NICOLE RUSSELL: "South Park" shows Hollywood might be waking up from "woke"

Hollywood has led the way when it comes to “wokeness” in films and television shows. Meaning, traditional characters and values are replaced with something or someone Hollywood has deemed more diverse, inclusive, and politically correct.

A recent episode of South Park: Joining the Panderverse, showcased the stupidity of Hollywood’s attempts to rewire everything traditional into a Disney reboot with diverse and inclusive characters. The episode, which aired on Paramount+ mocked Hollywood studio executives for their incessant desire to cast only what’s politically correct into films, including animated Disney ones.

This intro about South Park’s episode in a “Cracked” piece shows the special hit its mark:

“In an epic, 49-minute takedown of billionaires, butt-hurt white-collar workers, the tired multiverse trope dominating big-budget movies and, of course, the casting decisions of Disney reboots, South Park: Joining the Panderverse shows Trey Parker and Matt Stone at their best as they masterfully imagine a universe where racism and sexism are equally as bad as a Black mermaid.”

South Park’s sardonic tone nailed it as only they could. They succinctly captured a trend that’s been going on for a while. Disney’s created multiple “woke” movies over the years and weirdly, many have flopped. Turning Red was an animated film as a metaphor exploring female puberty and menstruation. It lost $168 million. Strange World, an animated film about climate change that included an LGBT relationship between two teen boys was one of Disney’s biggest flops ever, losing $197 million.

Families have either just started ignoring Disney or taken advantage of other options, either because they’re sick of Hollywood forcing a leftist ideology onto them as an experiment, or because there are now other choices for entertainment. Five Nights at Freddy's, a video game series and media franchise, created by known conservative Christian and Trump donor Scott Cawthon, had an unexpectedly massive opening weekend for its debut film.

Americans now have so many choices, they don’t think twice about boycotting a company that doesn’t espouse their values — recent boycotts of Bud Light and Target come to mind — and it’s usually the right boycotting the left, not the other way around.

Hollywood executives live in a bubble and seem consumed with pleasing one audience: Los Angeles. While L.A. might be a haven of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ™, much of the rest of the United States has not only diverse people living there, but tolerates diverse opinions, as well. Other cities and rural areas are comfortable with tradition and orthodox beliefs, for example, and don’t make their entire way of life revolve around whether or not they are politically correct.

While there are alternatives to Disney, and this is a good use of time and resources, there’s still no one else who has their revenue and influence. At least for now. It seems like the only way Disney will stop trying to bend to wokeness is if they lose so much money they notice a pattern. The kids they’re marketing to don’t want propaganda --- and neither do their parents --- they just want a great story that communicates a positive message.

Some of the biggest hits in the 1990s, like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, have stood the test of time. Even when they’ve been remade as live-action films, little was changed and they enjoyed a second life at the box office.

Still, shows like South Park: Joining the Panderverse show that there might be a schism in Hollywood, a sliver of a backlash in the making, a friction in the typical woke flop after woke flop. Here’s hoping that Hollywood will stop trying to please a tiny bubble of “diverse” executives and return to the era of simply making good stories with interesting characters and redeeming values. It’ll pay off for them too financially — a win-win for all. When Hollywood makes another Beauty and the Beast we’ll know they’ve finally realized what’s good for us is good for them.

Image: Title: South Park
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