South Park “Grounded Vindaloop” Review
Season 18, Episode 7
Gulp. Well. That just happened. And just when it looked like season 18 couldn’t sink any lower.
Apparently even when “South Park” doesn’t have much to say, it can still find a way to say nothing for a whole episode. Cartman tricks Butters by making him think his cardboard Oculus Rift sends him into a virtual world, but really Butters is in a virtual world or maybe all of the boys are or maybe the show just took the best idea it had (and it wasn’t a very good one) and just ran with it as long and far as possible.
What resulted was what happens when “South Park” finds one joke and then decides to do it over and over again and stretch it out over the course of 20 some odd minutes and then what happens when “South Park” finds one joke and then decides to do it over and over again and stretch it out over the course of 20 some odd minutes and see isn’t that just really annoying?
Yup. What may have started as a “Total Recall” or Oculus Rift parody comes out the other end of the show’s quick turnaround time as a weak, repetitive, and lazy effort to stretch a thin premise into an entire episode.
Someone pointed out to me a few episodes ago that the show has been picking very “first world” problems to get into this season, and there’s an argument to be made there. Oculus? “South Park’s” main audience segment has probably heard of it, but is it something that a lot of people are talking about? Not really. I’d wager most people still don’t have a clue what Oculus is.
The same could be said for Uber and Lyft. Ride sharing is a problem in big cities and large areas, but there’s a lot of people in the country who probably haven’t heard of them either. I’m not saying “South Park” has to water down its appeal or pander to the lowest common denominator, but there needs to be some relevancy to what it picks each week. Especially with its new and shorter once-a-year run.
There were some good moments – Steve’s dedication to hearing that he had done a good job, and everybody eventually thinking someone else was in on the joke and giving their big drawn out “Fuck you’s,” but that’s not enough to anchor an entire episode on. And an Indian customer service joke is pretty much shooting fish-in-a-barrel at this point.
At the end it turns out that Stan was the one who had the headset on the whole time, not that any of it really mattered. I don’t hate this episode quite as much as I feel like I should – maybe because it does somewhat succeed in creating the mind loop that it was going for – but unlike other shows or movies where the loop matters, here it just really didn’t. It never mattered what was real or what was virtual, giving us another weak and mostly forgettable episode.
Notes and quotes:
-Not a lot here this week. The show had small chuckles sprinkled throughout, but not much worth noting.
-The show seems really keen on the Cartman/Butters pairing this season
-He doesn’t care, I can continue!
-Little real Butters at the end was kind of cute, I guess.