*This review has spoilers*
I was going to give Matt Stone and Trey Parker a pass for the shit-fest (literally and figuratively) that was the mid-season finale, ‘You’re Getting Old.’ It’s no surprise that the creativity flow will ebb at some points throughout 14 years, 15 seasons, and 216 episodes. It’s also understandable that, at the time, the duo was busy winning a number of Tony Awards with a combined metal value to surpass the net worth of a third world country.
‘You’re Getting Old’ was, in my opinion, the least funny episode of South Park ever. It was forced with awkward out-of-character plot movers. (Why exactly was Kyle so eager to eat Cartman’s burger to begin with?) It was so unfunny that critics everywhere suggested that the crappiness was the point, a self-aware marker of the show’s decline. But on June 15, a week after the mid-season finale aired, the guys gave an interview on The Daily Show where they were seemingly oblivious to their show’s slip into suckitude.
“Ass Burgers” brought in the second half of the season with a Matrix parody that about 12 years too late. The brunt of satire in this episode was the autism-vaccine debate, but again, they were about a year late.
The next episode Ryan McGhee of The A.V. Club graded a B+, stating, “‘The Last of the Meheecans’ isn’t really about immigration reform so much as its about the narcissistic viewpoint that America must be, as a point of irrefutable fact, the best place in the world to live.” Ok, that’s great except that it’s stating the obvious. Which is not what good satire should be doing.
‘Bass To Mouth’s’ only memorable joke was presented in the title. When laxatives are being hidden in food as a plot device, you know your writers need help. If you’ve seen Catatafish’s monolgue, you’ve seen everything worth seeing about this episode, which tackled the dual subjects of Wikileaks and student suicide, the latter of which is harder to make a good joke out of than a school bus fire.
With all the filler, like the random kid who for some reason now owns Lemmiwinks, the throwback to a classic episode ended up as tepid as the 200th episode throwback to everything. I did, however, enjoy the parody of the Goblin song from the 1977 Hobbit animated movie, if anyone else was nerdy enough to catch that reference.
The sixth episode, ‘Broadway Bro Down’ made me think this season was just a blow-job with teeth that never ended. There was an opportunity to insert some self-deprecating humor if Stan had crashed, let’s say The Book of Mormon. Parker and Stone didn’t take the obvious shot at themselves.
And finally, ‘1%.’ I’ve been waiting a couple months for them to tackle OWS, and… meh. Occupied bathroom puns is all you have?
When supervising producer of the show, Frank Agnone, was asked for the recent October 9, 2011 documentary about South Park, “Do you have concerns about their creative energy?” he stared at the sky for a second contemplatively. “Well…” and then he laughed.
It’s not that they’ve angered my liberal sensibilities. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I love angering politically correct sensibilities as much as I love throwing hippie babies into the sky so they can touch their dreams. It’s that South Park simply hasn’t been very funny lately.
I’m not exactly sure what the show needs to revive itself. (Unfortunately, pot-smoking koala has already been taken by another show.) But they need to not reference to things that happened a year ago that no one cares about anymore. I’m looking at you, broken musical Spiderman.
I’m sure someone—the same type of person who has the amusement baseline of a 12-year-old—is going to be boring enough to comment, “It’s a condition called being cynical asshole.” Yes, I have a condition. I think the only treatment for it is fresh writers.