For the past few months, I’ve practically been living, eating, and breathing Rick and Morty. It even pervaded my work life. So now that the season has come to a close with the Szechuan tragedy, I’d like to take a minute to address the behavior surrounding that incident.
Fans lined up for hours to get their hand on some delicious Szechuan dipping sauce. Some even drove across the Canadian border to get to select McDonald’s locations for the event. But disappointment was abundant when it was soon revealed that there was not enough sauce to even come close to satisfying the huge crowds. Some locations received as few as 7 Szechuan sauce packets—for real. When McDonald’s announced that the sauce would be “super-limited”, no one expected it to be that limited. Thinking they could get by with supplying such a small amount of product was kind of ridiculous.
However, the actions taken by fans after the sauce shortage was discovered were even more ridiculous. I’d go so far as to say heinous in some cases. Outrage ensued along with threats to boycott McDonald’s and some rather nasty Twitter updates. The location I was able to attend ended up having no sauce despite being on McDonald’s list, and though there were only a few others who showed up, someone clearly started yelling about this “dimension” being the worst and continued to loudly complain as they walked away. That was just one person at a small location. I can’t imagine what might have been if I’d had the opportunity to make it to a location that actually had the sauce.
Police were on site at some locations. Fans nearly rioted against the poor employees who had no idea what kind of day they were going into. All I can say is this: really?
Regrdless of whether or not their behavior was a joke, Rick and Morty fans need to each take a moment to evaluate their own behavior regarding the show. What started as a stupid, dark-humored show has become a cult phenomenon that has had a powerful effect on pop culture and, shockingly, the fast food industry. And that is awesome! What’s not awesome is the fandom’s heavy reliance on the catch phrase spun for the show’s third season: “only a show this stupid could be this smart”. Many fans have interpreted this to mean that their own intellect is heightened because of their ability to understand the show’s jokes. News flash: it’s not.
If there is one thing that we should have taken away from the third season, it’s actually that intelligence means nothing if you cannot use it to form and continue healthy interpersonal relationships. Rick heavily influenced Beth to leave her family and fulfill a life like his own and relied time after time on the fact that she’s smart. In fact, that was the entire driving force for the season; Rick wanted Jerry gone because he had ruined the future he had pictured for his young, intelligent daughter. But it didn’t matter. Beth knew she had the genius brains to make a new life for herself, but having loved ones around was ultimately more important to her.
And if you’re not convinced with that example, let’s talk about Rick. “Infinite universes means that anything is possible and nothing really matters”. Szechuan sauce is out there somewhere. And neither mine, yours, nor anyone else’s level of intelligence or understanding of humor matters. So can we just pour some drinks and reminisce on the days when this fandom was actually chill?
It’s also important for us to remember that McDonald’s fully acknowledged their mistake and is taking steps to rectify the situation! They’ve realized that they pulled a total Jerry. It’s great to see that they’re responding to the fans. Thanks, Mickey D’s!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Rick and Morty and its fans as much as ever, even the toxic parts. This fandom has become united and empowering in ways I never even thought to think of when the show began. But it’s time for all of us to take a trip to an alien spa and detox on negativity over-inflated egos. Peace out, my nerds!