South Park‘s newest particular skewered Disney for its latest field workplace hunch, accusing the studio of lazily recycling the identical concepts besides with various casting. The episode notably took purpose at Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy — whereas on the identical time knocking on-line trolls who’ve piled on the manager lately. The consequence has brought about right-wing celebrities starting from Elon Musk to former Mandalorian star Gina Carano to weigh in.
Within the 47-minute particular, “Becoming a member of the Panderverse,” which premiered on Paramount+ on Friday, Cartman begins to worry he’s going to get replaced by a various lady (“I had a dream I used to be changed by a various lady!” he cries. “Solely this time, it wasn’t me, they have been taking all my favourite individuals and changing them with various girls who complain in regards to the patriarchy! … And Disney inventory retains happening and down!”). Being changed is strictly what occurs when a portal to the multiverse opens up, which replaces him with a Black lady whereas sending Cartman to a universe populated solely by girls of coloration. Cartman’s mates complain in regards to the new Cartman, saying the swap “doesn’t make any sense,” to their “PC Principal,” who accuses them of being illiberal. “If you happen to don’t suppose Eric Cartman generally is a Black lady, then perhaps the issue is you,” he says. “You most likely don’t like there’s a Black Spider-Man,” to which the children retort, “No! Miles Morales is good! That’s a complete constructed factor with its personal character and narrative. That is simply taking the identical previous Cartman and placing a Black lady in it!”
The story then shifts to a gathering of Disney executives, the place CEO Bob Iger is irate. “We don’t perceive it, sir,” an govt inform Iger. “We preserve making the identical film again and again and pandering to everybody, however immediately it’s not working.” Iger replies, “Then we’ve obtained to pander more durable!” It seems the multiverse rip was brought on by Lucasfilm’s Kennedy, who tapped right into a secret Disney artifact, the “panderstone,” which the studio has been utilizing to remake the identical concepts again and again in ways in which attempt to attraction to the biggest viewers attainable. An alternate universe model of Kennedy retains giving the identical word on each franchise mission (“Put a chick in it! Make her lame and homosexual!”).
When Cartman finally meets the actual Kennedy, she factors out the overwhelming quantity of backlash she’s obtained for her well-intentioned efforts. “Then got here the hate mail, ugly letters from racists who couldn’t stand that among the panderstone’s rehashes had various girls characters within the lead. I made a decision I might make films that combat all bigotry in our society. However as a substitute of doing the actual work, I as a substitute turned to the panderstone. … I used to be combating with the flawed device. All I ever wished was to make nice leisure, however as as quickly as you begin getting piles of hate mail, limitless messages calling you the c-word, you may’t suppose straight. … I’m sorry I used to be so reckless with the stuff you love, it was simply lazy.” To which Cartman admits, “Effectively, I’m sorry I wrote all these letters … I assume simply railing on woke stuff on a regular basis is fairly lazy, too.”
Elon Musk posted a laughing emoji and wrote, “well timed.”
Carano — who was pushed out of Mandalorian in 2021 after a sequence of controversial on-line statements — used the episode as a possibility to slam Kennedy (and the Hollywood trades), writing on X: “That is the half the place [Kennedy] calls for any YouTubers get censored off of YouTube for sharing and laughing at this hilarious episode, she’ll have YouTube disable the thumbs down possibility due to the ratio she’ll obtain, then she’ll have her publicist ghouls make sure that Selection and Hollywood Reporter run hit items in regards to the South Park creators and their households smearing their names by each helpful fool she has below her thumb who would promote their soul to work for Lucas movie, she’ll activate her on-line mob to repeat that the South Park creators are racist, bigot, transphobes, and demand the South Park creators publicly apologize by solely utilizing phrases she approves of and eventually she’ll demand they topic themselves to a re-education course of 45 individuals within the lbgtq neighborhood zoom name to sit down there and pay attention of how badly they obtained their emotions damage throughout a bit of boop of a South Park episode. However perhaps simply perhaps the jig is up.”
It must be identified that it’s unfair to single out Kennedy for Disney’s general field workplace struggles and inventory decline. Lucasfilm is a subsidiary of Disney, and whereas Kennedy has obtained criticism over her dealing with of the Star Wars franchise prior to now decade (which noticed declining field workplace returns and loads of behind-the-scenes artistic shake-ups), she’s not answerable for Disney’s general slate — or thought-about the mastermind behind the corporate’s so-called woke push (which has included public battles with Florida Gov. Ron Desantis over anti-LGBTQ insurance policies, in addition to extra consultant casting and characters throughout the corporate’s varied divisions, together with Pixar). On Kennedy’s aspect of the ledger, The Mandalorian was thought-about a large critic and fan success (a minimum of, till the present’s latest third-season hunch) and the present was credited with launching streaming service Disney+. Final yr’s Andor was arguably essentially the most acclaimed Star Wars title in many years. However different Lucasfilm titles — starting from Obi-Wan to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Future — haven’t fared so effectively.
Kennedy can also be essentially the most high-profile feminine leisure govt on the firm — even perhaps in all of Hollywood — and it’s most likely not a coincidence that so many on-line critics expend a lot firepower on her slightly than, say, Disney CEO Iger or Marvel president Kevin Feige. The depth of her on-line vitriol — not simply in feedback, however in article after article after article after article on varied websites, usually speculating she’s this-close to being fired — over the previous has appeared outsized, which is a part of what South Park is addressing.