Friends. I started watching Rick and Morty with English subtitles, but English is not my first language, and I have a problem in understanding the meaning of this Dialogue. Beth says it to his father that caused Beth's son didn't go to school the entire semester.

Beth: “How could you make my son miss an entire semester of school? I mean, it's not like he's a hot girl. He can't just bail on his life and set up shop in someone else's.”

I didn't understand the meaning of "He can't just bail on his life." and "set up shop in someone else's." I understand the general meaning of the sentence, but I didn't get the exact definition of "bail on his life" and "set up shop in someone else's." I think these are Idioms that I couldn't find the definition of them.

  • Take a holiday from his own responsibilities and live off someone else (depend on someone else). Maybe.
    – Kris
    Feb 7 '20 at 12:53
  • 1
    It's a pop culture reference and a joke. The phrase "bail on [...] life and set up shop in someone else's" implies that the person in question can choose to start a new relationship at will where she receives complete financial and social support. Think "gold diggers".
    – R Mac
    Feb 7 '20 at 13:12

In BrE,

bail is an idiom which means:

bail on (one)
To leave or abandon one’.

Source: https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/bail+on+someone

The sentence he can’t just bail on his life means “he can’t just give up on or abandon his life”.

“He can’t just bail on his life and set up shop in someone else’s (life)...”

Set up shop is an idiom with different meanings and I shall quote the meaning referred to in this quote, it means “to occupy or takeover a space” in a basic sense:

(2) By extension, to establish oneself in a particular location for a prolonged period of time.


When I was a freelancer, I used to set up shop in my local café everyday, usually in the same seat!

There are a few regulars who come in nearly every afternoon and set up shop at the bar until closing time.

Source: https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/set+up+shop

Altogether, the meaning is quite figurative but the general sense is:

(He) can’t bail on his life [give up] and occupy/live in someone’s life

As @Kris said in the comments the latter, might mean he cannot give up on his own life and depend on someone else’s life.

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