The idea of bringing back McDonald’s Mulan-inspired Szechuan sauce, popularized by the animated comedy Rick and Morty, seemed like a great idea. (Aristophanes and I discussed the shrewd marketing move in our Season 3 chat.) However, the fast food giant royally messed up, offering the sauce Saturday, October 7, for one day only and in limited quantities. This triggered a slew of shocking public antics from fans of the show unable to get their Szechuan fix. Such behavior was inappropriate and inconvenienced workers and other customers. However, McDonald’s wasn’t even the biggest loser in the whole debacle — the entire fanbase suffered, too.
After watching post-sauce hysteria unfold, it is clear parts of the Rick and Morty fanbase are undeserving of even a subpar imitation of their hallowed condiment. Let’s ignore its importance to the group’s unofficial leader, the show’s fictional mad scientist, Rick. Regardless of motive, such behavior is simply not tolerable.
I’ve had my share of disappointment with the show’s fanbase before. Rick and Morty‘s creators have been criticized for hiring female writers. One of the show’s most popular forums, which insists it’s only a “shitposting” page, has had its share of overtly sexist memes; some center on menstruation, while others declare “there are only two genders.” Pervasive on this messaging board is a general dislike for episodes written by women writers — which includes some of the best episodes of Season 3, in my opinion. Pro-Trump posts are rampant, as is criticism of the behind-the-scenes series Ricking Morty. A few of these critiques are valid, but many commenters also question whether the spin-off show’s host, Sam Jay, is a man or woman, whether she is truly homosexual and why she has chosen so many female guests.
At one point, I was willing to look past this barbaric subset of the Rick and Morty community and simply enjoy the show. After all, it’s the internet. What do you expect?
However, Saturday’s Szechuan fiasco hints at a bigger problem: a large enough portion of the fanbase is so untethered from reality they appear willing to make complete fools of themselves over simple dipping sauce.
Not yet on board? Here are a few of Szechuan Saturday’s most unpleasant episodes.
A Los Angeles-area McDonald’s was overrun with fans because there wasn’t enough sauce to meet the
demand entitlement. Things quickly turned ugly.
According to the The Washington Post, at least three locations around the U.S. required police to break up the Szechuan mania. Show creator Justin Roiland jokingly (but probably seriously) said he feared angering his fans. Saturday proved him right.
One fan allegedly received at least 13 death threats and six rape threats for making similar points on Reddit:
“The neckbearding in here is too much today. It’s McNuggets sauce. You’ll be fine.
“This fanbase is the cringiest goddamn shit. Grown ass men pouting because they couldn’t get the sauce they wanted for their tendies.
“No sensible person cares about your sauceless plight. Please bear that in mind as you vomit out neckbeard rage all over the internet.
“EDIT: Death threats: 13
Rape threats: 6
Reddit Gold: 2 (thanks btw)
But I mean that’s the waaaaaaaaay the news goes I guess”
Take a look at this guy and tell me you’re not cringing where you sit:
I have no idea if the above video was staged, but for someone to even consider this to be an acceptable way to act in public, whether or not it’s genuine, is a complete joke.
It’s. A. McNugget. Sauce. Get over it.
If Rick were real, he wouldn’t want people to act this infantile over something so foolish. Only the Jerriest Jerry would respond to a lack of a fast food sauce this way, and even then, I don’t think a Jerry could act this way. Was McDonald’s incredibly misleading with this promotion? Absolutely. Did they realize what they were getting themselves into by misleading this many people? Absolutely not.
Roiland tweeted ahead of the promotion, then unaware of what was about to unfold. Even then, he was well aware of the monster he’d created.
It’s clear Roiland, Dan Harmon and other Rick and Morty writers had no idea just how much cultural power they had when they wrote the show’s latest season, where the Szechuan gag first appeared. I don’t blame them for not knowing. It’s also not their fault any of this has happened. They get a pass.
Maybe next season Rick can talk about calling his local representative because of how important universal health care is, even if Rick might not care much for any government, Evil Morty-led or not. Still, it’d be a way to marshal the powers of the fanbase for good, and it’d be in keeping with the show’s tendency to break the fourth wall.
Maybe it’s possible. Harmon recently made an interesting retweet alluding to such. ■
Rick and Morty airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The show is currently on hiatus.