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Thursday, March 26, 2009

South Park--Offensive, Foul, and Sometimes Brilliant

You can always count on South Park to make someone angry. You can always count on something being foul. You can always count on some kind of commentary on society, politics, and/or religion. And, every once in a while, you can count on absolute brilliance.

The latest episode of South Park that aired last night was one of the smartest pieces of comedy I’ve seen in the genre.

If these shows don't spark spiritual watercooler conversations I don't know what will. Southpark has aired nearly 200 episodes since 1997.

If you have a teenager, their school life has always included South Park.

Frightening? Perhaps. Opportunity? Absolutely.

The Wiki entry is pretty thorough for this episode. Here’s a quick sketch:

• South Park has economic concerns. People come up with their own solutions.
• Randy becomes a Ceasar figure.
• Cartman blames the Jews (as always).
• No money forces kids to play with squirrels.
• A man is dragged before a crowd and accused of heresy against the economy.
• Kyle proclaims, "let he who has never purchased something frivolous chuck the first squirrel", whereupon one person actually throws a squirrel on him.
• Kyle continues to preach to people that the economy doesn't really exist except in people's mind, and that if they want the economy to be strong, they must have faith in it
• These occur in settings that evoke paintings of Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. Cartman, in his desire to obtain a copy of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, says that he will deliver Kyle to Randy and his friends in exchange for the game and a Nintendo DS.
• Kyle and his friends go out for pizza, in an obvious parody of The Last Supper, and laments that he feels they won't be able to get together like this anymore because he thinks he is going to be killed.
• He says he worries that one of his friends will betray him. All of them act shocked while Cartman stands up and says that whoever betrays Kyle "is a d**k" and "it's not cool!" Kyle admits to his friends while glaring accusingly at Cartman that he knows what he has to do to save everyone.
• The next day, everyone lines up to a table with Kyle and a credit card machine, where he is "paying everybody's debts" with his American Express Platinum Card. Kyle's mother asks him not to do it because he will be in debt for life. She weeps at his feet.
• Kyle agrees, but feels he must do it to help everybody in the town. After paying the last person's debt, a $17,000 bill from Randy, Kyle passes out, not dead, just merely tired (there's a religious commentary for you).
• The episode ends with a news report about how the economy almost didn't survive in South Park, if it wasn't for the efforts of one very brave person. Kyle waits for his name to be announced after his sacrifice but, instead, the credit goes to Barack Obama.

Here are the clips below. We will end up showing some clips at Westwinds.

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