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South Park 10.29.08: Pandemic 2 – The Startling

October 29, 2008 | Posted by DC Perry

Time for a break from campaign commercials and postponed World Series rain-outs for some South Park. But first, a long-ass Fallout 3 commercial. I’m getting pretty tired of these every week. Oh well. On to Pandemic, part 2 – the Startling.

Craig is kind enough to recap last week’s episode for us. He is not happy. Who would be? He lost his birthday money and got stranded in the Andes. Evil Robert Picardo locked up the Pan Flute Bands and sent the boys on a wild goose chase, since without the Peruvian Pan Flute Bands, the only one who can stop the rampaging giant guinea pigs who are destroying every city on the planet is . . .Craig. Seriously. Just roll with it.

Randy still has his camcorder, and he’s still being Randy with it. The disgustingly cute threat of the constantly changing guinea monsters (guinea bees, guinea mice, guinea rabbits, and, most terrifyingly adorable of all, Guineasaurus Rex) keeps the swinging, wobbly camera jerks surprising and funny, for a while at least. Randy careens through the disaster in full tourist mode (“Put your hand out so it looks like you’re holding Guineasaurus Rex in your hand, Shelly!”), looking for the best camera angle and pissing off Sharon. Just when it seems like Matt and Trey have wrung every ounce out of this joke, they squeeze a little more out right at the end – he forgot the film. That’s our Randy!

Back in Peru, the boys and their soon-to-be-eaten helicopter pilots stumble upon a Land of the Lost style valley of giant crap. Turns out everything from the secret hidden Guinea Valley in Peru grows gigantic and looks like a guinea pig in a costume. They stumble on a hidden temple, and everyone’s ready to go in and explore. Well, except Craig. He’s out. Totally out. Even after they find Craig’s image carved into hieroglyphics that suggest he’ll save the world from giant guinea pigs, he doesn’t care. I like Craig. He wants things nice and boring, and he’s quick to point out when people are borrowing trouble. Weird underground Mayan temple? Craig could give a shit. This, naturally, leads Craig directly to Mach Picchu, where Evil Robert Picardo has come to gloat over his victory and to piss on the Mayan prophecy of Craig. He’s released the guinea critters on the world and killed the Pan Flute Bands, and he won’t let Craig stand in his way. Evil Robert Picardo cannot be stopped; he is, in fact, the world’s most horrifying monster – a guinea pirate! Craig, again, could give a shit. He’s walking again, which makes him stumble onto the magical stone that makes lightning shoot out of his eyes and stop the Evil Robert Picardo Guinea Pirate. The end. Or is it? Cue the giant guinea pirate prison break. Dun dun DUUUUN!

This was a weird pair of episodes, and for South Park, that’s saying something. They got some riffs in on Cloverfield, but it was kind of a one-note joke; still, they made what they could out of it. The Peruvian Pan Flute Bands came out of nowhere, unless there’s some kind of rash of them lately that I don’t know about. Craig letting the air out of the usual “Crazy Crap Just Happens to Us” formula was fantastic through both parts. Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are absolutely perplexed by Craig’s notion that you can just walk away from things. He’ll go back to doing his own thing after this and be perfectly happy with his boring life, but for at least one episode, Craig got to shine for something besides random flip-offs. Best of all for him, he didn’t even have to try.

The 411: Good two-parter, if a little out of left field. Even for South Park, this was a jumbled pile, but overall, it was a funny pile. It's always welcome to see Trey and Matt, who don't pull punches with anyone else, taking a few shots at their own formulas.
Final Score:  7.3   [ Good ]  legend

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