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South Park 20.2 Review – “Skank Hunt”

September 22, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
5.5
The 411 Rating
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South Park 20.2 Review – “Skank Hunt”  

South Park took a dark turn this week. The focus moved away from the election and shined squarely on the perils of the Internet.

“Skank Hunt” showed just how serious Internet trolling can be and how far people are willing to take it. As much as I appreciate the humor of Matt and Trey, as someone who deals with depression and has been where Scott Malkinson was in this episode, I had trouble finding a whole lot to laugh at in this episode. I’m on Twitter, I understand that people say things to get a rise out of others, but many have trouble separating the Internet from real life. Words and personal attacks hurt, sometimes far worse than a punch to the face.

It’s possible that Matt and Trey were just making fun of celebrities who threaten to quit Twitter after someone says something mean. Mr. Mackey’s annoyances with Scott and his persistent, “I’m gonna quit Twitter” claims, and his overall lack of sympathy were a bit troubling. I think his actions were meant to give the impression of “we’re making fun of celebrities who threaten to quit Twitter,” but given the tone of the episode, it felt very careless.

Heidi, who quit Twitter after being endlessly trolled, and Scott, who was giving serious thoughts to quitting Twitter, represented many youth around the world. While South Park made light of the situation, the message had an impact. What you say online has a real impact on people that goes beyond quitting social media.

Gerald and his skankhunt42 Twitter account were front and center in this episode. He has not only scared people into quitting social media, but he’s divided the boys and girls at the school. Last week, Cartman did his best to prevent the gender war that he felt was inevitable, even if his tactics weren’t exactly ideal. His talk of prevention fell on deaf ears, and this week, the gender war began.

Cartman paid the ultimate price as the boys destroyed his electronics to prevent him from trolling. Unfortunately, their efforts meant nothing as the trolling continued despite Eric’s lack of social media connection. Now, the boys have pissed off their best ally (Please tell me who is better equipped to expose an online troll than Eric Cartman), ruined their relationship with the girls, and are no closer to solving the trolling mystery.

As if there’s a mystery to solve. Finding one troll and putting an end to him or her doesn’t stop the other million. And while Stan doesn’t seem to learn things at the end of the day anymore, if he did, I’m sure that’s what he learned today. They were wrong about Cartman, but even if they stopped Cartman, they can’t stop the Internet.

Some quit or threatened to quit Twitter amidst the trolling, but Denmark plans on standing up to the troll. That rarely ends well for the individual trying to be the bigger person. As noted by a random black lady earlier in the episode when trying to console her co-worker who was upset at being trolled, “Don’t let him get to you. He obviously has nothing better to do. Just let him wallow in his own misery.” It’s simple advice, advice that can be tough to adhere to if you take things to heart, but it’s the best advice one can give when dealing with a troll.

While the episode had dark undertones, the emotion certainly felt real. Cartman just wanted to hang out with his friends and play video games. In the end, he suffered the ultimate price. While Cartman vs. Everyone has been done to death, it’s rarely been Cartman who has been wronged. It’s an interesting twist on a tried and true plot and it finally made you feel a little bad for Eric Cartman.

The final scene with all the girls breaking up with the boys was sad. I have my doubts that seemingly every boy in school had a girlfriend, but I admit to being a little sad when Wendy handed her note to Stan. Sure, they’ve broken up before and their relationship seems pretty on and off at times. But it’s Wendy and Stan. They’re like Cory and Topanga or Zack and Kelly. It just goes to show that in the world of Internet trolling, the only winner is the troll.

Random Thoughts

*Gerald’s face during the “Is My Child A Troll?” meeting. It felt almost Dexter-ish. The perpetrator hiding in plain sight as those around him talk about his actions.

*The birds flying over the bridge after Heidi off’d her Twitter account was a nice touch.

*Really enjoyed the music selection in this episode. “Steal My Sunshine” is underrated.

*”Where’s the box? We gotta unplug it and plug it back in.” If I had a dollar for every time I had to do that at my parent’s house, which may as well be a cabin in the woods.

5.5
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
This episode couldn't seem to make up its mind. "Are we really going to do a serious episode about Internet trolling and the potential of suicide or are we going to lightly make fun of Internet trolling and people who take it too serious?" With the episode stuck in the middle, the laughs were few and far between.
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