9 Intelligent Rick And Morty References Only The Smartest Fans Understood

If Your Wife Says "Sis Sempur Calumnium" To You, She Just Burned You And She's Probably A Rick And Morty Fan

It’s no secret that there are a ton of ridiculously smart Rick and Morty jokes – the whole show is basically about a man so brilliant he’s virtually an omniscient god. What’s even more impressive than the scientific principles they totally nail is their ability to make such things funny. Of course, not all the Rick and Morty jokes that went over your head are based on obscure scientific theories, even something as simple as a dog named Snowball is actually a clever literary reference. Like The Simpsons before them, Rick and Morty has some of the smartest jokes on television. 

While referential humor isn’t brilliant and hilarious of its own accord, Rick and Morty has an impressive track record of making such jokes just that. In fact, their referential humor is so complex it occasionally spawns fan theories. 

1. If Your Wife Says “Sis Sempur Calumnium” To You, She Just Burned You And She’s Probably A Rick And Morty Fan

If Your Wife Says "Sis Sempur Calumnium" To You, She Just Burned You And She's Probably A Rick And Morty Fan

While no one’s accusing Rick and Morty of being feminist, there’s just something about Latin that makes it inherently intellectual (at least on a superficial level). So in “Raising Gazorpazorp,” in which the stairs of the exclusively female society read, “Sis Sempur Calumnium,” Latin for “You’re Always Wrong,” it is a joke that is both brilliant and a touch misogynistic. Plus, it’s hilarious. 

2. Jerry’s Robe Is Just Weak. Literally.

Jerry's Robe Is Just Weak. Literally.

Jerry’s robe, which he wears in numerous episodes, features the Chinese character ruò, which roughly translates to “weak.” Jerry’s weakness of character is one of the greatest obstacles in his marriage, especially coupled with Beth’s domineering nature, resulting in an unhealthy dynamic of co-dependence between the two.

What’s so brilliant about this Jerry jibe is that the robe itself with its Chinese character is symbolic enough, representing Jerry’s pathological need to look cool, regardless of whether or not he understands the contract he’s entering into. 

3. This Hateful Sign Switches For Just A Frame

This Hateful Sign Switches For Just A Frame

In “Something Ricked This Way Comes,” Summer and Rick team up to get super buff and beat the living Hell out of Summer’s former employer, Satan. They take the time to beat up a few other folks who deserve an ass-whooping, like a homophobic protestor holding up the sign “God Hates F*gs.”

For a frame, the sign changes to “God Hates You.” The sign changes just as the hateful protester sees a swole Summer heading in his direction. There are a fair amount of God jokes in Rick and Morty – most of which paint religion in a negative light. Harmon and co. point out that if a god exists, he hates the people who holds up those signs. 

4. Snowball The Orwellian Lawnmower Dog

Snowball The Orwellian Lawnmower Dog

“Lawnmower Dog” is the second episode of the series and contains a subtle literary reference that perhaps even the best high school AP English students may have missed. When Rick builds a device to boost the intelligence of the family dog Snuffles, it’s not long before things get out of hand.

Snuffles builds an EXO-Suit for himself and seeks to subjugate humanity, renaming himself Snowball. Snowball is the name of the pig in George Orwell’s Animal Farm who shares Snuffles’s views on humanity, wholeheartedly believing in an animal uprising. 

5. Harmonius Claptrap Proves Even Credits Can Be Funny (And Poignant)

Harmonius Claptrap Proves Even Credits Can Be Funny (And Poignant)

Chalk this one up in the meta-humor category. Dan Harmon’s production company, Harmonious Claptrap, used to depict claymation versions of Harmon and his wife watching TV, lovingly snuggled up on the couch after every episode.

However, after his real life divorce, the image changed in time for Season 3, now depicting a slovenly Harmon apparently passed out drunk on the couch surrounded by trash with no wife in sight. While this is quite depressing, it’s also brilliant, as few would think to sneak humor into an element of the show that really exists outside the show. 

6. The Gravity Falls Portal

The Gravity Falls Portal

As Rick and Morty are fleeing across the universe from the Council of Ricks in “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind,” Rick opens a bunch of portals to throw their pursuers off their trail. A mug and notebook come falling through one of those portals, which seems innocuous enough, unless you’re an eagle-eyed fan of Gravity Falls, a Disney show created by Justin Roiland’s friend Alex Hirsch.

In the Gravity Falls episode, “Society of the Blind Eye,” those exact same items are seen disappearing into a portal. While this isn’t the most intellectually complex thing to grasp, it’s just exceedingly clever to span universes in this manner given Rick and Morty‘s established setting in the infinite multiverse.

7. Don’t Bring The Flu To The Flu Awareness Dance Because Passover

In “Rick Potion #9,” Morty and Summer’s school has a “Flu Awareness” dance. In the days before the dance, Principle Vagina gives an announcement about the dance over the PA system, warning students not to come if they have the flu, offering the analogy, “You don’t bring dead babies to Passover.” The announcement is kind of difficult to hear, presented as background noise at the school, but if you did catch it, you might wonder what he’s talking about. 

The Jewish holiday of Passover has its origins in ancient Egypt, where one of the plagues wrought upon the oppressive Egyptians was the death of their first born sons. To avoid this same fate, Moses instructed the Jews to mark their doorways with lamb’s blood, inoculating them from being victimized by the plague. Of course, bringing a dead baby to Passover is a morbid way to say you’d be defeating the whole purpose of the endeavor. Hence Vagina’s joke.

8. The School Flies The Flag Half Mast After Rick Kills Frank Palicky

The School Flies The Flag Half Mast After Rick Kills Frank Palicky

In the pilot episode, there is an establishing shot of Morty and Summer’s school. The American flag is flying at the top mast. Later, Rick freezes Morty’s bully, Frank Palicky – who is also Summer’s crush – so he can take Morty on an adventure. Summer sees Frank, attempts to flirt, and ends up shattering him into a million pieces. The next time we see an establishing shot of the school, the flag is at half mast, honoring Frank’s death.

9. Ernest Hemingway’s Suicide Has Never Been So Sexy

Dirty can be smart. And really dirty can be really smart. At the end of “Rick Potion #9,” Jerry and Beth find themselves blowing away Cronenberg monsters left and right, which of course rekindles the spark in their marriage, prompting Jerry to say to his shotgun-wielding wife, “I wish that shotgun was my penis.” And Beth responds, “If it were you could call me Ernest Hemingway.” 

Beth is referring to Ernest Hemingway’s famous suicide, in which he put a shotgun in his mouth. You can probably bridge the gap. Redditor /u/DrColossus1 accurately describes this joke as, “The most amazing, horrible, literally mind-blowing fellatio joke of all time.”