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South Park 20.3 Review – “The Damned”

September 29, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
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South Park 20.3 Review – “The Damned”  

South Park went away from the election last week, choosing to focus solely on “skankhunt42” and online trolling, but with the debates on Monday, you knew that they wouldn’t stay away this week.

They didn’t even get into the debate, though. At least not in much detail. Garrison comes out and flatly says, “I have no clue what I’m doing. Don’t vote for me.” And of course people eat that up. Hilary, as she’s told to do, calls him a liar, only hurting her own case. That right there is the story of the election. I watched the debate. Trump talked a lot about business and trade, but didn’t seem to have a real plan when it came to, well, anything. We’ve all seen his speeches. Whether he’s making fun of disabled people or bragging about not paying taxes, the guy doesn’t have many redeeming qualities. It’s hard to fathom anyone voting for Trump, yet here we are. People are going to vote for him. A lot of people, actually. And for what reason? Because he speaks like the everyman and hasn’t been clouded by years of politics like Hilary. It’s not that Trump is a good candidate, it’s just that Trump isn’t Hilary. And the opposite is true as well. Hilary isn’t a great candidate, but she’s not Trump. Again, we’re getting a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwhich.

Garrison’s self-reflection and conscious is something that Trump lacks. Garrison knows he would make a terrible President, and he does his best to communicate this with everyone, but it simply doesn’t matter. And maybe it’d work the same in real life. If Trump actually came out and said, “I have no clue what I’m doing.” Would it matter to Trump supporters? I’m honestly not sure it would. His honesty might be endearing to people and flip those like Randy, who now looks at him as a human person with real emotions and not a robot who parrots what she is told.

Despite the big debate, “The Damned” didn’t focus too much on the election, and I believe that is for two reasons. First, we’re still just over a month away from election day and it feels like they have more bullets left in their election chamber. They don’t want to use up all their ammunition just yet. But, perhaps more importantly, how can they really turn this election into comedy when it’s already the funniest and saddest thing going on in America? The election is so over the top unintentionally funny that’s it’s nearly impossible for a comedian or comedic show to make it funnier. They can point out the obvious hilarities, which they’re doing, but expanding on them is no simple task.

That’s why South Park has chosen to continue to focus on the large scope of social media and trolling.

Last week, things got dark, with a social media homicide and suicide due to trolling. This week, things got really dark, with an actual suicide. The Olympic medalist from Denmark, who threatened to stand up to the troll, couldn’t take it anymore. Gerald laughed as his trolling made national news once again, but his laughter quickly turned into fear following the news of the suicide.

Gerald realizing the consequences of his actions was something that I hope all trolls come to realize, but long before the consequences reach the levels they reached tonight. As I said last week, people don’t understand just how serious others take online interactions. South Park makes it lighthearted, but they towed no line this week. Gerald destroys any evidence that may link back to him, which he hopes serves the purpose of not getting caught, but also serves the purpose of eliminating his trolling. It shouldn’t have to reach the levels that it reaches for trolls to stop, but unfortunately, it does.

The sad thing is, I think a lot of trolls have the same reaction as Gerald. They’re not concerned about not trolling anymore, they’re far more concerned with not getting caught or being linked to something bad happening. His reaction shows that he knows he was doing something hurtful, but it was just fun and games until someone died. Trolls enjoy getting blocked, they welcome a head-to-head battle, and they celebrate if you delete your account. But take it to the extreme and that’s when they realize that they’ve been doing something wrong the whole time.

Cartman and Heidi have found a real life friendship without their online existence. Hey, you can learn a lot of someone if you sit down and have an actual conversation with them instead of staring at your phone and believing that everything is all sunshine and sparkles based on their social media posts. A novel concept.

The Cartman and Heidi relationship is interesting because it’s the first time that Cartman has opened up and been humanized. Even in past episodes like “Kenny’s Death” where it looked like Cartman was showing real emotion toward a tragic event, we quickly found out that he just wanted his own Shakey’s Pizza. Typically, Cartman would be out for revenge if all his stuff was broken. But now, he’s just sad that his friends turned their backs on him and forced him off social media. And he’s turned to the only person who understands him. While the rest of the boys found their relationships with girls ending due to the troll, Cartman may have started a new one. For the first time ever, it looks like Cartman might have found a genuine connection. Minus the connection he had with Clyde Frog, of course.

Random Thoughts

*”It’s not the police we have to worry about, it’s Eric.” Typically I’d say that Butters is correct, but might we be seeing a new Eric Cartman?

*”Black Laughs Matter”

*Randy wondering why everything is such crap nowadays. Member “You’re Getting Old”?

*Denmark knows all about trolls.

*”Do you know who I am?” “No, but I want to, dad.”

*The Member Berries are growing on me. The voices are just too cute. And there has to be a point to them.

The final score: review Good
The 411
I was down on last week's episode because it seemed stuck between what it wanted to be and what it actually was. This week, there is no denying what it is. The "skankhunt42" story is actually my favorite thing going on right now, which I never thought I'd say during an election year. "The Damned" was a very focused episode that set up things for the future. While I think the laughs have gotten lighter, the storytelling has never been better.