Hulu made a joke about BTS and the BTS ARMY is not happy

Hulu tried to promote its reboot of the long-running CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother on Twitter as the first season comes to an end, but a throwaway joke included in the screenshots has caused the show to get review-bombed on Google.

Hulu’s How I Met Your Father (HIMYF) has gotten less than stellar reviews since it premiered on the streaming platform in mid-January. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes slammed the premiere, with one calling it “a great big nothing.”

But now the show is getting some attention on Twitter — albeit not in the way Hulu probably wanted — after Hulu promoted a joke about the K-pop band BTS that was said in the newly released eighth episode.

The character Jesse (Christopher Lowell), who is an aspiring musician, walks into the gang’s favorite bar and asks, “Guess who’s finally recording new music as a solo artist?”

Then Charlie (Tom Ainsley), the bartender, quips, “Did Jungkook leave BTS and go solo? We all saw it coming!”

This exchange is the entirety of the joke, and while it didn’t get much attention when the episode went live on Tuesday, Hulu tweeting the joke and hashtagging #BTSARMY has caused chaos.

BTS is an ultra-popular K-pop juggernaut and its fandom is referred to as ARMY, which stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth. According to BTS Wiki, the name was “officially established” on July 9, 2013, which was right after the band released its first single “2 Cool 4 Skool.” The name also plays on the meaning behind BTS’s full name — Bangtan Sonyeondan — which translates to “Bulletproof Boyscouts” in English.

There are over 40 million members of the ARMY, and they are arguably the most organized and powerful fandom right now. They’ve used that organization to accomplish great things like fund dance classes for Rwandan children and raise money for digital night schools to improve access to education in rural India during the pandemic.

But then they’ve also been quick to strike when the group feels BTS is under threat. In 2018, when British radio host Roman Kemp joked that he thought the BTS and Nicki Minaj’s single “Idol” sounded like “noise,” the ARMY found out and went after him on Twitter. One account, BTS UK ARMY UNITE, which has 70,000 followers called Kemp and the entire radio station “racists” and complaints were even formally made to the show’s parent company, Ofcom.

The intensity of the ARMY’s defensiveness has been questioned — and, ironically, defended — in places like Reddit. Multiple users have claimed that this comes from devoted fans who have been around since 2013 when BTS was just breaking into the K-pop industry in Korea. Then, when BTS performed at the American Music Awards in 2017, the group got more international fans but also more “antis,” which is what the ARMY calls people who hate on BTS.

“Back then it was always a new day but the same hate comments,” one Redditor explained. “[From] 2013 [to] 2016 we were pushed over online on a daily basis.”

While Hulu and writers at HIMYF also probably consider the joke harmless, it does play into a concern the ARMY has about BTS. Jungkook, the member referenced as going solo, is sometimes called “Golden Maknae” or “Golden Youngest” because he can sing, dance, rap, is a talented songwriter and has turned into a major fashion influence.

The idea of BTS disbanding in any way is not something the ARMY likes to joke about. Based on the replies to Hulu’s tweet — which is filled with BTS icons and BTS hashtags in bios — the problem with the joke is that it’s inaccurate. If Charlie is a real BTS fan, he wouldn’t say he “saw it coming.” It also seems to dredge up feelings of having to defend taking BTS seriously, as ARMY members felt in 2013.

“No ARMY would joke like that,” one person replied. “The writers messed up. Leave us alone.”

Of course, the ARMY wouldn’t just respond to the tweet. Members flocked to Google Reviews to try to tank the show’s ratings. As of reporting, HIMYF has a 1.6 Audience Rating on Google — which is the first thing someone sees when they search for “how I met your father reviews.”

Credit: Google

“The writer should be more careful while writing ‘jokes,'” one of the one-star reviews from March 2 says. “BTS is NOT like those western groups … To Jungkok, BTS is everything.”

“I put [one] star [because] I haven’t watched an episode yet and it’s unfair to put zero or even a negative. (if that is possible here),” another added. “Do not enable the anti (solo stans).”

“The BTS reference was not even remotely funny,” someone else said. “BTS is not like every boy group [where] one person dreams to go solo.”

To be fair to the ARMY, a lot of the one-star reviews are from genuine fans of How I Met Your Mother who were disappointed in the reboot — as evidenced by the number of negative reviews posted weeks ago.

As of now, the only response Hulu has given to the backlash is tweeting “we’re ready” after someone wrote “here they come” under the original tweet.

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