- 1 Story
- 2 Characters
- 3 Locations
- 4 Behind The Scenes
- 5 Pop Culture References
- 6 Bonus Factoids
- 7 Season 1
The boys' discovery of a prehistoric relic allows Barbara Streisand to transform into a monster that threatens to destroy South Park and the world.
During a school field trip to an archaeological dig, Cartman discovers a strange-looking stone triangle. The find attracts the attention of film critic Leonard Maltin, who asks Chef if he has seen singer/actress Barbara Streisand lurking around. He says that if Streisand knows about the triangle, the boys could be in terrible danger.
Soon Streisand does turn up, landing her helicopter at the boys' bus stop and demanding the "Triangle of Zinthar." They enrage her by refusing to give her what she wants and having no idea who she is. She returns in disguise, convinces them that the artifact belongs to her, offers a cash reward, and takes them to her mountain condo to collect it.
At the same time, Maltin is driving Chef to Streisand's lair to confront her. He says she wants to conquer the world with the aid of the Diamond of Pantheos, which was split in half and its two pieces carefully hidden. Streisand found the first piece during the filming of My Fair Lady. The second was unearthed by Cartman. Possessing both pieces will transform her into a loathsome and all-powerful being.
Once at her mountain hideout, Streisand torments the boys using both traditional torture as well as her singing voice. Finally they surrender the triangle, which she combines with the one she already possesses, creating the dreaded Diamond of Pantheos. She changes into a giant robot monster intent on conquering the world, starting with South Park.
The boys are freed by Leonard Maltin and Chef and head back to town, where Maltin attempts to stop Mecha-Streisand by transforming into a giant robot. But he's no match for her and quickly defeated, as is actor Sidney Poitier who transforms himself into a giant turtle.
South Park seems doomed. That is, until the timely arrival of Robert Smith, lead vocalist of The Cure. Changing into a giant moth, he punches Mecha-Streisand in her vulnerable nose, knocking the Diamond of Pantheos free. He then hurls the defeated monster into outer space.
The boys toss the two halves of the diamond into the trash. Kyle's little brother Ike fishes them out and transforms into a gigantic Mecha-Ike.
What I Learned Today
"I've learned that people who want power, a lot of power, always end up dead."
- "Robert Smith is the greatest person who ever lived." (Stan Marsh)
- "'Disintegration' is the best album ever!" (Kyle Broflovski)
- "Well, I guess we'll have to Roshambo for it." (Eric Cartman)
- "Isn't there some rule about not getting into cars with strangers?" (Kyle Broflovski)
- "Not when money's involved, stupid." (Eric Cartman in response to Kyle)
- "Damn your black heart, Barbara Streisand!" (Eric Cartman)
- "Well, I was just digging around, and I was all like, 'dude, I found this triangle' and my friends were like, 'dude' and I was all like 'dude.'" (Kyle Broflovski)
- "Yeah, and you should have seen her nose. It was big enough to land stealth bombers on." (Stan Marsh about Barbara Streisand)
Kenny is strangled during a freak tetherball accident. Also many South Park townspeople meet their fate in the wake of Mecha-Streisand's wrath.
Behind The Scenes
Trey is a big fan of The Cure and personally asked for lead vocalist Robert Smith to make a guest appearance as himself. Recorded over the telephone, Smith wasn't told the context of any of his lines and only the first reading of each line were used. Matt and Trey thought it would be funnier that way.
Where Did The Idea Come From
Trey and Matt had a strong desire to mock Barbara Streisand on South Park as they found her singing voice annoying. Their distaste grew when she publicly announced to never visit Colorado again (its residents were to her a "bunch of hicks") once the state passed Amendment 2, an amendment preventing homosexuals from being considered a protected class.
This episode is also a massive homage to many Japanese monster or kaiju films. Mecha-Streisand is a parody on Mechagodzilla, mechanical doppelganger of Godzilla; Leonard Maltin's robot is a thinly disguised superhero Ultraman; Sidney Poitier portrays a fire-breathing turtle very similar to Gamera; and Robert Smith morphs into a giant moth suspiciously like Mothra.
Pop Culture References
Stan says, "My mother told me there are no real monsters, but there are." It's a line from the 1986 sci-fi film Aliens.
Officer Barbrady says to Barbara Streisand, "Well, you ain't Fiona Apple. And if you ain't Fiona Apple, I don't give a rat's ass!" Around the time this episode aired, singer-songwriter Fiona Apple had released her debut album.
Film critic Leonard Maltin and actor Sidney Poitier are portrayed as courageous defenders of the earth. The Cure's Robert Smith becomes the savior of the human race and gets a shameless album plug to boot. As he walks into the sunset, Kyle yells "Disintegration is the best album ever!" This is a nod to The Cure's iconic 1989 album, a personal favorite of Trey and Matt.
Leonard Maltin says Streisand found the first half of the Diamond of Pantheos during the filming of 1984's My Fair Lady. Streisand wasn't in that film.
Cartman claims Kyle cried like Nancy Kerrigan, former American figure skater, when he was kicked. In 1994 during her televised practice performance, she was attacked by a man hired by skating rival Tonya Harding. The famous footage shows attendants helping Kerrigan as she grabbed at her knee wailing "Why, why, why?"
Singer and actress Barbara Streisand, big time. After this episode, she criticized South Park for her characterization, saying the show was bad for kids because it promoted cynicism. She gets blasted again in the episode "Spookyfish" and used as an insult in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants", before reappearing as Mecha-Streisand in "200" and "201".
Sally Struthers is shown doing a scene on set with Sidney Poitier. Just like in "Starvin' Marvin", she is seen shoving large amounts of cake into her mouth.
Barbara Steisand's Reaction
Actress Barbara Streisand reacted to her portrayal with criticism, responding through a May 1998 interview she had with Mirabella magazine. She stated that "I enjoy satire and parody, [but] I wonder if shows like South Park and Beavis and Butt-head don't add to the cynicism and negativity in our culture, especially in children." In response, Trey and Matt yet again mock her in "Spookyfish" by using pictures of her for the episode's visual gag "Spooky-Vision".
- The same tetherball that kills Kenny in this episode is featured again briefly in the Season 17 episode "Let Go, Let Gov".
- Leonard Maltin chants "kite, kite, churippu" or "来て、来て、チューリップ" just before transforming into a giant robot. According to Trey, this is something the Japanese say after farting. It means roughly "Come, come, a tulip."
- Inside Streisand's mountain hideout is a picture of her with Satan.
- The term "roshambo" is actually an alternative title for the game rock-paper-scissors. However, Cartman introduces Roshambo as the process of settling a debate by kicking one another in the nuts until one man is left standing. It will be mentioned in subsequent episodes to settle arguments between the boys.
- When Streisand's pink helicopter is landing, Cartman screams out "Oh no! Aliens!" and immediately grips his own ass, clearly in reference to the series' pilot episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".
- This is the first time the show uses the green screen technique. When Chef and Leonard Maltin are driving to Streisand's condo, animators used green screen to place recorded footage of a snowy road in the background, a technique frequently employed in TV and movies.