South Park has never been a show afraid to push the envelope and tick some people off. That’s exactly what happened on this week’s episode as Trey Parker and Matt Stone found a way to both skewers Disney+’s launch this week and draws that feud they’ve started with China out. “Board Girls” centers around Strong Woman, PC Principal's partner, entering a Strongman Competition in town. Things quickly escalate with some shots at trans athletes and a bizarre ode to the late wrestling legend Macho Man Randy Savage. But, while the pillorying of trans athletes is certainly the part that will have a bunch of people talking tomorrow, what also jumps out is South Park’s humor directed at some of the warnings placed in front of some of the old movies on Disney+ that contain culturally insensitive themes or content. People made a ton of fuss about the warnings amid the hysteria at launch, but the creators found something to poke at there.
The most interesting part of the bit is how they manage to rope China back into the discussion. All of the PC Babies, yes, exactly like the name sounds, were upset over Mulan because it might not have aged well. In a strange way, South Park manages to darkly mirror the way in which some Chinese citizens were upset with the actress that is portraying the character in the live-action remake coming to the defense of Hong Kong police not that long ago. The entire season has had to balance the normal surreal skewering of American culture that South Park has built a brand on with their critique of how much power the Chinese market has over entertainment decisions in the U.S.
There have been bits poking fun at numerous companies bending the knee to China. Also, an extended bit parodying LeBron James after he was critical of Houston Rockets basketball General Manager Darryl Morey’s support of the Hong Kong protests. In a show full of beefs large and small, this season has been stuffed to the brim. The creators even took some time to go ahead and underline their position for those wondering if they would walk back their statements.
"Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts," began the scathing statement from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone last month. "We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune in to our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10 p.m. Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumns sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?"