South Park vs. LeBron James and Fake Meat – Wisecrack Quick Take (Season 23 Episode 4)

What’s up Wisecrack? Jared again. Four episodes
of South Park’s 23rd season have been released, and if you ask us: Matt Stone and Trey Parker
are on a roll. Their fearlessness in tackling subjects few else in the comedy world will
“Fuck the chinese government!” continues in the most recent episode where they take
on everything from the fake meat industry to free speech. But what exactly are they
trying to say? Let’s find out in this Wisecrack Quicktake
on South Park Season 23 episode 4: Let them Eat Goo. And of course, spoilers ahead for
the first four episodes of the season. Alright let’s do a recap of the episode.
A group of students led by Wendy have been lobbying the school to replace meat with more
sustainable choices, angering Cartman to the point of having several heart attacks. Meanwhile,
Randy, struggling to keep his weed farm in the black, decides to enter the fake meat
business when he discovers that people will enthusiastically pay for food that tastes
like shit, so long as its “plant-based”. So he creates the “weed-based” Tegridy
burger, which also tastes like shit, but at least it gets you high. While Cartman is in
the hospital, the school makes a deal with the founder of Incredible Meat to replace
all their meat products with his plant-based “goo”. Cartman doesn’t notice a difference,
but when Butters reveals the truth, Cartman seeks out the goo man, who has been expanding
his business to all the local fast food restaurants. He tells Cartman that his food is processed
unhealthy garbage, and Tegridy Burgers goes under when people see footage of Towelie and
Randy killing cows. Back at school, Cartman apologizes and concedes to his classmates:
so long as the food is just as unhealthy as his old lunch, he’s cool with it. In our previous quicktake we identified that
Matt Stone and Trey Parker seem to be wrestling with two big questions this season. They are:
1. How do we navigate people’s conflicting claims to freedom and 2. Is there any such
thing as integrity in our increasingly commodified world? We see South Park further develop both
of these questions in the episode. Let’s start with sustainability. Concerned
about the environment and their health, Wendy, Nicole, and other students lobby to remove
meat from the school cafeteria. “We’re the ones upset about the world our parents left
us” “Yeah, but eating this kind of food makes us all just as guilty”. This protest, however,
infringes on Cartman’s perceived right to eat BBQ ribs and sloppy joes in peace. “Can
I please just enjoy my lunch for 5 goddamn minutes” When faced with the protestors’
right to free speech, “We have a right to free speech!” Eric can only offer a frustrated
word salad in response: “Yes we do all have freedom of speech but at times there are ramifications
for the negatives that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only
thinking about yourself!” “Woah woah woah woah what what’s going on kids? “They’re
trying to change people’s lunch they don’t realize that it harms people financially,
phisically, emotionally, and spiritually.” It’s a clear reference to Lebron James’s
recent statement condemning Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for publicly supporting the
Hong Kong protests. He said, as Cartman would go on to imitate “so many people could have
been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually … Even though yes,
we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that
too.” With the knowledge that incredible meat is
just as unhealthy, salted, and processed as the previous options, Cartman acknowledges
that “We’re actually all on the same page all the time, at least we leanred that freedom
of speech really doesn’t matter.” One read of this is that we often cloak simple
disagreements in the language of the first amendment. When athletes or celebrities like
Colin Kaepernick take political positions, a common refrain on one side is to just shut
up and play the game or, conversely, that it is their basic right as an American to
protest. But these positions are just a proxy for the real argument of: do you agree with
Colin Kaepernick or not? So, when Lebron invokes freedom of speech to criticize Daryl Morey,
it’s not really about the merits of the first amendment, it’s about shutting up
and making money – the only American right that really matters. Similarly, Cartman believes
that both party’s appeals to freedom are just a proxy for everyone’s desire to keep
eating garbage with a clean conscience. This brings us to our second question: living
with integrity in a hyper commodified world. Put in a financial rut after ending his business
relations with China, Randy quickly seeks out another ethically dubious means of making
a buck, and finds it in his weed based “Tegridy Burgers.” In this case, the opportunity
comes from appealing to people’s sense of doing good for the world. Of course, Randy
doesn’t care at all about health, animal rights or environmental protection. The worlds
very real problems are just a marketing opportunity for him to sell his wares “We have to switch
to plant based foods…now, it just so happens…” This emphasis on profiteering over ethics
is most brilliantly embodied with the arrival of the founder of Incredible Meats. An allusion
to Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 Masterpiece “There Will be Blood,” this “goo-man”
is a dead ringer for the film’s central character Daniel Plainview- from his clothes
to his iconic drawl “I can load a rig onto trucks, have them here in a week” “I have
trucks, right now, loaded with goo that can be here within the week. This movie is a HUGE
Wisecrack favorite. It’s probably the best movie of the last 20 years, so if you haven’t
seen it, please do. Immediately. There Will be Blood follows entrepreneur Daniel
Plainview and his adopted son HW, as they buy up land in California to drill for oil
and create a veritable empire. The only thing standing in their way is self proclaimed prophet
Eli Sunday. Daniel and Eli are two manipulative charlatans who put on a facade to hide the
fact that the only thing that drives them is cold, ruthless ambition. Daniel pretends
to be a family man, eliciting the trust of farmers with his single-father sob story,
only so he can buy their land. “Where’s your wife?” “She died in chidbirth, Mrs. Banks.
So, it’s just me and my son now” Yet, when HW is injured and no longer of use, Daniel
abandons him. Similarly, Eli pretends to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit, but his claims
to helping the community hide the ambitious egoism that motivates him. “You’ll see me
walk up and then you could say: The proud son of these hills who tended his father’s
flock, and then you could say my name” When he’s finally paid the $5000 Daniel owes
him, Eli uses the money to leave town and promote himself as a prophet instead of building
up the small church community he vowed to help. This same self-interest veiled in benevolence
is seen in Randy, who pretends to be an advocate for fighting climate change, but is actually
just spouting platitudes to sell his progressive weed burgers. They even commit the very sin
their business is founded on rejecting: the slaughter of animals. That the burgers get
you stoned to the bone speaks to a common South Park refrain: that people get high on
their own moral superiority. But there may be another level to the reference
to There Will be Blood… Well, maybe. There Will Be Blood is based on the book Oil! By
Upton Sinclair, and although this episode doesn’t have much overlap with that text,
as it mostly focuses on labor struggles, there may be something in likening it to Sinclair’s
most famous novel: The Jungle. The Jungle is a hybrid work of fiction and journalism
– Sinclair went undercover in Chicago’s meatpacking plants and wrote about the horrible
working conditions. But what really riled up Sinclair’s readers was the description
of how diseased meat and even some human parts made their way onto American dinner plates
– prompting outrage that eventually spawned the Food and Drug Administration. Although
we don’t see any evidence in the episode of bad factory conditions, or food being tainted
by said conditions, we do see Plainview emphasize how the “goo” is mass produced in a factory,
and of low quality. “It’s just down-market goo” This one is definitely a stretch. I doubt
Stone and Parker had Sinclair in mind when writing the episode, but it’s nonetheless
entertaining to think about. Either way, by the episodes end, we’re convinced, that
through the increasingly cynical lens of Parker and Stone, fake meat isn’t the planet’s
savior. It’s not the key to healthy living. It’s just green goo that makes green money…
and tastes like shit. If last season, South Park resigned hope that
the world could get better, this season so far seems to be pinpointing one particular
motivation for such cynicism. Whether it’s getting high off your sense of superiority
or bags of money, South Park reveals the utter selfishness hiding beneath a lot of idealism.
In 2019, our moral compass doesn’t point to freedom of speech, or fighting climate
change. It only points to money. Thanks for watching and listening to our South Park podcast.
Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and we’ll catch you next time. Peace.

100 thoughts on “South Park vs. LeBron James and Fake Meat – Wisecrack Quick Take (Season 23 Episode 4)

  • and how much are matt and trey making per episode now? they each get like half a mil for southpark usage rights

  • I don't get it. South Park preaches personal responsibility, but when I try to help (by switching to plant-based food for example), I'm sniffing my own farts?

  • LOL don't waste your time watching There Will Be Blood. You're better off watching two hours of video essays on the movie than the movie itself, the essays are way more interesting.

  • I thought the way they painted Wendy in this episode was great and very much like her! Wendy has always been a very motivated and passionate character although she can be self-righteous. In this episode she pushes for a more sustainable lunch because she cares about her health and the planet. Cartman as usual finds himself as the victim in the situation and doesn't care about those things. He just wants salisbury steak day, sloppy joe day ECT. Wendy being the voice of the environmental movement in this episode is targeted by Randy and The Goo man as a consumer or a way to make profit. Ultimately I feel Matt and Trey were trying to illustrate that the environmental movement is a legitimate movement(although sometimes self-righteous) with legitimate people in it that will ultimately be targeted by American capitalism and commercialism as a way to market moral superiority to that movement as a means of profit. I feel this season of South Park has been a surprisingly leftist point of view.

  • Ya well climate change is all about money as well.
    When the topic that we can pull CO2 from the air number 1 thing was, well it's not profitable.
    The Government is the same maybe not money but power in the long run they will take your money as well.

  • I love the first decade of The Simpsons, but the fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have kept South Park relevant for over 20 years makes them the greatest adult cartoon ever made.

  • Jesus I came here for South Park, I tapped out after 3 mins 20 secs after 2 mins product advertising, then 2 ad's from YouTube. Lame!

  • Those stupid Chillys bottles claiming to want to end plastic waste BUT its made in a chinese sweatshop and is merely rebranded garbage

  • lol, it helps if you plug your headphones in all the way… you only plugged the headphones in partially in the video…

  • I don’t think that reflects particularly well on South Park. “Those SJWs couldn’t POSSIBLY actually care about things” is a pretty tired argument at this point.

  • "There will be blood" was one of the worst movies I have ever watched. Please if you haven't seen it, ask yourself, do you like cookie cutter, Oscar, art school films? If yes watch, if not stay as far away from this movie with zero plot. I can sum up the entire movie, people are greedy.

  • "If you think your taste buds are so incredibly important that their pleasure outweighs the entire life and suffering of an innocent being, I don’t even know how you can get offended when people question your morals."

    “If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the Civil War, don’t look at where you stand on slavery today. Look at where you stand on animal rights.”― Paul Watson

    “It’s troubling when people get upset with vegan’s for pointing out the suffering, rather than getting upset with themselves for causing it”-Jo Tyler

    “There will come a time in the future where we look back in shame at how we ate and used other animals for our pleasure. We will recoil at the violence we sowed upon them for our selfish desires. Just like all forms of oppression and exploitation that have come before us, animal exploitation will end. Which side of history will you be on when the history books have been written?”

  • Wait but in those episodes, the issue of climate change is dropped. I do realize that goo is as unhealthy to eat as other processed products but there is no indication that it actually does not help sustain the world. Or does it? If it does not then the children took a step towards a better tomorrow they need to be living in, and there will be fewer cows or other animals for consumption cause cattle farmers are forced out of business. Would anyone like to give it a thought and share it?

  • Neoliberalism began in 1968, when, following two decades of climate research, we decided that human extinction would precede human escape from Earth. Neoliberalism's purpose is to maximize the well being of global corporations, funneling wealth to very few people to allow them to maximize their descendants' lifespans during the process of human extinction, which starts from the poorest people in the world and ends with the richest.

    Neoliberalism has been effectively unchallenged for 51 years, leading the global population to descend into despair and "selfishness". This "selfishness" is the logic of approaching human extinction – the desire to hoard wealth, to build gated communities and fortresses, employing security and surveillance to keep out the dying masses.

    We enjoy zombie apocalypses in media. What we enjoy far less is PRE-apocalyptic media – media that shows society in the years leading up to the apocalypse.

    2019 is just such a society. And as we look around at our commodified, hyper-rationalized computerized world, we find that South Park refers to this as a *moral failing*. There's zero historical analysis in the show. South Park is immune to context, putting the events of the show into a larger picture. Because of this, it always misses the forest for the trees.

  • 0:55
    Jared, Ive found the reason why the jack stops working is because it wont fit anymore…. because lint, dust and other crap from your pocket has been collecting inside the port. Try just using a thin pick or similar to gently scrape at the back of the port and clean it out. Youd be surpised how much might be in there.

  • The Founding Fathers considered the Bill of Rights to be God-given rights. So in a way, the right to freedom of speech is god-given. The constitution is meant to protect individuals from the government, but it's relevant to all humanity.

  • Brave unless it comes to Muhammad sure they'll attack people they know won't kill them for their views that's fine they pick and choose their fights Brave no

  • don't get me wrong I like them I guess maybe they are a little brave but you have to put little before Brave they're just a little Brave

  • Was this South Park episode created before or after LeBron James made that statement about China and Free speech?

  • Does “There Will Be Blood” have superheroes in it? Superhero movies are the only ones watched by me. 😅

  • Fresh Impossible burger 🍔 is amazingly taste like real beef until u microwave it or store it in the fridge for a day or so when it starts smell and taste like rotten vegetables..

  • Matt and Trey aren't really "struggling" with these questions. They already know the answers to them, because they're libertarians. The whole "Tegridy Burger" thing is making fun of woke companies like, oh, Gillette.

    I'm not sure you really "get" South Park, man. Then again, you don't get Robert Heinlein either, so…

  • Hey LeBron. Shut the fuck up and take your little ball and put it through the hoop. Thats it. Thats all… then you will be paid an abscene amount of cash to enjoy. See. Simple.

  • Thats the thing about athlete's. They really let it go to their head. Seriously. He takes a fukn ball and puts it through a damn hoop. Is he researching cancer? Is he saving the eyesight of the endangered white platypus? No. Its a fukn ball. That goes through a fukn hoop. Period. So i don't give a fuk what he has to say.

  • This episode is so funny to me as i have tried to eat the alternative to meat. Not beacause i am against meat but beacause i have a intestine disease. I have tried every option available in the shops and IT makes me feel just as bad or even worse. There is hardly anything I can eat properly without feeling the consequents. So…..fucked up thing is, all the proper alternative is to expensive to purchase!!!!!!

  • sorry dude but your publicity excuses on why you bought is really bad

    youre sick of wasting money on various headphones due to retarded reasons so you recommend the audience who spends money on cheap headphones to an expensive ones? man…

  • I don't know about in the US but in the UK supermarkets the good quality meet alternatives taste more like quality meet that the horrid re-processed goo fulling most of the meat ile.

  • I both liked, and disliked the episode. While it brought to light plant-based meats… It also misrepresents it… First of all… Many meat-eaters cannot tell the difference from plant-based meats, making the whole "it tastes like shit" argument out of question (this makes me think Matt and Trey are extremely biased against plant-based meat and have yet to try a good plant-based burger). Secondly, plant-based foods are not nearly as unhealthy as regular meats, due to their lack of cholesterol and animal fat combined with having more beneficial nutrients such as fiber. And lastly, while yes, there are large corporations capitalizing on the plant-based meat industry, it does not mean that every company is just in it for money… Tofurky brand operated without profit for decades, solely based on the principle, and now they are a larger corporation due to the increase in demand of plant-based meats, they still have their integrity, in fact, even their rugs are made of plant-based materials… everything about them is completely moral and conscientious.

  • It's entirely true that going plant based is better for the environment and human health (no superbugs due to mass antibiotics, far less emissions, no mountains of cow poop which are serious pollution, no cholesterol, plant based are nutrient fortified, etc.). Beyond and Incredible actually taste great too, other ones give plant based burgers a bad rep.

    Even Cartman admits it's more ethical, but wisecrack didn't want to include that because it didn't fit their "everyone only cares about profit or smugness" bs narrative. Cherrypicking sp scenes is shallow. Billions of animals living in small cages then being killed when they've been fattened up enough, yearly, isn't an issue to you? History won't be kind to such ignorance and inaction (which most people have).

  • Okay I don't understand why people keep saying this. yeah plant-based meat doesn't taste exactly the same but it often tastes great

  • Regardless, plant goup is better for the environment and way less murderous than eating your cow, pig, or chicken neighbor, and THAT’s the real bottom line. Get with it Wisecrack

  • That The Jungle reference might not be far-fetched, since Green "Soylent" fits perfectly in all the narratives mentioned in the video.

  • If eating crap while using animal products is the same for you as without using animal products, you're missing the point. Trey and Matt are missing the point. Just like with the Prius episode.

  • Although plant based diets are not inherently healthy, they do eliminate risk of many forms of cancer and heart disease, also more sustainable, however the companies are bound to profiteer much the same as randy did.

  • Get a haircut. Note: Most of your analysis is correct and insightful, but (unremarkably) you left out how Stone and Parker are confirmed right-libertarians who see the Puritanism of American society nearly as insidious as the pliant worship of the state. cf. LeBron and Chinese

  • But if it's better for the environment, does it really matter that it's still unhealthy processed garbage? I'm with Cartman on this one.

  • "Cheap wired headphones are bad because I keep losing them, so you should buy these expensive wireless earbuds that are totally more difficult to lose somehow." – Jared, 2019

  • Not having a TV I didn't know what an Impossible Burger was until someone was making a Burger King run at a game store and the guy next to me ordered it. I thought it was one of those burgers with an impossible amount of toppings. What I got was something a little bit bigger than a regular burger. It tasted like a meat burger and had a texture of a meat burger. I didn't know it was plant-based until later. My first thought was, "Oh, that's why it was more expensive." which is why I probably won't get it again. It's all about saving a few bucks.

  • Vegans proclaims freedom of speech. Ok then show up eating raw meat infront of a vegan protest in order to counterprotest.

  • Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' ends with a few chapters of intense commercialism of Communism. Very disappointing.

  • Old junk food Hurt the User, the world, the animals.

    Vegan junk food only hurts the user.

    Thats a WIN WIN for me.

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