It’s hard to believe that South Park is entering its 20th season and somehow Trey Parker and Matt Stone still manage to keep swinging for the fences every episode. In the 20 years it’s been around, South Park has evolved because as we change, it changes, and no pop culture topic is safe. Let’s break down the key points:
South Park has been meta for a while with our TV watching habits.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but in the last 2 seasons, South Park has begun to cater to the way TV viewers watch TV. For the longest stretch over the past 20 years, South Park episodes were always self-contained shows. Rarely did viewers have to know what happened in prior episodes to get the gist of what was going on. There have been of course, 2 part shows that have popped up but quietly changes began to occur. Near the end of season 18, the shows were referencing everything that had happened in previous episodes, so if you didn’t pay attention, you missed key points. In season 19, the entire season begun to mirror how we consume shows like Game of Thrones, Blacklist, Scandal and so many others where the season became serialized in which fans needed to watch every episode to keep up with what was going on throughout the season. If you didn’t keep up, you were at a loss as to why Mr. Garrison and Caitlyn Jenner were running for POTUS against Hillary Clinton and why Cartman was trying to find an internet troller.
Trolling the kneeling controversy
As always, South Park takes a relevant issue and turns it on its head which of course this target has been the Colin Kaepernick sitting. I loved how as the episode opened, Matt and Trey poke fun at how our sports commentators put so much attention on a bunch of fourth graders at an unusually packed volleyball game to see who would protest, and thus when everything was over, no one stuck around to see the game. They even took swipes at JJ Abrams’ attempt at injecting new life into Star Wars by having his character, under congressional mandate, ‘reboot’ the Star Spangled Banner to make it more palatable for everyone regardless if they wanted to sit or stand but to no one’s surprise it was the same ol’ thing which did nothing but cause more confusion, more on that in a moment.
Not only was this the name of the episode, but also how South Park wanted to poke fun at the “Make America Great Again” slogan. The berries looked like grapes and they would give people a sense of nostalgia which made people feel good but, they eventually go sour by saying stuff like “Remember when marriage was just between a man and a woman?” or “Remember when there was a time when Mexican weren’t allowed in this country?” This was a not so subtle way of addressing the problem a lot of people have with progression right now in this country.
WTF is Dona…errm Mr. Garrison doing?
Of course, it’s an election year and South Park is once again asking America to choose between giant douche and a turd sandwich. In mimicking Donald Trump’s troll…errm run for the Presidency, it was entertaining to see how Mr. Garrison realize how far he had come and seeing what started off as a gag, was now serious. In trying to get advice from Caitlyn on what to do next, Caitlyn offered no clue as both assumed that there was a plan. Mr. Garrison, like Trump had done everything he could to piss off America, yet more people lined up for him. He hatches a plan to protest the rebooted national anthem only to have it foiled.
Who is Skankhunt42?
The episode wraps up with Kyle confronting Cartman about his trolling and cyberbullying the girls at South Park Elementary. Although he cannot prove it, he vows swift and brutal retribution on whomever it is once he as proof. Cartman steadfastly claims innocence to the deed. Just like in most stories, when the most obvious suspect is too good to be true, look at the person least likely to commit a heinous act. As the episode closes, we find that Skankhunt42 is someone that Kyle knows very well, or at least he thought he did.
I am still amazed at how quickly Stone and Parker can put together episodes like this and not only pack so much into them but keep them competent. From the opening moments of the show until the final reveal, I was entertained. I can only imagine what will come forth this season as the final leg of Election season begins and more importantly, I can’t wait to see what Kyle does once he finds out who Skankhunt42 is.
4.75 Kneel or Stands out of 5.