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Revisiting South Park’s First Season: ‘Mecha-Streisand’

Wed, September, 13 by

This is part 12 in a 13-part series of hand-typed Internet posts concerning the first season of South Park, the show not the town.

Holy we’re almost done the first season of South Park. Before I start getting all teary-eyed writing the final post, I’ll use the last of my composure to bring you this cute poem:

South Park has made millions laugh
From Randy Quaid to Zachary Braff
It’s crude, it’s rude, it’s really fun
South Park is meat, TV is bun

Here are previous posts on Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3Episode 4Episode 5Episode 6Episode 7Episode 8Episode 9Episode 10, Episode 11

“Mecha-Streisand” premiered February 18, 1998, the exact same day the New York Rangers fired head coach Colin Campbell. He pronounces his name “Colon” for some reason, which likely played a large factor in his dismissal.

Plot Description

While on a field trip to an archaeological dig, Cartman finds a magical triangle that is coveted by Barbara Streisand. The evil Streisand attempts to get the triangle in order to turn into a big robot. Leonard Maltin, Sidney Poitier and Robert Smith attempt to stop her before she destroys South Park.

Pop Culture References

This episode relies heavily on pop culture, just like the youth of today, tomorrow, and before. The villain is Barbara Streisand, a singer/actress who deserves kudos for never succumbing to rhinoplasty. The side of good is represented by film critic Leonard Maltin, actor Sidney Poitier, and Cure frontman Robert Smith. There is no rhyme or reason to this triumvirate unless I learn otherwise in the “Facts We Stole From Wikipedia” section. The penultimate battle between these factions is in the style of the Godzilla series and other Japanese Kaiju films, with each celebrity taking on the image of classic monsters like Mechagodzilla, Mothra, Utlraman, and Gamera.

The show re-uses references referenced earlier this season with mentions of Nancy Kerrigan, John Elway, and Sally Struthers. If you’re using this blog series as a teaching tool now would be a good time to quiz your class on who these previously mentioned celebrities are.

Gaunt songress Fiona Apple is referenced by Officer Barbrady, which I’ve decided is this episode’s best quote. It was between that and Chef’s Aerosmith mention, Aerosmith being the rock band from Boston whose gaunt lead singer Steven Tyler slightly resembles the aforementioned Apple.

Best Quote

“Well, you ain’t Fiona Apple, and if you ain’t Fiona Apple, I don’t give a rat’s ass!” – Officer Barbrady

South Park-isms Introduced

  • South Park’s Barbara Streisand makes her debut, to return in the fourteenth season.

Facts We Stole From Wikipedia

  • “Parker, a fan of The Cure, said it was his lifelong dream to meet Smith, and he was one of the few celebrities Parker specifically requested to make an appearance. Smith performed all of his lines via telephone and Parker used the first reading of each line, even though they were executed in a very dead-pan voice.” You might say that Smith “cured” what was otherwise a “sick” script. Actually, no, that makes no sense.
  • “Part of the reason they disliked (Streisand) was that after Colorado passed Amendment 2, an amendment to the Colorado state constitution forbidding homosexuals from being recognized as a protected class, Streisand made a public statement speaking out against the state and all its citizens, promising she would never visit Colorado again.” I went to Colorado once and vowed to return so I doubt I’ll never be in South Park.

Does It Hold Up?

Shitting on Barbara Streisand seems kinda lame now and probably was at the time as well. The other references and cameos hold up okay but overall this episode is so-so, or “comme ci comme ca” as they say in Quebec, I think.

Rating

This episode recives one out of three sides of the Triangle of Zinthar, which seems more harsh than it is because it’s hard to rate something out of three for reasons only the brightest of mathematicians will understand.

South Park returns for its 21st season tonight at 10e/7p on Much!