Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “South Park.”
Season 20 of “South Park” premiered Wednesday night on Comedy Central and it poked fun at the 2016 election (between a “douche” presented in the form of Hillary Clinton and a “turd sandwich”), Caitlyn Jenner, and more.
It even found a way to provide commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement by showing Cartman in a shirt that read “Token’s Life Matters.” (For reference, Token is an African American child on the show.)
However the bulk of the episode revolved around commentary on NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem, “Star Wars,” and, most importantly, movie reboots.
After a group of girls at South Park Elementary refused to stand for the national anthem, the government goes on a mission to find someone to rewrite the anthem.
“Fellow senators, our nation is divided like never before. While people everywhere fight for their voices to be heard, perhaps it is time for us to consider that our national anthem needs to be changed,” one of the congressman declares. “Americans need an anthem inspires and excites, an anthem that has something for everyone while still paying tribute to what it once was.”
Who better than J.J. Abrams?
Abrams, of course, has been responsible for rebooting both the “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” franchises successfully. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has made over $1 billion worldwide.
We were then introduced to “Member Berries,” cute little grapes that talk (just bear with me). And they don’t just chat. They remind you of things you love from the past. For whatever reason, the grapes in the premiere were big on pop culture references from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”
It’s obvious commentary on our love for nostalgia and how many games, films, and successful TV shows from years past like “Jurassic Park” and “Pokémon” are being rejuvenated for a younger generation.
However, the kicker came when Abrams’ version of the anthem was introduced near the episode’s end and it was exactly the same as the original anthem. Regardless, people loved it.
If you’re confused, the joke is that many found that Abrams’ reboot/sequel “The Force Awakens” was nothing more than a rehash of “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.”
That commentary is not just about “A New Hope,” but about a larger Hollywood obsession with reboots, sequels, and remakes right now.
This year alone, there have been several reboots and remakes in theatres (“Ghostbusters,” “Ben-Hur,” “Tarzan”) and this fall will see the launch of several movies being rebooted into television series.
Then, there’s something I like to call the requel — a movie that’s a hybrid of a sequel and a reboot. It’s the start to a new franchise, but captures enough of the nostalgia of what made people fall in love with the original to make it feel familiar. The Hollywood Reporter has a good explainer on the requel here.
We’ve seen the requel pop up more recently with movies like “Jurassic World,” which also topped $1 billion. It’s a success “Terminator: Genisys” tried to replicate last summer and failed to do. “Zoolander 2” recently tried to replicate the success of its predecessor as well but bombed. Though they’re not all hitting with audiences, Den of Geek reports there are still over 160 movie reboots and remakes currently in the works.
Sorry folks, requels and reboots aren’t going away. They’re here to stay.
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