stans

I Made the Internet Vote to Determine the Worst Fan Base. Here’s What I Learned.

64 terrible fan bases go in … but only one will come out. Photo: Stevie Remsberg/Michelle Spies

This year, not unlike every year prior, was a big one for terrible fans. Furious Game of Thrones fans created a petition to have season eight remade “with competent writers,” Louis C.K. fans fully supported his consequence-free comeback, and Friends fans went after a writer who dared to say the show is not good. That’s just a tiny slice of the bustling, rabid fan activity of 2019.

It’s rare, however, that we pit these fan groups against each other and think about why we dislike certain fandoms for certain reasons. After all, what could be so bothersome about people who like something (she writes, sarcastically setting up an article about terrible people)?

Last year, with this in mind, I posted a casual tweet containing a bracket of 64 terrible fan bases, pitted against one another at last, because hating is my sport. I imagined that a few of my friends would interact and it would be a fun, stupid bit. But over 17,000 votes were cast. So, it turned out that people are very passionate about this subject, but no one else wanted to put in the work of creating and curating a tournament. Why not? (I’ll get to that later.)

In the end, it was Elon Musk fans who took the tournament, but that seemed to be a very “of the moment” result. So, riding some momentum from last year, I decided to hold a 2019 tournament to determine the next worst fan base.

What Does “the Worst” Mean?

Ah, this question. Let me say this: You’re overthinking it. This is an online joke tournament. It doesn’t matter. I made it on Microsoft Word.

When it comes to voting, “worst” was intentionally left nebulous because it means different things to different people. There is no rubric.

One’s method of voting, I believe, should be left up to their own interpretation of “worst.” What do you find more insufferable: supporters of a famous abuser? Loud costumed hordes who crowd the subways? People who happen to be really into a thing you’re positive is stupid?

I encouraged people to just go with their gut when voting, because again, I refer you to the bottom line, which is that none of this means anything.

Even though it was never explicitly stated, a lot of people seemed to assume that “worst” simply represented “toxic” instead of just “annoying as hell.” This was not my objective, but if that informed the votes, then so be it.

Voting was all done via Google Forms. Photo: Voting was all done via Google Forms.

Teams in the Tournament

After last year’s terrible Star Wars Incident, in which I accidentally forgot to put Star Wars back into the bracket and everyone yelled at me, I resolved to *shudder* consult the public to make sure nothing huge was left out. This was obviously an insane and basically ineffectual thing to do, because most of the replies were nonsense things like “bitcoin” and “the Bible.”

A selection of the most popular nominations for the 2019 bracket.

Did people still complain that their choice wasn’t included? Come on, you know what a rhetorical question is.

Things I [explicitly] refused to include:

• Sports (there are too many)

• Politics and politically charged figures (let us hate something else about our fellow countrymen for once)

• Diet and exercise trends (not really fandom)

• Larger sociocultural trends (bitcoin, capitalism, etc.; not the time)

• Elon Musk (last year’s decisive winner was exempt this year)

About the Fan Bases

It’s worth noting that while some of these fandoms are almost entirely terrible, a lot of the contenders described below are just representative of the worst and most active members of the larger group. Tiers were assigned based on number of nominations and recent newsworthy events about the group or fans. Here’s a little about who those fans are.

Tier One

Game of ThronesThese fans are like Lord of the Rings fans but snobbier and more widely accepted because hey, they can afford HBO. GoT freaks got real mad this year about season eight’s not meeting their impossible expectations, even going so far as to start a petition to remake season eight “with competent writers” that received over 1.7 million signatures. Personally, I wanted them to take it all. What? This isn’t real journalism; I don’t have to be objective.

BTS: There were a lot of rabid replies for BTS/K-pop last year (so it was either a genre or a group within a genre), and as the nomination form indicated, they’d likely be a top contender.

Chapo Trap HouseThe eyes-always-rolled-back-in-their-head political-podcast-lover crowd. Hard-core regurgitators that claim to be sincere. Mob-mentality far-leftists who are for some reason proud of being extremely online and love “Weird Twitter.”

Pod Save AmericaThe self-proclaimed politically savvy fans of this podcast run by former [all-male] Obama staffers would love to debate you, whether you asked for it or not.

Joe Rogan: Rogan fans are the worst kind of men: toxic, childish conspiracy theorists, incels, and the like.

PokémonA fan base easy to hate because it spans all ages and is painfully ubiquitous. Even though they’re woefully attached to the simple video-game concept from the ’90s, they continue to be dissatisfied with anything new Pokémon tries out. While obsessive, they’re primarily harmless when they’re not chasing Articunos into traffic.

Star WarsLOOK, EVERYONE! HERE IT IS!! HERE’S STAR WARS!! IT’S IN HERE!! IN THE TOURNAMENT! Anyway, these fans are vicious bullies who seem to hate women, children, black people, Asian people, and the guy who made the thing they’re fans of.

Taylor Swift: Swifties have always been a staple of fan-hating culture. They’ve been especially insufferable in the wake of newest album Lover’s release.

Beyoncé: The Beyhive is another staple. When Homecoming came out, no other topics of discussion were allowed.

Harry PotterTo this group, Harry Potter is the literature gold standard. Everything that happens in the world begets an HP comparison. Interestingly enough, it spans many generations despite its release timeline, and a Potterhead is virtually impossible to avoid in almost any situation. It’s one of the most pervasive pieces of pop culture in the past several decades, yet very few Potterheads seemed to have burnt out.

Stranger ThingsThis group of Netflix-show fanboys/girls who blow their loads for ’80s nostalgia.

SupernaturalTumblr girls, etc. Lumped in with the Doctor Who and Sherlock fandoms. Probably going to be inconsolable when the show ends since it’s been on since 2005.

[Adult] Disney: Yeah, I get it, we’re infantile freaks clinging to our youth. This group provoked discussion recently in the wake of an insane Facebook rant about how it’s apparently “weird” for childless adults to enjoy Disney World. Whatever. I think it’s normal and, in fact, cool. And yes, I was just there in January and I don’t have kids and I CAN SLEEP IN ON WEEKENDS!!!

Marvel: A pretty mainstream group of superhero lovers. Luckily for them, there is constantly a new thing for them to be mad about!!

FortniteMostly teen boys who skip school to play Fortnite. Just annoying.

Ariana GrandeLook, Ari is amazing and a talented singer and all that, but I wouldn’t necessarily harass a writer who criticized her.

Tier Two

Barstool Sports: Barstool Sports writers are notorious assholes, and their fans are the same but without the credits. They’re also thieves who not only steal content but harass the people who call them out on it, and their toxic, fragile male fans are eager to do the same. Most recently the founder (illegally) threatened to fire any employees who unionize, then claimed that was “satire.”

MBMBAMI gotta be honest, I had never even heard of My Brother, My Brother and Me until the nomination form went out. Cursory research indicates the fans are white knights. It’s an advice podcast.

Pewdiepie: The worst of gamer culture. There’s likely something fundamentally wrong with your personality if you actively support an annoying-voiced Nazi-humor gamer. His fan base is literally called “The Bro Army.” He has over 100 million YouTube subscribers, and his videos average 12 minutes. Just trying to wrap my head around the collective wasted time makes me nauseous.

VoltronLots of calls for fans of this animated TV series last year too. And fair enough — there are many reasons to dislike them, namely, infighting and harassment of show creators.

Cardi B: Obsessive and addicted to the drama surrounding this rapper.

D&DMostly harmless nerds who love role-play and are super into their fantasy game, but hey, this whole thing is about not liking people for your own reasons.

Kardashians/Jenners: The ravenous support of this group of people is responsible for that Forbes magazine cover that called Kylie Jenner a “self-made billionaire.” The kind of people who buy those “EAT” signs for their kitchen and Instagram their latte art.

Rick and MortyTo be honest, I did not expect or want to see this fan base in the tournament this year until the complaints about delays in new episodes arose. Rick and Morty is an amazing show doing great things for the late-night animation genre, but unfortunately you can’t step into a single head shop without seeing 40 Pickle Rick bongs, and no one has forgotten the sauce incident.

WWEWhen I close my eyes and try to think of a WWE fan, I picture a long-haired white man drinking a flavored Mountain Dew in a cutoff. Generally loud and hateful fans.

Louis C.K.: Mainly fragile men pushing back against #MeToo who continue to stan the comedian even after he’s been outed for assault and harassment, claiming it “doesn’t count.”

XXXTentacion: Similarly to C.K. stans, XXXTentacion’s fans adamantly deny that he beat his girlfriend and harass anyone who dares to question or put the rapper on blast in the wake of his tragic death.

Nicki MinajFans of the famed rapper were definitely junior-high bullies.

Coen brothers: The Big Lebowski is just okay, men! Yes, I said it!! I know the director pair haven’t done much worth noting lately, but this is still true!

The Big Bang TheoryPersonally, I don’t think this show is still relevant, but I guess the judgment of the old people who watched it is evergreen.

Logan Paul: Somehow a YouTube guy who makes jokes in a suicide forest has a lot of child fans.

Steven Universe: Let’s not forget fans of this animated show bullied a fan artist into attempting suicide.

Tier Three

VeepUpper-middle-class types who like to talk down to people. The many Emmy wins only reinforce feelings of superiority.

Chris Brown: How can anyone stan this guy after what he did to Rihanna?? Also, one time he punched a fan who tried to get into a photo of him with two women.

Schitt’s CreekEven though they’re generally good people, they’re annoying. We get it, the show is amazing and sooo underrated.

The Bachelor[ette]: I don’t really understand what it is about watching dumb hot people get drunk on TV that makes you want to send death threats, but okay.

Sonic the HedgehogFor a fandom with the weirdest fan art, they sure got angry over the movie trailer.

The OfficeYes, The Office is a great show, but it also ended six years ago and the fans refuse to watch anything else.

RuPaul’s Drag RaceOften racist and transphobic. Seems like they should find a new show maybe.

Michael Jackson: Even if you haven’t seen the eye-opening Leaving Neverland documentary, you gotta know you’re stanning a pedophile.

Lizzo: I don’t know why she’s on the list. Lizzo is a good and still up-and-coming rapper-singer. Maybe it was the whole “Lizzo should play Ursula” thing.

RiverdaleI’m not sure why Riverdale is on here either, aside from that it is a bad teen drama. I guess fans got pretty annoying about the rumors that Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart broke up.

Tarantino: Everyone’s favorite N-word-using white director once defended Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13-year-old girl!

Real HousewivesWhile prevalent and annoying, this group has a lot of overlap with Kardashian/Jenner fans.

Shondaland: Mostly harmless, just obsessive. Seriously, how has Grey’s Anatomy been on since 2005?

OverwatchI think the “I’m already Tracer” thing really showed how annoying and/or misogynistic Overwatch players are.

Veronica MarsThe show’s rabid fans were not happy with season four and they let it show.

Red ScareThis was another one I literally had not heard of, but it got a lot of nominations. It’s described as a provocative leftist podcast that’s Chapo-adjacent. “Dirtbag left,” etc.

Tier Four

James Bond: Recently got angry about a black woman replacing Bond as 007.

The SimpsonsYeah, we get it. “Classic era,” “the ’90s,” “everything in politics is like what happened on The Simpsons,” blah blah blah.

Phish: Does anyone else smell weed and unwashed clothing just reading the word “Phish”? The die-hard fans will attend, like, 15 five-hour concerts a year.

FleabagThis one’s probably on here due to recency bias, but these people love to praise Amazon’s Fleabag as the highest art.

Doctor WhoObsessive nerds. Overlap with Supernatural fandom.

Comedy Bang! Bang!To quote this Vulture article: “Comedy Bang! Bang! is the jam band of comedy.”

Zack Snyder: Fans of the director forced a former DC exec to delete her Twitter and spent $20,000 on “Release the Snyder Cut” billboards.

Love IslandPersonally I think the overlap between this group and Bachelor[ette] fans is 100 percent.

Friends: Friends fanatics are probably on here for reasons similar to those of fans of The Office: refusing to move on and find a new show.

This Is UsObviously a low seed, but they think a show where Mandy Moore has fake wrinkles is sooo deep, so they’re probably also people who celebrate their birthday month.

Undertale: It’s not news that Undertale fans are extremely toxic. It’s just a game, guys.

Chrissy Teigen: I’m not sure why people go absolutely gaga just because a model tweets jokes sometimes.

JoJo’s Bizarre AdventureI don’t know, they just seem like regular anime nerds, but there were a few nominations for this.

Cum TownIt’s the dirtbag left. Similar group to Chapo Trap House and Red Scare.

Drake: I mean, he just got a tattoo of himself walking ahead of the Beatles on Abbey Road … so.

BoJack HorsemanPretty much the same people who post about how depressed they are mostly for the social-media attention. It’s a TV show, not poetry.

Round One Matchups and Results

Game of Thrones vs. BoJack Horseman
WINNER: Game of Thrones

Obviously Game of Thrones was destined to crush this round over the largely innocent but depressed BoJack Horseman fans.

Barstool Sports vs. Michael Jackson
WINNER: Barstool Sports

I guess there’s been more of a cooling-off period since the HBO Jackson documentary than there has been since the Barstool anti-union fallout.

BTS vs. Chrissy Teigen
WINNER: BTS

No surprises here. An easy win for BTS, probably because far fewer people are really gung ho for Chrissy.

Pod Save America vs. Tarantino
WINNER: Pod Save America

A 10 percent difference sends Pod Save America fans to the next round.

Undertale vs. Riverdale
WINNER: Riverdale

Riverdale fans are easier to encounter.

Coen brothers vs. Ariana Grande
WINNER: Ariana Grande

Aside from Buster Scruggs, Coen-brothers fans lack relevancy.

Chris Brown vs. Rick and Morty
WINNER: Chris Brown

Obviously a lot of people were going to be upset that Rick and Morty, last year’s second-place winner, got bumped out before the round of 32, but you’re comparing annoying fanboys to stans of an abuser.

James Bond vs. Cardi B
WINNER: James Bond

James Bond fans just squeak by Cardi B. Sexism and racism ftw!

Fleabag vs. Pokémon
WINNER: Pokémon

I was pretty surprised that the race was this close. Pokémon won by about 17 percent.

Logan Paul vs. Schitt’s Creek
WINNER: Logan Paul

This was the most decisive victory of the round by far, as Schitt’s Creek fans are harmless.

Real Housewives vs. Beyoncé
WINNER: Real Housewives

I cannot believe the winner of this extremely close race! I was team Bey.

Cum Town vs. Steven Universe
WINNER: Cum Town

Something of an upset here as Cum Town was a lower seed.

D&D vs. Veep
WINNER: D&D

Neither group is really that awful when compared to others in the tournament, but clearly D&D strikes more of a nerve.

Star Wars vs. This Is Us
WINNER: Star Wars

Come on. In what world where everyone harasses me for forgetting it last year would Star Wars not win?

The Big Bang Theory vs. The Office
WINNER: The Big Bang Theory

Again, this seems to have played out more as distaste for the show itself than for the fans. My opinion.

Love Island vs. Joe Rogan
WINNER: Joe Rogan

Another pretty decisive victory for Rogan, who made it to last year’s Elite Eight.

Chapo Trap House vs. Doctor Who
WINNER: Doctor Who

Despite a large amount of nominations, voters found Doctor Who’s worse than Chapo fans.

Pewdiepie vs. Shondaland
WINNER: Pewdiepie

Honestly, I’m surprised anyone voted for Shondaland when it was up against the Bro Army.

Harry Potter vs. Drake
WINNER: Harry Potter

I’m a Harry Potter fan who easily selected them over Drake fans. It was a pretty strong 23 percent victory for the Potters.

Red Scare vs. Taylor Swift
WINNER: Taylor Swift

A surprisingly close race given that I had never heard of one of them, but Swifties came out on top here.

Kardashians/Jenners vs. The Simpsons
WINNER: Kardashians/Jenners

Simpsons fans are on the whole far quieter. You’re definitely not seeing The Simpsons as top stories in every news outlet every day.

Marvel vs. RuPaul’s Drag Race
WINNER: Marvel

Marvel dominated RuPaul by a 55 percent margin.

Phish vs. XXXTentacion
WINNER: XXXTentacion

The nature of XXXTentacion’s defended crimes obviously outweighs anything a Phish fan has done.

Veronica Mars vs. Nicki Minaj
WINNER: Nicki Minaj

Veronica Mars fans aren’t even close to as aggressive.

Comedy Bang! Bang! vs. Disney
WINNER: Disney

This result could not have been more obvious, and that’s coming from an adult Disney person.

Sonic vs. Zack Snyder
WINNER: Zack Snyder

Sonic fans are more just weirdos than jerks.

MBMBAM vs. Supernatural
WINNER: Supernatural

Supernatural was a very strong competitor last year, and the Tumblr girls beat out the “nice guys.”

Lizzo vs. Voltron
WINNER: Voltron

Voltron’s exclusion last year probably gave them more of an edge over Lizzo this year.

The Bachelor[ette] vs. WWE
WINNER: The Bachelor[ette]

Evidently, supporting contrived romances is less excusable than supporting fake wrestling.

Stranger Things vs. Friends
WINNER: Friends

Everyone would really like for Friends fans to move on!

Louis C.K. vs. Overwatch
WINNER: Louis C.K.

The abusers and predators seem to get more votes than the extremely online.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure vs. Fortnite
WINNER: Fortnite

*Dab dab dab* That’s a 63 percent victory for Fortnite.

Round Two Matchups and Results

Game of Thrones vs. Barstool Sports
WINNER: Barstool Sports

I was pretty sad to see Game of Thrones lose, but I get it.

BTS vs. Pod Save America
WINNER: BTS

This race was too close to call when I went to sleep, and when I woke up BTS had edged in front by just 2.6 percent.

Riverdale vs. Ariana Grande
WINNER: Ariana Grande

There probably is a decent amount of overlap here, but Ariana has way more fans to be annoying.

Chris Brown vs. James Bond
WINNER: Chris Brown

This is a pretty obvious conclusion. James Bond never stood a chance.

Pokémon vs. Logan Paul
WINNER: Logan Paul

Logan Paul is really crushing through this tournament. You’d almost forget how annoying Pokémon fans are.

Real Housewives vs. Cum Town
WINNER: Cum Town

Cum Town is now the last remaining podcast in the tournament!

D&D vs. Star Wars
WINNER: Star Wars

Fortune favors the racists and sexists!

The Big Bang Theory vs. Joe Rogan
WINNER: Joe Rogan

Rogan is a top seed who’s always hard to beat, but especially if you’re just a Big Bang Theory fan.

Doctor Who vs. Pewdiepie
WINNER: Pewdiepie

Doctor Who barely got by in the last round, and it stood no chance of defeating the Bro Army.

Harry Potter vs. Taylor Swift
WINNER: Harry Potter

I thought this one could go either way, but the Harry Potter victory was more decisive than I’d expected.

Kardashians/Jenners vs. Marvel
WINNER: Marvel

Levels of exposure to these groups are the same, so it’s probably that the Marvel group contains more men.

XXXTentacion vs. Nicki Minaj
WINNER: XXXTentacion

Defending an abuser is a trump card.

Disney vs. Zack Snyder
WINNER: Disney

Hmph. Whatever.

Supernatural vs. Voltron
WINNER: Supernatural

Voltron’s a little less relevant with the last season of Supernatural coming up.

The Bachelor[ette] vs. Friends
WINNER: Friends

Friends is crushing way more than I anticipated!

Louis C.K. vs. Fortnite
WINNER: Louis C.K.

Sexual predator vs. annoying teens.

Round Three Matchups and Results

Ariana Grande vs. Chris Brown
WINNER: Chris Brown

This tournament is clearly leaning in favor of abusers and predators.

Barstool Sports vs. BTS
WINNER: Barstool Sports

Toxic masculinity reigning supreme.

Disney vs. Supernatural
WINNER: Disney

A wider reach makes for a large defeat.

Friends vs. Louis C.K.
WINNER: Louis C.K.

Same reasoning as above. Annoying vs. predator stans.

Logan Paul vs. Cum Town
WINNER: Logan Paul

I’m still surprised Cum Town made it this far, being as niche as it is.

Pewdiepie vs. Harry Potter
WINNER: Pewdiepie

Inspiring a shooting vs. inspiring a theme park?

Star Wars vs. Joe Rogan
WINNER: Joe Rogan

All your bitching last year about Star Wars being omitted and it doesn’t even make the Final Four. WOW.

Marvel vs. XXXTentacion
WINNER: XXXTentacion

Actually a pretty close match here, but the abuser still wins.

Round Four Matchups and Results

Barstool Sports vs. Chris Brown
WINNER: Barstool Sports

Chris Brown was a front-runner in this tournament, but he can’t beat the recency bias of Barstool.

Logan Paul vs. Joe Rogan
WINNER: Logan Paul

This was such a close race!!! Logan Paul squeaked by by 1.2 percent. Could’ve been anybody’s game.

Pewdiepie vs. XXXTentacion
WINNER: Pewdiepie

Pewdiepie is a very strong contender to take it all. This was a decisive win.

Disney vs. Louis C.K.
WINNER: Louis C.K.

Only predator apologists could defeat Adult Disney.

Final Four Matchups and Results

Barstool Sports vs. Logan Paul
WINNER: Barstool Sports

Though neither fandom is laudable, this result appears to be a “Barstool fans are generally older and they should know better” thing.

Pewdiepie vs. Louis C.K.
WINNER: Pewdiepie

Louis has way less fans, and at the very least, less vocal fans.

The Championship

Here it is. The final round.

Barstool Sports vs. Pewdiepie
WINNER: Pewdiepie!!!!!

Pewdiepie was definitely winning, but I believe either Barstool or Pewdiepie fans got together to stack the ballot, since a lot of votes came in all at once for Pewdiepie overnight. This is what I get for not selecting the option that requires people to sign in with an email address out of RESPECT for your privacy!!! Anyway, the Bro Army clearly wins. DO NOT subscribe to Pewdiepie.

Takeaways

On a surface level, the outcome of the tournament indicates that the lesson to be taken from it all is that the Bro Army is the worst of all the fandoms spanning music, film, television, podcasts, and gaming.

Due to the nuanced nature of the tournament itself, however, I think there are several more important lessons to be gleaned from this little experiment.

1. Running an online bracket tournament sucks.
This, to me, is the most important lesson of all. I would not recommend this experience to anyone. One out of ten stars (the 1 is because I gained some followers). This was hours’ worth of free labor, and everyone got mad at me and took it too seriously. Some people got upset that I did not tailor a piece of online content to their exact preferences. Others pointed out my content simply did not meet their standards.

2. All God’s children are terrible.
The most important lesson to take away from all of this is that everyone is terrible. The fact that this tournament exists is not necessarily proof of that, since it’s just some dumb thing I made on Microsoft Word to extend my own brand. The fact that there are at least 64 groups of people eligible for this tournament doesn’t necessarily prove that either. But the fact that thousands of people were not only eager to engage in this game of disliking but also to chastise the person who made the game is proof that all God’s children are terrible! That’s kind of the point of this, if there is one! I guess!

3. If you react with outrage to a joke tournament about bad fans, you are part of the problem.
No, you shouldn’t necessarily be overjoyed to be considered the “worst” anything. But it doesn’t really help your case to get upset about that. Generally, the responses weren’t too angry and defensive. The most bitter and defensive replies didn’t appear until the winner was announced. Pewd boys got mad then. Thousands of people participated in this poll, but obviously the replies were directed specifically at its creator.

I hope all this was informative to you too. But it doesn’t really matter. None of this does, especially since I’ll probably end up doing this awful thing to myself all over again next year.

I Made the Internet Vote to Determine the Worst Fan Base