I've only just started watching South Park again. I've been following the show since it first began in the 90s, and watched the new South Park Panderverse special this weekend. Look. I've got things to do, but I'm not too busy to know about the complaints viewers have had about the entertainment we watch, and how it seems to troll our values. I only know the surface of that. In my lifetime, Parker and Stone have been central to satirizing the events of our culture. They're the best at it, and, watching them now, their latest episodes are timely and some of the best work they've ever done.
Catching up on what I missed, I recall that I might have dripped out around the time that the animation had improved. I think it was an episode with the Coon and Cthulhu. Ironically, the changes to the show repelled me, causing me to miss a lot of seasons. The South Park Panderverse trailer was everywhere over the past week and I could not understand what it was about. I understood the boys of South Park being replaced by what I assumed to be trans women. In that context, I know that this show is great at pushing buttons and while the South Park Panderverse episode was going for controversy, it wasn't what I thought.
The South Park Panderverse Episode Gets Wild
This is the fifth South Park special to air, following their two "Covid" and two "Streaming Wars" episodes. Those other South Park specials seemed to touch on some pivotal events, but was the Panderverse special necessary? Had to watch it to find out how because I knew it was. Super excited for it and it did not disappoint.
Over the last several years, we've seen some bad decisions being made with valued IPs. We've seen some multiverse bullshit be created through the monstrous Marvel projects, then bleeding to A24's Oscar-winning Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. That was a bit of confusion, and the South Park: "Joining The Panderverse" special turns up the criticism on that one. And we've all seen one name at the heart of it all, film producer Kathleen Kennedy.
In the tradition of some of its best episodes, The South Park: Joining The Panderverse Special also touches on other issues through Kathleen Kennedy. What I thought was an episode of trans women turns out to be about her decision to replace well-known characters with strong black and diverse female gender types. It's something that gets brought up as of late in some episodes of my Pulp, The Cult & The Shadowplay Drive-in podcast. It's not something that I aim for, but those changes are in so many places that it's been brought up often for a lot of the viewing we talk about.
Kathleen Kennedy has been a major player in much of the entertainment culture I was raised on. At one point in the new South Park Panderverse special, it is mentioned by Disney executives that she had made them a lot of money, but that something had changed. It's got some stuff to do with the Panderstone that I don't want to get into, you'll just have to watch. It's a Marvel move. Other topics introduced have to do with how no one knows how to do anything anymore. This makes handymen into billionaires who reflect Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, then there's a whole Disney thing going on, etc. They load this special up in the cleverest way as usual. Topics about AI and college as a waste of time are evenly distributed. It's the storyline about Kathleen Kennedy, and Cartman is some of the best stuff. Stan and Kyle express how multiverses is just lazy writing and how they're in every damn movie now.
The Irony of The South Park Panderverse Special VS Kathleen Kennedy's Disney
I'm aware that real legal fights are happening with streaming services, AI, intellectual properties, strikes, and very real vitriol by fans against the creators. Keeping up with these legal fights is exhausting. That Disney is suing South Park, however, gives this special a real reason to exist. Trust me, it's a fucking headache resulting from company mergers, and changes in streaming services, not very different from trying to wrap your head around multiverse plotlines. The point is that for Trey and Matt to go after Kathleen Kennedy during that fight, is what they fearlessly do. I mean, this thing opens up with a South Park and Disney merged logo.
A lot of this started for me during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For instance, I knew then that George Lucas had sold his Lucas Films to Disney. As an '80s kid, I was raised on the originals and then got excited when the prequels started coming out. I also admit to getting caught up in the joy of The Force Awakens trailer. I couldn't get enough of the reaction videos by excited fans. Reaction videos have since been a part of my routine to this day. Interestingly enough, I decided to not partake in the movie-going experience. I was so disappointed watching it later as a rental, that I ran the other way when The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker came out. I would eventually watch them, only to go through that disappointment again.
The Last Jedi was actually on recently and have since thought that it was a better film. It's when Luke attempts to pole vault across the rocks, and Rey urgently yells out at him to be careful, then I roll my eyes. Luke does that regularly where he lives. I don't need some new character I'm being forced to like to treat a legacy character I grew loving, like he doesn't know what he's doing. Director Rian Johnson has said that no one interfered with his making of that movie. Kennedy would still get some flack for interference just by association.
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Kathleen Kennedy's Response to South Park
The South Park: Joins The Panderverse Special over the weekend is only 3-days old so, there's no immediate response from Bob Iger or Kathleen Kennedy. I don't expect that there will be one. It doesn't look like they're so thin-skinned they would let any of this bother them. There was a tweet, if they're still called that, from the Elon Musk-owed X formerly known as Twitter, by a fired star of The Mandalorian series, Gina Carano.
This is the part where KK demands any YouTubers get censored off of YouTube for sharing and laughing at this hilarious episode, she’ll have YouTube disable the thumbs down option because of the ratio she’ll receive, then she’ll have her publicist ghouls make sure Variety and Hollywood Reporter run hit pieces about the South Park creators and their families smearing their names through every useful idiot she has under her thumb who would sell their soul to work for Lucas film, she’ll activate her online mob to repeat that the South Park creators are racist, bigot, transphobes, and demand the South Park creators publicly apologize by only using words she approves of and finally she’ll demand they subject themselves to a re-education course of 45 people in the lbgtq community zoom call to sit there and listen of how badly they got their feelings hurt all over a little boop of a South Park episode. 👍 But maybe just maybe the jig is up. 😉
This is the part where KK demands any YouTubers get censored off of YouTube for sharing and laughing at this hilarious episode, she’ll have YouTube disable the thumbs down option because of the ratio she’ll receive, then she’ll have her publicist ghouls make sure Variety and… https://t.co/CMgASHQBgz— Gina Carano 🕯 (@ginacarano) October 28, 2023
She's detailing what might have happened to her after she made a controversial statement that got her removed. The episode has her character admitting that she wanted to take a direction that would make more people tolerant of each other. The Panderstone would help her make those kinds of films, but it got out of control. Would love to see how all of this turns out as the South Park: Joining The Panderverse Special settles on viewers and eventually in court.