As far as sad sacks go, Rick And Morty’s Jerry Smith is among the saddest and the sackiest. Played to whiny perfection by Chris Parnell, Jerry is disrespected by his family, hated by his genius father-in-law, and generally serves as the universe’s perpetual whipping boy. (How often do the rest of us get shamed into giving up our junk in the name of intergalactic peace?) And, yet, in the mind of series co-creator Dan Harmon, Jerry’s still in a better position than the show’s universe-spanning “hero,” Rick.
Adult Swim just posted a new video from Harmon, philosophizing on some of the ideas that underpin the show, which has never shied away from the darker implications of its quasi-omnipotent protagonist. Musing that Rick is “the seam between God and man,” Harmon points to the end of season 2’s “Auto Erotic Assimilation” as evidence that it doesn’t make him anything less than miserable. Harmon contrasts Rick—a character capable of doing pretty much anything he can imagine, and who ends the episode drunkenly botching his own suicide—with Jerry, who’s just happy to have his weed-whacker back. “Does he have it better off? I mean, I think so,” Harmon says.
Still, despite the show’s bleak outlook, Harmon doesn’t think life is totally meaningless. Mimicking the show’s surprisingly heartfelt sentiment, “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV,” Harmon notes, “Knowing the truth, which is that nothing matters, can actually save you in those moments. Once you get through that terrifying threshold of accepting that, then every place is the center of the universe, and every moment is the most important moment, and everything is the meaning of life.” Harmon then stops, hearing sirens approaching outside his home. “It’s the genius police.”