There has been plenty of scientists in television shows. Some of the scientists being included as flat, irrelevant side characters, others being the dynamic protagonist of the show that establishes its entire theme. But very few television scientist characters have come to belike Rick Sanchez in the Adult Swim cartoon comedy “Rick and Morty.” Rick Sanchez’s explicit characteristics shows him as a over the top drunk genius who provides everyone with dark humor and the plot of each episode. However, if explored deeper, it may be implied that Sanchez is a very complex character who holds deep personal emotions and struggles that he hides from the audience.
Rick’s visual appearance is a reference to Doc Brown from the sci-fi film Back to the Future, wearing a blue shirt underneath a lab coat and speaks with a slightly disconcerting and raspy voice that only adds to his character. He does have some traits unlike Mr.Brown, such as spiky, light blue hair. Along with frequent burps and often a daub of vomit on his chin to indicate his alcoholic tendencies.
He lives in the home of his daughter, son in law, and two grandchildren. He is most often in the garage working on some random and insane science project. He usually snatches his grandson, Morty Smith, out of school to assist him with his reckless adventures. Rick’s previous lover who conceived his daughter is never seen in the show; however, she is frequently referenced as if it is an intentionally uncovered plot point.
Rick’s dark humor and genius consistently reveals itself in unique ways on the show. For example, in the very beginning of the very first episode of the show, Rick, while heavily intoxicated, grabs Morty out of bed, puts him in his spaceship, and begins rambling about picking up Morty’s crush and annihilating humanity with a neutrino bomb, desiring a “fresh start” to life. It takes Morty literally fighting for the wheel of the flying vehicle for Rick to land without destroying the Earth,proceeding with him pretending it was a test for Morty and blacking out drunk.
This can also be seen in Season 1, Episode 6, when he accidentally turned all humans besides his relatives into monsters called Cronenbergs and messed up Earth so badly that he didn’t know how to fix it. So, instead of working things out to save the people close to him, he grabs Morty and teleports to another universe where a different version of themselves solved the problem and coincidentally died immediately afterwards. There, he makes Morty help him bury their own bodies and live in this new universe, living among new versions of their friends and family as though they were expendable home accessories.
Based on this evidence, it seems that Rick is an indifferent psychopath that has no care for anyone but himself. However, as one pays close attention in the show, it seems that he is far more emotional than an average watcher might assume. For example, in Season 1, Episode 10, while the contents of his brain are scanned and is being prepped for execution from another evil version of himself, a screen displays flashing moments of his life. These flashes into his life start heavily focusing on Morty, during which point Rick tears up. When Evil Rick questions his care for a Morty, normal Rick quickly shoots down the idea. This and several other instances throughout the show imply Rick’s deep personal attachment to Morty. Rick tends to deny this because of his knowledge of how his human emotions tend to be an obstacle towards his work. This is further explored in season 3, episode 6, Rick and Morty are placed through a mental detoxifier in an alien spa, where the parts of themselves they hate are literally separated from their human bodies. One of these parts from Rick is his “unnecessary” care for his grandson.
It is quite sad to see this state of mind infect Rick, where a genius fights between his logic and natural emotions so that he can do whatever is best for him, even if that means harming everyone else. This along with other demons he faces is hidden from the people around him with his alcoholism and rough exterior. This is further explained during the final episode of season 1 when Rick’s rarely mentioned friend, Bird Person, comes to his party and talks to Morty about Rick’s issues so that Morty understands his behavior. Bird Person reveals to Morty that one of Rick’s main catchphrases “Wubba lubba dub dub!” translates to “I am in great pain, please help me” in Bird Person’s native tongue.
As you can see, Rick Sanchez is an incredibly interesting character that has several layers of complexity to satisfy audiences of varying concentration. It is not often that characters as intriguing as Rick show up in a cartoon comedy. He is now a beloved character by scientists and teenagers alike. Too bad it doesn’t matter though, because according to the incomprehensible size of the universe, nothing matters.