Rick and Morty fans don’t have the best reputation these days. It didn’t help that a portion of the Adult Swim cartoon’s fan base harassed a female writer. They also recently freaked out at McDonalds across the country after an in-episode bit brought a small amount of a special sauce back to the burger chain.
Most stories about the show’s fans are entirely negative, which is a shame because it’s a brilliant cartoon that happens to have some very terrible, misogynist fans. But according to some streaming data, the actual number of people watching the show on Hulu is a a very different bunch than most people assume.
Mashable reported on Wednesday that, according to Hulu demographics research, the show’s fans include a much higher percentage of women than the toxic male fans that have gotten attention in recent years might make some assume.
It’s not surprising that women watch the show because, well, of course they do. Women watch all kinds of shows, and viewing habits across any gender identification are diverse and show a variety of interests. But in data that measured viewership between January and July of this year, women make up a large segment of the viewing population for a show often defined by its angry male fans.
According to Hulu’s internal data and analytics team, the statistics paint a more diverse picture of the Rick and Morty viewership. One of the most surprising demographic facts found that gender is much more equal than previously assumed, with women making up 40% of the audience.
Again, that women watch Rick and Morty isn’t a shock. It has a lot to offer smart, perhaps a bit cynical fans of Dan Harmon. But the perception from those who haven’t watched it, or those who have been turned off from the show because if its vocally sexist fans, is that the fan base is made entirely of sexist dudes. But the data indicates a much larger group of women who also have interests in not just cartoons but other kinds of shows, too.
Another interesting Hulu data trend found that, while Rick and Morty viewers were (unsurprisingly) fans of similar shows like Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, and South Park, a whopping 40% of them also watch emotional live-action dramas like This Is Us and Handmaid’s Tale.
This is just Hulu data, of course, and who actually watches the show on Cartoon Network and through other means isn’t known. But it seems that, as is often the case, the most annoying and harmful fans are a vocal, but troubling, minority.