South Park “You’re Not Yelping” Review
Season 19, Episode 4
Everybody’s a critic.
Last season, “South Park” had a running theme of going after … let’s call them Silicon Valley problems. Or at least, problems that skewed very tech heavy — the season skewed a bit away from the general populace, and spoke directly toward the show’s young and tech savvy audience. It was an odd selection of ideas to skewer and lampoon.
This week fit in quite well with that theme, and actually probably would have made more sense last season, or even a few years ago. Yelp? Since when has Yelp really been a hot-button topic worthy of discussion? Is Yelp really something worthy of an entire episode of “South Park?”
I don’t want to sit here and say that I don’t think “South Park” can pull off light, fun, and untimely episodes, because that’s not true. Some of the shows best efforts are when the kids are simply acting like little kids. But Yelp…really? We’re going to dedicate an entire episode to Yelp? I guess so. This was one of the episode where SP just points out that something is silly, but never says anything else about it. Yelp is silly. We get it. It isn’t fodder for an entire episode.
The show started with Randy and Gerald going to a restaurant and getting special treatment, because, you know, Gerald is a Yelp reviewer. Gerald got probably the best stick in the lot this week, with his pipe-smoking and quite wordy descriptions of eating experiences being a decent bit for him. Cartman, of course, is doing the same thing, and abusing the “status” that comes with being able to share every thought at the click of a button.
The show also introduced us to a new character, David, who Cartman racially mocked by using his Yelp-power (just in case anybody was worried totally PC South Park was the norm, I guess). Everything mostly stayed focused on Cartman, to mixed effect (his poop-consistency jokes were solid, but the repeated Mexican bicycle joke was old the first time he told it).
Whistlin’ Willy was the first restaurant owner to take a stand, and kicked out all the Yelpers, causing Cartman to unite them, and uhh, behead Whistling’ Willy. The terrorist comparison really seemed forced, and the show attempted to dig it out for a few more jokes, but that idea never really landed, made sense, or worked.
Then, in order to quell the ongoing Yelp revolt, Kyle, David, and the Mayor decided to give each Yelp reviewer a gold badge to help them feel special, and the restaurant decided to…well,snot and cum in all Yelp reviewer’s food. The ending song segment was pretty good, and probably the best part of the entire episode. It almost justified the entire premise, weak as it was, and there’s just something about a catchy song about boogers and cum that only SP can pull off.
I do wonder though if they built this episode backwards, and started with the song idea and then built everything else up around it. The middle act especially was pretty messy, and it sees that most of the focus went to finding a way to get to the ending song. There was so much opportunity here: talking about the role of criticism, the chance to mock critics of the show, or even to draw comparison between real critics and Yelpers, but the show opted instead for a superficial splattering of events that instead all built to one – albeit strong – ending joke.
Somewhere in “You’re Not Yelping” there is the idea that perhaps everybody isn’t really special, and that Yelp actually causes more damage than it does good, but it’s hidden in a pretty lackluster 20 minutes just poking fun at the whole idea in general. Well, and boogers and cum.
Notes & Quotes:
-Oh God, now everybody thinks they’re a food critic
-The Yelp critic tee shirt was pretty funny
-Same with the “we don’t care if you’re a food blogger” banner. The visual jokes were stroke this week.
– Cartman complaining about the food giving him solid poops, not watery at all, was a great bit
-I wonder if David and Wendy’s new friend are sticking around
-Also a little weird that the show focused on Yelp reviewers, not the company or its existence in the first place.
– Officer Harrison also gets caught up in this, though he was mostly retreading ground that Cartman and Gerald already did, with a personality specific bits.