I imagine that, when an intrusive fan approaches either Trey Parker or Matt Stone to inquire about why South Park Season 26 was a measly six episodes, their response is something along the lines of, “We deserve our privacy!”
Thanks to the massive $900 million deal the South Park creators struck with Paramount in 2021, the show has seen shortened seasons in order to avoid stretching Parker and Stone thin while they work on one of the fourteen feature-length specials required by their new contract. The trade-off of more specials for fewer episodes allows for more fleshed-out features like last year’s two-part “South Park The Streaming Wars,” which masterfully mocked the modern media landscape as well as Matt Damon’s crypto commercial.
However, with fewer short-form episodes in which Parker and Stone put pop culture on a skewer, we get significantly fewer opportunities to hear their take on the topic of the week. As a result, Parker and Stone chose their targets carefully this season, picking apart only the most ridiculous A-listers of 2023. Here are those takedowns in ascending order of brutality.
Andrew Tate Is A Party Boy Sex Trafficker
The tamest entry on the list is also the least-featured celebrity to appear in Season 26. In the final episode of the season, titled “Spring Break,” Randy is outraged by his son’s interest in tame hobbies like Warhammer 40K and blames the lamestream liberal media for making masculinity toxic and taboo. So, in order to teach Stan and Tolkien to man-up, Randy enlists the services of Romanian sex trafficker Alonzo Fineski to throw the most toxic, depraved, three-day stripper party, only to be broken up by the police who engage Fineski in a firefight.
Though Parker and Stone certainly criticize Tate’s brand of internet tough guy, cigars-and-strippers brand of “masculinity,” the Fineski character himself is portrayed as a cool, dangerous party monster who thumbs his nose at authority. In response, the real-life alleged sex trafficker tweeted from his Romanian house arrest, “When I will be proven innocent, I look forward to help create the greatest South Park episode of all time.”
Kanye West Is Cartman’s Anti-Semitic Imaginary Friend
The best part about the character of Cartman is that there will never be a dearth of pig-headed and bigoted celebrities who can be mapped onto Cartman’s indulgently offensive personality. The most unfortunate part about the character of Cartman is that there will never be a dearth of pig-headed and bigoted celebrities who can be mapped onto Cartman’s indulgently offensive personality.
In the season premiere “Cupid Ye,” Cartman’s imaginary friend, Cupid Me, adopts the off-the-rails persona of a certain Hitler-loving rapper in order to drive a wedge in the newly close relationship between Kyle and Tolkien. Complete with all the gimp suits and anti-Semitic soundbites of the real Ye, “Cupid Ye” is a classic example of South Park barely needing to adapt an insane celebrity’s behavior for TV in order to do a perfect parody.
Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Are Professional Victims
Out of all of South Park’s celebrity takedowns this year, the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle portrayals in “The Worldwide Privacy Tour” got the most press – and the formerly royal couple was furious about sharing attention with Parker and Stone. After Harry released his tell-all memoir Spare at the beginning of the year, he and his wife were the most talked-about couple on the planet as they railed against their former family and dominated headlines with their demands to be left alone during their unprecedented publicity tour.
“The Worldwide Privacy Tour” perfectly exposed the hypocrisy of such uber-rich attention addicts cynically branding themselves as the faces of persecution and privacy invasion while touring the world and signing $20 million deals to record twelve podcast episodes. In the episode, the (Canadian) royal couple moves to South Park to celebrate their privacy with nightly fireworks shows and attacks anyone who refuses to pay attention to them, with Markle receiving the most scathing portrayal as her husband realizes at the end of the episode how (literally) empty-headed his wife really is.
According to the tabloids, “The Worldwide Privacy Tour” caused a real-life rift between Markle and Harry, who took out their outrage over the parody on each other from the comfort of their nine-bedroom mansion in California. At least they didn’t do it on Oprah this time.