South Park is a rude, crude, violent, satirical cartoon. As if that weren’t enough, it’s frickin’ brilliant.
I’m bad at catching TV shows on TV. I usually just wait until they’re posted online (now that the networks and cable stations have started making everything available on the internets for a limited time before DVD sales commence) and watch them at my liesure. South Park is one show I’ve been lax about keeping up with over the years, so I’ve recently been taking advantage of the fact that the entire series is available for perusal at the South Park Studios web site.
The more I watch it, the more I have to appreciate how good the show’s mockery is. Through the unrealistically convoluted adventures of the kids and their co-denizens of South Park, the show’s creators do a fantastic job of boiling the objects of their mockery down to their basic elements. Although these summaries and presentations aren’t appropriate for kids (or, sometimes, for anyone at all), the writers display the kind of paraphrasing skills teachers encourage their students to use to avoid plagiarism in essays. Many of the episodes are keyed to current and recent events. Many of the episodes cover very controversial topics. Many of the episodes are bold social commentary disguised as crude humor.
Take, for example, an episode I watched last night called “The Entity,” which originally aired on November 21, 2001. This was, as you’re probably aware, shortly after the World Trade Center was bowled over by hijacked airplanes. Airline travel security had just been tightened to extremes. In the South Park episode, Mr. Garrison decided he was done dealing with the ridiculous amount of time it took to get through security. He therefore invented a new mode of transportation designed to rival the speed of flight. As part of its normal functioning, this mode of transportation simulated the driver being taken from behind while simultaneously giving a blow job to someone and jacking off two more guys. Everyone who tried it was disturbed by how uncomfortable and violating the machine was… but they still felt it was better than going through the airport security hijinks.
Nutshell message for the episode: These heightened airport security measures are ridiculous. The show said it much more eloquently than that, though. It’s all about the Flexi-Rods.