Chalk this up as one of the myriad of accomplishments of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Apparently, after decades of pushing the envelope, they finally managed to get banned from a country.
That country is China after the raunchy animated comedy aired an episode that lampooned China’s censorship of the media. According to The Hollywood Reporter, China hasn’t just censored the show, it’s eliminated any trace of it on their internet:
The most recent episode of South Park, “Band in China,” has been generating loads of media attention for its sharp critique of the way Hollywood tends to shape its content to avoid offending Chinese government censors in any way whatsoever.
Now, those very same government censors, in the real world, have lashed back at South Park by deleting virtually every clip, episode and online discussion of the show from Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages.
A cursory perusal through China’s highly regulated Internet landscape shows the show conspicuously absent everywhere it recently had a presence. A search of the Twitter-like social media service Weibo turns up not a single mention of South Park among the billions of past posts. On streaming service Youku, owned by Internet giant Alibaba, all links to clips, episodes and even full seasons of the show are now dead.
The episode itself has, like most South Park episodes, two branching stories that meet in the end. This one has Randy Marsh, one of the main characters, going to China in an attempt to sell them weed for his failing marijuana farm. On his flight to China he notices a ton of other businesses, like Google and even Disney characters, going to China in order to get more money. Randy winds up in a Chinese labor camp where he meets figures banned by Chinese media such as Winnie the Pooh, whom many Chinese people jokingly compare him to in looks.
Meanwhile, the boys form a metal band about living on a farm. A Hollywood producer offers to make a biopic about their life story but one of the boys, Stan, soon finds that Hollywood continuously interferes in the writing of his script in order to make it more palatable to the Chinese government so they’ll allow it to be viewed by Chinese audiences and rake in a ton of cash from it.
Stan attempts to work with this, but in the end, he can’t cave to the whims of the Chinese censors.
Kyle returns to South Park and gives Stan a great idea, but the boys realize they can't betray their ideals. Watch the all-new episode, “Band In China” for FREE – https://t.co/oktKSJvjxS #southpark23 #fingerbang pic.twitter.com/Bq5K6gWjOV
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 3, 2019
True to form, China banned South Park for daring to question it.
For which I personally have to applaud Stone and Parker. The duo has always been at the forefront of deconstructing parts of society that become too oppressive and has made fun of China on several occasions. That they’ve gone after Hollywood’s dependence on Chinese audiences to funnel more money into their bank accounts while also nailing China on its ridiculous censorship is a stroke of genius.
And knowing Parker and Stone, this is the greatest reward they could have asked for.