The New South Park Movie Is A Giant Middle Finger To Streaming Platforms Everywhere

The latest Paramount+ exclusive "South Park" movie just dropped on the streamer, with the aptly given title, "The Streaming Wars." The long-running animated series from Trey Parker and Matt Stone is currently breaking the sole rule of Ghostbustin' by crossing the streams, as the current 25 seasons of "South Park" live on HBO Max until 2025, when they'll finally join the movie specials and pivot over to Paramount+. Until then, "South Park" is double dipping between two major streaming services, and decided to laugh in the faces of the entire streaming industry with their new meta movie while cashing their simultaneous checks.

I was six-years-old when "South Park" debuted on Comedy Central, and when my school's PTA sent a warning letter to parents to make sure they knew this "new cartoon" was not actually for children, it only motivated my family even more to see what the fuss was about. I've been watching the show for as long as I have been able to process media, and while "South Park" frequently misses the mark, when they hit, they blow it out of the park. There's a lot to criticize about "South Park," but I'm a firm believer that the show serves like a moral Rorschach test, where the way you interpret or respond to the material says a lot more about you than it does the creators' intent. "The Streaming Wars" is no different.

A plan for everyone

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are about as subtle as a sledgehammer in a glass menagerie, so the streaming wars in this special are literal. Denver is in a drought thanks to the effects of ManBearPig (the show's symbolic terror for climate change) and the water commissioner cuts a deal with Randy Marsh and Steve Black that as long as their weed farms use less water than what is allotted by the government, they can sell their unused water to the city. If they're smart, they could even sell it on a monthly basis through different plans. Randy and Steve are now in direct competition with one another, trying to convince buyers to sign up for their specific "streaming service," all the while rich jerks try to find a way to weasel their way into the market.

Stan and Tolkien use this battle as an opportunity to make money for themselves, as in order to prove the water from South Park is making it to Denver, the boys make popsicle stick boats to serve as physical proof that the stream is flowing every day. Suddenly, all of the streaming services want to pay them for their popsicle stick boats. After all, you have to put something on the stream to know the service is good. The boys have no loyalty to the streaming services regardless of whose parent owns what — they are loyal to the almighty dollar. They're the ones making what the people want, so if any of the streaming services has an issue with it, they'll just lose out on the popsicle stick boats they've proven bring in new subscribers. Again. Subtle as a sledgehammer.

'They don't give a f*** about how good anything is'

Due to the high demand for boats, Stan and Tolkien get all of the usual crew in on their scheme, which means a lot of boat building and popsicle eating. Butters, always the voice of reason, goes on a sugar-filled rant about their workmanship after Kyle criticizes that Cartman's boat looks like crap and stresses the importance of a good product:

"They don't give a f***, Kyle! They're going to take everything that they can get. Everyone knows at the end of the day there's only going to be like three streaming services! So they, like, everyone just wants to have their s*** on their stream and get bought out, you know? And they don't give a f*** about how good anything is. And the people who make all the deals, they don't give a f*** 'cause they're all going to get fired anyway, you know? And everyone working at this streaming service is now working over at that streaming service. No one gives a s*** about what f****** goes on in it."

Butters seldom swears on the show, so you know the message is a serious one if "Oh, hamburgers" gets replaced by "THEY DON'T GIVE A F***, KYLE!" This rant is the most on-the-nose punchline in the whole special, because it's Butters likely serving as a megaphone for Parker and Stone's personal feelings about the way a demand for quantity has impacted the quality of shows, including their own. Again, there's plenty to critique about "South Park," but it's punk as f*** to see a show continually bite the hand that feeds in the name of quality satire.

This isn't the end

The special has a side plot that results in Cartman getting breast implants after his mom calls his bluff (this deserves its own article), giving Liane Cartman the most character development she's had over the course of the show's 20-plus year run, and Tolkien receives a devastating phone call following his father's showdown with ManBearPig. There's no real way to predict where the story is going to go next, and I mean that literally. Chances are, similarly to the way the first two Paramount+ "South Park" movies were connected, the next movie will be a continuation of the story. But I also wouldn't put it past Parker and Stone to put the story's conclusion in one of their standard run episodes, forcing viewers to subscribe to both Paramount+ and HBO Max to get the full picture. Regardless of their plan, this isn't the end of the streaming wars.

At least, not until ManBearPig takes us all out.