One of the best things about South Park is its ability to be timely and this was the episode we were all waiting for. We have all come to love the show for its weekly production schedule and quick turnaround which has produced classic episodes like “About Last Night”. Everyone was expecting another great episode following the 2016 election no matter the results. Unfortunately, it looks like Trey Parker and Matt Stone are still in shock from Donald Trump’s surprising upset and didn’t quite know what to do. They had to retool Wednesday’s episode to reflect the election results and it just didn’t hit the mark.
The 7th episode could have been the defining moment for this season. It could have been the episode that made us forget this relatively humorless season, but instead, we were left with more of the same and no foreseeable hope for the remaining three episodes. Frankly, I am disappointed in the lack of humorous commentary South Park had in this episode. All they did was show various characters upset with the results, something that wasn’t exactly satire.
The only redeeming part of this week’s take on the election was the presence of Bill Clinton and his “Bill Clinton’s Gentlemen’s Club”. This was obviously going to be used if Hillary Clinton had won seeing he would have been the First Gentlemen of the United States, but it was still funny. His club also featured Bill Cosby and together they sang a duet in front of South Park Elementary as “Bill and Bill”. Other than this and Randy’s disdain for Mr. Garrison winning, there wasn’t much about the election. This didn’t feel like a classic South Park post-election show, but instead the same stuff they have been doing all season. This episode didn’t justify this shallow subplot that has plagued the season, and I bet Trey Parker and Matt Stone are regretting ever tackling this topic, to begin with. This was supposed the be the episode that Mr. Garrison’s character peaked and it just didn’t happen.
Fortunately, the episode also focused on Gerald and his continued problems with the Danish. He went back to the bridge, and this time met with Hillary Clinton who had him go undercover into Denmark and steal the Troll Trace technology. Of course, Gerald takes this as an excuse to channel his inner 007. He even worked on his vocal disguises while decked out in a suit spy glasses. When he got there, he was met by the other trolls, who also thought they were being tasked with a James Bond mission, and they quickly realized they had been figured out. Before they could figure out what to do, they all get Rickrolled, the ultimate form of trolling.
This would have been a lot better had there not been the slow buildup that was the previous six episodes. I know this story isn’t over, but one of the highlights of the season was supposed to be the reveal of “Skankhunt” to the Danish and it just didn’t hit. What’s worse is the true fallout is going to be in the following episodes so it will never feel like that big of an event. That’s the downfall of these continued seasons. The jokes aren’t as funny because we never know when the punchline is.
The worst part of it all is the show doesn’t even focus on the kids anymore. All we saw this week were brief scenes of Cartman and Heidi planning to flee to Mars, Stan attempting to amend his relationship with Wendy (with the help of Bill and Bill) and Butters “pressing pickle” throughout the episode. In the form of the worst internet meme to come out of this season: Member when South Park was about the adventures of a group of absurd kids? Member when South Park was good?