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Misaimed Fandom / Western Animation

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Examples of Misaimed Fandom for characters in Western Animation.

  • Adventure Time: Ash was created as a Take That! to Bastard Boyfriends. Guess what? A lot of the lady fans love him.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: One particularly memetic clip from the episode "The Best", as seen here, shows Gumball squaring off against the passive-aggressive Carmen by deliberately invoking Political Correctness Gone Mad to attack her for everything she suggests (for example, when she remarks that white bread has empty calories that can lead to weight gain, Gumball claims she's being fatphobic by assuming that "big people can't be proud of who they are"). Some people unironically post the segment as a sign of how stupid and overly sensitive "social justice warriors" are...which completely ignores the actual point of the clip, wherein Carmen realizes what Gumball is doing and calls him out for using the struggles of other people to score points and win petty arguments. Furthermore, it's clear that Gumball is looking for a fight and trying to make Carmen feel bad. Regardless of the clear statement of difference between genuinely helping others through activism and simply being a reactionary Troll, though, actual Trolls use the segment to justify mocking more left-wing activists.
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  • Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill are animated satires of certain subcultures (dimwitted metalhead teenagers and suburban Texans) done by Mike Judge. As Patrick Stewart once aptly put it: "Both the very smart and very stupid are fans of Beavis and Butt-Head, for very different reasons." Or as The Onion put it in their Our Dumb Century book: "New MTV Show About Idiots Who Watch MTV Big Hit Among Idiots Who Watch MTV". King of the Hill, however, is a more Affectionate Parody; those paying attention might notice that smug jerks who look down their noses on Flyover Country suburbanites are the ones to get lampooned the most on that show.
  • In BoJack Horseman, the titular character is a self-loathing, self-destructive alcoholic who frequently mistreats his friends and screws up any opportunity that comes his way. And while he occasionally ends up being the Voice of Reason in some of the show's more bizarre situations, he has an alarming number of fans who identify with him and use those instances as evidence that he's the Only Sane Man.
    • This mindset is deconstructed in Season 5, when BoJack stars in the cop drama Philbert. Diane starts writing on the show and uses her experience with BoJack to give the lead character - a sexist, edgy jerk of a detective - more depth. However, when BoJack publicly interprets Philbert as a show that says it's okay to be awful, Diane realizes how damaging an impact the show can have if more people interpret it that way.
    Diane: I made him more vulnerable, and that made him more likable, which makes for a better TV show. But if Philbert is just a way to help dumb assholes rationalize their own awful behavior, well, I'm sorry, but we can't put this out there.
    • As of the finale, the fandom has split in two: Some feel that BoJack's actions are completely irredeemable, that he is completely unsympathetic, and because of this, he should have died in the series' penultimate episode. BoJack is unsympathetic, not unrelatable, and certainly not irredeemable. The series finale even makes several points about how important it is to keep moving towards self-improvement even when you screw up, and that no matter how terrible life is, it's still worth living through it. The common belief that BoJack, or any character, should have resolved their arc through suicide is completely antithetical to that message.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Riley Freeman. His character is meant to be a Take That! towards the worst aspects of American black culture and how it affects impressionable youth. He's obsessed with being seen as a "real nigga" and goes through great lengths to maintain that image. He's violent, ignorant, and obnoxious.. and yet is somehow one of the most popular characters on the show, with many viewing him as the "most gangsta' or "realest" character. Many refer to the show as the "realest show on television" for its hostile take on systemic racism in government and the justice system, American politics, and more. These people tend to ignore that some of that snark is also used to hold up a mirror to American black culture, analyzing the good and the bad, rather than blindly celebrating all its aspects. The series regularly pokes fun at modern gangsta rap and its surrounding culture, and as well as modern buffoonery. Case in point, Lil Wayne was perfectly willing to guest voice on the show when he's emblematic of the type of rappers the cartoon usually criticized. And do we even have to mention the episodes mocking BET and its programming? The same goes for Uncle Ruckus. He was created to be the most hated character on the show, however, he ended up possibly being the most popular. Just type Uncle Ruckus on YouTube and see the many clips with over one-hundred thousand views, highlighting different scenes during the series. The show itself gave us an In-Universe example in on of its earliest episodes, "The Trial of Robert Kelly". The eponymous R. Kelly is facing legal matters for giving a 14-year-old girl a golden shower. His fans proudly defend him at the trial, going so far as to have shirts reading "Pee on Me". Ultimately, Huey tries to tell everyone off for blindly defending him just because he's a famous black man, but they all refuse to listen and R. Kelly gets off scot-free, much to Huey and Tom's disappointment.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • Reportedly, Wheeler was created by Ted Turner to show children just how ignorant Americans are compared to everyone else in the world (in most episodes, Wheeler is the one who asks questions or learns an Aesop about the subject at hand). Naturally, Wheeler is one of the, if not the most, popular characters among the cast because most like the humor he brings to the show. To make things worse, the other Planeteers, the characters who are supposedly the sensible people, are often perceived as "flat" and "preachy" by the fanbase, as opposed to Wheeler, who at least had genuine personality flaws to struggle with. It also helps that his complaints or observations over valid things got dismissed or ignored because The Complainer Is Always Wrong.
    • The villains were portrayed in as much of a Anvilicious way as possible with their Jerkass and Cartoonish Supervillainy role turned Up to Eleven, by design, so as not to confuse children into thinking everyone who the show speaks out against are this way. However some activists seemingly use this as a guide or template to say that every average joe who is just trying to provide for their family in using environmental resources is the same.
  • There's a religious cult in Russia that worships Gadget from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Particularly odd is that this is the same series that had an episode about how dangerous cults can be!
  • Followers of Mahatma Gandhi infamously protested Clone High for portraying Gandhi as a ditzy party animal. Never mind that not only are the teenage clones not the actual historical figures, just beings with the same DNA, clone Gandhi's rambunctious attitude is because he couldn't live up to the real Gandhi's legacy.
  • A considerable number of Courage the Cowardly Dog fans have shipped Courage with Katz even though the latter is a remorseless psychopath who has attempted to kill Courage and/or the Bagges in all of his appearances.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Fanfics are sharply divided between the silliness of the later episodes and very serious fan fiction that could rightly belong in novel form.
    • Also, many fangirls see Ax-Crazy Dark Danny as sympathetic, in spite of having the honor of being a sadistic sociopath who killed his human self along with probably millions of others, and tried to go back into the past to kill his own family to ensure his existence!
  • Daria:
    • Parodied on an episode of Daria where Daria appears at a coffee house's opening reading an obviously satirical short story about a spy on an anti-communist operation. The reading stirs up a riot of anti-communist frenzy and forces the closure of the cafe. This was very clearly her intent, as she was coerced into the reading by her English teacher.
    • Daria herself is often seen as a role model snarky heroine, which ignores the fact that her cold behavior does have consequences. Peers and adults alike are often frustrated by her attitude. Her mother even points out that while she's good at making quips, she often doesn't know how to express what she really wants. There's even a whole episode ("Boxing Daria") dedicated to show Daria's issues with people and herself, but the fans keep holding her up as a perfect character.
  • Duckman. In some very strange parts of the internet, Duckman gets hailed as "the greatest philosophical mind of this generation." Really? While his rants are sometimes justified and can have genuine points to them at the best of times, he's generally a spiteful, selfish, arrogant prick.
  • Ducktales 2017: As said by Word of God, there's not supposed to be a "right" and "wrong" side in the late season 2 conflict between Louie and Della; they're simply two stubborn, flawed people who need each other to help work through said flaws. Naturally, a significant portion of the fandom missed the point entirely and chose to paint one side as entirely right and one as entirely wrong, largely based on who they like more.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Edd. Okay, he's smart, sane and problably the most sympathetic character in the show but the fangirls tend to crank his positive qualities Up to Eleven, totally forgetting about his flaws (Super OCD, physical weakness, judgmental nature, nagging and overreacting tendencies, lack of spine etc.). Also many fans act like Edd is completely innocent when it comes to scams and act like it's just Ed and Eddy's fault. Yes, Eddy does sometimes boss Edd into participating in his scams, but Edd made his own decision to help Eddy out. Doing something you know is wrong out of peer pressure does not make you blameless. Not to mention that most of the time, he partakes against his better judgment.
    • Eddy's Draco in Leather Pants status can count. While it's understandable how some fans would find him tolerable due to his tragic backstory and him getting karmic retribution for his jerkass behavior, some fans tend to make Eddy come off as completely innocent, while blaming his jerkass behavior on his brother. Also, the same fans even try to make him seem like the victim suffering punishment they think he didn't deserve and blaming whoever took vengeance on him even in episodes where he was clearly in the wrong ("Cry Ed", "Brother, Can You Spare an Ed?", " Here's Mud in Your Ed", "Pick an Ed," & "If It Smells Like An Ed.").
    • Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show: Some of the viewers actually enjoyed seeing Eddy being beaten by his sociopathic brother because of him tricking Edd into believing he drowned in quicksand, which ignores that Edd already royally chewed him out for it and caused Eddy to finally break down sobbing in remorse and admitting that he's a jerk whose brought all his misery upon himself.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter", there is a scene where Brian, Chris, Peter and Stewie have an ipecac drinking contest. This is shown to be a terrible, terrible idea. And yet, the scene is credited with inspiring a recent upsurge in Ipecac-use among teenage bulimics.
    • Many fans think that Meg deserves her Butt-Monkey status and the abuse she gets from her parents because she was a Bratty Teenage Daughter in earlier seasons. Regardless of how you feel about Meg, this is very clearly not a mindset that ethical people should genuinely believe, and they especially shouldn't apply it to any of their real-life relationships.
  • Demona of Gargoyles gets this a lot. Being arguably the most popular character in the series, and a very attractive female, a large and vocal number of her fans tend not only to absolve her of any responsibility for her mistakes, but to pin the blame on other characters. These fans completely miss the point, as series creator, Greg Weisman has said over and over again that Demona is her own worst enemy, and that her entire life is a rationalization. Her most iconic quote, after witnessing the massacre of her clan (made possible by her betrayal) was "what have I... what have THEY done to you?!" That's pretty much what the "Demona Revisionists" do. Like character like fandom. Hilariously, Demona actually gets into a fight with a previous version of herself. Apparently, even her earlier self despises her for what she's done. Go figure. Explained (or perhaps made even worse) by the fact that while Demona is a sympathetic villain, she's sympathetic in a "we feel sorry for her because she's so messed up" way, not a "we think she's great and want her to win" way.
  • In-universe example on Futurama: Dwight and Cubert begin emulating Bender when he gets a role As Himself on "All My Circuits".
  • Pete on Goof Troop is a Hate Sink Jerkass Chew Toy and most of the fanbase either hates him or loves him as a villain because they think he's funny or both. However, there is a group of fans who whitewash his actions by blowing his rare moments of clarity out of proportion and downplaying or ignoring his routine mistreatment of other characters. Some claim that Pete isn't abusive, but they never even acknowledge any of the episodes where he unambiguously is, or would be in any context—though they're more than happy to give Pete credit for his extremely rare remorse about it. Others say Peg is unreasonable for getting mad at him so often, despite what he's doing being morally wrong. Others still even go so far as to blame Goofy for Pete's Chew Toy status despite the fact that most of the time, Pete brings him along willingly.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Bill Cipher is the show's true Big Bad and an eldritch figure inspired by personifying the Eye of Providence. As the series goes on it's made increasingly clear that he does not care about human life unless it's being used as stepping stones to his plan, which is to essentially rip apart reality for fun. He's evil, manipulative, and all-around unpleasant. Fans took this character, gave him a habit of taking humanoid form, and turned him into something of a Mr. Fanservice often shipped with Dipper, which got to the point where a few fans were surprised when "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future" ended with him using a dimensional rift to start an apocalypse. This was because it swiftly confirmed that he wasn't a sort of "quirky romantic," even though nothing in the show really implied he would be like that in the first place. On a related note, in "Sock Opera," he takes over Dipper's body — a moment meant to be extremely creepy and unnerving.note  But a portion of fans ended up liking the Bill-possessed Dipper (calling him "Bipper" after a comment Mabel made) to the point of calling him hot, which is very creepy when you realize Bipper is a demon-possessed twelve-year-old. A demon possessed twelve-year-old, mind, that regularly harmed himself because he likes the sensation of pain and planned on killing himself just to spite his host body's sister.
    • .GIFfany is more-or-less a less-popular female Bill when it comes to fandom treatment. She was intended to be an uncanny, robotic one-shot villain that served as a criticism of dating simulators and living a very shut-in life, as well as a controlling and possessive yandere that eventually threatened to kill/"delete" Soos if he didn't upload his brain into her game. Thanks to a combination of her animesque design, unique abilities, and having slightly more backstory than most of the show's other one-shot villains (which isn't saying a lot), fans ended up loving her or even finding her cute/sexy. This includes her crazier side. Although Alex Hirsch seemed to also like her well enough, given that he wrote in Journal 3 that she survived and gave her a semi-redemption and happy ending: she's still a yandere, but her new target is also a video game character who can and does give as good as he gets.
    • Despite family being a major theme of the show, there is a small set of fans that practically wanted twins Dipper and Mabel to split apart. Usually, those fans tend to demonize one of them while completely washing away any flaws of the other. Towards the end of the series, there was a theory of sorts going on that Mabel was the only true protagonist while Dipper would turn out to be the final Big Bad for whatever reason. On the other hand, Mabel is viewed by others as someone overly clingy and weighing Dipper's life down, and anything she does that "gets in the way" of what Dipper wants is completely villified. It is true that Mabel suffers from a bit of Aesop Amnesia, but she's far from completely terrible (and Dipper isn't really a saint himself) and neither twin is supposed to just be thought of as the "good twin" or "bad twin." Both have their high points and their flaws, and the show is about them overcoming the latter as they grow and eventually become town heroes, not some sort of black-and-white plot about one of them discovering that they're better than the other. There's also the fact that both of them are still kids, and a lot of their flaws can be attributed to normal childhood immaturity, yet fans tend to judge them as if they're emotionally manipulative adults.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • An episode of Billy And Mandy guest starring Betty White, in one of Mandy's more sympathetic-leaning episodes, espouses the value of feminism, implying that some of Mandy's misthanropy comes from being underestimated constantly. Some feminists, and many anti-feminists, hated this implication, as Mandy is a would be dictator.
    • Mandy fans usually hate Mindy for her Jerkass status, even if Mandy herself is portrayed as a sociopathic Enfant Terrible with very few redeeming qualities. But they still idolize Mandy because she is "the only smart character on the show". It also helps that when Mindy was first introduced to Mandy, the former was all too willing to make friends with Mandy. Due to Mindy's Motor Mouth, however, Mandy acts rude to Mindy by telling her to shut up, thus intentionally starting a rivalry with Mindy.
    • There's a few people who liked Bun-Bun from the Underfist special, mostly because he's cute. But he's also one of the most evil antagonists to appear on the series, having possibly the least amount of comedic moments compared to other villains and having made quite a few characters miserable For the Evulz.
  • Many Invader ZIM fans seem perfectly willing to ignore ZIM's ridiculous egotism and admitted evil, making him out to be a hero rather than a Villain Protagonist. These same fans often will hate and vilify Dib for, wait for it..."trying to stop ZIM" from enslaving or destroying humanity. Granted, the Dib apologists aren't free of this either. In the show, both the Earth and its inhabitants are generally presented in a less-than idealistic fashion. And while Dib is a Hero Antagonist, he can be kind of a jerk whose motives aren't totally altruistic, with his motives being less "saving the Earth" and more "being seen as a hero for saving the Earth."). Creator Jhonen Vasquez joked about this trope and Death of the Author during a fan convention, explaining how weird it is to see people give heartfelt cries of emotion while watching what is clearly a Black Comedy.
  • In the series The Maxx, Mr. Gone is often quoted for saying "Of course I've got a problem with women. Everyone has a problem with women. Because women taunt and tease. Because they are attractive, and they punish you for being attracted," which some fans find to be insightful and accurate. In fact, Mr. Gone is a rapist, and this attitude was intended as a representation of how a rapist thinks.
  • Some people believe that Moral Orel is a conventional Take That! against religion/Christianity. It's easy to make that assumption watching only a few of the episodes but the show is actually criticizing hypocrisy and how most of the residents of Moralton don't practice what they preach and are pretty terrible people themselves. The fact that the show is not anti-religion is notable since Orel doesn't give up on his faith and still keeps it as an adult.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a few examples:
    • A subset of the fandom believes that Rainbow Dash is a lesbian, based on her Tomboy demeanor and rainbow mane, since a rainbow is often used as a symbol of homosexuality. Even though this is exactly the thinking that Lauren Faust (the creator of the show) criticizes as stereotyped and offensive. She later went on to say that people were free to interpret the character however they wished when someone brought up that some fans just wanted a strong positive lesbian role model in non-British television, though she claimed that it wasn't her personal interpretation of the character, and that sexuality really had no place on the show. "The Last Problem", the show's Distant Finale, implies that Rainbow Dash might be in a relationship with Applejack, but it's deliberately left vague and could be interpreted otherwise.
    • The New Lunar Republic - especially the subdivision of it who wanted Nightmare Moon to win and bring about eternal night even though it would have killed all life in Equestria. Those who want Luna to overthrow her sister are almost equally difficult to comprehend, given that the two have made peace after Nightmare Moon's defeat and are reigning over the land together in natural balance.
    • Trixie and Discord. Both are unsympathetically portrayed and disliked by the Mane Six, and yet they each have massive fan bases. Granted, both of them eventually got Character Development in later episodes, but their fanbases were already large by the time each character finally got their second appearences.
      • In the case of Trixie, a lot of older viewers saw her as innocent because while she was being a showoff, overselling your abilities is legitimately a part of being a stage entertainer, and the show gave little indication that this was her off-stage persona as well at the time. As a result, many of her fans see the Mane Six as in the wrong for disrupting her show and, as the Season 3 episode "Magic Duel" shows, ruining her performing career. The later seasons had an in-universe example where Twilight Sparkle is called out by the Mane Six for giving Starlight Glimmer a pass, while still holding on to a cruel dislike for Trixie, despite the former doing far worse things like running a cult and nearly breaking reality.
      • And in the case of Discord, his defenders have pointed out that Fluttershy regarded nothing of any of the genuinely bad things Discord had done except for the temper tantrum at their first meeting. It's very safe to assume Fluttershy since learned of all the bad things (which in her defense may very well have been what kept her from arguing), but at that point Fluttershy nonchalantly accepted her flaws only because Discord thought he was being offended by insolence and lost his temper, making it easy to defend Discord as The Woobie and label Fluttershy as a real Troll for no real reason.
    • Fans often compare Starlight Glimmer's cultish town to social justice movements, noting the apparently irony of My Little Pony social media posts promoting "equality" (such as during LGBT Pride Month). The problem is, the episode wasn't against equality in the context of equal rights; it was against the suppression of unique talents in order to keep people indistinguishable. Starlight was explicitly against diversity in her town. Additionally, Starlight didn't even believe what she was saying about equality, since she kept her own cutie mark in order to wield power over the town.
    • Cozy Glow is meant to be a deconstruction of Deliberately Cute Child, whose superficial cuteness contrasts with her evil nature. For many fans, this did not work and they instead found her genuinely cute even after her villainous reveal. It doesn't help that she gets many comedic moments throughout Season 9.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • An episode called "The City of Clipsville" had one segment which was a Take That! to PPG fanfiction cliches Craig McCracken hated, including Powerpuff Girls/Rowdyruff Boys shipper fics. The fake Flashback showed the characters as dumb airheaded teenagers. Fandom embraced that scene and even made fanart of it.
    • The Rowdyruff Boys in general were originally intended to be some of the most hated villains the show, but instead ended up being the most loved.
    • The episode "Equal Fights" is often misinterpreted as an anti-feminist episode for seemingly portraying feminists as man-hating hypocrites who want equal rights without taking on equal responsibility; lead villain Femme Fatale crusaded for a society where women were superior to men. Of course, the ending of the episode makes it clear that people like Femme Fatale are not real feminists but rather a misogynist’s idea of what a feminist is. Instead, it’s a warning for women and girls to not behave like Femme Fatale when advocating for feminism and for men and boys to not think every feminist is like her, and that doing otherwise would actually precipitate an anti-feminist backlash.
  • John Kricfalusi, creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show, did an entire episode with a deliberately ludicrous and stupid plotline Played for Drama, just to show how easy it was to use "cheap" filmic tricks to make the audience cry. Naturally, they did.
  • Rick and Morty: A large criticism of the fandom is that some fans consider Rick to be a hero despite his abusive nature. We are meant to see Rick as a compelling individual (i.e. an interesting character who has his points, and is funny) but in no way are we meant to ignore the negative impact he has on his family and friends. He uses his intelligence, skill, and Straw Nihilist tendencies to justify gaslighting Morty and Beth in order to assert his perceived superiority. Morty starts taking on some of Rick's negative traits, and is frequently horrified by how much he has been corrupted by his grandfather. Rick's refusal to emotionally open up to his loved ones damages Rick himself even more. The third season acknowledges this fact by deconstructing Rick's abusive influence on the family. Morty states in the season premiere that Rick shouldn't be seen as a hero and, by the time the third season ends, even Summer and Beth have grown tired of Rick's toxic behavior.
  • There is a scene in Rugrats where Drew expresses concern to his wife that Angelica is acting like she believes she's a real princess, to which Charlotte replies with "That's great! The only way for a girl to succed in a male-dominated world is by living, eating and breathing self-esteem!". People have been using this quote in pro of girls being empowered, which is a good message for the majority of girls... but we're talking about Angelica here, a Spoiled Brat who always tries to get her way on everything and who enjoys nothing more than bullying babies who are younger than her.
  • The Simpsons: While the show spoofs, satirizes and lampoons the American family, religion, politics and society, certain people see it as a celebration of these things instead of criticism.
    • The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a parody of cartoon violence, yet there are many people who feel that the characters should be a real cartoon show. The show's creators once made a montage of several Itchy & Scratchy cartoons to respond to audiences' requests to make a full half-hour show with these characters. Invariably, the audience's enthusiasm fades away after a few minutes of watching these violent scenes.
    • A lot of mainstream viewers think Ned Flanders is a hilarious parody of a fundamentalist Christian, and are sort of surprised when they learn that many of that latter group actually like Ned and consider themselves fans of his. Whenever they get letters from the rare Christian viewers who think they did create Ned to mock them, the creators ask in response, "Who would you rather have as your neighbor— Homer or Ned?" Originally, he was just an extreme version of a goody-two-shoes who happens to be a devout Christian. The Christian Fundamentalist thing was...uh...Flanderization...
    • When "The Simpsons" first debuted, many religious groups protested against the show because they felt it was blasphemous and heretical. As time went by, quite a few religious people have expressed a liking towards the show. Some because they simply ignore the countless jokes that poke fun at faith and organized religion and try to whitewash it as a "Christian" show because the family is often seen in church and/or praying and because God frequently appears in some episodes (even though leprechauns, Dracula, aliens, comic book characters from other franchises,... have also made appearances). Others because they rightly feel that the series provides some amusing, yet thought-provoking commentary about ethics and faith. The show also demonstrates clearly that someone like Flanders, who is a nice and caring person, is much more of an inspirational Christian than a Straw Hypocrite like Reverend Lovejoy. Lisa, often the only skeptic Voice of Reason when the town goes into a fit of mass hysteria, favors science above anything else. And even she still expresses her faith in something higher. Today, some of the show's more spiritual episodes are actually shown during Sunday school and religious classes, even though even those episodes are full of jokes that poke fun at religion.
      • While some of the people behind "The Simpsons" are religious the show's creator, Matt Groening, is agnostic, even calling himself "basically a pagan" other times. He has poked fun at religion several times in his comic strip Life in Hell too. In a BBC documentary he once said: "If "The Simpsons" has any message at all, it is that your teachers, politicians and religious leaders don't always have the best things in mind for you.".
    • Conspiracy Theorists (of various political alignments, religious faiths and marihuana usage) often see some episodes of The Simpsons as prophetic, and claim that they predicted various events, either a warning from or a part of a conspiracy that is accused of causing the event. This has started with the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA, that the Simpsons predicted years before in "Bart to the Future" (The Conspiracy Theorists may have various stances on Trump himself, and it isn't his fault). Other examples include the 9/11 attacks (in "Homer vs the City of New York", the bus trip costs 9$11 and the World Trade Center is featured) or the 2019/20 SARS-Covid pandemia (various episodes about fictional diseases such as the Osaka Flu from east Asia, the cat flu that was caused by the media (Conspiracy Theorists love that) and a Ship stuck at sea in fear of the Pandora Strain). Amusingly, many of the conspiracy theories blame the Freemasons (which they believe to be behind the Simpsons), who there parodied in Homer the Great. Most of these "prophecies" can be explained by the large number of plots and episodes, which guarantees at least some of them are bound to resemble future events, and that history repeats itself and the Simpsons was actually making fun of older events (Trump wanted to become president in the 90s). If you search long enough on Youtube you will find the craziest conspiracy theories based on the Simpsons.
    • In-Universe, in "Homer The Heretic" Reverend Lovejoy is giving out a sermon about how all sinners will be cast in the fiery depths of Hell for eternity... while the town is under a snowstorm, the church's furnace isn't working, and everyone is freezing. So Bart is looking forward to be there.
  • South Park is very prone to this. It's primarily due to the show's Periphery Demographic of elementary and middle school kids, as the satirical nature of the series can go over their heads at times:
    • Reportedly, Cartman was designed under the idea that you couldn't have an Archie Bunker-type character (read: someone who was openly racist, sexist, and overall politically incorrect) on TV now... unless he was a ludicrous little kid cartoon character. Naturally, there's dispute over why Cartman is one of the most popular kids. Just to make matters worse, Stan and Kyle, the characters based on series creators Parker and Stone and supposedly the only normal sensible people in all of South Park, are often perceived as "whiny little bitches" by a fanbase that prefers racist anti-Semitic sexist Cartman. This must have more to do with Cartman being the one that is the "funny man" to Stan and Kyle's "straight men", and because he ends up in more outlandish scenarios, rather than because they actually like Cartman's racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism (OK, a handful of them do.)
    • The Goth Kids. They're meant to be a parody of teen and pre-teen Wangsting, but instead get used by fangirls as outlets for their own misery. Also, the two older guys are apparently gay for each other, though the show gives no indication of that. Trey and Matt seem to be aware of this, so naturally they exploited it for merchandising. (Apparently, Hot Topic has a sense of humor about itself.)
    • The two-part episode "Go God Go" gets misaimed Fandom in TWO directions, one being Atheist and the other being Creationists. To say nothing of "Cartoon Wars"....
    • Towlie was created as a two-part Take That! against the Vocal Minority of the fandom demanding more drug humor and at merchandise driven characters (which is literally Towlie's origin in-universe, he's a towel designed to extoll the virtues of towels in order to sell towels). They out and out say it in his first appearence:
      Stan: You're the worst character ever, Towlie.
      Towlie: I know.
But then Towlie quickly became popular, and his "wanna get high?" catchphrase went memetic.
  • The episode Medicinal Fried Chicken. While it does make some points in favor of legalization of marijuana, it also satirizes people's obsession with the drug. Randy and the other dads literally give themselves testicular cancer so they can legally smoke marijuana. One point people often miss is that while everyone talks about how awesome getting high is, the viewer never gets any indication that it really is as great as it said to be, and KFC is shown to be more addictive and euphoric. It still didn’t stop some stoners from saying that they were happy that they got another drug episode.
  • There are people out there who actually agree with Cartman that gingers have no so souls. And act on it. There are even schools out there who celebrate Kick-a-Ginger Day (obviously not officially, but still...).
  • From The Movie, Mr. Garrison's statement that he "doesn't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die" was supposed to be a jab at sexist views on periods. People have been known to quote it unironically. The "joke" did exist before the show, however.
  • "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy" was meant to criticize the Double Standard regarding how female teachers having sexual relations with young male students are brushed under the rug because the teachers are attractive. Despite this, many male fans agree with the cops whose only response to a pretty teacher essentially raping a toddler is "Nice."
  • The B-plot of "The China Probrem" has the kids campaigning to arrest Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for the perceived terribleness of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, likening it to watching a rape and literally showing Spielberg and Lucas raping Indiana Jones. It is meant to be a Take That! to people who claim a bad movie raped their childhoods, but many fans thought it was meant to be taken seriously. Granted, Trey and Matt weren't shy about pointing out Kingdom of the Crystal Skull flaws.
  • Superjail! garners a few cases of this, as the characters all pretty much fall under the Jerkass category (even Jared, who's Not So Above It All). The Warden is the largest example, as while he is a Magnificent Bastard type of character (although played substantially goofier and less competent in later seasons), there are plenty of fans willing to excuse anything and everything he does as him being in the right, including his abuse of Jared.
    • While Lord Stingray was painted as an unlikeable control freak of a boyfriend in "Stingstress", there were quite the groups of fans that actually cheered on his berating and mistreating of the Mistress, owing to the latter being hated by the former's fans and a case of Die for Our Ship in play from those who felt the Mistress would be in the way of pairing Stingray with the Warden.
      • "Stingstress" itself gained a number of fans that were outraged about the Warden and the Mistress not getting together, and that used Jared and Charise's fantasy as proof it could work- ignoring the fact that Jared and Charise only wanted their bosses together in hopes of THEM getting together, without taking into consideration their bosses' actual feelings (and that the Mistress and the Warden in the fantasy were purposely out-of-character to illustrate Charise's idealized viewpoint). There was also the fact that the Mistress only considered the idea of sleeping with the Warden because she was fed up with Lord Stingray, and wound up instantly turned off when he couldn't please her. Of course, mileage varies on how well the overall story of the episode was handled, but the ending twist is also hated by a specific set of shippers, who considered it to be Christy Karacas mercilessly mocking Warden/Mistress by having Alice "steal" the Mistress' love by sleeping with her, giving the Mistress the idea that she didn't need any men and could instead be an independent woman. Rather than it being a reset button employed to get the Mistress back to being a guest character and to go back to the status quo (for the most part), it's taken as Alice standing in the way of a couple from ever happening.
    • Alice either has fans that hate her for "leading the Warden on" and rebuffing his advances towards her, using it as reason to demonize her, or alternatively, she has fans that overlook or wave off any of her negative qualities to paint her as a saintly Woobie figure who can do no wrong (even though the point is that despite her unfortunate backstory, she's also a sadist).
    • The Mistress can garner fans that claim she's even more evil and wicked than the Warden, citing her lack of tragic backstory for her being a snob and for her being mean to the main character (and for taking his jail as revenge for him humiliating her on their first encounter), while ignoring the Warden's worse behavior, including the fact that he had potential to commit genocide and enslavement on the human race. On the flip side, there is also a contingent of fans insistent that the Mistress is an amazing woman and would never abuse anyone as the Warden would to Jared, while they ignore or attempt to explain away the moments where she's shown to be abusive or as maniacal.
    • The Twins can have fans that simply think of them as poor innocent little boys, or treat them as if they're classy, unflappable omnipotent demigods. While the "unflappable" part may have mostly been true for season 1, later seasons seem to put increased emphasis on the two being nerdy, awkward, and basically overlooked or outright hated by everyone else around them (to the point where inmates start a violent riot at seeing the Twins' show replacing their favorite "Jailpup" program), and being made The Chew Toy by their brothers and father. Likewise, the Triplets have gained fans that think of them as amazing characters and better than the Twins, despite the fact that the three were only depicted as bloodthirsty and haughty bullies.
  • Terra on Teen Titans was meant to be a Broken Bird Anti-Villain of the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds variety. However, many fans simply cannot seem to accept the gray-shaded nature of her character and treat as either a perfect saint who had no fault in the matter or a totally evil bitch. Both are untrue, though the latter is (ironically) exactly what the less complicated Terra from the original comic series was.
  • The Decepticons might as well be called "Transformers: Robots In Leather Pants". It's not quite clear how one can perceive the Autobots as evil and the Decepticons as noble warriors when they're called "the evil Decepticons" in the theme song, but there's a small but vocal fan group that supports this theory. One fan by the name of Raksha even became moderately famous within the fandom for it.
    • To offer some perspective, one of the key elements in Raksha's believes is the episode "Enter the Nightbird". In it, a human-built robot of unclear sentience/sapience is stolen by the Decepticons to become their latest weapon/a new soldier. Megatron and Bombshell are particularly "concerned" about her, and only one seems unhappy about her addition to the ranks. In contrast, the Autobots want her back in her creator's possession, where she can do no harm to either them or anyone else the Decepticons might target. But while their goal on itself is okay, they do go about it a little off. For instance, Optimus has pretty much heard from Nightbird's creator himself he plans to dismantle her when he gets her back, but still tries to lure Nightbird in with promises that he doesn't mean her harm. It's arguably one of the more grey moments in Transformers history, but while not the only one, it certainly is one of the rare ones. That said, the cartoon and Marvel comics did throw in little suggestions that the Decepticons are, among lots of less noble things, fighting an oppressive system, which in later canon has only become more prominent. People tend to cling onto that wee bit of woobieness more than on all the imagery of evilness.
    • This view eventually was made semi-canon by the time Beast Wars came around, with the writers showing off that the Autobots weren't exactly spotless in their morals, behind the scenes. And, arguably, the ultimate Fandom Nod came in the form of Transformers: Shattered Glass, a Mirror Universe parody series involving Heroic Decepticons and Evil Autobots.
    • It's an interesting case all around really. Fans initially sympathized with the Decepticons long before the had any redeeming qualities (and for the most part the majority still doesn't have any). However, when the writers noticed the fan reaction they took a rather interesting approach. Instead of giving the Decepticons A Lighter Shade of Grey, they seemed to lower the morals of the originally bright Autobots. So now the fandom have real reasons to refuse seeing the Decepticons in a dark light (as was most likely intended). Real Life Writes the Plot!
    • What fans miss is that even with the darkest interpretation of the Autobots, the Decepticons are still ready to destroy entire worlds to get what they want, and whatever started the war, the present state of things ("present" being "about the last four million years") is "Decepticons want to destroy the Autobots and conquer Cybertron and don't care how much death and destruction they cause on other worlds along the way, Autobots would really prefer they didn't do that." The Autobots are not innocent; for the Decepticons we'd have to invent new math to tally up the body count. However, as the Draco in Leather Pants page for Transformers Animated puts it, "fans tend to miss this part because Megatron is awesome, Blitzwing is funny, and Starscream is, well, Starscream."
    • Starscream, incidentally, takes this to a higher level than all of Decepticon-dom. Transformers Armada is the exception to the rule for incarnations of Starscream: People sympathize with him because Megatron is so horribly abusive to him and he can often end up in Butt-Monkey territory. However, Megatron is like that to him because Starscream is always trying to seize Megs' throne. Also, while Megatron at least thinks he's doing what's right and believes he fights for what he says he does even if he's dead wrong, Starscream is out for himself only. Basically, everything that happens to Starscream is his fault and if he were in charge of the Decepticons, Earth would be just as atomized if the Autobots ever took the week off. Try telling that to his fangirls.
  • Regarding Voltron: Legendary Defender, the fans latched onto the idea that Pidge Gunderson/Katie Holt is a trans boy, even though the character explicitly self-identifies as female after the reveal, and Word of God confirms she is meant to be seen as such, and that her male identity was a temporary disguise to avoid getting caught by the authorities so she could search for her missing father and older brother. Likewise, others interpreted the reveal scene as her literally coming out as transgender for the first time, even though flashbacks show she was fine presenting as female in public beforehand and would have continued to do so if she wasn't caught. All of these ideas ignore the extemely transphobic (at worst) and sexist/gender essencialist (at best) implications behind them: "if a woman isn't feminine enough then she must be a man", "tomboys and girly girls with tomboy sides aren't real women", etc.
  • Chuck Jones created Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner as a parody of popular "chase cartoons" like Tom and Jerry, by picking two unlikely animals in a bizarre setting, making the Coyote his own worst enemy, and making the whole thing as over-the-top as possible. He was surprised when audiences took the first Road Runner short, Fast And Furryous at face value, rather than as a parody, and loved it. Even though it didn't work out as he'd intended, Jones was happy to have a hit and continued using the two characters for years. Ironically, Jones went to work on the Tom and Jerry series at MGM after WB folded their animation department, and admitted he didn't quite get the characters. Tom was played as a feline version of Wile E. Coyote, down to the thick eyebrows and quirky facial expressions. One short even ends with a slightly modified version of his famous catapult trap gag from "To Beep or Not to Beep" (1963).


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