While Rick and Morty is nominally focused on the adventures of super-scientist Rick Sanchez and his idiot grandson Morty, the show’s female supporting ensemble members, Beth and Summer Smith, are usually the show’s heroes. There is some irony in this, given the reputation the show has developed for attracting misogynist trolls as fans.

It can’t be denied that the characters of Rick and Morty are both sexist to varying degrees. Rick made his attitude quite clear in the season 1 episode “Raising Gazorpazorp,” telling his granddaughter Summer that “I don’t do adventures with chicks” when she asked if she could come along on one of Rick’s missions when Morty was otherwise occupied. By contrast, Morty is depicted as a stereotypical teenage boy and a total slave to his hormones. This has resulted in Morty doing some questionable things to try and have sex, such as asking Rick to make him a love potion so he could score with his crush, Jessica, in the season 1 episode “Rick Potion #9.”

While most of the characters in Rick and Morty are jerks to one degree or another, Summer and Beth are unique in that they have consistently shown heroic traits, while still being relatively grounded despite the comparative insanity they’ve grown accustomed to while sharing a home with Rick. This trait has even extended into the Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons games and comics, where Beth and Summer took on the roles of barbarians, clerics, fighters and rangers: all combat-based classes that are fairly capable of standing on their own. They also held their own quite admirably fighting the armies of alien snakes and killer robots that besieged the Smith household while Rick and Morty were away, in the season 4 mid-season finale “Rattlestar Ricklactica.”

While not a super-genius in multiple disciplines like her father, Beth is far from stupid. She’s a recognized expert in the field of equine surgery and shown herself to be good enough at veterinary medicine in general that she was able to save the life of an injured deer in the season 2 premiere episode “A Rickle In Time.” It was also suggested in the season 3 episode “The ABC’s of Beth” that the only thing holding Beth back from being just like Rick was her desire to live a normal life.

By contrast, Summer Smith is a natural for the life of an intergalactic traveler and far better suited to a life of adventure than her brother, Morty. Many episodes have shown that Summer has an aptitude for dealing with the strange and unusual and remaining unfazed, such as when she got a job working for the Devil, selling objects of ironic damnation, in the season 1 episode “Something Ricked This Way Comes.” Summer has also shown a gift for interacting with other people, even if they are aliens from an entirely different culture, and being able to assimilate seamlessly into hostile worlds.

It says a lot about Summer’s character that she has proven to be equally at home among the popular crowd of her high school and as queen of a raider gang in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the season 3 episode “Rickmancing the Stone.” This grounded nature is revealed even in the episodes where Summer doesn’t play a major role, with Summer observing Rick and Morty’s latest shenanigans from the sidelines. Ironically this makes Summer the perfect point-of-view character for the audience, as she can relate to the craziness around her but also offer them a normal point-of-view.

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