Horrible Rick & Morty Fans Demonstrate How Not To Be A Fan

Why does everyone hate fans of the sci-fi cartoon Rick & Morty? It's a question that spawned two massive threads on the Rick & Morty fansite known as Reddit. A Twitter search for "Rick & Morty fans" shows that yeah, a lot of people do hate them, calling them obnoxious and elitist.

There are two answers:

  1. Some Rick & Morty fans are annoying.
  2. Some Rick & Morty fans are abusive.

Neither of these problems is unique to Rick & Morty. And it's possible, even easy, not to be either type of fan. Here's what to avoid.

Don't be annoying

Image via /r/cringepics

To some extent, any fan of anything popular will be a little annoying to a non-fan. If you don't watch Game of Thrones or Arrested Development, or listen to One Direction or Beyoncé, or read David Foster Wallace or Harry Potter, you get this. But in all these cases, it's the extreme fans who really ruin things for the rest of us.

If you're a good fan, you want everyone to enjoy what you enjoy. (If you don't, well, more on you below.) So here are some tips for behaving in public so you don't drive everyone else away.

  • Don't act like the object of your fandom is better than Shakespeare. Hell, maybe it is! A Midsummer Night's Dream is overrated. But you're setting up an impossible bar for this thing to reach, and when someone finally tries it out, they will be disappointed. That's why they're reluctant to hear you out -- they know you're setting this thing up too high, so you've destroyed your credibility.
  • Don't wrap your entire life around one piece of culture, until your identity is indistinguishable from it. Think twice before making the characters your avatar and screenname, or comparing absolutely everything to this one piece of culture. Love it, recommend it, point out all the ways it's excellent, but don't let it take you over. Because what's left of you when this thing goes away? What kind of life is one defined by consumption? If you've invested too much in your fave, you'll value it more than other human beings, and you'll start doing the abusive things in the second half of this post.
  • Think critically about which character you compare yourself to. Do other characters view this character as an arsehole? Do you try to emulate even their flaws? Do you think you "love" this character more than its creator? These are all red flags!
  • Catchphrases are a sometimes food. You don't need to scream "Pickle Riiiick!" into the YouTube comments like a football chant; you don't need to wedge it into every remotely related conversation. It's like playing your favourite song as your morning alarm; it ruins the magic. Cf. "The cake is a lie," "I took an arrow to the knee," and finishing sentences with "…bitch!"
  • Don't yell at people for not liking what you like. Don't tell them they're too dumb to like it. That's the fandom equivalent of "You're just jealous!"

Don't be abusive

Image via /r/CringeAnarchy

Much worse than the annoying fans, while often opposed to them, are the elitist fans. They also love their fave too much, but instead of spamming this love out to as many people as possible, they try to hoard it for themselves, insisting that other people, including the people who make it, don't deserve to join the fandom.

While the conversation above was probably made up (to impress who exactly?), it's common for fans to "test" other fans, and it's overwhelmingly a male-on-female attack. Baseball fan Megan Brown once famously told off some dick from a dating app who decided to test whether a woman could really be a fan of a sport OMG.

It's no coincidence that this behaviour is largely committed by men, against women. Why would you possibly single out women to "test," unless you believe that women are inherently less capable of enjoying things? And why would you believe that, unless you believe women are less human?

Most despicably, in behaviour that recalls the sexist and dumb-as-rocks abuse of Breaking Bad actress Anna Gunn, some Rick & Morty fans have harassed the show's women writers, threatening them personally, blaming them for "ruining" the show. It got so bad that a Reddit moderator who worked on the show publicly called it out at length.

The moderator was cheered by many decent fans. As with most fandoms, the vast majority of Rick & Morty viewers are decent people, pissed off that some jerkwad is giving them all a bad name.

Dan Harmon, co-creator of the show, lit into the abusive fans too:

These knobs, that want to protect the content they think they own -- and somehow combine that with their need to be proud of something they have, which is often only their race or gender. It's offensive to me as someone who was born male and white, and still works way harder than them, that there's some white male [fan out there] trying to further some creepy agenda by 'protecting' my work. I've made no bones about the fact that I loathe these people. It f -- ing sucks.

He pointed out that not only is this "disgusting," it's also stupid: The fans thought that if a woman writer was credited with writing an episode, that somehow she was the only one who worked on it. But, Harmon says, "I want to scream at my computer: 'You idiots, we all write the show together!'"

Don't be that guy. Don't get so full of yourself for liking something that you think you own it. You don't. The person who made it owns it, and when they see you trying to hoard the enjoyment that is theirs to freely give, they will strike you down with furious vengeance.

They will point at you in front of everyone and show how little you actually know the thing you "defended."

When you cringe at the annoying type of fan, don't abuse them. Quietly ignore them, or guide them toward the light. Work from an assumption that they truly enjoy the show and simply didn't realise the depth of conversation they can have. Treat them as your ally.

But remember that they probably don't want to be "educated." After all, if any of the above describes you, you really hated this little lecture, didn't you?


Comments

    It's no coincidence that this behaviour is largely committed by men, against women. Why would you possibly single out women to "test," unless you believe that women are inherently less capable of enjoying things? And why would you believe that, unless you believe women are less human?

    This is a HUGE leap to make. I think they're just arseholes, who target women because as heterosexuals males, there's a lot of strong, conflicting emotions involved with the target of their desire and having such truly awful social skills.

    I don't think there's any bigger conspiracy there. They hate women because they love women, yet women seem to hate them because they're not lovable people. They're toxic assholes.

    Seriously wtf would want to be like Rick and join a Rick loving page?

      As well, it's fair to say that this entire statement, other than addressing the harrassment made from male viewers to the female writers of the show, is completely irrelevant to the article. The fact that this happens more from male-to-female (which, by the way, they provide no evidence other than a few cherrypicked example) has nothing to do with the over-arching idea that Rick and Morty fans can be stupid assholes.

      Really, honestly, I don't understand why this unsupported "fact" was brought into the article. Well, other than to help preach a Feminist agenda, but I'm sure that'd never be the case. Right?

        There's definitely a bit of that going on. But I know I've been guilty of confirmation bias many times myself. I try to call it out when I see it though.

        Having said that I have come across a fair few misogynists lately as well. They seem to be getting louder about it. It's weird. Hard to imagine in 2017 people still hate or feel superior to others based on something as inconsequential as gender or race.

    This should be the basic test of entry into human society:
    Can you talk about something you are passionate about without belittling, denigrating, or being unpleasant to another person?

    No? Then please go back to the Basic Human Interaction Training School and try graduating again next year.

      Is their a Basic Human Interaction Training School??

        There should be. Should have to pass it before you're allowed on the internet.

        there's a Basic Interaction Training College of Humanity

    Shot in the dark here,

    Maybe it's because the writers of Rick and Morty reinforce narcissism and depressive thoughts as intelligence. Which depressed fans then identify with and start to believe their ideas are more rational and correct then healthy people?

    Which sort of bolsters their ego but also makes them less likely to actually get any help and start to double down on their depressed ideas as some sort of badge of intelligence.

    It took me a while to realize Rick and Morty is actually pretty preachy at times, about their own ideas on how they believe the world works. In the way that Rick starts to nonchalantly rant about some bleak depressive idea the writers had, while also being an authority or representation as the most intelligent man on earth.

    Used to be a fan of Rick and Morty, but safe to say I stopped watching when it became preachy, . They also shit on religion a lot which I think is pretty cruel.

      Fair enough!

      I'm still a fan of Rick and Morty. Maybe the "preachy" stuff flies right over my head because yeah, you're right, they do crap on religion a lot, but the way I see it is that Rick is an immature arsehole and that's what, for the most part, makes the show funny.

      In saying that, I would absolutely hate to meet a person who behaved like Rick "iRL". Funny for a TV show but no thanks, reality.

      Rick is the "Donny Don't" of human interaction. He's a shining beacon of what not to aspire to. In fact, the whole family is a cautionary tale of how people can be broken.

      I've never found the show to be particularly preachy, because the preachers are typically blinded by their own shortcomings.

        I'd actually disagree with that.
        I think the subtext of what the show is describing Rick as, is a crappy person, who is clearly depressed and narcisstic buuuuut he's also the smartest man in the universe. While also adding that through his experience and intelligence has shaped him into that person, almost saying that this is how the world "really "is. I think it's making a correlation.

        Which suggests that hey you can be a crappy person, with bleak views but that just probably means your super smart, so who cares.

        If they really wanted to show that Rick is a crappy person, or as a tale of warning within the story they would show people who are more intelligent and healthy than him, who achieve more than him. Which would show that he isn't actually correct and that he is indeed just a damaged person unwilling to seek help because he thinks he's better then everyone else.

        Having him represent the most intelligent man in the universe suggests there's some truth in what he's saying despite who he is, which is complete bullcrap, imo.

          You read too much into it. You sound like the kind of obnoxious fan that the article references.

      From what I've read/heard/seen from the creators, I don't think it is at all their intention to prop Rick up as a character to aspire to, in fact I think they've created him as exactly the type of person not to admire.

      He's an emotionally distant, manipulative, self-aggrandising, self-centred, alcoholic, walk-out of a father. They've proven him to be petty, depressive and ultimately fallible, despite his vast knowledge of science. He attributes his world view to his intelligence but that's because he needs to blame everyone else for his inability to be a functioning member of the family/society etc. when really he just lacks the skills to be a decent person.

      The obnoxious fans who idealise him just see their own self-important nihilism reflected back at themselves and then falsely attribute this to intelligence.

      Last edited 29/09/17 9:29 pm

      Religion is now here to be shit on. It's where we are going. It took us as far as it could but now it's like an ironing board: Most people would rather see it not in their lives and want to replace it with something less cumbersome.

        I admit a little chuckle about blaming something for being 'preachy' and then saying religion shouldn't be made fun of. I dunno, religion can help some people through some tough times, but as a whole I think it's a pretty dangerous thing. There's probably some parallel to be drawn between evangelical theists and Rick and Morty super-fans but I'm too lazy to try articulate it

          To me they're both as bad.
          You can be a dick, either religiously or scientifically, and attributing religion to holdings things back is just another way people convince themselves that their beliefs are somehow better or more accurate.

          I think respect for beliefs is important, both scientific and religious. To discount one or the other shows a massive amount of ignorance imo. And goodluck to those people who think nixing belief in something other then their almighty brain is somehow going to make the world a better place. I believe it will do the complete opposite.

          Many people also like to brush over the fact that many scientist are in fact religious, or have a belief in god.Anyway this is part of the problem with what horse crap Rick and Morty try to perpetuate.

            Some of the big reasons people shit on religions are (1): They think that evolution is definitively proven. It isnt. There are indeed holes in this flawless idea, and (2): They dont realize realize that religion (specifically christianity, judaism etc) and evolutionary science are not mutually exclusive. Many people do follow god and evolution at the same time. And this isnt a change to the bible. A bog problem with the bible is it has been translated through so many languages during the years and each time it was from the writers own interperatation. Going back to the original older scripts the writing do indeed support a possibility of evolution.

            I'll be the first to admit that I'm not learned (or opinionated) enough to make a decent argument about this. My one point would be to say that, in regard to religion vs. science, religion is based off faith, where science is based of evidence.

            Yes, faith (and not just in the religious sense, see also: faith in humanity) is an important quality and I would say closely linked with trust and empathy. However, blind faith is not necessarily a good quality, and that is what religion is based on. From my experience talking about faith with religious people, they are less willing to assess their beliefs. Science on the other hand is about having a theory, trying to prove that theory wrong, and then seeing what the outcome is.

            Science is ever in motion, definitions changing, understanding shifting. Religion is stuck and stubborn, and only gets even more steadfast in the face of opposition. Science welcomes critique, religion rebukes it.

            I do genuinely believe the world would be a better place without religion provided religious doctrines were replaces with teachings of kindness, morality, empathy and compassion on a human level, with no reference to an omnipotent being as a threat to keep us in line.

          Religion is just changing. If you think about it, it's just calls for non-questioning belief in a system of ideas. I'm pretty sure I've seen this in politics, modern social sciences and the medical industry....

            Anything that calls for non-questioning faith deserves to be scrutinised. Politics and social sciences aren't something I know enough about to comment, but from studying a medical science based degree (far from knowledgable though) I see a continual drive to reassess current knowledge and assumptions.

    Rick and Morty is devoid of humour. I imagine the rabid fans of it are too. And personality.

    Last edited 29/09/17 2:39 pm

      I've watched three episodes of R&M. Never laughed once. It seems as though they think swearing in a cartoon alone is funny cos there's no real humour there. I had a friend send me the entire pickle rick scene and it's just ...well.....not funny in the slightest.

      If you were shown just the Pickle Rick scenes, you're missing half the context. While he's off on his hair-brained adventure to avoid therapy, we see the rest of the family, discussing their divorce and in particular the reaction towards it of Beth (the Mother) and Rick, his actions juxtapose wonderfully with the calm, serious discussion. Frankly, I actually enjoyed the therapy bits more than the Pickle Rick portion because of the character development, and it really did kind of feel like it was over the top for the sake of it.

      That said, it's certainly not for everyone. Different people find different things funny.

        maybe I'll have to watch more of it. Three eps probably isn't enough though you'd think you'd get a sense of it after that many.

          It probably doesn't help that the episode you mentioned is in the third season, when some of the jokes and the like are based on characters that if you're just starting you're going to miss. Honestly, I'd start from the first episode (Or second, the first it a bit rough around the edges) and go from there.

      I watched the first 2 eps looking forward to it, but I have to admit it hasn't done much for me.

        It takes a little bit to soften your mind up to their humour. Well worth the investment.

        Personally I'd recommend watching Rick & Morty out of order, which you can do without feeling too lost in the first season and even for some episodes in the second season. Like most shows the first couple of episodes are when the show is still sort of finding its feet. There's definitely good material there but I also feel like it's not their best.

        Nowadays I tend to be of the opinion that if you aren't sure whether or not you'll like a show, you might as well start with the best standalone episodes to get a feel for whether or not it's worth investing your time in. Note when I say "best", what I really mean is that you should either go with what a friend who knows you well might recommend or what general sensible consensus seems to be.

      I wouldn't go white that far, but yeah it doesn't get me either.

    eeeeeehhh look, its the internet *points at the internet*

    Guaranteed a cringe nearly every time I visit this site these days.

    I'm a big fan of Rick and Morty... so I'll just put that out there. I think the show is really funny and I do enjoy watching it every Saturday on Netflix.

    I've seen a lot of hate on the Internet towards R&M fans, as well as the show itself. At first, I didn't understand... to be fair, I never asked about it or really bothered to look into it. All I do when it comes to R&M, is watch the show once a week and sometimes my partner buys me R&M t-shirts.

    This article makes a lot of sense, and really clears up why people hate a lot of R&M fans. It's a shame to hear, but on the same token, it's also very sad to see that there are obnoxious, elitist R&M fans/dick heads who think that R&M can only be watched by, apparently intellectual superior viewers.

    I do like some of the messages and philosophies of R&M, it's interesting, but should be taken with a grain of salt. It's fictional entertainment, after all.

    A bit off topic... I coach kids in judo. Recently, a lot of our teenage judoka have been shouting things like "I'M PICKLE RICK" or "GET SCHWIFTY" and as, well... "cringey" it can be, these teenagers seem to enjoy the show, and I'm not going to lose my shit over them over-using Rick's one liners.

    I do agree with this article. It's great to enjoy a show, but we need to let other people enjoy things their own way, and not let the fan fare of these things rule our lives.

    Gatekeepers to fandom suck, let people enjoy the content the way they want to, not your 'right' way.

      Well said. Elitist fanboys are cancerous assholes.

    How have we, as a species, come to a point where we -STILL- have to remind each other (not only to, but how..) to be decent people. Can't we all just be excellent to each other?

      Bill and Ted is a great counterpoint.

      And i like the sequel more than the original.

      And i wish George Carlin were still alive.

        With three sentences you and me just became friends for life.

      Some people seem to revel in being assholes. they are projecting because they don't like themselves very much and get some fleeting satisfaction from being toxic.
      They know deep down that they have defective personalities. They've already lost.

    I really liked the show from when it first aired, and I'm glad that it's become successful enough that they keep making it, but... I dunno, I try to restrain my inner hipster, but it's the same every time: if something kinda geeky gets popular prepare for the intense cringe as people spout catchphrases constantly in an effort to prove that they're with the in group while others fancy themselves the gatekeepers of the true fans. Clouds of smug waft above their online hang-outs.

    It's always been this way, since before the internet even I guess, with comics and sci-fi and stuff. The difference is that most old-school Trekkies seem to actually understand what the core themes of the show they love are. These days it usually seems like 90% of the people in these cliques are only interested in (capable of?) extremely superficial readings of the material they claim to love, leading to bizare shit where you have large groups of people who think that Rick is supposed to be some kind of role-model... Probably just a side-effect of geek culture being much more mainstream-cool now than it was even 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30. I guess I should just be happy that there's more money in it for creators now, but the side-effects sure are annoying.

    ah 2016 and 2017 the years when the word 'fan' finally found its way back to its original 'fanatic' roots. This has absolutely nothing to do with Rick and Morty just a subset of a sad people who get delight from being the biggest, most ugly, oxygen wasters.

      To be honest, most human creatures don't quite understand that the reason for their fanaticism is actually akin to a drug addiction. They "Love" the feeling they received from the show, and as such I (quite pessimistically) doubt that most peoples' enjoyment comes from a real sense of intellectual attachment or dissection/appreciation.

    I've caught some of the episodes aired on the nine network, and I have to admit I'm not that big of a fan. I don't think it's because of the humour, but more because Morty sounds like Lemongrab from Adventure Time, and once you realize that, it sort of ruins things.

    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty. The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer's head. There's also Rick's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into his characterisation - his personal philosophy draws heavily fromNarodnaya Volya literature, for instance. The fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these jokes, to realize that they're not just funny- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Rick and Morty truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in Rick's existencial catchphrase "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub," which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev's Russian epic Fathers and Sons I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Dan Harmon's genius unfolds itself on their television screens. What fools... how I pity them. 😂 And yes by the way, I DO have a Rick and Morty tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It's for the ladies' eyes only- And even they have to demonstrate that they're within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand.

      Everyday we stray further from God's light.

    Rick is intelligent because the creators say he is.

    Don't take it for granite ;)

    People care too much about the weirdest things.

    Clearly we can never have enough Anti-Mud Wrestling, Mud Wrestling events.

    It's just a tv show to me,amongst thousands of others.Even GOT is nothing to get antsy over. (Avid,but not obnoxious book reader here)I like R/M a lot actually,and It's probably the 17th best animated show I've ever seen.If you get rabid over a show that's barely 30 episodes old,you may be doing the whole 'Life' thing wrong.

      id be curious to know how you think to do the life thing right? 30 episodes? its almost four years old!!?? how long you wanna wait to judge?

        Not being obsessed with a cartoon would be a good start.

    Quality journalism as always Kotaku

    This type of fandom is not unique to Rick and Morty. Pretty much any fandom has its lunatic fringe. It might seem like they are a large proportion. But the loudest are not always the biggest.

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