[Warning: This story contains spoilers for South Park “Band in China”.]
South Park set its targets on Hollywood, specifically Disney, mocking how the industry and company shapes film, TV and music to avoid Chinese censors in order to have art shown in the country.
Titled “Band in China,” the second episode of the 23rd season opened Wednesday night with Randy getting the idea to expand his weed business into China, and he books a trip.
Randy believes he is the first to think of the international business model, but is greeted on the plane by a number of Disney characters and quickly realizes the notion is nothing new.
Placed in a work camp for bringing a substantial amount of marijuana into the country, Randy meets Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, both imprisoned because, in reality, the cartoon bear character was used in China to mock their president, Xi Jinping. Randy also sees the abhorrent conditions those in the camp endure.
Back in South Park, Stan, Jimmy, Kenny and Butters form a metal band that gets the attention of a manager who wants to make a film about them, but the script keeps changing so the final product can be distributed in China.
“Now I know how Hollywood writers feel,” Stan says at one point while a Chinese guard watches over him and alters his work while he writes the script.
There are multiple shots taken at Disney in the episode, which includes Mickey Mouse showing up to make sure all his employees (Marvel and Disney cartoon characters) play ball.
Stan finally gives up and walks away from the original metal band and a second iteration of the band (a throwback to season four), blasting anyone who would bend to China to sell art.
Randy, on the other hand, goes the opposite direction in a moment that is pretty jarring, even for the outrageous Comedy Central cartoon.