The latest episode of Rick and Morty brought McDonald’s discontinued Szechuan sauce back from 90s obscurity and into the national discourse. Dr. Rick Sanchez claimed his series arc, the entire reason for continuing his adventures would be a quest to find the elusive sauce.
Originally sold as a short term promotional item for the 1998 Mulan movie, the sauce quickly became an Internet meme and even got the attention of McDonald’s, which is now considering bringing it back. And considering Disney’s live action Mulan remake will be out soon, the timing is perfect.
All was fun and good as the Internet overhyped a mediocre fast food condiment they probably didn’t remember. That is until the shit-tier pop culture blog Inverse had to label it “problematic.”
In Yasmin Tayag’s piece, “McDonald’s Shouldn’t Bring Back Szechuan Sauce for the ‘Mulan’ Remake,” McDonald’s fabled Szechuan sauce is blasted as disrespectful to Chinese culture, not spicy enough, and somehow connected to the United Airlines incident.
In fact, rolling out Szechuan sauce with the original Mulan was itself problematic, though critics were less aware, then, of how the film collapsed millennia of complex Chinese history and culture into a flat, oversimplified pastiche. Maybe they just cared less. Either way, it’s not surprising that the country’s elaborate cuisine and varied flavor profiles were likewise distilled into that catch-all sweet-spicy-sour Chinese condiment — the aforementioned Szechuan sauce — and served up alongside all-American chicken McNuggets.
According to Tayag, this sauce also is connected to every slight against Asian Americans that happened this year.
While we’ve come a long way since Mulan, we unfortunately still live in an age where Scarlett Johansson is our best Japanese actress and Asian men are beat up on airplanes for no reason other than gross ignorance. There’s no telling whether McDonald’s will actually bring Szechuan sauce back, but the last thing Asian-Americans need is a sauce to obscure the diversity of their cultures in the same shade of faceless, nationless, Western-approved brown.
Really Yasmin? An additional sweet and sour sauce at McDonald’s is the last thing Asian Americans need in this country? A sauce that is already available at every Chinese restaurant in the country also being available at a fast food chain is your worst case scenario??!?
The co-creator of Rick and Morty, Justin Roiland responded to Tayag’s article on Twitter.
Bring it back and call it HIGHLY-PROBLEMATIC SAUCE!!!! All sides win! Hoooraaayyy 2017!!! https://t.co/0oyUtwVcrV
— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) April 13, 2017
Well, that’s a compromise we can all agree on.