Archive for the ‘South Park Season 16’ Category

Ziplining

Posted: April 24, 2012 by cliffburtonphil1 in South Park Season 16

I am pretty conflicted on this one, I felt it was good the first time I saw it, but apparently the widespread reaction to last week’s installment was pretty negative.  In this one, the episode parodies Animal Planet’s I Shouldn’t Be Alive series.  A narrator retells the encounter the boys had one afternoon as they went zip lining, with interviews with the characters that tell the audience they somehow managed to survive being extremely bored for 4 hours.  That is, all except for Kenny, who died of boredom.  Stan has the idea to go zip lining, and brings Cartman, Kenny, and Kyle along.  As they meet the other people in their zip lining group, they slowly realize the gravity of the situation. Once they actually get to the first zip line, they realize they must wait for the older people to trod along and drag out the experience unnecessarily.

The characters are never in any actual danger, but instead dramatize a boring or uncomfortable situation going zip lining to the point that it is similar to a heroic struggle of several individuals against the brute force of mother nature.  Meanwhile, Cartman has ingested Mountain Dew, which provides the “ticking time-bomb” metaphor of Cartman’s stomach.  They abandon the zip lining group  and decide to go horseback riding, which will take them back to town.  They then realize that horseback riding is just as boring as zip lining, so they decide to take a powerboat back to town to escape the horrors of horseback riding. Here is where it takes an unexpected turn, as the 4th graders are portrayed by real actors on a boat (who appear to be in their mid-20s) as part of the documentary format parody.  This falls in line with a similar joke from “Free Willzyx,” where the construction paper animation of the four boys are portrayed in an overly definitive form.

Eventually, the three boys are rescued by Mr. Hankey, a piece of excrement who is a recurring character from earlier in the series.  Mr. Hankey was introduced in the first season and was given his own Christmas Special at the end of the 20th Century.

While they did not give a strong anti-wilderness message in this one as I previously expected, they did manage to portray what is typically “outdoorsman” activities into agonizing torture.  Like I said, my first impression was positive, but that may change with time. It was interesting to see also how they took such mundane discomforts to the extreme to give a “Don’t-go-ziplining” message.  Tomorrow’s episode “Cartman Finds Love” will be the mid-season finale, the show will continue later this October.

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Season 16, Episode 5

Posted: April 17, 2012 by cliffburtonphil1 in South Park Season 16

previous South Park episode titled “Butterballs” parodied recent anti-school-bullying efforts ( including the movie Bully), and the Kony 2012 video. I was very surprised, Eric Cartman was actually not cast as the main bully or any bully in the plot of this one.  Instead, a new character to the show, Butters’ grandmother, takes up the unlikely mantle of the abuser. I just never would have guessed they would have turned the elementary school bully theme into this exact plot, but it did turn out to be pretty effective. It was also interesting to see that Butters opted out of getting a bigger bully to beat up his bully, so he would not be labeled a “Cliché Conflict Resolution Kevin.” While Butters deals with his bully grandmother, the elementary school becomes involved in an anti-bullying campaign and film, akin to recent documentaries on bullying as well as Jason Russell’s Kony video, films that show youth-led efforts against abuse. The students and organizers inevitably lose sight of their mission in their “Let’s Make Bullying Kill Itself” campaign, led by Stan. Kyle tells Stan “Don’t act for me Stan. Because every minute I’m watching this video become less about awareness and more about you.” This of course is a reference to Russell, who was over-exposed and too central to his own video, an awareness effort on the topic of child soldiers in Africa. We also see verbal harassment happen multiple times in the school bathroom, each time as one character accuses the other of not supporting the anti-bullying campaign enough.  It played with the absurdity aspect, with the same situation happening five times within the twenty-two minute timeframe. While bullying and Kony 2012 are topical subjects, I am a bit surprised they haven’t mentioned the Trayvon Martin shooting so far, it appears to be the biggest national story in these first three months of 2012. And it doesn’t look like they are going to in the next episode, titled “I Should Have Never Gone Zip lining.”  From what they have mentioned about it so far, I wonder how much it will resemble other times when the boys were trapped in the wilderness.  In past installments, they (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) have given anti-environmental messages, such as in “Rainforest Shmainforest” from Season 3, where a school trip in the rainforest in Costa Rica goes awry, and the lumbermen in bulldozers end up saving them from the dangerous animals of the forest.  At the end the white text sarcastically warns that “Each year, the Rainforest is responsible for over three thousand deaths from accidents, attacks, or illnesses….There are over seven hundred things in the Rainforest that cause cancer….Join the fight now and help stop the Rainforest before it’s too late.”  In another, Al Gore is shown to be an attention-seeking imprudent activist, who gets the boys trapped in a cave while searching for “Manbearpig” (a creature that’s half man, half bear, and half pig).

South Park Season 16

Posted: April 12, 2012 by cliffburtonphil1 in South Park Season 16

Last week’s episode of South Park titled “Jewbracabra” was a take on the Jewish celebration of Passover, where Eric Cartman starting out by .  The episode focused on the Jewish observance of Passover and indirectly spoke to the issue of under-representation of Jewish cultural celebration in America in comparison to Christian holidays.   Kyle as a Jewish 4th grader is a representation of South Park creator Matt Stone. The main plot was that Eric wanted to warn everyone before the Easter egg roll about the Jebracabra, “a creature that drinks blood, hides in the night, and has no belief in the divinity of Christ.” As he becomes caught up in this mission, others start to believe Cartman and he feels threatened by the imaginary creature at night.  The first portion of the episode was more about parodying Bigfoot enthusiasts and used Easter/Passover as just the background.  It seemed a bit forced to see Eric Cartman and Butters together trying to catch the Jewbracabra, I know Matt Stone and Trey Parker have said in one of the commentaries that putting the two characters of Cartman and Butters together in a scene is a surefire way to create a compelling sequence. The main  plot takes a turn as Cartman travels back in time via dream sequence, just like in the episode “I’m a Little Bit Country.”  This time, instead of visiting the Founding Fathers, Cartman visits ancient Egypt during the biblical plagues.  Here at the end we get the story of Passover hinted at the beginning.  By the end, Cartman came to accept Judaism and identify with Kyle, only to see the widespread celebration of Easter instead.

Overall, it seemed to be more coherent than the “Faith Hilling” episode from March 28th.  That one’s opening was somewhat lost on me, as the title meme wasn’t an actual meme before the episode, as evidenced by its lack of an entry on Urban Dictionary. As it unfolded, it became more clear that they were taking on memes in general and their popularity among today’s youth. Overall, this season seems to be a mixed bag.  I am one who views South Park’s best seasons as Seasons 6-12 (2002-2008).

Tonight’s episode, “Butterballs” will hopefully be good, it supposedly is about bullying. It will be interesting to see what stance Parker and Stone take on the recent attention on school bullying, and even more interesting to see who will be the bully.