“South Park” is, for so many reasons, my favorite television series of all-time.
Not only is it hilariously funny with a real sick sense of humor that’s right up my alley, but the show is so thoughtful and well-written. Their take on social injustices and mockery of mainstream pop culture is so cleverly done and way less contrived and transparent as other shows’ attempts to deliver a message. At times you don’t even realize the genius behind it until later.
The fact that recent Tony winners Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been going steadily for 13 years, and the show has rarely hit a rough patch proves their genius. Sure not every single episode is gold, but there’s not a season that has passed that didn’t deliver at least one genius episode. (way too many examples to list right now)
Last season, the show had one it’s best finale’s ever. A bit of a cliff-hanger, but one that flirted with the idea of “change”. Stan Marsh’s parents divorced, and he was quickly turning into a cynic who felt everything from music to film was “shit”, literally. For these reasons Stan slowly removed himself from his long time group of child hood buddies, and shockingly enough it looked like Cartman and Kyle were on the fast-track to becoming besty’s.
The season opener which aired last night continued right where the finale left off. Stan wakes up hearing “shit” on the radio and in everything he see’s and is later diagnosed with Asperger’s due to his “depression” and “Debbie Downer-ism”. Stan becomes involved in a “Matrix”-like secret society of cynics who want to expose the world to it’s “shitty-ness” (with the use of Jameson Whiskey). Meanwhile, Cartman is trying to get diagnosed with what he terms “Ass-Burgers” and ends up starting a Burger business with his new friend Kyle.
Without getting into too many details, it ended up that Stan was looking to make things go back the way they were, while Kyle embraces the change. When Stan finally accepts the change in a long “South Park” standard monologue, he’s obviously the voice of Matt and Trey. Talking about “being really excited” about trying “new things”. Giving the impression that maybe the creators were getting bored with the show, or just didn’t know exactly what to do to make it fresh again (even though it never lost any of it’s appeal). Or maybe it was a response to critics who have griped that show is getting old (those critics are worthless if they said that).
The ending was not only really smart and surprising, but personally I totally identified with it (I plan on writing another blog post on my other page about how it really spoke to me). After Stan’s big speech about taking the “left turn” and being open to new things, his parents announce they are back together. Cartman’s “secret ingredient” for his burgers (his farts!) is exposed and him and Kyle are no longer friends. Everything went back to normal, and Stan was more or less forced to just go with the flow even though he really hadn’t changed all that much.
So, it’s still unclear where Matt and Trey plan to take this season. Did they fake the viewers out into thinking this season would be totally different, only to stay with the same format? Or will things gradually change on the show? Who really knows and who really cares. This season opener left the viewers open to drastic change, but even if it’s the same old “South Park” it will still be more well-written and clever than most shows on the tube.
The idea of a big change on the show was intriguing, but even if we didn’t get that we still got a great episode that actually managed to be really thought provoking while still being drop-dead funny.
(Also: there was a commercial for some “behind the scenes” special on Matt and Trey and their staff and how they put together full episodes in one week. I wasn’t clear if this was a one time special or a new weekly series. I’m sure I’ll watch, but I’ll definitely have to “check my local listings” because I’ve already forgotten when it’s supposed to air)