By now, you should be well aware as to who Rick and Morty’s titular characters are. From The Simpsons to Family Guy, and even more recently Space Jam: A New Legacy with LeBron James, this sci-fi satire duo has made many crossover appearances throughout 21st century pop culture. And now, five episodes into its fifth season, Rick and Morty is beginning to prove that it too can enjoy longevity on its own, just like its predecessors.
Since its humble beginnings on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block in 2013, Rick and Morty has become a cult classic thanks to its action-packed alien escapades and hilarious mature content. And for the past four seasons, fans have been introduced to a wide array of memorable and funny characters that are just as intriguing as the scientist and his sidekick. But if you’re not one of those fans, you may be a little confused when you see their faces plastered on the front of someone’s hoodie.
So, why don’t we take a portal down memory lane and revisit some of the most important characters during the show’s run so far? Here are the most important Rick and Morty characters across all five seasons.
Rick and Morty: List of important characters
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Don’t let this smiling face fool you. If Rick Sanchez had an eHarmony profile, it would read, “70-year-old narcissistic mad scientist with bonding issues and an alcoholic personality.”
After mysteriously disappearing for 20 years, Rick decides to move in with his daughter Beth and her family—the Smiths—only to bring his magnetism for eccentric space escapades with him. Despite being absent from his daughter’s life for two decades, Rick seems unaffected and tends to gravitate more towards his grandson, Morty, a timid high schooler who is really not keen on spending time with his grandfather.
Unfortunately, Morty is rarely given a choice, as Rick continues to find ways to bully, persuade, and demean him into being his wingman for a lot of Rick’s dangerous space adventures.
For the most part, Morty is a typical teenager. He’s easily swayed by women—especially when that woman is his high school crush, Jessica—and usually just wants to hang out at home. However, thanks to his grandfather Rick, he’s constantly finding himself in the middle of alien kidnappings, takeovers, love triangles, and the occasional rebellion.
As a result, Morty has been cloned, abandoned on distant planets, and killed numerous times. Yeah, his deer-in-the-headlights expression may make him look innocent, but this poor boy has seen an alternate dimension where he was just one out of millions of Morty’s. That’s enough to keep anyone in a state of shock for the rest of their life.
As a veterinary horse surgeon with a stay-at-home husband and two children, Beth Smith (formerly Beth Sanchez) is technically the head of the household. However, fueled by abandonment issues and the need to connect with her dad, Beth normally concedes that alpha role to her father. She subsequently overlooks Rick’s ongoing treatment toward her son Morty and lets the two continue to go on their crazy adventures—despite her father threatening her family’s well-being numerous times.
Unimpressed by her cowardly husband Jerry, Beth believes Rick would be a much better male influence on the family. She even willingly participates in some of Rick’s antics, much to the dismay and whining of her spouse.
Jerry Smith just wants people to respect him. But ever since he married Beth, he’s had a hard time earning it. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to hold down a job (thus, the reason why he’s a stay-at-home dad), and to make matters worse, his beta male personality is constantly belittled by Rick and overlooked by his own family.
So, for the most part, Jerry spends most of his time miserably attempting to convince his wife of Rick’s bad influence and tries to assert his dominance as the man of the household but usually ends up failing as with everything he does. However, he eventually accepts Rick’s role in the family and also participates in Rick’s adventures, but not without sniveling and crying along the way.
Like her younger brother Morty, Summer just wanted to live an everyday teenage life. Before Rick showed up, her only aspirations in life were boys, popularity, and finishing puberty. She was even embarrassed by her grandfather’s adventures and how they affected her public reputation.
But just like her mother, Summer has come to accept Rick’s unpredictable and dangerous antics in her life and is even eager to support her grandfather’s craziness, causing her to become jealous of Morty’s constant participation in Rick’s schemes. And ever since then, Summer has made it her business to prove to Rick that she’s the better grandchild and sidekick to help with his wild endeavors.
As the most popular and sought-after girl in high school, Jessica has been the apple of Morty’s eye for almost the entire series. But unfortunately, Jessica is already in a complicated relationship with the school’s star jock, Brad, and never really sees Morty as possible boyfriend material. And the few chances that Morty does get to prove his worth always somehow get ruined in some way by Rick’s involvement in Morty’s life.
Even a mad scientist needs friends, and Birdperson has been Rick’s for years. Like Rick, he is also considered a wanted criminal by the Galactic Federation.
Birdperson debuted in the first season, where he attends one of Rick’s house parties to look for a soulmate and leaves with one of Summer’s high school friends, Tammy. The two later start dating, and they marry in the Season 2 finale. Ironically, Birdperson is far more reserved in the relationship compared to Tammy, who openly talks about their bedroom life in front of his friends.
Birdperson and Tammy’s relationship remain pivotal throughout the series, paving the way for Rick’s ongoing antagonism toward the Galactic Federation and its successor, The New Galactic Federation.
One of Summer Smith’s high school friends, Tammy meets Birdperson at Rick’s house party in season one. The two quickly hit it off and start dating, culminating in their wedding in the Season 2 finale. Unlike Birdperson, Tammy is far more extroverted and experimental, often commenting openly about her sex life in ways that Birdperson avoids.
Birdperson and Tammy seemingly develop an authentic relationship, although Tammy is not who she appears to be. Along with Birdperson, she remains one of the most important characters for Season 2 through Season 4’s events, paving the way for Rick’s growing antagonism toward both the Galactic Federation and its successor, The New Galactic Federation.