South Park: Joining the Panderverse (2023) online

4K
Year: 2023
Country: United States
Time: 48m
Director: Trey Parker
"South Park: Joining the Panderverse" is an American adult animated comedy television special episode. It is the fifth South Park television special, and the 326th episode of the series overall. The special premiered on October 27, 2023 on Paramount+.
The episode parodies The Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in particular.
Fourth grader Eric Cartman is transported to an alternate universe, designated Universe 216-B, which is populated entirely by racially diverse women who complain about the patriarchy, while his counterpart from that universe takes his place in his own universe. At the same time, Randy Marsh cannot find a repairman to fix his oven door. He and his neighbors learned that every handyman in town has become extremely wealthy, as the inability of people to make simple repairs has increased demand for their services, making it impossible to find such professionals. Meanwhile, Bob Iger and his board at the Walt Disney Company realize that something is "different" about board member Kathleen Kennedy (who resembles Cartman), whose practice of shoehorning racially diverse women into the company's productions has been resulting in repeated failure at the box office.
In Universe 216-B the real Kathleen Kennedy finds Cartman, and tells her that she was replaced by the other Kennedy after she began using an ancient piece of artificial intelligence called the Panderstone, which can repeatedly create the same rehashed film that appeals to everyone. When Disney began receiving hate mail as a result of these films, the real Kennedy began overutilizing the Panderstone as a crutch to fight bigotry, but this destabilized the device, and opened a portal that transported Kennedy to Universe 216-B, and the other Kennedy to their universe. When Cartman learns that she is the reason why "all Disney movies suck now", and she learns Cartman was behind all of the hate mail, they each initially blame each other for the current crisis. However, they eventually realize they each created each other, and mutually apologize.
Iger and his advisers deduce the two Kennedys have been switched, and go to South Park, where they team up with Randy and his neighbors to resolve the issue. At Randy's home, they recreate the portal in Randy's broken oven with the Panderstone, sending Cartman’s adult black female counterpart back to her universe, and returning Cartman and his Kennedy home, where she tells her Disney colleagues that they will only make original content that does not pander. Randy also brings to his universe dozens of handymen to do the town's repair jobs. The diminutive Cartman-like Kathleen Kennedy is also returned to her own universe.
On August 5, 2021, Comedy Central announced that Trey Parker and Matt Stone had signed a $900 million deal for extending the series to 30 seasons through 2027 and 14 feature films, exclusive to the Paramount+ streaming platform. It was eventually confirmed that they would be rolled out as two films per year. Parker and Stone would later state that the projects would not be feature films, and that it was ViacomCBS who decided to advertise them as movies.
Erik Kain with Forbes opened his review stating "The brilliance of South Park's latest special, 'Joining the Panderverse', is in Matt Stone and Trey Parker's ability to skewer all sides of a fraught cultural debate." He repeatedly praised the efforts of the episode to criticize both "Disney's laziness and the general laziness of token diversity, overreliance on the multiverse and so forth while also taking jabs at the other side of the aisle and all the lazy anti-woke YouTubers and fans who spend all their time complaining about diversity."
Keegan Kelly with Cracked.com both praised and criticized the episode, closing his review stating "Though so much of 'South Park: Joining the Panderverse' was punchy, hilarious and incisive, the series' satirical lens continues to be bogged down by South Park's insistence that every cultural debate must boil down to 'Douche vs. Turd.'"
Den of Geek's Rendy Jones wrote that "'Panderverse' works in its takedown of right-wing, anti-woke social media accounts. You know the accounts – the ones that have their trigger on the pulse looking at every minuscule change at big Hollywood studios and spending their livelihoods making YouTube videos about trivial diversity-casting tactics, while showing their bare racist asses on main", but also criticizes the writers for "messaging [that] could be more nuanced than the 'both sides suck' area the creators love to roll around in."
Actress Gina Carano, who had been fired from the Lucasfilm TV series The Mandalorian in 2021 for comments that were interpreted as a comparison of treatment of American conservatives to Jews in Nazi Germany, called the episode "hilarious", and predicted that Kennedy would retaliate, writing on Twitter, "This is the part where KK demands any YouTubers get censored off of YouTube for sharing and laughing at this hilarious episode, she'll have YouTube disable the thumbs down option because of the ratio she'll receive, then she'll have her publicist ghouls make sure Variety and Hollywood Reporter run hit pieces about the South Park creators and their families smearing their names through every useful idiot she has under her thumb who would sell their soul to work for Lucas film."
Josh Wilding, writing for SFFGazette.com, believed the episode was parodying individuals on both sides of the debate, and said of Carano's public statements, "Ironically, she misses the point that this episode was, as well as poking fun at Kennedy, skewering people like her." Ray Flook, writing for Bleeding Cool, also thought that the episode was lampooning people on both sides of the "woke capitalism" divide, but had problems with the episode's treatment of Kennedy, and with Carano's take on it. Noting what he saw as the "hypocrisy among some white, straight viewers who are resistant to embracing characters who don't look or act like they do yet expect viewers of color and the LGBTQ community to sit quietly and accept the very same thing," Flook felt that the episode placed too much blame on Kennedy for the then-current decline of box office figures, ratings, and critical reaction to its productions, to the exclusion of various other recent company decisions by executives such as Bob Iger, Bob Chapek, and Kevin Feige, and that the episode's focus on Kennedy "felt a bit – personal." Flook added, "But worse than that, it offers red meat to the folks who don't take the time to understand or appreciate sarcasm or layered satire. That's why social media is flooded with folks who chopped up clips from the special, posting them as "proof" that Kennedy's to blame...for everything! And that includes ex-The Mandalorian supporting cast member Gina Carano, who is using the special to justify her position behind her being fired from the streaming series."
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