I don’t have anything against the show. I’ve watched a few minutes of it, and I can tell it’s not for me. This is fine. What I take issue with, rather, is the men who take their Rick and Morty fandom to an obnoxious level—specifically when I’m on a date with them. (And yes, to clarify, it is a problem with men. I date women, too, and shockingly none of them have asked me to watch Rick and Morty, or thought I was stupid because I don’t watch Rick and Morty, even if they themselves are fans.)
And now, with 70 new episodes, this obnoxiousness seems unlikely to stop anytime soon.
The unpleasantness of (some) Rick and Morty fans is well-documented. They rioted because McDonald’s didn’t have enough sauce. They doxxed and harassed female writers of the show they’re obsessed with, for fuck’s sake. On some level, I understand them. I know what it’s like to love a pop culture phenomenon that others ridicule: I was a One Direction stan for four years. I bought a life-size cutout of Niall Horan with my work-study money and spent an unholy amount to attend three back-to-back tours. I’ve been to stan hell and back, okay? (But “What Makes You Beautiful” still bops, and I will gladly die on that hill.)
But being a fan doesn’t mean you “understand" while non-fans do not. I was under no illusion that non-1D fans just didn’t “understand” their ~deep~ music.
And yet, some men just don’t see their Rick and Morty fandom that way. I’ve had men tell me “I really should watch it,” even though I’ve already expressed that I’m not interested. I’ve had men tell me “You just don’t get it.” I’ve had men question my intelligence. Never once has a man just moved on after my face turned to the equivalent of the 😒 emoji at the mention of the show.
For some reason, Rick and Morty has attracted pseudo-intellectuals who believe the show is so nuanced, so clever, that the average TV viewer can’t possibly wrap their head around its brilliance. The show's supposed sophistication clearly appeals to a subset of the population eager to finally put that undergrad philosophy degree to good use. It seems there is a positive correlation between the type of person attracted to the show with those likely to mansplain more generally.
While the desire to explain and appear superior to others—like the woman you’re dating—is just kinda gross, I am sympathetic to the very human desire to find someone who shares the same interests as you. Discovering a date likes the same niche show you like is a wonderful feeling. But you have to let it happen organically. Just because a woman who loves Rick and Morty fits into your manic pixie dream girl fantasy, doesn’t mean you can will her into existence.
“It’s so good!” “But oh my god, it’s brilliant.” “Do you want to watch an episode right now?”
I don’t care about that. I care about how you’re trying to force your particular brand of dude-bro humor on me. And I guarantee you that the women you bore talking about “wub a lub” or whatever the fuck aren’t interested in watching the show either. Because, due to people who may not be you, the show is now associated with sexism, Szechuan sauce, and being pompous about a cartoon. It’s hard to come back from that.
If the most exciting thing you can talk about on a first date is 70 new episodes of Rick and Morty, it may be time to reexamine some things. Wubba lubba dub dub, indeed.
Follow Anna Iovine on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.