Throughout the 4 seasons of Rick & Morty, Rick has had a number of love interests; here’s what the relationships reveal about his character.
Rick & Morty isn’t a series known for its romantic plotlines, but title character Rick Sanchez has been through several love interests in the sitcom’s four seasons. Beginning in 2013, Adult Swim’s anarchic animated sitcom Rick & Morty has grown from a crude, crass satire of sci-fi tropes into a thoughtful, funny, and ambitious deconstruction of sitcom and genre fiction conventions alike.
The animated series has parodied everything from Jurassic Park to the obsessive fanbase of HBO’s fantasy mega-hit Game of Thrones, but Rick & Morty isn’t without its more serious moments. The eponymous Rick Sanchez has, for example, shown unexpected depths on occasion despite his sour, sarcastic demeanor, and the Adult Swim comedy has even been known to slow down its breakneck pace and surreal humor to address the character’s darker side.
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Rick’s troubled outlook on life is never better illustrated than when the character comes across an old love interest, as has happened numerous times throughout Rick & Morty’s four seasons. His unlucky-in-love grandson may be the one pursuing a girl of the week more often than Rick, but Morty isn’t the only Rick & Morty character to run through some significant love interests throughout the show’s four seasons. Each of Rick’s few love interests has illustrated another element of the character’s tumultuous internal life, be it his quietly desperate loneliness or his amoral approach to parenthood, and a rundown of Rick’s handful of Rick & Morty love interests ends up indirectly telling a tale about the tragicomic, hypocritical figure of Rick Sanchez.
A sentient planet and the most recently-introduced of Rick’s love interests, Gaia is the world that Rick accidentally impregnated offscreen before the events of season 4’s ninth episode “Childrick of Mort.” Only that might not quite be right, since the Zeus-esque fellow planet/god/supreme being Reggie is equally likely to be the father of the world’s beings since Gaia slept with both Reggie and Rick around the same time. Whatever the case, Gaia doesn’t end up playing much of a role in her one-episode appearance (something that proves to be a pattern for Rick’s love interests). What the planet does do is further reaffirm the fact that Rick, despite becoming a little uncaring and harsh than his season 1 self during season 4 of Rick & Morty, is still perfectly happy to abandon his potential offspring when it’s convenient for him to do so. This means the emotional wound that keeps him and Beth from becoming close remains very much unhealed on Rick’s part (and it’s also still a sore spot for Beth, judging by the events of this episode).
This love interest is a tricky one, as it’s a Rick & Morty character who is only ever introduced in what is explicitly framed as a fake memory. As such, there’s no way of knowing what parts of the character (if any) bear a relation to Beth’s mother. As seen in the Rick & Morty season 3 debut “The Rickshank Redemption,” Diane Sanchez is the loving wife seen in Rick’s fabricated memory that he invents to distract an agent of the Galactic Federation, Cornvelius Daniel. As Diane is merely part of a ruse, there’s no knowing for certain whether any (or all) of the details of this character are shared by the real, thus-far still unseen Mrs. Sanchez, from her blond-haired appearance to her doting attitude toward Rick.
Unseen on the series thus far, the real Mrs. Sanchez is Beth’s mother, Rick’s ex-wife, and a pretty massive character on Rick & Morty despite her absence. Despite never appearing (outside of one brief glimpse in shadow) and rarely being directly mentioned, series co-creator Dan Harmon’s comments that Mrs. Sanchez was “unremarkable” have been read by some fans as a potential source of Beth’s idolization of her father and her resentment of Jerry. As with Diane Sanchez, viewers can’t tell anything objective about Mrs. Sanchez. From the minimal information that Rick & Morty offers about what happened to Beth’s mom, Rick may still harbor a vague wish to be reunited with his wife, as the pilot episode’s line sees him tell Beth “I wish your mom were here to try them” about her pancakes. Whether this implies that Mrs. Sanchez may be deceased, rather than just estranged from the pair, is up to each viewer to decide.
A hivemind that consists of innumerable beings, Unity dated Rick before the events of Rick & Morty began, and the two rekindled their romance in the poignant season 2 outing, episode 3’s “Auto Erotic Assimilation.” Voiced by Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, Unity’s attempts to keep Rick invested in their relationship take a toll and eventually Unity leaves Rick, prompting his unsuccessful suicide attempt in this atypically dark outing. Unity’s inability to keep the constantly searching Rick content, as well as Rick’s desire to start over and his explosive reaction to her decision to leave him, illustrate a sadness at the core of the super-genius character, one that Rick & Morty has only occasionally dwelled on. Rick’s inability to hold onto happiness or maintain a stable relationship is something the series addressed more generally in “Pickle Rick,” but his failure to connect with Unity betrays an insatiable, shapeless yearning that could yet doom the character.
Of course, not all of Rick’s love interests have been the purveyors of such dark insight into the character. Kiara, the Predator/Alien spoofing side character seen in season 3’s ninth episode “The ABC’s Of Beth,” for example, is the sort of throwaway gag love interest that Morty has racked up many of over Rick & Morty’s four seasons. Kiara was introduced as a rebound for the spurned Jerry, with the central gag of the episode being that Jerry is thoroughly mismatched with a tall, lithe, and lethal alien bounty hunter (at least, until he discovers that she too is attempting to rebound after being jilted). However, a post-credits stinger does confirm that Rick also hooked up with her after Jerry’s stint with Kiara ended in heartbreak. As this occurred offscreen and barely contributed to the episode’s story, it’s fair to suggest that Kiara is likely the least impactful of Rick’s love interests. But not every episode of Rick & Morty needs to dwell on the immeasurable longing that hides in the tortured heart of Rick Sanchez, so it’s only fair that at least one of his love interests would come in the form of a consequence-free hook up.
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