A clever detail from Rick and Morty season 4 reveals Jerry’s greatest shortcomings. Jerry Smith, voiced by Chris Parnell, is the oft-derided father in the Smith/Sanchez household, often characterized by his endless ineptitude and hopelessness. These personality traits, along with Jerry’s other largest flaws, are neatly represented in a detail from Rick and Morty season 4, episode 9, “Childrick of Mort.”
Jerry Smith is a largely pathetic character who is often rejected by his family throughout the Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon creation Rick and Morty. During “Childrick of Mort,” Jerry drags the Smith family on a camping trip, referred to by Rick as a “dumb vacation with a family that doesn’t need you.” This is swiftly interrupted by the news Rick has fathered an alien race, one subset of which is rejected and labeled the Unproductives. The Unproductives are dazzled by Jerry’s mediocre talents and provide an opportunity for Jerry to reinstate his patriarchal role. One detail from Jerry’s time with the Unproductives, however, demonstrates his most significant flaws.
Jerry’s “Mud Shirt” Revealed His Rick & Morty Flaws
During the “Do You Wanna Go Camping?” montage in “Childrick of Mort,” the Unproductives have marked their torsos with mud to resemble Jerry’s shirt pattern, presumably as a mark of respect in the process of Jerry becoming their leader. Later, Rick and Morty has Jerry remove his shirt in an attempt to emulate the Unproductives, and Jerry paints the same mud pattern onto his own body. Jerry is so desperate to be liked and accepted that he has copied the Unproductives, completely oblivious to the fact the Unproductives are copying him (via nbnicholas). While this moment demonstrates Jerry’s idiocy in Rick and Morty, it also speaks to his yearning to fit in.
Despite becoming the clan’s leader, Jerry is too ineffectual and unintelligent to enact any real change. As Rick surmises, “you had actual power, and you did jack-s***.” This is Jerry’s biggest flaw – his obliviousness. Jerry is so blinded by his stupidity and need for acceptance, he completely misses the few opportunities he receives throughout Rick and Morty to redeem himself in the eyes of his family.
Rick & Morty’s Unproductives Make Jerry A Tragic Character
Throughout “Childrick of Mort,” Jerry desperately tries to reestablish his value after being roundly dismissed by his family. At this point, Jerry is the only Rick and Morty family member not fully integrated into his son and father-in-law’s sci-fi adventures. Jerry’s motive behind the camping trip is to lure his family back into his domain and, hopefully, earn their respect. This completely fails, of course, and the fact that Jerry is categorized as an Unproductive represents Jerry’s rejection from the more intellectual members of the family. Within the Smith household, Jerry is the Unproductive.
Nevertheless, Jerry is just as lovable as he is hopeless. His blissful innocence is quite endearing and serves as a refreshing palate-cleanser from the intensity of the other family members. Thankfully, later seasons of Rick and Morty have provided Jerry with genuine opportunities to regain some semblance of respect. Jerry, rather predictably, fails in this, but has seemingly settled convivially into a dim-witted comic relief role, both within the Smith family and Rick and Morty.