I love South Park. I really do. I can spend hours on end watching back to back episodes. I knew my man was a keeper when he spent an entire day on my couch with me watching it with me. I will refer to it much too much in most conversations (it seems to be annoying, but I can’t see why). But why do I love it so? So many reasons, really. Here are a few, using the episode Whale Whores as an example.
I feel that Whale Whores is an excellent example of everything great in South Park. There is so much packed into 20 something minutes without being overwhelming. The main point of the episode is the whale and dolphin slaughter that is happening in Japan. This is presented by simultaneously mocking the reality tv show Whale Wars, a show that I have personally never seen so I can’t really comment on it, but it seems pretty bad. The documentary The Cove which also deals with dolphinocide came out around the same time as well. Current affairs & issues: check.
On this note, SP also comments on reality tv and the horrendous poor quality of almost all some of it. Stan ends up as a cast member of Whale Wars and points out that these people are frauds, takes matters into his own hands, blows up a Japanese whaling ship (obviously) and takes over as captain because the previous one was harpooned (again, obviously). This boosts ratings, the obvious comment being that we like it when bad things happen to other people. Nothing new, but still. Reality TV criticism: check.
Cartman performs one of the best versions of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” that I have heard (the only thing that made it better was Mr.Walken) in the middle of the episode when Stan walks in on the rest of the boys playing Rock Band. The best part of this, however, is that Cartman sings this during a montage of Stan taking over the Wale Wars ship. It shouldn’t fit in, but it does. Cartman’s rendition is just so dramatic and urgent. Like whales, who are known for being dramatic and urgent (may or may not be a fact). Lady Fuckin Gaga: check.
When the Japanese president is confronted by Stan and his crew, he gives them the finger and exclaims “Fuck you, whare! Fuck you, dorphin!”. Then he explains to them that the reason that they kill whales and dolphins is because they believe that Hiroshima was bombed by a whale and a dolphin They even have evidence, in the form of a doctored photo, which in it’s defense, was really quite realistic. To solve this, the boys give them a new photo which shows the “actual” culprits, a cow and a chicken. The Japanese realize their mistake and go after cows and chickens, which nobody has a problem with. This is where one of the key issues lie, the Americans are ok with this because they can understand it because they do it themselves. And even though the only thing that has changed in the slaughter is the victim, the problem is still “solved”. Oh hypocrisy. You classy thing, you. History AND American hypocrisy AND racial slurs: check AND check AND supercheck.
SP managed to include current affairs, controversial issues such as racism & animal rights, Lady Gaga and our obsession with her, history and how inaccurate it can be, America’s own hypocrisy and the quality of reality tv, while still keeping their usual standard of vulgar and violent humor in quite a short period of time. I think my personal favorite is when the Japanese slaughter the football team, the Miami Dolphins. But that’s just because I really enjoy puns. Bravo, SP, and thank you for keeping me so very amused and entertained, no matter what state I’m in.
Sing us out, Cartman.