Take a trip to Alphabetrium.
Rick and Morty may well be one of the darkest TV shows on the air today, animated or otherwise. As wacky as Rick Sanchez’s journeys through the multiverse can be, the show is never afraid to get incredibly bleak, ridiculously weird or some combination of the two. Rick and Morty knows how to leave fans saying… WTF?
As we continue the long wait for Season 4, here are the ten most WTF-worthy moments in Rick and Morty history.
The History of Ice-T
As it turns out, there’s much more to rapper-turned-actor Ice-T than we ever would have guessed. In one of the most purely random plot twists in the show’s history, we learn that Ice-T is actually an anthropomorphic letter from the planet Alphabetrium, one who’s cursed to wander the universe because of his inability to care about anything. And if that wasn’t strange enough, Ice is able to cast aside his apathy and assume his true form as the mighty, planet-liberating Water-T.
The Season 1 episode “Rick Potion #9” was among the first where fans really got a taste for how dark and nihilistic the series could be. After Morty accidentally unleashes a love potion on the world, Rick attempts to counteract the potion with a little dash of praying mantis DNA. Long story short, by the time Rick is done attempting to clean up his grandson’s mess, the entire world has transformed into hideous monstrosities straight out of David Cronenberg’s worst body horror nightmares. Even worse, there’s no cleaning up this mess.
Roy: A Life Well Lived
Even something as simple as playing a video game in the Rick and Morty universe can be a one-way ticket to emotional torture. When Rick and Morty visit the intergalactic arcade fun center Blips and Chitz, Morty makes the mistake of sampling an arcade game called “Roy: A Life Well Lived.” He immediately finds himself living out the titular character’s entire life in real time. By the time Morty snaps back to reality, he’s spent decades as a completely different person. Maybe next time he should stick to Dance Dance Revolution or something?
The Rise of Evil Morty
We all know how the Rick and Morty dynamic goes. Rick is the domineering, self-serving leader, while Morty is his meek, spineless sidekick. But in “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind,” we learned there’s one Morty in the multiverse who can give any Rick a run for his money. Evil Morty truly lives up to his name, killing dozens of Ricks, enslaving hundreds of Mortys, and framing his own Rick for these crimes. Even worse, Season 3 makes it clear Evil Morty’s plans of multiversal dominance have only just begun.
The Royal Theatre of Froopy Land
If there’s one takeaway from Season 3’s “The ABC’s of Beth,” it’s that Beth may be every bit as deranged as her father. In this episode, Beth and Rick travel to the lighthearted artificial dimension known as Froopy Land to track down Beth’s childhood friend, Tommy Lipkip. There, Tommy reveals via a disturbingly cheerful play that he’s spent decades mating with Froopy Land’s cartoonish inhabitants and eating his human/Froopy-hybrid offspring. And if that isn’t WTF-worthy enough, it turns out that Beth is the one who trapped him there in the first place.
The Meeseeks Mob
At first glance, Mr. Meeseeks seems like a rare dose of light in a universe dominated by doom and gloom. But as “Meeseeks and Destroy” shows us, there’s a real darkness lurking just beneath the surface of this blue, jolly helper. Driven mad by their inability to help Jerry improve his golf game, one Meeseeks winds up summoning dozens more Meeseeks and sparks all-out Meeseeks war. It turns out that a creature whose only purpose is to be born, help someone and die isn’t one to be trifled with.
Mr. Poopybutthole Is Real?
The episode “Total Rickall” is basically a 30-minute-long WTF moment, as the Smith household is invaded by pesky psychic parasites who take the form of imaginary friends like Hamurai, Photography Raptor, and Sleepy Gary. Rick, Morty and the family are able to dispatch these parasites with extreme prejudice, but not without a high cost. Beth shoots the plucky little Mr. Poopybutthole, only to realize he’s actually a real family friend and not a parasite. But at least he got better. Mostly.
Morty Meets King Jellybean
As bad as Jerry’s Mr. Meeseeks ordeal in “Meeseeks and Destroy” is, we really think Morty got the worse end of the deal in this episode. In another early sign of just how crushingly dark the Rick and Morty universe can be, Morty finds his whimsical fantasy quest ruined when a sexual predator named King Jellybean tries to force himself on Morty in a bathroom. It’s a truly skin-crawling moment in a series that’s ostensibly a comedy.
Rick’s Attempted Suicide
Rick Sanchez may act like the coolest, most carefree mad scientist adventurer in the multiverse, but viewers have been reminded time and time again this is all an act. Deep down, Rick is actually deeply depressed and lonely. To this day, no moment better captures the existential malaise of Rick Sanchez better than “Auto Erotic Assimilation.” After his romance with Unity fails once again, Rick returns home, grows himself a Cronenberg pet, murders that pet with a death ray, and turns the weapon on himself. It’s only thanks to his debilitating alcoholism that Rick lives to see another day.
Rick and Morty Bury Themselves
In the world of Rick and Morty, truly happy endings are few and far between. Sometimes you just have to make the best of the bad hand you’re dealt. That’s the main takeaway from “Rick Potion #9,” an episode that ends on the most WTF-worthy note in the show’s colorful history. Faced with a world overrun by Cronenbergs, Rick and Morty simply give up, seek out an alternate universe where they can take the place of their dead selves and leave their home behind forever. The act of abandoning his family and burying his own corpse is something that continues to weigh heavily on Morty even two seasons later. And why shouldn’t it?
Do you have your own favorite WTF Rick and Morty moments? Let us know in the comments. And for more Rick and Morty fun, check out our hands-on look at the Rick and Morty board game.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.