South Park took a jab at itself this week when Kyle delivered one of his trademark and pragmatic speeches to the town. He said their behavior this season wasn’t them. When there was a problem in the town they used to fix it – referencing the old style of half-hour standalone episodes – but now they just sit back and let things happen and expect it to resolve itself. They decided enough was enough and finally put a plan into action to stop Denmark (and ultimately move this story along). It was a clever scene that I’m sure Trey Parker and Matt Stone directed towards the critics of the shows new format but it still didn’t make up for the fact that this season has been a jumbled mess.
Kyle’s plan to stop Troll Trace and keep the world at peace was to convince Mr. Garrison to essentially “grow a pair” and bomb Denmark. The only way they were going to have a chance at doing this, though, was by getting someone we haven’t seen in a long time. That’s right, Mr. Slave. It was a hilarious conversation that consisted of him insulting Mr. Garrison and challenging his manhood by basically saying he’s too much of a bitch to go through with it. When Kyle and Ike figured out their dad was in Denmark, they used the same tactic to keep him from going through with the bombing. This was a not so subtle knock on Donald Trump for his history of not taking criticism well and was the only scene that was worth a laugh.
The story this season has become so drawn out and tiresome that even the big reveal of Bedrager, the leader of Troll Trace, actually being a troll himself had little effect. It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t shocking. I’m not saying I predicted it, but in hindsight, it’s exactly what you’d expect from this season. It rendered no reaction and a new piece has been added to an already cluttered and disjointed story. At this point, Parker and Stone are filling space until they can get to the next episode. For example, they used airtime to move Gerald and the other trolls from one room to another and then to another (multiple scenes) just to rickroll them again (are we done with the nearly 10-year-old joke yet?).
And of course, Cartman’s subplot continued its painful and pointless run. Seriously, If I hear him say the word “smart” or “funny” one more time… We have spent most of the season focused on a character who has done absolutely nothing. Cartman is one of the best characters and he has been relegated to a role best suited for someone like Nathan. He has basically spent the entire season sitting in a park, sitting in a restaurant, or sitting in the SpaceX lab, and they squandered a potentially hilarious subplot of him having a girlfriend. Can you tell I just want it to be over?
Last week I defended South Park by saying I trusted what they’ll do in the final two episodes. I thought for sure the show would wrap this up in a clever and satisfying way, but this episode now has me thinking otherwise. I just don’t see how the show can neatly end this in a funny way. Between the trolling, boys vs. girls’ feud, Member Berries, JJ Abrams, Hillary Clinton, the escape to Mars, and whatever else I’m missing, they’ve just done too much. What’s worse is I fear they will just conclude everything in a lazy and uncreative way. Hopefully, I’m proven wrong.