|First Appearance||Rick and Morty |
- Rick's Season 1 catchphrase
"I don't give a fuck!"
-Rick's primary Season 2 catchphrase
Rick Sanchez is the titular main protagonist villain as well as the central antagonist of the Adult Swim original series Rick and Morty. He is a genius scientist whose alcoholism and reckless sociopathic behavior are a source of concern for his daughter Beth's family over the safety of her teenage son Morty.
Not much is known about Rick's life before his current state in the show except for a few things that have been vaguely mentioned in the series. It has been mentioned multiple times that Rick has been absent from his family for at least fourteen years and it wasn't until about a year before the events of the pilot episode when Rick finally returned to the Smith house on January 15 of an unspecified year. The reason for his absence is unknown to his family and the audience as of S2E10 "The Wedding Squanchers". Some have questioned how, in S1E10 "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", despite not being around for the beginning of Morty's life if this timeline is correct, one of the memories projected onto the screen when Rick is held prisoner is of Rick holding Morty as a toddler. A fan theory is that this memory is of a different Morty and that a mistake Rick made in the past cost him his original Morty and Rick decided to assume the identity of another Rick as a form of self-atonement. This idea is expected to be explored in Season 3.
In S2E05 "Get Schwifty", a picture on the wall of Bird Person's house revealed that he, Bird Person, and Squanchy were in a band when they were younger called The Flesh Curtains.
Rick is eighty years old and lives in his room in the Smith house. In the garage, he works on his inventions and tests them out, and also travels to other dimensions, build various robots and devices, and under most circumstances, murdering anyone, be it human, alien, or otherwise, that gets in his way.
In S2E10 "The Wedding Squanchers", Rick willingly turns himself over to the Galactic Federation and was sent to one of their maximum security prisons. He currently resides there, with little chance of bail, parole, or escape, though he is expected to be out of prison by the end of the Season 3 premiere.
Rick is a tall, lanky old man. He has long legs and arms and is very skinny. He has a dimly tanned ashy complexion and bluish-gray hair with a bald spot on the back of his head. He has spiky hair on his head and a unibrow. He has a wrinkly face, including bags under his eyes, a pressure fold above his unibrow that follows its position, and laugh lines on both sides of his mouth. He wears a white lab coat and a light teal shirt underneath. He also wears brown pants, a dark brown belt with a yellow buckle, and black shoes. He is often seen with some green drool-like substance under his mouth that may be either alcohol or vomit as a result of his frequent drinking. Rick has a tendency to speak in a rambling and stammering manner that is often interrupted by belching and gagging as a result of his alcoholism and mental state.
Rick is a genius scientist, capable of creating complex scientific inventions, including brain-enhancing helmets, dream-invading devices, a portal gun to travel to any universe in his multiverse that he knows of, and the world's first amusement park inside the body of a living human. His brilliance can be muddled by his jaded outlook on life and his alcoholic tendencies. Rick is easily bored and does not do well with routines imposed on him by others or by any force outside of his control or awareness. When his curse-removing store in S2E09 "Something Ricked This Way Comes" starts to require some real work, he lights it on fire and abandons it. He regularly goes to other dimensions to harvest resources and will willingly slaughter aliens or residents of other dimensions to get them. He is willing to be extremely brutal such as when people betray him or Morty or Summer is in danger. He is usually portrayed as homicidal and having a large disregard for life, enough that he came close to bombing the planet Earth with a neutrino bomb and killing everyone except for Morty and Jessica. He was entertained by the slaughter in the first few minutes of the Festival until it apparently became too much for even him to stomach in S2E09 "Look Who's Purging Now" and was willing to kill the infant Gazorpazorpian boy due to its unstable nature and threat he posed to humanity in S1E07 "Raising Gazorpazorp".
Rick does have his limits. He is against killing if he feels the situation does not require it. He expressed anger at Morty in S2E02 "Mortynight Run" for attempting to free Fart from prison and saving him from being assassinated/executed and how many innocent bystanders were killed while the three of them attempted to escape the Galactic Federation; and in S2E03 "Auto Erotic Assimilation" was horrified when Unity blew up an entire city for fun that Rick thought still had people in it and was unsure if Morty and Summer were there or not. He was horrified when Mr. Poopybutthole was shot at the end of S2E04 "Total Rickall", and went into a rage upon Bird Person's death in S2E10, killing multiple Federation troops. While not to the point of crying like Beth, Summer, and Morty, he did gasp in shock and discomfort upon seeing Jerry be shot to death in S2E08 "Interdimensional Cable II: Tempting Fate".
While sometimes treating Morty like an object, and even explicitly referring to him as one in a few instances, he does genuinely care about Morty, despite his reluctance to be straightforward when showing it. He occasionally uses his inventions to improve Morty's life, such as in S1E02 "Lawnmower Dog", when he invades Mr. Goldenfold's dreams to improve Morty's math grades, though this also had the added benefit of preventing Beth and Jerry from keeping Morty away from Rick. Rick is also highly protective of Morty, as shown in S1E05 "Meeseeks and Destroy", when he tries to set aside his cynicism to allow Morty to lead a positive adventure, and kills Mr. Jellybean as the two leave the fantasy world of that episode because of his previous attempted rape of Morty. Rick was even willing to give his life to preserve Morty's in S2E01 "A Rickle in Time" until he saw a way to save the both of them. Rick rarely shows respect for Jerry, and his relationship with Beth has a strange dissonance between the kind way they treat one another with the most likely distressing circumstances of why he left. While initially not thinking much of Summer, he began taking her on more of his adventures after S1E07.
While Rick is probably post-politics in his mental state, if he were to have any consistent ideological political beliefs, they would appear to lean more to the political right, as he has expressed opposition to socialism and totalitarianism through his hatred of being told what to do or how to live by the government. His disregard for laws and legal systems may make him more of an anarchist, however, and some of his beliefs could even be interpreted as support for Ayn Rand Objectivism.
Rick's religious beliefs are highly contradictory. In the pilot, when Summer makes a passing mention of God that wasn't even in a religious vein, Rick bluntly says "There is no God, Summer. Gotta rip that band-aid off while you can. You'll thank me later." At the end of S1E03, he rants at the family for being engrossed in their electronic devices rather than celebrating Jesus' birth, though this may have been sarcastic. He seems to take Mr. Needful's apparent status as the devil in stride in S1E09, somehow managing to use science to override the effects of Satanic curses on the objects sold at his pawn shop. In S2E01, Rick frantically begs and prays for God to save him from dying outside of time and space and to be shown mercy in Hell, though immediately goes back to celebrating God's apparent non-existence and science not being proven wrong yet after escaping the quantum-uncertain realm.
Despite his usual cynical attitude about relationships, he secretly holds much emotional pain and sorrow about the few romances he has had, all of which ultimately failed. His failed marriage to Beth's mother may contribute greatly to his personality. His relationship with the hive mind Unity failed due to both lack of a connection deeper than creating elaborate sexual fantasies and because Rick brings out Unity's most destructive traits. In a moment in which the audience sees Rick at possibly his lowest point in the first two season of the show, S2E03 ends with Rick, as a result of Unity leaving him for the final time, and after accepting Beth's request to no longer keep live aliens under the garage without a fight, attempting suicide only to fail as a result of passing out and his head falling away from the laser's range at the last second.
While initially played for dark humor, Rick's alcoholism and use of hard alien and interdimensional drugs was given more insight in S1E11 "Ricksy Business". Bird Person tells Morty that his then-catchphrase of "Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!" is bird-person-language for "I am in great pain. Please help me.", and that he frequently tries to numb his brain with the substances. This could stem from how his advanced intellect borders on omniscience, giving him hyper-awareness of the lack of clearly defined intrinsic value in existence, making him find nothing humans do to be especially important due to the existence of infinite versions of everyone in every universe having done every possible outcome of every possible situation, and possibly making him aware of his and all of the other characters on the show's status as fictional characters on an older-teens-and-up-oriented animated television series. Rick's motto about dealing with traumatic events, abandoned universes, and universes in which baffling occurrences happen such as Hitler curing cancer is simple- "Don't think about it."
Throughout his numerous adventures with Morty, Rick is ready and willing to disregard all rules, laws, and social norms if necessary. In S2E10, Rick is arrested by the Galactic Federation. His full criminal record is displayed on a monitor, albeit in an unreadable alien language, and it is shown to be very long. After he is placed in a maximum security prison and is asked by another prisoner what he's in for, Rick dryly responds with a simple "Everything."
- Assault- Towards too many people to count.
- Bioterrorism- In S1E06, Rick makes an unstable love potion that accidentally spreads a flu-like virus to everyone in the world, mutating them into giant praying mantis monsters. He attempted to fix this with another potion, but this only caused a more severe global mutation instead, "Cronenberging" the entire world. He couldn't fix the mutations and left the dimensions with Morty, leaving all of the mutated humans behind.
- Breaking and Entering- In S1E02, Rick and Morty broke into Mr. Goldenfold's house while he was sleeping with the intent to brainwash him into giving Morty As in math class by invading Mr. Goldenfold's dreams and incepting the idea.
- Cable Piracy- In S1E08 and S2E08, Rick uses an interdimensional cable box to stream an infinite amount of TV channels to his own television and the intergalactic hospital's television.
- Child Abuse- Much of his relationship with Morty consists of this, and his relationship with Beth may have had some as well, though Beth has probably repressed those memories due to her own warped psyche and understanding of others.
- Driving (Flying) Under Influence- Rick is often drunk when flying his space cruiser. His most notable instance of this was the opening scene of S1E01, when he attempted to exterminate humanity with a neutrino bomb strapped to the ship while heavily drunk and only spare Morty and Jessica (initially).
- Felony Murder- Throughout the course of Rick and Morty's adventures, many people have died as a direct or indirect result of Rick's actions. These deaths were usually during the commission of various other serious crimes he was committing, such as felony evasion, smuggling, fraud, etc. Rick has also made Morty kill people for him, such as having him shoot the security guards of interdimensional customs to aid their escape in S1E01.
- Genocide- In S2E06 "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", in order to keep the inhabitants of the microverse producing power for his spaceship, Rick smashes the container of the Miniverse. This causes the Miniverse and the Teenyverse, a miniature universe within the Miniverse, and its two races of inhabitants to be wiped from existence.
- Human Cloning- In S2E07 "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez", it is revealed that Rick has been cloning and growing other versions of himself in vats in his bunker under the Smith family garage. While intergalactic and interdimensional regulations on human cloning have yet to be specified in the show, it is still illegal on Earth.
- Illegal Arms Dealing- In S2E02, Rick is revealed to have been selling weapons to Krombopulous Michael for a long time, possibly also hiring him to kill other living beings Rick wanted dead.
- Impersonation- When Rick's potion in S1E06 mutated everyone on the planet that wasn't a blood relative of Morty's into mutant monsters, he and Morty traveled to a new dimension whose versions of them had just died in an explosion seconds before their arrival and assumed their places as if nothing happened. The corpses are buried in the Smith's backyard.
- Kidnapping and False Imprisonment- In S2E03, it was revealed that Rick had kidnapped a baby-eating alien and imprisoned it in the basement against its will for some time before then so that he could run multiple tests on it and cure it of an illness in order to sell the cure and make profit from it.
- Murder- While killing plenty of people in self-defense or defense of others or for the purpose of a greater good, Rick has also killed plenty of innocent people as well. In S1E05, he shot Mr. Jellybean with an explosive-launching laser gun while leaving his dimension, though it was generally justified by the fact that Mr. Jellybean was a pedophile and serial rapist that attempted to rape Morty. In S2E07, Rick hacked several clones of himself at varying ages, such as a baby, an elementary school-age child, a young adult, and a prime adult, to bits with an axe (and while completely naked, no less). In S2E09, Rick kills several bureaucrats that profited from the Festival, and while not exactly murder due to its somewhat noble intention, it still came off as messy enough to feel like a series of murders.
- Slavery- In S2E06, it is revealed that Rick's spaceship battery is powered by a microverse, containing a whole planet of microscopic aliens forced to generate his power, originally through deception, later through fear of destruction.
- Smuggling- In S1E01, Rick attempts to smuggle Mega-Seeds past Intergalactic Customs security by having Morty shove them up his butt to avoid the scanner detecting them. However, when the security guard told them that they have a new machine to detect things that were "keestered", Rick grabbed Morty and took off running from security.
- Terrorism- At the end of S2E06, the inhabitants of the microverse are forced to step on gooble-boxes to power Rick's spaceship for fear of their planet being destroyed, as mentioned above in Slavery.
- Time Bending- In S2E01, Rick froze time for the time-space-relative duration of six months, which caused time to start splitting and dividing multiple times, to the point where a Fourth Dimensional Being from the Galactic Federation came and tried to arrest him, Morty, and Summer, implying that this is not the first time Rick has done this.
- Torture/Cruelty to Animals- At the end of S2E03, Rick unfroze a small living being that was horribly suffering upon thawing out and shocked it with a superheated ray, reducing it to ash. This was to test out the machine he intended to use to kill himself.
- Treason/Rebellion- Prior to the start of the series, Rick was part of an organization that attempted to overthrow and destroy the Galactic Federation, along with his old comrades Squanchy and Bird Person.
- Vandalism/Arson- Rick destroyed multiple things in Intergalactic Customs in S1E01. In S1E09, Rick had a store that he quickly got bored with, so he doused it with gasoline and lit it on fire while people were still inside.
Though exploitative and demanding, Rick genuinely cares about his grandson and values their adventures together, making him one of the very few Ricks in existence to do so. He hesitates to show any outward love or appreciation, however, believing it will make Morty cocky, and saying that a cocky Morty is not a good thing. In S1E04 "M. Night Shamay-liens!", Rick was genuinely shocked to find that the Morty he traveled with throughout the episode was a simulation created by the Zigerions (and furious that they managed to simulate his grandson's genitals), calling them "diabolical sons of bitches". At the end of that episode, he becomes very drunk and comes into Morty's room in the middle of the night, telling Morty how much he appreciates him only to put a knife to Morty's throat demanding to know whether he is a simulation or not. Upon receiving confirmation that this Morty is real and not, in fact, a simulation, Rick expresses one last bit of drunken appreciation before passing out on Morty's bedroom floor. Morty is possibly the strongest stabilizing influence in Rick's life that keeps him from doing things that could do a lot of harm, though this does not work on many occasions. When Rick messes up, Morty is usually the one who convinces him to fix things.
Though Morty often frustrates him, Rick seems to get upset at the idea of not being able to have adventures with Morty. He repeatedly attempts to help Morty escape from his other obligations to free up more time in order to have him continue to be his assistant, such as pulling him out of school, manipulating Mr. Goldenfold's dreams so that he will give Morty As in math, allowing Morty to lead an adventure of his own, and creating a serum of vole oxytocin to force Jessica into loving Morty in order to motivate him into handing Rick a screwdriver.
The reason Ricks across the multiverse bring Mortys with them on their exploits is that they give off a very distinct brainwave pattern due to the genius-level intellect most of them have, making them easy to track by their various enemies. The only way to camouflage the brainwaves is to stand near someone with complementary brainwaves, which Rick calls "Morty-waves". Despite this, Rick seems to do things with Morty for reasons beyond needing camouflage, such as watching TV with him in S1E08, taking him to an alien pawn shop in S1E07, and infiltrating Mr. Goldenfold's dreams in S1E02. Rick is often spiteful to those who have genuinely upset or endangered Morty, such as in S1E05, when King Jellybean sexually assaulted Morty, which not only made Rick want to cheer Morty up but also kill King Jellybean once he figured out what happened.
Rick has said that Morty is "as dumb as Rick is smart", but has also insisted that Morty focus on science in S1E06. He claims that Morty will be like him someday and that he has a special mind. He also takes offense when Jerry insinuates that Morty is mentally disabled.
Rick initially cared very little for and paid scarce attention to his granddaughter, saying her opinion meant very little to him. As time went on, however, the two began to bond and go on their own adventures, making her, in a sense, Rick's second sidekick. In S1E09, Rick and Summer train themselves together to buff up and assault Mr. Needful for revenge after he betrayed Summer.
Rick is also disgusted by the sight of a dream version of Summer dressed in BDSM gear in S1E02, and when she asked Rick and Morty to "make an inter-generational sandwich" with her, it made him want to vomit.
It appears that Rick loves his daughter, and for the most part is kind to her. However, his treatment of her may just be a ploy to stay on her good side and continue his adventures with Morty, although during S1E10, many Ricks from different dimensions seem to like the main Beth, proving that he truly does love his daughter in most universes.
Jerry claims that Beth was "raised like a reptile by a mentally ill scientist" in S1E07, suggesting that Rick's method of raising Beth was, at the very least, unorthodox.
While the exact details have yet to be revealed, it can be assumed that Rick was absent for a majority of Beth's life due to his adventures and terrorist acts against the Galactic Federation with Bird Person and Squanchy. Rick only came back into Beth's life a short time before S1E01, though he seems to have visited at least once during Morty's early childhood. It is possible that she was unaware of the visit.
Rick has very little respect for Jerry and uses any chance he gets to demean or humiliate him, whether it's constantly reminding him of his failing marriage to Beth or mocking his insecurity. Rick seems to somewhat resent the fact that Jerry had sex with Beth, his daughter, and got her pregnant with Summer at seventeen.
Despite the fact that Rick usually views Jerry as not worth his time or energy, he still helps him with some of his requests, such as providing him with an intelligence enhancer for Snuffles, giving him access to the Meeseeks Box, and letting him use the parallel timeline goggles, and asks that the Rick Officers from the Council of Ricks "unfreeze his daughter's idiot" in S1E10. However, this may simply be a way for Rick to get Jerry to stop bothering him or not bother him in the first place, and his request for Jerry to be unfrozen probably came from knowing that Morty loves Jerry regardless of his flaws and the possibility that Morty may hold it against him later on if he were to keep Jerry frozen indefinitely, given what happens to other people that get frozen in the show.
In S1E10, while the alternate Ricks are waiting at the main Rick's house, the main Rick accurately predicts that the other Ricks won't be able to resist messing with Jerry, meaning that Rick's treatment of Jerry is evident for almost all Ricks across the multiverse.
In S2E02, it was revealed that an interdimensional/intergalactic daycare was set up by a Rick to allow other Ricks to deposit their respective Jerrys. At first glance, it would seem that the Jerrys enjoy their time there, but it is later revealed that some Jerrys are abandoned there because their Ricks never returned.
Despite his typical treatment of Jerry, in S2E08, he was just as horrified as the rest of the family at seeing him shot dead by the hospital guards, though not to the point of crying tears of fear and distress like Morty, Beth, and Summer, and he was right back to his usual demeanor towards Jerry when he was revived with alien technology.
- Rick was initially a parody of Doctor Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future film series before developing into his own character.
- His last name, "Sanchez", is of Hispanic origin, so he may be of Hispanic descent. When asked about what race Rick specifically is at a convention, Justin Roiland gave an answer typical of Rick and said "Don't think about it."
- In S2E03, Rick is revealed to be an open pansexual, as he engages in sexual conduct with both females and males of the species Unity assimilated, in addition to a giraffe it assimilated.