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The Most Useless Invention Rick Has Created On Rick And Morty

It can't be easy being the smartest man in the universe. Just ask Rick Sanchez, the dimension-hopping mad scientist at the center of the hit Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, who routinely invents new technologies of the sort that would change the world as we know it with no more thought than we would give to the construction of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He may not be the best father to his daughter Beth, the greatest role model for his grandchildren Summer and Morty, or anything other than the bane of his son-in-law Jerry's life — but whenever one of them has a problem, they always seem to turn to Rick for a technology-based solution, which doesn't always work out well.

It seems to be Rick's curse that he'll never be acknowledged for his insane contributions to the world of science; perhaps it's the whole "recognized throughout the universe as an intergalactic terrorist" thing. But since nobody, not even Rick, can be a hundred percent on all the time, he's also crapped out a few inventions that never should have seen the light of day. For every portal gun or interdimensional cable box, the mad scientist has put up at least one real stinker of an invention, so we decided to do a little digging to find out: what is the most useless thing Rick has ever created on Rick and Morty?

Well, we suppose it depends largely upon your definition of the word "useless," but we submit that there are a couple of categories that should be considered here: things that completely failed to serve their intended purpose, and things that simply have no reason to exist. We can think of at least a couple of Rick's projects that fit nicely into each category, so let's begin with the former, and a little project which Rick referred to as "Operation Phoenix."

In the season 2 episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez," Summer and Morty casually mention over breakfast that one of the lunch ladies at their school was murdered and drained of all of her blood by an unknown assailant. Even more casually, Rick informs his horrified family that vampires are real, and have been locked in a struggle with humanity for centuries.

Summer begs Rick for help, and help he does — by going undercover at their school, inexplicably turning up in in pint-sized form, calling himself "Tiny Rick." While he does help to ferret out the bloodsucker (it was Coach Feratu... go figure), trouble arises when an invitation to a party from one of the popular kids prompts the newly emotional, impulsive Rick to stay in his teen form a bit longer.

It turns out that Rick has been storing multiple, in-development copies of himself in vats in the basement just in case he ever needed to jump into a new body (hey, we've all wanted to do that), and his his time inhabiting "T.R." is slowly killing his original body. Of course, Tiny Rick attempts to conceal this, but old Rick manages to break through with a few clues for his grandkids in the form of song lyrics and dance routines, and Summer and Morty are able to convince him to jump back into his own body by overwhelming his emotions with angst-y music.

Rick, of course, brutally destroys all of his clones and deems the project a bust. It was a neat concept, but junking it was the only appropriate action; after all, if not for his astute grandchildren and the music of Elliott Smith, the smartest man in the universe might have been toast.

Getting even deeper into "effective but incredibly dangerous" territory, consider perhaps the most ill-advised creation Rick has ever absentmindedly tossed off: the love potion that he gifts Marty with in the season 1 Rick and Morty episode "Rick Potion #9." When Morty lacks the courage to talk to his crush Jessica at the annual Flu Season Dance, Rick whips up a literal love potion just to get his grandson to quite pestering him. Of course, he fails to mention that there could be unintended consequences if the target has the flu, and as it turns out, she does — and "unintended consequences" doesn't quite cover it.

The love potion piggybacks on the flu virus, causing wild, lustful love for Morty to spread among the dance's attendees like a wildfire. Soon, it's spreading throughout the entire town (although Morty's family members are, thankfully, unaffected), and Rick has to intervene. Unfortunately, he does so by creating a solution that is so, so much worse than the problem. 

Since the original portion contained DNA from rodents which happen to mate for life, Rick decides to whip up an antidote using what he considers to be the opposite of that: the DNA of a praying mantis, which kills its mate. He unleashes the antidote on the populace, and it promptly mutates them all into savage, insect-like horrors (that are still in love with Morty). Undaunted, Rick throws together a hodgepodge of DNA (including that of sharks, dinosaurs, and golden retrievers) to create an anti-antidote, which... simply transforms everyone into monstrous, mutated blobs which Rick and Morty fittingly dub "Cronenbergs."

This particular invention and its antidotes create such an unfixable mess that the situation forces Rick to use his failsafe option: abandoning the dimension for a different one, which he inserts himself and Morty into moments after the new dimension's native versions of the pair die in a horrible accident. It's pretty safe to say that Rick has never botched anything quite so badly before or since, but at least the invention had a (terrifyingly failed) purpose.

Not so our other candidates, the first of which is so unbelievably frivolous that one has to wonder how blackout drunk Rick must have gotten to even have the idea. In the second season Rick and Morty episode "Get Schwifty," Rick takes matters into his own hands when the Earth is involuntarily entered into the intergalactic music competition Planet Music, which is presided over by a race of enormous, floating, disembodied heads known as Cromulons. Contestants are eliminated from this competition by way of destruction of the entire planet, you see, so the stakes are a bit high.

Rick is familiar with the Cromulons, so he and Morty pay a visit to the president to fill him in. Of course, the unexpected appearance of an old geezer and a young kid through a portal of pure energy prompts a bit of suspicion, and the pair are rushed by security guards — whom Rick apparently turns into snakes, using a wrist-mounted particle beam.

This turns out to not quite be the case, however. The particle beam didn't turn the hapless souls into snakes — it merely disintegrated them, while Rick surreptitiously released the snakes from holsters mounted inside his pant legs, a trick which he subsequently reveals to the president. Why the heck go to the trouble of designing the snake holster just to complete an odd, random illusion, only then to reveal the ruse to the guy you specifically designed it to fool? Again... we're thinking alcohol, and lots of it, had something to do with Rick's thought process here.

But when it comes to the pinnacle of pure, abject purposelessness, there can be only one among all of Rick's creations. It appeared in the first season episode "Something Ricked This Way Comes," and it's an apparently advanced artificial intelligence which Rick creates in response to Morty's request for help with a science fair project; a small robot, perfectly capable of everyday conversation, which moves about on treads and has two pincer-like "hands." It's pretty nifty, except it has only one reason for being: to pass butter.

Rick clues the "butter robot" in to the bleak futility of its existence when it asks him the simple, plaintive question, "What is my purpose?" Rick responds simply, "You pass butter," to which the robot — after just a few seconds of reflection — replies, "Oh my God." Rick's devastating retort: "Yeah, welcome to the club, pal."

To create something capable of feeling existential horror for the sole purpose of passing the butter has got to be the greatest waste of Rick's gifts we've ever seen throughout Rick and Morty's run, but at least the little guy gets some small measure of revenge. Later in the episode, as Rick is preparing to dine alone because everybody is too busy to hang out with him, he hesitantly asks the butter robot if it wants to catch a movie. It coldly replies: "I am not programmed for friendship."

Ouch. Perhaps the little guy did have a greater purpose: laying that nasty burn on his maker.