Each episode of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s Rick and Morty is full of homages to everything from ’80s-era science fiction to literature. The animated comedy returns to Adult Swim for a long-awaited third season on July 30. Here’s a look at all of the references and Easter eggs we could spot in seasons one and two.
Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot
Back to the Future (movie reference)
A mad scientist and impressionable teenager embark on a zany adventure through space and time. Sound familiar? Rick and Morty are heavily influenced by the characters Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future (1985). The cartoon was inspired by an animated short that creator Justin Roiland previously developed called The Real Adventures of Doc and Mharti, a Back to the Future spoof.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (TV Easter egg)
When the pilot episode cuts to the Interdimensional Customs zone, you can catch a glimpse of silhouettes of various creatures roaming the area. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that three of them are in the shape of Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy from the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Space Invaders (video game Easter Egg)
In the same scene, a silhouette that resembles iconic alien from the video game Space Invaders can be seen in the corner.
Season 1, Episode 2: Lawnmower Dog
The Lawnmower Man (book and movie reference)
The title of this episode is a reference to the film and Stephen King short story Lawnmower Man (1992). In the movie, a man gains telepathic abilities after being introduced to virtual reality. In the episode, Morty’s dog Snuffles gains the ability to communicate with—and eventually dominate—humans after Rick gives it a special helmet.
Inception (movie reference)
Rick invents a device that makes it possible to enter other people’s dreams, seemingly referencing the 2010 Christopher Nolan film Inception. Rick and Morty attempt to “incept” Morty’s math teacher into giving him straight A’s.
Animal Farm (book reference)
After some fiddling around, Snuffles alters the headset so that it enables him to speak with humans, and eventually evolves it into a full body suit. He grows angry about the way dogs have become subservient to humans and recruits an army of pups to rule over the Smiths, appearing to loosely mimic the events in George Orwell’s 1975 novel Animal Farm. Snuffles even renames himself Snowball, which also happens to be the name of one of the main characters in Animal Farm.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (movie character reference)
A character called “Scary Terry” that heavily resembles Freddy Krueger appears in one dream.
Season 1, Episode 3: Anatomy Park
Jurassic Park (movie reference)
The name of the episode is a reference to the Jurassic Park movie franchise launched in 1993. The sign visible upon entering Anatomy Park also resembles the Jurassic Park logo.
Fantastic Voyage (movie reference)
Rick shrinks Morty so that he can enter a homeless man’s body in order to find the doctor that save Rick’s beloved Anatomy Park project. This premise is similar to the events that take place in the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage.
Season 1, Episode 4: M. Night Shaym-Aliens!
M. Night Shyamalan (film director reference)
The name of the episode is a reference to the director and writer M. Night Shyamalan.
Inception (movie reference)
Some of the events that occur in this episode also loosely resemble the plot of Inception. In M. Night Shaym-Aliens!, a race of aliens called the Zigerions place Rick in a simulation in order to trick him into revealing his recipe for concentrated dark matter. Throughout the episode, it’s revealed that Rick is actually embedded multiple layers deep in a sophisticated simulation, similar to the way the characters in Inception travel through several layers of dreams.
Season 1, Episode 5: Meeseeks and Destroy
Metallica, “Seek and Destroy” (song reference)
The title of the episode is a reference to the Metallica song “Seek and Destroy.”
Jack and the Beanstalk (fairy tale reference)
Rick and Morty travel to a fantasy world in which they climb a massive beanstalk in order to confront a giant. These events bear resemblance to those in English fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk.
Season 1, Episode 6: Rick Potion #9
Love Potion No. 9 (movie reference)
The title of this episode is a reference to the 1992 film Love Potion No. 9. Certain plot elements are also similar: Rick invents a substance that makes anyone who comes into contact with it fall madly in love with Morty. The movie’s plot centers on two scientists who create a concoction with a similar effect that impacts anyone who hears them speak.
David Cronenberg (film director reference)
The monsters Rick accidentally creates in this episode resemble those featured in David Cronenberg’s movies, which Rick and Morty reference by name.
Jaws (movie reference)
The monologue Summer recites in the post credits scene is a reference to the movie Jaws (1975).
Season 1, Episode 7: Raising Gazorpazorp
Raising Arizona (movie reference)
The title of the episode could be a reference to the 1987 film Raising Arizona.
Raising Hope (TV reference)
Some fans also believe the title may be a spoof on the sitcom Raising Hope, which is about a teenage boy who becomes a single father after the child’s mother is put on death row. Some of the plot elements are similar: In Raising Gazorpazorp, Morty grapples with becoming a single father after he accidentally impregnates an alien robot.
Zardoz (movie reference)
Some fans have noticed similarities to the 1974 sci-fi movie Zardoz. Among the biggest indicators is the giant floating head that appears in the episode, which very much resembles the one shown in the film.
Footloose (movie reference)
Morty’s alien son, Morty Jr., storms out of the house and wanders to an abandoned warehouse. He discovers a radio and begins dancing. The brief sequence is a reference to the 1984 movie Footloose.
Season 1, Episode 8: Rixty Minutes
60 Minutes (TV reference)
The title of the episode is a reference to the CBS News program 60 Minutes.
Garfield (TV and movie reference)
During this episode, Rick introduces the Smith family to cable programs and commercials airing in other dimensions of the universe. One such TV show is meant to be an alternate version of the cartoon Garfield. The show features a cat-like alien named Gazorpazorpfield drawn in the same style.
The A-Team (TV reference)
Another galactic TV series called Ball Fondlers bears close resemblance to action TV show The A-Team.
Lucky Charms/Trix Cereal (TV reference)
A commercial shown on the fictional cable service stars a leprechaun with bunny ears that resembles a hybrid of the Lucky Charms and Trix mascots. He says the cereal is just for kids, much like the Trix slogan.
Weekend at Bernie’s (movie reference)
Another show features a deceased elderly woman being propped up by her many cats, loosely resembling the plot in Weekend at Bernie’s.
Season 1, Episode 9: Something Ricked This Way Comes
Something Wicked This Way Comes (book and movie reference)
The title is a reference to Ray Bradbury’s novel and film of the same name, Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Needful Things (book and movie reference/Easter Egg)
In this episode, Morty’s sister Summer begins working at a shop called Needful Things, which is owned by the devil, who calls himself Mr. Needful. The devil gives items away for free in his shop, but each product comes at its own unexpected expense. Morty’s teacher Mr. Goldenfold, for example, has been struggling since his divorce. Mr. Needful gives him an aftershave that attracts women, but it makes him impotent in exchange. The name of the shop and the general plot is a reference to Stephen King’s novel and film Needful Things.
The Monkey’s Paw (short story and movie reference)
The plot is also similar to the short story The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, which centers on a magical monkey’s paw that can grant wishes but at a great expense. In the episode, Summer finds a monkey’s paw in Mr. Needful’s shop and uses her wishes to save his life.
Pet Sematary (book and movie reference)
Rick opens his own shop for removing the curses placed on items obtained from Needful Things. One customer walks into Rick’s store and asks to check on his undead cat and child, possibly a reference to the Stephen King book and film Pet Sematary.
The Devil Went Down to Georgia (song reference)
Mr. Needful picks up a fiddle in one scene and begins playing a fast-paced jig, likely a reference to the Charlie Daniels Band song The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
Steve Jobs (businessperson reference)
Near the end of the episode, Mr. Needful is shown giving a keynote on stage in an auditorium wearing a black turtleneck. This is likely a reference to the late Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs.
Season 1, Episode 10: Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (movie reference)
The title is a reference to the sci-fi film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Jerry Maguire (movie reference)
One of the Morty characters recites the line “Show me the Morty!” which is a reference to a well-known and similar quote from the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire (“Show me the money!”)
Gravity Falls (TV Easter Egg)
Some fans have speculated that Rick and Morty takes place in the same universe as Gravity Falls, an animated series created by Justin Roiland’s friend Alex Hirsch. That’s partly because of Easter Eggs like the one in this episode. If you look very closely, there’s one scene in which a pen, a notepad, and a mug emerge from one of Rick’s portals as he attempts to dodge the Council of Ricks. A character on Gravity Falls loses these items in a portal during one episode.
Season 1, Episode 11: Ricksy Business
Risky Business (movie reference)
The title of the episode is a reference to Risky Business, the 1983 film starring Tom Cruise.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV and movie reference)
This episode marks the first time the audience meets Rick’s friend Birdperson, which many fans believe is based on a character called Hawk from the film and TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Cape Fear (movie reference)
A deranged maid Jerry meets when attending a Titanic reenactment with Beth clings on to the bottom of their car as they leave the event, much like in Cape Fear (1991).
Season 2, Episode 1: A Rickle In Time
A Wrinkle in Time (book and movie reference)
The title of the episode is a reference to the Madeleine L’Engle novel, A Wrinkle in Time.
The Langoliers (book and TV show reference)
Some fans believe the 4th dimensional beings in this episode to be a reference to the monsters from Stephen King’s The Langoliers.
Schrödinger’s Cat (science reference)
There’s a scene in which Rick and Morty are floating through space surrounding by cats. This is believed to be a reference to the physics paradox Schrödinger’s Cat, a thought experiment created by physicist Erwin Schrödinger.
Season 2, Episode 2: Mortynight Run
Midnight Run (movie reference)
The title is likely a reference to the 1988 movie Midnight Run.
The Music Scene by Blockhead (song reference)
Some Redditors have noticed a similarity between the psychedelic musical sequence that “Fart” performs in this episode and the music video for Blockhead’s “The Music Scene.”
Season 2, Episode 3: Auto Erotic Assimilation
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (movie reference)
The episode opens with Rick, Morty, and Summer entering a spaceship. They encounter a group of distressed aliens who reveal that a hive mind entity has taken over their species. Rick points out that two of the aliens in the group don’t seem worried. One of those aliens points and screams before rushing over to the worried aliens and taking over their consciousness. That scream is a spoof on the closing scene from sci-fi film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
Community (TV reference and Easter Egg)
Unity and Rick are shown watching a TV show that’s meant to be an alien version of Dan Harmon’s live action NBC sitcom Community.
Alien (movie reference)
Rick also makes a reference to Alien (1979) in the opening scene when he refers to certain aliens as “facehuggers” and warns the kids to shake any eggs they find.
Season 2, Episode 4: Total Rickall
Total Recall (movie reference)
The title of the episode is likely a spoof of Total Recall, the 1990 sci-fi film starring Arnold Shwarzenegger.
The Thing (movie reference)
In this episode, the Smith family’s home is overrun with parasitic aliens capable of creating fake characters and phony memories to go along with them. This leaves the family unsure of who’s real and who isn’t, causing them to distrust and turn on one another, similar to the characters in John Carpenter’s 1982 horror sci-fi movie The Thing.
Season 2, Episode 5: Get Schwifty
American Idol (TV reference)
A swarm of mysterious floating heads have surrounded Earth in this episode, which some characters such as Summer begin to worship as gods. These hovering heads force each planet to participate in a talent competition similar to American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, and other talent reality shows.
Season 2, Episode 6: The Ricks Must Be Crazy
The Gods Must Be Crazy (movie reference)
The title of the episode could be a reference to the 1980 film The Gods Must Be Crazy.
Inspector Gadget (TV reference)
Rick says in one scene: “Go go Sanchez ski shoes!” prompting his shoes to turn into snow skis. This is a reference to the 1980s-era cartoon Inspector Gadget, who would famously say the phrase “go go gadget” before using one of his high-tech contraptions.
Avatar (movie reference)
The “tree of spirits” Morty leads Rick and Zeep to in this episode may be a spoof on the Tree of Souls from the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar.
Season 2, Episode 7: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez
Big Trouble in Little China (movie reference)
The name of this episode is a play on the title of the 1986 John Carpenter film, Big Trouble in Little China.
Alien (movie reference)
In this episode, Beth and Jerry attend a couples therapy session located on a different planet. Throughout the meeting, they wear a device that allows the other to see a visual representation of how the other views them in their subconscious. Jerry’s perception of Beth resembles a Xenomorph from the film Alien.
Nosferatu (movie reference)
The high school’s gym coach, who turns out to be a vampire, is named Coach Feratu, an obvious nod to the classic vampire flick Nosferatu.
Season 2, Episode 8: Interdimensional Cable 2, Tempting Fate
Jan-Michael Vincent (TV actor reference)
The family watches a commercial for an action adventure sci-fi movie called “Jan Quadrant Vincent 16,” starring the actor Jan-Michael Vincent, best known for his role in the 1980s TV series Airwolf.
How It’s Made (TV reference)
Rick, Morty, and Summer stumble upon an episode of How They Do It, an alien spoof on the Science Channel series How It’s Made.
Man vs. Wild (TV reference)
Rick, Morty, and Summer watch a commercial for an interdimensional TV show called Man vs. Car, which is likely a play on Man vs. Wild.
Season 2, Episode 9: Look Who’s Purging Now
Look Who’s Talking Now (movie reference)
The title of the episode is a pun on the name of the 1993 comedy Look Who’s Talking Now.
The Purge (movie reference)
Rick and Morty land on an alien planet during its purging festival, in which the inhabitants engage in an all-out murder spree. This tradition is believed to prevent crime from occurring regularly. The basic premise of this episode is very similar to the 2013 horror flick The Purge.
Season 2, Episode 10: The Wedding Squanchers
Wedding Crashers (movie reference)
The title is a reference to the 2005 romantic comedy Wedding Crashers.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (movie reference and Easter Egg)
Monkey brains are served at the wedding, just like in the dinner scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
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