cathartic murder. Rick even references the film itself and states that multiple civilizations across the universe have their own Purges under different names.
    • "Rickmancing the Stone" serves as one of the Mad Max films, taking place in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth where "Death Stalkers" scrounge for supplies. Summer even kills an Immortan Joe Expy near the beginning.
    • The second half of "Rattlestar Ricklactica" is basically a Terminator movie, but with snakes instead of humans.
    • Promortyus is a clear reference to Prometheus and the Alien franchise in general. The entire plot only works due to Rick and Morty being stupid enough putting their faces right in front of a clearly suspicious egg, allowing themselves to be attacked by facehugging parasites.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Parodied in "Total Rickall" when Summer goes into a Sugar Bowl music video and suddenly a very aggressive rapper who is incredibly out of place shows up and changes the entire tone of the song.
  • Wild Teen Party: In "Ricksy Business", Summer immediately plans one of these while Jerry and Beth are away. Rick decides to one-up her party idea by inviting hordes of his own "friends and acquaintances" to his party, and whoever they know. After Morty has a small mishap with one of Rick's inventions while attempting to woo his would-be girlfriend Jessica, the party becomes literally "out of this world", teleporting the house to another universe entirely. Despite the nonsensical and dangerous events therein, one notably involving a human teen getting "lucky" with a bunch of gargantuan creatures lurking outside the house's perimeter after it had been teleported, the odd mixture of guests find the time to mingle with each other, and have fun, regardless.
  • Wimp Fight: Rick gets into one with the Devil in "Something Ricked This Way Comes".
  • With Due Respect: "Rick, with all due respect—what am I saying? What respect is due?"
  • Womb Level: All of Anatomy Park, which exists inside of a homeless man named Reuben. The main attraction of the park happens to be all of Reuben's many diseases.
  • Women Drivers: Invoked in "A Rickle in Time". Jerry was the one driving when he hit a deer, but insists that Beth say she was at the wheel because he was eating rum-raisin ice cream.
  • World of Snark: Not every single character introduced on the show is a straight Deadpan Snarker, but they all get their moments. At the very least, the main cast certainly have had at least one good sarcastic comeback. Even Jerry.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • In the pilot, Rick freezes a teenager threatening Morty with a knife. This ultimately kills him when he tips over and shatters (although in Rick's defense, Rick didn't intend for this to happen... but he didn't appear to care if it did).
    • All of the adventures he takes Morty on can be counted too. He isn't above risking Morty's life or having him be a mule for him.
  • Wraparound Background: Jerry drives through this when he's in a simulation running at low capacity. Rick has the same three people passing behind him as he talks on the phone in the same episode. Neither notice, but Rick knew what he was in from the very start, so it's completely beneath him.
  • Writer on Board:
    • In one episode parodying Inception, Rick makes a point to mention how overrated that film is, which follows Dan Harmon's comments about it in his podcast Harmontown.
    • In "Look Who's Purging Now," Morty criticizes screenplay gimmicks like the use of How We Got Here. Dan Harmon often complains about clichés he hates in screenplays.
    • Played with in "Interdimensional Cable 2". When Summer complains about juvenile violence in the media, Morty becomes enraged and rants that people shouldn't have to communicate through the filter of her comfort. It's immediately undercut by Rick implying that Morty is just sexually frustrated.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Done with Jerry in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens", where he has the perfect day and wins an award right before Rick comes in and reveals that the whole thing has just been one giant simulation. When Jerry tries starting his next day the same way in real life, it stops as soon as it started in the simulation.
      Rick: Don't worry about it, Jerry. Who cares if the greatest day of your life was just a simulation running at minimum capacity?
    • Also happens to Morty in "Lawnmower Dog" when Rick shows up to reveal the life of luxury he had been living as Snuffles' pet was just part of a dream.
      Rick: Right before I incepted you, you crapped yourself. I mean, real bad, Morty. It's a total mess out there, Morty. Of all the things that you thought happened, you crapping yourself is the only real thing.
    • In "Edge of Tomorty", Morty uses a death crystal to see possible ways he might die, and sees that there's apparently a future that involves him ending up with Jessica and growing old with her. After an entire episode of going way too far in his efforts to make this future happen, he finds out that Jessica wants to be a hospice care worker after leaving school, and the future he saw just had her comforting him when he was old and dying without any kind of special connection to him in particular.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside:
    • The nesting Pocket Dimensions in "The Ricks Must be Crazy" have time which runs progressively faster the further down you go. A period of months spent three dimensions down equates to a few hours outside. The minutes-long final fight lasts a few seconds for Summer.
    • The same thing happens in "Lawnmower Dog" as a spoof of Inception, where time moves faster the deeper they go in Goldenfold's subconscious. Snuffle's All Just a Dream apocalyptic scenario at the end goes on for a year, despite everyone involved only being asleep for six hours, which Rick chalks up to the dream being measured in dog years:
    Rick: "And if that doesn't make any sense, then neither does everyone's favorite movie!"
  • You All Look Familiar: Both parodied when Jerry fails to notice he keeps passing the same simulated background people and played straight when Rick uses the fact to get large numbers of people to work on the same problem at the same time, thereby freezing the program in "M. Night Shaym-Aliens"!
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Parodied in "Lawnmower Dog". Scary Terry keeps saying this as he stalks Rick and Morty. The duo then discusses why they are listening to him, pointing out that since Scary Terry is the villain, he probably wouldn't offer them advice that would actually help them, so they decide to try and hide from him anyway. It turns out to be very effective; Scary Terry spends hours searching for them unsuccessfully before giving up in frustration and going home.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: After Rick locks down the house in "Total Rickall":
    Beth: Dad, why does our house have blast shields?
    Rick: Trust me Beth, you don't wanna know how many answers that question has.
  • You Monster!:
    • Morty calls Rick a monster before comparing him to Hitler. He then takes this last part back, saying that at least Hitler cared about Germany.
    • Zeep Zanflorp calls Rick a monster after the latter destroys his pocket universe.
  • Your Mom: Morty discusses his feelings for Jessica with Jerry, and Jerry says that he used to feel that way about a lady named "Your mom"—and then specifies that he's speaking literally and not as an urban diss.
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: In some episodes, Jerry and Beth's marriage is on the verge of collapse before some event in the episode brings them closer together, rekindling their interest in each other and making them determined to give their marriage another try... until the next episode shoves them back into square one and they have to work through their failing marriage all over again. "Rick Potion No. 9" also justifies the trope by having Rick and Morty jump to another dimension, where Jerry and Beth never repaired their marriage as we saw them do earlier in the episode. "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" lampshades their ever-waffling relationship and explains that they're codependent. Given Rick's presence constantly traumatizes them and destabilizes ... reality... pretty justified. Also, they're not really great people and their marriage has a pretty shitty foundation.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Rick occaisionally compliments a member of his family for their ideas or actions. They typically react with entirely appropriate self-hatred.

Morty: Jeez Rick, I, uh, I'm not sure our own trope page is the best idea for the, uh, situation...
Rick: Oh yeah Morty? Wha- What are you trying to say, Morty? You saying what you do on the internet is a more productive use of your time than TV Tropes? Y-You're saying you have better things to do than painstakingly cataloging every trivial storytelling device in every form of fiction ever as a means of studying and analyzing fiction as an entertainment medium? Is that what you're trying to say, Morty?
Morty: N-No, I just-
Rick: Well t-*URP* too bad because you'd probably be right.


It's called a Deterrent

Rick warns the guard of his 'deterrent' that'll kill him if he even touches him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TouchOfDeath

Media sources: