Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland) performs a number of crazy sci-fi experiments in the Adult Swim series Rick and Morty, but the one that is both worthless and wonderfully reflects the show’s nihilistic beliefs is when Rick chooses to convert himself into a pickle, but why does he do it? Morty (Justin Roiland) finds that his grandpa has Rick transformed himself into a pickle during the season 3 episode “Pickle Rick.”
Rick often finds himself at odds with Morty and the Smith family’s morality and domestic values, preferring a self-serving vision on the world, because he has little respect for ordinary conventions like marriage and education. Rick’s strangest experiment to date appears strangely on the day the Smith family, including Beth (Sarah Chalke) and Summer (Spencer Grammer), all agreed to present to family counseling, during Rick & Morty season 3, episode 3, Rick’s seemingly useless experiment is shown to have a reason after all: to get out of therapy.
Morty first has problems understanding why Rick would change himself into something as pointless as a pickle in the episode “Pickle Rick,” and inquires if becoming a pickle provides him any unique talents, such as flight or immortality. Rick retorts that he wouldn’t be much of a pickle if he could do anything other than what a pickle can accomplish, which is nothing more than being a pickle. Morty raises the absolutely reasonable issue of why he or anybody would bother to convert yourself into a pickle, despite Morty’s advice to simply be amazed by the experiment.
The only reason anyone would do this if they could, which they can’t, is because they could,” Rick explains. Rick’s reasoning for becoming a pickle not only deflects from his genuine goal, which is to avoid going to family therapy, but it’s also the same reason the Jurassic Park scientists decided to clone the dinosaurs: because they could.
When Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) are having lunch with John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) in Jurassic Park, Malcom brings up the ethical difficulties of wielding infinite genetic power without first considering the consequences of such a scientific undertaking. “Your scientists were so focused on whether they could that they didn’t think about whether they should,” Malcom adds.
The episode of Rick and Morty hilariously draws a comparison between Rick’s priorities and those of the scientists from Jurassic Park; while both had the ability to wield a similar impressive genetic power, Rick used it to turn himself into a vegetable so he wouldn’t have to work.
Rick and Morty’s reference to Jurassic Park not only highlights the lengths Rick will go to avoid having to take a hard look at himself, but it also demonstrates that, although believing he is personally above human life’s conventions, such as love and family, Rick is still clearly preoccupied by it because he’s not using his mental prowess to achieve groundbreaking advances in science, but rather to get away from the mundane things that he despises.
Even the process of transforming himself into a pickle demonstrates how much he adores his family. While he could have easily gotten out of family therapy by employing one of his previous inventions, Rick puts on the act of being so preoccupied with turning himself into a pickle that he forgot about the appointment in order to avoid directly disappointing Beth by leaving her once more.