So South Park is on its midseason break. Here's the thing about South Park: in my opinion, is that out of its fourteen annual eipsodes, you have three or four that are brilliant, probably about two or three that are crap, and the rest is just kind of "there"... average episodes. It keeps me watching because it tends to be topical, and I appreciate the insights of the creators.
"It does email, web browsing, and it s***s in Kyle's mouth? This is the greatest thing that's ever been invented."
Episode 1: The Human CentIpad
Based on perhaps the most horrible movie ever made, released late last year. Google "Human Centipede" if you don't know what i'm talking about. I find the whole concept so repulsive that I couldn't appreciate this episode at all. One-and-a-half stars... though if you can handle sick shit like this you might rank it significantly higher.
Episode 2: Funnybot
Germans, angry about being named the most unfunny people, create "Funnybot". As a Doctor Who fan, I geeked out at the similarites that Funnybot bore to a Dalek. I liked the take on generic comedy, and Token being embarrassed about being the only one laughing at Tyler Perry was a good ongoing joke. Three-and-a-half stars.
"The prince and the princess look on in horror. This is not the tradition. This is not tradition at all."
Episode 3: Royal Pudding
A spoof of the Royal Wedding, a revisit to the South Park take on Canada, and a play on tooth decay. The bizarre take on Canada almost keeps it out of dullsville, but not quite. 2.5 stars.
Episode 4: TMI
The boys mistake the results of their physicals as being a measure of their penis size, and disputing the results, perform their own measurements and post them. This adults overreact in completely the wrong way, as this creates a debate over the correct way to measure penises (Total Mass Index). The complex equation involving weight, girth, and angle were pretty amusing, but less than a week later that's the only thing I remember about the episode, other than some tea party spoof shenanigans. Three stars.
"When we sell their likeness for video games, how we get around for paying for our
slaves, uh, student athletes then?"
Episode 5: Crack Baby Athletic Association
This episode was basically a long commentary mocking how the NCAA makes a mint off of student athletes while prohibiting the athletes themselves from receiving any compensation. Kyle gets drawn into Cartman's horrible scheme, and spends the episode trying to justify his actions to Stan. Just when the whole thing is starting to wear thin, a subplot involving Craig and Clyde trying to find Slash takes a weird turn that saves this episode right as it's starting to drag.
Episode 6: City SushiWhy is Butters so funny? I think it's the naivete of the character taking the irrational at face value, coupled with the fact that they keep him from being overexposed. The City Sushi stuff wasn't doing a whole lot for me until it unexpectedly tied into the Butters story. Four stars, although I get the nagging feeling I'm being too generous here.
"I'm not cynical. All the doctor wants is a paycheck. I went to him for help and he just stood their spouting a bunch of shit."
Episode 7: You're Getting Old
At the end of this, a lot of people were wondering if this was Parker and Stone's way of saying they had it, but I just caught them on the Daily Show this week saying they were still having a great time doing the show. To sum up, Stan turns ten and realizes that everything seems like shit. He goes to a doctor, who diagnosis Stan as a 'cynical asshole'. Stan quickly begins to grate on his friends, who have started to hate being around him because he shits on everything. If you've ever known a cynical asshole that you've genuinely liked and hated at the same time, you'll be able to relate.
I felt that the shining moment was when he promised he would go see a movie without being negative, cut to an outer shot of the theater with "X-Men: First Class" on the marquee, with a voiceover from Stan saying "uh-oh". On a side note, it's funny that with everyone was expecting First Class to be the worst film of the year, it sounds like it's shaping up to be one of the best.
Back to the episode... maybe I'm just one of the cynical assholes, but the Randy scenes were painful. I actually fast-forwarded, it was so bad. The later discussion about the reset-to-zero nature of Randy's personality, and how it seemed to be a commentary on South Park in general, was pretty interesting, as it makes you wonder what's going through the heads of the creators at this point, especially with the somber cliffhanger ending. Is the status quo of the show going to change when it returns, or will it be another reset-to-zero?
I would call this a great episode if it weren't for the horrible Randy scenes. As it stands, I would call this a must-see episode... but can't in good conscience rate it any higher than 3.5 stars.
And the first half of this season's run lands firmly in the mediocre category. I'd like to think they've set the stage for a great follow-up, but since even the creators aren't sure what's going to happen at this point (as per the Daily Show interview) I'm not getting my hopes up.