10 Thoughts on South Park – Truth and Advertising

And we’re back, finally. I don’t know what it is about this season, but we’re getting black out weeks just about every other week this season. I guess Parker and Stone are getting a little worn out in their old age. Today’s episode was part two in the three part finale of this stellar season. Jimmy falls victim to the wily ways of Leslie, who has been revealed to be a human ad. Randy, Mr. Garrison, Principal Victoria and Caitlyn Jenner are trying to find PC Principal to discover what the hell is going on in South Park. And the boys are trying to uncover the mysterious disappearance of Jimmy and Leslie. It was a real plot-y episode, but it was a good one.

Here are some thoughts.


1. Poor Mr. Mackey is not equipped to run South Park Elementary

The first scene of the episode is Kyle getting called into the Principal’s office. Only it’s not PC Principal waiting for him. It’s Mr. Mackey. Looking crazed and terrified as he shuffles through the papers on his boss’ desk. But PC Principal is awol. No one knows where he is. And Mr. Mackey gives Kyle a sober warning. He didn’t like Jimmy or Leslie. And now they’re gone. And he didn’t like Kyle either…

2. Jimmy’s monologue about ads was so bizarre

After the first scene, we get a montage of live action stock footage over the sound of Jimmy telling us the entire history of advertisements and how they’ve adapted to us every step of the way. It felt very much like the beginning of a cheap Sci-Fi film, with all the cheesy visuals and earnest but bleak overtures about the state of the world. It was very silly.

3. Gentrification has come full circle in South Park

Sitting around the Marsh family dinner table, Randy casually asks him family if they “wanna bail?” Sharon asks him what the hell he’s talking about and he clarifies he wants to bail on South Park. It’s quickly revealed that the upscale, boutique-y atmosphere that Randy was a key player in creating has made it so that real estate in the small mountain town has gotten too expensive. Randy has taken out a second mortgage on the house. It looks like gentrification has come full circle, and now the locals are in danger of being priced out of their town. Oh, the irony.


4. This is the funniest Caitlyn Jenner has been yet

Since she showed up at the beginning of the season, Caitlyn Jenner has been kind of annoying. She hasn’t really done much but run over people with her car. But this episode, when the crew is going into disguise, Garrison insists that Caitlyn puts on a mustache, but she refuses saying it’ll look stupid. Garrison then harangues her about it saying “Really? That’s where you draw the line?” “Okay, okay, God,” she says. “You’re such an asshole.” The whole exchange made me laugh out loud and it was good to see Caitlyn wasn’t just a one note joke.

5. One of the plots is lifted straight from a recent successful Sci-Fi film

Can you guess which one? It’s Jimmy and Leslie’s story. Do you know what movie it mirrors? That’s right, it’s the mind-blowing-ly awesome movie Ex Machina. If you’re not familiar with it, I strongly encourage you to see it. It’s a great movie. And the way it was riffed on here was pretty subtle. If you hadn’t seen the movie, you wouldn’t have been able to pick up on it. The gist of it is that Leslie tricks Jimmy into freeing her by making him think she’s into him, just like in Ex Machina. Then she betrays him.

6. PC Principal is off the grid

He was nowhere to be seen this episode, which makes me think that his appearance in the finale is going to be a huge reveal. As it stands now, it would appear that he’s an innocent bystander in all of this.

7. The ad distraction gag was hilarious

The boys kept going online to try and figure out what happened to Jimmy and Leslie. But every time they did, they got distracted by pop-up ads and ended up getting so distracted they went out for ice cream, or to try on shoes and eat fried chicken. Later, the same thing happens to Randy and his crew. It was a great running gag throughout the episode and acknowledges how easily distracted we are these days.

8. The writing on this episode was really good, but not very funny

At the end of the day, it did feel like a penultimate episode. It’s mostly there to set up the last installment. So the plotting was great. It was very tight and thorough and the dialogue felt realistic and true to character. There wasn’t a whole lot of really solid humor, however. Sure, there were moments here and there when I laughed out loud, but mostly I was just enjoying being told a pretty good story. I have a feeling the finale is going to be quite the blowout.


9. The PC Bros are on “hunger strike”

Because their safe space was violated? I think? And, oh, by “hunger strike,” they mean they haven’t eaten pussy for two days. What a group of champions.

10. Kyle is in trouble

Leslie has put her sights on Kyle. She’s taking advantage of his newfound distrust of Stan and is using it for her own diabolical ends. Whatever those might be, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

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