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South Park 20.7 Review – “The Very First Gentleman”

November 10, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
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South Park 20.7 Review – “The Very First Gentleman”  

When a major event happens like it did last night with the election of Donald Trump, I often wonder just quickly South Park is able to turn things around. Trump’s victory wasn’t official until roughly 3AM last night when Hillary conceded, but his victory looked very likely around 10PM. That still gave Matt and Trey less than 24 hours to put everything together. Did they do two versions of the show or did they actually put the majority of this episode together in less than 24 hours? Either way, no matter how you feel about the show, you have to give their team a lot of credit for piecing everything together in a timely manner and having it make sense with the entire season.

When South Park did singular episodes and not serial seasons, it was much easier for them to do episodes like this. But with serial seasons comes coherent storylines and when something big and topical happens (few things are bigger than the election, especially this election), fitting that into a story that has already been mapped out can be tough. That’s why, even though the laughs may not be as frequent as they used to be, South Park has remained culturally relevant for 20 seasons.

As much as South Park has distanced itself from the election during this season and kept the focus on internet trolling, they couldn’t avoid what happened last night. Trump won. It had to be mentioned. Not only did it have to be mentioned, but it had to be a pretty big story.

And it was, although how it fits with the rest of the story remains to be seen. Garrison looked shocked and confused as he gave his victory speech, a far cry from the confident Trump early Wednesday morning. The member berries stuff was scaled back and we still don’t know where they were going and why they wanted to kill one of their own. I think the member berries could have been a good device throughout the season. A representation of drugs that help you forget about all of the stuff that is going on today and makes you remember a simpler, better time. But South Park has backed itself into a corner by giving the member berries more personality and fitting J.J. Abrams into the picture as well. I still think they’re solidly in that corner and I’m interested in seeing how they escape.

The focus wasn’t so much on Trump winning as it was Hillary losing. She’s mad. She’s pissed. Bill Clinton says as much. The Bill Cosby stuff felt a little forced and definitely something that they came up with at the last minute, but Clinton explaining that his wife is now the most pissed off woman in America, when a big part of this season, especially early, has been about women feeling scorned, was a nice touch. This probably would have worked better if Trump didn’t win the white female vote, but if Hillary aligns herself with minority females in her efforts to burn the country to the ground because she’s not in charge, then I’ll forgive the show.

The trolls getting trolled in order to stop trolling was a nice twist, and if the payoff to the trolling story is a Rick Roll, I’m ok with it. It may seem anti-climatic, but it’s fitting.

The season has been dominated by the adults, but the two kids who continue to get screen time are Cartman and Butters, which makes sense because they’ve been the best two characters throughout the history of the show. Butters is still fighting for his cause, but we learn that he’s really just a sad boy who got his heart broke and this is how he’s dealing with it. It makes sense. When the Raisins dancer broke up with Butters, he didn’t cry about it like, “a faggy goth kid,” he was happy to feel something and moved on. His relationship with Charlotte was a bit more serious than his one with Lexus, which explains his anger and his need to do something about it rather than sitting around.

Butters lashing out at Cartman was one of the better scenes of the season. When it comes to relationships, no two characters have a more up and down relationship than Cartman and Butters. And while you may think that Cartman always gets the better of Butters and this was just a lot of pent up anger and aggression, the truth is that Butters has done his fair share of humiliating of Cartman. Butters isn’t afraid of Cartman, and definitely isn’t afraid to put him in his place. Tonight’s scene re-confirmed that.

Cartman running from his problem is totally a Cartman move, but I have a feeling that it won’t quite work out for him.

Random Thoughts and Quotes

*South Park got away with an unbleeped “Fucking” right off the bat. TRUMPS AMERICA!

*”Everyone in Fort Collins who was married, is now divorced.”

*”Or me from Family Guy.”

*”Miller. Von Miller.”

*If we learned nothing else in the episode, we learned that pressing your penis against the window is called “smushing snake” or “pickle pressing.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
On the heels of the election, South Park had their work cut out for them, but I thought they handled everything as you would expect South Park to handle these things. There are still holes in the story, but they were able to tie a few things together, and with three episodes left, still have room to grow the story before wrapping it all up.