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South Park S20E4: “Wieners Out”

Last time, I’d complained that South Park was losing its edge with an episode that was remarkably unfocused and yet too wrapped up in the ongoing narrative to remember that it’s supposed to be funny. This week, Gerald is forced to let Sheila pee on him, so all is forgiven.

Seriously, “Wieners Out” recaptures some of that old South Park magic by only having two dominant plot points and fairly dividing the episode between them. Those plots don’t really come together in any meaningful way, but the chunks that we do get are simultaneously intriguing and yet hilarious. The ‘Member Berries and Cartman’s ongoing love interest are touched upon, but not to the point of distraction.

The first main story continues Gerald’s ongoing life as SkankHunt42, which is clearly reaching addiction levels as he’s divided between going cold turkey for his own safety and dipping back into it to scratch his itch. It’s destroying his life, as he’s constantly lying to Sheila about where his computer equipment’s gone, and he’s constantly running out of the house to de-stress. His dipping back into the addiction forces him to make an on-the-spot lie that he’s into piss porn, which results in Sheila asking why she’s not as good as the other women. So yeah, Gerald gets a golden shower, and we all let that happen.

But worse, a fellow internet troll (“Dildo Schwaggins”) is the mysterious guy who was sending Gerald notes. Not that Gerald wants to admit to this–other people are trolls; Gerald is just “having fun.” But it turns out that Scandinavia has a master plan to reveal the trolls of the world–they swear, it’s not intended to hurt other anonymous internet users–and Gerald has to join with the trolls of the world to stop this. They’re not pretty, but let’s face it, neither is Gerald. He got a woman killed.

Perhaps the more universally appealing plot is the new divide between boys and girls at South Park Elementary, with the females choosing solidarity in protest of online abuse. While Kyle suggests that maybe men need to collectively improve their behavior for the sake of all women, Butters–of all people–starts a revolution. Boys will openly display their dicks, refusing to be ashamed of who they are. Particularly during the National Anthem. The girls protest this, of course, but as P.C. Principal points out, it’s a “P.C. pretzel”: if you allow one group to peacefully protest, you have to allow all of them. You can complain that penises are involved, but apparently that’s body shaming if you do. If you’ll pardon the pun, Butters’ strategy is literally turning protest on its head.

It’s likely that “Wieners Out” will continue to frustrate the more social-justice minded, as Butters’ movement seems to be an open statement against male stereotyping even in the face of society’s tolerance for sexual assault. On the other hand, Stone and Parker have never really seemed to favor harassment and rape–their targets really tend to be social excess and hypocrisy. Butters’ form of protest is awful, but P.C. Principal is trapped–they’re peaceful and we’ve already ceded the National Anthem, so what’s your argument beyond “it’s a penis”? Let’s remember that this was the protest of choice for Harambe’s death only a few months ago.

What “Wieners Out” and, indeed, much of this season seems to be saying is that American social divides are growing. Men and women hate each other, the left and the right hate each other, and everyone is running to their tribes. Of all people, Cartman and his new girlfriend have figured out how to respect each other to a point of completeness.  We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one, but for now Cartman appears to be at peace. While the other girls of the town see a penis as co-opting their protest, Cartman’s seen a vagina and claims to have seen the maximum of human potential, envisioning colonies on Mars and other human success. In other words: stop the fighting and find love.

Not that this is taken to heart. “Wieners Out” ends with Kyle totally missing Cartman’s point and joining the movement, so the chaos in South Park will continue for another week. Whether this will continue or shift back to, say, the Garrison plot (seriously, nothing in relation to Trump’s decline this week?) remains to be seen.

Rating: Four cheesy poofs out of five.

 

About Adam Frey (372 Articles)
Adam Frey is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. In the meantime, he's an attorney and moonlights as an Emergency Medical Technician in Maryland. A comic reader for over 30 years, he's gradually introducing his daughter to the hobby, much to the chagrin of his wife and their bank account.
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