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South Park 22.01 Review – “Dead Kids”

September 27, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
South Park - Dead Kids
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South Park 22.01 Review – “Dead Kids”  

There was a lot to unpack in the new episode of South Park.

Really, Cartman didn’t like Black Panther?

Alright, that was probably a given with Cartman’s, and the show’s, contrarian attitude. Having recently seen Black Panther myself — yes, I just saw it last week. Sue me — I enjoyed the film, but I can see the complaints surrounding it. First of all, it was very Lion King. You’re lying, king, if you didn’t notice the parallels. Many movies take from other films, but let’s not just ignore it. It doesn’t make Black Panther any worse, but let’s call it like it is.

Token disliking the film was, well, predictable. Again, given the show’s contrarian attitude, having Token play the role of “black kid afraid to speak up and point out the flaws in Black Panther could be seen coming a mile away. Even Cartman cosplaying as Jessica Jones didn’t work. And I typically love when Cartman cosplays as well-known television characters.

Honestly, the whole story felt dated. Black Panther is on Netflix. Do you know how long a movie has to be out of the theaters before it hits Netflix? I don’t have an exact answer, but I know that it takes films seemingly forever before they release on Netflix. We’ve all moved past Black Panther and we’re talking about Affinity War or the upcoming Joker film. For a show that is usually not out-dated with their references, the Black Panther talk was a miss.

And then there’s the school shootings. Maybe I should have led with that, since it would seemingly be the most important topic, but was it?

Truth is, I’m still trying to unpack it.

There is two ways to look at the nonchalant attitude everyone except Sharon — tangent, why was it Sharon and not Sheila? — had towards school shootings.

The first is that Matt and Trey missed a real opportunity to speak up on a very important issue. By ignoring it, and even worse acting like it’s not a big deal and equating everyone freaking out to “being on their period,” they are no better than those who can actually make changes. Chalking it up to “South Park being South Park” and passing it off as the show doing it’s usual contrarian schtick doesn’t fly in situation. If they don’t want to be some type of authority when it comes to real world issues, they should no longer tackle real world issues. Go back to aliens invading and Scuzzlebutt running free.

I was taken out of this episode almost immediately when Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny just ignored the shooting and complained fractions. Yes, fractions suck. No one likes them. But kids were being shot. It’s not something to brush off and no one should be made to feel bad about being angered over the situation.

I was hoping they would pull it in by the final act. But it only got worse. I don’t know if they’ll follow up on Stan being shot. Probably not. But how could any parent simply act like nothing happened if their child was shot? There’s being a contrarian and then there’s whatever Matt and Trey were trying to do on Wednesday.

The second way, is that maybe South Park is doing some super meta elitist campaign that I’m not sure I can wrap my head around. The promotion for this season has been centered around the hashtag #cancelsouthpark. We saw the hashtag watermarked in the closing credits.

Is it possible that Matt and Trey have set out to make episodes so outrageously upsetting and angering that people, including longtime fans, want to #cancelsouthpark?

The final score: review Extremely Horrendous
The 411
"Dead Kids" was certainly an episode. I think I'm more confused by it than any episode in recent memory. The jokes didn't land, the pop culture references were dated, and the real world issue was fodder for period humor. And somehow, I'm in such a South Park bubble and think so highly of Matt and Trey that I feel like this was their goal. And if it was, kudos to them. The episode still sucked.