Many shows that lean on depth and intricate narratives often have their version of a "comic relief" character. In the case of the trippy sci-fi comedy that is Rick and Morty, most of the characters featured are humorous in one way or another. Yet, when it comes to Jerry Smith, Morty's goofy father - who's sort of the dimwitted "yin" to Rick's genius "yang," he can be considered more of what you might call "simpleton relief," amidst a universe of chaos and complexity.
But this is part of Jerry's charm - his cheery, almost annoyingly naive ways make him the personification of a grounded counterpart to the intellectual darkness and insanity of Rick and the bizarre worlds he unleashes. He's also responsible for plenty of memorable quotes amidst an array of hilarious zingers from many in the show.
Let's take a look at 10 of his greatest and most amusing lines.
10 "God? God's turning people into insect monsters, Beth"
"God? God's turning people into insect monsters, Beth. I'm the one beating them to death. Thank me!"
It's pretty admirable, if not somewhat amusing, to see Jerry's oblivious sense of confidence and arrogance even as humanity gets morphed into mutated monstrous "Cronenbergs." It also shows that despite his insufferably naive ways, his drive to restrengthen the bond between he and Beth is unwavering, even if it seems as hopeless as dimension C-137's current state.
9 "Why am I so mediocre?"
"Innocent people are going to die because of me. Why am I so mediocre?"
Though Jerry tends to exude a sort of false sense of confidence, we actually feel a bit bad for him as an audience after being hunted down by an angry mob of Meeseeks, fed up with Jerry's mediocrity - specifically his inability to take 2 strokes off his golf game.
This is one of the first and few moments we see more of an introspective version of this character. At the same time, it's a typically amusing line from Jerry and reestablishes his sense of inadequacy and feeble mind.
8 "He's Playing You, Shorty"
"Your dad gets to walk all over us because of your abandonment issues. He's playing you, shorty."
One of Jerry Smith's more charming and humorous traits is his misguided desire to be relevant by being a "hip" father and husband. One prime example of this is what Beth refers to as his "hip-hop dialect," which is hilariously answered by even more "ironic urban patois" by Jerry. His failed attempt at sounding cool is just another trait that makes Smith the lovably lame, funny character he often is.
7 "Pluto Was A Planet"
"It's possible to disagree in science, Morty. Pluto was a planet, some committee of fancy ***holes disagree, I disagreed back. Gimmie a ping-pong ball."
One of the funniest, most clever episodes of Rick and Morty has to come in the form of "Something Ricked This Way Comes", largely because of its plot featuring a Plutonian conspiracy trying to convince its people that Pluto isn't a planet. Yet, it's also thanks to Morty's father, who is in prime dimwitted and oblivious form here, as he's on a mission to prove Pluto is, in fact, a planet, even at the expense of causing civil unrest on the planet.
This isn't just a hilarious line of dialogue; it's a great summary of who Jerry is as a character, his naivety when it comes to science, and his desire to reside over Rick as his son's source of wisdom and influence.
6 "I'm Mr. Crowbar"
"I'm Mr. Crowbar, and this is my friend, who is also a crowbar!"
Sometimes it's the simplest lines that can best describe or exemplify a particular character, especially when it comes to simple Jerry Smith.
Morty's father has had his share of goofy quotes which aren't particularly well thought out. Yet, this classic "zinger" he busts out as he breaks into his wife's business to save her just might take the cake in terms of its silly simplicity. The now-mutated version of Beth's coworker Davin basically says what we're all thinking as an audience, just before he gets whacked with Mr. Crowbar's weapon of choice - "that's just... stupid."
5 "The Men's Section Of K-Mart"
"Take your attitude to the men's section of K-Mart, because you need to cut me some slack... sss!"
When Jerry's not engaging in his feeble rivalry with Rick as the patriarch of the Smith family, telling his son typically bad advice, or finding himself at the brunt of one of Rick's experiments, he's usually at his best when cracking a goofy quip.
During "Wedding Squanchers", Jerry is trying (and failing) to mingle with the parents of Tammy with some rather inappropriate comments - though funny enough, he actually ends up being right in his critique of their relationship. He then responds with that aforementioned gem after Beth asks him "were you born with your feet in your mouth?" The "S" sound Jerry tacks on after the word "slack" just adds that little extra something...
4 "Life Is Effort"
"Life is effort and I'll stop when I die!"
This is such a brief and simple line, on the one hand, though there's deceptively quite a bit going on that's both funny and weirdly insightful. It's another great line that helps establish who Morty's goofy father is rather early in the first season of the show.
This quote from the episode "Raising Gazorpazorp" essentially sums up Jerry's lack of brainpower with the nonsensical logic in the line itself. Yet it also somewhat establishes his admirable - if not seemingly hopeless - drive and naive sense of confidence and arrogance even in the face of his simple ways. Basically, for Smith, life is quite a bit of effort.
3 "Not As Fast As The Other Kids"
"I love you Morty, but we both know you're not as fast as the other kids, and if you want to compete in this world, you got to work twice as hard."
It's established pretty early on that Jerry Smith isn't exactly the greatest father figure to his son. While he does offer a kinder and more supportive shoulder to lean on than Rick, he's also filled with some pretty ill-advised wisdom and advice. One of the best examples of this comes in the form of this line, which is both humorous and pretty ironic, given Jerry's own lack of "sharpness." This quote is a nice way to sum up the endearing yet not-particularly-ideal relationship between Morty and his father.
2 "I Got My Sixth Promotion This Week"
"I got my sixth promotion this week, and I still don't know what I do!"
When the Galactic Federation gains jurisdiction over Earth and rules over it, following the end of the second season, Jerry is, once again, caught up in the middle of a incomprehensible situation which he must try to wade through.
In scenarios like these, an already innate Smith reaches a point of almost blind oblivion. A funny example of this is when he's fitted for a new job within the new power structure of earth, which he reveals he knows basically nothing about. He's simply going through the motions and somehow getting by, even obtaining promotions without even being aware of what his job is. If that's not good old Jerry in a nutshell...
1 "You gotta stop listening to yourself"
"If I've learned one thing, it's that before you get anywhere in life, you gotta stop listening to yourself."
It would seem that Morty isn't the only one at the receiving end of some of the worst, most amusingly strange advice possible, but so is Doofus Rick, who's seemingly the most unintelligent and "innocent" of all Ricks that span endless dimensions. Of course, given the context of the episode, this quote makes a bit more sense, though it's quite bizarre that this is actually something that Jerry has learned, retained, and continues to apparently follow.
Smith's brand of wisdom - that you mustn't listen to your own instincts to get ahead in life - is almost mind-bendingly goofy, yet this is sort of representative of both Jerry and Rick and Morty itself...