The only daughter of Jerry and Beth Smith, Summer has the teenage angst of a typical teenager. She is resentful of her parents for not hiding the fact that she was a “mistake”. They are constantly reminding her that she is the reason they gave up on their dreams. Their unprotected prom night regret, which resulted in Summer’s existence, is a staple in the show’s dark humor.
Summer is Morty’s older sister and she plays the role of mean older sister very well. She seems to be jealous of Morty and Rick’s relationship. In the beginning of episode A Rickle In Time, Summer is arguing with Morty over how to properly vacuum their frozen parents. While Summer is ragging on Morty for not doing a good job, she sinisterly asks “Ever get scared that Grandpa Rick might make me his new sidekick?” She knows that this will get under Morty’s skin because of how important his relationship is to Rick. Summer shows dominance over Morty by threatening to replace him as Rick’s new partner in crime.
Although Rick is indifferent to Summer’s sibling rivalry with Morty, she is occassionally invited on adventures with them. In the episode Raising Gazorpazorp, Summer accidentally gets sucked into a portal that leads to the planet Gazorpazorp. In the process of saving Summer’s life, Rick breaks his portal gun and they are stuck on Gazorpazorp. They find out that the world is ruled by female’s and the only reason that Rick is not killed is because Summer makes them believe that Rick is her slave. Summer is thrilled to be the only reason that they both made it out alive. Also it didn’t hurt that the female aliens called her top “cute”, which Rick later agreed was true.
Summer’s inability to gain acceptance from Rick leads her to befriend her older boss in Something Ricked This Way Comes. She later finds out that her boss, Mr. Needful, is actually the devil. Despite Rick, she ends up taking Mr. Needful’s side in his business spat with Rick.
Rick’s aloof nature towards Summer trickles down to her relationship with Morty. Deep down she loves her little brother, but on the surface she despises his existence. Most of their interactions are typical of a two siblings who do not like each other. Like the time in Total Rickall where Morty refers to her as his “bitch sister”.
While they are often at each other’s throats, there are some instances where they show signs of affection. There is a scene in Rixty Minutes where Morty convinces Summer to not runaway from home. He puts her problems in perspective by revealing that he had to bury his own body in the backyard. By confiding in her, Morty brought the two of them closer. This is all despite the fact that Morty was traumatized in Lawnmower Dog where he was hit on by a half naked dream version of Summer.
The dysfunctional environment has caused Summer to cope in a number of ways. In Total Rickall she is implanted the memory of having a friendship to Tinkles, an invisible flying ballerina lamb. While invisible friends are usually used by children to help with trauma, Summer is still supposedly having personal rave parties with her invisible friends well into her teens. Tinkles brings Summer to Never Past Bedtime Land, where dozens of fictional characters break out in song and dance.
One of the few positive relationships in Summer’s life is with her mother. They seem to have a checkered past, which is revealed in a memory of her drunk mother hitting her in the face with a wine bottle. Apparently this happened on picture day and the bottle gave Summer a black eye.
Otherwise they seem to get along well, being the only two women in a household with three other men. Beth and Summer are confident women who believe they deserve more in life. They bond in Meeseeks and Destroy after Beth develops significant doubts about her marriage to Jerry. Beth consoles her mother who believes that Jerry doesn’t appreciate what a beautiful woman she is. Her anger towards her father is fueled by the worry that his inept ability to please his wife may lead to a divorce of her parents. She isn’t close with her father, but she doesn’t want her parents to divorce.
Summer is a typical teenage girl who is just trying to figure out life during puberty. Morty finds a bra that is obviously too big for Summer and she is obviously self-conscious about it, explaining that she will “grow into it”.