There are some topics that “South ParK” has hit several times, to the point where I wasn’t even sure why the show was deciding to tackle immigration again. It’s said quite a lot about it already, and it initially seemed like a well that the show had essentially run dry. But, in true South Park-ian fashion, Matt and Trey ended up taking an old idea and twisting it in such a way to surprisingly pull the whole thing off.
It also looks like “South Park” is sticking to its attempted serialization from last season. The show kicked off with President Obama inviting Kyle to the White House to recognize his brave speech about Caitlyn Jenner last week. This — for some reason — sets off Garrison, who is sick of the flux of immigrants in South Park of late.
Immigration is something the show has done ad nauseam- but this time it attempted to frame it in terms of Canadians crossing into America. PC Principal is also still around – and mandated that all teachers take Canadian language night lessons, which led to a decently funny bit about the Canadian alphabet (I wonder if there’s anything the show has skewered as much as Canada at this point).
Garrison’s immigrant problem is actually a pretty deep cut for the show (He used to bring it up every Christmas), and it at first seemed like he was the show’s stand in for Donald Trump, especially as Garrison’s anti-immigration rants started to gain him support at political rallies. It made me wonder why the show wasn’t just actually using Trump. I soon found out!
In the first little twist, Canada builds a wall before South Park can, and Garrison gets bit by the Cartman-land bug. What’s on the other side of the wall? It must be awesome! We must have it!
Meanwhile, the boys are trying to placate the Canadians, and came to the conclusion that one of them had to date (and probably have sex with!) a Canadian girl. Of course, this falls to Butters, who while eating dinner at his new girlfriend’s house learned that the Canadians didn’t actually want to move to America…and were running from something. Dum dum dum! Then the actual happened: Trump was recently elected president of Canada and everybody was fleeing the country.
It was a great twist, and the rational behind it — with Trump having just been elected in Canada because nobody was paying attention to the election — was great. It really made the whole episode work, and really felt more like classic South Park, where most of the episode was spent waiting to see what the big, extreme take on an event was going to be. This was another good pulling together of an episode for the show.
The interesting thing about this episode — and the shift toward “South Park” serializing itself — is that instead of building a joke up (and running it into the ground) over the course of one episode, it now is sprinkling the same ideas across a few. Last week we got Cosby jokes, and we got more this week, and even Jenner was brought back from last week’s initial mentions.
On the one hand, it’s a bit more how people actually communicate in real life, and I suppose it is one way for the show to try to spruce itself up and not become a one-issue attack each week. But it also means that the show needs to come up with a bit more material; spreading a joke out over one episode was already running it thin, and if they try to do the same thing here I’m a tad nervous about the longevity some of them will hold over the course of the season. Randy as Lorde was run so far into the ground last year, and I don’t want to see the show fall victim to the same trap again.
Much like last week, this wasn’t a perfect episode of “South Park.” The buildup wasn’t quite all there, but the end-game Trump reveal really did pull everything toether quite well. It reminds me of the old, classic South Park escalation throughout an episode, and it’s something that’s really working to help them pace out episodes and land on their feet. The Trump-Canada switch was a really smart move, and sold the premise of the whole thing.
And as for resolution? Garrison found Trump … and fucked him to death. So, while some things change in South Park, others always stay the same.
Notes and quotes:
-Oh man, the show’s personification of Caitlin Jenner.
-Did you forget that at 8:11 all Canadians face East and play Chuck Mangione?
-lol the boys being sick of Kyle’s speeches.
-“Is he seriously giving a speech right now?”
-Fuck them all to death
-OK, you just want a race war?
-Nobody cares about 40 years from now when she suddnly changes her mind
-LOL, maple fever
-In Canada, we call a slow Cosby…love.”
-I’m SO team Butters actually having a girlfriend
-Trump’s dance was great.