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Rick And Morty: The Real Reason Rick Hates Jerry

Ah, Jerry Smith. On the hit Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, there may be no more disrespected human being on the planet. While his son Morty (voiced by Justin Roiland) goes on insane intergalactic and interdimensional adventures with Jerry's father-in-law, the alcoholic super-genius Rick Sanchez (also Roiland), Jerry (Chris Parnell) always seems to end up getting the short end of every stick he comes across. He's often treated as an afterthought at best by Morty and his daughter Summer (Spencer Grammer), and he's belittled and demeaned by his wife Beth (Sarah Chalke). Heck, even the wind whispers tidings of his loser-dom into his ear, and Jerry is too much of a loser to argue.

As for Rick, it's obvious that Jerry is the living, breathing equivalent of a splinter stuck under his thumbnail. He's incapable of uttering Jerry's name without it positively dripping with contempt, he's prone to spontaneously excoriating the poor guy in language that Jerry can probably just barely understand, and in one of their rare adventures together, we got an idea as to why.

For all of Beth's flaws (and she is very, very flawed), she's still the apple of Rick's eye. As the daughter of the smartest man in the universe, it stands to reason that Beth had potential beyond becoming a simple horse surgeon. On the Rick and Morty season 3 episode "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy," during a time when Beth and Jerry are broken up, Jerry tells Rick that the pair "had some good times when [they] were younger," to which Rick replies, "That's how teenage pregnancy happens, my friend." Reading between the lines, it's quite clear that Rick blames Jerry for Beth's failure to pursue an exceptional life due to that unplanned pregnancy — but what if there's more to the story? 

One intrepid Redditor believes that there is, and they cited evidence that's been right in front of our faces for the series' entire run.

Rick's lab might offer a clue as to why he hates Jerry so much

This evidence is a plain cardboard box labeled "time travel stuff," which can be seen collecting dust on a shelf in Rick's lab as long ago as Rick and Morty's pilot episode. Now, for all of the wacky and weird plot devices Rick and Morty has employed over the years, the show's co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have never been shy about their reluctance to introduce time travel into the show's narrative. Roiland has called that particular device "a real shark-jumper," and he's also stated that the one episode that did properly deal with time travel — season 4's "Rattlestar Ricklactica" — was crafted specifically to reveal the glaring weaknesses of time travel as a plot element. (Pretty bold for a series that began as a foul-mouthed parody of Back to the Future, but we digress.)

The presence of a bunch of old, neglected time travel equipment taking up space in Rick's lab implies that he has dabbled in the activity in the past, and Redditor kibaginji thinks they know why. Citing the fact that Jerry has revealed (on the season 1 episode "Ricksy Business") that he was abused as a child, our Redditor posits that this abuse was carried out by a time-traveling Rick. Why would Rick do such a thing? To soften Jerry and break his confidence — so that he would never screw up Beth's life (via Express UK).

According to the Redditor, Rick hates Jerry so much because he's tried everything he can to get him out of Beth's life so she can live up to her potential, but he's failed each and every time. Essentially, to Rick, Jerry represents huge failure. 

"Beth marrying Jerry is Rick's greatest failure," u/kibaginji wrote. "We all know Rick hates time travel yet he keeps a box of time travel stuff in the garage where he will see it every day... Because Rick failed when he went back in time to get Jerry out of Beth's life." Eventually, though, "Rick realizes that no matter what he does Jerry and Beth will wind up together... He then decides if he can't be rid of Jerry he can at least make him a non-threat to his dominance over the family."

This is exactly the approach that Rick takes during the season 2 finale "The Wedding Squanchers" and the season 3 premiere "The Rickshank Redemption," in which Rick executes a ridiculously complicated plot that necessitates his own capture by the Galactic Federation, apparently for the sole purpose of manipulating Beth and Jerry into a divorce. Pretty hardcore, Rick — but at least no stupid time travel was required.