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The children are our eyes into the bizarre, titular Colorado town, which series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone use to dissect the world we live in. South Parkhowever, aims to be more than kids being kids and unearthing new obscenities though that was certainly a large part of its early appeal. That approach has not been without controversy. Eric Cartman is racist and xenophobic to his core, and while his ignorance is supposed to be the butt of the joke in many cases, writers dating back to David Margolis in have argued the popular character has helped normalize anti-Semitism.
Revisiting now is sometimes uncomfortable, and occasionally revelatory.
To mark the occasion, The Ringer has ranked our top 40 episodes of South Park. This episode premiered inway before Facebook was helping to convince your dumb uncle that government shadow elites are secretly using alien technology from another dimension to remotely lobotomize registered AARP members. There was a time when Facebook was simply annoying, and the pressure to begin living your life online hit communities across America like a tidal wave.
In this episode, Stan reluctantly succumbs to that pressure, simply to placate the people in his life. All of a sudden, everyone around him begins oversharing inane personal tidbits and demanding daily positive affirmations in the form of likes, comments, and even pokes. Human interactions become commoditized and digital personae become inextricably linked with IRL selves.
What starts as another prank played on Butters turns into a nightmare for Cartman. The idea was simple: dress up as a robot called Awesom-Obefriend Butters, and trick him into revealing his deepest secrets.
It starts off great, until Butters lets slip that he has a video of Cartman dressed up as Britney Spears kissing a cardboard cutout of Justin Timberlake. Fearful this could get out, Cartman begins spending every waking minute with Butters, who really believes Awesom-O is an actual robot. On a trip to Los Angeles, a starved Cartman is somehow roped into pitching movies to a studio, and those ideas result in hundreds of new Adam Sandler films. The government South park beating off the dog word of this and kidnaps Awesom-O to reprogram it as a weapon. While trite, the exchange between Stan and Butters toward the end ties the perfect bow on another lovingly absurd episode of South Park :.
It makes me feel human. South park beating off the dog only way I could feel this sad now is if I felt something really good before. So, I have to take the bad with the good. So I guess what I feel is, like, a beautiful sadness. Before long, the residents are unable to do anything, frozen by guilt and unable to maneuver through the hordes of people who have overrun the streets and public places. The boys eventually visit the neighboring town of Evergreen—which, it turns out, successfully ended its homeless problem by convincing its beggars to move to South Park.
That gives the fourth-graders an idea: The way to reclaim the town is to convince the homeless to make their way to the Los Angeles area. This is one of the most underrated South Park episodes, in my humble opinion. What seems like your standard elementary school kiddy drama slowly turns into a political story about corruption and lies as Stan and Wendy investigate the truth of the voting process within the Pleases and Sparkles Committee. When Stan and Wendy finally discover the truth and explain it to Kyle, Bebe appears … with a gun.
Cartman dresses his hand up as Jennifer Lopez for a cultural diversity day presentation, and performs what is essentially an offensive ventriloquist act, much to the chagrin of Kyle, who has spent weeks preparing for his own, more appropriate presentation on Latinx culture. As expected, Cartman comes out victorious over Kyle, and is awarded a gift certificate to the mall, which he spends on a music video for his hand dressed as Jennifer Lopez. What a show. Every element of that show is done up to the absolute most, to the point that contestants end up looking like a bad imitation of actual humans.
Fast-forward a few weeks and Ringer editor Justin Sayles asks me to write about South Park episodes, including this one—a super-aware meta-commentary about the show itself, society, and TV culture, that right before it gets too smart dives deep into the dumb end—which is about Earth being a reality TV show for aliens. No idea is original. So they devised a proper sendoff for the orange-hooded character. Fortunately for the show, however, the creators reversed their decision late in Season 6 and brought Kenny back full time.
Great episodes are sometimes really just great moments. Does anyone? Does it even matter? Not long after bands like Metallica were getting roasted for complaining about music piracy, a local garage band in South Park named Moop was going through some creative differences. Cartman believes so much in his vision that he bets the other members of the band that he can make a platinum-selling album before they do. This is one of the most basic premises of any South Park episode. My uncle cried that night. It seems that way in only because South Park has pushed boundaries so far in the intervening years.
And it started, in part, with Mr. Inthe show went in on Paris Hilton and the celebration of socialite celebrity culture. One of the beauties of animated sitcoms is the characters never get old, unless South park beating off the dog creators want them to. Bart Simpson will forever be 10, and his sisters will be 8 and 1. South Park has occasionally played with this: At one point in Season 4, the boys enter fourth grade. Time appears to move slowly in South Parkbut unlike for its peers, it moves. This Season 15 episode tackles the idea of aging in a more philosophical sense.
Stan turns 10, and everything starts to sound, look, and taste like shit—literally. Sometimes, shit just works. This gruesome spoof of the film You Got Served focuses on Butters and his extreme misfortune. After Randy is hospitalized for being served, Stan assembles a ragtag group to avenge his father in a dance-off with kids from Orange County. But he needs a fifth member, and someone suggests Butters, who was once a state tap-dancing champion. But Butters refuses to because of a prior incident that haunts him.
Stan and Co. Butters comes to save the day, but ends up reliving his past horror again, when he ends up killing the entire Orange County team the same exact way he killed all those other people. By a technicality, Team South Park wins, and a traumatized Butters is praised as a hero. Towelie is a prototypical rudderless stoner character. The meta-joke of immediately trying to monetize such a cheaply crafted character seemed to give them the green light for all the low-hanging fruit that is Towelie humor.
The boys spent the entirety of this episode completely apathetic to every facet of life outside of playing their new Okama Gamesphere. For all the Guitar Hero wizards with dusty out-of-tune real guitars, this is a gut punch. South Park is arguably at its best when it satirizes organized religion. Trey and Matt would later explore the religion further in their play The Book of Mormonwhich won nine Tonys, including Best Musical. And like in the mids, not many people here seemed to listen to him. Cartman decides to hide the treasure by swallowing it all. Then he shits it all out at the end of the episode.
The episode revolves around a joke Jimmy comes up with, with minor help from Cartman:. The joke goes viral, with every late-night host repeating it on their respective shows. In a quest to fully understand the true meaning of the joke, Kanye goes on a ram, taking his anger out on people, even killing Carlos Mencia in the process.
After talking with Jimmy and Cartman, Kanye eventually has an epiphany, believing that he is a gay fish. Sometimes I almost forget that detail amid all the wildness and social criticism—and also because Kyle, Cartman, Stan, and Kenny have been in fourth grade for about 20 years. On-screen drug trips always present writers with an opportunity to get deeply weird. If you watched this episode having never seen or heard of Heavy Metalit must have been a real what the fuck moment for you.
For those of us who had vague memories of Heavy Metal or at least its trailer tucked away in our brains, it was also a what the fuck moment. They really invested all this time, money, and production effort into this niche referential joke with its roots 20 years in the past? More unbelievable than their commitment to the bit however, is how close the parody is to its source material.
While the elements of the slut-shaming in this episode have not aged well, this episode remains emblematic of the way South Park can play with story structures and tropes. But this episode is a truly off-the-rails yuletide story involving the Antichrist, a bunny sacrifice, a kidnapped Kyle, and mountain lion cubs performing an abortion.
The next day the boys decide to completely ignore Cartman and somehow, he ends up thinking he has died. When escaped prisoners later hold the Red Cross hostage, Cartman is inspired to save the day with help from Butters. The guys eventually reveal their joke, to the complete shock of both Cartman and Butters, resulting in one of most priceless moments ever on the show. This episode shows the range of South Park. It starts with Cartman ripping into kids with red hair called ginger kids in an attempt to annoy Kyle, then transitions into Kyle getting revenge by turning Cartman into an actual ginger.
The ever-aggrieved Cartman uses that to his advantage and creates the Ginger Separatist movement, which aims to abolish all non-redhe. By the end, the episode turns to horror as the ginger kids begin abducting the others. Ultimately, however, the episode concludes on a strange note for Cartman: a song about unity. Two simple ingredients often make for the perfect episode: a story centered on the eternal conflict between Kyle and Cartman, and one that positions the boys as elementary school kids who like to do elementary-school-kid things.
This episode hits close to home because I was so much like Stan and Kyle. My friends and I would get together to play Guitar Heroand we also took South park beating off the dog much interest in classic rock music that we all attempted to learn the actual guitar. So watching this felt like a South park beating off the dog shot at my friends and me and the rest of Guitar Hero culture. Any kid who played the game at one point and felt like they were actual rock stars only to realize that they were just playing a silly video game in the end can relate.
He can play guitar hero acoustically. Woo boy. Yeah, you really have to see it for yourself. South Park began experimenting with episode-to-episode continuity in Season 18, but Season 20 was when that approach coalesced. It proved the show remained in a class of its own when making light of a given moment; more than that, it offered striking commentary on the presidential election, online trolls, and the dangers of nostalgia.
At its best, South Park says something important in the dumbest possible way. This episode is an encapsulation. Also, Cartman draws a vagina with balls on his face, because what else would you expect? When I was in the fourth grade we went to Genesee Country Village, a re-creation of 19th-century life, full of adults pretending to be people from that time.
In this epic trilogy, the boys are playing Game of Thrones and the town is preparing for a violent winter because Black Friday is coming. Will Randy and the protectors of the mall be able to hold off the vicious hoard of Black Friday shoppers? Can Cartman successfully betray every single one of his friends in the garden of his angry old neighbor? Will anyone survive the Red Robin Wedding?
And most importantly, will George R. He functions as the slightly exaggerated Florida Man of Colorado, his rudimentary motivations always leading him to new opportunities to make terrible decisions. This is the episode when Randy intentionally exposes his balls to radiation in order to be eligible for medical marijuana.
No, but the resulting visual gags are hilariously arresting. Cartman, meanwhile, spends this episode becoming the Scarface of an illegal underground KFC supply chain, which is a role that his character seemed destined to play at some point. So imagine the excitement in when it came to light that one animation titan was devoting a two-episode arc to take shots at another.
Every modern animated sitcom is directly indebted to The Simpsons.South park beating off the dog
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