Let me start by acknowledging the irony in commenting on this week's episode of [South Park](series:200459). In an episode that is largely lampooning those who sit at home and spout their opinions on things from music to video games to even their opinions on people's comments on these things, I feel a bit silly sitting here and doing just that. But here goes.
On Wednesday Trey Parker and Matt Stone unloaded on ultra-sexualized pop stars, dead celebrity holograms, aging, the "Let's Play" cadre of YouTubers, and even themselves. The show this season is becoming increasingly meta, something I find fascinating, if at times a bit hard to follow.
What fans were met with was commentary on top of commentary on top of commentary - all as it's own commentary on commentary. As Cartman establishes himself as a YouTube star by mainly commenting on his friends commenting on things (being inspired by YouTuber "PewDiePie" who plays himself in what is its own self-critique), Kyle begins to lament the demise of face-to-face interactions and the joy of experiencing content while physically close to others. Though on the surface it appears as though the intent is to show how meaningless this new generation of consumers is, in reality it is merely acknowledging a shift - one that always has and always will continue to happen.
At the same time, Randy continues his career as pop singer Lorde and at a performance accidentally sets free a hologram of Michael Jackson. This sets off its own rehash of Michael Jackson jokes from "The Jeffersons" episode in season 8. Just as characters openly talk about how crass it can be to make holograms out of dead stars (Tupac makes an appearance to hunt Jackson down), they themselves bring him back and rely on the same jokes as they did 10 years ago.
I guess the main commentary here is that we are all complicit in this shift, for better or worse. We may not all be Cartmans or PewDiePies, but our participation in this new paradigm is perpetuating what is increasingly becoming the status quo when it comes to consuming, analyzing - and in some cases creating - content.
Towards the end of the episode, after we have seen the likes of Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus gyrating on stage for attention ("an artist is a conversation piece, nothing more"), we hear this season's creepy music executive say, "Today commentary is the content."
I don't know if that is true or if it is #trending and I'm not sure if that makes me a part of the problem, or just part of a new generation, but I can't help but feel a sense of unease about it. Maybe that will be resolved in Part 2 (the season finale), but until then I'll be mulling over the Inception-like meta-ness of a comment on a comment on a comment.