WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Episode 2 of South Park Season 23, "Band in China."
South Park's 23rd season continues to take major shots at politics and entertainment, with the second episode, "Band in China," poking fun at how China tries to censor content and the manner in which Hollywood studios pander. But Matt Stone and Trey Parker don't stop there, revisiting familiar territory when they turn the show's gaze on Disney. Only this time, it's not about Mickey Mouse having the Jonas Brothers as pawns to lure in young women, South Park decides to tear into the company for its business model, especially addressing how Disney tries to buy everything considered competition.
When South Park painted Disney as the villain for desecrating Star Wars and Indiana Jones upon purchasing these properties a few seasons ago, it was clear the series didn't hold the House of Mouse in the best light. Here, Matt and Trey connect Disney to China to continue spinning this narrative with Randy jetting over to China to try to expand his weed business. On the flight, though, we see the Avengers -- such as Thor and Captain Marvel -- on the plane with Randy, not to mention Disney princesses like Snow White, Star Wars folks such as Kylo Ren and other Stormtroopers, as well as Aladdin and Buzz Lightyear. They explain their reasons for being there: they all want to head to China to kiss butt, censor what they need to in their movies and sanitize the final product so it can air in China and make even more box office bank.
After all, the Chinese market is a lucrative one so Disney especially doesn't want to alienate it. It's why Disney sold out Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, and why Mickey is now doing whatever China wants. He wants all Disney's movies and characters in the Chinese market, and he's even forgotten their rivalry over Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Of course, Disney has Randy kill Pooh to ensure peace with China later on for good measure, which just goes to show what Disney thinks of business -- it'll do whatever's required.
China hates Pooh as president Xi Jinping was once compared to the bear, so that's why the character was imprisoned there in the first place. Rather than back its character, Disney puts a hit out to cut loose ends. What's more shocking is Disney's even willing to sell out other parts of America in secret political deals to appease China, while buying up other properties like Randy's weed business, just because the company wants to have everything on the market. It's like the Fox and Lucasfilm deals, and from Mickey's commentary here, once these companies can be seen as profitable, Disney will buy them out.
Now, Disney isn't the only one being made fun of with a China link as we also see NBA athletes like James Harden and Google execs pandering to China on the flight. Ultimately, when you look at the Avengers, Elsa from Frozen and so many other iconic pop culture figures over there trying to suck up too, it's obvious what South Park thinks about everyone being obsessed with airing Disney content.
To its creators, Disney hates competition, is greedy and wants to control all industries (such as Randy's Tegridy Farm). Lastly, if you're a rival, Disney will purchase without a care for how it impacts the market, as seen with the Fox buyout. In short, South Park makes it clear whatever Disney wants, it'll get but still, that might not be what's best for business for the long term or for the entertainment industry on the whole right now or sustainable. This episode is Matt and Trey's way of voicing that concern.
Starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park Season 23 airs Wednesdays at 10 pm ET/PT on Comedy Central.