“I loathe these people. It fucking sucks,” he told Entertainment Weekly. Harmon had good reason to unleash such invective. This wasn’t just a case of fans rooting for the wrong person or cheering a grisly gangland assassination. For Rick and Morty’s third season, Harmon and co-creator Justin Roiland had added several female writers to the show’s previously male-dominated writing staff. That very act stirred up the hornet’s nest of white male trolls that tend to congregate in the internet spaces where fandom is at its most fervent.
Who knew there was some mechanism to tell the race & sex of an internet commenter?
When said trolls detected what they saw as a drop-off in quality in some episodes (coincidentally the ones credited to female writers) they decided to take it out on the new writers, creating Reddit threads about them, harassing them on Twitter, even subjecting them to doxxing (sharing their personal information online). This was a new weaponised form of bad fandom.
Oh noes! People are mean to others on Twitter! Who knew?
What’s more, it was patently wrongheaded. As Harmon pointed out, the trolls’ ire was evidence of their “total ignorance of how television works”. Television is a collaborative medium and a credit is usually just a reward for one writer doing what Harmon calls “grunt work” – developing the outline of an episode, for example. “I want to scream at my computer: ‘You idiots, we all write the show together!’”
Then maybe you’re all sucking at the job?
The problem is that Rick and Morty’s bad fans – like the Walter White worshippers before them – are tuning in for the gnarly stuff, and missing the fact that the show is actually an implicit commentary on them. After all, it’s not exactly a stretch to notice the similarities between Rick – cynical, cruel, endlessly expecting the world to accommodate his every whim – and the many stripes of entitled white males seeking to dominate the internet, from the gamergate mob to the alt right.
Stop it! Bad fans, bad! Stop laughing!
Harmon knows whose side he’s on. “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 … that there’s some white male [fan out there] trying to further some creepy agenda by ‘protecting’ my work.”
Hmmm, I wonder how he feels about ‘Black Power’ or ‘Girl Power’..?
I bet he’d be pretty much OK with that sort of pride in race or sex….
In many ways this is a larger fight over who gets to control how culture is consumed.
The one who’s consuming it. You want to hope they never stop. Because so far, virtuesignalling and SJWing doesn’t pay as well.