Friday, November 08, 2013

The South Park Experience




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Whew. What a week-ender it's been. For all of you currently under the throes of typhoon Yolanda, stay safe! For those of you who're still getting ready for the storm, here's a good list of things you may want to take note of.

But right now, the thing that's on my mind isn't Typhoon Yolanda. Neither is it the blue ribbon committee hearing of Janet Napoles (although I should have something to say about that, but not right now).

No, the one thing weighing most heavily on my mind is...South Park. And how I am increasingly annoyed by the show.

I used to love South Park. In fact, I think the movie is, to this day, one of the better animated films ever produced. It was satirical, slapstick, and unapologetically crass. And best of all, it was funny.

And the show remained funny for the most part. Up until the middle of the previous season, where it stopped being funny, and just bordered on banal satire of American culture. If I had to name an episode where they started to drop the ball, I'd say it was shortly after James Cameron raised The Bar from Marianna's Trench. Ironic, really.

I don't know. The sheer number of characters in South Park notwithstanding, it feels like the show runners are just sitting in front of their news readers every week, scouring the headlines for something trend-worthy, then writing scripts that make fun of it. Usually, it involves Cartman going on an off-kilter mission that only makes him more insufferable than ever. I mean, more than anybody else, this show's become so Cartman-centric that they should rename the show Ericville. Everybody else is secondary to his whimsy, after all.

Eric Cartman
Taken from Funny Junk. Seriously, this character’s getting retarded. You know what they say about trolls – they all get tiresome eventually.

Before you tell me that that’s what his character’s all about, consider this first: what about Stan and Kyle? These two used to be the straight men of the show, the voices of reason in the chaos that was South Park. Now they're just wallflowers, secondary to the creature that is Butters, or even to Token. And that’s real sad, because they brought a (sarcastic) honesty to the show. Nowadays, it’s like even their attempts to be good, honest kids is canned. Ever since Chef left the show, they’ve run out of adults with good intentions to choose from, and it’s affected the kids! Now they can’t even pretend to be good! There is no foil to Cartman’s crazy!

But the biggest sin of all is that Kenny hasn't died anytime recently. I'm one of the old crowd, part of the audience that watched South Park in part only to see Kenny die, or Terence and Philip make fart jokes. I want to see more infantile insults about Cartman's mom, or Gerald Broflovski impregnate a horse.

In short, I miss the days when South Park made gutter humor classy.

These days, the only source of gutter humor that's even remotely funny is Family Guy. American Dad and Bob's Burgers are trying to match the show, but as utterly tasteless as Peter Griffith is, Family Guy actually keeps me laughing. It's unassuming, unpretentious, and utterly obscene - and despite it's many shortcomings, I find that it's that honesty that keeps me glued.

I'm dropping South Park from my watch list, though. Let me know when it stops becoming The Cartman Show. 'Til then, I'm gonna do a Chef and bow out.

Anyway, I have to go make sure the roof isn’t flying off or something. Stay safe people! Martin out.

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