Rick and Morty is no stranger to memorable quotes, from “Pickle Rick!” to Summer’s defense of the devil. But when it comes to catchphrases, titular character Rick Sanchez has one of the best lines of the whole show.
Rick’s “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub” caught on with fans fast and quickly became a favorite meme from the show. Originally, this phrase was used as a throwaway joke about cartoon and sitcom characters coming up with their own nonsensical catchphrases. But as it grew in popularity, creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland gave the word some extra meaning.
So, why does Rick keep shouting Wubba Lubba Dub Dub in season one? Read on for what we know.
What does Wubba Lubba Dub Dub mean?
In season one’s 11th episode “Ricksy Business,” Rick’s close friend Birdperson reveals a new meaning for the catchphrase. In his race of bird-people hybrids, “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub” means “I am in great pain, please help me.”
After hearing this surprising information, fans may want to reexamine all the times that Rick has used the phrase in the show. Rick, a noted alcoholic and misanthrope, isn’t exactly the happiest man in the multiverse. Despite its use for comedic effect, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing if Rick were regularly shouting out loud that he’s in great pain.
Of course, what makes the catchphrase even funnier is the fact that Rick seems to shout Wubba Lubba Dub Dub in excitement, not misery. For Rick, there’s no escape from his private hell, even when he’s having a good time.
According to an interview with Harmon and Roiland in Den of Geek, Wubba Lubba Dub Dub was entirely improvised. The pair had been toying with ways to make fun of the catchphrase trope itself and Wubba Lubba Dub Dub was their answer. From there, its true meaning was added as an afterthought for an extra dose of ironic tragicomedy.
With season five of Rick and Morty currently airing, fans can expect Rick to be back to his old tricks—and for his season one catchphrase to rise to popularity once again.