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October 22, 2014

South Park: Canada On Strike! - VIDEO

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 2nd 2008 11:35PM
south park
(S12E04) The South Park guys are going after the Writer's Guild of America, and it's about time.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are not members of any of the unions, and they negotiated Internet profit-sharing before it became an issue for the WGA. They have also remained consistent with their dislike of the Hollywood creative elite (including actors and writers, although they are both) and their willingness to take a different viewpoint than the popular media.

And what a jab they took at the writers! They basically said that anybody can do what they do and the striking writers were acting in an ignorant and unrealistic manner. They went further to say that they are being replaced by sources such as YouTube (or rather, YouToob) videos and that their strike victory was only a token one. I wonder, after this episode, if the WGA board found itself in the same restaurant as Matt and Trey at the same time, would they get up and leave in protest?

Was the Canadian strike leader "Steve Abootman" a parody of anybody in particular or was he a general pastiche of the WGA leadership? He sounded a little like Cartman. No surprise there since Trey Parker does most of the ancillary voices himself.

This was really a musical episode! Two songs within a 22 minute show. We had "Canada On Strike" and "What What In The Butt", the latter of which seemed a mild satire on the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck videos from Jimmy Kimmel Live! Between the music and setting up Canada as the enemy, it was a lite version of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

How awesome was the battle royal scene with all the YouTube people? I'm surprised they missed "LonelyGirl15", but maybe that was because that particular sensation was staged. I didn't even recognize all of them, but I certainly remembered the Star Wars Kid and Chris "Leave Britney Alone" Crocker. I knew the fight would lead to fatalities as it always does on this show. It would be hilarious if that clip made it to YouTube (and it probably will). Who were you rooting for in the YouTube battle royal?

The Canadians themselves had some scintillating conversation. "I'm not your guy, friend." "I'm not your friend, buddy." "I'm not your buddy, guy."

For the record, I don't agree with their opinion of the WGA Strike. I do think writers are important to the creative process and don't feel the strike was in vain (although the writers did make compromises to end the strike, but who doesn't make compromises for work nowadays?).

The creators of South Park tend to borrow camera shots from famous movies or other shows. I recall them using a scene with Jimmy carrying a prostitute that was taken from An Officer and a Gentlemen. With that in mind, can anybody tell me if the crowd pan from near the end of the episode was taken from some other movie or television scene?

Matt and Trey seemed particularly scathing and pretentious in their beliefs in this episode, but it was a damn funny episode. In that regard, I am torn with regards to my feelings toward this one. I am, however, happy to see South Park get back on track to the focus and humor from the previous seasons.

Which song from this South Park episode did you like better?
Canada On Strike!222 (17.8%)
What What In The Butt.936 (75.2%)
Neither. Both stunk.86 (6.9%)

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Diddyham

A further note for the haters,

Do your homework. The advances made by the WGA amounts to about 800 bucks more a year than they were already being paid. An increase from just shy of $400 per episode to $300 quarterly.

Now, do you have any idea what they get paid first for writing, then when the script hits production, and then, when the episode gets aired? That 800 bucks is a drop in the bucket. Great advances, Pat and Mike. Labor union heroes, these chumps are.

April 21 2008 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diddyham

As a below-the-line crewmember and an individual who lost months of work, was pushed into a financial corner to the point of moving out of Los Angeles, and was constantly embittered by the lackluster, shallow, and ignorantly slanted media coverage (however brief) of the WGA strike, I think this episode was just barely short of brilliant.

Granted, I'm biased, my viewpoint is that the WGA was claiming to be the 'blue-collar employees' they were actually forcing into unemployment, but their leadership, in their lack of strategy, tact, and purpose have proven themselves time and again every bit as aloof and petty as SP has made them out to be.

(And for the haters, yeah, there is money to be made on the internet, but as the episode points out, it's a new and changing market to the point that a reliable business model doesn't yet exist. Perhaps had the WGA done ANY research on new media prior to their strike, they might've been wiser in their decisions. And unfortunately, in 22 minutes, they didn't have a chance to point out the myriad jobs lost to WRITERS as a result of force majeure contract cancellations and an all-around tightening-of-the-belt on the part of the studios. Great job biting the hand that feeds you, fellas.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll get off my soapbox and let the southpark talk resume. Sorry for the pontification.

April 21 2008 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff

I thought a couple parts were funny but the Canadian idea was a poor correlation to the strike and I thought Matt and Trey's dumbed down version of internet revenue issues was disappointing. The money is not theoretical- real money is coming in from digital delivery and if you really think television is going to reign supreme forever you are blind. The future of home viewing is absolutely going to be internet based/delivered. I also believe the (good) writers are the most important element in the kinds of shows I'm into.
Having said all that, you can view South Park from multiple mindsets- focusing on the politics of the episode, or the humour. Either way, this one didn't really do it for me.
Also, they could have done more with the Canadian angle- as someone above said, and I wasn't aware of it, that one of the youtube people was Canadian and should've had the split head. Plus, there are no Bennigan's in Canada and they should have used that to have had the Canadian's "winnings" be worth even less! I am Canadian and totally don't mind getting ripped on, but it's funnier and more lasting when it makes sense.

April 06 2008 at 4:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

P.S. I would like to note that I thought the butters "What What in the Butt" song/video was hilarious!

April 04 2008 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

I'm not sure which new South Park episode was more unfunny - this or the Britney Spears one. I got a few good laughs out of this episode, but nowhere near as many laughs as I get out of one of their truly funny episodes. Of course they can't all be winners, but those two in particular this season I haven't been impressed with at all. I thought the other two episodes so far this season were pretty damn funny though.

April 04 2008 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wu Kong

Not only was their take on the strike completely erroneous, they stole the whole "I'm not your friend, buddy..." exchange straight from "Ocean's Eleven".

April 04 2008 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrbooze

I'd just like to note the irony, that a mere one day after Matt and Trey preach to use about how the internet is not yet a viable distribution medium, the news reports that iTunes is now the number one music retailer in the country (now surpassing Wal-Mart).

April 04 2008 at 12:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
IdiotBoxx

I believe that Lonelygirl15 was in the background. You can see some girl in the background during the waiting room scene. She doesn't say or do anything.

See a screen shot at http://img357.imageshack.us/img357/1221/tronguybh1.jpg

See the girl to the right of Tron Guy.

April 03 2008 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dana J Adams

I noticed no one Commented that almost all the youtube phenoms were also shown on Lewis Black's "Root Of All Evil"

April 03 2008 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

This was one of those episodes of South Park where Parker and Stone's Libertarian beliefs were on full display. Since they don't believe in unions and believe in a completely free market, of course they would make fun of the writer's strike. But by simplifying everything so that even a five year old could understand their slanted view, they did it rather poorly.

I love South Park, but there are many episodes that have morales/messages that are just Libertarian propaganda Furthermore, Parker and Stone like to make fun of overly smug people, as they did in this episode, but they seem to me to also be overly smug in their own political believes.

April 03 2008 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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