Rick and Morty just admitted how stupid Rick’s catchphrase is. Rick and Morty season 6, episode 4, “Night Family,” pitted the Smith family against dark reflections of themselves. Having been discovered doing crunches in his sleep, Rick introduced his family to a machine called the Somnambulator. The device turned people into “Night-Persons,” asleep versions of themselves that would unconsciously carry out their responsibilities for them. Wanting to be free from their chores, Beth, Jerry, Morty, and Summer decided to use the device as well. Rick and Morty instructed their counterparts to do crunches all night to get abs. Having accomplished that, the pair started a podcast focused on their abs, appropriately titled “Fab-Solutely Ab-Ulous.”
While recording an episode, Rick and Morty read an ad from their sponsor, Boxer Lobster, an underwear company. At the end of the ad, Morty revealed the company wanted Rick to say his catchphrase, “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub,” to which Rick refused. The joke was a reference to the catchphrase being a highly marketable aspect of the series, showing, in turn, how stupid “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” is meant to be. The phrase was first said by Rick at the end of season 1’s fifth episode, “Meeseeks and Destroy.” Then, in the Rick and Morty season 1 finale, “Ricksy Business,” Birdperson revealed that, in his native tongue, the phrase meant, “I am in great pain. Please help me,” serving as another demonstration of Rick’s existential dread. “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” has become incredibly popular, appearing on numerous items of merchandise. The catchphrase even became a Google Easter egg.
Yet, Rick and Morty season 6, episode 4 served as a reminder of the phrase’s intentionally random and nonsensical nature. The mention of “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” in “Night Family” served as a meta reference to its unintended success and marketability. As Rick and Morty star and co-creator Justin Roiland explained during an interview with Den of Geek, “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” was an improvised line meant to make fun of TV and movie catchphrases, such as Sheldon Cooper’s “Bazinga” in The Big Bang Theory. Thus, it was an ironic development to see it being turned into a staple of the show through audiences’ reception of it. However, with its fourth episode, Rick and Morty season 6 reminded fans that “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” is not an actual phrase. It’s a parody of catchphrases meant to further emphasize the show’s satirical point of view.
Can Rick & Morty Still Use The Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub Catchphrase?
Rick and Morty so openly recognizing “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” as the silly joke it was meant to be from the beginning raises the question: could the phrase be retired? Not necessarily. While Rick’s refusal to say it could be a fourth-wall-breaking message from the show’s creators to audiences about it not being used again, “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” is likely not gone for good. The phrase was always meant to be an ironic take on catchphrases from TV and movies. It was never intended to be a distinguishable aspect of Rick Sanchez’s character, and the series never embraced it as such. Even the phrase’s true meaning being tied to Rick’s tragic backstory in Rick and Morty was meant to subvert audiences’ expectations of it, as Justin Roiland explained to Entertainment Weekly:
“[We] were making fun of the idea of stupid catchphrases. [At first], it wasn’t at all that, and then it was funny because it was a dumb catchphrase, and then we subverted it by making it mean something really depressing. The hardcore fans get the irony behind it. But I think some fans maybe don’t?”
The joke in “Night Family” continued the show’s ironic usage of Rick’s catchphrase. It simply expanded on it, making the phrase’s true nature abundantly clear. Another important aspect to consider is the fact that “Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub” has not really had much of a presence in the show. It has been said sparingly, meaning that it will likely not be mentioned for a while. However, its absence will not necessarily signal its retirement, as proven by it being said in Rick and Morty season 6, episode 4. “Wubba Dubba Dub-Dub” is a signature aspect of Rick and Morty, and though the show has addressed how dumb it truly is, the saying’s very nature means Rick Sanchez is free to continue using it.