South Park Recap: Lorde and The Boys Go to Battle against Commentary-Driven Culture in First of Multi-Part Series
Yes. Yes, yes, YES. This is our instantaneous reaction to "#Rehash," the new episode of South Park.
Things seemed to be lagging in the last few episodes. Matt Stone and Trey Parker had dropped the running jokes that had appeared time and again throughout the season. Social commentary was at an epic low. Then, just like how last season was invigorated by an epic three-part miniseries presenting Black Friday and video game wars as a Game of Thrones mock-up, the crew has launched us into what appears to be another multi-part classic.
First thing's first: Nearly all of the running jokes introduced earlier in the season have come back. Randy reapplies his makeup and becomes Lorde to perform a female pop star-packed charity event in Denver so that he can pay off the huge debt Stan racked up playing "freemium" games (the charity in question is to help the fight against gluten in Africa, another early episode reference). Sharon supports the idea ("anything to keep you away from 'cock magic,'" she says).
The new issue in play: internet commenters. As in, people on the internet commenting on videos of otherwise entertaining things happen. For example, Ike doesn't want to play the new Call of Duty with Kyle; he'd rather watch internet phenomenon PewDiePie comment on the games. Cartman, seeing dollar signs as always, starts a channel for commenting on people commenting on people commenting on video games (under the alias "Cartman-Brah").
Of course the idea is that folks in our demographic don't understand these real-life trends for the most part. But the episode is wise to hint that maybe internet video game commenting isn't so odd. After all, my parents don't understand how I enjoy certain modern forms of music. Isn't it natural that I won't understand what the next generation will be into (outside of music that is)? Cartman does an interview on The Wendy Williams Show to demonstrate that an internet personality with a huge following of devoted fans isn't so different from a television personality with a huge following of devoted fans.
Stone and Parker hint that modern trends of devoting more attention to commentary versus the product itself has their own evils. Randy is booed loudly at the concert and tries to grab the audience's attention by acting overly sexual, as Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea did before him. It backfires and he decides to hang up Lorde's gear for good. However the music industry executive he's been in contact with throughout the season has another idea: He creates a hologram of "Lorde" that will do whatever the label wants (namely, baring its ass on Jimmy Fallon).
Michael Jackson's hologram manages to escape the concert, so the label sends the Coachella Tupac hologram to take it out>
"It's not about the music. It never was," says the industry exec to Randy, claiming that labels make money based on comments now, not record sales. "An artist is a conversation piece, nothing more."
What's sad is that this is true. Music Times will get far more hits for publishing a story about Azealia Banks dissing another artist than for her music itself (and we have proof this theory is true). As fans and as writers both, we share some responsibility for putting the spotlight back on what matters.
As this week's episode ended, the industry exec had just put Cartman in charge of a proposed army of holograms to replace real musicians. As South Park fans and music fans, we can't wait to see this play out.
Our Favorite Quote: "Missy Who? All I do is rip off Missy." -Iggy Azalea, singing a faux-single at the concert, which was actually a less-than-subtle dig comparing her to Missy Elliott. Brutal.