We may be well into the 4th season of the zany sci-fi animation known as Rick and Morty, but, as it happens, there are still a ton of funny details, easter eggs, and subtle jokes packed into season 3 that remain largely unexamined.
With 10 episodes chock-full of insanity, along with plenty of rich, crazy science fiction absurdity, there’s no shortage of content to digest. Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are certainly no strangers to embedding a myriad of zingers, callbacks, and cheeky references in this wacky sci-fi romp that many fans might have missed.
With that said, let’s grab our portal guns and transport back to the third seasonal dimension as we shine a light on 10 jokes people tended to miss during season 3.
Updated April 25th, 2020 by Stephen LaGioia: With the anticipated return of season 4, Rick and Morty mania is in full swing once again. Between this much-hyped arrival, and the slew of subtle jokes and easter eggs yet to be unearthed, we figured it would be appropriated to add some more entries to our list. After all, there’s certainly no shortage of jokes and references to be found in this dense, off-the-wall cartoon.
15 Beth’s Odd Coping Mechanism
It seems that Morty and Summer aren’t the only ones not taking the recent divorce of Beth and Jerry too well. In addition to witnessing Beth cobble together a horse sculpture with horse hooves, astute viewers may have also noticed another odd action from the horse surgeon.
During the skirmish between Rick and toxic Rick, we can see a photo of Beth and Jerry in the background, with a picture of a horse head being slapped over the face of Beth’s ex-husband. Hey – we all have different ways of coping with change, right?
14 A Classic Pilot Callback
Rick’s adventure with Jerry in “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy” may not be one of the most renowned or talked about episodes. Regardless, it still has its fun, humorous moments as well as some neat easter eggs. One of them immediately kicks off the episode, as we see Rick enthusiastically drag a depressed Jerry from his bed sans clothing.
Though it’s been a while, diehard fans may remember that this is precisely how the pilot episode kicks off, as Rick drags Morty and implores him to join Rick on an adventure. It’s a cool little callback and nod to Rick and Morty‘s roots, which in a way brings the show full-circle.
13 An Obscure Sci-Fi Movie Nod
In the action-packed season 3 finale, “The Rickchurian Mortydate,” the alien “Presidentress” informs the shrunken president that he’ll “awkwardly enlarge at the rate of a ’50s movie.” So what’s the reference here?
Rick and Morty is known for its sci-fi laden easter eggs and cheeky references, though they’re usually a bit more obvious. In the case of this one – the alien is referring to a campy horror sci-fi from 1958, known as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. It’s a fitting parallel, given that film’s plot revolving around an alien encounter and alterations in human sizes.
12 Recycle, Reuse, Re-Morty
During the odyssey that is “The Ricklantis Mixup,” there’s a scene that shows a Harry Potter-esque Rick teacher lecturing a class full of Mortys. One subtle joke literally in the background is a sign with a picture of Morty labeled “recycle,” featuring the recognizable recycle arrow symbol.
This is a clever reference to the fact that these are all Mortys basically being redistributed or “reused,” as they’ve all lost their Ricks.
11 A Lewd Reference To Rick and Morty’s Roots
At one point in this same episode, one of the Mortys gives Rick a ribbing after watching the Morty Candidate give a speech on TV. He kids around to a drug-cooking Rick by asking him “when there’s a Morty president, are you gonna lick my…” – it shouldn’t take much imagination to figure out the rest.
This is a cheeky callback to the original animated short that evolved into the more nuanced Rick and Morty. This crude short – a goofy Back to the Future spoof called Doc and Mharti – has Doc informing Mharti that he must partake in this action to fix the time travel car.
10 A Geronimo Stilton Reference – Why Not?
In the particularly trippy “Morty’s Mind-Blowers,” Morty asks Rick if the red vials that contain his erased memories are the ones that Rick sought to remove rather than Morty. Rick then responds by way of an obscure reference that likely had the vast majority of fans scratching their heads. His response of “I don’t use color to sort things because I’m not a mouse in a European children’s book” may have thrown many off given its ambiguity.
Yet, this is very likely a reference to the Italian children’s book series entitled Geronimo Stilton. It features an anthropomorphic mouse who works as a publisher of a newspaper company, The Rodent’s Gazette. Rick and Morty has been known for its random references, though this is certainly obscure even for the show’s standards.
9 Summer Totally Called The Fly Code
Summer apparently possesses more wisdom and knowledge than many seem to give her credit for. Case in point? The very first episode of season 3, entitled “The Rickshank Redemption.” When Summer and Morty begin their attempt to locate Rick and break him out of the Galactic Federal Prison, Summer tosses out the seemingly absurd idea of triggering the entrance of a secret lab by arranging a bunch of flies in a certain way. She tries it, to no avail.
But lo and behold, we later see Rick using their exact method – and it actually works! Who would have thought? Though in the Rick and Morty universe, anything is possible!
8 Meeseeks Sighting
A longtime fan-favorite, the Meeseeks have somewhat become this sort of “Where’s Waldo” type of easter egg that have viewers seeking out these cheery (and occasionally murderous) blue creatures. The fact that they rarely appear these days – outside a cheeky reference to a cheap “Kirkland brand” version in season 4 – only makes fans want to find them more.
Regardless, many seemed to have missed the brief and subtle cameo appearance by 2 of these guys, which can be seen trapped in one of the menagerie cages kept by the large alien creature. These poor Meeseeks must be going stir crazy cooped up in that little space for so long, given how much they lost it for struggling to take two strokes off Jerry’s golf swing and being unable to disappear.
7 Pickle Rick’s Cheeky Elvis Reference
Apparently turning oneself into a pickle and drying out in the hot sun is the mega-genius equivalent of dying on the toilet – at least this is what a nearly-defeated Pickle Rick says to himself after his experiment has gone awry. It’s a funny bit of dialogue, but what’s with the random reference to perishing on a toilet?
This happens to be a nod to the notion that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, was found deceased sitting on a toilet seat. This was proven to be a false story, but it’s one of those myths that took on a life of its own – even apparently catching on in the universe of Rick and Morty.
6 An Obscure NES Game Reference
As you might expect from an episode that has various rapid-fire plotlines and scenarios, “Morty’s Mind Blowers” has plenty of subtle easter eggs and silly references, many of which could be missed by just looking away at the wrong time.
Yet another example is this “Captain Sky” scene, which seems to be a strange allusion to an obscure, old game called Captain Skyhawk, a space shooter released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s no secret that the showrunners are fans of Nintendo, made clear by a particularly amusing scene in “Total Rickall” where Rick scrambles to pawn a bunch of old 3DS consoles. As Rick might say, these references shouldn’t be taken “for granite.”
5 Callback To A Classic Morty Quote
There are a ton of clever zingers and even profound quotes to be found in Rick and Morty, but one that’s essentially reached meme status involves a heartfelt conversation between Morty and Summer. To try and make her feel better and offer some perspective, Morty tells her that “nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, everybody’s going to die.”
We get a brief glimpse of a callback to this gem of a quote during the episode “The Rickchurian Mortydate” in which a cop duo of Rick and Morty are driving near a group of Morty protestors. One of them sports a sign that displays that classic line. It certainly does make for a good rallying cry.
4 Jerry Can’t Let Go Of Doofus Rick
As it happens, Morty’s naive father Jerry managed to really hit it off with the densest Rick of the bunch, cheekily known as “Doofus Rick.” While we seem to have seen the last of this goofy version of Rick as they wave goodbye at the end of “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind,” he does make a brief appearance in season 3 – or at least his photo does.
We catch a very short glimpse of a picture of the feces-eating Rick during the beginning of the debut episode of season 3. It would make sense, as Jerry would have essentially reclaimed the garage following the imprisonment of Rick. It seems he still hasn’t forgotten his bizarre, short-lived friendship with Rick j19-zeta-7.
3 An Odd Proposal…
Returning once again to the mindblowing “Morty’s Mind-Blowers,” we see the episode escalate into madness as we’re given quick shots of various memories Morty decides to load himself up with. Among these is a shot that shows Morty apparently trying to burry a dead Santa Claus and Rick juggling pieces of a doll version of his grandson. Hey, why not?
But this sequence of weirdness somehow manages to top itself when we see a quick callback to one of the most amusing names for a cartoon character ever – Mr. Poopybutthole, as he looks to be proposing to Morty. What’s the story behind this? Who knows. But this random, drive-by gag is chuckle-worthy regardless.
2 “He Who Controls The Pants Controls The Galaxy”
Considering Rick and Morty has seemingly inserted references and homages involving tons of classic sci-fi films, shows, and novels, it would make sense that the classic Dune would get a quick nod as well.
As the Galactic Federation is in the midst of anarchy and on the verge of collapse, Jerry flees his office job – of which he has no idea what he does – we hear a quote familiar to Dune fans, as people are tearing off each other’s clothes and losing it. This is, of course, a play off the classic line, “he who controls the spice controls the universe.”
1 A Reference To The Writers
Yes, Rick and Morty don’t merely make references to other media, but they even throw in the occasional meta reference to their own show – and in this case, its writers.
Fans had been wondering what the reason was for the extended season 3 delay. At one point, a rumor began that the drawn-out process had been partially the result of disagreements and even fighting between the show’s writers. This turned out to be a quote largely taken out of context, and was eventually discredited by Dan Harmon.
Suddenly, Summer’s zinger to a brawling Rick and Morty, which goes – “no wonder you’re constantly fighting with each other and behind schedule” – makes a lot more sense.
10 Disney Princess Cosplays That Look Fabulous