Rick Sanchez (voiced by Justin Roiland) – An eccentric and alcoholic mad scientist who is the father of Beth, the father-in-law of Jerry, and the maternal grandfather of Morty and Summer. His irresponsible tendencies lead Beth and Jerry to worry about the safety of their son Morty. The series is often retroscripted for Rick’s ad-hoc lines, which frequently include ‘burp-talking’ in the middle of a sentence while speaking. He displays “diagnosable qualities of various mental illnesses.” A maverick character that views his time as valuable, he eschews many ordinary conventions such as school, marriage, and even love. His disdainful or bored reaction to the mundane requests asked of him by Morty and his family suggests a sense of superiority, particularly towards Jerry; however, in several instances throughout the series Rick shows a lonelier side.
Morty Smith (also voiced by Justin Roiland) – Rick’s good-hearted but easily distressed 14-year-old grandson who is frequently dragged into Rick’s misadventures. His naïve but grounded moral compass plays counterpoint to Rick’s Machiavellian ego. He is typically reluctant to follow along with Rick’s plans, and he often ends up traumatized by the unorthodox and morally questionable methods Rick uses to ‘fix’ situations. The Morty of C-137 is referred to as the “Mortiest Morty” by Rick. Some alternate Mortys refer to him as the “one true Morty”. Though their relationship is frequently antagonistic, Morty’s role as sidekick is necessary because his “Morty brainwaves” cancel out Rick’s “genius waves”, preventing Rick’s numerous inter-dimensional enemies from tracking him down. Rick displays occasional signs of genuine affection for Morty in spite of his disaffected demeanor, and similarly Morty can sometimes develop investment and enthusiasm for their adventures.
Beth Smith (née Sanchez) (voiced by Sarah Chalke) – Rick’s daughter, Jerry’s wife, and Summer and Morty’s mother. She is a cardiac surgeon for horses. In the episode Meeseeks and Destroy, it is revealed that Beth is from Muskegon, Michigan. Generally level-headed, she struggles with her husband’s ego, swelled from defiance of his obvious mediocrity. Several episodes deal with Beth’s dissatisfaction with her life, stemming from a belief that she “settled” in her marriage, family, and job. She wanted to become a human cardiac surgeon but became pregnant with Summer at 17 years old. She is the most successfully assertive force in the household, and can at times be selfish. Beth is unperturbed by her father’s destructive and reckless tendencies, as she has viewed Rick more favorably than her late mother since their separation in her childhood. Harmon expanded upon this origin in an interview: “Kids can sometimes idolize their worst parent and blame their supportive parent for chasing off the dad with the guts to leave. […] She believes that Rick, as crazy as he is, is the better of her two parents even though she was raised by her mother and she blames her mother’s unremarkability on her father’s departure and will do anything to keep her father back in her life.” Jerry sees Beth as overly controlling. In the opening of Season 3, Beth is shown to be angry at her father abandoning her and the family. After Rick escapes prison and ruins the federation economy causing them to leave Earth, Beth returns to her normal behavior and even chooses her father over Jerry when he tells her to choose between him or her father; she later tells Rick that she and Jerry are getting a divorce. One of Rick’s memories shown while he is imprisoned, implies that his Beth was killed along with her mother Diane Sanchez by another dimension-hopping Rick and that the Beth of C-137 was not his original Beth. Rick later claims that this memory was a fake.
Jerry Smith (voiced by Chris Parnell) – Summer and Morty’s father, Beth’s husband, and Rick’s son-in-law, who strongly disapproves of Rick’s influence over Morty. Generally insecure, Jerry is frequently led into conflicts stemming from opportunistic posturing. He is generally disapproving of Rick, and his marriage to Beth is often rocked by these upsets. Jerry worked at a low-level advertising agency until he was fired for incompetence. The episode “Mortynight Run” reveals that one of the Ricks, keenly aware that every Jerry is incapable of surviving off of Earth, created a daycare where Jerrys from various dimensions are dropped off by their Rick and Morty during adventures should he attempt to accompany them. It is revealed in the same episode that in some dimensions, Beth has left Jerry and remarried. Beth views Jerry as meek under his boasts, ultimately fearful of confrontation. Some Jerrys have actually been left at the daycare indefinitely, either abandoned by their Ricks or as a result of their Ricks’ demise. At various points in the series, Beth and Jerry’s marriage is said to be maintained for the sake of the kids. It is also strongly suggested that in spite of their problems with one another, Beth and Jerry are emotionally co-dependent. However at the beginning of Season 3, after Rick destroys the Federation economy causing them to leave Earth, Jerry puts his foot down and tells Beth it is him or Rick. Beth chooses her father and tells Rick she and Jerry are getting a divorce. Rick later claims to Morty in a rant that he planned this because Jerry had planned to betray him.