Why Was Rick Smiling in “Rick and Morty”?

by Hazel

“Rick and Morty,” the animated series created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, has garnered a dedicated fan base for its dark humor, intricate plots, and complex characters. One of the recurring aspects of the show is Rick Sanchez’s enigmatic personality, often characterized by his nonchalant demeanor and occasional cryptic smiles. These smiles, though fleeting and often subtle, hold deeper significance within the narrative of the show. In this article, we delve into the various contexts and reasons why Rick smiles, exploring the psychology, storytelling devices, and character development that contribute to these moments.

The Complexity of Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez, the eccentric and highly intelligent protagonist of “Rick and Morty,” is portrayed as a genius scientist with a jaded outlook on life. His character is multifaceted, displaying traits of nihilism, arrogance, and occasional moments of vulnerability. Despite his often cynical demeanor, Rick’s smiles provide glimpses into his inner world, hinting at motivations and emotions that go beyond his usual facade.


The Humor in Darkness: Rick’s Dark Wit

One of the core elements of “Rick and Morty” is its dark humor, which is often intertwined with existential themes and philosophical musings. Rick’s smiles can be seen as a manifestation of this dark wit, a way for the character to express amusement or irony in situations that others might find bleak or distressing. Understanding the context of these smiles involves examining how the show uses humor as a coping mechanism for its characters, particularly Rick.


Moments of Triumph: Rick’s Victories and Achievements

Throughout the series, Rick Sanchez is depicted as an incredibly capable and resourceful individual. His smiles often accompany moments of triumph, whether through outsmarting his enemies, achieving scientific breakthroughs, or simply getting the better of a challenging situation. These smiles can be interpreted as expressions of satisfaction or self-congratulation, highlighting Rick’s pride in his intellect and abilities.


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The Mask of Rick’s Smile: Concealing Pain and Vulnerability

Beneath Rick’s facade of confidence and superiority lies a character burdened by deep-seated pain and emotional turmoil. His smiles, at times, serve as a mask to conceal vulnerability or inner suffering. This aspect of Rick’s character adds layers of complexity, suggesting that his outward expressions may not always reflect his true emotional state.

Connection with Morty: Bonding Moments and Rare Affection

Despite his often abrasive attitude towards his family, Rick occasionally shares genuine moments of connection with his grandson Morty. These moments, albeit rare, are often accompanied by subtle smiles or gestures of affection from Rick. Exploring these instances sheds light on the complex dynamics of their relationship and the underlying emotions that Rick may struggle to express openly.

Rick’s Moral Ambiguity: Smiling in the Face of Chaos

Rick Sanchez is known for his moral ambiguity and willingness to engage in morally questionable actions. His smiles in such situations can be interpreted as reflections of his indifferent or even cynical view towards conventional ethics and norms. This aspect of Rick’s character invites discussions on the blurred lines between heroism and villainy within the show’s narrative.


In conclusion, the smiles of Rick Sanchez in “Rick and Morty” serve as subtle yet significant windows into his character and the themes explored throughout the series. From expressions of dark humor and triumph to masks concealing vulnerability and reflections of moral ambiguity, these smiles contribute to the rich tapestry of storytelling that has captivated audiences. Understanding the reasons behind Rick’s smiles requires delving into the complex psychology and narrative construction that define his character within the universe of “Rick and Morty.”

Through these explorations, viewers gain deeper insights into the enigmatic mind of Rick Sanchez and the intricate dynamics that drive the narrative of one of television’s most beloved animated series.


1. Why is Rick’s skin grey?

Rick’s grey skin is likely a deliberate artistic choice by the creators of “Rick and Morty.” It could symbolize his aging, given his advanced years and experiences. It might also reflect his alien heritage or simply serve as a visual distinction from other characters, emphasizing his outsider status and unique persona within the show’s universe.

2. Does Rick actually love Morty?

Rick’s love for Morty is complex and often ambiguous. While he shows occasional moments of genuine care and protection towards Morty, his affection is tempered by his self-centeredness and erratic behavior. Rick’s love for Morty may manifest more as a deep, albeit unconventional, bond rather than traditional paternal affection.

3. Is Rick the smartest man in every universe?

Rick is portrayed as exceptionally intelligent within his own universe, often referred to as the smartest man there. However, the show hints at the existence of other versions of Rick in alternate universes, some potentially smarter or equally capable. Therefore, while Rick is highly intelligent in his own right, claiming he is the smartest in every universe would be speculative and subject to the vast multiverse depicted in “Rick and Morty.”


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