10 Thoughts on South Park – You’re Not Yelping

After a blackout week, South Park has returned. All of a sudden, basically everyone in town has become a Yelp reviewer, which they think gives them some sort of important status. Cartman, as he does, takes it to the very extreme, using his status as a Yelp reviewer to get free food and basically hold the restaurant owners of the town hostage. The episode continued the continuity that has been a staple of the last couple seasons. People have started Yelping because there are a whole bunch of new restaurants in town because of SoDoSoPa and Shi Pa Town. And the results are… uhh…

Here are some thoughts.

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1. Why are we doing a Yelp spoof all of a sudden?

Yelp has been around for a long time. And yes, it’s been discussed that Yelp reviewers are unusually smug and annoying. But this isn’t exactly a new development. Yelp reviewers have been being irritating for years. With all the crazy things going on in the world right now, you’d think Parker and Stone would be able to come up with something a little more timely. The main theme was a head scratcher for sure.

2. Cartman’s relationship with David

David (pronounced DA-veed) is the son of Mexican restaurant owners (although he makes it clear he’s from Boise, Idaho). Cartman takes special glee in saying offensive things to David and threatening him with bad reviews if he doesn’t do everything he says. It’s a dynamic we’ve seen before, but this time there was an undercurrent of racism which is not unusual for Cartman. His glee at torturing this new character was fun at first, but the fifth time Cartman said “Do you ride to school on your tiny bicecleta?”, it had lost any of it’s humor. I was also surprised they introduced a Mexican character without discussing immigration issues. Seems like a missed opportunity.

3. Too many spoofs at once

Is Yelping like being a serious novelist? Or is it like being a cop who just cares too damn much? Both, apparently. Jerry and Officer Yates both buckle down as Yelp reviewers who are intent on giving the very best reviews they can. Usually when Parker and Stone are ridiculing a practice on their show, they liken it to something else to heighten the ridiculousness. Think of PC culture being compared to frats at the beginning of this season. When done correctly, it’s a sight to behold and very effective. But doing two in one episode (neither of which were very insightful) muddied the waters and made it difficult to latch onto anything.

4. Watching Cartman lose his power is always fun

After Whistlin’ Pete loses his cool at all the Yelp reviewers in town, every restaurant follows along and bans Yelpers from their businesses. Watching Cartman realize he has no power was a joy, especially when his insults towards David got less and less certain as he realized they would have no effect.

5. The scene with Officer Yates was already done

There’s a scene where Officer Yates’ wife tries to comfort him and tell him that his Yelping is a good thing and that he’s helping his town. It mirrors almost exactly a scene from a couple seasons ago when he was questioning whether he should be putting black men behind bars for crimes white men did. It was a lot funnier then, too. It packed much more of a wallop because that’s actually something that happens and it’s horrifying. Joking about it is cathartic. This time it was just silly.

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6. ISIS?

Near the end of the episode, the Yelpers decide to team up and basically destroy the entire town and it’s restaurants. Footage of ISIS troops are intercut throughout the scene, making the comparison between Yelp reviewers and the extreme militant Islamic terrorist organization. Seems a little bit harsh. And I feel like there could be a lot better ways to include ISIS in the show’s satire. Making the connection between them and Yelp reviewers seems odd. There is a really good joke, however, about Whistlin’ Pete being “beheaded.” 

7. Is David’s family going to be the new family on the show?

At the end of the episode, we see David and his family standing in front of their restaurant, and we see that it’s called “Nueva Familia,” which means, obviously, “new family” in Spanish. Perhaps this is a hint that this family is going to be a staple of the show from now on. It’s a good idea. There isn’t much of a Hispanic presence on the show and it would be good to remedy that.

8. The casual racism is effective

Cartman taunting David about his name and how he talks is a perfect example of micro aggressions at work. The show seems to make a point of Cartman’s dickish-ness towards David, and even later of Kyle making the assumption that David is from Mexico (he’s not, as stated above). It’s good to see the show recognizing that talking to people this way and making assumptions is dehumanizing. And Cartman is the greatest dehumanizer of them all.

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9. Ike as a clown

It’s one shot and last about ten seconds. But holy god, Ike in a clown costume is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

10. Boogers and Cum

The episode as a whole was “meh,” but it was totally redeemed by a song at the end called “Boogers and Cum,” which had fed-up (no pun intended) restauranteurs cumming and spreading boogers all over the Yelpers food. It was one half disgusting, one half hilarious. It was a perfect note for the episode to end on. It’s not surprising, considering South Park always excels when music is introduced.

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