Meghan and Harry’s South Park takedown

February 20th 2023 By Tom Powers 3 minute read

South Park has always been a point of contention. I remember, when I was a kid, going to my friend’s house for a sleepover. It was a pretty normal household, but when I was watching The Simpsons & Futurama, which could be seen as adult cartoons but accessible for younger audiences as well, my friend loved South Park. The show was on the TV while I was there, and I remember watching parts of it, and being both disturbed and fascinated by the crude animation style, the bad language and the unshakeable feeling of watching something I (definitely) should not be watching as a young child. I think I was 7, maybe 8. So, yeah, definitely too young.

That was probably around 2006, so South Park would have been on its 10th season by then, and already established its place on the throne as inflammatory adult cartoon television. Created in 1998, Trey Parker and Matt Stone animated and released a short cartoon, with the same vigour as the show later accepted as a trademark. The short became viral, and the rest history. 

Since then, South Park has never shied away from poking the cage of pop culture, more often than not, targeting specific individuals and ripping down the walls of their image and character. In its time, the show’s gone after some of the entertainment industry’s most well known figures, usually after some controversial event puts them in the spotlight – and therefore, the firing line. Some notable examples include: 

Tom Cruise/Scientology – The show’s 9th season depicts a whole episode surrounding Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology, satirically depicting it along with rumours of Cruise’s sexuality. Cruise purportedly stated that unless the episode was taken down, all marketing of Mission Impossible III would cease. So, yeah, that one clearly hit hard.

Kanye West – Before his recent public disintegration, South Park decided to go after him, putting Kanye’s egotistical rapper persona in the spotlight, centering around him not understanding a joke involving fish sticks. 

Britney Spears – A cleverly mirrored episode, at first glance surrounds Spears “shaved-head meltdown”, but is actually about society’s obsession with crumbling celebrities, pointing a finger back at the audience. 

Those are just a few examples, and as you can see, Trey Parker and Matt Stone don’t shy away from an opportunity to turn relevant figures into a joke. Which leads me to the most recent ones on the chopping block: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. 

South Park’s latest episode, titled ‘The World-Wide Privacy Tour’ featuring the “Prince and Princess of Canada”, showed the pair (or, you know, for defamation reasons just a young royal couple), demanding privacy yet attracting attention everywhere they go. The “Princess of Canada” wears a pink dress throughout the episode, the exact same as the one Meghan wore to ‘Trooping the Colour’ in 2018. They are also both desperately trying to sell their new book, titled ‘Waaagh’, which is spoofing Harry’s bestselling memoir ‘Spare’. The episode is jam-packed with digs at the Royal Family, and one of the main characters of the show, Kyle, complains about their private jet parked on his front lawn. 

Needless to say, Harry and Meghan aren’t too happy with the episode, and there are stirrings of legal ramifications being potentially in the offing. Harry and Meghan though are just the latest in a long line of celebrities to be offended by the show – so it remains to be seen what will actually come of it.

Some people are saying this time, South Park has ‘gone too far’, what with a tough year for the Royal Family with the Queen’s passing and a litany of controversies, while others are saying ‘not far enough’. Some are even saying they should be honoured to be chosen for the prestigious show! 

An unfair and uncalled for smear of personal character or a humbling experience for those who should be brought ‘back down to Earth’? 

Or, you know, is it just a cartoon?


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