Rick Sanchez (Rick and Morty)
|Rick and Morty character|
|First appearance||"Pilot" (2013)|
|Voiced by||Justin Roiland|
|Significant other(s)||Unity (ex-lover)|
|Children||Beth Smith (daughter)|
Jerry Smith (son-in-law)|
Summer Smith (granddaughter)
Morty Smith (grandson)
Morty Smith, Jr. (great-grandson)
Rick Sanchez is one of the title characters from the Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, Sanchez is a genius alcoholic scientist based on Emmett Brown from Back to the Future. Known for his reckless, nihilist behavior and his pessimistic personality, the character has been well-received. He is a mad scientist who seems to know everything in the universe and thus finds life a traumatizing and pointless experience. However, despite assuming to be the smartest person in the universe, there have been times where he has been proven wrong.
He is formally referred to as Rick Sanchez C-137 (alias: "Terror Rick") by the Trans-Dimensional Council of Ricks, in reference to his original universe, "C-137", and penchant for instigating wars with inter-galactic empires. Both Rick and Morty are voiced by Roiland. Volume 1 of the Rick and Morty comic series follows the Rick and Morty of Dimension C-132 while most issues of subsequent instalments follow the Rick and Morty of "C-137"; the video game Pocket Mortys follows the Rick and Morty of C-123.
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Rick Sanchez from Earth dimension C-137 is the father of Beth Smith, and the grandfather of Morty and Summer Smith. He is said to have been away from the family for several years prior to the events of the show. He frequently travels on adventures through space and other planets and dimensions with his grandson Morty. In the third season of the show, it is revealed that he is 70 years old. Rick is portrayed as a mad scientist; utilizing his mathematical and scientific prowess in conjunction with apathy and egotistical cynicism, he emerges safely from any situation, regardless of the consequences of his self-preservation. Rick also, in some episodes, desperately tries to regain his family after losing their trust. The creators wanted him to look like he was in control strategically, but not at all when it came to personal matters.
In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", Rick reveals that he powers his flying car with a battery that contains a miniature universe, or microverse, whose inhabitants unknowingly provide the required electricity. In the episode, the inhabitants cease to provide Rick's car with energy. This is because a scientist from the microverse, resembling Rick in many ways, has created his own miniature universe to supply energy for the beings of his universe. Rick destroys the miniature universe inside his own miniature universe, killing everyone inside. He does not demonstrate remorse for his actions, and instead shows satisfaction. Nearing the end of the episode, Rick knows that his own microverse would power his battery, or he would toss them out and create a new one.
Rick reveals his disdain for love in the episode "Rick Potion #9", in which he claims that it is "a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed". When Rick and Morty irreversibly mutate all humans on Earth except for their family members, they abandon their original dimension, Dimension C-137 (and their family in that dimension), for a new one. Rick locates a universe in which the alternate version of himself has undone the damage inflicted by the love potion, but where the new dimension's Rick and Morty have been killed, allowing the C-137 Rick and Morty to take their place. Despite Morty's trauma concerning this knowledge, Rick is nonchalant about moving to the new dimension.
In the episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", after numerous Ricks in alternate dimensions are murdered, the Trans-Dimensional Council of Ricks accuses Rick C-137 and orders for him to be arrested. Rick C-137 finds himself captured by an "evil" Rick, but is saved by a legion of alternate-dimension Mortys led by Morty C-137.
In the first episode of the second season, "A Rickle in Time", Rick nearly sacrifices himself to save Morty but saves his own life when he realizes that doing so is possible. In the episode "Get Schwifty", it is revealed that Rick was once in a rock band called the Flesh Curtains, alongside Birdperson and Squanchy. In the episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick transfers his consciousness into a younger clone of himself, whom he calls "Tiny Rick". He soon becomes anguished in his new body, and manages to return to his older true form, and murders a line of other clones he produced. In the second season's finale, "The Wedding Squanchers", Rick and his family attend Birdperson's wedding, where Birdperson is betrayed and killed by his bride Tammy, a double agent for the Galactic Federation. The family is forced to inhabit an unusually small yet Earth-like planet, as they cannot return to Earth due to Rick's status as a wanted criminal. Rick turns himself into the Federation to allow his family to return home, and is incarcerated on a prison planet under the charges of having committed "everything". But in the season three premiere "The Rickshank Redemption", by taking out the Council of Ricks while saving Morty and Summer, it is revealed that Rick actually turned himself in to access the Federation's supercomputer and wipe it out financially. Rick also indirectly convinces Beth to divorce Jerry for trying to convince the family to sell him out.
The premiere episode of the series' third season, "The Rickshank Rickdemption" shows a possible origin for Rick, in which he was a well-meaning scientist who loved his wife Diane and daughter Beth, but had an encounter with a member of the Council of Ricks during his initial testing of a prototype portal gun, who offered him the secret to creating his inter-dimensional portal gun and joining the Council of Ricks. Shortly after his refusal, and his pledge to quit science forever, a bomb was sent through a portal, killing Diane and Beth. Rick claims that this was a fake memory he created in order to trick his interrogator into implanting a virus into the mind-reading device he was attached to, allowing him to hijack his body and escape from the Federation prison. At the end of the episode, Rick again insists, in a rant to Morty, that the death of his wife and daughter was a fake memory, though this may be simply him denying the truth to hide his feelings.
Rick's catchphrase is "Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub", first introduced in the episode "Meeseeks and Destroy". In Birdperson's native language, the catchphrase translates to "I am in great pain, please help me".
Rick is sociopathic, emotionally abusive, dismissive, narcissistic, self-centered, incredibly intelligent, and an alcoholic mad scientist who often drags his 14-year-old grandson, Morty, and sometimes other members of his family on dangerous adventures.
His intelligence makes him believe that existence is miserable and pointless. However, he has proven to be quite wrong on several occasions, even by his more naive grandson, Morty.
While he has shown to love his family and care deeply about his best friend, Birdperson, he has shown to be very self-centered and emotionally abusive. He does not fear to speak his mind and give his harshly opinions of the things about his family that easily irritate him.
In the pilot, Rick is revealed to be an atheist, as he tells Summer that "there is no God." Harmon has said that "anarchist" is a close ideological descriptor of Rick. In "The Rickshank Redemption", Rick professes his longing for the Szechuan sauce once available at McDonald's as a promotional item for the film Mulan. Rick is a polymath who is agnostic about scientific specialties; he seems to dabble in everything from electrical engineering to nanomedicine to quantum mechanics to nuclear biology.
Rick has been stated to be pansexual by Justin Roiland, one of the show's creators and executive producers. This was shown in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", when Rick connects with Unity, an ex-lover who is a collective hive mind of assimilated individuals from the planet they occupy. Throughout the series, Rick's sexuality has also been heavily hinted at, mostly in his backstory.
The character was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who first met at Channel 101 in the early 2000s. In 2006, Roiland created The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, an animated short parodying the Back to the Future characters Doc Brown and Marty McFly, and the precursor to Rick and Morty. The idea for Rick and Morty, in the form of Doc and Mharti was brought up to Adult Swim, and the ideas for a family element and Rick being a grandfather to Morty were developed. Roiland considers his voice for Rick to be a "horrible Doc Brown manic impression".
The character has received positive reception. Speaking of Rick's relatability and likability, Dan Harmon stated that "we’ve all been Rick. But Rick really does have bigger fish to fry than anybody. He understands everything better than us. So you give him the right to be jaded and dismissive and narcissistic and sociopathic". Emily Gaudette of Inverse wrote that fans have "come to love [Rick] over two seasons of misadventures".
David Sims of The Atlantic noted Rick's "bitter amorality" and called the character "a genius who comfortably thinks of himself as the universe's cleverest man and is grounded only by his empathy toward other people, which he tries to suppress as much as possible", therefore writing that Rick's selflessness at the end of the episode "The Wedding Squanchers" is "the most surprising twist possible". Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club wrote that "[Rick] slowly realizing that he loved his grandkids and his daughter (and tolerated his son-in-law) no matter how many times he swore at them helped to give the character some necessary depth", and that "behind all the catchphrases and the crazed energy ... There's something dead and sad and fucked up in the guy".
In the first episode of the third season, "The Rickshank Redemption", Rick shows a significant interest in Szechuan sauce and insists that his motivation in life is "finding that McNugget sauce" caused a public interest in having the sauce be reinstated on the McDonald's menu, with some fans attempting to recreate the sauce themselves. According to USA Today, McDonald's spokesperson Terri Hickey stated that "We never say never, because when our customers speak, we listen. And to paraphrase some of our most enthusiastic fans, our sauce is so good that it would be worth waiting 9 seasons or 97 years for."
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