South Park: The Streaming Wars

3 out of 5

Directed by: Trey Parker

No one has ever – would ever – describe South Park as “subtle,” but via the show’s brand of in-your-face humor, creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone have been able to blend that brashness with timely satire to achieve some really brilliant combinations of crassness and commentary. Sometimes, though, the equation is off, and the surface level on which the show gleefully coasts isn’t actually covering up anything much deeper than that.

‘The Streaming Wars’ has one fun wrinkle, of turning the modern-day problem of multiple streaming platforms into a physical stream of water, which several of South Park’s farmers – including Randy Marsh – are vying for ownership of “streaming rights,” which ties into a water shortage being experienced in the town of South Park, but that dumb/smart shift aside, the bickering about the diluted quality of streaming content is way too on-the-noise to be clever, and a beaten-horse gag of calling Randy Marsh Karen feels rather dated.

Still, The Streaming Wars is amusing, and is a pretty good run of tying its various random ideas together, which include Cartman wanting his mom to get breast implants, and a Chinatown-esque scandal, and Manbearpig; I liked that the “movie” (really an extended episode) didn’t focus on typical in-group grousing, but instead was very event focused, and even if Parker’s / Stone’s rants about streaming aren’t particularly new, they’re also not wrong, and it’s fun hearing them spout off whilst appearing on a streaming service (Paramount+), providing for a fun game of figuring out what specifics the duo might be complaining about.