Friday, October 5, 2012

South Park: Sarcasm, Sports, & Mobility Scooters

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Whenever South Park comes back from hiatus, I wonder what pop culture and historical references Matt Stone and Trey Parker will make. Sometimes I'm in love with what they do, and sometimes it just doesn't match my expectations. Of course, there are stand-alone episodes that don't rely on happenings around the world, but that's not really where they started the second half of this season. I did struggle to understand how some of the plotlines fit together in both "Sarcastaball" and "Raising the Bar," but they were both decent episodes. The former never need air again, in my opinion, but the latter had some hilarious moments. Plus, I found that the references made in the most recent episode really challenged the viewer to reflect upon just how low standards have become in some areas. Let's get better at that as a society, ok?

South Park
"Sarcastaball" (S16E08): Randy and the guys watch a football game, and there's a lot of jokes about how players and former players act because of concussions. [I thought this was going to go in the direction of the new NCAAF rule over how a player whose helmet comes off during a play must sit out for the next play, but that wasn't the case.] Between that and the fact that the kids no longer have kickoffs at school, Randy becomes enraged and he makes fun of the intense safety precautions. But, the PTA takes him seriously, so he has to coach the new sport of sarcastaball, which has players kicking a balloon, hugging while wearing tinfoil hats and bras, and politely delivering the balloon to the endzone. [I struggled to believe that NOBODY was comprehending Randy's sarcasm.]

Soon enough, the kids don't want to play, except Butters, who embraces it and compliments everyone. [this made me laugh.] Before you know it, the sport takes off and Randy winds up the coach of the Denver Broncos. [why did CeeLo sing the anthem?] This leaves the kids without a coach, but Butters steps up as Team Captain and rallies everyone, thanks to his liquid "happy dream," which he bottles in test tubes after waking up in the morning. [haha to the replacement refs line!] Cartman is the first to partake in the "bottled goo," and he passes it on to the whole team after he finds himself feeling more compassionate. Before you know it, Butters' Creamy Goo is being marketed as a sports drink! [the "come/cum" joke made me smirk.] Randy decides that he doesn't want Stan playing sarcastaball anymore, but rather than pull him aside, he drives onto the field, runs over a kid, and says that being sarcastic is dangerous. [what the...?!?!?] Randy is the first one to realize what Butter's goo really is, and you can imagine what happens from there. [I will share, though, the "because Jesus is you friend?" line!]

South Park
"Raising the Bar" (S16E09): The kids notice how many overweight people ride around Wall-Mart on scooters. Kyle tells Cartman that he'll be just like them if he doesn't change anything, but Cartman decides to go the opposite route, gaining a few pounds so his insurance company will cover a mobility scooter.
photo courtesy: Comedy Central
Of course, Cartman is soon testifying against Best Buy because their restrooms aren't accessible, so he speaks of the "shame" of being obese. This leads to people picking on scooter-users, tipping them over. So, scooters become fitted with "tip assist" poles. [hahaha! joke about James Cameron raising the bar, no matter what.] Token decides that they need to raise awareness, so they should make a documentary about Cartman's life. [something strange is going on here...] Token makes the video into "Fatty Doo Doo," a play on "Honey Boo Boo." Kyle is shocked and asks Token where his sense of shame is on making money off such a thing. Token riffs on TLC, saying that, because they're okay with it, he can be, too. [and this is really the heart of the episode. If something becomes generally accepted, standards change pretty quickly. Remember back in the early 90s that it was rare for television characters to be overweight? And George Costanza was a "fat guy"? That's nothing compared to how bigger actors are now accepted across the spectrum!] Kyle feels like he took advantage of Cartman but isn't sure if he should feel ashamed. Meanwhile, Honey Boo Boo picks out a pig and gets a heart transplant from it, so Token makes an episode where Cartman takes on the seven-year-old in "sketti wrestling." [that scene was just ridiculous, you guys. seriously.]

Elsewhere, James Cameron talks about how Clinton lowered the bar on bl0w jobs by letting random guys feel it's okay to get them in alleys. [odd Aliens reference, I thought.] Then, the director dives very deep and actually finds "the bar," raising it far enough that Michelle Obama wants to fight childhood obesity (by punching Cartman in the face and breaking his scooter). [yeah... that's how the episode closed. for real.]
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1 comment:

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