It's been quite some time since "South Park" has done a Halloween episode: "Hell on Earth 2006" was the last time the show celebrated the holiday (and caused waves of controversy over a was-it-too-soon-or-not Steve Irwin joke), and it's about time the show returned to some Halloween themed hoodwinks.
Of course, a lot has changed in 6 years, both in the real world, and in "South Park," and apparently everybody but Randy knew this. Taking the Marsh family's savings and investing it in a Blockbuster Video, Randy was sure they were bound to become rich, even as Stan rode in the car watching movies on his iPad.
"South Park" has been known for really running jokes into the ground recently, and while it didn't show much restraint in hitting home the Blockbusters are old and ancient territory, it was a good nod to see Randy immediately sick of the jokes and mocking both Stan, and the ghosts who started showing up in the Blockbuster (Blockbusters are so ancient they have ghosts...well, you get it). Stan delivered the line of the night, though, with "Renting DVDs is more ancient than Madonna's boobs!," and I mean, let's face it, he was probably right.
Meanwhile, Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman are waiting on Stan to go trick-or-treating, but Randy won't let Stan leave the store because he is convinced that on Halloween, of all nights, people will come in to rent scary movies. You've got to love that within the humor and the jokes "South Park" always manages to cut right through the shit to the heart of the problem: It is a little sad that people aren't renting movies anymore, even if, as Randy lamented to Sharon, many rural neighborhoods aren't equipped with fast enough internet for streaming so renting DVDs or blu rays still presents the best movie watching experience. Poor Randy, and poor DVDs.
Ironically, it was technology that saved the day, as Stan started up a FaceTime chat with Kyle, who tied his iPad to a skateboard so the four could still be the Avengers. I mean, Stan was Captain America, and you can't just dress up as the Avengers without Captain America! The group was also hoping to win the costume contest, which was a nice nod to Halloween episodes of the show way back in the day. (So far back, I think I actually watched the episode on a DVD, spooky shit!).
The boys ran into real trouble though, as they tried to stop some burglars robbing the Kum & Go (snicker, snicker). Turned out that they were a group of thieves running around town trying to get rich by breaking into Red Box machines, only to find them as well suffering from that bastard invention that is the internet. The thieves captured Stan (still in iPad, video chat form), which was a running gag that only got better the longer it went it. The thieves scratched the screen of the iPad trying to make Stan rat on his friends. He did, leading the Avengers and the thieves all to the big Monster Mash, and yeah, I know it was silly, but the few line Monster Mash jokes of the cops was just great. It's a graveyard smash! It gets on in a flash!
The Mash continued the show's strong, stand out moments, including the very cute Were-rechaun costume of Butters, and the clever Gangnam-stein (We are going to see so many Gangnam style costumes next week just like the show predicts, I fear).
Back at the Blockbuster, Randy continued to go crazier and crazier (so crazy he was stuck staring at "Ted" on the movie screen, and we all know how much Matt Stone and Trey Parker can't stand "Family Guy" material) with a quite funny scene of him sneaking up on Sharon. He took Stan's iPad away from him just as he entered the Monster Mash, leading to Randy ravaging town as Gangnam-stein attacking people watching movies on streaming devices.
Unfortunately, the twenty some-odd minute limit of the show was fast approaching, and we got a funny scene with Stan dying (you know, those iPad batteries don't last forever), and then everything wrapped up quick, with Shelly burning down the Blockbuster and Randy freezing outside and being unwilling to admit he was wrong (And an odd placed McDonalds joke). We never find out about the costume contest, and the concept was so strong, I'd love to see it go on into next week's episode (which is actually Halloween), but it looked like Matt and Trey chose to wrap it up fast rather than expand it for another whole episode. There were a few slow moment, but the time limit of the show and the rushed/botched ending was the only real problem here, and I just have to say it: Butters like two lines this week were funnier than everything he said last week.Willie is dressing up as Gandalf for Halloween next week, because yes, he is sure you all really really want to know. He probably won't be doing a Gandalf Style dance though, but you can always try requesting it to him on Twitter or Facebook.
I’ve never been to Hawaii, so perhaps my falling out with this episode just comes from not being a native and just not understanding.
Don’t get me wrong:I love Butters. Butters-centric episodes are usually great, and he has had some great moments both recently and throughout the show’s history (Who can forget Butters’ very own episode or pimp Butters?). But his random anger outbursts at school were totally out of character, which yes, was kind of the point, but it just felt forced having Butters angry and screaming and yelling at everybody for no good reason.
The 'twist' was quite choreographed too: Butters' parents pulled him out of school to deal with his anger issues privately and with his own kind, which turned into them sending him off to Hawaii to have his coming of age ceremony with his native Hawaiian family. And then those silly tourists tried to ruin everything, the native's special reward cards were cancelled (How else will they tell the difference between a tourist and a native?!?) and Kenny, after initially failing to pass the introduction ceremony, ended up finding a lost reserve of vodka and tropical island drinks, saving the day. Or something like that. It was pretty typical "South Park" fare, and never really amounted to anything that breakthrough or entirely memorable.
The running joke of course was that none of these people were actually native Hawaiians (and there was some infighting as well, leading to one tourist yelling at another that since they had come on a plane and not a cruise ship a few months later they had less claim to be a native), and yes, the fun play on native traditions, down to which hotels they would stay at and which restaurants they would eat at or avoid due to tourists, were all cute and whimsical connections, but nothing that's going to have you rolling in stitches or lauding the show's creativity. What was funny was pretty easy, run-of-the-mill, and didn't really at all come from Butters, which is odd, given that the whole episode was his.
There were a few soft good moments here and there: The ghost of Elvis showing up, the tourists attacking a cruise ship with golf balls, and a few one liners about Ben Affleck and "Argo" (and a quiet "Airplane" reference for those who caught it) but with Butters not really being Butters, the episode just didn’t work that well. It was quietly funny at best, and yeah, we get that tourists are annoying, but basing an entire episode around the idea, and wasting Butters on it, just felt random, out of place, and not that enjoyable. And compared to the hysterical antics that Butters usually has, it just didn’t hit the bar for what I was expecting the episode to deliver on.
But then again, if anyone wants to send me to Hawaii and learn the ways of the natives myself, I’ve always wanted to drink out of a real coconut.
What did you all think? Did it live up to what you expected from a Butters episode?
A whole episode about Hawaii and not one mention of Stitch? Poor guy doesn’t get any love, I mean come on, who doesn’t love a Hawaiian roller coaster ride? But seriously, if you want to take Willie to Hawaii, feel free to let me know on Twitter or Facebook.
After two back-to-back strong episodes of "South Park," social commentary was high, but laughs were low this week, even to the point where pulling in Bane from Batman couldn't save the show.
Poor Ike got the whole ball rolling. As if walking in on your parents having sex wasn't bad enough, he walked in on his parents role playing, with his dad dressed up as the UPS man, you know, delivering a package.
One misunderstanding, and as usual, the whole town of South Park was in an uproar. The men in town all become scared that their wives are also getting treated to special packages from the UPS man, and set out to find a way to stop him from having his way with all of their wives.
The social commentary that strung the whole thing together was provided by the old-timer farmer character (who we've seen at some points before, or at least they've used the same idea), telling everyone about how the same thing used to happen when people started getting milk delivered instead of buying it themselves. The price of shipping and the convenience of delivery, it turns out, is having the milk man, or the UPS man, have his way with your wife.
Just like last week, the show suffered from too many ideas at once. But this week it wasn't nearly as funny and the execution suffered. Ike's drawing of his mom and the UPS man having sex was kind of somewhat slightly funny the first time, but as it kept popping up over and over again it lost anything it had going for it. Cartman's whole side plot with the security system people had a few moments, but never really amounted to anything but a few tame one-liners.
And then of course there was the inclusion of the Bane masks, which all the men in town used when they kidnapped and beat up the UPS man, and there are just so many places that the show could have taken the joke, only to leave it as a one-note (OK, two if you count the ending) gag that could have been so much more. Props to the voice recreation though, as that was dead on.
Then, midstream the show jumped focus to the security company, and the In-Security alarm systems that could actually be installed in people and go off when people got worried or stressed. Again, it was a good idea, but a lackluster "taking it to the extreme" tangent for this show, especially considering where I thought they were heading for (putting an alarm on the certain specific entrance that the UPS man may have been using on their wives, for instance).
Instead we got several jokes about the In-Security device going off at the wrong time, and then the UPS man's own security device going off when Kyle tried to get him and his mom and dad to confront the truth. Of course, there was nothing really to confront, Kyle's dad cleared up how, you know, sometimes you just need to role play to bring that spark back into your love life, and life moved on. No digs at Amazon, no digs at the UPS, and the practical gold mine that is the USPS was left untouched, untapped, and sadly, the show seemed to pass up a lot of marks it should have been hitting.
I loved the idea of the premise, and the social commentary is dead on: we are a lazy generation, and there are costs associated with expecting everything delivered directly to us. And while the premise tied everything together on some levels, the execution just wasn't that funny and the show got bogged down in everything it was trying to do. The Bane gag was funny (especially with Cartman at the end) but was largely underdeveloped and seemed quite random, and the show, unlike the UPS man, failed to deliver.
Willie Clark does agree with the episode though, as he is not a stranger to packages showing up that he forgot he ordered. He also wishes that he grew up when people still delivered milk. If you want to deliver his milk, send a resume to him on Twitter or Facebook.
We all know that Cartman is fat. We've all known it, and it has been one of the longest running jokes in "South Park" history. But Cartman’s never admitted it. Until now.
After all these years, Cartman finally came to terms with the fact that he is fat on this week’s episode, but in typical Cartman fashion, that didn't mean exercising or doing something about it. No, it meant gaining weight so insurance would cover a Rascal scooter. Yep, Cartman now had his own set of wheels on which he could ride around. (His first stop: Kyle’s to try to take a shit, and then threatening Kyle with a lawsuit if he didn't widen his bathroom entrance and make it accessible.)
The show kind of speed-ran through the rest of Cartman’s fat-Rascal-riding antics, which they probably could have built a whole episode around if they wanted, with him taking a trip to Disney World, before ultimately suing Best Buy because its bathroom entrance wasn’t accessible, either. It all led to a great montage by Cartman (while riding around the entire class on his Rascal) talking about how he may be fat, but he certainly wasn’t Honey Boo Boo.
Honey Boo Boo, incidentally, felt like the oddball out in the episode; the piece that didn’t really fit in or get off the ground. It’s probably because I’ve never watched that show, nor do I ever plan to, but the writers here didn’t treat her too kindly: her heart gave out and she had to get a transplant from a pig, which made her even more of a piggly little animal then she already was.
Multiple plots ran though this episode. Kyle was trying to stop Cartman from taking advantage of the system and find a way to educate everyone about how easily the weight-handicap system can be abused. He teamed up with Token to make a documentary, but Token edited it into a new reality TV show, "Fatty Doo Doo," which actually lost to "Honey Boo-Boo" in the ratings and led to a showdown between Cartman and the hog-hearted Honey Boo Boo herself (I’m curious if "Honey Boo Boo" beat "South Park" in the ratings last week, and that spawned this whole thing).
The best parts were centered around James Cameron, who was off diving deep into the sea, trying to find and “raise the bar,” which had several of the largest laughs of the week (“I have now sunk deeper than any human ever has before!”) but had limited screen time against everything else that was going on. His plot and the whole raising the bar/lowering the bar metaphor could have played out a lot more, but it just got lost.
It’s been a long time since the show has aimed at this many targets at once (Randy Newman got burnt several times as well), with it usually sticking to two plots per episode. But the writers managed to pull it all off. The jokes were well executed and ranged from dead-on funny (Rascal tipping!) to quietly amusing if you noticed them (like Cartman using a grabber to grab a Kleenex during the trial), and even included a brief moment of clarity for the show at the end (Kyle tells Stan that maybe it was *them* who lowered the bar).Willie Clark is trying not to feel shame, but really hopes that Candy Corn Oreos are real and kind of wants to try them. If you know if they are or not, please let him know on Facebook or Twitter.
What a way to kick off the back half of South Park's 16th season.
I'll admit I was a little worried. The preview had it all set up to be about football, and frankly, there are few things in life I know less about than professional sports. But, "South Park"'s previous entries into the sporting world, including one of my favorite episodes, the baseball classic "The Losing Edge" from Season 9, have still been enjoyable for a non-sports person like myself. This episode was no different.
The episode started off with South Park Elementary getting rid of kick-offs for the football team, which infuriated Randy. At the next PTA meeting Randy suggested that they might as well just make a sport where all the boys wear tin hats and bras and are nice to each other and hug and play with balloons.
Of course, the school thinks this is a great idea, and Sarcastaball is born. The craze soon sweeps the state, with Randy becoming the new head coach for the Denver Broncos Sarcastaball team. Seeing both the boys and the NFL teams dressed up in tin hats and bras and running around was quite the sight gag, especially as Randy continued to be more and more sarcastic about how happy he was that the country was starting to remove violence from football.
I got the point of the sarcasm bit, at least on some levels, but it would probably work better for someone more versed in the NFL. Is everyone in football really that sarcastic? Are they really in that much denial that football can cause head trauma? (Interestingly enough, I was in the U of R's recent football head-injury study as a non-football-playing control). It wasn't until the end of the episode, when Randy and his doctor exchanged, sarcastically, that putting money that should be used to research real diseases into researching something that people chose to do to themselves is a good idea that the real point of the whole thing came out, and even then it seemed like a lot of build up to a no-brainer conclusion that didn't really come down all that hard on anybody. (But maybe that was the point, we are talking concussions here after all.)
Luckily, Matt Stone and Trey Parker had a real comedic ace in the hole. Which of the kids, who would probably normally suck at sports, would excel in a game all based on being nice and hugging ?
Butters. Butters tends to steal episodes, and this was no exception, with most of the laughs and shock humor coming from the loveable (and clueless) straight man himself. Butters becomes the star of the South Park Sarcastaball team, inspiring his fellow students with speeches about finding that gooey and happy place inside of yourself and sharing it with others in a nice and positive way and using it to get to victory.
And while the sarcasm and football commentary droned on, it was Butters' and his creamy goo that saved the day, and gave the episode it's best (or perhaps worst) moments. See, the happy nice center that Butters was talking about was none other than the 'happy goo' that was escaping from his body at night during 'happy dreams,' and even if you did see that joke well, coming, just how far the show took it was a mix of gross-out humor and comedic gold. From Butters opening his closest to a whole collection of cum containers that he had been saving, to Cartman then eating it to try to get better at Sarcastaball, to the fake energy drink ad (filled with everything an athlete needs: Commitment, Compassion, and Camaraderie!), it was hilarious, classic "South Park." What other show is going to start with football and end up at a whole bunch of people eating spunk?
Of course, only innocent, naive little Butters could pull this off, not understanding that his warm happy goo he is selling everyone is really semen, but that's part of the gag. When Randy tried to get Stan to stop playing Sarcastaball before his brain got stuck being sarcastic, the boys explained to Randy that they aren't actually being sarcastic and actually enjoyed playing a nice, fun game that isn't about hitting and destroying each other -- an idea that the adults couldn't seem to fathom. The boys tried to get Randy to cheer up by offering him Butters' goo, which he swallowed down, before finally revealing to everyone what they'd been drinking cum the whole time (nobody else knew what it tasted like, apparently?)
The show then cut and ended with the adults scolding Butters for taking the whole thing way too far. It was a brief moment of self-awareness for the show (for taking football too far, and bringing it back to jizz) and a great scene, as poor little Butters just didn't understand what he did, or what sarcasm or cum are. We got a great ending line from him and his dad ("My wiener's all stiff and pointy" "Well Butters, that's just the friendly compass...it's pointing up because Jesus is your friend"), bringing a very solid and strong episode to a close.
Observations: Line of the week goes to Cartman, for "Stan, hook up my bra." Or perhaps to Mr. Stotch for "Oh why don't we just drink each other's cum."
Not that continuity counts for much in South Park, but didn't all the boys learn about semen quite awhile ago when Catman became god of the seapeople? One of them must have realized what Butters was giving them to drink was really semen.
There’s usually at least one low point in every “South Park” run, and this week just didn’t do it for me.
It was a great concept, and a pretty funny idea, but it just seemed the longer the episode went on the more it got caught up in itself and stopped being funny. Add to the fact that it felt like several other out of this world warfare plots, and you end up with perhaps the most lackluster episode we’ve seen this half a season.
Thanksgiving was the theme of the day: The show started with a Native American guest speaker in class. He assigned a report that all the kids had to do on the truth behind Thanksgiving. Cartman, lazy as always, insisted that they could learn just as much about Thanksgiving if they watched the History Channel instead of reading.
The History Channel ended up being the butt of most of the jokes, and it starts off pretty spot on. From mocking the channel’s oversensationalism and sometimes laughable incredible use of ‘credible’ historians, it was off to a good start. The professor of DeVry University joke was well done, even if it was somewhat run into the ground.
And it was funny, but the laughs were very top loaded, and the episode just spiraled out of control from there. Kyle accidently predicted that aliens were involved with Thanksgiving, and that both the Pilgrims and the Indians were alien races that met on Earth to make a peace treaty that up until now was keeping intergalactic peace. Now, with the leader of the Pilgrims sucked to earth through a wormhole, the Indians were free to attack the stuffing mines.
Weird? Yeah. It was, and it just kept going and going, without ever really hitting any high point or bringing in any more laughs. It drew in some other targets, including “Thor,” but like, did anybody really go see that movie? I understand the History Channel spoofs, but I was under the impression Thor made enough of a mockery of itself. The Natalie Portman ‘wormhole’ bit was somewhat entertaining, at best.
Especially with the timing of the episode, the latter half of it just seemed off kilter. Several times the show pointed out that Thanksgiving was still a few weeks away, which only further honed the point that it seemed a little early. Was there really nothing else more newsworthy or time sensitive for SP to piss on this week? I mean, “Thor” and Natalie Portman? I know you can do better than this, and you’ve been doing it for most of this part of the season.
But, it just seemed like a good idea that was undercooked. I liked the whole Pilgrims and Indians planet worlds they built up, but it felt all too familiar even as crazy as it was. It wasn’t as funny as the Go God Go saga, and it even echoed back to the Pinewood Derby episode. Now, if they had brought back everybody’s favorite Thanksgiving character, a certain Mr. Starvin Marvin, then I think I could have really gotten behind this episode, and he would have fit the alien theme to boot.
Anyways, if this is the low point for the back half of the season, I’ll take it. I just hope Matt Stone and Trey Parker are back with something a little more relevnet and pointed next week.
This episode may go down as the one that restored my faith in “South Park.”
Last week, sure, it was funny, and it was nice to be able to laugh with the SP crew again after the extremely lackluster first half of the season last spring, but it wasn’t creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker at their best.
This week was.
The story centered on South Park Elementary’s brand new gossip site, Eavesdropper, mirroring both the online school harassment news and good old Wikileaks. Principal Victoria and Mr. Mackey are afraid that the site, and the student mocking of Pete Melman, who shit his pants in class and now is being tormented, might cause him to commit suicide. Oddly enough, they join forces with Cartman to try to help sway the public student opinion away from mocking Melman.
Meanwhile, Stan, who, after ending up on the site himself, decides that it must be stopped. The kids search the school to try to find out who is behind the site, only to find a gerbil typing away furiously at a computer updating the site with more juicy gossip.
It was at this point that I shouted, as I mistook the gerbil for Lemmiwinks, everybody’s favorite crawling-out-of-a-gay-man’s-ass gerbil. But, not to disappoint, the show soon introduced the new gerbil as Wikileaks, Lemmiwinks evil brother, and Lemmiwinks again found himself on a quest led by talking ghost animals.
The laugh out loud moments are too good to spoil, but between the Catatafish’s hilarious speech about bass to mouth ( a clever pun I can’t believe the show has never used before), Lemmiwinks’ own ‘reluctance’ to fight his brother, and how the school faculty decides to throw Cartman under the bus to try to save their own asses, this episode was South Park gold, returning to form and hilarious from start to finish(Minus one Selena Gomez beating that seemed a little forced, that is). Despite the whole Wikileaks tie in being a little less newsworthy, it still worked great, and I’m still laughing and chuckling at just how good this episode was.
To be fair, bringing in Lemmiwinks was pure fan service, but that’s exactly what the show, and especially this season, needs right now. This was the hardest I’ve laughed along with SP in quite some time, and man it feels good to be back.
It’s a little too early still to tell how the season will shape out overall, a few good episodes won’t make up for entirely for the first half of the season, but if this week’s eyes welling with tears of laughter are a sign, SP has found new windin its sails.
And by the Catatafish, I really want the Lemmiwinks battle song on my iPod.