Dan Harmon Applauds the ‘Silent Majority’ of the ‘Rick and Morty’ Fanbase Who Haven’t Melted Down Over the Recast
Dan Harmon likes to describe the Rick and Morty subreddit as a place “where mental health seems to be still having a last stand.” He must have been trying to finish it off when he approved the final act of the spaghetti episode.
The Rick and Morty fanbase is one of those groups on the internet that, even if you’ve never seen the show, you know exactly what they’re like and how they act — they (we) are predominantly male, massively invested in science fiction media and emotionally comparable to the irresponsibly sized load of black powder in a homemade firework pointed at a McDonalds that just ran out of Szechuan Sauce. Rick and Morty fans are enthusiastic to the point of mania when it comes to their favorite show, and the slightest change to the secret formula that they’ve come to love — like adding a single female writer to the staff — is enough to send them into hateful hysterics.
So, when Adult Swim was forced to replace the show’s co-creator and biggest star, many half-expected the Pickle Rick Patriots to have a January 6th-esque meltdown and tear the fanbase apart. Thankfully, that never happened — in fact, the new voices of Rick and Morty, Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden respectively, have seen substantial praise from most of the fandom for their strong performances. “I think the silent majority and healthy majority are like, ‘Okay, this is as good as you can manage,’” Harmon told Gizmodo of the recast. Having been to Comic-Con and seeing his fans’ physiques, “healthy” is a bold word to describe that majority.
“The internet is so Balkanized now,” Harmon said of his relationship with Rick and Morty’s massive and active online fanbase. “Even within individual comment sections, let alone separate venues, the only rule is complete polarity: everything has to be the absolute worst or the absolute best. Even people that say something’s mediocre have to say it with such vehemence that you would think their blood vessels were bursting.”
Thus far in Season Seven, that much has been true of the Rick and Morty fandom — the somewhat muted premiere episode was reviled and despised, while stronger entries like ”Unmortricken” and the aforementioned “That’s Amorte” drew calls for Emmy consideration from the show’s fans as it was declared that Rick and Morty was, finally, back. Posts in the show’s subreddit with titles like “Was last night’s episode the best we’ve ever seen?” or “Did they purposefully use a shitty episode as the premiere to lower our expectations?” have been the norm over the past two months.
Harmon continued, “I kind of have to have a general rule that I’m not googling anything about this show. Stuff will trickle through to me; somebody will say, ‘Hey, the spaghetti episode is very well-received,’ and they’ll point me in the direction of, for instance, the Rick and Morty subreddit.” Despite generally avoiding the online discourse about his work, Harmon had an unusually positive experience with the show’s largest fan forum, which boasts over 2.7 million fervent followers.
“I was pretty impressed — I was able to scroll through the entire subreddit, people reacting to the spaghetti episode, and they were just having a nice, lively discussion as if they were just, you know, Star Trek fans discussing a show that they love,” Harmon explained. “And it was very uplifting and wonderful.”