Old Drunk Genius meets Innocent Teen Loser: How to Develop Dynamic Characters

Opposing Character Traits in Rick and Morty

Before you set out the write a series proposal, script, short story or even novel, the first thing you should be looking into (after deciding what you want to say and why) is what kind of characters are needed to tell the story. Time and time again literature has proven that the more diverse the cast and characters, the more easily conflict is developed and the more interested the readers or viewers will be. So, what’s the number one rule to developing interesting and dynamic characters? Opposing character traits. And Rick and Morty is the perfect animated television series to prove this.

Rick and Morty Character Map

Taking a look at the above character map, you will find that every single trait or value Morty possesses, Rick will reflect the exact opposite. For instance, Morty’s innocence contrasts with Rick’s corruptness. Rick’s bravery contrasts with Morty’s relentless fear. The complete incompatibility of these two characters is what makes for constant conflict and endless comedy. Not to mention, we are always able to get two sides to a story and see the dynamic situations through two very different lens.

The same can be done with the other characters in the show. In almost every way possible, Jerry is the complete opposite of Beth and Summer. This is why Jerry is often up against the two women of the house and why episodes with Jerry and Summer or Jerry and Beth are much more interesting and comedic than episodes that focused on a plot line with just Beth and Summer (who are too similar to create much conflict).

So, my message to all writers, new and seasoned, is before you get to typing, first create a character map and figure out exactly who your protagonist is. Then make sure you have another character (antagonist or buddy) who can oppose them in every way. This is bound to make your writing more interesting and your situations endless.

And don’t forget, if you have a short script, send it my way! Submissions are open and one amazing screenwriter will be declared winner at the end of every month and have their screenplay published on ScreenWriterFem. Happy writing.


I am a screenwriter and story editor based out of Vancouver. I have attended Vancouver Film School and have now joined the amazing Canadian writer's community.

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