South Park becomes a battleground for the streaming wars in its newest Paramount+ special, a 48-minute journey of corporate greed, breast implants and thinly veiled metaphors.
The trouble begins when a drought — caused by ManBearPig, naturally — forces the city of Denver to cut back on water, sending residents and business owners into a tizzy. How will they maintain their nice, green lawns? How will they keep their fancy golf courses open? And most importantly, how will Pi-Pi’s Splashtown, whose entire business model explicitly relies on a 50/50 mix of water and pee, survive in this oppressive climate? (Oh, how-a I’ve missed-a the Pi-Pi.)
In the interest of his constituents (but not really), the city’s water commissioner pays a visit to South Park, where he convinces Tolkien’s dad to lease some of the water from his stream to businesses in Denver, thus creating the town’s first — wait for it — streaming service. In order to prove that the stream regularly flows from Credigree Farms to Denver’s water supply, Steven enlists Tolkien and Kyle to build him popsicle boats at 20 bucks a pop, aka content to attract potential subscribers to the streaming service.
Meanwhile, Randy — who initially dislikes being called “Karen,” before eventually accepting it as his new identity — refuses to participate in the streaming wars. (“This farm is about Tegridy, not stupid water rights!” Karen says.) But when he learns that Steven “got creative people to put things on his stream,” Karen also hires Stan and Tolkien to build boats for Tegridy Farm’s streaming service.
OK, here’s where Cartman enters the picture — and it’s even more of an outlandish disaster than you’d expect. After performing a lovely number about how much he hates living in a hot dog, he discovers that a Denver-based millionaire named Cussler is building a mansion right across the street. He immediately begins plotting to move in, but his plan hits a snag when he remembers that his mother lacks the one thing rich guys love most: big fake boobs. Not only is Mrs. Cartman rightfully offended by her son’s demand that she get breast implants, but even if she wanted them, where would she possibly get $10,000?
Well, it just so happens that the boys’ boat-building business is booming. And when Cartman says his mom “needs money for surgery,” they naturally rally to help him. The fact that Cussler offers them an exclusive $15,000 deal to produce boats for his new streaming service is merely kismet.
With so much output expected of the boys in very little time, the quality of their boats begins to suffer, but Butters doesn’t think the streaming services will be too concerned. As he says, “They’re going to take everything they can get. Everyone knows that at the end of the day, there’s only going to be, like, three streaming services. Everyone just wants to have their s–t on their stream and then get bought out, you know? And they don’t give a f–k how good anything is. And the people who made all the deals, they don’t give a f–k, ’cause they’re all going to get fired anyway, you know?”
South Park’s streaming industry becomes even more unstable when the snow levels on the mountain peaks begin to drop, for which ManBearPig is blamed once again. It becomes apparent to Steven that someone (Cussler, perhaps?) has been buying up all of the mountain property in order to become top dog. As he puts it, “When it comes to the streaming wars, I intend to be the Amazon… River.”
Karen discovers that Stan has also been producing boats for Cussler, but when he takes his son to the mogul’s mansion, they’re told that ManBearPig has already killed him.
Meanwhile, the drought poses a major threat to Credigree Farms, forcing Steven to take back the water rights he leased to Pi-Pi. And that’s when the truth comes out: Not only is Pi-Pi the one who’s been buying up all the mountain properties, but he’s been in cahoots with ManBearPig and the commissioner all along. And when Steven tries to speak up, he’s gutted and thrown out the window; even Tolkien doesn’t know what’s become of his father by the time the special ends.
But three’s a crowd, so it isn’t long before Pi-Pi also tells ManBearPig to kill the commissioner. After all, they can’t have him interfering with their plan to advance the drought to the point where people need to start using pee (which he has plenty of!) for things like cooking and bathing. “Only a psychopath would speed up climate change for his own profit!” the commissioner says just before he dies.
Again, where is Cartman while all of this is happening? Naturally, he’s off getting the breast implants that his mother turned down, even after he was nice enough to surprise her with a trip to the plastic surgeon’s office. It’s… quite a sight.
The special ends with a chilling montage of everyone in Colorado using up the water supply, completely unaware of the pee-scented hell that will eventually come their way.
Did you enjoy The Streaming Wars? Do you think Cartman’s new boobs are canon, or will they never be spoken of again? What became of Tolkien’s dad? And which beloved character were you more excited to see, Pi-Pi or ManBearPig? Grade the special below, then drop a comment with your full review.