How To Be A Responsible 'Rick and Morty' Fan
This month saw a huge announcement in the world of high concept sci-fi rigamarole when Rick and Morty creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland announced that the beloved cartoon had been renewed by Adult Swim for another 70 episodes. And of course they announced it in their traditionally zany way with an Instagram video of Roiland finally moving out of Harmon’s shower and declaring “I gotta get back to work Dan, we both do. See ya soon.” This revelation could not come at a better time as fans and bogus articles had speculated that the show might never return simply because Adult Swim had not yet ordered another season, a delay Harmon attributed to contract negotiations. However, while many fans greeted this long awaited news with shitposts galore on the shows Reddit fan page, many outside of Rick and Morty fandom had been dreading this day since the end of season 3, hoping that would be the end to what they saw as insufferable fans obsessed with a third-rate TV cartoon. I for one love the show, but agree with many outside commentators that some of the fans are a scourge on the Earth. So it seemed like a good idea to go over some fan etiquette before season 4 premieres god knows when.
The first rule of being a responsible Rick and Morty fan is fairly simple: don’t riot. In the season 3 premiere, “The Rickshank Redemption,” Rick Sanchez goes on one of the show’s trademark, heavily ad-libbed rants that exemplify Rick’s character. Diatribes on subjects ranging from school to the use of the word “retarded” have become easily overlooked 30-second nuggets of wisdom hidden in the show’s fast moving comedic environment. However, “Redemption” ends with a climactic monologue from Rick about a long-forgotten dipping sauce that McDonald’s used to promote the release of Mulan in 1998. In fact, the episode contained several references to the decades-old promotional tool that painted it as the ultimate dipping sauce to ever come in contact with whatever it is McDonald’s is deep frying and marketing as chicken. Fans had to get their hands on it, and on October 7, 2017 their prayers (or rather incessant nagging of McDonald’s on social media) were answered when McDonald’s brought back the sauce for a one day limited release. However McDonald’s clearly had no idea how large (and toxic) the Rick and Morty fandom had become and was severely understocked, which resulted in grown men jumping on counters and shouting at minimum wage McDonald’s workers about how they NEED this sauce they never tasted just because a cartoon, alcoholic, mad scientist told them it’s good. The best part of this whole saga is when the show’s writing staff received a special jug of the sauce from McDonald’s and Roiland livestreamed the tasting party, during which the look of disappointment on their faces and the realization of the publicity monster they unleashed upon McDonald’s just for a General Tso sauce ripoff is better than anything they could have written.
The next rule of being a responsible fan is one most of us figured out many months ago: stop shouting “I’M PICKLE RICK!” This line from season 3 episode 3, “Pickle Rick,” has come to epitomize everything infuriating about the diehard Rick and Morty fans. Instead of choosing an often overlooked line from the series, such as one of Rick’s lesser heard catchphrases (i.e. not “grass tastes bad,” “wubba lubba dub dub,” or “AIDS!”), they chose the one line that Adult Swim ran in every promo for season 3. This is the equivalent of saying “Bazinga.” Stop. For the self-proclaimed smartest fans in television, your proclivity for shouting the same, hackneyed lines on repeat make you look stupider than the simplest Young Sheldon viewer.
Which brings me to the final, and most important, rule of being a responsible, dignified Rick and Morty viewer: stop thinking you’re smart for watching it. It’s not Cosmos and Dan Harmon is not Neil Degrasse Tyson. This is truly one of the biggest reasons, next to the Szechuan incident, that people hate Rick and Morty fans: the stereotypical image of the 20-something college dropout sparking a doob in his parents’ basement at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday, tuning into Adult Swim to gain the existential secrets to the universe. Vice just recently put out an article knocking these self-righteous slackers of their high-horse keyboards, essentially stating what everybody already knew: you don’t have to be smart to “get” Rick and Morty. The article, “Is ‘Rick and Morty’ as Smart as Its Fans Think It Is,” interviews a spatial scientist, a philosopher and a scriptwriter and came to the shocking conclusion that no, you don’t have to be smart to get Rick and Morty and therefore laughing at Rick and Morty doesn’t make you smart. While there are a few gags here and there that do actually involve real concepts from science or philosophy, they are by no means the crux of the series.
So as we stumble through the next few months, waiting for a release date from Adult Swim, please have some dignity. When season three finally gets released on Hulu, don’t go straight to “Pickle Rick.” Don’t turn on “Morty’s Mind Blowers” every time your friends come over and ruin it just like you ruined “Total Rickall” for everybody. Because in the end, it’s just a TV show. It’s not a science book, or a philosophy text. It’s a cartoon.