After having been missing for nearly 20 years, Rick Sanchez suddenly arrives at daughter Beth's doorstep to move in with her and her family. Although Beth welcomes Rick into her home, her husband, Jerry, isn't as happy about the family reunion.
Rick is an eccentric and alcoholic mad scientist, who eschews many ordinary conventions such as school, marriage, love, and family. He frequently goes on adventures with his 14-year-old grandson, Morty, a kind-hearted but easily distressed boy, whose naive but grounded moral compass plays counterpoint to Rick's ego. Morty's 17-year-old sister, Summer, is a more conventional teenager who worries about improving her status among her peers and sometimes follows Rick and Morty on their adventures. The kids' mother, Beth, is a generally level-headed person and assertive force in the household, though self-conscious about her professional role as a horse surgeon. She is dissatisfied with her marriage to Jerry, a simple-minded and insecure person, who disapproves of Rick's influence over his family.
Jerry is concerned about Rick, a sociopathic scientist, using the garage as his personal laboratory. In the lab, Rick works on a number of sci-fi gadgets, some of which could be considered dangerous. But that's not all Rick does that concerns Jerry. He also goes on adventures across the universe that often involve his grandchildren, Morty and Summer.