South Park Takes Aim at China and American Commerce in S23E02, “Band in China”

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Is South Park even South Park anymore? I remember last season when Parker and Stone were leading the charge with their own “Cancel South Park” hashtag movement. And in “Mexican Joker” (S23Eo1) Randy spews “Fuck South Park!” And even Towelie says, “Oh I don’t think you wanna say ‘fuck South Park.'” Now, two episodes in, we kick off the show with Randy’s rendition of the intro, except replacing “South Park” with “Tegridy Farms.” It’s a bit of a surprise to see them go all-in on Tegridy Farms, but I also don’t know why I’m surprised. It’s from the minds of Parker and Stone. Throwing away conventions is what they do best.

Where We Are Now

In “Band in China,” S23E02, we see Stan practicing his guitar for an upcoming local festival. In typical Randy Marsh fashion, he bursts through the bedroom door with big news. “What’s the big news?” You say. Wait for it. Wait for it. Weed in China. Randy is fully off the [in]tegridy wagon and now wants to make even more money by selling weed the Chinese. He boards a plane basking in the glow of his unique idea, until he meets other flyers with the exact same idea. Some of America’s biggest corporate companies are aboard the flight as they travel to China to make more money from the Chinese. Here in this scene, the writers at South Park have Google, Amazon, NBA, and all of Disney on the shooting range as they take aim…

Meanwhile, in South Park, Stan’s heavy metal band got noticed at the local festival and received a signing deal. Guess what? The record label wants to expand their band to Chinese audiences. The episode goes on and on. We see heavy censorship from both China and the US We see Mickey Mouse in China selling Disney to the Chinese. Stan’s expansion into China is not going as planned. Yadda yadda.

What really interests me about this episode is how damn on-the-nose their message is. And I love it. Instead of putting forth some deep message hidden in a confusing intertwining story, “Band in China” is so obvious and apparent that it’s easy to appreciate. They come right out and just say it: American corporate integrity is completely in the shithole. There’s nothing these companies won’t do for more money, and Randy is following suit. His greed, and the extent to which he’ll go for what he wants, rears its ugly head once again. This is most evident as he sneaks behind Winnie the Pooh and chokes him mercilessly with a wire garrote. It’s dark as shit, but seeing your childhood cartoon characters in such a way is pretty damn funny too.

Conclusion

Overall, “Band in China” is a big step up in quality from the season opener, “Mexican Joker.” One of my problems with “Mexican Joker” was how the damn Joker movie hasn’t even been released yet. Personally, I think it would have been better to drop 22 minutes of Joker satire AFTER the world has seen the movie. Not before. But oh well. “Band in China” does keep up with the season’s theme and tempo, and it really sheds some light on how far our corporations will go to adhere to China’s censored iron fist rulings. If they ever wanted to deliver a thought-provoking message, I think “Band in China” delivers in spades. I look forward to S23E03.

Best Lines:

“You know what they say, ‘You gotta lower your ideas of freedom if you wanna suck on the warm teet of China.'”

“Dad, why are you covered in honey and blood?”

David Berry

David "Nerdberry" is the proud founder and owner of Nerdbacon.com, a video game reviews and news website. Nerdberry owns a local pressure washing business in North Carolina, has a family, and a little house. With a college background in film and a personal love for dissecting movies, he feels aptly suited for Modern-Neon. The jury is still out on whether or not Modern-Neon wants him. We'll see. But he is excited to be part of the team here in an effort to help it grow!

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