This is part of what makes Rick such an appealing character to them. He, too, is the ultimate master of his nerdy domain, a self-aware avatar of the cultural adventurer omnivorously consuming and exploring new universes but making wise-cracking asides along the way. He’s seen everything, he knows everything, and he sort of thinks it sucks. One of the primary criticisms leveled against Rick And Morty fans is that they mistakenly valorize Rick as a sort of uber-nerd, a shit-talking asshole who’s too smart to abide by normal social rules. Rick is always right, and when he isn’t, he still comes out on top, probably with a catchphrase and an episode-ending laugh line. He also fucks space babes and smokes pot with monsters. To those fans, the fact that Rick is awesome offers justification for his—and their—self-absorption.

It’s a compelling argument, but I’m not sure the show bears it out. If we’re to believe Rick is admirable for being a cold, misanthropic know-it-all, the show doesn’t do a very good job of selling it. He’s too rich in his emotions, too human in his failings; the show repeatedly finds him dealing with moments of vague tenderness and regret that he then undermines, contributing to the overall tragic arc of his character.

The A.V. Club on Rick And Morty.

It’s probably not a secret that I really love Rick-esque characters. It’s that whole thing about the cynical world-weary know-it-all whose “victory” is always won at deep–and often deeply hidden–personal cost (you remember how many times Rick has tried to commit suicide in the show?).

Oh, and I also like it when that character’s worldview gets the shit kicked out of it by the humanity and empathy of the characters around them. That’s my favorite part, gotta be honest. If you do the first part without the second, I’m outta there. But give me both and… [Italian chef kiss] Mwah! Perfecto.