I’ve never been of the belief that hating something popular somehow makes you a more interesting person. Nevertheless, it always seems to be the case that once something achieves too much popularity some people will inevitably despise it. Tons of once-great franchises have fallen from grace either due to over exposure or a rabid fanbase making it look bad; just look at what happened to “Rick and Morty.”
In any event, I don’t think these people are always in the wrong for disliking these things. I often find myself in the very same boat when something I enjoy becomes too popular. I thought that Baby Yoda was cute for some time before I developed my bitter hatred for it. Eventually I wanted to know why I keep on hating popular things.
I think the first assumption is that hating something popular some form of gatekeeping; I like this thing and no one else is allowed to like it, and if other people like it then I can’t anymore. But that’s not the case. Everyone short of Martin Scorcese seems to like the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and I was watching it way before it became the marketing giant it is now. The massive fanbase of the MCU doesn’t turn me off from the movies, so it’s safe to say it doesn’t stem from me trying to keep my little indie baby to myself.
The other possible issue I noted that may explain this trend of hating popular things was the fanbases. I think this issue is a little more credible than the others. There are definitely fandoms I’ve either avoided or fallen out of because of a toxic fanbase, but very rarely is this actually because of fan shenanigans. Whenever I’ve fallen out of love with a property it’s usually because the creators started catering more heavily to the sections of the fanbase I didn’t like, making the experience less enjoyable for me.
When “Supergirl” premiered on CBS I thought it would follow along with the more “action-heavy” superhero shows on the CW, but I quickly stopped watching when the romantic aspect overshadowed the actual superhero-ing. For very similar reasons I don’t keep up much with the CW shows either. Nonetheless, this argument really only works for movies and shows, and not so much for pop icons like Baby Yoda.
I think the actual reason I don’t like things like Baby Yoda is because it’s assumed that I’m supposed to. The idea that “this thing is cute therefore you should like it and if you don’t you are weird” has never flowed well with me. Another example would be anything related to Shrek; at some point it was decided that Shrek would be a popular meme and the mere mention of Shrek would be funny when, in my opinion, Shrek is not that funny.
I think that when I, and maybe others, hate something popular, it’s more of a hatred of culture around the figure rather than the figure itself. Because “culture” is so abstract, all that frustration is directed onto the franchise in question, making it seem like I hate it when I’m actually filled with indifference.