One of South Park’s greatest assets over the years is the show’s expansion from the self-contained stories of the small Colorado town to tales that take the boys out of their (and therefore our) comfort zones. Whether they’re freeing Willzyx from the Denver Sea Park, negotiating a peaceful end to a Canadian strike, stopping whale and dolphin killing in Japan, or dealing with Osama Bin Laden, the boys travel and have more of a global impact than any other 4th graders before them.
To watch this show is an act of rebellion and suspension of disbelief in and of itself. Like any animated show, especially those targeted towards young adults and beyond, South Park’s parameters allow it to address issues on the bluntest and most honest terms possible. When the story takes us to new locations, it signifies to us as an audience that Matt and Trey are not simply going to a new physical place but one that’s mental as well. We’re being taught to think on entirely different terms than what we’re used to, usually to illuminate some glaring hypocrisy.
We’ve laughed and we’ve grown to love these characters, but – summer vacation be damned – we’ve also learned immensely from them.
Here are some of the best moments:
Hoping to set the killer whale Jambu free after it “speaks” to them (and return it to its home on the moon), Stan, Cartman, and Kenny contact and meet with numerous world governments who might support their cause. A notable outstanding moment – when the Russians think the request is a prank call from George Bush.
This episode mirrors the South Park pilot, which is a great piece of nostalgia, until the boys realize they are stuck in a repeating reality. With the help of scientist Jeff Goldblum, they soon learn that the world is just a reality show called “Earth” and since they’ve become self aware “Earth” has been cancelled. The Independence Day and Contact references, as well as alluding back to the show’s pilot, make this a gem.
This episode takes on underdog sports movies from the 1980s, as well as annoying timeshare salesmen, and does so in an awesome manner. Some scenes to remember: the learning-to-ski montage with lyrics like “we’re gonna need a montage” and the Total Recall-inspired reveal that the geeky girl has mutants growing out of her chest.
This episode was inspired by the Writers Guild of America strike, transferring the disrespect felt by TV writers onto Canadians who feel the same on the global stage. There’s so much to choose from here, from Butters’ rendition of “What What (In the Butt)” to the wisdom of Terrance and Phillip to the Colorado Department of Internet Money doling out theoretical dollars to past internet sensations such as Dramatic Chipmunk and Numa Numa.
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